After a long lockdown, and with July 19 marking a monumental day in the UK with social distancing measures set to lift, we could all use a little TLC this summer as we return back to normal – and that includes our furry friends.
As our constant companions who have provided much needed love and support during these trying times, our deserving cats and dogs are due a reward as the world opens up again – in the form of a nail-to-tail pamper session.
This will not only help them look their best – but will also benefit their wellness too. Whether it’s applying sunscreen to prevent sunburn, brushing their teeth to avoid dental disease or grooming their coats to avoid matts and to keep them comfortable. Regular pampering of your furry friend will keep them healthy and pick up on or prevent many health conditions.
“As we are in the full swing of summer, attending to the wellness of your pet will help them stay comfortable during hot weather”, says Rachel Andre, Director of sustainable cat litter brand Natusan. “In addition, grooming activities are excellent bonding experiences for both pets and pet parents. Following a pandemic-led puppy and kitten boom, developing good habits with younger pets now will also lay the foundations for a healthy future.”
Dr Scott Miller, TV Personality and Resident Veterinarian for sustainable cat litter brand, Natusan, shares his expert tips on how to get your pet feeling tip top this summer. From nose-to-tail, we have your furry friends covered.
Look after your pet’s teeth
Dental care is vital for pets to prevent disease. Canine’s need their teeth brushing every day. “There are pet specific toothbrushes and toothpastes for this,” says Dr Scott, “as human toothpaste can be poisonous to pets.”
Tackling pets’ teeth can be daunting if you have never done this before – and is a routine best started when they are young. However, there are steps you can take to get them into the habit. “Start by introducing the taste of toothpaste to them and working your way up to using the brush,” says Dr Scott.
Alternatively, you can use dental chews for both cats and dogs. Petlabs is a great choice which can help remove plaque. Be sure to get the right size for your pet, as these can be a choking hazard.
Get their fur feline fine
It is important to maintain a healthy coat for both cats and dogs. While much of this is self-cleaning, some of the responsibility lies with the owner. As Phoebe Buffay of Friend’s fame famously wrote an ode to ‘Smelly Cat’ proclaiming ‘it’s not your fault’ – we must look to give our pets a helping hand when it comes to cleaning.
With dogs, a build up of oils, bacteria and yeast on their skin and coats can create the classic ‘doggy smell’ odour, which is easily avoidable with regular bathing.
“Your pets’ coat is a clear indicator of the health of your animal, and looking dull, patchy or thin could suggest an underlying health issue. The summer season can increase shedding and pet dander, and dogs and cats will benefit from extra grooming to relieve them of their winter insulation and help owners spot any ticks,” says Dr Scott.
Many might not realise that our feline friends need more fat in their diet to maintain a shiny coat. To boost a lackluster coat, try adding essential fatty acids obtained from your Vet, to help provide all the raw materials for healthy skin and fur.
Trim those talons
It can be common for our older felines to fall victim to ingrown nails. Which is why it’s crucial to clip a cat’s nails so that they don’t overgrow or become ingrown. Indoor or elderly cats may not keep their nails down naturally, and can sometimes begin to walk tentatively as the nails begin to grow in.
Cats’ nails are meant to be sharp, and should not be cut until they catch on clothing. For indoor felines, a scratching post can help keep them at a regular length. If you do decide to trim your cat’s claws yourself, then be careful not to cut them too short, as it can cause them pain.
Pet parents should organise nail checks and potential clipping once a month. Some people can do this themselves, however there is a risk of doing it wrong and causing your pet pain or infection. Often, it’s a job that’s best left to professional groomers.
Dogs’ nails can be particularly difficult to trim, even more so when pigmented. It’s always worth getting some guidance from your Vet before you attempt it yourself, and signs of long nails can include a strange gait and tapping on the floor as they walk.
Shield your pet from the sun
It’s not a well-known fact, but most pets need to wear sunscreen. The areas which have the least amount of fur cover are the most susceptible to sunburn, including nose, ears, stomach, tip of tail and the back.
White and beige felines and pale coated pooches are more prone to sunburn than darker coloured coats. These animals also tend to be fairer skinned. In addition, short haired cats and dogs are also more at risk, along with pets with thinner coats.
The best solution is a specialist pet sun cream – or sunscreen mist for easy application. Don’t be tempted to use human sunscreen though, as zinc is very poisonous to dogs. Should your pet experience severe sunburn, contact your Vet immediately and soothe burns with pet verified aloe vera gel.
Protect your pet from pollen
Following the pandemic puppy boom, there are many young cats and dogs who would have spent much of their formative months indoors, and as a result, haven’t had as much exposure to the great outdoors.
Just like humans, this makes them more vulnerable to hay fever, with a lower tolerance to pollen. Pets experience similar hay fever symptoms to humans – so look out for itching, sneezing and itchy, watery eyes.
The best ways to mitigate the effects of pollen is to plan your walks to avoid long grass, check the daily pollen count and wipe your pets down with a damp towel on returning home from a day of adventuring.
Keep them feeling clean
Feeling clean is another part of making your pet feel their best. As we know, cats love to wash and groom, and love a clean litter tray.
Natusan offers 100% natural, organic and sustainable cat litter which also eliminates unpleasant smells – as the ultra-absorbing litter has long lasting odour control. Keeping your cat smelling clean and feeling their best, Natusan is also soft-on-paws and vet approved.
For your pooch, picking up after them keeps the community clean, while all doggies love a good hose down in the heat.
The importance of exercise
Just like humans, pets need regular exercise. Which is crucial for maintaining a healthy lifestyle and living a longer, fuller life. It also keeps their weight in check and acts as a good release of energy for our animal friends to then enjoy a good nap.
“Unlike humans, exercise is also important for pets because it allows them to act out their instinctive natural behaviours like chasing, attacking, exploring, marking and following scents,” says Dr Scott.
Dogs should be walked 2-3 times a day, depending on the size and breed. Outdoor cats can exercise themselves. Whereas, with indoor cats, you may need to invest in some good toys, scratching posts and play times to help them stay active.