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Whole Pet Health: Grooming, Bathing, and More

As pet lovers, we know how important regular veterinary care is for our furry friends. Be it yearly shots, annual check-ups, or in certain situations, emergency care. But, how much time do you spend on non-veterinary care for your animals?

Regular grooming, ear and teeth maintenance, and vitamins or supplements are just a few types of care you can provide your pet outside of their visits to the veterinarian. Just like with humans, maintaining our pet’s whole health and wellness is as important as their medical care. A strong balance of the two keeps pets and their owners running to the best of their abilities.

Here, we’ll outline a few key forms of non-veterinary care and how to approach them at home with your own pet.


Our feline friends usually have bathing under control, but their canine counterparts sometimes need a hand. And even with cats, we should pay attention to their coats and overall appearance to assess when they may need additional help.

Talk to your full-service veterinarian about your animal’s breed and temperament to assess their comfort with water and what products to use. It can be a touchy topic, and we want our pets to enjoy bath time! There are many options that use what you already have in your home. Regular bathing helps to maintain your animal’s soft coat, reduces shedding, and even helps with allergies (theirs and yours).

Brushing Your Pet's Fur

Brushing your animal’s coat regularly is essential to keeping both their outsides and insides healthy. It’s also a great time to bond with your pet as most dogs and cats enjoy it.

If you are just starting a grooming routine, take time to work with your pet to figure out what makes them most comfortable. A hand brush or grooming comb can be a great place to start. However, if you find your furry friend is fearful, you may want to take them to a trained professional. Brushing your pet's fur has numerous benefits, including:

  • Improved hygiene and smell

  • Less shedding and potential for hairballs with the removal of excess hair

  • A check for fleas and ticks

  • Early detection of skin or other health issues

Teeth Brushing

Brushing doesn’t stop with your pet’s fur coat. Teeth brushing is another essential form of care. Just imagine if you never brushed your own teeth!

The key to brushing your pet's teeth is to set up the right routine. While it can be handled at a full-service veterinarian, it’s important that you brush your pet’s teeth more frequently than that. (Click here for tips on brushing your dog's teeth and here for brushing your cat's teeth.)

There are also treats for both cats and dogs that promote oral health in-between brushes. Teeth brushing is crucial for pets in the same way it is for humans. It removes plaque and tarter build up and promotes good oral health and hygiene. Good oral hygiene prevents:

  • Tooth loss

  • Bad breath

  • Oral pain

  • Organ damage

  • Dental disease

Keeping those pearly whites shining on your pet is more than just a bright smile!


Trimming can apply to both hair and nails. There are many local pet groomers you can find online for bigger trims, especially for long-haired animals. Nail trimming can be handled by professional groomers and some full-service veterinarians but is a simple at-home routine when done correctly.

Nail trimming can cause a lot of anxiety for dogs and even more for cats. With new animals, try to bring nail trimming into their maintenance routine early so they get comfortable with the process. If you are starting later in your pet’s life, don’t worry; it can still be done! If it proves to be too difficult at home, speak with your full-service veterinarian or make an appointment with a professional pet groomer. Walking your pet on hard surfaces can naturally trim their nails too.

It's important to note that cats do need a little extra attention when it comes to nail trimming as they have retractable claws and dogs don’t. There are plenty of step-by-step online resources to walk you through it.

Not trimming your pet’s nails can result in pain and other health issues, such as a splayed foot and reduced traction. Nails that are too long can cause deformed feet and injure the tendons over an extended period.

These are just a few of the many ways we can show our animals love by taking care of them. Providing ongoing, non-veterinary care aids in long and happy lives for our pets!

Have any other tips and tricks? Leave them in the comments below.

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