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Expert Advice on Pet Health and Nutrition

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WebMD Expert Discussion: Do You Groom Your Pet Yourself?

You wouldn’t go months without shampooing, brushing your own hair, or trimming your nails, but many people do just that with their pets. It can be hard to find time to get to the groomer during business hours, and let’s face it, grooming can be expensive -- especially if your pet is large or has a long-haired coat.

Should you do your own pet grooming? WebMD Guest Expert Will Draper, DVM, says that many people groom their own pets, and there are plenty of products on the market to help. But it’s important to know what you’re doing and take precautions to protect yourself and your pet:

  • Research what shampoo is best for your pet.
  • Learn how to trim nails properly (it’s not just like clipping your own nails).
  • Use ointments to protect eyes and cotton or gauze to shield ears when you’re trimming in these areas.
  • Know what your pet will tolerate. A dog that hates water and bites when he's afraid might do better in a salon that has experience with reluctant pets.
  • Rinse and dry your pet thoroughly so his ears don’t get infected, and his skin doesn’t get irritated.

One dog owner writes that she has a golden lab that sheds a lot of hair, so she uses a groomer to maintain the dog's coat and nails. Her dog yelps if she tries to clip its nails at home, and the owner is afraid her dog would scratch the bathroom's fiberglass tub if she gave it a bath at home. Her dog receives daily brushing at home.

Her cat gets baths at home -- yes, she bathes her cat! She advises having big bathroom towels ready to roll the wet cat up in after bath time, and keeping the bathroom door closed to prevent a wet cat from making an escape.

Do you groom your pet at home? How do you overcome the challenges of haircuts and trims, clipping nails, or bath time? Share your doggy and kitty grooming strategies and tips with the community.

Discussion led by William Draper, DVM Guest Expert
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Dr. Will opened Georgia’s first accredited small animal emergency room in 2000. He’s been named Best Vet by Atlanta Magazine since 2004... More

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Pet Health and Nutrition Advice

Veterinarian Will Draper gives tips on the best nutrition and health care for your dog or cat.
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