Grooming Does More Than Keep Pets Looking Cute
When watching a dog show on TV, you might see the way the dogs’ coats shimmer and shine in the overhead light, not a single hair out of place, and ask yourself: How do they get to be so perfect?
Pet lovers already know the answer to this question: professional grooming coupled with a healthy diet. But did you also know that the two are not separate? When it comes to health and appearance, it’s not only veterinarians who keep pets feeling great. In fact, groomers play a similar role in many different ways.
Believe it or not, pet groomers have a lot more in common with vets than they do human hairdressers. Not only do professional groomers keep pets looking their best, but they are also an often-overlooked middleman when it comes to detecting possible pet health problems. Becoming a professionally trained pet groomer entails learning the best ways to keep pets feeling as good as they look.
Pet Grooming on the Rise
According to the American Pet Products Association (APPA), Americans spent $5.24 billion on services related to pet boarding and grooming in 2016, which is an 18.8 percent increase from 2013. This rise is based on not only the growth of overall pet ownership in the US, but also the growing awareness of how grooming is beneficial to a pet’s health.
Everyday pet owners may only know a few things about why it’s beneficial to keep their furry friends well groomed though. Groomers get up-close and personal with an animal perhaps even more so than the pet’s owners. While professional groomers take care of a pet’s paws, fur and teeth, they’re also trained to examine all areas where warning signs of disease are located. Therefore, they can act as a first alert to a pet’s possible health issues.
Keep Nails Trimmed
Along with checking a dog’s overall health, groomers are the go-to source for more involved grooming techniques like ear cleaning, tooth brushing and nail clipping.
Nail trimming is particularly important, as trained groomers know exactly how to cut a dog’s nails without causing any pain or snipping too far into the nail bed and causing it to bleed. For any dog owner who has ever made this mistake, the fear of accidentally injuring the family pet is whisked away through the help of an experienced groomer.
Check for Pests
Dogs that enjoy running around outdoors are more exposed to things like fleas, ticks and other fur-infesting pests that could cause a lot of discomfort. These pests might go unnoticed particularly in dogs with long fur, like Golden Retrievers or Sheepdogs. The trained eye of a professional groomer can identify and remove these pests from your dog and make him feel comfortable once again.
Keep Coats in Check
While indoor cats are less likely to catch fleas or ticks compared to their adventurous canine counterparts, that doesn’t mean they’re immune from similar health issues. Cats may not require as much intense grooming as dogs do, but keeping their coats in check certainly isn’t something to be left to the wayside.
For example, while hairballs are more common in long-haired cats than short-haired cats, it’s still a possible health issue. As your kitty is busy cleaning himself, he might accidentally ingest too much loose hair that could become trapped in his throat, or other digestive organs, leading to a scary situation and a big vet bill. Routine cat grooming can prevent this situation from happening.
In addition, cat groomers can keep curious cats safe. Cats are known to be some of the cleanest household pets, but sometimes a bath is an absolute necessity. This is especially true when cats end up covered in something that would be damaging to their health if ingested. Cat owners might be a little less than thrilled to attempt bathing their cats. The idea of fighting a cat in a bathtub while he whines and attempts to claw his way out is not fun. However, a professional groomer is more than happy to take on the job. They know behavioral techniques to make the bathing experience as relaxed as possible for our feline friends.
Necessity for Pet Groomers
According to a 2011 study by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), 29.3 percent of dog owners and 21.5 percent of cat owners didn’t visit the vet when necessary because they couldn’t afford the costs.
The thought of so many pets going without necessary vet care is truly heartbreaking, but one can argue there’s a silver lining in this upsetting statistic. While a groomer will never, and should never, replace a specialized veterinarian, she can at least provide essential health care maintenance that otherwise a pet might go without, for a fraction of the cost of a vet bill.
In 2013, the annual average cost of vet care for a dog was $231 and for a cat $193, according to the APPA. (This doesn’t include emergency surgical vet visits either, which are closer to $500 each.)
Meanwhile, the average cost for a groomer’s visit is between $30 and $90, depending on the size of the pet and the services needed.
Routine visits to a certified pet groomer can help catch health risks before they escalate into full-blown emergencies. Catching something early on can help owners plan ahead and budget for the necessary vet visit, or at least have access to a less-invasive intervention while the problem is still manageable—and affordable.
With the more affordable cost of grooming care and the added benefits that come with it, a professionally trained groomer is able to offer as much health assistance as possible to pets in these situations. It’s a better situation for pets and their families when grooming is a regular part of their lives.