Victoria Vets Resource

General Petcare

 
   

Looking after your pet: Some simple advise.

Coat Brushing Ears Eyes Healthy Teeth Feet

Coat Brushing

Brushing your pet friend removes dead hair and skin, spreads out natural oils in their coat, and helps keep them from developing an odor. It is one of the simplest things you can do for your dog or cat, but it is also one of the most necessary. A variety of brushes and combs are available-make sure that you use one appropriate for your pet's coat. How often you brush them depends on whether they have long or short hair. For animals with short hair, a weekly brushing may be enough to keep their coat in good order. Critters with longer locks require more frequent sessions with the brush. And some breeds require daily attention to keep their coats in good condition.

Cats are well known for their exemplary grooming habits, but even they need a weekly brushing. In fact, brushing your cat is great for his health because it helps prevent hairballs, keeping the digestive track healthy. During shedding seasons, increase your brushing frequency as needed to remove the excess dead hair.

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Ears
Ears are a prime place for infection-keeping your little pet’s ears clean is a great way to prevent illness. Regularly pick up the ear flaps and examine inside. Make sure that they are a healthy pink color. If everything looks good, wipe the outer flap of the ear with a cotton ball, being careful not to touch any part of the ear that you cannot easily see. If you notice any symptoms (sensitivity to touch; brown, black, or yellow discharge; foul odor; shaking or continuously tilting head; or circling in one direction) take your pet to the vet to have the ears examined. Another option for cleaning the ears is to use a liquid ear cleanser. Never use an ear cleanser on your pet if you have noticed what could be a problem. The cleansers could cause severe damage if your pet has an inner ear infection or if something has damaged the ear drum.

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Eyes
Examine your pet's eyes often to make sure that everything looks good. You want to ensure that any abnormal conditions are noticed as soon as possible so that your vet can begin treatment immediately. Be extremely careful with your pet's eyes during all parts of the grooming process. Dogs and cats have very sensitive eyes, and soap-even "tearless" soap-can damage their corneas, so take care when bathing. Also, trim away any hair that is falling into your animal's eyes so that it doesn't cause irritation and damage.

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Healthy Teeth
Routine dental care is essential to your pet's overall good health. Approximately 80 percent of all three-year-old cats and dogs show some sign of periodontal disease, characterized by a build-up of plaque and tarter on their teeth above and below the gum line. This disease can lead to gum infection and tooth loss. Your pet's poor dental hygiene is much more serious than bad breath Infected gums and dirty teeth have been linked to kidney and heart disease in pets. For information on cleaning your pet's teeth, consult your vet. In addition to your home care, your vet should perform yearly dental check-ups and will let you know when you need to have your pet's teeth professionally cleaned.

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Feet
Many of our four-legged friends prefer not to have their paws handled, making nail trimming especially traumatic for them. Like it or not, it still must be done. Try touching their paws when you praise them, and before you know it, your little buddy will love to be handled in those sensitive spots. Indoor cats should have their nails trimmed occasionally whether they use a scratching post or not. Your dog's claws should not ever extend so far that his nails come in contact with the ground when standing normally on a flat surface. Nails this long place unneeded stress on your the paws, which in turn can lead to foot problems. Be careful not to trim the nails too far down; you could cut into the quick (the part of their nail which contains the blood). If you should cut their nails too close, apply pressure with cotton wool to stop the bleeding. Make sure you use nail clippers designed especially for animals. Cats, for example, have brittle nails that can shatter easily, so it is best to use tools that are designed for them. Here's an excellent strategy for those who hate the clippers: only cut a nail or two in one sitting. Who said you have to do it all at once? Spread it out over a few days and you'll lower the stress level immensely.

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