Grooming does more than relax and pamper your dog; it contributes to keeping your pet healthy. Although there are a number of pet health issues related to the lack of regular grooming, knowing what grooming steps to take can help prevent many of the common health problems that affect dogs.
Matted fur on your dog's coat feels uncomfortable as the mats pull on the animal's skin. If bacteria develop under the tangles and mats, your pet can suffer from painful sores.
Removing ticks from your dog's fur before they burrow into the skin protects your dog's health and your own, as ticks are parasites that can transmit a number of serious diseases, including Lyme disease. Although ticks can latch onto any part of your pet's body, they often attach themselves between the toes or around a dog's ears.
Take your dog to see a vet if a tick infestation is severe; redness and swelling remain at the bite site for several days after you remove the tick; or you notice ticks deep in your pet's ear canal.
As you groom your dog, examine his or her eyes, mouth, teeth, and ears. Long-haired dogs can grow hair deep in the ear canal. Bacteria that get trapped there can cause ear infections, the symptoms of which generally include redness and ear discharge.
Problems Long-Haired Dogs Suffer
Long-haired breeds of dogs grow more hair between their paw pads and around the anus area. Dirt can accumulate and hair becomes tangled. Clipping the hair between your dog's pads keeps air circulating as it passes through the pads, helping to cool your pet. Less hair on the paw pads also keeps your dog from slipping on smooth surfaces.
When long hair causes a hygiene problem, your pet may have trouble urinating and defecating. But having a pet groomer regularly trim the hair around your dog's perineal area -- the area under the tail and around the anus -- can help prevent problems before they occur.
A pet groomer can also empty your dog's anal glands -- the two small sacks located near the inside edge of your pet's anus. Doing this helps prevent problems that can occur if an anal sac ruptures or becomes impacted. Symptoms of infection include swelling and inflammation. Antibiotics and sometimes surgery may be required to drain an infected sac.
Dog breeds that grow long hair on the face, mouth, and eyes can have problems if the hair in these areas is left untrimmed. Not only can food and saliva cause the hair to mat, your pet may develop eye infections. If your dog is elderly as well, he or she can be at greater risk for glaucoma and cataracts.
Conditions Associated With Overgrown Nails
Regular nail clipping also contributes to your pet's good health. Long nails can lead to joint pain and stiffness. The nails should not be touching the floor. If they are, it's time to get them clipped, as dogs should walk with their paw pads on the floor. Overgrown nails can lead to your dog developing an unnatural posture that over time can cause arthritis in the hips and legs.
While the lack of grooming doesn't necessarily cause lumps, regularly grooming your pet allows you to look for lumps and masses on and below the skin. By reporting any growths you find to your dog's veterinarian, cancer can be detected early and treatment started before it spreads.
Other Grooming Benefits
The benefits of grooming extend beyond appearance and physical health. Routine grooming makes dogs feel better and happier, improving both their behavior and emotional health. Contact a local provider, such as Rush Animal Care Clinic PC, for further assistance.