Has your groomer been closed to help prevent the spread of COVID-19? Check around. Some places are still open with just new protocols. Still can’t find a groomer? Well then,
You are now your groomer
Grooming is a Necessity
We are quickly learning what services we can not live without. For some long hair animals, grooming is not something you can skip. Mats can become so tight and painful that a shave down is all you can do to resolve it, and depending on the fur coat some pets hair will not regrow the same as before if you have to shave it.
Brushing is Very Important.
We had an elderly great Pyrenees come in on Sunday for mobility issues and the owner apologized since their groomer had closed and it had been a little since the poor old man had had a bath and blow out. His back looked good but his fluffy pants were getting quickly out of hand. You could see the mats when he sat down.
Now, if you had ever worked with me before, you would know that mats make me a little twitchy. While the veterinarian talked to the old boy’s owners on the phone, I got a brush and went to work. Normally I say the little cat Furminator is acceptable for any animal. It did work for this big kid, but if you wanted to go bigger in this case, it wouldn’t be a bad idea.
For the short back fur, I could brush normally like you are raking up the fur, but you don’t want to do that on the long, thick parts. You long-haired humans know that you don’t want to start right at the skin and pull when brushing. That hurts! Start at the ends, brush out the little mats and work your way towards the skin.
See how I got the edges all straight and pretty?
Then I went back and got a few new mats to work on. Little by little you just keep getting out mats. You are in quarantine after all. There is no need to rush. Just get a brush and binge watch something fun while you work. Your pet with get into it sometimes too and will move to get the brush where they itch the very most.
We aren’t looking for perfection here. We are just keeping up on it so it isn’t a nightmare next grooming session.
Just during that short call, I got a lot accomplished!
We are still seeing torn nails in clinic these days, but I don’t recommend that as a way to tend nails. Keeping the nails well clipped can reduce the possibility of this happening and help your pet’s feet work better. One dachshund on Sunday had the nail twisted in with his next toenail making a permanent crossed toe. Ouch!
We understand that some dogs and cats just aren’t going to allow such things but for the most part, if you start very slow and give good distraction treats, they will humor you. Even if you get just one nail done a day, you will make progress. As long as it is a different nail every day, that is.
Have you tried this yet? Now is the perfect time to start. You can order supplies online or get curbside assistance at most pet stores these days. Pick up some pet-friendly toothpaste and a toothbrush and give it a try. Get them used to the toothpaste first. You can even use your finger to ‘brush’ their teeth at first and get them used to the idea before adding a toothbrush.
Not all pets open wide like this so you can check out every tooth, but teeth are a good thing to keep your eye on. Your pet should have a dental checkup at least yearly, preferably every six months. Regular brushing keeps those teeth cleaner and can help you detect problems faster.
Depending on your pet, you can probably go without a full bath for quite some time. Get some waterless-dry shampoo or Pet wipes for spot cleaning. The wipes are very good for cleaning paws after walks but also great to just pet your dog or cat with them every now and then to keep them smelling and looking great.
Many pets will go their whole lives and you’ll never look in their ears. Other pets have constant problems. Either way. It doesn’t hurt to look in your pet’s ears and see how they are. If they are clean and don’t smell, perfect! The pet wipes can help you keep the visible parts clean since you don’t want to actually put anything into their ear canal without instructions on how to do it safely. Also, please avoid oils or online home remedies for your pet’s ears. Most are counter-productive.
If your cat’s ears have black in them or smell, call your veterinarian for an appointment. You can cause equilibrium issues if you clean cat ears incorrectly. Trust me. The first cat whose ears I ever cleaned had a tilted head for two months! Man, I felt awful.
Dog’s ears are a bit more forgiving. You can use cotton balls and over the counter ear cleaner if you need to. Healthy ears shouldn’t need it, but if you have a chronic ear issue kid, learn how to clean and learn what to look for to maintain without letting them get bad.