2001-Wed Jan 18 09:08:54 MST 2017
Vetstreet. All rights reserved.
Vetstreet does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. See Additional Information ›
When you think of your pet’s health,
grooming might not be the first thing that springs to mind. But your dog's or cat’s coat, ears and nails tell a bigger story about his well being than you might realize. Grooming is more than superficial — it helps to keep your pet comfortable.
grooming helps keep you in tune with how your pet is feeling. It’s a chance to get a close-up view of what’s happening on the outside of his body. Lumps, bumps or skin discharge can all come to light during a grooming session. Unfortunately, all too often I see pet owners make grooming mistakes that affect their pets’ health.
Brushing your dog or cat may seem like a simple chore, but not doing it right can lead to bigger issues.
Dogs with thick double coats, such as
Shetland Sheepdogs, may get a surface brushing, but if you're not getting all the way down to the skin, mats can form and tighten. And it's a vicious cycle: Your dog's fur mats because you're not doing the deep brushing, and then the mats go unnoticed because you're not doing the deep brushing.
It’s also common for pet owners to miss brushing behind the ears or where the legs meet the body. Usually it’s because the animal fusses at being touched in those areas, but the result can be more
mats. If you see your dog or
cat biting at himself, it’s not necessarily because he has fleas — it may be because his skin is irritated from the tangles.
Speaking of mats and tangles, when they get wet, they get worse. To help prevent this, always brush pets thoroughly before a
Brushing takes time and patience, but one of the biggest mistakes pet owners make is not brushing their pets at all. It’s not unusual to see this in medium- or long-haired breeds, such as
Yorkshire Terriers or
Persian cats. If brushing is a hassle, it’s better to have a professional trim your pet's coat short than to let him get painfully matted or tangled.
Dealing with matted hair can lead to other injuries. I've seen dogs and cats with painful cuts and stab wounds caused by errant blades. Pets get matted, and people go at them with scissors. Their intentions are good — they want to get rid of the mat or tangle — but it doesn't always end well. Cutting mats off at the base can be really dangerous, because the scissors can slice through the skin instead and cause serious injuries.
To help avoid all these issues, commit to a brushing routine or enlist the help of a professional groomer.
Like this article? Have a point of view to share? Let us know!
Take our breed quiz to find your next pet.
Get all the best pet news and information sent right to your inbox!
Thank you for subscribing!
Electronic cigarettes may be growing in
popularity, but their higher concentrations
of nicotine can poison cats and…
Are you handling your pet the right way?
Our vet shares five things your pup wishes
you knew about picking him up.
We combed through 505,270 kitten
names to determine the hottest male
and female monikers of the year.
We scoured our database of 1.1 million
dogs to find out which male and female
monikers reigned supreme this past…
The laid-back American Wirehair’s crimped, coarse coat requires almost no brushing or combing.
Check out our collection of more than 250 videos about pet training, animal behavior, dog and cat breeds and more.
Wonder which dog or cat best fits your lifestyle? Our new tool will narrow down more than 300 breeds for you.
If the video doesn't start playing momentarily,
please install the latest version of Flash.
Thank you for subscribing.