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Pet Grooming Basics

Pet Grooming Basics

Maintaining proper grooming for your dog or cat is a vital aspect of responsible pet care. In this article, our Fayetteville vets will provide an overview of grooming basics for both dogs and cats.

Grooming for Dogs

While the specifics of dog grooming can vary depending on factors such as breed, coat type, and individual needs, there are several essential grooming tasks that are typically included in a basic grooming routine. These tasks help maintain the cleanliness, health, and overall well-being of dogs.


Regular bathing is a fundamental part of dog grooming. It helps to remove dirt, odors, and allergens from the coat and skin. The frequency of bathing depends on factors such as the dog's activity level, coat length, and any specific skin conditions. It is important to use a dog-specific shampoo that is gentle on their skin and coat, as human products can be too harsh and cause irritation.

For most pets, bathing frequency should be between once a month and once every three months. Use a shampoo formulated specifically for dogs, and water that is warm, but not warmer than the dog's skin.


Brushing your dog is crucial for removing loose hair, preventing matting, and promoting a healthy and shiny coat. The frequency and type of brush used depend on your dog's breed and coat length. Brushing also helps distribute natural oils, stimulates the skin, and allows you to check for any abnormalities such as skin irritations, ticks, or fleas.

The longer your dog’s hair is, the more frequently it will need to be brushed. Some dogs need to be brushed daily, while others can be brushed once a month.

Nail Trimming

To trim your dog's nails, use a clipper designed specifically for dogs' nails. A rotary trimmer can be a safer alternative, but it can take more time. If you’re not comfortable trimming your dog's nails yourself (or if you dog won't tolerate it), consider having it done by a qualified professional.


Different breeds have different needs when it comes to haircuts. Talk to your vet or a professional groomer to find out exactly how often (or if at all) your dog needs haircuts, and how best to go about it.

To cut your dog's hair, bathe them first using good quality dog shampoo, and then towel dry and brush. Use sharp scissors to trim the fur around the face and feet, and electric clippers for the rest of the body.

Grooming for Cats

Grooming for cats encompasses various essential tasks that contribute to their overall cleanliness, health, and well-being. While individual grooming needs may vary depending on the cat's breed, coat type, and lifestyle, there are several common grooming practices that are typically included in a cat's grooming routine.


Brushing your cat removes dirt, grease, skin flakes and dead hair from the coat, and it helps to stimulates blood circulation and improve overall skin condition as well.

Brush your kitty once or twice a week with a metal comb (thick or thin teeth are both fine, whatever works best). You’ll find that these regular brushing sessions are particularly beneficial as your cat ages and can't groom as meticulously anymore.


Most cats hate water, and you'll be pleased to learn that most cats do not need to be bathed on a regular basis. Cats can take care of their own grooming, and will only need help if they get particularly filthy, or get into something sticky.

Bathe your cat using special cat shampoo and warm, but not hot water. Keep in mind that there's a good chance your cat will not want to cooperate, so be sure to shut the bathroom door before you begin, and consider wearing gloves and long sleeves.

Nail & Paw Care

It’s important to take your cats to regular examinations and clean your cat’s paws and make sure they’re wound-free, and free of debris.

Trimming cat's nails can reduce scratching, and mitigate the destruction of your soft furnishings. For cats that are unwilling to tolerate nail trimming, spending some time getting them used it their paws being touched (without trimming) can help.

Ensuring your pet stays clean & healthy can become a lot of work if it is not kept up with. If your pet is due for a wash, contact our Fayetteville vets to schedule a grooming appointment.

New Patients Welcome

Fayette Veterinary Medical Center is accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of Fayetteville companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

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