Some cats and dogs hate being groomed and you may feel that it worsens the bond between you. This is normally not you, but perhaps because they have had a bad experience or that they have a long-matted coat which hurts when you brush.
If you have a pet who hates being groomed we’ve given you some top tips below to help you to ensure your pet remains looking their best.
If you have a puppy or kitten it is important to get them used to being brushed from an early age. Introduce a soft brush and use it daily making sure to give them some tasty treats while you brush them.
If you have a dog or cat who hates being groomed, you can train them to accept it. Use a soft brush and introduce brushing slowly. Brush gently over their back and then reward them with a small treat. Always brush in the same direction as the hair coat. The idea is to get them used to the brush initially and not to groom them. Build up the time and intensity until you can brush them effectively without them resenting it.
Dogs can be trained to stand up while you groom them by using positive reward based training. Use a treat and ask them to sit. Walk forward holding the treat in front of their nose and they should then stand. When they can do this reliably say “stand” as they stand up and reward them. When you can use the “stand” command to make them stand up, combine this with brushing, gradually building up the time that you brush them for.
Grooming your pet at the same time each day will ensure that your pet comes to expect being groomed. Brushing dogs after a walk is a good idea to rid them of mud and burrs which could matt in their coat. It also means that you will see any ticks that they may have been picked up on a walk. Brushing cats before you give them their food will help make sure that they start to look forward to being brushed.
The pH of your pet’s skin is not the same as human skin, so use a shampoo that is specially formulated for pets. Use a mild shampoo for routine bathing or one that has been formulated for puppies or dogs for a more sensitive skin type. If your dog has a tendency to roll in unsavoury things then you may need a deodorising shampoo. This will neutralise the bacteria causing the smell and leave your dog smelling fresh again without the need for several shampoos.
Animals hate getting water in their eyes and ears so it is important to avoid these areas when bathing your pet. Getting water in their ears is a sure way of making them shake water all over you!
If you are bathing your pet in the bath or shower, use a non-slip matt. Dogs especially hate slipping around in the bath or shower tray and this may contribute to their fear of being washed if they slip.
Long haired cats often resent being groomed. This is normally because it hurts if they have matts in their long hair, especially under the tail. Daily grooming is recommended if possible to prevent matts from building up in the first place.
If you have a pet who no matter what you do, will not let you brush them, then you may need to ask your vet or a groomer for help. Cats or dogs with very matted fur may need sedating to clip off painful matts. Once the matts have gone then building up daily brushing in a positive fashion is a good idea to prevent matts from recurring.
Pets will get cold quickly if they are not dried after shampooing, especially if they are small, old or have a thin coat. Using a hair dryer is great if your pet will tolerate it. Introduce hair dryers gradually and use treats to get your pet used to it. Always use the warm setting so that you do not burn your pet.