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What Are the Important Dos and Don’ts When Grooming My Pet?

The coat and skin often reflect the general health of your pet. A healthy pet has few skin and coat problems.

General Information About Grooming Your Pet


Clean surroundings for your pet prevent many skin and coat problems. Outside kennels should be kept clean, and bedding should be changed regularly.


Internal and external parasites, such as hookworms and fleas, can have a great effect on the skin and coat. Follow your veterinarian’s suggestions for parasite control.


Proper nutrition plays an important role in general health, including that of the skin and coat. An excess or deficiency of certain nutrients can cause problems. Discuss your dog’s diet with your veterinarian. Any suggested changes can prevent future problems.


Routine grooming not only prevents skin and/or coat problems, but enables you to detect problems before they become extensive. Bathing should be done as often as necessary to keep your pet clean (for dogs). However, bathing softens the coats of breeds whose coats should be hard and wiry, may remove natural oils, and may dull the coat. Long-coated breeds should be brushed thoroughly before bathing, as matted and tangled hair will tighten after bathing and drying. Products are available to restore coat oils after bathing and keep hair more manageable. Consult your veterinarian about proper shampoos and rinses for your dog.


Most cats seldom require bathing. If bathing is necessary, use a mild shampoo, rinse well and dry quickly with towels and a hair dryer.

Both long- and short-haired cats require regular grooming, but a long-haired cat should be combed daily without fail. A short-haired cat should be brushed at least once a week. A good-quality stainless steel pet comb should be used to gently comb through the hair. Special attention should be given to areas where mats are likely to form: behind the ears, under the front legs, on the stomach and back legs, and under the tail.

Depending on the breed, grooming the hair may involve both cutting and combing. Some breeds have special style patterns. Generally these dogs are trimmed and groomed by professional groomers. If you wish to undertake this project yourself, consult your library or bookstore for grooming information. Dead hair and mats should be removed regularly to prevent skin disorders. If you wish to groom and trim your pet instead of enlisting a professional groomer, some important “do’s” and “don’ts” follow.


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“Do’s” for Dog and Cat Grooming

  • Do provide the proper facilities and equipment necessary for grooming. A room with few distractions is best. A solid table or bench is needed. Proper tools make the task much easier and the results far better. Familiarize yourself with the equipment for your dog’s breed, and buy good-quality products.
  • Do groom your dog frequently and regularly. Train your pet to accept the grooming procedure. Be firm, but make the experience as pleasant as possible. Many dogs enjoy the attention they get during grooming.
  • Do trim your dog’s nails, check the teeth for tartar, and examine the ears, eyes, anal region and skin while grooming your dog. If you find problems, consult the doctor without delay.
  • Do consult your veterinarian about a bland eye ointment to keep soap from irritating your pet’s eyes during bathing.
  • Do place cotton in your dog’s ears while bathing.

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“Don’ts” for Dog Grooming

  • Don’t lose your patience while grooming. If the task becomes trying, stop and try again later.
  • Don’t neglect mats in your dog’s coat. Gently tease and comb them out. If not, they will become larger. Special combs are available to help remove mats. If you trim the mats out with scissors, be very careful not to cut the skin. If an animal is badly matted, clipping the entire coat may be necessary.


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Some Important “Do’s” for Cat Grooming

  • Do train your cat to accept regular grooming, beginning when it is a young kitten. Make the experience as pleasant as possible for the cat by being gentle but persistent.
  • Do keep the nails trimmed, check the teeth for tartar and examine the ears, eyes, anal region and skin while grooming your pet. If you find problems, consult your veterinarian.


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Some Important “Don’ts” for Cats

  • Don’t lose your patience while grooming. If the task becomes trying, stop and begin later. Your cat will resist being groomed if you become angry and impatient.
  • Don’t neglect mats in your cat’s coat. Tease the mat apart gently and comb it out with as little pulling as possible. Always remove mats before bathing, as soaking a mat will only tighten it. If a mat must be cut out with scissors, be very careful not to cut the cat’s skin. Sometimes long-haired cats become so matted that the entire coat must be clipped.



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