by: David Beart
Regular grooming of all pets can help contribute to longer, healthier lives. The benefits of having your pet groomed regularly can include making your pet more comfortable and clean, as well as having attention paid to often overlooked parts of your dog or cat.
There are many direct health benefits of having your dog or cat groomed. Regular brushing of all pets, despite coat length or type, helps to keep the coat and skin healthy. Most dogs do not require frequent bathing (once a month or less!), but brushing in between bath times helps to keep them clean, removing dead hair, dirt and other debris from the coat. Many cats may only need to be bathed a few times in their lifetime. Brushing is a vital part of pet care, as it works to distribute the natural oils of the skin throughout the coat, promoting a healthier coat, and cleaner skin.
In addition the direct benefits your pets coat, brushing may help to point out any abnormalities in your pets body, such as sores, growths or bald spots. While you may not notice any lumps or bumps that have appeared on your pet, regular grooming can help to detect a problem, and insure that if a lump does appear, you are aware of it sooner rather than later. A veterinarian should check any growth or lump you or your groomer notices on your pet, to rule out cancer and other potentially dangerous conditions. Early detection can be crucial in a positive outcome to an otherwise deadly health scare.
During the course of the grooming process, the groomer will pay special attention to your pets’ ears, eyes, mouth, teeth, pads and perianal region- areas you probably don’t notice much in daily life.
Longhair dogs and even some cats tend to grow hair deep in the ear canal, and this hair can trap bacteria, causing irritation and ear infections. Your groomer will “pluck” this hair, and often do a cursory clean of the ears checking for anything abnormal. If ear discharge or redness is noticed, this can be relayed to you, so that you know that veterinary attention may be necessary to treat your pets’ ear problem.
Many long hair pets tend to grow excessive amounts of hair between their feet and paw pads, as well as around the perianal (anus) area. Excessive hair in these places can lead to hygiene problems, tangling of hair, accumulation of dirt and stickers in the hair, and even cause problems defecating and urinating. Your groomer may trim around these areas, helping to prevent problems before they can develop.
Breeds of dogs such as Yorkshire Terriers, Maltese and Shih Tzu’s will grow long hair on the face, mouth and eyes, and left untrimmed this hair can become matted with food particles and saliva. In addition, studies have shown that dogs with hair that is frequently in their eyes have a greater chance of developing eye infections, glaucoma and cataracts. Strategic trimming of the hair around the eyes is aesthetically pleasing, and helps to prevent health problems down the road.
Most dogs and cats don’t naturally wear down their nails fast enough to keep up with nail growth, and as a result most pets need regular nail trimming in order to keep their nails at the optimum length. Long nails are the most common cause of chiropractic problems in cats and dogs, and can contribute to joint pain and stiffness. Your pets body has been designed to walk with his pads on the floor, not the nails. If your dogs’ nails are touching the ground, his nails are too long. If you can hear the nails clicking on the floor, they are too long. Regular clipping will help to prevent problems associated with long nails.
Your groomer will clip your pets’ nails, and their skill and experience can often get them shorter than you can at home. A dremel tool may also be used, to help further shorten the nails, and blunt the edges to eliminate those sharp, newly cut nail scratches!
In addition to health benefits, a professional grooming can greatly improve the cleanliness and hygiene of your pet. While you may bathe your pet at home regularly, most groomers utilize a bathing system. These systems are specially made to allow water and shampoo to penetrate even the thickest coats of hair, evenly spreading shampoo throughout the coat. Special hoses and water nozzles “massage” the soap throughout the coat, getting the coat cleaner than any hand wash could. In addition, the bathing systems are much faster than traditional bathing, shortening the time your pet may spend stressed out in the tub.
If your dog has long hair, or is prone to tangles or a dry coat, a coat conditioner may be used as a second step to the bathing process. Conditioners can help to manage the hair and make it softer, allowing for mats and tangles to be more easily removed, along with re-moisturizing the coat.
While in the bath, some groomers may take the opportunity to express your pets’ anal glands. The anal glands are two small sacks just inside your pets’ anus, and are filled with a foul smelling “scent fingerprint” that animals use to identify each other in the wild. Routine emptying of these sacs can help to prevent unwanted smells, as well as potential side effects from impacted or ruptured anal glands that go unemptied.
Finally, bathing your pet provides an opportunity for an impartial set of eyes to point out any issues or problems you many not have noticed with your pet. We live with our pets, and often don’t notice right away if they begin to gain or loose weight, or gradually take up new behaviors. Your groomer has the advantage of only seeing your pet occasionally, and as such may notice if Fido has packed on a few pounds, or if Kitty has fleas that need to be treated.
There are many benefits to having your dog or cat groomed. While frequency will depend on your pets breed, coat type or lifestyle, regular grooming sessions will help your pet to remain a healthy, clean companion to you.
About The Author
David Beart is owner of the http://www.professorshouse.com , a site dedicated to family, relationships, dog grooming, and household issues.