Be honest. How many times a month do you brush your cat or dog? The American Humane Society recommends that short-haired pets be brushed 1-2 times per week and DAILY brushing for long- and medium-haired pets. If you’re following these suggestions, good for you, but we’re willing to bet that a lot of you are feeling like imperfect pet parents right about now. Brushing may not seem like something you need to do regularly but it’s actually one of the most important things you can do to keep your pets as healthy and happy as possible.
1. Brushing will give you the best chance for early detection of bumps, growths or parasites
Petting your pet is great but brushing your pet from head to tail is the best way to make sure you don’t focus on your pet’s favorite spots and miss anything. As you run a brush over your pet, take notice of any resistance and explore the area with your fingers. A bump or lump could be harmless or it could be a sign of something serious that you’ll want to have your vet inspect during your pet’s next checkup. Brushing your pet regularly will also help you spot fleas before they reproduce and ticks before they have a chance to attach themselves and infect your pet with a harmful disease.
2. Brushing your pet prevents hair balls
Cats and dogs are great at grooming themselves but they’re not so great at filtering the loose fur that they remove from their bodies with their tongues. Once swallowed, these small bits of fur enter their digestive systems. This is less of a problem for dogs and short-haired cats but when long-haired cats ingest too many strands of fur, they can form hairballs. At their best, regurgitated hairballs are nasty, especially when “discovered” first thing in the morning while barefoot. At their worst, hairballs can block your cat’s intestinal tract which may require surgery. Every bit of loose fur you remove from your pet minimizes the risk of hairballs and the uncomfortable (for you and your pet) hacking and wheezing that go along with them.
3. Brushing will give your pet a clean, healthy, shiny coat
A shiny coat is the sign of a healthy pet and regular brushing is an essential part in achieving it. That’s because brushing distributes the natural oils in your pet’s fur and prevents buildup. In the process of distributing the oils, you’ll also remove skin flakes that can dull the luster of your pet’s coat while stimulating blood circulation.
4. Brushing is a great way to bond with your pet, increase trust and encourage relaxation
When you brush your pet, you’re providing the same level of care and support they received from their mother. We’ll never know for sure if dogs or cats remember those feelings of being nurtured but the sooner you can establish yourself as the provider of this kind of care, the stronger your bond will be and the less prone your pet will be to anxiety. Brushing is also a way to connect with new pets and earn their trust. Some pets don’t like to be brushed (and may never will) but if you take it slow and reward their calmness with treats, you should eventually be able to increase the length of your grooming sessions.
If your pet likes being brushed, don’t be surprised if you find yourself getting even more enjoyment and relaxation out of your grooming sessions than your pet does. Sometimes we’re so focused on the joy cats and dogs bring us through their quirky actions or the affections they lavish upon us, we forget how satisfying it is to care for and nurture them. The end of a brushing session is the perfect time to give your pet a dose of CBD as a final reward that might help them maintain their calm, relaxed state.
While nail clipping and tooth brushing are tasks best trusted to experts, brushing your pet is something any pet owner can and should do as often as possible. Your pet can sense your energy so be sure to approach each grooming session with a positive attitude and try to view this important responsibility as an opportunity to give back a small portion of the unconditional love your pet gives you. After your pet is brushed and looking fabulous, we hope you’ll share a photo of the results with us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram!