To keep your furry friend looking great, you may take your pet to the groomer every few months to get a wash and cut just like most pet owners. But in between visits, it’s also important to maintain your cat’s or dog’s look as well as their hygiene. Do you have trouble getting your pet in the bath, or feel at a loss when clipping your four-legged friend’s nails?

Here are 10 tricks to get you started and keep your pet in tip-top shape.

1. Start from Young Age

 Trainers and behaviorists generally agree that dogs begin learning many responses when they are still puppies. Especially from the age of 3 to 12 weeks, they are the most accepting of new experiences. That’s why it’s so important to start your pup young and be consistent the same as the obedient training such as “sit”, “stay”.     

If you have a new puppy, help him groom at an early age and get him comfortable. If you adopt an older pet and he hasn’t experienced a bath, give him treats in the tub and let him know it’s a positive experience before even turning on the water.

2. Make Sure Your Pets Feel Safe

Make sure to provide a safe place for your pet, so he will be more obedient. Many cat owners may feel that it’s more difficult to get their cats to do what you want them to do than dogs. This is because cats are much more sensitive than dogs, both emotionally and physically. But that doesn’t mean it’s impossible—you just have to make them want to do what you want.

You need make your cat feels secure all the time. That’s also the biggest thing for a kitty to feel secure. You always want to be really gentle with him, too. Don’t try to put him in the sink; a dry bath is fine. Let him sit on the couch or his favorite spot—wherever he is happy. As cats’ skin is much thinner than dog’s, you need use a chamois cloth, like you’d use with a car.

3. Brush and Then Bathe

A famous groomer Mason once reviewed that one big mistake he saw pet parents made was neglecting to comb their pet before a bath. Whether they’re canine or feline, be sure to run a comb or brush through their fur before they’re cleaned to get rid of any tangles. Because it’s hard to get them dry when their fur gets wet, and then when they do dry, their fur cinches up.

4. Detangle Slowly

Imagine that you have someone carelessly yanking a comb through your tangled tresses, how distressed you are! Your pet should also be treated gently. So take care when brushing your pet: toss some cornstarch on those tangles, which loosens them up and provides friction. Then you can pull them apart with your hands so you’re not pulling at their skin.

5. Wash and Rinse in the Right Order

Pets don’t like water in their eyes and ears just like human do. So after wetting your pet, soap him up from back to front, and the head should be the last part you bathe. Then when you’re rinsing, reverse the order: start at the head, and rinse everything off their face, and be very diligent about rinsing all the soap off.

A lot of people may don’t think about it, but it’s important to wash and rinse in the right order to protect your pet’s eyes. If not, your pet will tear and scratch and rub their face on the carpet, which will cause rug burn.

6.File Your Pet’s Nails

Whether it’s because they fight you or you’re afraid you’ll cut them down to the quick (the upper part of the nail that contains blood vessels and nerves), cutting your pet’s nails is a challenge.

To prevent any problems, use a standard nail file that you can get at any drugstore instead of clippers. If you do decide to clip, use a nail file, sit on the couch, and go slowly. Many people are afraid to cut their pet’s nails, especially the black ones because they can’t see where the quick is. If you are concerned, be sure you have Kwik Stop [a styptic powder], so if you do cut a nail too short…it will stop bleeding.

7. Take Teeth-brushing Slowly

Periodontal disease is a huge problem for many pets—especially dogs—and often occurs because owners overlook the importance of daily (or even weekly) oral care. Therefore, brushing your pet’s teeth is an essential part of his care. Though it’s challenging but can be tricky.

You can start by putting a little toothpaste on your finger and letting him lick it off, then slowly lift up his lip and run your finger around his mouth, giving him a treat if he did a good job. Dogs love food and it can be a good bonding experience, as well.

Once your pet is used to having you touch his mouth, you can either use a rubber finger toothbrush or a regular bristle brush. Because a finger toothbrush can break down more quickly, but personally I like it because a dog sees a long toothbrush come at him and is like. So it might be good to start with the finger toothbrush.

8. Choose A Brush Based on the Type of Fur

There are many different types of brushes on the market. What kind of brush you use depends, of course, on what kind of fur your pet has. But how do you choose?

A slicker brush will be a good choice. It’s square around the top with multiple tiny pins, not only can help distribute the skin’s oil, but also be great for any kind of coat, whether for both long- and short-haired cats, as well as a comb for long-haired cats. It also works well for an undercoat if you have a double-coated dog breed.

There is also a pin brush, which has wider pins, and works well for dogs like a Shih Tzu, as well as a rubber curry brush, which is great for dogs with a short coat, like a boxer or a beagle. With this brush, Erickson recommends using a “circular motion on your pet to remove the hairs and stimulate the skin”.

9. Don’t Forget Their Eyes and Ears.

Eyes and ears need regular cleaning as well. For the ears, you could use rubbing alcohol. Put it on a cotton ball, then gently go around the outside of the ear, and then lightly around the inside edge because if there’s any bacteria, it kills it. If your dog is a swimmer, it will also dry out any water in the ear.

For the eyes, water or saline solution should do the trick. If your dog’s eyes are runny, take cotton soaked with warm water and instead of pulling the gunk off, let it get moist first, then pick at it. You can also use eyewash, especially if you’re in an area with pollen, to flush their eyes out.

10. A Healthy Coat Starts Within

Just as what humans eat affects the health of their skin, the food your pet eats will make a difference in their coat. To ensure a thick, shiny coat, it’s essential to choose wholesome foods that feature meat and meat meals as the first two ingredients.

Some brands you can choose, such as Nulo, Wellness and Castor & Polluxto. You may want to use some fish oil to supplement your pet’s diet. Only give a quarter of a teaspoon per day for a cat and a small dog, a teaspoon mixed in with his food for a medium to large dog. Within a few weeks you should see a bit of a difference.

You can also add shine to a dog’s coat by applying olive oil to it. “An olive oil treatment works pretty well for dogs,” Mason says. “You just wet their coat, apply a little layer of olive oil all around—be careful of their eyes—and let it set for 15 to 20 minutes.” Then rinse them off as usual.

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