Regular grooming is essential to help keep your pet looking and feeling their best. Mat- and tangle-free fur, moisturized skin, and appropriately trimmed nails can boost your pet’s mood and their health. Learn how to perform these essential grooming tasks and more by reading The Pet Resort at Stone Ridge team’s guide to planning your pet’s s-paw day, and keep your four-legged friend happy and healthy.

How to bathe your pet at home

Many pets are frightened of baths because of slippery surfaces, powerful sprays, and loud dryers. Before you bathe your pet, prep your bathroom to provide a comfortable, pleasant bathing experience. Place a nonslip mat in the tub, set shampoo within reach, and run the water at a comfortably warm—not hot—temperature. Before bathing your pet, you should brush them well to remove loose and matted fur and dead skin.

Acclimate your pet to the running water’s sound before placing them in the tub. Offer your pet high-value treats to help them form a positive association with the bathtub. Try spreading peanut butter or spraying cheese on the side of the bathtub. This strategy often easily distracts many dogs. 

Once your pet is in the bathtub, saturate their fur with water, taking care to avoid spraying at their face. Next, work shampoo into their coat. Use a washcloth to wipe around their eyes, nose, ears, and muzzle. Take the time to give your pet a massage as you work the shampoo into a lather, and they’ll appreciate this grooming task more.

If your pet’s shampoo is a two-in-one product that also contains conditioner, let it sit for a few minutes before rinsing thoroughly. Some pets, particularly ones with thick double coats or skin issues, may require two sudsing rounds. Ensure you rinse your pet’s fur thoroughly to remove every trace of shampoo.

Once you’ve rinsed your pet, allow them to shake off excess water before starting to dry them. Rub them down with a towel until you’ve removed as much water as possible. If your pet will tolerate it, you can further dry them with a hair dryer on a low, warm setting. Ensure you dry your pet’s fur thoroughly because if you don’t, they can develop skin problems. Pay special attention to drying your pet’s armpits and the insides of their ears.

How to trim your pet’s nails at home

Trimming your pet’s nails can be a troublesome chore if your four-legged friend does not appreciate mani-pedis. Many pets do not like having their paws and toes manipulated, but tasty treats and a slow, steady hand go a long way toward easing your pet’s fears and making a nail trim a paw-sitive experience. 

To prepare for your pet’s nail trim, use nail clippers that are easy for you to grip, and grab a handful of your pet’s favorite treats. Have a family member gently hold your pet still, ideally placing a hand behind your furry pal’s elbow or above their hock to help hold the leg out. Grasp the paw in your nondominant hand, using the thumb and forefinger to isolate a toe. Apply gentle pressure to extend a cat’s claw. Slide your finger up to push the skin and fur away from a dog’s toenail. Find the toenail’s curve, which is generally where the quick—the nerve and blood vessel core—ends, and clip right above the straight portion. Following this strategy should enable you to avoid cutting the quick, causing pain and bleeding. You can typically see the pink quick in white nails, but you have to look for a white ring in black nails as you slowly clip small portions away.

During the nail trim, your helper can administer treats to your pet to reward them for holding still, or as a distraction. When you are done with the nail trim, reward your pet with their favorite treat, toy, or game.

How to express your pet’s anal glands at home

Although most pets express their anal glands naturally while defecating, some cats and dogs require assistance. Depending on your pet, they may need their anal glands expressed every eight weeks, every three months, or as needed.

Gather your supplies first. You’ll need paper towels, disposable gloves, a washcloth or baby wipes, and a partner. Have your partner support your pet under their abdomen, because your pet will likely want to sit once you start. 

Lift your pet’s tail to expose their anus. Place the forefinger and thumb of your dominant hand on each side of the anus at the 4 o’clock and 8 o’clock positions. Hold a wad of paper towels in your hand, covering the anus. Begin expressing the glands by pushing in and up in gentle pulses. Do not simply squeeze the glands. The fluid can come out forcefully, so ensure the paper towels are in place to catch the discharge. Continue milking the glands until they are empty, then clean your pet thoroughly—a perfect time to practice your bathing skills!

If you are unable or unwilling—because anal glands can smell horrific—to provide your pet’s s-paw day at home, schedule your furry pal’s grooming appointment with our Pet Resort at Stone Ridge team.