Sunday, November 1, 2009

The Benefits of a Haircut for Pets

By Ruthie Bently

Skye is a short haired dog, and other than a bit of brushing, she doesn’t really need a haircut. However, many other breeds of dogs can actually benefit from getting a regular haircut. When you take your Afghan Hound with the long flowing hair, a plucky Welsh Terrier or even a long-haired domestic cat to the groomer, you may be looking at less hair around the house, but that isn’t the only benefit you are getting.

Groomers are a wonderful early defense against health issues that may arise with your pet. The simple act of shampooing and rinsing your pet can remove dander on their skin. The groomer may also find hair mats that can become painful if not removed. Not only that, the groomer could find a lump from an injury that you may not even know about.

A regular haircut also helps your dog regulate their own body temperature. If you have a long haired dog and live in a colder winter climate, you don’t want to cut your dog’s hair too much in the middle of winter, because you would be cutting their natural insulation from the cold. However, a long haired dog in Southern California in the summer would be better with a shorter hair cut, because it would let the air circulate through the hair closer to the skin and allow the dog to cool faster.

During a haircut, groomers remove the dead and loose hair, which can cause irritations to the skin. I can understand the skin irritations – have you ever stepped on a piece of dog hair in your bare feet? I have, and it’s like having a needle I can’t see under my skin. Groomers can also spot ringworm, fleas, ticks and other parasites that may have been hidden from view in that luxurious hair. Not only that, a neater haircut makes those nasty little bugs easier to deal with. A groomer can also tell the health of your dog’s skin and coat, and even see if your pet’s hair is dry and brittle, which can lead to split ends. They can spot hot spots, rashes and abrasions on the skin that you may not have seen.

If you are handy with scissors or clippers and want to learn how to give your pet a haircut, there are many good books on the subject. If you have a dog that needs to be clipped and you bought them from a breeder, contact your breeder and ask if they groom their dogs. If they do, ask them if you could come and have them teach you how to groom your own dog.

If you have a breed that needs regular haircuts, it’s to your advantage to learn how to clip your pet yourself. In doing so, you may get a leg up on any health issues before they become too serious, and you get to spend more quality bonding time with your four-legged friend. This is a win-win situation in my eyes. What do you think?

Read more articles by Ruthie Bently

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