Brushing: Brushing and combing should happen daily or at least several times each week, no matter what kind of coat your cat has. If you plan to give your pet a bath, do the brushing part first. Brushing and combing will feel good to your pet; it removes dead hair and tangles, and distributes natural skin oils.

Baths: The water should be warm, even in summer, because very cold water can chill cats and leave your pet with a bad association to bathing in general. If you are bathing small animals, support them in the tub so they don’t panic. Give your pet a full body massage while lathering up the shampoo, then rinse. If you wish, add conditioner and comb through the coat before a final rinse.

Nails: Begin by picking up each foot and handling the nails. Then, without clipping, hold the clippers near a nail and squeeze the nail as though you are clipping. Look carefully for the quick – where the blood supply ends. You’ll want to avoid cutting into the quick, since it is painful and will bleed.

Teeth: You can gently massage the gums and brush the teeth on any pet – from the smallest rodents to the largest horses. If taught with patience and kindness, most animals enjoy a mouth massage. The benefits are healthy mouths and fresh breath. Remember to use animal toothpaste appropriate for each type of pet.

Ears: You should periodically check your animal’s ears. If they are clean and free of debris, then give your pet a nice ear rub. Again, a gentle massage is going to give your pet a good association to your touch. If the ears are dirty, smell bad or look sore, make an appointment with your veterinarian. The doctor can check for infection or parasites, and can get you started with a cleaning lesson.

Grooming can be a pleasurable activity for both you and your pets. Enjoy your animal family members and the time you spend interacting with them.

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