Grooming Your Pet

Grooming is another important aspect of caring for your pet. Some pets suffer from ear infections while others may need their nails clipped regularly. This blog will give you some tips on how to clean pet’s ears, clip their nails and pluck hairs from their ears.

How to clean your Pet’s Ears
Not all pets ears need cleaning, those pets that are susceptible to ear problems benefit from regular ear cleaning. Dogs with floppy ears* such as Spaniels or those with lots of hair in the ear canal are more prone to suffering from problems caused by the accumulation of wax and debris. However, any dog may develop ear problems. Wax and debris must travel upwards against gravity to escape. In a diseased ear, this natural cleaning process breaks down.
(*Floppy eared dogs are more prone to ear disease because of the reduced ventilation within the ear canal )

An ear with a build up of wax and debris will benefit from ear cleaning.

1. Begin by holding your pet’s head firmly and gently pull the ear flap up to open the ear canal.

2. Carefully insert the nozzle of the ear cleaner into the upper part of the ear canal ensuring there is a gap between the nozzle and the ear canal before gently squeezing the solution into the ear.

3. Massage the ear canal gently working from the base.

4. Allow your pet to shake excess solution from the ear, the gently wipe away loosened wax and debris around the top of the ear, with cotton wool or similar. Do not poke anything down the ear canal such as cotton buds which can cause damage.

5.  If necessary repeat cleaning every 3 to 4 days initially and then weekly or as required

6. Clean the other ear.

Always be sure to warm the liquid to around body temperature before use by holding it in your hand for a few minutes as introducing a cold liquid into the pets ears may cause them to react. Using the ear cleaner in a tiled room or outside will minimise cleaning if your pet shakes its ears to remove excess cleaner.

Clipping Pet’s Nails
Dogs walked on concrete or tarmac regularly rarely need to have their nails clipped as they are being worn down but attention will still need to be paid to their dewclaw. The dewclaw is the nail further up a dog’s paw which cannot be worn down and so continues to grow and can grow into the pad, especial on the hind legs. Long dew claws can also get snagged and broken which can be very painful.
It may also be necessary to clip your cat’s nails if they are scratching you or your furniture, although this may not prevent damage.

If you do need to clip your pet’s nails, it is important to ensure you do not cut them too short as they will bleed. The quick is the pink area within the nail where the nerves and blood vessels are, similar to the area underneath our nails. It may be difficult to see the quick in darker coloured nails.

The first step is to get some treats. Treats will help make the experience positive. If your pet is nervous, you can start off by clipping one nail and coming back to it again. One technique is to hold the nail trimmers flat against the toe pad and cut straight across the nail. This technique makes it extremely unlikely you will cut the nails too short.

To get a shorter cut, aim to cut at a 45° angle after visualising the quick. If your dog has black nails, look at the underside of the nail and you will notice that towards the tip the nail separates into a triangular shape with two outer walls. This is the point where there is no quick and it is safe to cut.

If you cut the nail too short and it bleeds, apply pressure with some cotton wool or apply some Vaseline which will act as a plug to stop the bleeding.

Plucking Hair from your Dog’s Ears

If there is a lot of a hair in your dog’s ears, this can disturb the natural cleaning process of removing wax and debris from the ear. These are light hairs and are often easy to pluck if your dog will allow you.

Quite often, you may be able to pluck out these hairs with your fingers. Avoid using a a tweezers as you may inadvertently cause damage if the dog shakes it’s head at the wrong time. This process can be easily tolerated by dogs if done from an early age and is very beneficial.

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