Some new pet owners may be tempted to gloss over the section on proper pet grooming, but they would be doing a serious disservice to their pet. Some form of pet grooming is indeed necessary, especially when a domesticated animal cannot use his or her natural grooming methods. It falls on responsible owners to help an animal maintain healthy skin, hair, teeth, nails and bones. Professional pet grooming may seem like an unnecessary expense, but the majority of groomers do more than trim hair and brush teeth. They are trained to spot potential health risks before they become major complications.
One benefit of regular pet grooming is that it encourages a stronger bond between owner and pet. In the wild, many animals only allow others of their kind to perform grooming tasks. If a domesticated animal allows his owner to brush out his coat or clean out his ears, this is a sign of complete trust. Pet grooming involves a significant amount of handling and petting, which also benefits the pet's emotional state.
Pet grooming can also be a necessity for some pets' proper daily functions. For example, a dog with unclipped toenails may not be able to walk comfortably, which in turn discourages her from exercising daily. An unbrushed cat may develop more hairballs throughout the day, leading to overnight distress. Guinea pigs with unchecked teeth can develop severe overbites, leading to an inability to eat and ultimately to starvation. By performing simple pet grooming tasks, an owner can prevent serious health complications down the road.
Many times, a health concern is discovered through the act of grooming. Parasite infestations such as fleas or ticks are often found during bathing or brushing sessions. Matted fur could be hiding skin diseases or outside irritants such as clinging plant pods or thorns. If a pet owner neglects his or her pet grooming responsibilities, these small irritants can become infected or abscessed. Dirt inside the ears can also be cleaned out before it becomes compacted. Observations during routine pet grooming can uncover tumors, weight problems and vision trouble.
Another important consideration is animal comfort. A dog with a thick coat of hair may become overheated during hot summer months. Some breeds of animals need regular brushings to remove excess hairs and spread healthy oils to the coat. A haircut may not only help the animal look more attractive, but it also allows more air to circulate and keep the animal cool.
Cats may groom themselves more often than other pets, but they still need some human aid from time to time. Pet grooming efforts such as giving a cat a bath may seem to call for expert help, but they are necessary to remove excess saliva from the cat's coat. Some people with cat allergies may be more sensitive to a cat's dried saliva than to its dander.
In short, regular pet grooming is an important aspect of pet ownership that should not be ignored for the sake of convenience. One might argue that certain services offered by professional groomers are superfluous or cost-prohibitive, but most of the essential pet grooming procedures can be performed by the owners themselves for very little money or time investment.