One of my favorite indulgent things to do is treat myself to a relaxing
facial, a massage or even a haircut. The operant word here is
"relaxing"; as it is for us, grooming your pet ideally should be
soothing and enjoyable for them and for you.
Once a month every month, I bathed my dog. In the warmer weather, we
went out on the back patio where I had assembled the shampoo,
conditioner (yes, I used a gentle "human" conditioner on my dog and
everyone who petted her remarked on how soft she was!), her comb and at
least 2 towels. In the winter, I warmed up the bathroom first, had at
least 3 towels available to prevent water from flying everywhere when
she shook herself, placed a rubber mat on the floor of the tub so she
wouldn't slip and positioned the blow dryer and comb in the living room.
When I washed her, I made sure to use a lot of soap, work up a good
lather and massage it into her skin and hair thoroughly. This was
especially important in the warm weather to get rid of any fleas she
might have picked up. But she actually liked it! As I soaped and
kneaded, a look of blissful contentment would come over her face and she
would smile happily, wreathed in white suds!
After she was dry, I would inspect her claws to see if they needed
trimming. This was also the time when I checked for any bumps, scrapes
or any other unusual skin conditions that might need attending to.
My favorite part of Doggie Spa Day was at the end after my dog was all
nice and clean and dry - I loved to bury my nose in her fragrant, soft
hair and give her tummy rubs.
Grooming my two cats was also a once a month event, though usually not
on the same day as my dog. This meant giving them a thorough brushing
and combing, trimming their nails and administering hairball treatment
if necessary. In all honesty, I doubt either one of them actually liked
this process, but I made sure that both of them got treats afterward.
What I found worked the best for nail trimming was to position each cat
upside down on my outstretched legs. I was usually sitting on the floor,
leaning up against the side of the couch. At first, it took some time
for them to get used to this but I was patient, gentle and persistent
and once they were lying comfortably on their backs, I made sure to
praise them enthusiastically! I used a regular human nail clipper and
carefully pushed on their pads to extend the nails. Eventually, I
learned to do this fairly quickly and accurately, minimizing their
discomfort. When clipping kitty nails, don't forget the dewclaws! If
your cat has them, when long, they can catch on upholstery, carpet and
drapes. Regular combing and brushing is important for cats as they can
form hairballs if they groom themselves often; it also helps to loosen
dead skin as well. You can bathe your cat (I have seen actual photos of
this!), but unless it's absolutely necessary, I would avoid it.
So, create the ultimate Doggie and Kitty Spa Day for your pets and make it as fun and relaxing as possible!
Deborah Dobson, FizzNiche Staff Writer