Safety First When Grooming Your Pet

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Although many pet owners wouldn’t attempt actually clipping their animal at home, most of us will at least handle basic bathing, brushing, etc., from time to time. As simple as that may seem, there are several common mistakes that many people make when performing these duties that can lead to discomfort, injury, loss of trust between pet and human, and even death. In attempting the more advanced aspects of grooming at home, the risks can be even greater.

If you’ve ever tried bathing a pet, you probably know that getting shampoo in your pet’s eyes is one of the more common mistakes that can be made. This can result either from carelessness on your part or from your animal’s unexpected movement. Remember that your pet does not fully understand what’s going on here, and eyes stinging from shampoo or other grooming solutions is not only unpleasant, but may cause a loss of trust if not handled properly. Stay calm and sooth your pet with words of sympathy, rinse the soap out with water – or better yet, saline solution – and use a clean cloth to dab at the corners of eye. You might also try to take their focus off of the irritation by having a favorite toy handy to draw their attention. There are tearless shampoos available that will also help reduce the likelihood of serious irritation from errant bubbles.

Another serious (and sometimes even fatal) mistake made during grooming is to leave your pet unrestrained during the task. If your animal has had little experience with baths, or had prior bad experiences, it may try to escape when the opportunity arises. Cats, who notoriously hate baths, are especially prone to this. The last thing you want is for your pet to be exposed to the dangers of running loose, alone and unsupervised, so if you choose to groom outside, it’s important to either leash your pet, or do the grooming in a secure, fenced area. You might also wish to muzzle some pets during grooming for everyone’s protection. Thinking ahead and knowing your own pet’s tendencies and needs will go a long way toward protecting them from the temptation to run.

If you do attempt to actually clip your own pet, extreme care must be taken, since a tiny slip may cause actual injury, not to mention emotional trauma, to the animal. Even less immediately injurious mistakes, like getting too close to the skin while shaving, can lead to problems down the line. Clippers can leave razor burns which sometimes become infected. If you do accidentally scrape or burn your pet while clipping, take the time to apply first aid as soon as it happens. Again, be prepared by keeping some healing salve on hand to treat and sooth your pet. You’ll also want to keep a close eye on such injuries for signs of infection over the coming days, and get ahold of your vet at the first indication of trouble.

It takes years of experience to become a skilled pet groomer, and for a lot of pet owners it’s a task they’d best leave to a professional, but with the right equipment, supplies, some patience, and thought given to safety, it can become an opportunity for bonding time with your pet as well as saving you time and money. Just be sure to think ahead, and do what you can to make it a pleasant and positive experience for both you and your pet.

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