Guide to Grooming
By: Misa Nash
Just like us, pets need regular grooming and care. A spa day with your veterinarian or groomer can often be done while you’re at work or running errands for the day. In between visits, there are daily tasks we can do to help ensure your pets stay healthy and comfortable. Frequent grooming can have many benefits for your furry family members, including early detection of issues with ears, skin, teeth and more. Bathing is an important, but tricky task, depending on breed.
This is the best time to check for any lumps, wounds or other imperfections that might need veterinary attention. Have your veterinarian suggest shampoos best and best practices for your pet’s coat and skin. Human shampoos are not the best option for your pets skin and coat as our PH levels are much different than our pets. Oatmeal shampoos are usually a gentle starting point. Although helpful, flea and tick shampoos can strip the natural oils and cause the skin to dry out. It is important to start preparing them for bathing at a young age by putting them in shallow bodies of water, playing with their ears and feet. It is essential to help remove dirt and grime that might trap allergens and bacteria under the fur. Be sure to brush each pet before bathing to help remove dead hair and skin, but also to de-tangle any mats they may have.
Brushing is encouraged for most pet breeds, whether long or short hair. It is important to learn your pets breed for proper care of each unique coat. Long hair may need brushing daily compared to short hair that will need brushing weekly. Brushing not only helps establish trust between the two of you, it helps keep the skin and coat healthy. Using the correct tools is key to maintaining a shiny and well kept coat. Short and wiry haired pets need to be brushed every couple of days with a slicker brush followed by a wire comb. Shorter, fine coats benefit from a brush glove or rubber brush. Stiff natural brushes are a wise choice for these coats, also. Pin brushes are the best weapon in the war on long, tangled fur. Proper brushing can help remove loose fur and keep the fur from matting over time.
Heavy matting can change the pets range of motion and cause hyper-pigmentation or hyper-keratosis. The hair can constrict around a leg or tail until it has cut to the bone. Mat removal can be a tedious task that may require professional help. If the mat is tight and close to the skin, it may require cutting out. If it’s loose and on the edge of the hair, you can apply coat conditioner or mat spray. After letting it sit on the hair, you can use a wide tooth comb to gently remove the mat. Begin on the end of the hair and brush away from the skin. Matting can be painful, irritating, and cause infection by holding tears, urine and feces close to the skin. It can become itchy and when scratching, your pets claws can get caught in the mat. Trimming your nails can seem like a daunting task, but keeping them short can be beneficial for many reasons. Regular nail trims help reinforce healthy foot structure.
Dogs and cats, alike, can be hard to handle during this grooming process. Dog nails should be trimmed every 4-6 weeks, but cats nails grow much faster. Cats need nail trims every 10 days to 2 weeks. The greater the amount of time between each trim can cause the nails to grow too long, becoming uncomfortable for the pet. Use a steady hand to prevent cutting too short and damaging the pets quick. The quick is a blood vessel and a nerve that can be very painful and bleed if cut. Have a veterinarian or groomer teach you proper nail trimming techniques at your next visit.
Dental health is often overlooked, especially as a grooming practice. Beginning good habits for your pets teeth at a young age can greatly help how they age. 85% of pets have periodontal disease by 3 years of age. Periodontal disease effects the gums and bone support surrounding the teeth. If left untreated, bacteria can become trapped underneath the gums and travel through the bloodstream to the heart, liver and kidneys. Brush their teeth using animal specific products. Do not use human toothpaste.
There are many dental products on the market to help maintain great dental health in between dental cleanings. Contact your veterinarian for the best option for your pet. At Winnie Veterinary Clinic, our mission is to provide excellent care to each patient and provide you with the knowledge and tools to keep your fur babies in the best shape. Frequent spa days give us the opportunity to spoil your pet while keeping them in great condition. Call our office today and schedule an appointment for a spa day. All spa day packages will be 5% off in the month of August.
Winnie Veterinary Clinic got the privilege to host a couple of 2-year veterinary students from Texas A&M in College Station. Rebecca Thornton is from the north Dallas area and works as a technician at a Dallas veterinary clinic. Sarah Mohr lived in the Beaumont area, briefly, but is currently in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area.
Q: When did you realize you wanted a career in the veterinary field? Sarah: I wanted to be a horse trainer, at first. However as I was training horses, I realized the great need for large animal veterinarians and wanted to help fill it.
Rebecca: I always have wanted to be a vet from a young age. I love the physical and intellectual challenges of caring for animals.
Q: How is training to be a veterinarian different than being a technician? Sarah: Relationships with the clients and patients are different.
Becca: As a technician, you are taking the history and giving it to the doctor. As a doctor, you have to take the information and form a plan for treatment.
Q: What has been your favorite part of visiting Winnie Veterinary Clinic?
Sarah: I have most liked seeing Dr. Matak and Dr. Custer interact with the clients and learning the importance of those relationships.
Rebecca: I have really liked shadowing Dr. Custer and Dr. Matak in a real clinic atmosphere. I appreciate learning the reasons they are following specific treatment plans.
Sarah and Rebecca want to thank Winnie Veterinary doctors, staff and clients for allowing them the opportunity to learn.