By Yashwini Shetty*
Grooming is one of nature’s strongest ways of bonding with your pets. It enhances the relationship you have with your pet. Even if you have a designated professional groomer, there are things you can do at home in-between visits. Additionally, these grooming tips will help keep your pet feeling cool and comfortable in the warmer weather.
Dogs & cats have bodily mechanisms, like sweating, panting, and shedding to keep themselves cool, but they’re still at more risk of overheating than we are. Feeling overheated can quickly turn to heat stroke, which is more common and serious for pets than you may think. So during the summer months, it’s important to keep your pet as cool and comfortable as possible.
Maintaining their grooming routine is also important. It’s not only about looking good, though that’s certainly one of the main reasons; it’s also about looking after our pets’ skin, ears, and nails. This would solve small problems before they become big ones.
While some breeds require the services of a professional groomer, good brushing is something that benefits every pet and you don’t have to be an expert in doing that. A tool appropriate for brushing a pet’s coat is the one that strips out loose hair so air can circulate against their skin. Regular and thorough brushing also prevents mats, which are not only painful but also trap heat and moisture and can result in skin infections. We can’t talk enough about the obvious benefits associated with brushing your pet regularly, from reduced shedding to a cleaner coat. It’s a great way to keep a pet cool while also giving you the chance to spot any irregularities on their skin — infections or allergies or ticks and fleas. Different pet breeds require different brushes so make sure you have chosen the right one for your breed.
Before bathing, make sure to brush your pet first and remove the knots/matts if formed in the coat. Be careful of your pet’s eyes, ears, and mouth. You can use a damp cloth to clean your pet’s face, and when it comes to rinsing, use a cup or handheld sprayer to control the direction of water. Prevent water from getting in their ears. One way to ensure water doesn’t get inside the ears is to place a dry cotton ball carefully at the top of the ear canal. I recommend an ear-cleaning solution be applied before and after bathing — before to clean up any wax and dirt that might have accumulated, and after to change the PH of any humidity left behind, preventing the potential for bacteria to grow.
The most important step is to rinse thoroughly multiple times with water after shampooing. A pet’s skin is not as airtight as ours; where we have one hair for each follicle, a pet can have multiple hair growing from each hair follicle.
While your pet may be a little reluctant, adding an extra bath or two could be a good summer strategy!
Another important aspect is choosing the right shampoo that’s a good match for your pet’s skin and coat type. Use a shampoo specially formulated for pets; never use the one available for humans because a pet’s skin PH is different. Human shampoo is made to remove the oils from our hair, but with pets, oils help keep their skin and coat healthy and shiny so we don’t want to remove them. And it’s best to use cool or lukewarm water, never hot.
Should I Shave My Pet?
The answer is “NO”!
Your pet’s coat actually acts as an insulator. However, this insulating layer can backfire during continuously hot weather, as it can make it harder for pets to lower their body temperatures. So you need to take good care of their coat. Without the insulating layer, pets are susceptible to heat stroke, so resist your urge to shave your pet down to the skin, particularly those with double coats. Whatever its length and composition, a pet’s coat provides built-in climate control as well as a first line of defence against sunburn, twigs and stickers, among other things. Weather change also bring in the problem of ticks and fleas; this is the time when you need to be vigilant enough and prevent your furry ones.
Ticks And Fleas
Tick and flea infestation can take weeks or months to control, but why to take this long route when you can nip it in the bud itself. Taking precautions can prevent them from starting in the first place. When you bring your pet back home from daily walks, run a flea comb or brush through your pet’s coat before going inside; this reduces the number of pests it carries. You can also use spot-on flea and tick treatments on their pets if the situation gets out of your hands.
Humidity and heat can make your pet’s ears a clutter of yeast and bacteria, so make a point to clean their ears weekly and gently wipe them with a cotton ball. Good ear care is a crucial element of pet grooming.
Regular nail trimming forms another essential part of a pet’s basic grooming. If you plan to give your pooch a pedicure, make sure you have the right tools, along with styptic powder in case you cut down too close to the quick, which is an incredibly tender part within the nail. You can use nail clippers or a nail grinder depending upon convenience and utility, however, first try and make your pet familiar with the noise of the tool; this would make your experience a little easier.
In case of pets having black nails, it becomes almost impossible to locate quick from the top of the nail. In such cases, trim small bits at a time until you see a solid black dot on the tip; that’s when you know you’ve reached the quick. If you accidentally clip too far down, immediately press the styptic powder against the nail to stop any bleeding. Cutting white nails is a little easier, because the quick is visible from outside of the nail. Once you see a pink dot at the centre, you would know you’ve reached it.
During summer time, your pet’s paw pads tend to dry and crack out due to walking on hot surfaces. In order to prevent your furry ones from harshness of the weather, you can apply paw wax to their paw pads. This product also keeps your pet’s feet protected from hot sand on the beach and jagged rocks on hikes. If your pet overheats, wiping their paw pads with a cold, damp cloth will also help cool them down.
I hope these grooming tips will allow you to have a great summer with your pets!
*Author is an Internationally Certified Groomer/ Head Pet Tutor/ Owner at Pet Grooming Tales, one of the top & leading grooming salons in Mumbai. There are multiple award winning/line up winning dogs that have been groomed by Pet Grooming Tales. You can follow her on Instagram @pet.grooming.tales and facebook @petgroomingtales.