By, Alexis Weppner | Writer
January 12, 2016
Common misconceptions when it comes to the care of dogs and cats is their general upkeep in grooming: “Cats don’t need to be groomed–they groom themselves”, “My Husky/Lab/Great Pyrenees/Pomeranian gets shaved down in the summer to keep them cool”, and “My neighbor only grooms their dog/cat bi weekly/monthly/etc, so I only need to groom my dog/cat that often as well”. While each of these statements seem to be plausible at first glance, they are actually detrimental to your beloved pet.
As cat owners know by the little “presents” left by their cute kitties (hairballs, yuck!), cats do groom themselves through constant licking of their fur. This act of self grooming does keep them relatively clean but your pretty little kitty should still be bathed regularly to get rid of dirt and dander hidden deep within their fur. Despite popular belief, most cats tolerate baths rather well! Long Haired cats, such as Maine Coons and Himalayans, should also be brushed often to avoid mats, which can cause skin irritations and discomfort. Luckily, if mats do occur, mats in cat fur are extremely easy to brush out!
Many dog owners worry about their sweet pups in the summer–feeling as though they will overheat or simply be uncomfortable with the heat. The solution? They shave their dogs. This can be a trickier concept to understand, for, in some cases, shaving your dog is perfectly acceptable. A good rule of thumb is if your puppy dog’s hair only grows to a certain length and then stops growing (Husky, Lab, Great Pyrenees, Pomeranians, Papillon, Golden Retriever, Etc.) then shaving the canine’s hair could do more harm than good. This is due to the fact that, genetically, their hair is not meant to be cut. Dog breeds, such as those previously mentioned, have hair that helps them stay cool in the heat, as strange as that may sound. In the summer, the hair acts as an umbrella more than it does a coat–shading their skin from the sun. Just like sitting under a nice beach umbrella during the summer keeps you cool, a canine’s fur helps keep them cool as well. Shaving a dog that is not meant to be shaved can also make them susceptible to sunburn on the account of their skin being more sensitive to sunlight having hardly come in contact with it prior. Lastly, fur that is shaved that is not meant to be shaved hardly ever grows in correctly after. Just as shaving for a human changes the hair (typically grows in thicker and darker) a canine’s hair grows in differently as well. Normally the topcoat refuses to grow back, only the undercoat, and grows in extremely patchy as well. Dogs that have continually growing hair (Poodles, Doodles, Schnauzers, Bichons, Malteses, Etc.) do not apply to these rules, though it is important not to shave the fur too short, to avoid skin irritation and sunburn.
Many pet owners assume that if their neighbor or friend only grooms their dog or cat ever so often (weekly, bi weekly, monthly, etc.) that it is perfectly acceptable for them to do the same. But au contraire–for every dog is different. Even if two different owners have the same dog, each dog may need to be groomed on a different basis. If dog number one is indoor and dog number two is outdoor, dog number two will need to be groomed more often since it will be getting dirty more often than dog number one. If two different owners both own long haired Poodles, but owner number one does not brush their dog and owner number two does, than the Poodle of owner number one will either need to be groomed more often than poodle number two to avoid mats, or the poodle of owner number one will need to be kept in a shorter cut. If you are unsure of how often your precious puppy or captivating kitty needs to be groomed, talk to your groomer about your beloved pet’s lifestyle to see what they have to say. Sometimes price can be an issue for some pet owners– so talk to your groomer and see if maybe they can give you a discount since you are coming to them on a more regular basis.