This month, we’re taking a look at pet grooming products and we’ll share tips for grooming your dogs and cats. Rule of thumb is, if your pet itches, has a sensitive stomach, sheds a lot or has a dull coat, you should consider a diet change. Often just one bag of a new food, properly transitioned, will make a big difference. Now, let’s get started on my quick three-step process on how to groom your pet.
STEP 1 PRE-BATH – This involves everything before turning the water on. Start with the right tools. Just because a brush is more expensive, it does not mean it is better or the right one for your pet. A good brush and comb doesn’t have to be expensive. At Natural Pawz, we have our groomers test all products that we carry. I always start with a onceover to look at your pet and see if there are any issues (gunky eyes or ears, mats, red spots or sores, sensitive areas in the hips and legs). First, start with the face and work your way across your pet’s body. If you find any knots behind the ears, never use scissors to remove them. You risk accidentally cutting your pet. Clean ears with a non-alcoholic drying solution. For waxy or gunky ears, use an ear cleaner specifically designed for that (Zymox or Relique). Clean the eyes carefully with a moist grooming wipe. The hair follicles around the eyes are very sensitive and can be easily damaged, which may cause hair not to grow back or could cause in-grown hairs. Then, brush out the coat completely. Make sure to carefully break up any mats. De-matting can be painful so short, swift strokes on a small area works best. The final step is to run a comb through the coat to make sure there are no knots from skin through the hair. Any knots not removed pre-bath will become tighter after the bath. You are now ready to start bathing.
STEP 2 BATHING – If your pet sheds a lot, use a rubber curry brush during the bath. The key to a good bath is a good shampoo. Remember, a little goes a long way so don’t be afraid to spend a little more on the shampoo you use. I only recommend environmentally safe shampoos (non-paraben, non-sulfate). Other shampoos may leave residue that can result in itching. Select a shampoo that fits what your pet needs:
- Oatmeal or Tea Tree for itching,
- Coconut or Hydrating for a dry coat, and
- Lavender or Chamomile for a nervous pet.
Be very careful not to get any shampoo in your pet’s eyes. We recommend you use tearless/hypo shampoo or a good grooming wipe. If you do get shampoo in your pet’s eyes, rinse it out immediately. Lastly, smell is important so twist the cap and make sure you like the smell of the shampoo before you buy it. A new product that Natural Pawz is launching this month has volcanic minerals, which has been specially formulated to get down into the skin and coat and remove toxins, reduce itchiness and leave a beautiful shine.
Steps to washing are:
1) Wet the coat.
2) Put a little shampoo across the pet’s back or on a bathing mitt.
3) Lather and make sure to get down to the skin.
4) Rinse thoroughly. (If needed, repeat steps 1 through 4.)
Once completed, remove excess water on the coat and use an absorbent towel to remove remaining water.
STEP 3 AFTER BATH – Never use heat to dry your pet’s coat. There is a cool hair dryer that we are currently evaluating as one potential option. If you think that is something you would be interested in, let us know the next time you visit Natural Pawz. If you want additional conditioning or have a pet that sheds, use a conditioning spritz or leave-in conditioner. Once the coat is slightly damp or fully dried, you should use a comb to de-shed. The purpose of de-shedding on a dry clean coat is that the coat needs to be fully hydrated and dried so not to damage heathy hair.
Lastly, time to trim the nails. Remember, less is better so you do not hit a blood vessel. Trim nails on an angle. Many customers use a pet dremel to sand down pet nails. If the nail does start bleeding, hold the nail with a paper towel so it can coagulate. Additionally, you can use cornstarch or styptic powder to stop the bleeding.
Grooming should be a pleasant process for your pet. Make sure to make it fun, give them their favorite treats and at the end, let them know how good they look.
For those times when you’d like a professional’s help with grooming, several Natural Pawz locations offer grooming and spa services. We’re happy to help you and your fur friend.