How to Properly Groom Your Cat or Dog

October 31, 2015  

Cats are excessively particular cleaners and tend to wash themselves multiple times every day. Dogs enjoy rolling around on the ground and chewing at their coats to keep clean. Regardless of whether you have a cat or a dog, grooming is a central responsibility of pet ownership. When it comes to how to properly groom your cat or dog, regular brushing and bathing are of key importance.

Brushing

Regular brushing of your cat or dog will help keep its hair in the best possible condition. Brushing helps to remove dirt, distribute natural oils, prevent tangles, and keep the skin clean. Short haired cats should be brushed once weekly. Use a metal comb and work your cat’s hair from head to tail, then follow-up with a bristle brush as this will remove dead hair. For long-haired cats, you’ll want to brush daily. First comb the belly and legs and untangle the hair, then brush the rest of her hair in an upward motion with a bristle brush. Finally, along the tail, brush the hair out from the centre to either side of the tail. Always be sure to carefully brush sensitive areas like the chest and belly.

For dogs with a smooth, short coat you will also only need to brush once a week. A rubber brush can be used to loosen dirt and dead skin, and a bristle brush can be used to remove dead hair. Dogs with short, dense hair like a retriever, the fur will be susceptible to matting. Your weekly brushing regime should start with a slicker brush to remove tangles, then a bristle brush to remove dead hair. Always be sure to also brush the tail. Finally, dogs with long coats should be brushed daily. A slicker brush is perfect for removing tangles and gently combing out mats. A bristle brush should also be used to remove dead hair.

Bathing

Cats should be bathed if they become greasy or oily or if they’ve been playing in something sticky or smelly. Begin by brushing your cat’s hair to remove as much dirt, dead hair, and mats as possible. Then, with a rubber bath mat in the bottom of a sink or tub, place your cat in a bath of 3-4 inches of warm water. A spray hose can be used to wet your cat, but be sure not to spray directly into her ears, eyes, or nose. Gently massage shampoo from head to tail and then thoroughly rinse your cat with a spray hose or pitcher of water. Use a large towel to dry your cat.

Dogs should be bathed more frequently than cats, and veterinarians usually recommend bathing at least once every three months. You may need to bathe your dog more often if he spends a lot of time outdoors or becomes especially dirty. The procedure for bathing your dog is very similar for cats. Again, you’ll want to start by brushing your dog to remove dead hair and dirt, and then place your dog in a bath of 3-4 inches of warm water. Thoroughly wet your dog and clean him from head to tail with a dog-safe shampoo. Finally, you’ll want to inspect your dog’s ears making sure to check for foul odours or debris; you can clean your dog’s ears with a cotton swab or ball, but do not insert it into the ear canal.

Make Grooming Fun

Remember, grooming can be an important bonding experience for you and your pet, so you’ll want to schedule grooming for when your pet is calm and relaxed. Early grooming sessions should be no more than 5-10 minutes until your cat or dog is familiar with the process.