Monday, June 24, 2013

Grooming: What does it have to do with your pet's overall health?

You may or may not know that Prevention and Early Detection makes up roughly 50% of the Walks ‘N’ Wags Pet First Aid curriculum. Why? Because we don’t ever want you to need your Emergency Pet First Aid skills!

One topic we discuss is the importance of regular grooming of your pet. Many people think of grooming as a bath and a possible haircut. However, the concept of grooming an animal doesn’t only include keeping its fur clean and cared for. It also includes assessing and potentially attending to its skin, nails, ears, anal glands, and more! Pets should never look like the image below, this is painful and has numerous negative consequences. Please ensure you are proactive with your pets' health, they are your best friends after all!

(photo from

Walks 'N' Wags Instructors and our friends at Aussie Pet Mobile Canada weigh in on the importance of grooming:

As Instructor Trish Seal from Little Wiggles Dog Grooming in Terrace, BC says, "An important function of a regular grooming program for your pet is concerning air circulation to the skin. Lack of air circulation can lead to a multitude of health problems including matting, and skin problems that in extreme cases lead to overheating, sores and infections. When a dog (or cat) is on a regular grooming schedule it serves to remove dead hair from the coat promoting air circulation which also helps in temperature regulation and over-all excellent health."

Aussie Pet Mobile Canada seconds Trish’s sentiments, saying “Regular brushing with the right type of brush for your pet’s coat, helps to remove dead skin cells, distribute natural oils and release any loose hair before it can fall to the floor or start to create a knot. Whether your pet sheds or not, regular brushing also stimulates circulation which is essential to skin health.” They also add another important benefit: “Your pet will love you even more for it!”

(Image courtesy Aussie Pet Mobile Canada)

A regular visit to your groomer may point to other unexpected health discoveries as well. And in this case, as Vanessa Johne, owner of Best Friends Pet Care in Vancouver, BC shares, your dog walker can also be a good source of information! Vanessa explains: "We walk an adorable little West Highland White Terrier several days a week. One day when we arrived for his regular walk, we noticed he had developed a very slight head tilt. It was so slight the owners did not notice it. Upon closer inspection, we found that he had an infection in both of his ears, it was so severe that the canals were swollen shut. His people were so appreciative that we had discovered his ear infection. With prompt veterinary intervention (oral and topical antibiotics) he made a fast recovery. And I'm sure he felt a whole lot better too!"

(Photo courtesy Little Wiggles Dog Grooming)

We of course, can’t forget the other important body areas that a groomer reviews such as the nails, anal glands and fur. As Calgary Instructor Ellis van Schuur says: groomers can find “ lumps and bumps” that owners may not have detected. She has also seen “dewclaws so long they would have grown into the legs/paws if we hadn't cut them”. Ellis also stresses that groomers can find other undetected ailments such as ear infections, hair mattes, and impacted anal glands.

A groomer doesn’t just make your pet look and smell good! Your groomer can also be a great wealth of information regarding your pet’s overall health and wellbeing. A list of Walks ‘N’ Wags Pet First Aid Certified groomers is available at:

(Photo courtesy Little Wiggles Dog Grooming)


Lisa Wagner
Operations Director
Walks 'N' Wags Pet First Aid

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