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Grooming Basics for Cats & Dogs

Regular grooming is an important component of pet care. Here, our Thomasville vets review grooming basics for dogs and cats, and share some tips on how to groom your pet at home.

Grooming for Dogs

Specific grooming needs depend largely on the breed and lifestyle of each dog however, basic grooming typically includes bathing, brushing, nail trimming, and haircuts.


Bathing removes dirt and debris from your dog's coat and helps to keep their skin healthy. For most dogs, bathing frequency should be between once a month and once every three months. Be sure to use a shampoo formulated specifically for dogs, and water that is warm, but not warmer than the dog's skin.

Avoid bathing your dog too often. Frequent bathing can irritate the skin, damage hair follicles, and increase the risk of bacterial or fungal infections. 


Brushing removes dead hair from your dog’s coat and helps to prevent skin irritation and matting. Brushing your dog can also help reduce the amount of hair around your house – a perpetual battle for many dog owners.

Some dogs will need to be brushed daily, while other dogs can be brushed once a month. Longer hair will require more frequent brushing to keep it healthy and shiny. 

Nail Trimming

Use specifically designed clippers for dogs' nails. Rotary nail trimmers are also available but can take more time.

If your dog won't tolerate you trimming their nails, or if you aren't comfortable doing it yourself, consider having it done by a qualified professional.


When it comes to haircuts, different breeds have very different needs. Consult your Thomasville vet or professional groomer to learn how often your dog will require a haircut, and how best to go about it.

Before cutting your dog's hair, bathe them using a good quality dog shampoo, then towel dry and brush out their fur. To trim the fur around the face and feet use sharp scissors, for the rest of the body electric clippers are recommended.

Grooming for Cats

Cat grooming typically involves brushing, bathing, nail and paw care, as well as ear, eye and dental care.


Brushing your cat will help to remove dirt, grease, skin flakes and dead hair from their coat. Brushing also helps to stimulate blood circulation and improve your cat's overall skin condition.

Brush your feline friend once or twice a week with a metal comb. As your cat ages, and can't groom as meticulously anymore, brushing sessions become increasingly important to your cat's overall health.


It's true, cats hate water. Fortunately, most cats do not need to be bathed on a regular basis. Cats more or less take care of their own grooming and only need help if they get into something sticky or particularly yucky.

When it is time for your cat to have a bath, use a special cat shampoo with warm, (but not hot), water. There's a good chance your cat will not want to cooperate, so be sure to shut the bathroom door before you begin. You may even want to consider wearing gloves and long sleeves for a little added protection from your disgruntled feline.

Nail & Paw Care

Regularly cleaning and examining your cat’s paws is an important part of pet care. Taking a few minutes on a regular basis to make sure that your cat's paws are clean and free from wounds might save you from a trip to the vet later. 

Trimming your cat's nails may help to minimize the destruction of your soft furnishings, and help to reduce scratching overall. If your cat is unwilling to tolerate nail trimming, try spending some time getting your cat used to having their paws touched without trimming. Once your cat is comfortable having their paws touched and examined gradually move on to nail trimming.

Thomasville Veterinary Hospital provides professional grooming services. Contact us today to book an appointment for your dog or cat.

Basics of grooming cats and dogs, Thomasville Vet

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