11 Dec 6 Pet Grooming Mistakes
Most of us have had mixed experiences with a quarantine haircut – and during the pandemic, it’s likely our pet’s grooming was done from home as well. Keeping your pets looking and feeling great is best handled by a professional groomer, but there’s nothing wrong with picking up a few skills in between visits.
For those who take grooming into their own hands and attempt some home care, here are some common mistakes that are made – and how you can avoid them.
- Not training your pet
Some pets love grooming, some hate it, and some are happy to submit for a short period of time. Regardless of where your pet sits on the scale, training is an important part of ensuring that the grooming process goes smoothly.
Practice makes perfect, and it’s a good idea to practice at times when you don’t plan to do any actual grooming. You will want your pet to stay in one place, lift their paws, and trust you with a brush around sensitive body areas like their ears and eyes.
It’s very important that you don’t set up any habits that are going to be hard to break when it’s time to groom. Running around and playing with the hose is fun for some dogs, but when it’s time to groom they’ll need to practice staying still. Grooming tools shouldn’t form any part of play time, so when it’s time to groom, it’s time to stay still and enjoy the attention.
- Brushing only when wet
Many people leave brushing to the end, after their pet’s hair has been wet. The water can tangle and mat your pet’s hair, so it’s important to get those knots out as much as possible before you get it wet. A thorough dry brush frees their coat of knots, loosens dirt and shed hair ready to be washed away, and stimulates their skin.
Once your pet has been washed and dried, it’s time for a second brush. Your final brush helps with getting rid of the last of the shed hair and build-up, stimulating your pets’ skin to produce natural protective oils, and giving them a smooth coat to go on with.
- Missing spots
If you’re just giving your pet a quick bath in between trips to the groomers, you probably don’t need to be as meticulous. If you’re attempting to replace a professional visit, it’s extremely important that you are as thorough as possible.
The thick fur on your pets back is the obvious place to start, but don’t forget the delicate areas around their face, stomach, tail, genitals, and feet. Don’t clean inside your pet’s ears – just a gentle wash of the outside is enough. Be sure to keep soap and suds well away from their sensitive face – sore eyes are a quick way to creating an unpleasant grooming experience. Nails should be clipped with very sharp clippers designed for pets, with careful attention paid to avoiding the quick of their nails.
- Letting them outside too soon afterwards
There is nothing cuter than a pet with a good case of the zoomies – and it’s perfectly natural for your fresh and clean pet to want to celebrate with several laps of the backyard. However, as every pet owner has experienced, it can take them no time at all to undo all your hard work. Once their coat dries and is laying flat, it’s less likely that all that backyard dirt and grime will work itself right into their fur.
After their groom, keep your pet inside until they’re thoroughly dry, and then give them another brush. Once their fur has settled, they can go outside and zoom around to their heart’s content – just try to avoid muddy puddles.
- Not providing year-round grooming
Your pets coat has been well designed by nature, and it needs less intervention than you might think. Many owners like to cut their pet’s coat very short for summer. It’s not really necessary, and you can run the risk of sunburn, razor burn, and even infections if their coat is cut too close to the skin. On the other hand, some owners do no grooming at all over the winter months.
Regular, thorough grooming that makes the most of their coat without attempting to drastically alter it is the best way to help keep your pet looking and feeling great, year-round.
- Using non-pet products
While many grooming mistakes are just not ideal, using products not specifically designed for pets can actually be dangerous. The skin, coat, and nails of your pet are very different to ours, and they require different products and accessories to keep them safe and clean.
Pet shampoo is the only choice when it comes to cleaning your pets – never use products designed for humans. Even pet shampoo needs to be carefully kept out of their eyes while grooming, as it can be uncomfortable. Don’t use a normal hairdryer on your pet, as it can run too hot and can even cause burns. Nail clippers need to be specially designed for your pet to get a clean cut and avoid causing any pain.
Grooming from Home
There’s nothing wrong with some home grooming – in fact, taking a personal approach to your pet’s grooming can be a lovely way to connect with them and help keep them looking and feeling great. A good groomer can give you some tips on how to maintain your pet in between visits, and suggestions on products that can work for your pet.
The best advice is to approach grooming the same way you approach your pet care in general – lots of love, attention, and care is the best way to ensure a happy, healthy, beautifully groomed pet.