Quick Tips: Grooming your cat or dog

Pet Care Dogs Pet Health Pets Posted Dec 1, 2020
Our top tips on how to make grooming your pet stress-free.

When we think pets, we generally think of fuzzy bundles of affection (and mischief). We think of cuteness. We think of cuddles. What we may not think of, however, is grooming. But it’s actually really important for our furry friends’ health and happiness. Why wouldn't we want to make life better for those who make our lives better? But grooming can be confusing and even feel overwhelming if you're new to it. That's why we've got some handy tips to help get your pet’s coat in mint condition.

1. Handling

The most important step to prepare a pet for grooming is to make sure they are comfortable with you handling them. Do you have permission to touch the wanna-be royal monarch of the house? Or, are they a strong and stern “no touchy” kind of animal? If your pet loves to be patted and picked up – great! Your grooming just got a lot easier. If not, don’t fret. You’ll just have to warm them up to it. Try patting your pet on the back, along the fur, and give them a treat. Once your pet feels comfortable with this, try a pat against the fur and reward them for positive behaviour. If all is going well, try extending pats to different areas, continuing to reward good boy (or good girl) behaviour. Over time, your pet will get used to their footpads being touched – remember to keep that snack bag close to you!

2. Introducing a brush

Once your companion is happy to be touched and handled, we can introduce the brush. Ideally, it’s good to start your pet with a softer brush – this will be the most comfortable, and will help your pet associate good things with brushing. As your pet becomes more used to brushing, it may be good to transition them to a harder brush as these can be more effective. But before we get to the actual brushing, let's figure out which brush will get the job done!

The ideal brush will vary for different types of pets. As a rule of thumb – pets with double coats, thicker, or longer fur require more effort and potentially more than one type of brush to correctly groom, while shorthaired pets may require only one. 

For dogs:

Short haired dogs.For these types of doggos a bristle brush alone will probably do the trick. Bristles that match the length of the fur are a good choice – shorter bristles for shorter hair, longer bristles for longer hair.

Long haired dogs. For these types, you may want to use a few brushes. A slicker brush can be great for unmatting hair and helping rid loose hair. Grooming combs are useful for long thick haired dogs and dogs with undercoats. For combs, start with wider teeth ones to remove tangles before using finer spaced ones (like flea combs) to remove dirt. If your dog sheds a lot, a shedding brush could be a good addition. Check out some options here at RSPCA World for Pets.

grooming tool furminator

For cats:

Shorthaired cats. Similarly, shorthaired cats may only need a bristle brush. However, slicker brushers can be useful to control shedding (in both longhaired and short) and flea combs for removal of fine dirt (in both types of cats).

Longhaired cats. Moulting combs are great for detangling hair in thinner-haired longhaired cats, while grooming combs are useful for those long thick coats. Slicker brushes are good de-shedders. Bristle brushes are a good finisher for these cats.

Check out some brushes to groom your cat from RSPCA World for Pets.

If your cat or dog can’t stand brushes or combs – try a rubber brush as these can be a lot more comfortable for your pet.

rubber brush

3. Grooming your pet
Now that we've got our brush, we're ready to introduce our new grooming implement to them! What you’ll need:
  • Appropriate brush or brushes (visit World for Pets
  • More treats
  • More love
  • And a need to tame the mane

To help prevent your pet being a scaredy-cat (or dog) try introducing the brush slowly to them. Give them a treat when the brush is near them to encourage positive association. Once you feel your pet is comfortable with the brush in their space, try using the brush slowly and gently.

Try not to yank the brush if it catches, instead maybe opt to cut matted hair to avoid causing discomfort to your pet while they’re still getting used to the brush. 

Brush in the direction of their fur, once your pet is accustomed to this, you can try brushing the other way to spot any fleas or ticks. Make sure to reward your pet for calm behavior, and keep your grooming sessions short (unless they’re loving it!) to prevent stressing your pet. Reward them with another treat when finished. 

How often you’ll need to brush your dog or cat will depend on their fur length. Generally, longer haired pets will need to be brushed more frequently. Once you’ve given your dog a wash, once they’re dry, that’s a great option to try brushing! You’ll find a lot of their fur has loosened from their bath time treat.

If grooming at home doesn’t work for you and your companion, contact your local vet for a reputable groomer recommendation in your area.

We hope some of these grooming tips for your pet help to keep their lovely locks in check!

Taryn Paris

Taryn Paris
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