Vet tips: Grooming those coats |

Vet tips: Grooming those coats

“My cat has stopped grooming as much, and now he has mats in his fur. Why does this happen and what can I do about it?”

It is normal for a cat to groom on a regular basis. The purpose is to keep the fur and skin clean and healthy, although they will sometimes groom for behavioral reasons (my cat will sometimes groom when she is embarrassed).

When a cat stops grooming, it can be a sign of illness or discomfort. In older cats, either weight issues or arthritis can lead to decreased grooming, and they can develop significant mats as a result.

Cats will also stop grooming if they are not feeling well, and a poor hair coat can be one of the first signs your feline friend is not feeling well.

If your cat’s fur is looking off, have them checked out. Sometimes it is the sign of a beginning disease or discomfort, and can be solved relatively simply. After ruling out a medical issue, you may brush them yourself or take your cat to a groomer for a haircut.

Be aware that cats need their fur for insulation, so if you are having your cat’s fur clipped give them somewhere warm to stay in the winter.

“How often should I groom my dog?”

Well, that depends on the dog. Some dogs have a heavy coat (for example a Newfoundland), which need regular grooming to keep the coat healthy and take care of their undercoat.

With heavy-coated breeds, I recommend brushing once a week for multiple reasons. It strengthens the bond with you if you spend the time cleaning them, and helps you keep an eye on any limps, bumps or scrapes they might have developed.

With short-coated breeds, it is a lot more difficult to say. I check my boxer over once a week, but brushing really doesn’t make much sense — and invariably if I bathe her, the next day she finds a dead skunk to roll in.

So in her case, I rarely bathe or groom her (with the exception of the aforementioned skunk) but do spend the time checking her over once a week, which we both thoroughly enjoy.

If you are looking for a good skunk-smell removal recipe, here it is:

1 quart hydrogen peroxide

1/4 cup baking soda

1 teaspoon liquid soap

Mix, saturate coat and let stand 5 minutes, rinse well.

Watch out for the eyes.

Grass Valley Veterinary Hospital’s Mace Dekker, DVM, will answer questions regarding pets each month. Have a question? Submit it to, attention Dr. Dekker.

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