Are You Lazy About Dog Grooming? It Could Be Causing Your Pet Pain

Use the right products and tools. Talk to your veterinarian about a recommendation for shampoo, and not just when your pet needs a medicated product. As for grooming tools, let the breed type be your guide. If your dog’s a purebred, you should be able to get tips on tools and how to use them from your breeder or from an Internet search. For most pets, a slicker brush and a wide-toothed comb are a good place to start. I’m also a big, big fan of the Furminator, a tool that de-mats and removes extra hair with ease. If you want to keep your longhaired dog neat and clean, invest in a decent pair of clippers. Your pet won’t be embarrassed by the results as you learn how to use them. And remember: Always use treats and praise for cooperation from your pet and keep grooming sessions short enough to not try anyone’s patience.

Know when to go for a pro. A good groomer is worth her weight in gold. If you have a Poodle, Terrier, Spaniel, Persian or any other hard-to-keep-neat cat or dog, you may find it far easier to have a groomer handle monthly bathing and clipping. And if you’re starting with a badly matted dog or cat, you’ll definitely want the help of a professional. Don’t expect miracles, however: A year’s worth of matting isn’t going to turn into a long, silky coat in a day. Frankly, it’s not fair to your pet (or the groomer) to even try. Start fresh by having the pet clipped short, and if you want those long, silky locks, commit to grooming regularly at home.

Mat-Busting: The Secret Is …

Cornstarch. Honestly. If your pet is small enough to fit on your lap, put a towel down and settle into a comfortable position for you both. For a larger pet, put the towel on the floor and settle in beside your pet. You’ll need cornstarch, blunt-nosed scissors and a comb. Work the cornstarch into the mat to “lubricate” it, then work the blade of the scissors between the mat and skin, sharp side pointing out. Cut the mat down the middle, perpendicular to your pet’s skin. Repeat a couple of more times. You should then be able to pick the mat apart pretty easily. If your pet has a lot of mats, or is basically one big mat, it’s truly better to start fresh with a short clip.

While your veterinarian will enjoy seeing your pet cleaner when you go in, the bigger benefit is really for you: A huggable, clean-smelling pet is a pleasure to live with.

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