Pets add companionship and unconditional love to our lives. But they also add dirt, smells, dander, hair, and more. Proper pet hygiene will keep your home and pet clean and safe!
Poor pet hygiene can create serious health conditions or other issues. Regular and consistent pet hygiene supports your pet’s best overall health, well-being, and comfort.
Proper grooming hygiene should include:
- Brushing & bathing
- Ear & eye cleaning
- Nail trimming
- Teeth brushing
Pets should be regularly brushed to distribute natural oils throughout the coat and skin. Pets also need to be bathed with gentle, chemical- and sulfate-free and all-natural shampoos specifically formulated to clean, soothe, and condition your pet’s skin and coat.
Always thoroughly brush your pet before you bathe them to remove excess dirt, dead hair and mats. Always thoroughly rinse the coat to remove any residue and avoid potential itchiness or hot spots.
“Look for products that contain soothing organic herbal extracts and rich moisturizers.” (Dr. Karen Becker, Healthy Pets)
To protect your pet’s ears, place cotton balls inside their ear.
Despite their popularity, avoid using oatmeal pet shampoos. They can spell trouble for animals who have grain allergies because the ingredients can be absorbed through the skin and into the bloodstream and tissues triggering negative side effects. Oatmeal shampoos (or any other grain-based shampoo) may also feed yeast or bacterial conditions.
Ear & Eye Cleaning
After bathing, remove the cotton balls from your pet’s ears and check for dirt, gunk and any odors signaling potential ear infections. Use a gentle, all-natural ear cleaner on a cotton ball (or squirt directly into the ear and then massage) and gently wipe out any dirt and wax. Also clean the outside, floppy part of the ear (called the pinna).
Some dogs need special attention to their eyes. Some breeds with white coats, like the Maltese, Bichon Frise, Shih Tzu, Poodle, and short-nosed dogs are prone to red or brown-colored tear stains. These stains may come from genetics, allergies, quality of food, moistness, infection, or other underlying health concerns. Work with your vet to determine and treat the root cause.
Day-to-day hygiene and maintenance like trimming the hair close around the eyes, cleaning the area with a damp washcloth or a pet-formulated eye cleaning solution will help keep the area clean, dry, and stain-free.
Do not use a Q-tip for cleaning your dog’s ears to avoid pushing dirt and debris deeper into the ear canal.
This is something most pet owners hate! But regularly trimming your pet’s nails will protect their feet and maintain their natural stance. Long nails can easily break or tear exposing the quick and putting your pet in pain. Puppies should be trained from an early age to allow you to handle their feet and cut their nails. Older dogs can also be trained, with lots of patience and irresistible treats, to tolerate having their nails cut. But, if you are not comfortable or afraid of cutting your dog’s nails, take your dog to a professional to do it. Do not ignore their nails!
Trimming too much off your pet’s nail to avoid hitting the quick (the blood supply in the nail). Cut off small bits more often. Also consider using a Dremel to grind down the nails, especially if your dog has dark nails and you cannot easily see – and avoid – the quick. If you do hit the quick, apply and press down either a styptic powder, flour or even cornstarch to stop the bleeding.
Always use a pet-formulated toothpaste for safety and either a finger brush or toothbrush sized for your dog’s mouth. Again, puppies should be trained at a young age to accept handing their mouth and brushing their teeth. If your pet hates having their teeth brushed, incorporate body massage or petting beforehand to relax them. Start with lightly massaging their gums with your finger first (using bone broth) and slowly graduate to brushing their teeth.
Never use human toothpaste on your pet! Many ingredients in our toothpaste are toxic like fluoride and xylitol. Use a natural option (like an enzymatic tooth solution for pets) or a specifically-formulated toothpaste product for your pet’s utmost safety.
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