Love your pet… love your vet
The benefits of regularly grooming your pet
In addition to the regular health checks that your pet will receive when visiting the vet (for their annual booster vaccinations) it’s always a good idea to get into a routine of regularly grooming your pet. This way, you can better detect any problems at an early stage.
What to look out for whilst grooming:
Parasites need no introduction to most pet owners! The two mains ones to keep a watchful look out for are those dreaded fleas and ticks.
Fleas: pets are often very effective at grooming fleas (thus removing the evidence), so you should check for any signs of brown flea ‘dirt’ (flea faeces) which will indicate their presence. Fleas are a major cause of skin problems for pets and can also bite humans! Your vet will advise on the best form of flea control.
Ticks: the big issue here is the diseases they can transfer to your pet when they latch on and feed on their blood. This is mainly Lyme disease (which can affect pets and humans), although for pets travelling to mainland Europe many will be exposed to a range of other diseases carried by ticks. Regular grooming and removal of ticks with a suitable tick hook, plus treatment with a product to kill the ticks, forms the basis for prevention of tick borne diseases.
Grass seeds of the meadow grasses found in our area can become easily trapped in the coats’ of pets (especially dogs). They will often migrate and become lodged in a variety of places including the ears, eyes and between the toes. Regular grooming, particularly after walks is helpful in preventing problems.
Lumps and swellings are another issue to keep an eye out for. If you do find a skin lump there are several possibly underlying causes these can include abscesses, hernias and tumours. Tumours can be either benign (which tend to be slow growing and remain in one place) or malignant (which invade the surrounding tissues and can also spread to other parts of the body. Timing is everything with lumps, so if you do find something make an appointment with your vet to have it checked out.
Regular grooming of your pet also helps form a bond between you and ensures they are happier being examined around the eyes, ears, teeth and feet generally.
If you do have concerns about any of the above, you should speak to your vet.
Chris Devlin BVSc MRCVS is a Vet and Partner at Hillside Veterinary Centre in Corfe Mullen.
Note from Dorset Dogs - tick hooking video available here