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What you Should Know About Dog & Cat Grooming: Bathing, Haircutting, Nail Clipping & More

One of the most important aspects of pet care is keeping your dog or cat groomed. In this post, our Santa Clarita vets discuss grooming basics for both dogs and cats, and offer tips for at-home pet grooming.

Grooming for Dogs

Though specifics differ depending on your pup's needs, basic grooming for dogs typically includes bathing, brushing, nail trimming and (if the breed requires it) haircuts. 


To keep your dog's skin healthy and remove dirt and debris from their coat, they'll sometimes need a bath. A word of caution, however: bathing your pup too often can damage hair follicles, irritate skin, and increase the risk of fungal or bacterial infections. 

Most dogs should be bathed between once a month and once every three months. We recommend using a shampoo formulated especially for dogs, and warn water (but don't make the water warmer than your dog's skin). 


Removing dead hair from your dog's coat by brushing it will help to prevent matting and skin irritation. It can also help to cut down on the amount of dog hair dropped around the house - a perpetual battle that most dog owners deal with on a daily bass. 

The longer your dog's hair, the more frequently it will require brushing. Though some dogs will need daily brushing, others can be brushed just once a month. 

Nail Trimming

We recommend using a clipper specifically designed for dogs' nails to give your pup regular trims. While a rotary trimmer can serve as a safer alternative, this can take more time. If your dog won't tolerate you trimming their nails, or if you're not completely comfortable with it, consider bringing your pooch to a qualified professional groomer


Different breeds have different needs when it comes to haircuts. Talk to your vet or a professional groomer to find out exactly how often (or if at all) your dog needs haircuts, and how best to go about it.

To cut your dog's hair, bathe them first using good quality dog shampoo, and then towel dry and brush. Use sharp scissors to trim the fur around the face and feet, and electric clippers for the rest of the body.

Grooming for Cats

Grooming for cats usually involves brushing, bathing, nail and paw care, ear care, dental care, and eye care.


Brushing your cat removes dirt, grease, skin flakes, and dead hair from the coat, and it helps to stimulate blood circulation and improves overall skin condition.

Brush your kitty once or twice a week with a metal comb (thick or thin teeth are both fine, whatever works best). You’ll find that these regular brushing sessions are particularly beneficial as your cat ages and can't groom as meticulously anymore.


It's no secret that most cats hate water, and you'll be pleased to learn that most cats do not need to be bathed regularly. Cats can more or less take care of their grooming, and will only need help if they get particularly filthy, or get into something sticky.

Bathe your cat using special cat shampoo and warm, but not hot water. Keep in mind that there's a good chance your cat will not want to cooperate, so be sure to shut the bathroom door before you begin, and consider wearing gloves and long sleeves.

Nail & Paw Care

It’s important to regularly examine and clean your cat’s paws and make sure they’re wound-free and free of debris.

Trimming a cat's nails can reduce scratching, and mitigate the destruction of your soft furnishings. For cats that are unwilling to tolerate nail trimming, spending some time getting them used it their paws being touched (without trimming) can help.

It's important to maintain good grooming practices with your pets. If it is time for your pet's grooming, contact our Santa Clarita vets today.

New Patients Welcome

Sweetwater Veterinary Clinic is accepting new patients! Our friendly and experienced vets are passionate about the health of Santa Clarita companion animals and horses. Get in touch today to book your four-legged friend's first appointment.

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