Pet Grooming for
Dogs & Cats

Regular grooming is just as important as bringing your pet to the vet. Not only does grooming your pet lead to a healthy coat, but it helps identify any underlying skin conditions or disease. Grooming helps your pet look it’s best on the outside and inside!

Proper pet grooming benefits both you and your furry friend. For you, your pet will be soft, clean, and stinky-breath-free when they crawl into your bed in the morning. For them, they’ll remain in tip-top physical shape with a shiny coat, nourished skin, and fewer health problems to worry about.

So, how do you offer your pet the best in hygiene care?

Our veterinary specialists have put together some expert dog and cat grooming tips to simplify your life — and bolster your pet’s well-being.

At AskVet we take a lifestyle approach to pet wellness. We believe when you live a healthy lifestyle, so does your pet. The hardest part can be finding that wellness balance—we’re here to make it easy.

With the AskVet mobile app you can:

  • Spot the Warning Signs
  • Practicing Proper Pet Grooming
  • Abnormalities: Red Flags to Watch For
  • Dental Fundamentals: Key to Pearly Whites

Get all your grooming questions answered and personalized guidance to build a healthy lifestyle for your pet.

Clean Coat, Happy Pet

A-B-Cs (and D-Es) of Pet Hygiene

Always be aware of abnormalities

Brush and bathe regularly according to breed

Cut their claws once a month

Demonstrate daily dental care

Engage in an ear cleaning to avoid infection

Spot the Warning Signs

Abnormalities: Red Flags to Watch For

Unfortunately, our pets can’t exactly tell us what’s wrong. However, they can usually show us. Consistently check for abnormalities around the eyes, ears, and mouth, and inspect your dog’s for fleas, ticks, rashes, and other irritants.

Remember these visible and behavioral warning signs and act accordingly:

Bad breath, sudden drooling, tartar build-up, or avoiding facial contact → Dental issues

Dandruff, bad smell, and excessive itching or rubbing against the carpet (as well as obvious visible signs like muddy or matted hair and mites or fleas) → Time for a bath

Head shaking or tilt, ear scratching or itching, red, swollen inner ear, dark discharge, and altered balance → Ear infection

Toenails clicking against hardwood floors → Nails need a trim

Obsessive or complete lack of self-grooming in cats, or sudden personality changes in dogs and cats → An underlying health problem

Practicing Proper Pet Grooming

Brushing and Bathing Basics: Skin & Fur

Each breed has vastly different needs, which is why you should always ask a veterinarian about your

  • Slowly, calmly introduce your pet to brushing and bathing over time.
  • Use unscented, pet-friendly shampoo and conditioner.
  • Brush dogs daily or every other day to avoid matted, tangled fur. If you encounter matted sections, consider taking them to a professional groomer.
  • Always bathe your pet in warm conditions; hot water can be scalding and outdoor baths in cold weather can result in dangerous drops in body temperature.
  • Create a relaxing bathing experience by gently pouring water over your pup, rather than splashing or spraying.

Claws and Overgrown Nails: Tip Top Nail Trimming

Just like humans, your pet’s nails will grow indefinitely. If left unattended, that can cause some serious discomfort and even sharp pain—after all, they’re constantly putting pressure on them as they walk, run, and play.

To prevent overgrown nails, trim their nails regularly but only if you feel comfortable doing so; otherwise, recurring trips to the vet or groomers will be a much safer option.
Cutting their nails too short or clipping the quick can be extremely painful. Use proper equipment, such as specific cat or dog nail clippers or a rotary trimmer, and always keep a cauterizing powder on hand to stop bleeding.

Dental Fundamentals: Key to Pearly Whites

Dental care is about more than clean teeth—it impacts your pet’s overall health and well-being! At minimum, dogs need a solid tooth brushing at least three times a week (daily is even better). Use dental treats and toys to stimulate chewing, which naturally cleans the mouth, strengthens their teeth, and
prevents plaque buildup.

For a full list of dental duties, brush up on healthy oral hygiene tips with us!

Ears: Infection Prevention

Infections require prompt professional veterinary care and should not be treated with at-home remedies. However, you can take an active role in preventing such infections with a regular ear cleaning:

  • Moisten a cotton ball or swab with either warm water or a pet-friendly cleaning solution and gently clean the inside of your cat or dog’s ears.
  • Focus primarily on the ear’s surface and visible nooks and crannies. Do not attempt to “clean out” their ear canals, as you can easily puncture their eardrum.
  • Meticulously dry your cat or dog’s ears after swimming or bathing, as wet ear canals are the ideal home for nasty bacteria and pests.