Keeping up with regular grooming of our furry friends is an important part of pet parenting. Not only is a fresh smelling pet more pleasant to be around, regular grooming can prevent painful matting, remove excess fur, and also help to identify scabs, lesions, parasites, and suspicious lumps before they become a bigger problem.
Often coats that are left unbrushed can become matted. These are clumps of hair that, if severe enough, can be painful or even lead to health problems. Imagine if the hair on your head was connected to every part of your body, and when you moved even the slightest bit it pulled on other parts of your skin. Ouch! This is what can happen if matting is not addressed and the coat becomes one solid piece. At this point it will become necessary to shave the animal down to the skin to remove the entire coat. It would be better to keep up on grooming and avoid this situation all together.
There are many breeds of dogs (and cats) who shed excessively or have an undercoat that blows out at certain times of the year. Regular grooming can help alleviate the excess fur that winds up all over your house, car, and clothes. For double coated dogs, it can remove dead fur, avoid the undercoat from becoming matted, and make them much more comfortable. Regular grooming will make this less of a chore and may even cut down on your grooming bill if kept up on a regular basis.
There are some parasites such as dog lice that are very small and difficult to see in your dog’s fur. Having your dog groomed (or doing it yourself) increases the chance that you will find them before it becomes an infestation. Most groomers will know to look for fleas, ticks, and other parasites. They will often have tools available to them that make finding parasites easier.
Dogs and cats that have thick coats make it more difficult to see down to the skin. Usually when in the bath, the skin becomes more visible and scratches or cuts may show up easier. You also might feel scabs or lumps that you normally wouldn’t because you are touching all parts of the animal to work in shampoo and conditioner. Using a force blow-dryer that’s designed for pets (typical human blow-dryers are too hot!) allows you to part the hair and get a really good look at the skin underneath.
As always, if you notice scabs, cuts, or parasites on your pet’s skin, a trip to the vet may be necessary. When in doubt, have them take a look just to be safe. All in all, take the time to give your pup a scrub or schedule a day at the spa!