A quick guide to pet shampoo and massage

Dogs and cats have naturally waterproof coats that usually don't need washing unless the animal has rolled in something smelly or in a substance that irritates its skin. If such is the case, and your cat or dog needs some tender loving care, here's a quick guide to pet shampoo and massage.

A quick guide to pet shampoo and massage

Should I shampoo my pet?

Cats are diligent self-groomers so they rarely need a wash, whereas dogs — especially outdoor dogs — may need washing two or three times a year. However, regular brushing will help in removing dead hair and accumulated dirt.

Shampooing, though, too often depletes the natural oils in your pet's fur, which decreases the ability of your pet's coat to repel water.

So, if you do want to shampoo your pet, you should choose a shampoo made specifically for pets. Or you could make your own. What's important is that you use a pet shampoo since the pH level of your pet's skin differs from yours.

All-purpose dog and cat shampoo

If you're looking for an all-purpose DIY dog and cat shampoo, give this recipe a try:

Ingredients

  • 500 ml (2 cups) water
  • 10 ml (2 tsp) liquid castile soap (this has a high olive oil content)
  • 30 ml (2 tbsp) aloe vera gel
  • 15 ml (1 tbsp) vegetable glycerine or vegetable oil

Directions

  1. Combine all the ingredients in a jar. Shake it to blend.
  2. Wet your pet's coat thoroughly, then pour on the shampoo and work it into a lather.
  3. To finish, rinse your pet thoroughly and then towel dry your pet.

Cat massage

Cats, particularly older ones, enjoy slow and gentle massage. This massage can be calming for the anxious feline and can have therapeutic benefits for arthritic cats. Some owners also notice behavioural changes — a previously indifferent cat may become more affectionate.

Here's how to perform this massage:

  • Rest your cat gently on your lap. Pay particular attention to the position your cat prefers. The key is to make your pet feel as comfortable as possible before starting the massage.
  • Start slowly, using a light, even pressure. Older cats often have frail bones and stiff joints. Explore your cat's body contours. Use different parts of your hands during the massage — palms, fingertips, finger pads, thumbs.
  • Gently stroke different areas of your cat's body, including the neck, behind the ears, the top of the head and under the chin. Move on to the leg and hip joints, carefully and gently rotating them as you go.

Give your pet some spa treatment

If your pet needs some cleaning up or relaxation, why not give this shampoo and massage a try? You can think of it as giving your pet some spa treatment.

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