National Pet Wellness Month
October is National Pet Wellness Month and I feel this is a very important subject to talk about as our pet’s health is just as important as ours and there are many ways, we can ensure they are healthy and well throughout their lives.
First Aid For Dogs
Firstly, I think it’s important not only as a dog groomer but also as a pet owner to know about dog first aid. Doing an online pet first aid course could not only help you deal with minor illnesses and wounds at home, but it will also help you to know what is normal in your dog and what isn’t. Through knowing this you will not only pick up on health issues earlier, but you could also at least offer them a better quality of life, and at best, save their life! We all know our dogs very well, so we all know when they are off colour and by knowing first aid gives you a better idea of when you would need to see a vet.
A Healthy Dog Diet
Another factor I am passionate about in maintaining pet wellness is a good diet. I always compare this to how we eat, if we lived on processed fast food, we wouldn’t be very healthy whereas eating a natural, balanced, and healthy diet consisting of fruit, veg and protein with the occasional treat, will give our bodies everything they need to thrive. A healthy diet gives us more energy and fills us up for longer which is the same for dogs. By providing a healthy diet you can eradicate a lot of other health issues.
During my time as a dog groomer, I have picked up on health issues such as skin conditions ranging from mild to severe, loose stools, bad teeth, tear staining, dry coats, split pads, yeast infections and many more. The majority of the time a change of diet can rectify these health issues completely or if not at least ease the symptoms. A bad diet really does affect all aspects of a dog’s health and has a huge impact on their long-term health as well. Whilst a lot of the things aren’t life-threatening you can still give your dog a healthy and fulfilled life by choosing a good diet.
We all know that one dog owner that states “my dog lived until 15” on (insert cheap brand food) with many fillers and additives and that may be 100% true but I can guarantee it wouldn’t be a “healthy” dog and most likely would have encountered things such as recurring ear infections, dry skin, loose stools etc throughout its life. At the end of the day, a healthy dog is best, so as a responsible owner it is important to stretch to the best quality food that you can afford within your budget as it really does contribute to your dog’s overall wellness and mental health.
Regular Dog Grooming
Dog grooming is another key factor for pet wellness - even for short-haired dogs that maybe pet owners might not think need groomed! As a dog groomer, we have hands-on every single part of a dog’s body, even on body parts that some owners may have never touched! Not only does a good bath rehydrate and clean the skin it also promotes new cell and hair growth too. With the longer coated breeds and all poodle crosses, we are currently seeing, 4 to 6 weekly grooming is essential to keep them matt free and comfortable. Can you imagine if we didn’t bathe or shower for 3 months, let alone if we didn’t comb our hair!? We don’t roll in mud, puddles, and fox poo either.
Regular grooming not only keeps dogs comfortable but can also help highlight health conditions such as lumps, bumps, grass seeds and many other things that could be detrimental to a dog’s health. When matts form, they actually pull on the dog's skin and also restrict airflow to the coat meaning the skin cannot breathe properly. Regular combing and visits to a grooming salon can help prevent many health issues, and others can be picked up by groomers, and we can then refer that customer to the vet.
Once we found a lump on a dog that was well hidden under their hair. We pointed it out to the owner who took the dog straight to the vets and it turned out to be a tumour! The vet praised us as if it was left untreated it had the potential to spread quickly. After a swift operation, the dog got all clear just a few months later. It really does make me think that “IF” we hadn’t found that lump and referred them to a vet, there would have been a very sad outcome for that pup.
It is important, to be honest, and upfront with your customers about anything you find in the groom even if it’s something as minor as dry skin. Something as small as this if caught early could be treated quickly rather than waiting until it gets too bad. I can’t even count the number of times I have told owners repeatedly about the same lump at different grooms!! I do write it up on our online system but I’m so on it with telling customers that a lot of the time I tell them over and over about the same lump…but at least they know.