At-home grooming: Beyond basics

by Kira Garrett | December 23, 2013

After the first few months of owning a pet, you master the basic grooming tasks. You brush your pet frequently, and he knows exactly what that bottle of pet shampoo means. But grooming your furry family member means more than just the occasional brush and bath.

When you are ready to move beyond the basic grooming for your pet, you can start to take on additional tasks. Grooming should be a relaxed process, so be sure to ease in the new tasks to your pet’s at-home grooming routine with plenty of treats and praise. Start by adding these tasks to your pet’s routine:

·       Clean ears. Ear infections are an all-too-common issue for many pets—especially for dogs with floppy ears. By keeping water, wax and dirt out of your pet’s ears, you can greatly reduce the risk of ear infections. Clean out your pet’s ear as frequently as necessary with a cotton ball moistened with water and a touch of mineral oil, or an all-natural ear-cleaner. When your pooch goes for a dip or takes a bath, be sure to thoroughly dry out his ears. Your holistic vet can provide you with more information about keeping your pup’s ears clean, and usually recommend you avoid using a Q-tip in his ear canal.

·       Clip nails. Before you begin clipping, get your pet used to you playing with his paws. If your dog is a little skittish with nail clipping, you may want to use calming essential oils like lavender to help alleviate anxiety. When you are ready to start clipping, create a stress-free environment and only trim to just before the quick – which is the vein that runs through your dog’s nails. If your pet has white nails, the quick is easy to detect. But with black nails, looking at the underside of the nail may help determine where the vein ends. If you do cut too far and your pet begins to bleed, stop the bleeding with some styptic powder.

·       Clean eyes. You can use a cotton ball soaked in warm water on a daily basis to prevent tears from causing a stain on the fur of light- colored pets. Another way to prevent the stains is to keep the fur around the eye clipped short and put a dab of petroleum jelly on the area that is most prone to staining. Tear staining may also be caused by a persistent allergy, so switching to a raw-food diet may help to mitigate any food allergens.

Ask your holistic veterinarian to recommend natural grooming products that would be best for your dog. If your pet strongly resists any grooming, it may be best to bring him to a professional so you both stay happy and injury-free. Remember also, that a natural, raw diet will ensure your pet has a healthy coat, teeth, gums and more and is the best grooming accessory for your pet!