The Hairy Facts about the dreaded hairball

You love your feline friend, but you don’t love the cat hairballs. When you hear Kitty gagging and retching it can be unnerving, and when Kitty finally does expel that gross-looking mass on the floor at your feet, it’s rather disgusting. While cat hairballs may seriously gross you out, the truth is, it’s not so great for Kitty either! Read on to find out why cats develop hairballs and some measures you can take to minimize the frequency of furry little presents on your carpet.

What is a Hairball in Cats?

Hairball, or trichobezoar, is a damp mass of undigested hair, moistened by bile and other digestive fluids. A hairball is rarely ball-shaped, but usually a slender and cylindrical cigar-shaped sausage, that takes that form when it is squeezed through the narrow passage of a cat’s oesophagus, from its stomach.

According to veterinarians, it is not uncommon for a cat to vomit a hairball every week or two.

How do Hairballs Develop?

Cats spend hours grooming themselves which causes them to swallow a lot of hair as it comes loose. Their rough tongue, which assists in keeping his or her coat clean, is also what channels the indigestible hair down their throats and into their stomach via tiny backward-slanted hook-like projections called papillae. Most of this swallowed hair passes through the digestive tract and ends up in your cat’s litter box but some of it remains in the stomach and gradually accumulates into a wet mass – the hairball.

Are Certain Cats More Prone to Hairballs?

Long-haired cats, such as Maine Coons, seem to be more susceptible to hairballs because they have a lot more hair than their short-haired cousins. Hairballs are also more common in warmer months when cats tend to shed their heavy winter coats. Some cats are simply intent groomers and clean themselves more than other cats which makes them more prone to hairballs.

Are Hairballs a Health Concern for My Cat?

A hairball every week or two is nothing to be alarmed at but if you see or hear your cat retching without producing a hairball it is advisable to consult your veterinarian. Other signs to look out for include lethargy, loss of appetite and constipation. This may be an indication that a hairball has passed from your cat’s stomach into the intestine instead of being regurgitated. This can cause a blockage in the digestive tract. Frequent unproductive hacking may also be a sign of a respiratory ailment and nothing to do with a hairball at all.

If the number of hairballs your cat is producing increases or if your cat is grooming a lot more than usual, speak to your veterinarian. This could be the sign of a different skin condition – like fleas – which may need medical intervention.

Your veterinarian will perform a physical exam to determine if there is an intestinal blockage. He/she may also have bloodwork done to check the functionality of the liver and kidneys, as well as additional diagnostic tests like an ultrasound or x-ray. Your vet will also want a complete history so take note, however gross, of your cat’s hairball habits.

How Can I Prevent Hairballs?

There are expert-recommended ways to manage your cat’s hairballs and their potential complications.

  1. Grooming. If your cat will allow it, regular brushing can decrease the amount of hair that Kitty ingests during self-grooming. Brushing is a wonderful bonding exercise for you and Kitty but it won’t necessarily stop your cat from self-grooming. Of course, if your cat does not allow brushing, you can take him or her to your veterinarian or to a trusted groomer for a haircut once or twice a year, which is also helpful if your cat will allow it.
  2. Remedies. There are oral remedies that you can give your cat once or twice a week. This is usually a mild petroleum-based laxative that will encourage the hair to pass without blocking the digestive tract. Also, food choice in general is important in managing hairballs. Foods that are naturally high in fiber are great because they will help move hair through your cat’s digestive system.
  3. Keep your floors clean. You may not realise that small items like pieces of thread, paperclips and hair bands can be ingested by Kitty. Make sure your floors are spick and span to prevent your cat from swallowing items that could also cause digestive issues.

That awful retching sound is one that brings every cat owner to their feet as they rush to prevent Kitty from regurgitating on the kitchen counter or laptop keyboard. While we cannot stop hairballs from occurring, we hope the information above will assist you in managing your cat’s hairball production so that you, your cat and your furniture can remain hairball-free.

Signs of a Happy Dog – and How to Know when your Dog is Unhappy

When you arrive home to yips of excitement, endless licks and rolled-over requests for tummy rubs, it’s clear that your dog is happy. These are obvious signs of a happy pup that are communicated through behaviour, body language and even physical health – even though Fido can’t verbally tell you. But have you ever considered that a wagging tail may not be quite enough to confirm a content canine? If you want to know how to tell if your dog is happy, learning the signs of a happy dog – as well as the signs of an unhappy dog – is a great start.

Body language of a happy dog

Each dog has a unique personality and temperament. It’s also possible for dogs of the same breed to be completely different in terms of personality and even body type and shape. It is advisable to use cues from body language rather than breed specifics to assess if your dog is happy or not.

A dog that appears comfortable or at ease is happy. A soft, sometimes partially-open mouth and relaxed ears (not alert or pulled back) are some signs of comfort. His posture is also an indicator – a happy dog will be relaxed with his head raised and his tail at ease. He may even hold his head high as a sign of ease.

The body posture also has telltale signs of happiness. A wagging tail is not necessarily a true indicator. The dog’s body should be loose, not stiff when his tail is wagged as a stiff body can be a sign of alertness or nervousness. Other postural signs of happiness including rolling over for a tummy rub or lowering his chest to the floor in an invitation to play. Excited barking is a clear sign of a joyful pup.

Your dog’s reaction to touch will also reveal his mood. Leaning in to your body or hand for a stroke shows contentment. This relaxed behaviour is a clear happy-factor.

Behaviours of a happy dog

While there are common behaviours of happy dogs, your pup’s age, breed and health can influence how your dog displays these behaviours. Destructiveness, for example, can be a sign of stress or anxiety that may need to be addressed by a vet or behaviourist. A happy dog is content and will not dig or damage property – other than the odd delicious shoe, of course.

Appetite is a common indicator as to your dog’s physical and emotional wellbeing. A healthy appetite shows that your dog is content while changes in appetite could be a sign of potential illness or unhappiness.

Likewise, their motivation to play or go for a walk is a good sign. Most (if not all) dogs love these activities and a lack of interest in them could be an indication that Fluffy is in pain or not well.

Happy dogs give excited reactions when their humans come home – a factor that certainly affects our own happiness.

How do I know if my dog is unhappy?

Indicators like body language and behaviour can show you how happy your dog is but these factors can also be used to determine if your dog isn’t happy. The following factors could be signs that your pup is unhappy or unwell:

  • Tucked or low tail. A tucked or lowered tail can indicate stress or unhappiness. Also take note of how he is wagging his tail – a wagging tail with a rigid body could be an indicator of insecurity or fear.
  • Tense body. A worried dog will appear so. He may shrink away from human contact, hold her head low or avoid eye-contact altogether. If your dog reacts stiffly to touch, it usually means she feels uncomfortable.
  • Ears held back. Pinned ears that lie flat against the head could show stress or anxiety.
  • Submissive behaviour. Rolling over can be a sign of a happy dog but if the dog seems uncomfortable doing it and appears stiff or still, he may be anxious. Yawning and excessive lip licking can also be signs of nervousness.
  • Hiding away. If your dog is hiding behind you or other objects, it is an indication that he is stressed or scared. Allow the dog to hide to comfort them.
  • Raised hackles. If the hair on the back of the dog’s neck is raised this indicates fear, anger or aggression.

How can I make sure my dog remains happy? 

Remember that if a dog’s physical and emotional needs are met, they will be happy. A healthy dog is a happy dog.

Make sure you keep up regular vet checks and vaccinations to maintain physical health. Consistent pest protection is another way to maintain your dog’s happiness as infestations are proven to cause stress and related physical conditions. Regular use of prevention treatments such as Bravecto®will ensure your dog never suffers the harassment of ticks, fleas and mites.

Dogs are also comforted by routine. Feeding them at more or less the same time every day is one way to create routine which could also include walks or scheduled play time.

Dogs also need exercise and mental stimulation which they can achieve through walks, games or even just chasing the ball outside. Don’t forget plenty of love and affection in the form of praise. Good pet parent!

Something you may not have considered is the impact your health and happiness has on your dog’s. Dogs are proven to sense their owners physical and emotional states so the healthier and more content you are, the happier your dog will be too!

If you are concerned that your dog is displaying any of the unhappy-factors above, consult your veterinarian. A grumpy mood can be a sign of an underlying physical condition that can be addressed to get your pup on the walkies to happiness again.

Making Sense Of Cat Senses

Your faithful feline is the descendent of a long lineage of predatory cats. Cats have only been considered household pets for a few thousand years while dogs were domesticated over 30,000 years ago. And while your modern house cat may not need to hunt for their dinner the same way their ancestors did, your pet still has a variety of acute cat senses, just like their highly-efficient predator ancestors. 

Cat Hearing

We are led to believe that a cat’s sense of hearing is better than ours. In fact, your hearing is very similar to your cat’s on lower levels, but when it comes to higher pitches, your cat can out-hear your canine companion.

The muscles in cat’s ears make it possible to swivel 180 degrees which allows them to act like satellites – adjusting to the location of the sound. Cats have a whopping 32 muscles in their outer ears – compared to human’s six – which allow the feline to rotate the earcups independently of each other. They can also estimate the location of an object (usually their prey) and distinguish between sounds.

Cats can also detect a higher frequency range than humans and their canine counterparts. They can determine where a sound is coming from by sensing differences in the time of arrival to one or both ears, and the intensity of the sound. They can hear extremely high and quiet sounds and the combination of all these abilities allows cats to hear even the tiniest squeak of a mouse even in the dark.

As a cat owner, you might want to consider your kitty’s sensitive ears the next time the computer monitor is buzzing, or you turn up the volume of your favourite track. Any day-to-day sound in the home is much more intense for those pointy ears. But just like humans, the hearing of a cat can also diminish with old age. It is not uncommon for older cats to lose their hearing completely and become deaf. If you suspect your feline friend isn’t hearing as well, it is best to consult your veterinarian.

Cat Vision

It has long been held that cats’ sense of vision is superior to ours and that they can see in the dark. But, how do cats really see? In fact, the visual acuity of cats is actually 10 times lower than humans. Their low light vision is where cats surpass most other mammals. Cats have a reflective layer located in the back of their eyes, called the tapetum lucidum that allows the eyes to adjust to the amount of light passing through the retina, increasing it when necessary, for example, at dusk. This reflective layer is also responsible for that spooky glow in their eyes when they are illuminated in the dark. However, cats cannot see any better than humans in total darkness as there is nothing for the tapetum lucidum to reflect.

The actual size and placement of a cat’s eyes on his or her head are actually ideal for accurately estimating the distance of objects and especially prey. The structure of the cat’s retina is also a key component in finding prey, because it is composed of a number of movement detectors or receptors.

Do Cats See Colour?

It is a common misconception that cats only see in black and white but the truth is, there is no definitive conclusion on the matter. Some research has suggested that cats can actually distinguish between colours but absolutely cannot identify the colour red. Luckily colour does not seem to really play a very important part in the everyday life of a cat.

Cat’s Sense of Smell

If you think your cat has a good sense of smell, you’re right! This sense is well-developed by the time they are an adult. We cannot compare kitty’s sense of smell to the super-powered sniffers on dogs, but your cat still has a far superior sense of smell to you. Within your cat’s tiny nose, he or she has 10 times the smell-sensing surface compared to humans. They use this to evaluate food or fellow felines but not particularly for hunting. When wandering their own territory, a cat primarily uses smell to sniff out boundary markers and to identify other cats based on gender, hormones and social position.

Smell is especially important for cats when it comes to evaluating food. If a cat’s nasal passages become clogged as a result of illness, it may appear to lose appetite completely. If your cat is turning up his or her nose at food, you may want to consult your veterinarian.

Cat’s Sense of Taste

You know your cat wolfs down that tuna treat and may turn its nose up if you change her preferred dry food but, this has to do with a lot more than just taste as several senses are actually hard at work. Your cat evaluates the food through smell, temperature, size and shape, as well as taste. Cat food manufacturers have long recognised that cats prefer tinned food in chunks, which resembles the shape and consistency of their prey. Dry food is favored if it is crunchy, like the bones of rats and mice. Also, warming food slightly will make it even more desirable as it is a similar temperature to fresh-caught prey.

Cats do have taste buds that are similar to humans in some ways but quite different in others. Human taste buds can distinguish sweet, sour, bitter, salty and savory – cats cannot taste sweet flavours. Studies have shown the possibility that because cats are genetic carnivores and are driven to consume meat, they have no reason to have a taste for sugar. So if your cat is after your sweet coffee or cake, it is more likely that they are drawn to the fat content. Cats are extremely good at detecting fat. Similarly, the bitter and sour taste sensors in your cat’s tongue are extremely important as they warn him or her of poisonous food or objects.

A Cat’s Sense of Touch

Touch is a primary source of affection for cats from birth. It is a fundamental sense in kitten development. Cats groom themselves and each other, they lay against one another, and grown cats often behave like kittens by kneading their human when they are stroked. Your cat is extremely sensitive to touch because each hair on his or her body has nerve endings. Every time you pat or stroke your feline friend, you actually evoke a response from the nervous system.

The hairs on the body also act as receptors to the world around your cat. The same is true of your cat’s whiskers, which were designed to detect even the smallest change in the environment and safely guide a cat in low visibility. Because of these highly-developed senses, people have long-believed that cats can detect natural disasters, diseases and even impending death!

Development of Kitten Senses

Kittens go through a few stages of sense development. At birth, kittens are blind and deaf – their ears and eyes open between 5 and 15 days. Once they can hear and see, kittens can begin to send and receive information from other cats, animals and objects in their environment. At approximately 2 weeks, kittens start to respond to sounds and at about 3 weeks they start to follow visual cues. By 4 weeks old, kittens move about and interact with their environment, but their signals are indistinct – they have not quite mastered all of their kitten senses. Over the course of the next couple of weeks however, they will learn to use their keen kitty senses the way generations of cats have before them.

Deworming Cats: Preventing Intestinal Parasites

Intestinal parasites can wreak havoc on your poor cat’s insides, leading to serious medical issues that may even develop into health conditions if gone untreated. Invest in your cat’s long-term health by sticking to a strict cat deworming schedule. Learn why deworming kittens and cats is so important, how cats contract worms, the types of worms and more.

Deworm a Cat and Ensure Good Health for Your Feline Family Member

Don’t make the mistake of thinking that only feral cats are prone to contracting intestinal worms and parasites. Your beloved housecat can also become infected with these horrible little beasts. But do not fear! You’ll be pleased to hear that it is a rather common issue for most cats and kittens. If the cat worming routine is practised regularly, there usually isn’t any long-lasting or serious consequences, but this can depend on the type of parasite the cat is infested with. A heavy burden of worms in the cat may also lead to more serious issues (more on that later).

Did you know? Deworming cats isn’t just beneficial to your cat’s health but to your and your family’s health as well. Some worms that infect cats can be passed along to humans. In some rare cases, this can even be the cause of serious disease in humans – another reason to take deworming for cats seriously.

To deworm your cat frequently shows that you care. Remember: prevention is always better than cure. On your next trip to the vet, you can ask about which dewormer is right for your cat.

How Do Cats Contract Intestinal Parasites and Worms?

Cats can become infected by worms in various ways, depending on various factors. These include:

  • Nursing from the mother (i.e. queen) and consuming contaminated milk
  • Eating, licking, rolling in, sniffing or stepping in contaminated soil
  • Consuming infected prey such as birds, reptiles and rodents
  • Through flea, tick and mosquito bites or through ingesting of one of these pests while grooming
  • Coming into contact with other infected cats and animals
  • Coming into contact with infected faeces or vomit from another animal
  • Through contact with slugs and snails

Worms in Kittens

A kitten or younger cat tends to become infected with worms either by inheriting the infection from their mother or by ingesting larvae via their mother’s milk.

Worms in Adult Cats

Mature felines are likely to become infected with worms through contact with other infected animals, by eating prey or parasites like fleas infected with worms or by accidentally consuming the eggs or larvae of worms such as while eating grass outside.

Deworming Against the Most Common Types of Cat Worms

Just like the plenty of ways in which a cat can contract worms, there are also various types of worms they can become infected with. Meet some of the most common culprits:

Roundworms in Cats

This is the world’s most common type of intestinal parasite. The two most common feline roundworm types are known as Toxocara cati and Toxascaris leonina. Eggs from these parasitic worms are passed on through faeces. These eggs are tough and can remain viable in the environment for a number of years.

Roundworms can infect cats in one of two ways: either through (accidental) ingestion directly from the contaminated environment or through the consumption of an intermediate host, such as a mouse contaminated with the parasite.

Toxocara cati can also be passed along from a queen to her kittens via her milk. When cats become infected with roundworms, some immature larvae may remain dormant in the cat’s body tissues. It doesn’t necessarily cause any harm to a mature cat, but when females fall pregnant these tiny larvae may migrate to their mammary glands, from where they are excreted, along with any milk, when nursing.

In terms of appearance, roundworms are long, white and wet spaghetti-like. They absorb all the nutrients they need from their infected host. To accurately determine whether a cat is infected with roundworms, a vet will need to collect and analyse a fecal sample in the lab.

Hookworms in Cats

The hookworm is the smallest kind of common intestinal roundworm found in cats. These parasitic worms are found across most countries in the world but aren’t equally common everywhere.

They primarily reside in the cat’s small intestine, where they feed on the hosts’ blood. Hookworm infection can lead to damage of the intestinal lining. They attach to the surface of a host’s intestines, which could ultimately lead to anaemia, bleeding and weight loss. This is especially dangerous when left untreated in kittens.

The most common ways in which hookworms infect cats are:

  • Through (accidental) ingestion of its eggs, directly from the environment
  • Feeding on an infected intermediate host
  • Larvae found in the environment burrow through the cat’s skin

Some of the most common kinds of hookworms include Ancylostoma tubaeforme and Uncinaria stenocephala.

Tapeworms in Cats

A tapeworm is a long, flat worm with a segmented body. Once one of the egg-containing segments at the end of the tapeworm has matured, it is released and passed on through the faeces. If you happen to notice rice grain-like objects in your cat’s faeces, around their anus or on their bedding, then there’s a good chance that they may be suffering from a tapeworm infestation.

For a tapeworm to complete its lifecycle, it first needs an intermediate host to consume its eggs from the environment. Cats tend to become infected by going on to eat this intermediate host such as a bird or a flea. The animal that ends up acting as an intermediate host will vary and depends on the specific species of tapeworm. Two of the world’s most common tapeworm species known to infect cats are Dipylidium caninum and Taenia taeniaeformis.

Cats get infected by Dipylidium caninum through fleas. An immature flea larva eats some of the tapeworm’s eggs. This infected larva develops into an infected flea which, in turn, is ingested by a cat while grooming. If your cat is infested with fleas, it is likely that it also has tapeworms.

Taenia taeniaeformis is contracted when a cat feeds on rodents such as mice and rats. These rodents will have eaten infected tapeworm eggs from the environment. Cats who enjoy hunting are likely to contract tapeworm this way.

Heartworms in Cats

Cats can contract heartworms through infected mosquitoes. For around six months, worms (called Dirofilaria immitis), transmitted by the infected mosquitos, will move throughout the cat’s body before finally coming to a halt in its circulatory system, i.e. the heart and pulmonary arteries.

It should be noted that heartworms are exclusively transmitted through the bite of an infected mosquito and cannot be transferred between or within species. These worms are both treatable and preventable if caught early on, but if it’s not diagnosed and treated before the advanced stages, it may prove fatal.

Why It’s Important to Look Closely: The Signs and Symptoms of Worms in Cats

Knowing whether or not there are worms in your cat’s intestines can be tricky, as there may not be any visible symptoms if the infection isn’t severe. By the time your feline friend is displaying clear signs of a worm infestation, the problem has usually worsened significantly. That’s why it’s so important to deworm your cat back to back.

General signs and symptoms of a worm infestation in cats include, but aren’t limited to, the following:

  • Weight loss, usually accompanied by a noticeable decrease or increase in appetite
  • A pot-bellied look, i.e. a distended stomach
  • Vomiting
  • Lethargy
  • Chronic coughing
  • Chronic soft stools/diarrhoea
  • A dull coat which may feature hair loss, as well as an irritated or inflamed skin
  • Dragging or rubbing their bottom across the ground
  • Worms can be seen as rice grain-like objects in the infected cat’s stool (roundworms and tapeworms)
  • Worms can also be identified by tapeworm segments attached to the fur/skin surrounding the anus

If you suspect that your cat has worms, make sure to contact your vet and schedule an appointment ASAP.

Treating and Preventing Worms in Cats

The right dewormer for your cat will largely depend on your vet’s advice and diagnosis. Keep in mind that a kitten dewormer and cat dewormer should be applied at least 4 times a year or as per your vet’s instructions. This is especially true if your cat or kitten has not been checked for worms by your vet, as regular deworming will make sure that your favourite feline remains worm-free.

At-home deworming treatments available from your vet or vet shop include:

  • Powders
  • Pastes
  • Spot-on treatments
  • Tablets

If you’re looking for fast-acting and long-lasting topical treatment to keep your cat free of both external and internal parasites, then Bravecto® holds just that solution. Choose between either the original Bravecto® Spot-On for Cats or the all-new Bravecto® Plus for Cats, available from your vet. With the original spot-on treatment, your cat will remain tick, flea and ear mite-free for 3 whole months, all in a single dose. It can be used safely on kittens from 11 weeks of age.

One dose of the new broad-spectrum Bravecto® Plus keeps your cat protected against ticks, fleas and heartworm for 3 months PLUS it includes a treatment for roundworms, hookworms and ear mites! It’s a dewormer for cats you can trust.

To administer either treatment is simple. Separate the fur on the back of your cat’s neck and dab the treatment directly onto the skin using the easy to use Twist’n’Use applicator.

Prioritise your cat’s continued health and wellbeing with one of the best long term parasite prevention treatments on the market. Choose Bravecto® for better cat health.

reference: blog.bravecto.co.za

Tips for Dog Grooming at Home.

Dog grooming at home can seem like a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be – with the right mind-set, some patience and a positive attitude you can turn grooming time into bonding time.

Don’t Be Discouraged If Dog Grooming Is Hard for Both You and Your Pup at First

You may have had a bad past experience with trying to groom your beloved canine companion at home. We’re here to reassure you that things do get better as you establish and maintain a regular at-home dog grooming regiment. It’s important to build a strong, trusting relationship with your pup before attempting to groom them yourself but, as with all things, it only takes some time and effort on your part to get them to comply.

The Old Lyme Veterinary Hospital in Old Lyme, Connecticut’s Dr Neil Marrinan says “90 percent of the work will be before, and away from, the actual 10 percent of grooming.” With this, he means that your pup should be able to count on you behaving in a reliable manner. You need to follow an anticipated system, with a predictable number of steps every time – this will help set your dog at ease. Positive reinforcement (treats!) will also help get your dog on board with a new grooming routine.

Keep in mind that animals are sensitive: your dog knows when you’re nervous and they will, in turn, also grow nervous, causing them to look for an escape opportunity or they may even grow aggressive. If, for example, your dog doesn’t like being brushed at first, don’t force them to comply. Instead, try again at a later time. Perseverance pays off.

The Do’s and Don’ts of At-Home Dog Grooming

The Do’s 👍

Groom Your Dog Often

This is especially important if you own a breed with long hair, which is prone to developing painful mats that only get worse the longer they’re ignored. Take time to regularly brush your dog, it’s far better than putting them – and yourself – through the discomfort of trying to deal with severely knotted and tangled hair. Matting that’s ignored for too long may ultimately leave you with no alternative but to clip off the hair entirely.

It’s extremely important for you to remember to brush your dog before bathing them. If you don’t do this, any matting in your dog’s hair will become far worse, as the water causes it to tighten. The shampoo also won’t lather into the hair as easily if you fail to brush your dog beforehand, plus the bathwater will be filthy before you even get the chance to properly clean up your pup.

Invest in a quality brand of dog shampoo, as cheaper brands may contain harsh chemicals, which can lead to or agitate existing skin conditions. Diluting dog shampoo will also help make it easier to rinse out any shampoo left on your dog (which, again, can cause skin irritation). Check difficult to reach places such as your dog’s armpits, around their ears and tail.

In summary: brushing before bathing prevents knots and tangles from getting nastier, as well as helps to remove excess dirt.

Remember to Trim Those Nails

Dog nails do wear down naturally, but occasional trimming is necessary. Keep a close eye on the length of your dog’s nails and clip them before they grow too long, as overgrown nails can become a risk to your pooch’s wellbeing.

Gradually introduce your dog to the sound of a nail clipper or grinder before using it on them. Dogs with white nails should be clipped until you can see the pink part, also known as the quick. Only clip off a tiny piece at a time with black-nailed dogs, stopping as soon as you see a solid black spot at the tip. Clippers should be closed quickly, as doing it slowly or using blunt clippers may lead to the nails splitting and chipping.

Should you opt for a nail grinder, be sure to stop before reaching the quick. If the quick is accidentally clipped, apply some styptic powder to staunch any bleeding. Don’t hesitate to have a vet or professional groomer clip your dog’s nails, if you’re afraid of doing it incorrectly, or have them show you exactly how it’s done for future reference. It’s important to keep your dog’s best interests at heart.

Practice Dog Grooming in a Well-Lit, Safe Spot

It’s important that you’re able to see what you’re doing when grooming your beloved pooch and do it on a surface that will prevent them from slipping and falling. Tethering your dog during grooming isn’t a good idea, as this can lead to accidents. However, dogs who love being brushed can be brushed pretty much anytime, anywhere and often – it’s a wonderful bonding experience and may even serve as a reward for behaving during a not-so-pleasant grooming procedure.

Working in a well-lit environment will also help you to perform a thorough health check while grooming your dog. Look out for anything that seems out of place or different on your dog. Feel their body for irregular bumps and lumps when brushing, washing and drying them.

Make Sure You Have the Right Dog Grooming Tools

Do your research online or consult a trusted professional pet groomer or vet about the appropriate dog grooming kit for your pup. Different breeds have different needs, after all. A brush that works for a short-haired dog, won’t necessarily work for a long-haired dog and vice versa. Professionals will be able to tell you what handy extras you should keep on hand (think styptic powder), as well as what larger items are worth investing in, such as a proper grooming table and grooming arm for holding your pup in place.

Basic dog grooming equipment includes:

  • An appropriate comb
  • An appropriate brush
  • pH-balanced dog shampoo and conditioner
  • Enough old towels for drying off
  • Dog nail clippers/grinder
  • Styptic powder
  • Cotton balls or a soft cloth (moisten and use to clean your dog’s ears and around their eyes)

Always invest in high-quality dog grooming equipment, to prevent injury and distress.

Know When You’ve Been Bested

Some pooches just can’t seem to calm down or stand still. If this is true for your dog, consider asking a friend for grooming help or speak to your vet about possible calming supplements. Another option includes taking your dog to a professional pet groomer. Mobile dog grooming services are becoming more widely available, so ask around for recommended specialists in your area.

Grooming shouldn’t be a negative experience for you or your dog, ever.

The Don’ts 👎

Don’t Rush Your Dog Grooming Regiment

Rushing your dog’s grooming regiment won’t do you or your pup any good. The job won’t be done properly, it can lead to your dog experiencing unnecessary stress and may result in life-threatening injuries.

Think about it this way – you wouldn’t appreciate your hairdresser or barber rushing to get the job done while busy with your hair, would you?

Don’t Restrain Your Dog by Gripping at Their Fur

All that you’ll achieve by doing this, is frightening your dog, stressing them out or even injuring them. Your dog will come to associate grooming as a negative experience and won’t give their cooperation in future. Don’t subject your precious pup to undue trauma: enlist trusted and experienced help if grooming your dog by yourself is too much to handle.

Don’t Use Human or Scented Shampoos and Conditioners

Human or scented products may irritate your dog’s sensitive nose and skin. Never apply non-vet approved sprays such as perfume to your dog. These products often contain ingredients that are dangerous to dogs and may lead to respiratory problems.

If you’re looking to brush your dog’s teeth, find an appropriate dog-friendly product, as human toothpaste is often made using xylitol, which is toxic to dogs. This is why it’s so important to do thorough research about which grooming products are appropriate for dogs. Speak to your vet if there’s any hesitation about a product’s safety.

Don’t Bathe Your Dog Too Frequently

Only bathe your dog when it’s necessary, such as when they’ve become smelly or dirty by rolling in something. When washing your dog, you strip away their natural oils, which are needed for temperature regulation. Too frequent bathing is another possible cause of skin irritation.

Never bathe your dog during a cold weather day, as this could lead to a drop in their core body temperature. Ensure the bath happens in a warm, pleasant setting. Towel-dry your dog to get rid of excess moisture and if you use a blow dryer, stay away from your pup’s face.

End Your Dog’s At-Home Spa Day With a Product That Will Keep Them Feeling Fresh and Fantastic for Longer

Now that your beloved furry friend is feeling fresh and clean, help them feel that way for longer by following up their at-home spa day with a dose of Bravecto®. A single, tasty Bravecto® Chew will keep your dog protected from ticks, fleas and mites for 12 weeks, while one treatment of Bravecto® Spot-On for Dogs provides up to 4 months of protection against ticks and 6 months of protection against fleas.

Bravecto® is the fast-acting and long-lasting solution to keeping your dog and home free of nasty external parasites. Help your dog feel good for the long run by treating them with back to back doses of your preferred product. At Bravecto® we care about your pets’ continued wellbeing.

Reference

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