Pet Hygiene: Happy and Healthy Companions

Published on November 29, 2018 by

Veterinary technician providing pet hygiene services

New pet owners have a lot to learn about care, feeding, training, and proper pet hygiene. It’s essential to maintain excellent eye, ear, and dental health for pets as well as keeping them well groomed. The first visit to the vet will usually include time to ask questions about any concerns and to get tips from a veterinary technician about how to keep the newest family member healthy and happy.

Taking proper care of cats and dogs means keeping food and water bowls clean, litter boxes cleaned out and filled with fresh litter, and keeping pet hair vacuumed up. Proper hygiene is essential for keeping dogs, cats, and their families healthy and having a clean home that smells fresh.

Brushing the Coat

Cat and dog breeds have different types of coats, depending on whether they have long or short hair, and in the case of some dog breeds, curly coats. Some breeds of dogs and cats require a minimum amount of care while other breeds need more frequent grooming. Brushing the fur of a cat or dog makes pets feel more comfortable and gives the coat a shiny appearance.

Another good reason to brush your pet’s coat frequently is to check for any possible problems. Frequent brushing allows the owner to check for any scratches or cuts beneath the coat. When a dog or cat spends a great deal of time outdoors, they may pick up fleas, ticks, or other insects. Older pets aren’t able to groom themselves like they did when they were younger, so they should be checked for any problems more frequently.

When to Bathe

Cats and dogs can develop a variety of skin conditions the same way humans do. Skin irritations can cause itchiness or redness in the skin, open wounds, and even a foul odor. The good news that many of these conditions can be kept under control with proper grooming and bathing.

Cats take care of their hygiene with frequent grooming, but older cats may enjoy an occasional bath to ensure their skin is healthy and their coat looks and smells clean. Dogs require more frequent bathing than cats do.

Many dogs without skin conditions may  have a bath a couple of times a year to cleanse their coat. Dogs with dermatitis need to be bathed more often. The veterinary technician may recommend a medicated shampoo that’s more effective than commercial brands of shampoo.

Tell your veterinarian or veterinary technician about any skin conditions your dog or cat is experiencing. Pets with long coats should be checked about once a week for any irritations, or signs of ticks or fleas.

Grooming by A Professional

Cats and dogs with short hair can usually go for ten to twelve weeks between trips to the groomer but should have their coats checked periodically for any skin problems, insects, or matting in the coat. Pets with heavy coats should have professional grooming approximately every eight weeks, especially if the coat mats easily.

Some dog and cat owners take their pets to a salon more frequently to have a bath, especially if the pet enjoys a soapy bath, and some of them do. More frequent bathing reduces dander which is helpful for anyone who has allergies and leaves the pet’s coat is fresh and shiny.

Ear Cleaning

Many pet owners overlook ear hygiene. Cleaning a dog or cat’s ears should be part of the regular grooming routine. Veterinary technicians usually recommend using a cotton ball and saturating it with a cleanser, for cats and dogs. The cleanser for the pet’s ears should be massaged gently into the ear canal without forcing it. Never use cotton swabs since they could damage the ear canal.

Dog breeds that like the water are more likely to develop ear infections than other breeds so their ears should be checked periodically for any discharge, unusual odors, or inflammation that could indicate an infection.

Checking the Eyes

Although cats and dogs don’t usually need anything done to their eyes, it’s a good practice to check for any discoloration in the eyes or a discharge. Careful monitoring makes it easier to treat potential issues like conjunctivitis. Pink eye as it’s known is an inflammation of the eyelid which is treatable with antibiotics, but it’s highly contagious and very uncomfortable for the dog or cat.

Brushing the Teeth

Good dental hygiene is essential for pets as well as people. A variety of toothpaste and dental products for dogs and cats are on the market. Pet owners can help kittens and puppies become more comfortable with brushing. If there’s a foul odor coming from the pet’s mouth, it should be checked by a veterinarian. As part of an annual exam, a veterinarian can check the teeth and gums for any potential problems.

Pet’s Beds, Dishes, and Toys

Harmful bacteria can grow on any surface, especially those that aren’t kept clean. Pets are like people and like to have clean beds to sleep in. Blankets and beds should be washed periodically to keep them clean and to kill germs that could cause pets to get sick. Toys should be washed when they start getting dirty. Wash in warm, soapy water to kill bacteria and rinse thoroughly.

When food is left out, germs and bacteria grow. A lot of pets don’t eat their food all at once, but nibble a bit, then go back to it when they feel hungry. Food and water bowls should be clean and sanitary. Dirty bowls can upset your pet’s digestive system and introduce bacteria.

Taking just a few minutes each day for grooming, good hygienic practices, and giving pets the attention, they need will go a long way to keeping cats and dogs healthy and adding years to their lives.

Did learning about pet hygiene for cats and dogs interest you? Ready to start a program to become a veterinary technician? With an associate degree in veterinary technology, you’ll gain the knowledge and skills you need to start an entry-level career as a veterinary technician. Broadview University has been part of the community for more than 40 years, so we’ve developed connections that can help move your career forward. After completing our accredited degree program, you’ll be eligible to sit for the Veterinary Technician National Exam (VTNE). Passing the VTNE allows you to become a Certified Veterinary Technician (CVT), a designation that will give you a competitive advantage when you enter the job market.

Contact us today to learn more about becoming a veterinary technician and working in veterinary technology.



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