Want to know one of the ultimate banes of any pet-parents existence?
Fur. Everywhere. All the time.
The eternal cycle of sweeping the house, only to find it covered in a fine layer of pet hair, three hours later.
‘That dirty pet smell’ slowly building up over the time, until you just can’t ignore it any longer.
You’re certainly not alone in your struggle. Plus, we all know pet grooming can be a hassle, especially if your fur-baby isn’t much of a willing participant. But it’s an essential ingredient in keeping your pet healthy and happy, and your house hair-free. Regular grooming means much less shedding, keeping on top of potential tick and flea threats and some bonding time with your fur-baby. Plus, it’s generally great for their wellbeing and even their mental health.
That’s why we’ve put together a few tips on mastering the art of grooming. Take your pet from shabby chic to Pantene pooch/glamour puss!
We know we know – it can be a pain. But it’s also a real time-saver. With just five minutes of brushing a day, you’ll definitely save yourself oodles more time that you’d otherwise spend vacuuming your fur-covered carpets. This is because it controls and reduces shedding. This is particularly true if your pet has a longer coat, while shorter coats enable you to occasionally cut corners. A regular brush is going to keep your pet’s fur clear of debris and tangle-free (even more essential in the winter months so that they can self-regulate temperatures and stay warm). It can also help you spot ticks before they do any serious damage.
If your pet has a smooth, short coat, you should first use a rubber brush, followed by a bristle brush. Finish off the process with a polish with a chamois cloth. For short, denser coats, you should substitute the rubber brush with a slicker brush that is able to remove tangles. This goes for longer coats too. Don’t skimp on the tail or feet. This is really important if a pet grows longer fur. The more hair that grows between their paws, the more likely debris will get caught there. This can become uncomfortable quickly.
Once your pet is brushed to perfection, bring in the big guns! Whether bathing is the bane of their existence or they absolutely love it, it’s essential in keeping them healthy. How often you bathe them will depend on weather and lifestyle, but 1-3 weeks will be optimal for most dogs. If your dog has an especially oily coat, they’ll need a bath more frequently, while thicker-coated fur-babies can last longer, as long as they are brushed regularly.
When it comes to bath time, temperature is absolutely crucial! Just like humans, our animals can experience hot water burns, while using super cold water will make the experience too chilly to be comfortable. We asked our friends over at Australian Hot Water and they suggest that 37 degrees Celsius is the ideal temperature for most medium to large-sized cats and dogs. If your pet is quite old or is only small, it’s best to reduce the temperature and keep things lukewarm (but not cold!). Above all, test the water before bathing!
What about where to wash your pet? You may not have given a second thought to bathing them in the laundry or kitchen, but Australian Hot Water suggest that bathrooms are your best bet. The reason for this is that tempering control valves (an apparatus that controls the flow of hot water from your water heater) are often operational only in your bathroom, rather than the house as a whole. This means that you’re already better off bathing your pet in the bathroom, as the flow of hot water is more likely to be controlled. Thanks for that industry tip!
Be conservative in how much water you put in the tub and use a bath mat to avoid slipping. A bath toy can keep your pet occupied and relatively happy during the process. A doggie shampoo will be mild enough to keep them happy and irritant-free. Be sure to avoid spray directly in the nose, eyes or ears. Instead, use a spray hose, cup, bucket or shower head to help control the flow. It’s super important to rinse well, as residual shampoo will cause discomfort. After rinsing, use a low heat setting on a blow dryer to dry your pet. Direct the air slightly to the side to avoid overexposure and potential burns.
Keeping your pet’s nails trimmed is essential, for their own comfort and for others’ safety. If a pet’s toenails are making contact with the ground, it can cause them pain as the other end of the nail digs into their nail-beds. Aim to trim every 1-2 weeks, but make sure to observe your own pet to gauge how quickly their nails grow.
It’s important that you remain calm during this process, to ensure your pet cooperates. Move slowly and carefully to avoid over-clipping. While you’re at it, use this time to also regularly check your dog or cat’s ear area, which can often attract debris, dirt and residual dampness. This is especially true of animals with long, floppy ears. As with trimming nails, you should approach ear-cleaning with plenty of treats and praise for positive reinforcement. Work your way inward along the air, rinsing and wiping gently with cotton buds. You can also find ear cleansing solutions like this one, which are typically suitable for weekly use.