DIY Pet Grooming

DIY Pet Grooming

Grooming your pet is important for their health.  But it can get expensive and it can be stressful for your 4-legged BFF.  Grooming at home is a good alternative: it keeps costs down, is less scary for your cat or dog, and helps you keep tabs of your pet’s health.

Here are the most important home-grooming habits you can use to keep an eye on your pet’s health:


Both dogs and cats benefit from having their coats brushed.  Consistent brushing also helps you keep track of your pet’s skin.  An article on Dogster lists the following conditions to watch for while brushing your pet’s fur: hot spots, bald spots, oily/dry patches, open sores, scaly skin, or any other abnormality.

Long haired and double coated pets benefit from a good, regular brushing.  For cat it cuts down on hairballs, and removing excess fur helps your pet stay cool and prevents tangles.


Do you even smell your pet’s ears?  You should!  Bernadine Cruz, DVM says you should check your pet’s ears once every week.  Give them a sniff, they shouldn’t have a smell.  Take a look, there shouldn’t be any dirt or debris nor should they be red or inflamed.  If your pet’s ears smell like stinky feet or look red or inflamed it might be time for a vet visit.


We all know that brushing your pet’s teeth is important for their long term health.  We’ve talked about the how of brushing your pet’s teeth before.  Make sure you use pet tooth paste as the human version is bad for your pet, and aim to brush at least once/week.


Have an indoor pet?  Is your pet older and doesn’t get as much outside time as in their youth?  You might have to cut your pet’s nails.  Without regular trimming nails can grow into your pet’s paws, this is painful and can cause infection.

Trimming your cat’s claws can be especially difficult.  Here’s a how-to article from PetMD that might help.  If you’d like to trim your dog’s nails check out this Dogster article for an easy step-by-step guide.

If you’re going to trim your pet’s nails at home make sure to invest in a proper pair of pet nail clippers.

Before you Begin

  • Research your pet’s breed so you know their specific grooming needs
  • Look into training your pet on the grooming process
  • Plan for session to be short
  • Have lots of treats on hand for rewards
  • Make sure you have the right equipment to do the job, for example, proper nail scissors or hair clippers, and a pet shampoo

A Word of Baths

Bathing your dog is always a good idea.  Try not to bathe your pup too often as over bathing can cause skin irritation and dryness.

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Flea Season is Coming…

Why are Pets Susceptible to Fleas?

Fleas – just the word can make any pet owner shiver. The ASPCA states that dogs and cats are susceptible to fleas because fleas can be found everywhere your pet is and they are highly mobile. The fleas’ ability to jump and move long distances quickly makes easy for the little blood suckers to hitch a ride on your pet.

The jumping pests are notoriously difficult to get rid of. There are 2 important things every pet owner needs to know: 1) prevention is never 100% but it helps to mitigate the severity of a breakout, and 2) fleas have a 4 stage life cycle that lasts between 16-21 days. Successful flea treatment means targeting each stage of the cycle.

Which Pets are Most Prone to Fleas?

The blood suckers are found all over the place. But pets that live in warm and moist/humid climates have an increased risk of catching fleas. It won’t surprise you to learn that outdoor pets are more vulnerable to fleas.

In an article for Pet WebMd Dr. Jennifer Kvamme wrote that it only takes a few fleas to create an infestation. She goes on to say that there are 3 main contact points between pets and fleas:

  1. Other animals – wild animals/strays that frequent your yard/neighbourhood can introduce fleas to your yard, or other people’s pets your pet might meet
  2. Human transportation – fleas can attach themselves you your clothes, or shoes and hop onto your unsuspecting pet at an opportune moment
  3. Outside – the yard, dog parks, or your neighbourhood are all places your furry friend can encounter fleas


Peak flea season generally starts in the warm spring months and end in early autumn depending on where you live. You’ll want to keep a close eye on Fluffy for signs of fleas. Here are some ways to prevent fleas suggested by Dr. Kvamme and the ASPCA:

  • Preventative flea treatments – talk to your vet first, some fleas medications for dogs are deadly poisonous to cats
  • Anti-flea landscaping – natural and chemical pesticides can be used in the yard to prevent or control and infestation (nematodes, and other microscopic worms eat flea larva). Also, add plants that naturally repel fleas (wormwood, eucalyptus, citronella, tansy, rue, and sweet bay are some examples)
  • Flea comb your pets on a regular basis
  • Wash your pet’s bedding on a regular basis

Natural Remedies

WebMD, the ASPCA, and Dr. Kvamme recommend trying natural flea remedies before going the chemical route. There is a great list of natural DIY flea remedies at everydayroots.com. The remedies include a flea collar, a flea deterring drink, and a flea bag http://everydayroots.com/flea-remedies. Be sure to check them out and let us know if they work for you.

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Dental Care for your Pets

Have you ever taken your cat or dog to the dentist? It might sound funny, but just like you your pet’s dental wellbeing is a very important part of his overall health.

Your pet might already have dental health issues. The ASPCA lists these signs as warnings that your pet has dental health problems:


  • A dark red line along the gums
  • Red and swollen gums
  • Ulcers on gums or tongue
  • Loose teeth
  • Pus
  • Difficulty chewing food
  • Excessive drooling and/or pawing at the mouth area
  • Abnormally bad breath


  • Abnormally bad breath
  • Excessive drooling
  • Inflamed gums
  • Tumors in the gums
  • Cysts under the tongue
  • Loose teeth


If you cat or dog has one or more of these signs contact your vet.

Brushing your Pet’s Teeth

One of the best things you can do for your pet’s long term health is regularly brush their teeth. It won’t be easy but here are some tips to help you through it.

What you’ll need:

If you’re going to brush your pet’s teeth you’ll need the following:


  • Cat tooth-brushing kit or cotton swabs
  • Feline formula toothpaste or salt water


  • Dog tooth-brushing kit or a piece of gauze
  • Canine formula toothpaste or water and baking soda

Never use human toothpaste of your pet. You can also ask your vet to recommend tooth-cleaning supplies.

  • Start early – the younger your pet is when you start brushing her teeth the sooner she’ll become used to it
  • Start slowly – prep your pet before you put a tooth brush in his mouth, see the next section
  • Be consistent – try to keep a schedule so your pet comes to expect tooth-brushing time. Vets recommend brushing several times a week
  • Remain calm – if you’re stressed your pet will be stressed. Be calm and talk in a soothing voice
  • Use rewards – make sure to reward your pet with treats and affection for a job well done
  • Use pet foods and treats that help with dental care. Kibble type food is typically more tooth-friendly that wet or canned food. You can check out the Veterinary Oral Health Council website for recommended treats and foods and you can always check with your vet: http://www.vohc.org/accepted_products.htm

The ASPCA recommends the following steps for brushing both cat and dog teeth:

  1. Get your pet used to the idea of having their mouth/muzzle area touched. Spend a little time every day gently messaging their mouth/muzzle area with your fingers. Once your pet seems comfortable with that you can do the same using your finger on your pet’s gums. You will have to do this once or twice a day for a couple of weeks
  2. Put a little of the pet toothpaste on your pet’s lips so he can get used to the taste
  3. Once you and your pet are ready, introduce a tooth brush designed for pet. For cats you can use a cotton swab and for dogs you can use a piece of gauze wrapped around your finger instead of a pet tooth brush
  4. Apply toothpaste to the brush and gently brush your pet’s teeth. Don’t worry about getting all their teeth in a single sitting. If you pet starts to squirm let her go – finish the rest of her teeth during the next sitting
    • Brushing Technique (applies more to dogs than to cats):
      • Place the brush at a 45 degree angle to the teeth
      • Use small, gentle circular motions to clean teeth
      • When finishing up use downward strokes from the gums to remove tartar and plaque buildup from the gum line
      • Don’t worry too much about the inner side of your pet’s teeth – most of the tartar and plaque buildup is on the outside. You can brush the inner side once your pet becomes more comfortable with brushing

Free Poop Bags!

Want free poop bags? Enter our Pet Smile Photo Contest! It’s easy to enter, just follow these 2 steps:

  1. Post a picture of your pet’s smile on our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/DoonGo
  2. Email your picture to [email protected] so we can contact you if you win! Make sure you tell us your pet’s name, age, and breed if you know it!

Contest deadline to post and email photos is 11:55pm on February 22, 2015.   You must email your picture to [email protected] to be considered entered into the contest. For more details or to ask questions email us at [email protected] J

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Looking for More?

Looking for more information? Check out the resources used to make write this blog:


Cesar’s Way:

Animal Planet:

Pet MD:

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