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Arts & Life

Good Grooming Begins with Brushing

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Brief Gasp (Anninna Rutanen) - [Flickr]
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When  grooming your pet, brush or comb in the direction of hair growth. Use short firm strokes with a brush or comb and be careful to stop if you encounter a mat in the fur.  Gently work the tangled hair loose before continuing.  Make it a pleasant time for your pet - and for you!

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Some folks think of pet grooming as something you do for a fancy dog, like a poodle. But for a pet, grooming has a lot more to do with the pet’s health and comfort that its looks.

Especially in the Spring, when pets are shedding that winter undercoat, a good brushing is essential. Even short-haired pets should be brushed once a week; pets with longer coats may need brushing more frequently.

Keeping your pet’s coat brushed does several things. First, it gets rid of dead hair trapped in the coat that may cause hair mats and skin problems. It also helps the animal feel cooler and more comfortable in warm weather.

It’s true that cats groom themselves, but if you keep them brushed – and again, that includes short-haired breeds – then the less hair there is to for them to swallow, which means fewer hair balls and fewer digestive problems.

Brushing will help remove debris from a pet’s coat, keeping it cleaner. It stimulates the circulation in the animal’s skin and distributes natural oils, which makes for a shinier, healthier coat.

All of this requires the right equipment – namely a brush or comb. Although any brush or comb will help, getting the right kind for your pet and its coat-type will make your efforts more effective.  Talk to your veterinarian or local groomer for recommendations, or visit the pet supply store in your area. Many online stores sell a wide variety of brushes and combs for dogs and cats.

Some aren’t brushes at all, but mitts for your hands. Slip them on, and rub and scratch your pet. Nubs on the gloves pull the loose hair out of the animal’s coat. Some are even machine washable.

Whether you use a brush or comb, or the hands-on method, grooming your pet has a couple of benefits for you. First, it reduces the pet hair left on furniture and such, so there’s not so much to clean up. And giving your pet all that hands-on attention will help create an even stronger bond between the two of you. To me, that’s the best benefit, when you’re speaking of pets.

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