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YOUR PET’S HEALTH: 10 WAYS TO LOOK AFTER YOUR PET

Animal Grooming

A huge part of pet ownership is being responsible for your pet’s health and well-being. This includes keeping them clean and healthy. From their ears to their paws, there are a lot of things we can do to keep them healthy on the outside, as well as the inside.

10 things you should regularly be checking on your pet:

(Cats & Dogs)

 

Ears

How often you should clean your pets’ ears will depend on the shape of the ears, but you should ensure it’s often enough to avoid infections.

In general, animals with long, drooping ears need more regular cleaning because they are more prone to infection.

It’s best to start the cleaning process when they are young and get them into a routine. This will make it easier for you and more comfortable for them as well. Our Easy Ear Cleanser is a safe, pet friendly formula that will effectively remove dirt and ear wax. You can apply a small amount to a cotton pad or similar and simply wipe the ear clean being as gentle as possible. Apply more in necessary. Never push or poke anything into the ear canal.

 

Eyes

Your pet’s eyes should be bright and clear when you look into them.

Check for any signs of redness or soreness, any signs of this should be checked by your vet. You can also look out for excessive watering and if your pet is rubbing their eyes. If your pet has long fur around their eyes, to prevent irritation, discolouration and matting with a quick trim around the eyes every now and then.

 

Mouth & Teeth

For larger pets like dogs and cats, the best way to look after their mouth is to regularly brush their teeth.

There are specific toothpastes and tools available for animals that you can use. As with most grooming processes, it’s a good idea to introduce them to this at a young age to get them used to the idea. Always be careful not to put your finger into their mouths, make sure you pick up a pet toothbrush to avoid any incidents. You can also feed your pet dental chews which are designed to reduce tartar and plaque build-up.

Some pets, particularly dogs with certain coats, may require some trimming around the mouth area to keep it clean. This can help prevent build-up of dirt (and left over food) around their mouth.

 

Claws & Nails

Clipping your pets’ nails can be a daunting task, especially if your pet is particularly wriggly.

The first thing to do would be seek advice from your vet or a groomer.

They can show you how to look after your pets’ nails to ensure you clip them safely.

You will need to use nail clippers that have specifically been designed for use on pet and it’s usually easier to have another pair of hands to help keep your pet still while you do the clipping. Make sure your pet is calm before starting, whilst holding the paw firmly press lightly on the pads to make the nail stick out.  Angle the nail clipper at 45° towards the nail when cutting.

 

Paws

Pets pick up all sorts of things in their paws, so it’s important to keep this sensitive area clear of any debris.

During cold and wet weathers, it’s a good idea to clean their paws after they have been outside which you can do by using a pet friendly cleaning wipe. This will ensure that nothing harmful remains in the paws for them to clean themselves and ingest.

If your pet has fur around their paws, you can give them a quick trim with a small trimmer or scissors as this will stop the fur from matting or dirt getting stuck in them.

 

Coat

We all love feeling close to our best friend, so what better way to build that bond and maintain a lustrous coat than with some daily brushing.

Determining whether your pet needs a bath often depends on their lifestyle.

The most common reasons for bathing include removing dirt and mud from the coat or improving the smell. However, be aware that no pet should be bathed too frequently as this will remove the natural oils, making the coat dry and sometimes leading to irritation. For most pets, regular brushing will keep the coat and skin in good condition and eliminate the need for frequent baths. When bathing, use a shampoo that’s right for the colour and skin type.

Some dogs and cats may require trimming and clipping of their coat to keep it in best condition. Seek guidance on this from a local groomer if you are unsure. For dogs, we have a guide to grooming available to help you determine which areas may need clipped or trimmed depending on coat type. Even if you take them for regular grooms, some benefit can be gained from keeping them tidy between visits to the groomers.

 

Skin

Your pets’ skin can be a good indication of your pet’s general health.

Ensure you are familiar with the colour this should be, for example for most cats and dogs their skin will be pink or black depending on the breed. Healthy skin should be smooth, clean and free of any crusting or spots.  If their skin is particularly dry and this is causing irritation, you could try a shampoo that will restore the moisture.

Dogs and cats can develop skin allergies, you will notice this if they are scratching, rubbing their face and chewing their paws frequently. There can be many causes ranging from food allergies to particular materials or products they are exposed to. If you suspect a skin allergy, you should refer to your vets to investigate the cause.

 

Stomach & Digestion

The first thing to know to ensure your pet’s guts stay healthy is to be aware of any foods and substances that they should not be fed.

It’s not the most glamorous aspect of owning a pet, but you’ll need to be familiar with your pets’ faeces; the colour and texture. It’s usually the easiest way to tell if something is wrong. You should also be aware of any change in appetite.

 

Weight & Mobility

Weighing your pet to establish whether they are healthy can be difficult, as all breeds and types can differ significantly.

It’s best to visually check their shape and feel the body rather than rely on the scales. All animal types will differ, but there is generally a standard for knowing whether they are a healthy shape. Ask your vet on your next visit to show you how to check if you’re unsure. A pet that is a healthy shape is more likely to lead a long and happy life. If you’re concerned about your pet being overweight, review their diet and exercise regime.

 

Behaviour

Although sometimes they are subtle, you will generally pick up changes in your pets’ behaviour because you know them best.

By knowing their usual behaviours and temperament, you’ll find it easier to tell when something may be wrong with them. If you suspect something has changed, it’s always best to check with a vet or behaviourist in case there is an underlying health issue causing this. Change in behaviour can also be a sign that your pet is feeling stressed. This may be from an event that you’re aware of such as moving to a new house, a visit to the vets or fireworks and loud noises. However, there may be other causes that are more difficult to identify.

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