Grooming is a lifelong part of your pet's good health. Regular brushing, bathing and nail trimming add to your pet's appearance – and it feels great, too. Here is a list of supplies to keep on hand that will make grooming easy.
Brushes, Combs and Rakes
Depending on you pet's hair coat you will need a brush or comb for removing tangles, dead hair and mats. A mat rake will help for long hair. Brushing and combing should be done before bathing because wet hair is much harder to work through.
Shampoo and Conditioner
Choose a shampoo or conditioner appropriate for your pet's needs. Skin, color and hair coat type should influence your choices. Most longhaired breeds need a conditioner or finishing spray to make the hair manageable.
You'll need a few items to make bathing easier. Use a rubber mat in the bottom of the sink or tub so your pet can stand securely. You may need to use a leash or harness to keep active or frightened pets from jumping out of the tub. Have a small bucket ready to dilute any shampoo or dip you may be using. Place cotton balls in the ears to prevent water and soap from getting in the ear canal, and a drop of eye ointment or mineral oil in each eye to prevent soap burns. Protect yourself with a rubber apron and latex gloves if you are applying dips or medicated shampoos.
Have a few fluffy towels ready for drying. If you have a large dog, try a rubber grooming glove or curry to strip off excess water before drying.
After the bath is complete, use a blow dryer to dry the hair quickly. This is most important in the cooler months. Some pets will be frightened and resistant to a blow dryer initially, but with repeated exposure and patience, many come to endure this procedure.
Don't forget to trim your pet's nails on a regular basis. Overgrown nails are prone to splitting and breaking and can make walking painful. Even your cat's nails can be trimmed with a small pair of claw clippers; this is a great alternative to declawing.