Groom your pet at home during COVID

Anugraha Rao
Tuesday, 19 May 2020

Pet grooming centres are closed during the lockdown but that doesn’t mean your furry buddies need no pampering. Pet parents themselves can offer the services

Throughout this pandemic, our furry friends have been keeping our mood light. Pet owners too need to make sure that their babies are loved and pampered. With pet grooming services still not open because of COVID-19, pet parents need to take some extra effort and groom their pets at home. A few pet parents and a professional pet trainer give us some tips on how to groom the furry babies.

NO DRY SKIN
At a time when lockdown is partially lifted, not many pet parents have access to pet stores or grooming centres. Pet parent Tanaya Mishra, who has two pets — a labrador (Ginger) and a white  golden retriever (Cookie), says, “We follow a very simple routine every day. After our morning walk, I use anti-bacterial spray on their paws. I add extra virgin coconut oil to their food for better coat quality and relief from dry skin. I bathe them once in 15 days with shampoo and conditioner suitable for their skin. I also brush their coat and teeth every day.”

BATH TIME HAS TO BE FUN
Pets are like children, so you have to take care of all their needs. “Unlike a lot of other dogs, my pets hate water. Hence bath time has to be very creative so that they don’t get too anxious. I keep bacon treats in my pocket which I keep giving them during bath time. Their favourite toys are also a part of their bathing routine. I let them play with water first, so that they become a little comfortable. They like the hand shower spray, so I use that first to spray water on them. They jump and play with it and then I start the bathing routine,” says Mishra.

She follows proper guidance while grooming her pets. Since dogs have their nerves in their nails, and Mishra is not an expert, she doesn’t do their nails. “Both my kids hate nail clipping, so I leave it to the experts. Also, I do not trim their hair, however, I would like to try if the need arises,” she says.

SHARING THE TRIMMER
Another pet parent Debmalya Mitra, who has a miniature dachshund (Feetoo) and a cocker spaniel (Bambi), says, “My wife grooms our pets at home. It is only when we have to make them look their best, maybe during a party or an event, we take them to the salon. That said, they are very sensitive about their nails, however, we do trim their hair. I use the same trimming machine that I use for shaving as we do not have specific products for them.”

To help them stay cool and comfortable in summer, Mitra keeps the AC running at home, and gives them a bath with shampoo and conditioner. Mitra’s pets love to take a bath, so there’s no struggle with that.

To get their nails done, he is taking the vet’s help during the lockdown.

ORAL HYGIENE AND MORE
Your pet’s oral hygiene is very important as they lick and bite when they play with you. “After every meal, we wash their mouth properly. They allow us to put our hand into their mouth, then we clean their teeth and gums to ensure that there is no food particle stuck inside their teeth. We started this habit ever since we brought them home,” says Mitra adding that he gives them chew sticks and breath freshers as well.

However while taking your dog for a walk, make sure that they do not get ticks at this moment. “One can use a tablet or ask their vet to prescribe them one which takes care of ticks for about six to seven months,” adds Mitra.

EXPERT SPEAK
What pet parents need to keep in mind
Himanshu Kulkarni, a professional pet trainer, says that initially, food was a major concern as none of the pet food stores  were open during the lockdown. So, we started preparing all the meals at home. But now, it is a big relief as we are getting supplies, however, there are no discounts.

“The second concern at this time are grooming services. They are still not open and many pet parents are not able to give their pets a bath at home as they are not well equipped. Parents with big and furry dogs are facing a lot of problem,” he says adding that a lot of dogs in India face skin issues.

They need special bathing products which is quite difficult to source in this period. Also, due to heat, dogs with a thick coat must be shedding a lot which can mess up the home and may require cleaning often.

Giving some tips, Kulkarni says, “It is important to give your pet a bath once in every 15 days and dry him/ her very well. Also, remember that all dogs have some sort of oil on their skin, so if you give them a bath frequently, the oil will disappear and lead to skin problems.”

Nail trimming needs expertise
“Nail trimming must be done by professionals only, as the nails contain blood vessels and blood nerves. So unless you have good knowledge about which part to trim and how to trim, do not attempt it. However, for teeth cleaning, if one can’t brush them, dental sticks are the easiest options,” says Kulkarni.

He also suggests cleaning the back and ear of your dogs. He brushes his dogs daily to remove dead hair. It makes them feel light and also helps in blood circulation.

Make them comfortable
In order to make grooming a fun experience for dogs, make them feel comfortable. They are extremely touch sensitive, which makes grooming a challenge. To eliminate it, you need to start with the ‘handling’ method. Paws, tails and hind legs are the sensitive areas. Start with the handshake command. It’s not just a fun thing but also a way to teach them that they can share their body part as delicate as the paws with people and trust them.

Kulkarni adds, “As dogs age, they become more sensitive. Therefore, I would not suggest grooming them at home if s/he is not comfortable. Pushing them beyond their limits could be a traumatic experience for them.”

It is always great to seek professional help for your pet’s grooming needs. But this can only happen after the lockdown eases. But if you like, you can always groom your dog at home as it helps you to bond better with your pet.

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