Grooming pets can help ensure their long-term health and comfort

In addition to food, shelter and medical care, pets require grooming to keep them healthy. Small animals, such as hamsters and gerbils, may groom themselves to keep clean, but large pets often require more than tongue baths can offer.

Grooming is important process for keeping pets’ coats, nails, skin, and ears clean and healthy. Regular grooming sessions also provide one-on-one socialization with an owner or professional groomer. Routinely handling helps pets become more acclimated to people and close contact, while also familiarizing pet owners with their pets’ bodies, helping them notice any abnormalities.

“How frequently pet owners should have their pets groomed depends on the disposition of the animal as well as its coat type and level of activity,” says Cindy Youngers, owner of Cara Mia Pet Resort. For example, dogs that spend a good deal of time indoors may not become as dirty as those that go on frequent jaunts through muddy yards. Cats handle a lot of their own grooming, but benefit from periodic brushing and other care. Once pet owners see how fur grows and when paws need tending, they can develop a routine that works. Youngers offers the following advice to pet owners.


Dogs can be bathed every two to four months unless the dog has gotten into something dirty or smelly. Cats do not need to be bathed very often, and even then, only if they get into a sticky mess or smell bad.


Brushing should be done much more often. One or two brushings per week will help keep a cat’s healthy glow, as brushing removes dirt, grease and dead hair. Cats that tolerate grooming enjoy more frequent brushings. Regular brushing of a dog’s coat helps slough off dead skin and distribute natural oils. Brush a dog’s coat every few days, regardless of fur length. Look for brushes designed for particular coat types. A few different types of brushes may be necessary.

Foot care.

A variety of tasks are involved in pet foot care. Long nails on dogs can be cumbersome and even painful if left unattended. Many groomers and vets recommend trimming nails when they’ve become so long they click on the ground when the dog walks. Pet owners will soon learn to gage the length of time between trimming, but a good rule of thumb is every two weeks. Trimming cats’ claws helps prevent deep scratches when people play with cats. Trimming also protects furniture and other household items. Trim claws every few weeks. Other foot care involves trimming fur from between the pads of feet and inspecting feet to ensure there are no cuts or other foot injuries.


Dogs and cats may need some help keeping their ears clean. Keeping the inside of pets’ ears clean will make pets feel good and can prevent ear infections. Discharges or unusual smells emanating from an ear or ears should be addressed by a veterinarian.

Cindy Youngers is the owner of Cara Mia Pet Resort, located at 6429 Transit Road, East Amherst 14051, 716-568-2272. Visit to learn more.