Home Care (long haired pets):
When bathing at home, make sure to completely brush out and comb your pets fur before doing so. If this is not done before that bath, bathing over time without pre-brushing or combing can cause tangles and even severe matting (which is VERY uncomfortable to your pet and can even cause bruising.) To keep your pets comfortable and tangle free, you should brush or comb them out at least twice a week. If your pet tangles easily you may need to brush or comb them out more often.
Recommended products (long haired pets):
Paw Brothers greyhound style combs (or similar products, see example) have two different set of teeth on either half of the comb. Fine/med to Med/Coarse. These combs let you find any tangles your pets may have so you can comb or brush them out.
There are several brands of slicker brushes out there. They allow you to choose firm or soft. If your pet has sensitive skin you may want to choose a soft brush. Slicker brushes help to get through the fur and brush out tangles. Other brushes such as bristle (see example) will not work as well. They will only brush over the top of the fur and not necessarily brush through the coat to catch tangles.
(above: bristle brush, not recommended)
Home care (short coated pets: labs, Chihuahua, etc.):
For these types of pets, slicker brushes (mentioned above) do not work as well and pets may not enjoy being brushed with these. To brush out any loose fur I recommend the following products: Whisker City has a great brush/bathing tool. Used for cats but works well on dogs. Kong has Zoom Groom which is the same idea and works the same way. You may also use these tools during bathing to lather up soap and collect loose fur.
Taking care of your pets nails is very important. If nails are not taken care of on a regular basis they can become over grown (making nails curl or grow sideways due to extended length and improper care) this can eventually lead to foot dysplasia. This may cause the bones in your dog’s feet to move and set unnaturally, which will then cause problems with walking correctly and could lead to vet visits as your pet gets older. Nail trims should be done at least 1 – 2 times a month. If your pet is an active dog (regular walks or runs on cement, which helps keeps nails short) at least once a month is recommended.
Nail trimming at home (for pet parents who may not be experienced enough or are trying to save on money) doing so is not recommended. This can cause a dog great anxiety and worry when it comes down to nail trimming. If the pet has had several experiences where nails were cut too short or have bled and so on; your pet will relate nail trims as something "bad" and may become fearful. It is always best to have someone who is experienced to perform the nail trimming. Your pet will be more at ease with someone who knows how to perform this task.
Keep Your Pets Free of Fleas:
Did you know the female flea can lay up to 20 eggs per batch and 5,000 eggs in it's lifetime? It's true! The female flea will lay her eggs (up to 20 at a time) on a host (dog, cat etc.) and within 2 days to 2 weeks they can hatch. Between this time eggs may also roll off the host and fall onto the floor, bedding, etc.
It is very important to take notice of excessive scratching/irritation to your pet and even red bite marks to you! Fleas will not only get into your pets bedding but they will get into your bed/couches and anywhere else in your home.
The best way to check your pet is to have them roll over and look on their belly. Here you may see fleas crawling/jumping. You may also check through your pets fur by parting it in several locations. Another great tool is a flea comb. This will help to pick up the fleas as you comb through. But, you must be quick to kill them. The best way to do so is to crush them between your nails or use a fine object. You will usually hear a "crunch" sound if you have killed a flea.
Flea control such as advantage, frontline, even oral pills from your veterinarian can help control the situation. You may want to consult your veterinarian to see which product would be the right one for you and your pet. If fleas are not taken care of, they can infest your pet and your home. If your pet has ingested a flea the result can be tape worms (something you will need to get taken care of through your vet.) You may see little white (the size of rice) pieces of the tape worm near the anus of your pet.
My personal recommendation: If your pet is infested remove any and all bedding in the home. (Pet beds, blankets, bed sheets, etc.) and wash immediately. Thoroughly vacuum your entire home (this can help catch up to 90% of fleas.) Take your pet to a professional salon to get a flea bath. If you are bathing at home, use a flea shampoo safe for your pet (puppy/kitten or adult shampoo). Quickly water down your pet and apply shampoo around the neck and anus (fleas will try to go into the anus and ears.) Lather up real well shampooing towards the middle of your pet. Be careful not to get the shampoo in your pets eyes as this can cause great irritation. Follow the shampoo directions as to "sitting" time until rinsing. This should help take care of the fleas that are currently on your pet. After 3-4 days (from bathing) I would recommend applying a flea control method to your pet. (Please note: flea collars do not work. They only protect the area around the head for a short time and are not worth the money.) I would also suggest a flea control method for your home. Either a flea bomb or flea spray. I personally have used and continue to use as an up-keep to my home, SentryHome Household Flea and Tick Spray (may be available in 16 - 20 oz aerosol spray cans.) Used to spray through out the home and treat pet bedding.
Getting Your Puppy Ready:
It is always a great idea to start preparing your puppy for its first groom when it is at home. Desensitize your puppy’s feet (this will help during the nail trim process.) Touch, play and even hold your puppy’s feet for several seconds on a regular basis. This will get him/her used to having feet held, being groomed or trimmed. Some puppies may try to play bite as this is something they’re not used to, be firm and tell them no. Once they are okay with you touching their feet and they do not bite or nibble on your hands, make sure to reward them with “good boy/girl” or even tiny treats. For the face, practice holding the fur under their chin for several seconds and just pet them on their head. Being able to hold a dogs fur under the chin for minutes at a time without moving helps for easier and safer grooming. If you happen to have tiny clippers (example: men’s face clippers) get your puppy used to this noise as well. Try holding the clipper (while on and without a blade) around the puppies face. Massage the puppy’s head and face with this tool. Doing so will also get the puppy used to this sound and help with the grooming process.
Cat Litter & Litter Boxes:
There are a ton of different brands out there as far as cat litter goes. I have tried a few different brands myself and have seen and heard about other brands people have used. One of the types of cat litter I personally do not recommend (and have not heard great reviews about) is the crystal litter. It does not seem to absorb anything. There is nothing to elimate the odor from your pet's waste so within a day or two, you are in stinky city - yuck!
Cleaning your cats box, should be done every 1 - 2 days and completely dumped out once a month. To clean the litter box you may choose to use a clorox/water mix or some type of wipes. I prefer the clorox wipes if I'm not using a clorox/water mix. After cleaning the box, I will usually wipe it down with a dry paper towel, let the litter box dry completely, fill with litter and it's good to go.
Cat litter products, I personally love Fresh Step and have been using it for over 7 years now. My purchase experience are as follows: Fresh Step Scoopable Clumping Cat Litter with Odor Eliminating Carbon. This product is great! Everything clumps together well and keeps the litter odor to a minimum to none. When that item is unavailable in the store I also purchase Fresh Step® Extreme Odor Control Scoopable Cat Litter with CarbonPLUS. Recently Fresh Step has come out with another product which I have also purchased, Fresh Step© Triple Action Cat Litter (elimates odors from urine, feces and bacteria.)
All of these products I have used are great. My personal preference of the three would be Fresh Step Scoopable Clumping Cat Litter with Odor Eliminating Carbon. Why? All three work great, the difference is the smell of the litter. When I used the second and most recent product of Fresh Step I wasn't used to it. To me, it was a bit strong. My cat sometimes would smell like the litter as well. If you are concerned about scents, I would suggest selecting the Fresh Step Scoopable Clumping Cat Litter with Odor Eliminating Carbon first. Then work your way up. I wouldn't stop buying any of those products though if my first choice wasn't available. I usually let the litter air out a bit before closing the lid to the cat box anyways. If you haven't tried Fresh Step and have been searching for a great product, this may be the one for you!
Fresh Step may be purchased at petsmart (which I have linked to) or even Petco or other pet stores.
Litter boxes, again another list of great selections! My recent upgrade to my cats box put me in awe. I am very happy with this product and just love it. The one I have is very simliar to the image below. It's the same brand (Hooded Cat Pan with Door and Replacement Filters, found at Petsmart) except there are four locking sliders (2 on each side of the box.) Not only does the flap lift, but the section it is attached to also lifts. This makes it MUCH easier for scooping. No more manuevering through your cat box! The locks are great as well. I prefer them over the snap ones. Sometimes the snap litter box would unsnap mid lift and litter would pour out onto the floor. With that being said, I definatley recommend this brand or similar products.