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Grooming tips for cats and dogs

Brushing your dog or cat promotes a healthy coat and skin. It also gives you the opportunity to check for suspicious lumps or bumps and parasites.

A well-groomed pet not only looks good, it feels good and is much healthier, according to a report from PetMD.com.

Here are some of the benefits listed in the report:

FOR DOGS

Brushing benefits every dog breed, no matter coat length. It removes dead hair, dirt, and dandruff. Brushing brings out natural oils that spread throughout a dog’s coat, giving it a healthy sheen.

Regular brushing also helps owners find abnormalities such as suspicious lumps and bumps, dry patches, and ticks and fleas.

An added benefit of brushing: less shedding!

When brushing, owners should also inspect their dog’s nails, teeth, ears, and eyes for signs of infection, inflammation, or injury.

Regular nail clipping promotes healthy foot structure and posture.

Ears should be cleaned once a week, according to PetMD.com, to prevent infections that can easily develop without proper care.

To clean a dog’s ears, liberally apply ear-cleaning solution to each ear then massage the bottom of the ear for about 30 seconds. Let the dog shake out the solution when done before gently using a cotton ball or soft rag to wipe the remaining liquid and ear wax from the ear canal. Do not use a cotton swab.

Eyes should be checked daily for mucus buildup in the inside corners. Any buildup can be cleaned with a cotton ball moistened in warm water. Dab at the corners of the eyes, not directly into them.

Any persistent ear or eye problems should be seen by a vet.

FOR CATS

Cats should be groomed, too. Regularly brushing a cat helps reduce and even prevent hairballs from forming in its digestive tract. Cats can usually cough up hairballs, but they can also get stuck and require surgery to remove them.

With a nail trimmer designed for pets, clip your dog’s or cat’s nails at a 45-degree angle, avoiding the quick, which can bleed if cut.

Feline nails need to be trimmed, same as a dog’s. Keeping trim claws prevents broken nails, which can be painful. Trimming will not, however, stop a cat prone to scratching furniture. That takes training and providing an alternative to the couch. Regular grooming keeps cat owners in tune with any impending health issues that can crop up in the ears, eyes, or fur. Brushing helps detect ticks and fleas. Checking ears helps prevent mites.

A cat’s nose should be moist and smooth. Touch it gently for any signs of bumps, lumps, or discharge.

Check gums for sores or lesions. Gums should be pink not red, swollen, or bleeding. Teeth should be clean and white with no chips.

Cats should be taken to a vet for a checkup in case of any signs of trouble, which can include excessive chewing, scratching, or licking; shortness of breath; wheezing; labored breathing; or bad breath.

editor@thepicayune.com

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