Many pet parents leave the grooming up to the experts and their little Pixie or Patch comes home from the parlour with a brand-new cut, some cute ribbons and smelling all fresh and clean. But those pawrents who choose to groom their furry best friends themselves will attest: it’s some pretty awesome bonding time between person and ‘furson’. And you can be sure that while your furbaby is at the parlour getting their summer shave or their nails trimmed, they are only thinking of you the whole time.
The benefits of grooming your own pet
Grooming is not simply about aesthetics. Sure, your pooch or meow gets the royal treatment at a pet parlour and will come back looking and smelling fancy, but where you may get experts to clip and groom, you miss out on the opportunity to ‘scan’ your pet. As mentioned, grooming your own pet certainly ensures quality time between the two of you, but if you shampoo, brush, clip or trim your pet’s coat, it’s also a good opportunity to inspect their health. Whether you find ticks and fleas hidden in their double coat, or become aware of a bump, cyst or red patch on their skin, grooming keeps you in the know when it comes to your pet’s well-being.
And besides, they just love the personal attention from their very favourite person.
Choose the right grooming tools for the most efficient job
There are as many grooming tools as there are different types of pet coats… and then some. Whether your dog’s coat is thick and double, short and smooth, long and silky, matts easily, or is wiry and unruly, there is a grooming tool (or three) for all of these types and more.
The same goes for cat coats – some of which need a lot of grooming and sleeking, and some of which simply need a smooth-down with a grooming glove.
Brushing and combing tools for your pet’s unique needs
Most pets need two to three grooming items, depending on the length and texture of their hair. Most will need a brush or a rake or comb to keep tangles to a minimum. All pets could do with a daily brush to remove dirt and debris from their coats and keep them healthy. Similarly, all pets need a comb to remove any fleas as well as a tick remover tool.
Let’s take a look at what each type of pet coat needs:
Smooth short coat
This must be the easiest kind of pet coat to care for, but yes – it does still need care. Give your easy-peasy pup a daily smooth down with a grooming glove and a good brush every few days with a bristle brush or slicker brush to do the trick. This will help to coat his fur in natural skin oils in between baths. Have a tick remover on hand in case there are any pests lurking.
When the seasons change, even your short-haired pet will shed their fur, so a moult brush is a good tool to keep in your pet supplies cupboard.
Medium length, medium texture coat
At medium length, your pet’s fur coat will need some daily and weekly attention. Most pet owners of medium-haired pets will need a fur comb and a slicker brush to keep any tangles at bay. Some medium-haired pets will have an undercoat, which will shed between seasons and will need to be properly maintained. A moulting brush, shedding blade, slicker brush and an undercoat rake will help to ensure your pet’s coat is kept in tip-top condition.
If your medium-haired pet’s coat looks untidy or unruly, a ball pin brush will help to smooth it out, and you’ll also be able to tidy it up with special-purpose coat scissors.
Wirehair breeds need a special kind of grooming. Ask your vet or a groomer, or search online for videos on care for wirehair dog breeds. You will most likely need to start with an anti-tangle comb and a de-matting brush or tool. A standard comb for coarse hair and a hard slicker brush are also must-haves for these types of coats. Wirehair breeds like (especially) the wirehaired terrier need to have their fur coats stripped in order to properly maintain them. A stripping knife is the perfect tool for the job.
Double and thick coats
Double coats are wonderful winter warmers, but they create a shedding nightmare at the turn of each season. When you first notice your double-coated pet’s hair is starting to shed, whip out the moulting brush, undercoat rake, shedding comb and anti-tangling comb. Any and all of the above will do the job to keep that undercoat and thick topcoat under control. For year-round grooming, a ball pin brush will do well to keep your pet’s coat clean and tidy, while coat scissors will work well to trim any unruly parts of their fur coat.
Long, silky, smooth coats
These are the kinds of coats that need daily maintenance to keep them in the best condition. Long coats tangle easily, so an anti-tangling comb for a fine/thin or medium coat will come in handy. To keep shedding season under control, this fur coat will need a shedding comb, anti-tangle rake and a slicker brush with soft pins. Daily brushing can be done with a ball pin brush, and keep the trimming scissors nearby to ensure your pooch or kitty maintains a beautifully smooth and neat appearance.
Nail trimming and filing
Some pets’ nails can be quite difficult to trim because they are dark or damaged, and many pet owners will save this nervy job for the vet or groomer. But if you can get your pet used to the idea of getting their nails trimmed and you can do it confidently, there’s no reason you shouldn’t give them a quick trim every few weeks. It takes a bit of practise at first, but ultimately, trimming your pet’s nails can be a quick and easy task you can do even while your pet is having an afternoon snooze in the sunshine. There are different pairs of clippers or trimmers for different pet sizes – this is a very handy tool to have to keep your pet’s nails tidy and healthy.
Grooming your pet at home is not as difficult or time-consuming as you think, especially if you have the right tools available. Speak to your vet or groomer if you need any guidance or assistance in grooming your pet’s coat and keeping their nails trimmed all year round.