Cats, for the most part, groom themselves, so for many cat owners, grooming isn’t something that comes to mind when they think of regular cat care. But cleaning your cat’s ears may be one aspect of the grooming process you want to reconsider. Here’s why it’s so important and how you can do it yourself!
Why Do My Cat’s Ears Need to Be Cleaned?
Cats generally do a good job of cleaning their own ears, but sometimes they need help. Older cats have trouble reaching certain spots of their body, which may include the top of their head, so the assistance can be appreciated. Other cats may not have learned proper grooming as kittens and could neglect to clean their ears. Some kitties need extra assistance with ear cleaning if they suffer from ear problems.
Even if your cat is young, healthy, and has no problem grooming, checking her ears and doing the occasional clean can help you spot issues before they come serious and prevent others from occurring.
What to Look for While Cleaning Your Cat’s Ears
Cleaning your cat’s ears is an excellent opportunity to check that they are in good health. If you notice any problems or anything unusual, call your veterinarian right away.
These are some things you should be on the lookout for:
- Ear pain
- Scratching or irritation
- Odd smells
- Masses around the ear
- Excessive head shaking
- Ear obstructions
- Scabs around the ear
These signs and symptoms could point to issues like ear mites, an ear infection, or something else. Your vet can diagnose and treat the issue.
How Often to Clean Your Cat’s Ears
Unless your vet recommends doing it more or less frequently, you can tackle this task about once a month.
What You Need to Clean Cat Ears
You don’t need much to clean your cat’s ears!
- Cat ear-cleaning solution as recommended by your veterinarian – You can purchase this through your veterinarian or at a pet store. It should be stored at room temperature.
- Cotton balls – Have these ready if you plan to clean the outside of your cat’s ears.
- A towel – This is useful to wrap your pet in, so he’s more comfortable with the process. Alternatively, you can recruit a second person to hold your cat still.
- Treats – These are never a bad idea!
Vet Tip: Never use Q-tips® on the inside of your cat’s ears. Just like for humans, they can cause more issues for your cat or damage his eardrum.
How to Clean Your Cat’s Ears
Cleaning your furry friend’s ears can be a quick process, but it’s a good idea to do it while he’s sleepy or feeling extra affectionate. Many animals are not fans of having their ear’s touched, and cats are no exception.
The environment where you do it should be quiet and away from other animals and disturbances, like noisy children.
When you’re ready to get started, here is how to approach this task:
Make Sure You Need to Clean the Ear
First, check if your cat’s ears are in need of cleaning. You don’t need any supplies for this: Just hold the tip of the ear, and turn the ear flap so you can see into the ear canal. Pale pink is the sign of a clean ear. If you see earwax, debris, or dirt, it may be time to apply cleaner.
Hold Your Cat Still
Whether with a helper or a towel, it’s important to hold your cat still before you get started. Don’t grip too tightly, as this could cause stress. Instead, lightly hold him down or wrap him tightly—like a burrito—in the towel to prevent escape and ensure he remains still.
If your cat is visibly uncomfortable or fighting, try another time.
Apply the Ear Cleaner, and Massage The Ear
Once your cat is settled, it’s time to apply the ear cleaner. Do one ear at a time, follow the directions on the cleaning solution, and always use the recommended dose. Once the ear drops are in, gently massage your cat’s ear for about 30 seconds.
Close Your Mouth!
When you’ve finished cleaning your cat’s ears, let him go, and close your mouth and eyes. Cats tend to shake when they’re released. You don’t want any of the cleaner getting in your eyes or mouth!
Clean His Outer Ears
After you’ve applied the droplets, it’s time to clean the outside of your feline’s ears. You may want to complete this task right after applying your cat’s internal cleaner or at another time altogether. It depends on how your cat handled the first steps of the process.
Using a cotton ball, gently clean your cat’s ears, pulling away any debris, dirt, and ear wax.
Give Him Treats
After a job well done, treats are always deserved. This positive encouragement can make the next ear cleaning much easier as your cat starts to associate it with treats.
Why You May Want to Take Your Cat to a Professional Groomer
While grooming your cat’s ears is generally a simple process, you may want to consider taking him to a professional groomer instead. Schedule an appointment if your cat:
- Has had serious problems with ear mites, ear infections, or other ear-related issues in the past
- Has the tendency to not groom himself
- Displays skin or fur problems
- Gets violent or visibly stressed during the ear-cleaning process
Professional groomers are trained to look for health problems, even in your cat’s ears. They’re also comfortable working with cats that are anxious or stressed and know how to soothe them. If your furry friend doesn’t enjoy ear-cleaning sessions with you, you don’t want them associating that fear and stress with your company.
Cats are generally great self-groomers, but sometimes they need a bit of assistance. If you’d rather not tackle this grooming process yourself, get in touch with one of Cinco Ranch Veterinary Hospitals professional groomers! Each is trained to care for your pet, look for potential health problems, and send him home to you looking his best. Call 281-693-7387 to schedule an appointment.
Your cat licking himself is a normal part of grooming, but if he’s constantly cleaning or is licking the same spot over and over, it could point to a bigger problem. Find out why this behavior is so bad for your cat and how you can help him.
Why Excessive Licking Is Bad for Your Cat
Grooming is an absolutely normal behavior for a cat, and it’s a must for his overall health. If he crosses over into excessive grooming, it could become a serious issue for him, causing hair loss or skin irritation, and making him more susceptible to injuries.
The abnormal behavior almost always points to another, underlying issue, which can sometimes be serious. It’s important to get to the bottom of it as quickly as possible to help your cat overcome his licking obsession.
There are several reasons a cat may excessively lick his fur or skin. Some are easier to treat than others, but a vet can diagnose the underlying problem.
Cause #1: Fleas
Fleas and other parasites are no fun for your furry friend and can be tough to get rid of if allowed to get out of control. One sign your cat may have fleas is excessive or frantic licking because these parasites can cause itchiness, swollen spots, and other irritations from their bites.
There are other signs of a flea infestation. Here’s what you should be on the lookout for:
- Flea dirt – This is actually flea poop. You can find it by looking for brown or black flakes in your cat’s fur or on spots where he spends time laying or sitting.
- Flea eggs – They look like white circles, and, just like flea dirt, you can find them in the fur or on the floor.
- Sneezing – Some cats are allergic to flea saliva!
- Constant scratching
- Restlessness or lethargy
- Hair loss
- Small black or red insects on your cat – These are the fleas!
How to Help Your Cat
You can help control your cat’s obsessive licking due to fleas by controlling the fleas themselves. Allowing a flea infestation to continue can result in even more issues for your cat, such as worms or anemia. It’s important to get control of the parasites as quickly as you discover them.
If you notice any of the signs above, use a flea comb on your cat. Running it through his fur can help you find flea eggs, flea dirt, and even the fleas themselves, so you can confirm the problem.
If you discover there are fleas, there are plenty of options regarding medication and relief for your pet. Some topical medicines will provide month long relief and prevention, while others may be shorter and only work for 24 hours. There are also soaps and other products you can use to prevent fleas from living on your cat or in your home. Talk to your veterinarian about the best options.
Cause #2: Stress or a Compulsive Personality
Some cats require more exercise than others. Other cats become anxious easily. Stress, boredom, and compulsiveness can all result in excessive licking for your kitty. Causes of stress or anxiety include:
- Lack of exercise
- Lack of interaction
- Changes in the environment – Such as a move or a new baby
How to Help Your Cat
When the underlying cause of excessive grooming is stress, boredom, or a compulsive personality, the remedy depends on the exact issue. If he’s bored and licking (psychogenic alopecia):
- Extend playtime
- Purchase new toys
- Add a cat tree to the window
- Get puzzle toys that keep him entertained and rewarded with treats
If your cat is home alone most of the time, you may also want to consider adding another pet to the family. Loneliness can result in boredom and compulsive behaviors. Before you do, weigh the situation carefully, and make sure a new pet is the right solution for your whole family and your current cat. A new family member could cause the stress to get worse.
To ease stress, make sure your cat is comfortable and loved. If there are changes occurring, like a move or a new baby, calm your cat with treats. There are also calming products available, like special treats and scents, that can help a cat that’s feeling stress or dealing with changes at home. Your vet can direct you to their recommendations.
Cause #3: Environmental or Food Allergies
Just like people, cats can have allergies! Their skin can get itchy, resulting in obsessive licking. Your cat could be allergic to something in his diet or something within the home. Common allergens are:
- Prescriptions medications
- Cleaning products
How to Help Your Cat
First, to stop your cat’s excessive licking from allergies, you need to find the root cause. If food is the suspect, cut that food out of his diet for six weeks. It may take some trial and error to find the culprit. Ask your veterinarian for advice on how to approach your cat’s new diet.
Some cats are affected by their environments. Cleaning your home regularly (with tolerable cleaning products), vacuuming, dusting, and changing your HVAC’s air filter can help.
Cause #4: An Underlying Health Problem
Excessive licking can point to a number of other health problems, from dry skin to pain. For example, cold weather in winter can result in dry, irritated skin (just like for people!), or the area may be causing your cat some discomfort from another health issue, like cystitis (inflammation of the bladder).
How to Help Your Cat
If the cause of your cat’s licking isn’t obvious, like fleas, take him to a vet. Health issues like cystitis can be life-threatening if not treated, while other problems—like wounds—can become worse without medication.
Generally, if your cat is licking himself excessively, it’s a good idea to bring him to your vet. Your veterinarian can talk to you about your cat’s behaviors and help you pinpoint the exact cause of the issue. They may recommend behavior changes or medication, like steroids, antibiotics, topical solutions, or antihistamines, to help control the discomfort. No matter the cause, seeing a veterinarian could finally help your cat find relief from the constant itchiness.
If your cat is displaying symptoms like excessive licking, it’s important to schedule an appointment with a veterinarian to rule out any serious causes. You can get to the bottom of this compulsive behavior by visiting Cinco Ranch Veterinary Hospital in Katy, TX. Give us a call at 281-593-7387 to schedule an appointment!
Grooming your dog can sound like a daunting process, especially at home, but it’s an important aspect of dog ownership. If you’re ready to get in the bath with your pup, give her a new hairstyle, and/or trim her nails, these tips for grooming will help!
If you’re not comfortable grooming your dog at home, we offer professional grooming services at Cinco Ranch Veterinary Hospital in Katy, TX. Our experienced groomers can trim, style, cut nails, brush, bathe, clean ears, and more! To schedule your appointment, reach us at 251-693-7387.
Why Does My Dog Need to Be Groomed?
There are several reasons your dog should be groomed regularly. It’s a must for her health, well-being, and your carpets. Just what type of grooming your dog requires depends on her skin and fur, but here are some reasons it should be done:
- Prevents matting
- Removes dead skin
- Distributes natural oils to keep coat and skin in good condition
- Keeps you on the lookout for fleas, infections, and lumps and bumps that could indicate other health problems
- Reduces stress
- Keeps her comfortable in certain climates and temperatures
- Helps her paws and ears stay in healthy condition
- Reduce the amount your dog sheds
In addition to all of these, regular grooming also keeps your dog looking her best!
How Often Should I Groom My Dog?
How often you wash and trim your pup depends on a few things:
- Her breed
- How much she sheds
- Her coat
- Her activity – Active dogs tend to get dirtier!
- The climate in which you live – Long-haired dogs in our climate may need to be trimmed more often to stay cool.
And while you may have a long-haired dog that needs to be brushed daily, it doesn’t mean you have to go through the entire grooming process each day. Over time, you’ll learn just how often your dog needs a spa treatment.
We generally recommend completing a standard grooming regimen about once a month. If you have a puppy, it’s a good idea to start getting her used to a grooming schedule early on, so she’s less anxious about the process as she grows up!
What You Need to Groom Your Dog
Grab these items before you start!
- Dog nail clippers – Never use human nail clippers! They’re not designed for dogs’ nails and could cause harm.
- Scissors or dog clippers
- Brush – If your dog has longer fur, you may need specialized tools.
- Leash and collar (optional)
- Dog shampoo
- Treats – Give your pup treats throughout the entire grooming process to keep her comfortable and happy!
How to Groom Your Dog at Home
Once you have your materials nearby, follow this step-by-step guide to get your dog looking its best (skipping any steps that don’t apply to your dog because of the criteria above):
Brush Her Fur
This is the first of a few maintenance tasks you’ll need to complete before you head to the bath. A good brush-through will make bathing and trimming much easier, but also remove loose hair. Your bath drain will thank you!
If you find a tangle, try brushing it out gently. If it has become a mat, it may be best to cut it out to avoid discomfort for your dog. If you can’t cut it out without hurting your dog—or feel uncomfortable doing so, take her to a professional dog groomer.
Trim Her Nails
Just like grooming, your dog’s nails should be trimmed once a month. If you’re not sure how to complete this task, check out our easy, step-by-step guide!
Now that she’s brushed through and her nails are trimmed, it’s time to get your pup in the bath. You’ll want to have all the items you need nearby now because you don’t want to be running around the house grabbing towels with a wet dog trying to escape the tub. It’s also a good idea to have a non-slip mat or surface in your tub, so your dog is as comfortable as possible.
Once you’re ready, here’s how to give your dog a bath:
Step 1: Turn on the water from the shower head facing away from your dog at first to ensure you don’t accidentally shock or burn her with cold or hot water. The water’s temperature should be lukewarm.
(Optional Step): Consider leashing your dog to the wall with a suction cup to prevent her from moving too much.
Step 2: Run the lukewarm water over her fur and skin, avoiding her ears and head.
Step 3: Apply the dog shampoo to her fur. Start from her neck, and move downward using your hands to get it through her thick fur and to her skin.
Step 4: Use shampoo on her head, but carefully avoiding her eyes and ears. Use a towel to wipe off her face if it gets wet.
Step 5: Rinse your pup with the shower head until all the dirt, shampoo, and debris leaves her fur.
Step 6: Dry your dog while she’s still in the tub to avoid a wet dog running around the house! Some dogs may require a blow dryer, but be careful to use the cool setting if you go this route. If your dog is uncomfortable with the loud noise, let her air dry after rubbing her down with towels.
Trim Your Dog
Once your pup is dry, it’s time to start the trim! Not all dogs need to be clipped; it depends on her fur and breed. How you trim your dog also depends on your pet’s fur, but these steps can be a general guideline.
Step 1: Secure your dog. It’s essential she doesn’t move around a lot during her trim, so make sure she’s in an area where she’s comfortable, on a leash, and secure.
Step 2: Start the process at her neck, and work downward, just like bathtime, saving her legs for last.
Step 3: Brush against the direction of the fur.
Step 4: Run the scissors or clippers in the direction of the fur to trim her hair.
Use extra care around her neck, genitals, anus, tail, Achilles’ tendons, armpits, legs, and face. Be patient, and take your time to avoid accidents.
Vet Tip: We sometimes see even careful owners accidentally injuring their dogs when they attempt to trim their fur. We recommend bringing your pup in to see us for professional grooming to make sure she stays safe and gets the cut you want!
Once you’ve finished grooming your dog, treats are essential! Reward your good pup handsomely for her stellar behavior.
Why You May Want to Take Your Dog to a Professional Groomer
You can save money by grooming your dog at home, but there are real benefits to taking your dog to a professional groomer instead.
They Have Experience
Professional dog groomers have all the experience and tools they need on hand to get your dog looking her best. This is great to rely on if you’re not comfortable trimming your pup or she’s anxious about the process. Groomers know how to handle anxious dogs.
They Know What to Look for Regarding Your Dog’s Health
Ticks and fleas can be visible to dog owners most of the time, but having a professional groomer go over your dog’s fur and skin can help detect problems before they get worse. Groomers are trained to look for:
- Dry skin
- Ear and eye problems
- Fleas and ticks
- Hot spots
- Other irritations
They Bond with Your Dog
Because of their extensive experience, dog groomers know how to bond with all kinds of dogs. When your pup builds a relationship with her groomer, she may look forward to a trip to the groomer!
It Saves You Time and Effort
There’s no doubt grooming your dog can take quite a bit of time and energy. Between prepping her, getting the bath ready, and cleaning up, it can be a several-hour affair. Dropping your dog off at the groomer’s frees up your day!
They Can Give Your Dog a Great Look
Professional groomers also have the experience to give your dog a great look. If you’re after a special look or want to have your pup comfortable during the hot summer, your groomer knows exactly how to achieve that trim or style.
Grooming at home can be quite the process, but it can also be a great bonding activity for you and your pet! If you or your dog is anxious about any part of the process, you can always do what you can at home, then have a professional groomer finish up. Whatever you decide, bathtime, trims, and nail clips are essential to your dog’s overall health and well-being, so don’t skip them!
Ready to meet our professional groomers? They can maintain your pet’s style, give her a haircut, get rid of those nasty mats, or just trim her nails. To schedule an appointment, give us a call at 281-693-7387.
Many haircuts for cats are for their comfort, but who says your kitty can’t be comfortable and stylish! Check out these unique haircuts for cats.
1. Lion Cut
Perhaps the most well-known of all haircuts for cats is the lion cut. Mostly done on long-haired breeds, it gives the household cat the appearance of its cousin, the lion. Your kitty will be shaved, except for her:
- Tip of the tail
This leaves a mane and tufted tail, just like the well-known Big Cat.
While it looks adorable, this cut has plenty of purpose. Long-haired cat breeds are prone to matting. Even with routine brushing, mats can occur, especially in hard-to-reach places like her lower back and stomach. Mats can be extremely uncomfortable for your cat as they tighten and pull on her skin. As your cat ages, she’ll become less flexible, so mats will be more common. If your cat absolutely hates the brush, a lion cut is almost a necessity.
In these hot Katy summers, this cut does wonders for keeping your kitty cool!
Two common breeds that often get the lion cut are Maine coons and Persians.
2. Comb Cut
A comb cut is very similar to a lion cut, but instead of shaving, the fur is trimmed extremely short in the same pattern.
It can perform the same tricks, cutting back on the amount of mats in your cat’s fur while also reducing shedding and hairballs.
If your cat is prone to skin problems, this cut allows you to easily inspect her while she stays comfortable!
3. Panther Cut
In the opposite direction of the lion and comb cuts is the panther cut. Your groomer will shave your cat almost completely, only leaving fur on her head and legs. Occasionally, the tip of the tail isn’t shaved either, but this depends on your style sensibility and your cat’s preference.
The panther cut is a solution for cats that are prone to extreme matting, especially on the back of the neck as they age.
4. Stripe Style
In the stripe style cut, your cat’s fur is left completely alone on her head, face, and tail. Her body is shaved, and her legs are half-shaved. This gives her the appearance of wearing snow boots and a Santa beard! You can also choose to trim your kitty’s fur close to the skin rather than shaving.
This look is a great choice for cats that overheat or mat easily.
5. Enhanced Pattern Cut
Does your cat have a unique pattern? While cutting down on hairballs, this trim really brings out the natural colors and pattern of your kitty. Stripes especially pop! If your cat has long hair, check out an enhanced pattern cut! Want to highlight a specific pattern or color on your cat, ask your groomer to trim along the pattern line!
6. Egyptian Cut
If you own an Abyssinian, you probably know her breed originated in Egypt. Sometimes long fur can change her unique appearance, even if she’s generally short haired. An Egyptian cut, which is a trim, brings back that look her breed is well known for!
7. Dinosaur or Dragon Cut
Lion cuts and comb cuts are very popular choices for cats, but if you want to mix it up a bit while still helping your kitty reduce mats and hairballs, go for the dinosaur cut! It serves all the health purposes of the lion cut while keeping your kitty stylish.
This unique look is also known as the:
- Dragon cut
- Stegosaurus cut
- Mohawk cut
8. Teddy Bear Trim
A teddy bear trim is a complex look for cats that should only be done by a professional groomer. The fur has to be prepared perfectly, which means proper cleaning and trimming with the right equipment.
In this look, also known as a comb trim or the cat’s pajama trim, the fur is trimmed an inch or less, (depending on the type of cat you have) with the fur around her face and tail customized to look its best.
This trim is a low-maintenance option for cat owners, while also providing benefits like less shedding and fewer hairballs. It’s also a great choice if you’re not a fan of the more extreme options, like a lion cut.
These are some of the most popular, yet unique haircuts for cats. They have true benefits for kitties, especially if yours has longer hair or is prone to hairballs, mats, or extreme shedding. And they’re great for preventing overheating in high temperatures like we have.
If you’re interested in getting a unique haircut for your cat, take her to a professional groomer! Cats can get a bit feisty when groomed, and you want your furry friend to stay safe and stylish. Ready to schedule an appointment for your kitty, or want some insight into the best cut for your cat? Give Cinco Ranch Vet a call at 281-693-7387.
Trimming your cat’s nails doesn’t sound like a fun chore, does it? Most cats won’t let you touch their paws, let alone trim their nails! But it’s something that needs to be done for your cat’s overall health and comfort.
Here are some tips for how to get started, followed by a step-by-step guide to getting those claws to the right length. (And if you’re a dog owner too, check out our step-by-step guide to trimming their nails!)
Why Trimming Your Cat’s Nails Is Important
Scratch posts, boxes, cat trees, and your furniture only go so far in keeping your cat’s nails short, sadly. This means you have to regularly trim their nails. Without trimming, long claws could lead to serious problems, like turning in on the pads, creating pain and a potential infection.
Keeping your cat’s nails trimmed can also lead to more comfort for you. There’s nothing cuter than a cat kneading your leg, but it can quickly turn to an “ouch” moment if they catch you with one of those needles. Longer claws also make it easier to scratch during play, rip up the carpet, or tear apart the couch.
Just trimming the tips can make a world of difference for you and your furbaby. How often you should trim your cat’s claws varies and depends on how fast they grow. We recommend you check them every two weeks, though older cats may need to be checked once a week.
If you don’t feel comfortable checking or trimming your cat’s nails, or your cat just won’t cooperate, give us a call at 281-693-7387, and we’ll happily schedule an appointment!
Materials You Need
Everything you need to trim your cat’s nails can be found online or at your local pet store. Here are just a few things you should have handy:
- Nail Clippers
- Styptic powder or styptic pencil
For cats, you have two choices when it comes to nail clippers:
Scissor clippers, which use a scissor motion, are a great choice if you’re new to nail trimming or just need to trim the tip of the nail.
Use guillotine clippers for thicker or tougher nails. They work by sliding the claw into a slot, where a blade cuts it.
In most cases, scissor clippers will get the job done.
Styptic powder is essential in case you make a mistake while trimming your cat’s nails. If you cut too far, the powder or pencil can stop the bleeding. Always have this on hand before attempting to cut your kitty’s claws.
And treats are always a good idea! They can help your cat relax and start to enjoy their regular manicures.
Note: Never use human nail clippers on cats or dogs. Human nail clippers are not designed for the shape of animals’ nails and could lead to injury.
Your First Few Times…
The Internet is a wonderful place for learning how to trim your cat’s nails, and so are we! You should always watch someone who knows what they’re doing trim an animal’s claws before you attempt to do it yourself. YouTube videos are a great place to start, but you may also want to ask one of our expert groomers for advice before getting started.
Always ensure your cat is comfortable before starting with the trim. We highly recommend you start slowly. In the beginning, this may mean just getting your cat comfortable with you touching their paws and the sound of the clippers. Once they relax, you may then only be able to get one nail done before they get uncomfortable. This is okay. Never try to cut a cat’s nails while they are stressed, anxious, or uncomfortable. It could lead to accidents or injury.
Once your cat is more comfortable with the procedure, you may want to try to do a paw a day until they can sit still for all four. Always have treats on hand to reward them, especially when you’re starting out.
If you can, try trimming your cat’s nails when they are still a kitten. Starting early can be much easier for you and your cat.
Steps to Trim Your Cat’s Nails
When both you and your cat are ready, it’s time to trim their nails.
Step 1: Hold your cat.
Hold your cat in your lap, facing away from you. Only continue to the next step if they are comfortable.
Step 2: Massage the paw.
Take your kitty’s paw into your hand, and slowly massaging it. Press the pad lightly to extend the claws. Determine which nails need to be trimmed.
Step 3: Find the quick.
This is the pink part of the nail, where all the blood and vessels are contained. Avoid cutting this part. You may want to trim less than usual just to be on the safe side.
Note: If you accidentally cut the quick, use the styptic powder immediately. Hold it to the cut nail, and stop trimming for the day. If you’re nervous about how much you cut the quick, you can always make an appointment for the vet.
Step 4: Clip!
Clip the nails using either your scissor clippers or guillotine clippers.
Step 5: Treat!
Bring out the treats! Even if you only managed to get one nail trimmed before they grew uncomfortable, they should still get a few. Treats can help reduce the stress of the procedure.
When to Take Your Cat to A Professional Groomer or Vet
Trimming your cat’s nails can be quite an adventure, especially if it’s the first few times and they aren’t yet comfortable. If you don’t feel confident that you can trim your cat’s nails or your cat isn’t relaxing after a few weeks of attempts, you should absolutely schedule regular appointments with your veterinarian or professional groomer.
If your cat’s nails ever reach the point of affecting how they walk, it’s important to make an appointment with your vet as soon as possible. Your cat will be in pain and may require antibiotics.
Keeping your cat’s nails trimmed and well taken care of is essential to your pet’s health. Scratching posts are simply not enough to do the job! If you are struggling with trimming your cat’s nails and they’re getting long, it may be time to make an appointment. Call us at 281-693-7387 to schedule one!
Two straightforward reasons dogs need baths are:
- They just came home from the dog park, covered in mud.
- They need medication.
But there are many more. Maybe you’re the lucky owner whose pup just loves the tub!
Besides water, there’s one thing you always need at bath time: shampoo. There are a lot of dog shampoos out there, though. How do you know which is best for your pup?
We’ve got you covered!
Check out the list of shampoos we recommend and use on dogs at Cinco Ranch Veterinary Hospital. You can buy each of these online, but we have them all at our office as well. Feel free to purchase a bottle during your next visit!
Your Dog Has Normal Skin
1. Desert Almond Shampoo
For dogs with normal (non-itchy) skin, we highly recommend Desert Almond Shampoo by Groomer’s Edge. We use it on the pups that board with us or see our groomers and don’t require medicated shampoo. Oatmeal-based and full of vitamins, it’s extremely gentle and will leave your dog’s fur soft and shining.
Desert Almond Shampoo is a perfect choice for most dogs, especially after trips to the dog park when they’re covered in dozens of unidentifiable odors. Your furbaby will emerge from the tub clean and smelling like almonds.
Desert Almond is also a great choice for cats! You can find a 16-ounce bottle on Amazon or at our office.
Your Dog Has Itchy Skin
If your pup suffers from itchy skin, we highly recommend using a medicated shampoo. Itchiness can lead to more complications, such as:
- Skin irritation
Before you use a medicated product, bring your dog in for an appointment to get to the bottom of the itchies. We’ll be able to tell if it’s allergies, fleas, or something else. And we’ll find the best shampoo for your pup’s condition.
The shampoos below are the medicated products we use for dogs that come to our groomers suffering from:
2. DOUXO® Calm Shampoo
DOUXO Calm Shampoo is a regular choice at Cinco Ranch Veterinary Hospital. A medicated, soap-free shampoo, it’s perfect for dogs that suffer from allergic dermatitis, pruritus, or have sensitive skin.
The formula is simple:
- Plant extracts that moisturize your pup’s skin
- Phytosphingosine – It sounds complicated, but its job is straightforward: Promote a healthy skin barrier.
Are you more of a cat person? DOUXO Calm is good for them as well!
3. DOUXO Chlorhexidine PS Shampoo
Also part of the DOUXO line, another dog shampoo we recommend is Chlorhexidine PS. As with Calm, it is a medicated, soap-free shampoo, but it’s meant for more severe skin irritations and conditions. The ingredients allow for treatment of bacterial and malassezia skin infections and can help control:
Long-lasting, Chlorhexidine PS can help keep your pup comfortable and prevent their skin from losing moisture or drying out.
We highly recommend treating itchy skin with shampoo that won’t irritate your pet, and DOUXO Chlorhexidine PS is a great choice for managing certain conditions.
4. DOUXO Seborrhea Shampoo
DOUXO Seborrhea is a shampoo we use for dogs that suffer from seborrheic conditions, such as seborrheic dermatitis—better known as “greasy dandruff.” Exactly like it sounds, seborrheic dermatitis can give your furbaby dandruff with fur that appears and feels greasy. It’s a chronic condition, so it’s nice to give your pet some relief. In addition to reducing these symptoms, DOUXO Seborrhea can prevent comebacks of the dermatitis and reduce inflammation, as well as moisturize, helping to repair the skin barrier.
DOUXO Seborrhea works great for dogs, but it also has a benefit for humans! It controls sebum production. Sebum is a major cause of dog allergies in humans. If anyone in your home or any of your friends are allergic to your pet, this shampoo could be the perfect addition to the bath as it eliminates excess sebum.
DOUXO Seborrhea is most commonly used for greasy dandruff in both cats and dogs, but it can also be used to treat:
- Mixed seborrhea
- Seborrhea sicca
- Seborrhea oleosa
You can find DOUXO Seborrhea in three ways:
Why Medicated Shampoos Are Important
If your dog suffers from itchy skin, whether from allergic dermatitis or something more serious, it may be time to see the vet. Some breeds, such as Labrador retrievers and Basset Hounds, are more prone to skin conditions, such as greasy dandruff, which makes treatment a must. We can help diagnose your pet’s issue and offer ways to reduce their inflammation, discomfort, and symptoms, making your pup much more comfortable.
Even though medicated shampoos and regular baths with them can help many skin irritations and conditions, we know not all owners feel comfortable or are physically able to give their dogs baths. We also know that some dogs really dislike getting them!
That’s why our groomers are perfectly happy to take care of bath time for you. For pets with skin irritations, we use the three medicated shampoos we recommended above, depending on the animal’s condition:
- DOUXO Calm Shampoo
- DOUXO Seborrhea Shampoo
- DOUXO Chlorhexidine PS Shampoo
For dogs without skin irritations, we regularly use Desert Almond Shampoo.
If you’d like to schedule a grooming appointment for your dog or would like to get to the bottom of your pet’s skin condition, don’t hesitate to call us at 281-693-7387!
Everyone knows dogs need baths, especially after a trip to the dog park or a romp in the backyard.
But do cats?
You may not realize your feline fur baby needs a bath from time to time. Giving your cat a bath and living to tell the tale might sound impossible. It’s not!
Here’s exactly why bath time is important and how to do it.
4 Reasons Bath Time Matters for Cats
There are a few reasons why your cat may need a good cleaning now and again or more regularly.
1. Your cat doesn’t groom itself.
Even though cats are programmed to groom themselves, some are not so good at it, especially if they get into dirty or dusty places. They may have greasy or stained spots on their coat that they’re just not taking care of. For long-haired cats, it’s especially tough to keep up with all the grooming required!
Still, most cats are good at cleaning themselves. If you notice your cat isn’t grooming itself, there may be a medical reason. Obese and arthritic cats, for example, have a hard time reaching their lower backs. This causes the hair to become matted and, in turn, irritates the skin. Cats with mouth disease or tumors also have no interest in grooming themselves due to the pain.
If your cat has suddenly stopped grooming, call us. It may be time for a trip to the vet to check for an underlying cause.
2. Your cat has fleas.
No cat wants to have fleas, and neither do you! A flea infestation should be handled immediately. Sometimes a bath can help remove the little pests, the flea dirt, and the eggs.
Most flea medications kill fleas, but if an infestation is particularly bad or your cat suffers from a flea allergy, a bath can provide immediate relief. There are also soaps specifically designed to help relieve your cat of these pesky critters.
For fleas, make sure you talk to your vet about the available medications, treatments, and shampoos.
3. Something is stuck to your cat’s coat.
Cats are notoriously curious, and sometimes that leads them into sticky situations—literally! If your kitty wanders outdoors, it can easily come home covered in tree sap, motor oil, or other items. Or your curious critter got into the syrup, honey, or another sticky food in the kitchen!
Even small spots of something stuck in fur may be impossible (and unhealthy) for your cat to get out on its own. For your cat’s health, it’s important to remove whatever substance is in the coat as quickly as possible.
If you suspect your cat has consumed a foreign substance, make a trip to the vet to ensure it didn’t ingest too much, and it doesn’t need medical attention.
4. Your cat has ringworm.
Ringworm is not like hookworms or roundworm. It’s actually a fungus on the skin that appears as a lesion. These lesions sometimes disappear on their own, but treatment is occasionally needed. This could be a combination of:
- Topical creams
- Oral medications
It’s recommended you bathe your cat before applying the cream. Other times, your cat may be prescribed a medicated bath.
When is it time to schedule a visit to the vet? If your cat has a skin lesion with:
- No fur
- A scaly center
- Small pustules
4 Tips Before You Bathe!
Here are a few quick tips to keep in mind before you start gathering what you need!
1. Start young – Some cats, when introduced to water as kittens, grow to love the bathtub!
2. Brush regularly – Doing so in between baths can help your cat find relief, especially if it has long hair. Brushing removes dead hair, dead skin, and dirt, but also helps with blood circulation.
3. Do it for your cat – Even if your feline isn’t dealing with any of the issues listed above, regular baths help it maintain a healthy coat.
4. Read the bottle first – Certain pet shampoos and soaps are not made for kittens. If you’re not sure, ask your vet.
4 Items You Need for Bath Time + 4 More You’ll Probably Want
You’ll have to gather a few items as you prepare to give your cat its first bath. Here’s what you should have ready:
1. A Towel or Non-Slip Mat
This will protect your cat from the uncomfortable, slippery surface of the bathtub.
2. Pet Shampoo
Never use human shampoo or soaps on your pet. If you are unsure what brand to use, ask your vet for a recommendation before starting.
3. A Detachable Shower Head with Low Settings, a Bucket, or a Pitcher
4. More Towels
Have towels ready to dry your cat off after its bath.
Optional #1: A Laundry Basket
You may want to use the laundry basket inside the bathtub, to give your cat a more comfortable, secure area for bathing.
Optional #2: Gloves
If this is your cat’s first bath time, consider using gloves to prevent scratches. Long gloves are recommended. It may also be a good idea to trim your cat’s nails before bath time.
Optional #3: Treats
Baths can be stressful for some kitties! Treats could help yours relax.
Optional #4: A Helper
For cats that really don’t like baths, a helper may be a necessity. Someone the cat is comfortable with is always preferred.
How to Wash Your Cat
Now that you have all the items you need, it’s time to start the bath!
Fill about an inch or two of the bath with warm water. Ensure that it’s not too hot.
Put your kitty in the bath. If you’ve enlisted the help of a family member or friend and your cat is not happy, one of you should hold the cat while the other bathes him or her.
Pour (or use the shower head on a very low setting) the warm water over your cat, avoiding its head.
Lather your cat up with pet-friendly shampoo. Again, it’s important to avoid:
Rinse off your cat with warm water, either from the shower head or bucket. Make sure all the soap is off your cat.
Gently dry your cat using towels. If your cat is young, it may love being put in what is known as a “purrito!” This is similar to swaddling a baby.
Giving your cat a bath for the first time can be trying. That’s why it’s important to start as young as possible to ensure your furry friend is comfortable as it gets older. Whether for the benefit of their coat or their health, sometimes a bath for your cat is an absolute must.
If your cat is particularly adamant about not having a bath or you’re uncomfortable giving your pet a bath, it may be time to enlist the help of a professional groomer. We offer grooming services for both cats and dogs! Find more information here, or call 281-693-7387.
If you bring your dog to the groomers for their “regular,” are you really speaking to your furbaby’s style? People experiment with their hair; why can’t dogs? There are some unique and interesting hairdos out there for pooches; you’re sure to find what works best with your dog’s style!
Check out six of our favorite haircuts for cool dogs:
1. Teddy Bear
The Teddy Bear, also known as a Puppy Cut, is a fairly popular—definitely adorable—haircut for cool dogs. The end result of a “teddy” or “puppy” varies from groomer to groomer, but the general idea is your dog should look cute, cuddly, and puppy-like!
The Teddy Bear cut is for dogs with longer coats—often smaller dogs like:
- Shih tzus
If you have a ‘Teddy Bear’ dog, which is a mix between a shih tzu and a bichon frise, you have the absolute perfect dog for this look!
2. Lamb Cut
Picture a lamb in your mind. Don’t forget about the curls and the fluff! You’re imagining another popular, unique look for dogs.
In this haircut, your pup’s face and feet are shaved. Its tail may also be shaved, but that is up to the groomer and your preferences. The rest of your dog’s hair will generally be the same length throughout, resulting in a fluffy, lamb-like look.
The Lamb Cut is an extremely popular choice for poodles, as it is one of the cuts used for showing. But other dogs can enjoy this cool cut too! It works best on breeds with curly hair but can look trendy on a wide range of long-haired breeds if done correctly.
3. Lion Cut
The Lion Cut will definitely bring out your pup’s wild side!
Dating back to the 17th century, it was first used for working, fishing dogs in Portugal. The cut helped them weigh less, making it easier for them to swim and complete work without the burden of extra hair.
The cut is almost exactly as it sounds: Your pup’s torso, legs, and hindquarters are shaved, and its head and neck fur is left naturally long. The tail is also shaved—except for the burst of fur at the tip!
The Lion Cut is most commonly used for:
- Portuguese water dogs
It’s also a top choice for Pomeranians because their color closely resembles that of a lion. In fact, it’s so popular with this breed, that it’s also known as the Pomeranian Cut and can be used in AKC shows.
It’s best to ask your groomer’s advice before getting a lion cut for your dog! It isn’t right for every breed and does require regular maintenance and trims.
4. Top Knot
The Top Knot is another cool cut reserved for some lucky specific breeds. It requires a significant amount of hair on the top of the head to work properly. A good rule of thumb is if your dog has enough hair to cover its eyes, it has enough hair for a top knot.
A top knot is a ponytail made at the top of your dog’s head. It can be done for show or to ensure your pup has an easier time navigating its environment. It’s a great solution if your dog’s hair is constantly getting in its eyes, dragging on the floor, or falling into the water bowl.
The hair is generally held in place with a beautiful bow or barrette, but a hair tie can also be used. If your dog has plenty of hair, you may be able to make a hair bow—a literal bow of hair!
5. Asian Freestyle
The Asian Freestyle, also known as Japanese Grooming, Asian Fusion, or Asian Styling, is still fairly new to the United States. First becoming popular in the U.S. in 2014, the groom is originally from China, Japan, and Korea. The result varies from region to region, groomer to groomer, and dog to dog!
Asian Freestyle follows no real rules except to make your pup look adorable—like a stuffed dog. It’s frequently considered an art form, so the groomer and owner get artistic freedom. There are also no breed standards for this cool dog haircut!
Generally, dogs that get this haircut end up with extremely fluffy, columned legs that resemble bell-bottom pants, and the overall appearance of cotton candy. The hair on their faces is cut to look like stuffed bears or dogs. Since there are no breed standards, the cut is modified from dog to dog, but symmetry is often sought in the end result.
6. Kennel Cut
The Kennel Cut is an extremely common cut, but in the heat of summer, there’s not much cooler than this one! The name comes from the idea that it’s your dog’s off-season from showing, hunting, or working. A shorter coat is more comfortable in hot weather and easier for you to manage.
Cut close to the skin, the kennel cut favors an even length throughout the fur, with a clean face and feet. It’s perfect if you and your dog just need a break!
These are only five examples of cool haircuts for your dog; there is a wide range of options available to you when it’s time to take Fifi in for her new look! What hairdo is your dog rocking this summer?
If it’s about time your pup got a haircut, you have a show coming up, or you just want to try something different for your furbaby, we’re happy to help! With over 60 years of experience, we can offer advice and suggestions when it comes to your pet’s best grooming. Make an appointment for a full spa day—bubble bath, nail trimming, ear cleaning, and a new hairdo—by calling us at 281-693-7387.
Just like brushing your dog’s teeth, trimming a dog’s nails can be a bit intimidating at first, especially if you have a pup that doesn’t want to cooperate. But trimming your dog’s nails at home is likely easier than you think! Below is a short guide to what you’ll need to keep their claws looking their best. Of course, if you’re still unsure, have any questions, or want a demonstration, call Cinco Ranch Vet today!
Why Trimming Your Dog’s Nails Is Necessary
You know that all dogs have claws, but did you know that properly maintaining them is important to your pup’s overall health? If growing claws are left unattended, they can eventually cause pain or even injuries to your dog’s paws and legs. Long nails can leave the paw splayed, making it difficult to walk and, in some cases, causing the foot to become deformed.
For this reason, your dog’s nails should be trimmed every 4 weeks, although digging in the dirt and walking on pavement can help keep them dull and filed. You should also clip them if they become broken or torn.
Materials You’ll Need
There aren’t many materials you need to trim your dog’s nails, but you’ll want to have everything on hand before you start, so the process is as smooth and stress-free—for your pooch—as possible.
- Nail clippers
- Clotting powder
- Grinder tools/emery board (optional, but recommended)
- Treats (suggested)
When it comes to nail clippers, there are quite a few choices available. Guillotine-style clippers are generally easiest to use, but this style also makes it pretty easy to pinch your dog’s toes. They are perfect for small dogs but may be more difficult to use on larger dogs.
Pliers-style and scissor-style nail clippers are great options for bigger breeds, as their nails are larger and tougher.
Maintain your clippers by ensuring they are sharp or using replacement blades.
Note: Never use human nail trimmers on your dog! Dog nail clippers are designed to meet the shape of a dog’s nails.
How to Use the Clippers
Guillotine clippers work very differently than pliers or scissor clippers, and it’s important to know how to use each one before beginning.
- Guillotine clippers – Slide your dog’s nail into the hole at the top, and squeeze. As the blade lowers, it will cut off the nail tip.
- Pliers and scissor clippers – Put your dog’s nails in between the pliers or scissors, and cut the nail through in one stroke.
Clotting powder is a must-have in case you accidentally trim your dog’s nails too short, and they start to bleed. Styptic powder is great to have on hand, but if you need to trim your dog’s nails and don’t have access to clotting powder, mix together:
- Baking soda
- Baking flour
A grinder tool is essentially an emery board that rotates. It’s great for smoothing out your dog’s nails after a trim, but it isn’t required to get trimming done. Pedipaws is a popular product.
Some dogs that are especially unhappy about having their nails trimmed may prefer a grinder, and many groomers like to use grinders because they cauterize the end of each nail.
As a dog owner, you know that treats make everything better!
Before You Start…
Before trimming your dog’s nails for the first time, you may want to have your groomer or vet show you how to do it.
The first step is to make sure your dog is comfortable, relaxed, and okay with its feet and claws being touched. This may take a few sessions. Once your pup is comfortable with you handling its paws, you can move on to trimming.
At the beginning, you may want to clip only a few nails at a time to reduce your dog’s stress. Have a few treats handy during the session to reward your pup for good behavior and make the situation more appealing. If your dog becomes uncomfortable—squirming or acting nervous—stop and try again later.
A Step-by-Step Guide to Trimming Your Dog’s Nails
Again, it’s recommended to watch a professional groomer or veterinarian trim your dog’s nails before trying it yourself.
Once you’re ready, your dog is comfortable, and you have all your supplies, it’s time to get started!
Step 1: Position your pup.
Have your dog lie down on its side. Some people find having the dog lie on a table is easier. Ensure your pup remains still throughout the process.
Step 2: Gain access to the nails.
Take your dog’s paw into your hand, and squeeze the pad softly. This will splay the foot and extend the nails.
Step 3: Look for the quick line.
The quick line supplies blood to the nail and contains nerves. Make sure to clip in front of it to avoid injuries.
Step 4: Trim.
Carefully trim each nail one at a time using the clippers.
Note: If you accidentally trim the quick, use the clotting powder right away to stop any bleeding. Hold the powder onto the nail until the bleeding stops, and continue to add more as needed. Consider trimming the remaining nails another day.
Step 5: Grind.
Once all the nails are trimmed, use the grinder tool to smooth them. Using the V of the tool, move in one direction until you reach the end of the V. If you decide to use the grinder tool for the entire process, note that it will take longer than trimming, and some dogs will require extra time to become accustomed to the sound and movement.
Step 6: Treats!
Once you’re all done, it’s time for treats! Although you should consider giving your dog treats—and definitely give it reassurance—throughout the entire session.
When to Take Your Dog to a Professional Groomer or Vet
If you don’t feel comfortable trimming your dog’s nails at home, schedule an appointment with your groomer or vet. This is also the case if your dog just cannot get comfortable with the process, even after several sessions.
Dogs with darker nails may require trips to a professional, as it is harder to see the quick and avoid injury. You may also want to take your pup to the vet if you don’t have clotting powder on hand and an injury occurred.
Trimming your dog’s nails is necessary to ensure its health and well-being. It can be done at home when your dog is relaxed but sometimes requires a professional’s assistance. If you don’t feel comfortable trimming your dog’s nails or would like to see how it’s done, give us a call at 281-693-7387!
Dogs are fascinating in many ways, but one of the most interesting parts about them are their paws. Did you know:
- Dog’s paws are made up of skin, ligaments, tissue, blood, and tendons?
- The digital and metacarpal pads work as natural shock absorbers for your pup?
- Paws provide grip when a dog is digging?
- Your dog may not seem to care when it’s cold outside because paws are cold-resistant, keeping your pup’s feet warm and cozy?
Those little paws can do a whole lot! However, they’re not perfect, and they can be prone to injury. Here’s how to prevent that.
Keeping Your Pup’s Paws Safe
Perhaps one of the biggest threats to a dog’s paws is hot concrete. This is usually a problem in the summer or in places that are naturally hot year-round. As paws were designed to be resistant to the cold, they can hold too much heat, and when the pavement is so hot you could fry a meal on it, you need to take precautions.
First, test the pavement by putting your hand on it for a few seconds. If the pavement is too hot for your hand, it’s too hot for Fido. Walk your dog in shaded areas, or wait until it’s cooler outside.
If you have to walk your dog on hot pavement, buy shoes for your pup, or use a pet stroller.
Another danger to your pup’s feet is broken glass or other sharp objects. Avoid walking your dog near any area that may have broken glass, and be on the lookout for sharp objects. If you want to take preventative action, look for dog shoes with thick soles to avoid injuries.
Taking Care of an Injury
If Duke did step on some glass or burn his paws, care for him ASAP. Remove any shards from the foot, clean the paw properly, use ointment if the paw is burnt, and try to stop any bleeding through pressure and bandages. Call your vet if bleeding is uncontrollable or you need more guidance.
Paws and Diseases
Aside from the possibility for injury, your pup’s paws may exhibit signs of disease. If you see something unusual on your dog’s paw, investigate it, and consider making an appointment with the vet.
Some common diseases and symptoms are as follows:
- Lick granuloma — This is when your pup’s paws are swelling or bleeding. You may catch your dog licking its paws as well, and hair loss may be a symptom. A lick granuloma is caused by food allergies, so take your dog to the vet as soon as you can to get it on a new food plan.
- Diabetes — If there are strange sores on your dog’s paws, they could be a sign of diabetes. Other signs include extreme thirst and wait gain.
- Cancer — Look for tumors, lumps, or limping because of the paws.
- Pemphigus foliaceus — This disease can cause your pup’s skin to be destroyed by its own antibodies. Look out for blisters on your dog’s paws, and treat the disease immediately by taking your pup to a vet.
Your dog’s paws take on a lot, from walking to jumping to digging and scratching in hot and cold weather! Do your part to keep them healthy and strong, and if you see anything unusual, contact your veterinarian!