A guide to grooming your pet at home

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During the COVID-19 crisis, accessing routine vet care has been a problem for many. With a number of veterinary practices only offering face-to-face consultations in an emergency or, at least, changing the way in which they do consultations to ensure staff and patient safety, it has meant a level of disruption to the services we regularly call upon. In fact, this is the case not only for veterinary practices but also other pet services like groomers.

Because of this and, coupled with the fact we’ve all been staying home, it’s meant we’ve had to be much more flexible in our day-to-day lives, whether about the products we’re using and buying, or the ways in which we’re managing to fulfil our pets’ needs while still adhering to government advice.

If you’ve got cats and dogs, you’ll probably be all too aware of the fact they’re shedding at the moment. Shedding is connected to daylight hours, with increased sun stimulating the hair to grow, shed and replace itself. If you have house cats, you may find that shedding isn’t too much of a problem as they are affected slightly less by daylight changes.

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But what can be done to manage and reduce shedding, to help keep your pet comfortable and well-conditioned, and help keep your house fuzz-free?

– Groom often. Despite what you might think, short-haired breeds are often higher shedders, as their hairs have a much shorter life cycle and therefore replace themselves at a faster rate. All breeds shed to an extent, even ‘non-shedding’ breeds will shed a little bit, and hairless breeds will shed skin instead of hair.

It is important to remove the loose hair frequently to aid the hair renewal process and stimulate the hair follicle and skin. This encourages better circulation and also removes dandruff and debris. Not only this, but regular grooming helps enhance condition and improve coat shine, for a healthy-looking pet. By paying close attention to the skin and coat, it will allow you to notice problems early, including cases of dry skin and irritation, as well as the presence of unwanted parasites like fleas and ticks. Hairball problems will also be minimised as there will be less loose hair for your cat to ingest.

 Supplement. If you’re concerned about the health of your pet’s skin and coat, it is important to consult your vet. It may be that your pet has a food or environmental allergy which is causing irritation and itching. In some cases, a dull coat can also indicate illness, so it is always worth seeking advice. It may be that part of the recommended treatment is involving a supplement into your pet’s diet, such as one containing high levels of Omega oils.

– Nail clipping. While this isn’t strictly related to shedding, keeping an eye on your pet’s claws is an important aspect of grooming. If you find nail clipping problematic and not something your pet tolerates very well, your vet can always assist. In the absence of a vet, however, there is more information on nail clipping at home, which you might find useful.

If you need advice on grooming, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with the team at VioVet by emailing support@viovet.co.uk.

This is a guest essay by Dr Nick Garside BVetMed MRCVS. Want to write for us? Visit www.dogstodaymagazine.co.uk/essay-submission or email editorial@dogstodaymagazine.co.uk

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