If there’s one thing all pet parents can agree on, it’s how much we appreciate the work groomers do. Without regular appointments, our pet’s coats quickly become messy, overgrown, and far too hot. Whether you want to be prepared in case you need to do some basic grooming or you simply want to keep them looking their best between appointments, we’ve put together seven tips for grooming your pet at home.

Use positive reinforcement

You want grooming to be a positive experience for your pet and one way to do this is through the use of positive reinforcement. The first few times you groom your pet, spend time getting them used to the tools. Restraining them can increase their anxiety about the situation, so instead try and encourage them to stay in one spot through the use of their favorite treat. Using a high-value reward, like a Freshpet treat, will make them develop positive associations with grooming, which will make the overall experience stress-free for both you and your pet.

Be calm and patient

If you’re nervous about grooming your pet will
be able to sense it, so before you start, take some time to relax so you can
exude calmness when you get to work. Throughout the process, go slowly and keep
a close eye on your pet’s body language. Even if you’re calm and collected,
they may still be nervous about this new situation – keep an eye out for
trembling, trying, or excessive panting. If you notice any of these behaviors,
take a break and give your pet some time to calm down.

Do a
little bit every day

Instead of doing one big groom every few months, do a little bit every day. When paired with their favorite Freshpet recipe, your pet will quickly get used to the process and even look forward to it as it becomes part of their daily routine. For pets with long hair and double coats, in particular, spending five minutes each day brushing their hair will keep it tangle- and mat-free. In addition to ensuring their coat looking its best, regular grooming helps limit shedding – which will, in turn, reduce the amount of time you spend vacuuming and removing hair from your clothes!

Clip nails regularly

Pet’s nails don’t need to be clipped daily, but should be done regularly –  10 days to two weeks for cats and three to six weeks for dogs. Your local pet store will have a selection of nail clippers in different shapes and sizes, so it’s easy to find one that you’re comfortable using. Many of them also have a safety feature that stops you from cutting the nail too short and causing bleeding. If you’ve never clipped your pet’s nails before, ask your veterinarian to show you during your next appointment.

Use the
right tools

Using the right tools for grooming will make it easier to do the job efficiently and safely. Depending on the size of your pet and the type of coat they have, you may require different types of brushes, clippers, or scissors. Do some research or speak to your vet or local groomer to figure out which type of tools are best for your pet, then invest in a high-quality set.

Avoid
scented products

Our pet’s skin has a different pH than our own, which means that human bath products could leave them itchy and dry. Instead, choose a scent-free shampoo that is designed specifically for dogs or cats. If your pet has a pre-existing skin condition, speak to your vet before you choose a shampoo – they may have recommendations for specific over or under the counter products that are most suitable.

Don’t
overdo it

We may need to shower regularly, but our pets
do not. Shampooing your pet’s coat too frequently strips it of its natural
oils, which can cause dry and itchy skin that takes a long time to recover.
Limit your pet’s baths to times when their coat is visibly soiled or smelly,
using their special shampoo and warm water to get them cleaned up. When their
coat is nice and fresh, opt to towel dry them instead of using a blow dryer, as
it’s noisy and can cause them to overheat.

We hope these tips will help you tackle some of your pet’s basic grooming needs from the comfort of your own home!

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