A Pet Owner's Guide To Grooming And Fashion
Pet owners love celebrating their furry friends, and grooming and fashion play a big role in expressing your care and love for your beloved pooch. Aside from ensuring that Fido looks in tip top shape, regular grooming also helps keep your dog healthy and protects them from harsh weather conditions. Whether you are a new dog parent or someone who is looking to up your grooming game, learning the art of grooming your pet at home is key to helping your fur-babies feel safe and comfortable.
In today’s pet owner’s guide to grooming and fashion, we explore the various do’s and don’ts of grooming your pets, including some useful information about clothing, fashion and dressing up man’s best friend. Read on to find out more!
DO: Groom Regularly
If you are a dog owner, grooming your pup regularly is an absolute must. No matter the length of your dog’s coat, he or she will become susceptible to painful mats and skin problems, which you may not notice right away. For most breeds, we recommend bathing every 1-2 months, but ensuring that you’re brushing them at leasy 1-3 times a week with a fine-toothed comb. When you grab one of these at Big W, you can also earn qantas points when you shop with them via Qantas Shopping, so the rewards simply speak for themselves. Certain breeds—including poodles, shih tzus and pomeranians—should be brushed more often than others.
DO: Trim Their Nails
Nail trimming is an essential part of dog grooming, and trim and clean nails are a clear sign of your dog's good health and hygiene. Overgrown nails can pose a risk to dogs’ well-being, and trimming nails that have grown out for too long can be unnecessarily painful and stressful for your dog. Learn more about trimming your dog’s nails at home here.
DO: Remain Patient
Although many dogs enjoy being gently brushed, you may find that your dog isn’t the biggest fan of grooming and/or bath time. If this is the case, it is important that you remain patient and work at your dog’s pace instead of rushing things or further stressing your pooch out. Always watch for signs of stress, such as trembling, whining, or panting that’s not heat-related, and take a break if needed. Oh, and try to make it a positive experience by offering lots of praise, petting, and treats.
DO: Use Appropriate Tools and Equipment
When it comes to combs, brushes, nail clippers and shampoo, ensuring that you are using the appropriate (dog-friendly) tools and equipment is paramount. Depending on your dog’s breed and individual needs, a special brush might be necessary. Be sure to do your research or ask your veterinarian what kind of brush, shampoo and other tools are most appropriate for your dog’s coat. Using the wrong type of brush or shampoos may damage your dog’s coat or disrupt their acid mantle, leaving them vulnerable to parasites, viruses, and bacteria.
DO: Know Your Limits
When it comes to grooming your pooch, be aware of your limitations and restrictions during the process. If you’ve tried washing or grooming your dog by yourself and haven’t achieved the best results, don’t hesitate to let the experts take over. Explore the benefits of taking your pet to a professional groomer here.
DON’T: Rush The Process
Proper dog grooming takes time, so be sure to avoid rushing the process. Whether you are clipping your dog’s nails, brushing their coat or giving them a wash, be sure to take your time, and slowly clip fur and nails while taking breaks as you go.
DON’T: Wait Too Long Between Groomings
To ensure that your best friend is kept in tip top condition, avoid waiting too long between groomings. Whenever possible, stick to a regular grooming schedule to keep your dog healthy. You don't want to wait until their fur starts to get matted or their nails start to get too long. Write down the date of each grooming or keep a note in your phone to help you stay on track.
DON’T: Clip Nails Too Short
Just as nails that get too long can be painful, nails that are too short can be uncomfortable, too. When cutting your dog’s nails, simply cut off a small bit at the top or else you could accidentally cut the "quick" which will cause extreme pain and bleeding. Generally, it's best to not cut within 2 millimetres of the quick. Not sure when to trim your dog’s nails? A good rule of thumb is to trim your dog's nails once they start touching the ground
DON’T: Bathe Your Dog Too Often
While keeping your dog clean is important, bathing them too often may lead to a host of various problems. Washing your dog’s coat too often strips them of their natural oils and can cause skin and temperature-regulating issues. Always remember to ensure bath time takes place in a warm setting, as bathing in cold weather can cause a dog’s body temperature to drop drastically. We also recommend towel-dry your dog, as a hairdryer can be terrifying to dogs and also cause them to overheat. Read how to properly bathe a dog here.
DON’T: Forget To Clean Your Dog’s Ears
Ear cleaning is an important part of your dog's grooming needs. Remember to avoid using Q-tips unless your veterinarian recommends it. Instead, use a 50/50 solution of distilled water and white vinegar or a specialised ear cleaning solution from a pet store. Just remember not to let your dog’s ears get wet during bathing, as water and shampoo in the ears can cause painful and dangerous infections. Additionally, certain dogs may need more frequent ear cleaning than others, especially if they are prone to frequent ear infections.
Keeping warm withClothing For Dogs
Now that we’ve covered everything you need to know about grooming your dog, let’s take a moment to discuss clothing, for when it comes to keeping warm. Whether or not it is a good idea to dress your dog up is a highly debatable topic, with many opinions on both sides of the spectrum. Generally, if your dog seems comfortable with being dressed up, go for it! At the end of the day, you know your dog’s temperament better than anyone. Do note that even pets who appear calm when wearing a costume should be supervised closely at all times.
However, if your dog is showing signs of anxiety, stress or aggression as a result of that cute little sweater you just purchased, we highly recommend taking a step back. The first thing to keep in mind, always, is the comfort and well-being of your dog.
If you do choose to dress your dog, we recommend taking note of the following tips:
Introduce Clothing Gradually: Introducing your dog to its clothing gradually is always a good idea. Many pet owners choose to leave the clothing out in a place where their pet can see, smell, or interact with it before wearing it. It is also a good idea to start small with simple outfits before working your way up to fancier ones.
Be Aware Of Hazards: When choosing dog-appropriate clothing, it is vital to beware of hazards. For example, a scarf could get wrapped too tightly, and accessories can cause choking if swallowed. Other examples of unsafe costumes or outfits include items of clothing that cover your pet’s eyes, nose or mouth, restricting their breathing, eating or drinking, or prevent them from expressing normal behaviours such as walking, toileting or resting. Find out more about dog costume safety here.
Prioritise Comfort: Just as you and I wouldn’t want to be stuck in an uncomfortable outfit all day, prioritising comfort when choosing clothing for your dog is key. Make sure that the clothes fit right – you don’t want any rubbing or your dog is going to spend every second trying to free itself. On the flipside, avoid choosing anything too loose which your dog is going to trip over or get wrapped up in.
Supervise At All Times: No matter how safe an outfit may seem, never leave a dressed up dog alone as it could be dangerous. Keep an eye out for signs of stress and discomfort, and remove the clothing immediately if they seem unhappy.
Image Credit: Newsweek
Grooming For Cats & Rabbits
Baths: Generally, cats do not require as much grooming as dogs as they tend to be quite meticulous in looking after their own hygiene. In most cases, cats should be given a bath once every 6-8 weeks, depending on personal grooming habits and environment. However, many cat owners choose to skip baths entirely, since cats are very capable of keeping their own coats clean without any help from their humans. However, if you find that our cat is more outdoorsy and soils itself while playing, it's a good idea to help with the cleaning process.
Grooming: When it comes to grooming, it is recommended to groom long-haired and medium-haired cats with a fine-toothed metal comb on a daily basis, while short-haired cats only require grooming about once a week. Neglecting to brush your kitty's coat can lead to painful tangles, a matted coat and a bellyful of hair — all the things you definitely want to avoid if possible. When it comes to your cat’s claws, we recommend nail cutting about every 2-3 weeks. Be sure to use a dedicated cat nail clipper to trim your cat's nails, and be careful of how much of the nail you cut off.
Fashion/Clothing: Lastly, many cats abhor wearing any type of clothing, so the key is to go slowly and not force a cat to wear a sweater or t-shirt if he/she really resists. Key signs that your cat is unhappy about being dressed up include clawin, refusing to move, hissing, eyes rolling back or to the sides, and more. Contrary to popular belief, there is no need for a cat to wear anything to “keep warm”, with the exception of Sphynx cats.
Again, cats are highly unique creatures with their own funky personalities, and what one cat loves, another may detest. If your cat loves being dressed up, that’s great. However, if your cat is showing clear signs of distress from being clothed, it is vital that you refrain from forcing the situation.
Baths: Similar to cats, rabbits will self-groom and if kept with other rabbits they will groom each other. The general consensus is that bathing a rabbit is unnecessary, and potentially even harmful,since they tend to panic in water and may fracture a limb or their spine if they thrash around. Frequent washing may also strip a rabbit's fur of its natural oils, which helps to keep its coat in prime condition.
Grooming: Rabbits may benefit from regular grooming, particularly when they are shedding their coat. It is vital to ensure that your rabbit does not develop mats or dags (fur containing urine or faeces) around their genitals which can be enticing for flies and lead to potentially deadly flystrike. Certain breeds, such as Angoras, will require regular shaving which should be performed by a professional groomer.
Fashion/Clothing: Generally, it is considered safe for rabbits to wear bunny-appropriate clothing as long as they are not injured while doing so. Do note that their legs need to be free so that they do not get tangled and hurt themselves. Similar to cats and depending on your rabbit’s temperament, they may or may not enjoy being clothed, so be sure to remain gentle and look out for telltale signs of distress. Learn more about rabbits and clothing here.
And there you have it – everything you need to know about grooming and fashion as a pet owner. Whether your best friend is a cat, dog or rabbit, knowing the ins and outs of proper pet care, fashion and grooming is vital to ensuring that your pet remains happy, healthy and comfortable for years to come.
What are some of your personal tips when it comes to pet grooming and fashion? Be sure to share your tips and experiences in the comments section below!