Animals are hugely effected by what goes on around them – much more so than they often let on. In other words, every experience they have, including your regular grooming sessions, impacts their well-being! As a caretaker, it’s your job to ensure that those experiences are as positive as possible. Grooming sessions should be based around your animal’s likes and dislikes, from the way you brush and bathe him right down to the tools you use.
Here are a few things to keep in mind when grooming your animal to help ensure a good experience for both of you!
Animals are stoic creatures. They hide pain well, and only emit subtle cues in moments of discomfort. But those cues are important to look for when grooming. Although a curry comb might not cause discomfort to some horses, many are simply too sensitive for this aggressive tool. Likewise for many traditional pet grooming tools that can tug on the coat or scratch the skin — the two primary complaints from pets. These painful experiences can be easily avoided by investing in a gentler grooming tool. You can also work on developing a softer touch, especially when grooming sensitive areas like his face and legs.
You brush your animal to get rid of loose fur and dirt, right? While this is certainly a true statement, it’s not the only reason to brush and bathe your animal on a regular basis. Horses and dogs especially require frequent grooming to keep their coats looking sleek and healthy, but these sessions also promote their mental and emotional well-being. Keep this in mind going into your next session, and make an effort to be more mindful of how you’re grooming him. Treat it like a massage and, once again, make sure the tool you’re using is both gentle and effective. Every stroke matters!
If you’re rushing or stressed during a grooming session, your animal will feel it. Do your best to brush and bathe him when you’ve got plenty of time and patience. Dedicate the entire span of time to him and him alone, and be fully present. Zoning out can result in silly mistakes that will cause him stress and make him dread your next session.
Remember, your animal’s well-being is riding on the experiences he has – and it’s up to you to make them as positive as possible. Take care when grooming him, and watch how he thrives!