Grooming is an important part of pet care that many people feel out of their depth with. Many owners have no idea how to properly groom their dog, cat, or bird. Proper grooming helps keep your furry or feathered friend healthy and can serve as a great bonding opportunity.
Read on to learn the basics of grooming for dogs, cats and birds so you can get your pet looking and feeling their best.
Dog Grooming for Beginners
Some dogs require more maintenance than others. Before you buy or adopt, research can help determine which breeds have low grooming needs, which will save you time and money, or what your desired dog’s grooming requirements generally are, which will save you a lot of hardship later. Many people don’t have the time to extensively groom their dog, but they also can’t afford to send them to the groomer’s every month. We get it. While you might not know much about dog grooming besides a brush, here are some essentials.
Your dog should be brushed every 2 to 7 days depending on their breed, shedding situation, and coat type. Their nails should be trimmed and their ears should be checked and cleaned every 2 to 4 weeks. Nails with a darker color are generally trickier to cut safely. Be sure you’re confident in the grooming task process or you may accidentally cause more harm than good if you cut their nails too short. Doing so could strike a blood vessel, causing immense pain and a trip to the emergency vet clinic. Do plenty of research before doing any grooming.
When it comes to bathing, you should only wash your dog a maximum of once per month (as long as they aren’t especially dirty from a romp in the mud). Washing your dog too frequently can cause dry, itchy skin. Only use dog shampoos (baby shampoo works in a pinch). Try to make bath time a positive experience. Use lots of treats and reassurance. Working on getting your dog comfortable with the tub without water in it before each bath can help them know they are safe and can have fun with grooming time.
Cat Grooming Tips
Cats are hygienic creatures that don’t require much grooming from their owners. You may want to try brushing them as a bonding experience. Regular brushing can also remove excess dirt from a cat’s coat and help with shedding on long-haired breeds.
If you ever find that your cat has gotten into trouble and needs a scrub, you can give them a bath with cat shampoo. Be careful: most cats don’t love being in water. Starting early and bathing your cat regularly as a kitten will help you prepare and teach you how to get your cat to tolerate a bath. If you find that your cat does not handle the normal bathing process well, there are several alternative bathing products you can look into.
Bird Grooming Advice
Birds need to have their beaks, nails and feathers regularly maintained. Wing trims keep your bird safe, so you want to master this skill more than any other. Before you do this on your own, you should speak to a local vet and ask for a demonstration. They can walk you through the steps to make sure that you know how to trim your bird’s wings without causing them any undue stress or accidental harm. The same goes for nail filing. Before starting any grooming regimen for your bird, speak with your vet about their activity needs. Birds who have become a little overweight may need more exercise. Being able to fly could give them the extra movement opportunities they need to get back on track to being a healthy, happy bird.
You won’t have to do much for your bird’s beak. Invest in some beak grooming bird toys to help them naturally maintain their own beak’s shape. If your bird’s beak is neglected, trimming might become necessary. Be sure to consult a professional on what your next steps should be if you think your bird’s beak needs some help to get or stay healthy.
Grooming can be difficult if you have an uncooperative pet. You may be nervous yourself the first time you decide to clip your bird’s wings or cut trim your dog’s nails. Before you do any of these activities, it’s best to ask your veterinarian to show you how it’s properly done. Not only will you gain peace of mind, but you’ll also learn some useful techniques to keep your pet calm during the process, so grooming can become a positive, fun experience for the both of you. Keep in mind, if you continue to feel uncomfortable performing necessary grooming tasks, your pet will sense that and be uncomfortable too. Hiring a trained professional to groom your pet may be the option for you.