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The Importance of Regular Grooming for You and Your Pet: An Article by Troy Animal Hospital

December 29, 2013

It’s not uncommon for many pets to get groomed before the holidays. Family may be coming over and you want your pet to look their best. It’s important to remember though that good grooming is important all year long for your pet.

If you have a longhaired dog or cat, you know that they need to be brushed, but just brushing is often not enough. It’s hard to get the entire length of the fur, down to the skin, on many longhaired animals with just a brush. You will need to comb them as well to do a thorough job. How often you have to comb and brush them will vary depending on what type of fur your pet has. Dogs with long straight coats, with no undercoats, such as Maltese and Shih Tzu, may need brushed/combed every other day, while breeds with a lot of undercoat, like Shelties and Pomeranians will usually do fine with weekly brushings, except during shedding season when they may need brushed several times a week. Cats usually benefit from weekly to every other day brushing/combing as well. If your cat is not a fan of being combed, it’s better to do a short amount daily, than to try and do a marathon session once a week.

If you have failed to keep your pet brushed out and they become matted, then it’s probably time for a trip to the groomer. Don’t expect miracles though. Groomers can often get out mats that you may be unable to, but if your pet is too matted, the best thing for them is to have them shaved down. Just as you wouldn’t want someone trying to comb mats out of your hair if you hadn’t combed it for weeks, it’s no fun for your pet either.

Another grooming item that is sometimes neglected are your pet’s nails. While very active dogs that are outside a lot may wear their nails down naturally, most of our dogs will need to have their nails periodically trimmed. It’s better to do this regularly than to let it go until your pet’s nails are very overgrown. If you make a habit of trimming your pet’s nails every other week, before they get too long, the quick, which is the part of the nail with the blood and nerve supplies, will stay shorter as well. It’s not uncommon for us at Troy Animal Hospital to see pets with very long nails that we are unable to trim as short as the owner would like, because the quick has grown out with the nail as well. If you cut into it, your pet experiences pain and bleeding, which no one wants. Cats that have scratching posts available usually do not need nail care. If you have a cat that scratches your furniture though, you can trim the points off of their nails to help protect your things. Older cats are more likely to need their nails trimmed as they aren’t as likely to keep up on their general grooming. Older cats, even shorthair ones, often need to be combed out regularly as well, to prevent them from matting.

Nail trims aren’t just for dogs and cats though! Most pet birds will need periodic nail trims to keep their nails from growing too long, as well many small animals, like guinea pigs and rabbits.

Good grooming is important for the health of our pets. It can be a time to bond and interact with your pet and also helps you keep track of their general health, as skin and fur issues are often early signs of many illnesses. If you start good grooming practices with your dog or cat when they are young, you’ll make both of your lives happier and healthier in the long run.

Here at Troy Animal Hospital we work hard to provide the highest quality veterinary care for your beloved pets. You can reach us at


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