Pets, even those who stay indoors, need proper, regular grooming. Grooming done by a human helps keep the animal healthy in addition to looking good. Grooming helps humans spot health problems that the animal obviously can’t talk about, and it also protects the animal from injury.
Filling In the Gaps
Some animals can do a relatively good job of grooming themselves in a basic manner. Cats are very good, but dogs don’t exactly have the best self-care routine.
In fact, it may seem like it is unnecessary to groom a cat, but that’s not the case. If you groom a cat regularly, including brushing the coat, brushing the teeth, giving regular baths, and checking the ears, eyes, nose, paw pads, and claws, you’re filling in the gaps left behind after the cat is done with its own grooming. You are reaching areas that the cat can’t clean itself, and your constant attention ensures that nothing is being overlooked. There are a few cats who hate it when humans try to groom them. However, many enjoy the attention, especially the fur brushing. This is like a daily massage, and it also removes old fur that the cat would have otherwise ingested, creating hairballs and their accompanying sounds and mess.
For dogs, the need for extra grooming is obvious because they don’t have the same self-grooming routines that cats do. Without help, a dogs fur can become matted and dirty, and their skin can develop infections.
Clawing Back Paw Problems
Regular nail and claw care is essential for both dogs and cats. Sometimes an extremely active pet will wear down the tips of the nails or claws. However, most pets need some help keeping nail and claw growth under control. If the tips don’t wear away through activity, the claws and nails can grow long enough to curl back in and harm the pet’s paws. The nails and claws can actually grow into the undersides of the paws and cause infection. If you’re unsure about how to safely trim dog and cat nails and claws, professional groomers can do it for you, and your vet can show you the basic procedures.
Use It For Health Monitoring
Grooming is about more than just cosmetics and basic health. When you groom your pet or have someone groom your pet, you get a chance to check out the pet’s state of health. Check the pet’s body for lumps that could indicate a skin condition, and look for fur that’s falling out or for bald patches. This is a time to see if the pet seems to be generating excessive dander or if there are areas of the pet’s body that are suddenly very sensitive. You can also use this time to check for signs that an ear or eye infection might be forming, rather than waiting for the pet to exhibit signs of illness.
If you’re not sure exactly what you need to do to groom your pet, stop by Hunt Valley Animal Hospital and talk to the vets and groomers on staff. They can show you what needs to be done.