Grooming From Teeth to Tail
Grooming is an important part of your pet's general health. From tooth brushing to coat brushing, keeping your best friend neat and clean helps keep them healthy and happy.
You Said a Mouthful
If possible, get your dog used to regular teeth cleaning as a puppy. Start with a soft cloth or soft baby toothbrush. For cats, you can buy a textured fingertip cap made just for this purpose. Since cats often like their faces rubbed, it can be relatively easy to sneak in teeth cleaning.
Never use human toothpaste on your pet—they can't spit it out, so when they swallow, it can cause stomach upset. Use toothpaste especially formulated for cats or dogs. You'll just have to accept the fact that there's no minty freshness for them—they'd rather have fishy or meaty breath.
Dry, crunchy foods can help remove plaque from your pet's teeth. Look for treats especially designed to control tartar, too.
Dogs Need Baths Occasionally
An occasional bath is good for your dog. And, for dogs who are bathed infrequently, you can probably use a gentle human shampoo. You can even use a little cream rinse or conditioner to help fight tangles. If your dog is bathed frequently or has allergies or dry skin, use a shampoo especially formulated for dogs.
Don't wash your dog outside with the hose—the water is just too cold. Let him or her stand up in the tub on a non-skid mat—the shower is even better—and use lukewarm water, filling the tub until it reaches the dog's knees.
Use a wet cloth with no shampoo or soap on it to gently clean the face and around the ears. It will also help prevent shampoo from getting in their eyes. Wet the dog down using a pitcher or handheld shower, gently spraying until the dog's coat is saturated. Use your hands or even a shower puff to get a good lather, be gentle, and talk encouragingly to your dog during the process.
Dry your dog off with a few towels and let him stay where it's warm. Be sure to reward him or her with a treat for their good behavior!
If Your Cat Needs A Bath
Usually a good brushing is all your cat needs, since he or she is pretty good at self-cleaning (especially when you're hosting a dinner party, right?). However, if your cat's coat is looking oily or greasy, a bath is probably in order.
First, get all your supplies together: a shampoo specially formulated for kitties, gloves for you, plenty of towels, and—a good lock on the bathroom door. Put a non-skid mat in the tub and fill with a tiny bit of water. Wash your cat's face with a wet cloth without shampoo or soap, and slowly and carefully lather him or her up.
Once rinsed, wrap your cat in a towel and start drying. Some cats like the warmth of the blow dryer on low, some don't—use your judgment.
When it's all over, reward your cat for good behavior, and don't get your feelings hurt if he or she ignores you for a little while.
Pets Spread Love All Around the HouseAh, pet hair. The final touch to your home's décor and every outfit you wear. Here are a few tips to minimize how the fur flies.
Get a Handle on Hair
Regularly brushing your dog or cat will help keep the shedding to a minimum. Use a brush that best suits your pet's coat and the season. Try out a few different ones, even shedding gloves, until you find the one that works that your dog or cat also enjoys—or at least tolerates. If you can, take your dog outside for a good brushing and let loose hair stay in the wild, where it belongs.
Fastidious, Fur Real
If you wait to pick up pet hair, it can become entangled in rug and upholstery fibers and be a real pain to remove. Vacuum floors, rugs, and furniture regularly, especially in the spring. A damp sponge is a good way to remove pet hair from upholstery and even bedspreads, pillows, and other surfaces—even in your car. You can also keep a lint roller in your car for spot cleaning in your seats—or your clothes.
Control fleas in your home, treat allergies your dog or cat has, and minimize itching however you can. Scratching causes shedding, so keep it to a minimum.
Household Pet MessesHow to prevent what you can and deal with the rest.
Keep pet wipes or a towel by the front door (or kitchen door) to clean your dog's paws and dry any wet fur as soon as he or she comes in from outside.
Baking soda is your new best friend. Sprinkle it on carpets, let it sit for a few minutes, then vacuum it—and any smell—away.
It's also wonderful for litter boxes. Wash the litter pan regularly, but don't use bleach—it can combine with ammonia in cat urine and smell even worse! Use vinegar and baking soda to scrub. And rinse thoroughly—some cats hate even the faintest whiff of vinegar and won't use the litter pan if they smell it. Before filling with fresh litter, line the bottom of the box with a layer of baking soda to help absorb odors.
It happens. Someone's tummy is upset or housebreaking is not perfected yet. The keys to successful stain removal are timing and blotting.
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