7 Tips for Grooming Your Cat or Dog

cat and dog sitting down next to each other looking over their shoulders

Is your cat looking a little scruffy? Is your dog’s fur tangled in places or hanging into their eyes? What if your pet got into thistles or dried leaves in the yard? It may be time for a grooming. However, for active animals, grooming expenses can add up fast. In many cases, this is something you can do for your pet in the comfort of your home. Here are some tips and tricks to make the process quick and easy on you both:

Seven Pet Grooming Tips

1: Use quality equipment. This means look for tools that are designed specially for pets. This isn’t the place to go budget. Invest in quality here. For instance, high quality electric fur trimmers will last longer, won’t snag, and will do a better job.

2: Get the right tool for the job. For short haired dogs and cats, a rubber bristled brush works wonderfully to remove dead hair that they’re shedding. Meanwhile, if you have a long haired animal, you may need a different tool such as a bristle brush. The longer the hair, the wider placed the bristles should be. Another option is a wire-pin or slicker brush. These work especially well for curly or thick fur.

3: Do your research. Learn how to use the tools and study grooming safety procedures. For instance, if you’re blunting the sharp tips of your cat’s claws with clippers, don’t cut into the quick or you’ll hurt your pet.

4: Start slowly. It can take your pet time to get used to tools and grooming procedures. For example, if you’re removing shed hair, brush them in sections. If your pet becomes uncomfortable, stop. Another tip here is to let your animal get used to the mechanical sound of grooming clippers. Just turn them on and leave them in the dog’s or cat’s vicinity until they relax. This way, they won’t associate grooming time with discomfort or being forced into something. You can try again tomorrow.

5: Establish a routine. Dogs and cats both prefer to have a predictable routine for their days and weeks. If you groom them daily, try to do it at the same time. If you do it weekly, plan a trigger event such as taking your dog on a walk to the same park before the grooming.

6: Make bathing fun (if possible). Some cats will always hate bath time, but your dog may grow to like it. Use warm (not hot) water and shampoo or soap designed for animals. Try not to get anything into their eyes. If the tub isn’t working, some pets tolerate being wiped with a wet washcloth.

7: Once the grooming is over, give your pet extra attention and praise. This works especially well for dogs, helping them build a positive association with being groomed. Some cats also respond to this, while others may continue to scowl and hide under the bed when the grooming tools come out.

When to Go to the Groomers

Sometimes, a pro’s experienced touch is needed. If your dog’s fur is heavily matted or there’s chewing gum in your cat’s fluff, you might end up hurting your pet trying to get it out. Also, some animals are too highly strung for certain grooming procedures. For instance, if your nervous long-haired cat needs to be shaved for the summer, it’s a good idea to contact a groomer. They’ll know how to handle this.