Depending on what type of adorable new dog or cat you bring into your home, brushing your new pet will now be a part of your life with varying frequency. This is an important factor when you are choosing the right pet for you and your family! If you are not willing to do the required amount of grooming, specifically brushing, to maintain your pet’s health and comfort, then you must choose a dog or cat with less hair from the start.
How Does Brushing Benefit My Pet?
1. Comfort and Health
Brushing your pet on a regular basis prevents matting and tangling, and in the worst cases, sores and infections. I know that my hair needs a good brushing after I’ve ridden in the car with the windows down-and my dogs do that all the time!
Brushing distributes the natural oils stored in your pet’s fur, making it more shiny, healthy and beautiful. Even though some dogs and cats may not require frequent brushing, their coats may be glossier if you help stir up and distribute those oils on a more frequent basis (and those natural oils may help with itching!)
Brushing your dog or cat regularly will keep excess hair off of your furniture, clothing and floors! If this isn’t an argument for brushing your pet, I don’t know what is. For my Skeeter’s coat, I really love the Furminator as a dog brush. It pulls out so much excess hair from his coat that would otherwise end up on my floor and make Skeeter itchy and uncomfortable. I also prefer to brush Skeeter outside and then sweep up the fur unless it’s a windy or rainy day. (And then after it’s all over I like to take a shower, because I end up covered in a fine layer of dog hair from head to toe.)
4. Regular Check-Ups
Brushing your pet regularly causes you to also complete an exam of your pet regularly. During this time you can check your dog or cat for any cuts, sores, lumps or tender spots as well as check for any ticks or fleas. It is always a good idea to assess your pet’s physical well-being daily. Many animals are very stoic and will not let you know when they are experiencing any pain or discomfort until it is very bad for them. It’s best if you can catch any problems early.
5. Bonding Experience
Brushing your pet is a great way to bond with your pet. Some dogs and cats instinctively like the feeling of being brushed and you two will have a great time together. It’s like a special meeting that you two will have together once or twice a week. Other dogs and cats do not seem to like brushing as much initially, but can learn to enjoy it with some patience and encouragement from you. Teach puppies and kittens to enjoy being brushed from a young age by exposing them to it frequently with positive rewards associated.
6. Hairball Reduction
Brushing your cat regularly can get rid of excess fur that she would have otherwise licked off her own coat, ingested, and then regurgitated in the form of a hairball right in front of your bedroom door so that the very first thing you do in the morning is step on it with your bare foot. I vote for brushing instead.
I like to look at brushing pets in two ways. I can either brush frequently, say 2-4 times per week, for a few minutes at a time to always maintain Skeeter’s coat without much trouble; or I can wait longer periods of time in between brushings, say a couple of weeks, and plan to spend a little longer when I do sit down to brush him because I may find a few matts starting to form.
Through trial and error, I have found that I prefer to brush Skeeter about once a week most of the year and a little more frequently when his shedding is worst in the spring and summer.
Some dogs with thick coats like shepherds and collies may require daily brushing, but I think most dogs and cats can go several days to a week between brushings, and some will need to be brushed even less frequently than that.
What’s your favorite brush or brushing routine with your dog or cat?