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In Tobago, animal care is often limited to the bare minimum: feed/water our animals and at times provide shelter. However basic care for your pets demands more than just feeding; it encompasses grooming/baths, nail clippings, dental care and regular veterinary visits.

Grooming is an essential task that should be done for all pets. Animal fur sheds regularly and proper brushing/combing of their coats help to remove the dead fur and moisturises the new coat by combing the oils present on their skin down the length of it. Obviously it’s easier to groom short-haired pets as opposed to long-haired pets. The longer the hair/fur the more intensive grooming becomes. Matting of hair is quite common in long-haired pets and can be quite unsightly and uncomfortable for the dog. Regular brushing/combing can decrease the likelihood of matting. Grooming your pet encourages positive bonding and allows you to observe any skin conditions (flaking/dryness, redness, hair loss, patches etc.), external parasites (ticks and fleas) or wounds. We advise, if you see any of these, to contact your veterinarian for medication. Using “remedies” such as old oil and diesel can be harmful to your pet!

Shampooing/bathing is another essential aspect of pet care which seems to be over-used in our culture. Shampooing will remove dirt and grime locked onto your pets’ coat and skin but it also removes oils that act has a barrier on the skin and gives the coat its shine. If your pet is an indoor pet, chances are they are quite clean and with regular grooming, will remain clean for quite some time. Bathing for these pets can be limited to monthly with a regular pet shampoo, however if you are concerned about off-putting scents from our pets there are a wide range of waterless/dry shampoos that you can purchase. Pets that are kept outdoors we suggest shampooing monthly, but if your pet is very dirty you can do a wet grooming to remove the dirt. Using human-based soaps or shampoos, blue soap, disinfectants or dishwashing products are harmful to your pets’ coat and not advised!

Nail clippings and dental care, two habits rarely practiced, should be done as often as possible to ensure the best foot and mouth hygiene. Nails can become ingrown and inflict wounds which can get infected and infested with maggots. Regular dental chews and pet friendly mouthwashes helps with oral hygiene reduces plaque/tartar build up. See your veterinarian/groomer about appropriate nail care and oral products.

At TTSPCA Tobago Shelter and Clinic we offer grooming services and products. If you are interested getting your pet groomed or you have concerns or queries you can contact our office at 639-2567/309-0219 or you can email us at Like us on Facebook and Instagram @tobagospca.

Author: Veterinary Clinician at TTSPCA Tobago Clinic, Kalidia Millette DVM(Hons), BSc
Last Updated: 2018-12-07T19:46:56.486Z