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Fall Grooming is Essential for Pet Health

dogFall is an often overlooked time in proper care of pets. If your dog or cat has spent a great deal of the summer outdoors, it’s especially important to check his coat and skin now for problems.

“This is the time to undo the damage from all that summer fun,” notes Val Penstone, director of grooming for Best Friends Pet Resorts. With more than 35 years experience, Penstone offers the following advice to help get your pet ready to enjoy the changeable months of autumn.

Begin with a Thorough Inspection
This is a good time to check your pet from head to toe.

Skin. Begin by inspecting his skin for signs of irritation due to parasites. In many areas of the country, Fall is regarded as flea season and tick populations often peak when the leaves come down. Parasite prevention is critical now, as those pesky critters try to come in from the cold! Your veterinarian or professional groomer can advise you on the latest, safest in year-round protection.

Ears. Check ears for problems that may have been triggered by summer swims. Weekly cleaning, with a solution made for ear care is a good year-round preventative measure. Massaging the solution into the ear softens wax and dirt, floating it to the exterior, where you can wipe it gently away with cotton. Ear cleaners also control the growth of organisms that thrive in the moist conditions of the ear.

Feet. Spread the pads and look between and under the toes. Have lawn chemicals caused contact dermatitis? Has sun-heated asphalt stuck in lumps to the feet? Are thorns and grass seed puncturing the skin? What about harvest-time chiggers, another nasty critter, that can cause misery?

Establish Good Grooming Habits
Regular grooming is important to your pet’s good health and Fall is an excellent time to establish a grooming routine for your pet. Weekly home maintenance keeps skin and coat healthy and insect-free and pet companions more pleasant to be near. It also strengthens the bond between you and your pet.

A regular grooming routine should include:

Brush and comb weekly, more often for pets with long hair.
Shampoo regularly, followed with a conditioning rinse.
Keep up with nail clipping – as the days shorten, so do exercise hours and nails can become overgrown.

If there are tasks you can not or do not want to undertake yourself, seek the help of a professional groomer, whose services will include tough jobs like nail clipping and tangle removal. For information on grooming at the Best Friends nearest you, check our centers.