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Your Pet’s Hygiene: What You Can Do at Home

Pet owners know their furry friends need food, water, shelter, and attention; but what about their hygiene?

Surprisingly, pets have hygiene needs similar to humans, and many regimens can be done at home. Here’s how to keep your pet healthy, happy and smelling good, according to

Bathing, fur combing, teeth brushing and nail clipping are all important pieces of proper pet hygiene. Clean your pets on a schedule similar to your own.

The hair of pets that are not properly cared for can become matted and even begin to smell.

Bath time
Giving a pet a regular bath can help wash off the dirt that can result in an unpleasant odor.

In most cases, don’t use your own shampoo on your dog or cat. Most human shampoos have ingredients that may cause inflamed skin, hair loss, rashes, or itchy or dry skin if used on animals.

Always use a shampoo that was made for the type of pet you have.

After a bath, check your pet’s ears. If there is wax build-up or an unpleasant odor, use a cotton ball and ear cleaner made for pets.

How often you bathe your pet depends on the situation. If your dog gets muddy, he needs a bath or a rise off immediately. If he isn’t dirty, however, a bath once every 2 or 3 weeks should suffice, except in dry climates.

Short-haired cats generally don’t need a bath unless there is a problem, long-haired cats need bathing only if it’s medically necessary (if they stop grooming themselves altogether), or if their fur becomes matted or “ungroomable,” which would require shaving then bathing.

Regular brushing helps to maintain a healthy coat, remove dead skin flakes and promote blood circulation for healthy skin.

Long-haired pets need to be brushed every day to keep their fur from matting; short-haired animals should be brushed a few times a week.

Some cats may dislike this interaction, and it can be very stressful for them. If that’s the case, consider taking the cat to San Bruno Pet Pet Hosptial. You may want to address that the cat might need to be sedated. And we can take care of that safely to reduce stress and keep your cat happy.

Most pet owners don’t brush their pets’ teeth as often as they should, but Wozniacki says daily brushing is a must. A pet’s teeth can accumulate tartar just like a human’s, and tartar build-up can cause serious oral health problems, such as gum disease, tooth decay and tooth loss. It can even cause heart disease. Alternatively, you can try a tartar control diet like TD or Healthy Advantage.

Giving a dog a bone is not enough. In fact, bones can cause more problems than they solve. We frequently see broken and chipped teeth from bones and toys that are too hard.

Trim your pet’s nails at least monthly (depending on the growth rate) to keep your pet comfortable and prevent the nails from curling back and growing into the paw pads.

When clipping, take care not to cut the small pink vein—known as the quick—that runs through an animal’s nails. If you cut this vein, it will bleed and cause pain.

Use the proper clippers for your pet’s size, and cut well below the quick. Have a styptic powder (or flour) on hand in case you graze the vein. If you do, apply powder to the nail to help stop the bleeding, but take care as this may be painful.

Regular walks also help keep the nails down so you don’t have to trim as often.

By Veronica Daehn Harvey and Dr. Elaine Salinger