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Glow Up, Pup: The Comprehensive Guide to Spring Grooming for Pets

By: Lizz Caputo

Get ready for a pet glow-up this spring! Our comprehensive spring grooming guide covers everything from grooming basics to sun protection and professional services for your soulful sidekick's ultimate pampering

woman bathing dog in bath outside with child

Springtime: nature hits refresh, and your pet looks like they just rolled out of bed—after a three-month hibernation. It's the season when your dog's coat starts to shed faster than your New Year's resolutions and your cat suddenly looks like it's wearing last season's fur coat.

Yes, it's time for a pet glow-up, and we're here to guide you through the ultimate spring grooming routine for both dogs and cats. No more bad hair days, just fabulous fur ahead!

Dapper dogs and fine felines

When it comes to bodycare for our soulful sidekicks, pets can benefit from a proper spring tune-up. It’s not just about helping them transition, mind and body, into warmer weather. It’s about the time spent together, incorporating our pets into our routines and habits.

Brush up on the basics

First things first, let's tackle the dog. Begin with a thorough brushing session to say goodbye to the winter coat. Depending on your dog's breed, you might need a specific type of brush or comb to effectively remove loose fur and prevent matting. A de-shedding tool can be a game-changer for those with undercoats that turn into tumbleweeds on your living room floor.

When it comes to your cat, start with a gentle brushing to help them shed their winter layer. A fine-toothed comb works wonders for removing loose fur without irritating their skin. Regular brushing can reduce hairballs and matting, especially in long-haired breeds. It's also a bonding experience your cat might grow to love.

Splish, splash

Next, it's bath time. Choose a dog-friendly shampoo that suits your pup's skin type—whether it's sensitive, dry, or prone to rolling in things that smell like they shouldn't. Remember to brush before bathing to avoid tangles, and always use lukewarm water.

Bathing a cat is often not necessary (or advised unless you enjoy living on the edge). However, a damp cloth can help remove any dirt or pollen that may have hitched a ride on their luscious locks. When spring weather rolls in, spot cleaning can help them stay fresh. Use a damp cloth for the face and a wet one for minor soiling on the fur. As always, be sure to use cat-safe products.

Paws and claws

Spring means more outdoor adventures, so trim those nails and check the paw pads for cracks or debris. Long nails can cause discomfort or even health issues for dogs. If you hear click-clacking on the floor as they walk, it's time for a trim.

If you're new to this, consider watching tutorial videos or asking a vet for a demonstration to avoid cutting the quick, which can be painful and bleed. Keep the skin moisturized; a little paw balm can go a long way in keeping those feet soft and ready for action.

Like dogs, cats also need their nails trimmed regularly. It keeps them from becoming overgrown and helps protect your furniture from feisty feline claws. Use a cat-specific nail clipper for a quick snip of the tips, or if they really can’t tolerate an at-home mani-pedi, try asking your vet to trim them at your next appointment.

Hear me out: Ear essentials

Spring can also mean allergies, which might affect your dog's ears. Keep them clean and dry to prevent infections. A gentle wipe with a vet-approved solution can do wonders.

Similarly, regularly checking your cat's ears for dirt, wax, or signs of infection is important. A gentle wipe with a cotton ball slightly dampened with a cat-friendly ear cleaner can keep them in tip-top shape.

When your pet is dealing with ear issues, they won't exactly be able to tell you what's up, but they'll definitely show you. Here are some tell-tale signs that your copilot might be having a not-so-great ear day:

  • Scratching like there’s no tomorrow: If your pet suddenly takes up a side career as a DJ, scratching at their ears incessantly, it's a clear sign that something's amiss.

  • Head shakes: When your pet starts shaking their head like a Polaroid picture, it's a pretty good indicator that their ears are bothering them.

  • Odor issues: If a sniff near your pet’s ears sends you reeling back, it’s likely an ear issue brewing.

  • Discharge drama: Seeing anything oozy or gunky coming out of the ear—other than the usual pet wax—is a red flag. Any funky discharge should trigger a call to the vet.

  • Redder is not better: Redness or swelling inside the ear isn't a great sign. Most likely, it’s their ears crying out for help.

  • Selective hearing: If your usually responsive pet starts ignoring you, they might not be giving you the cold shoulder—they could genuinely be having trouble hearing you over their ear issues.

  • All about balance: Stumbling, circling, or a sudden loss of balance can indicate an infection that’s messing with the inner ear.

  • Pain in the ear: If your pet suddenly starts treating their ears like a no-touch zone, flinching, or whining when you get close, it's likely due to discomfort or pain.

When you notice any of these signs, it's not time for WebMD; it's time for a real DVM. Getting your vet involved early can help nip ear problems in the bud before they turn into a full-blown emergency.

Sun protection: not just for humans

As the sun finally decides to grace us with its presence this spring, it’s time to think about sun protection. Yes, you read that right. Fido and Whiskers need a little shield from those rays, too. While Supergoop and Drunk Elephant may be all the rage on TikTok, you shouldn’t shy away from introducing this bodycare trend to your curious copilot with their own, pet-formulated SPF.

Is pet sunscreen really a thing?

Believe it or not, pets can get sunburned just like us, especially those pets with sparse fur, light-colored coats, or a penchant for the sun. Areas like the nose, ears, and belly are particularly vulnerable to the sun's harsh glow.

man brushing his dog outside

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Picking the perfect pet sunscreen

Unsurprisingly, grabbing your own bottle of SPF 50 and slathering it on your pet isn’t going to cut it. Human sunscreen is the fashion faux pas of the pet world. Ingredients like zinc oxide can turn a well-intentioned spa day into a vet visit.

Instead, opt for a sunscreen that’s specifically designed for pets—free from fragrances, non-toxic, and boasting a broad spectrum of protection. It’s the equivalent of choosing a treatment tailored just for them.

How to apply like a pro

Follow the product directions, paying special attention to those sensitive sections: nose, ears, and belly. Always spot-test first to avoid an allergic reaction that could ruin the whole day. If your pet hits the pool or decides to roll around in a mud pit (because “clean” is subjective), you’ll need to reapply.

Beyond the bottle

Sunscreen is just one piece of the ensemble. Consider UV-protective clothing if hiking in a particularly sun-drenched local or if you have a pet of the hairless variety. Scheduling outdoor strolls before 10 a.m. or after 4 p.m. during peak sunny months can also reduce exposure.

Skin check: The new wellness routine

Keep an eye on your pet’s skin for any signs of sunburn or damage, such as redness or sensitivity. If you spot any, it’s time to consult your vet!

Professional grooming: When to call in the pros

While you can play amateur pet stylist for the day-to-day fluff management, there comes a time when you need to call in the pros. Whether it's because you've encountered a tangle that laughs in the face of your comb, or you just want to spoil Mr. Whiskers with the kind of spa day that makes the other cats jealous, professional groomers are your go-to. They’re there to help you tackle anything from the most rebellious fur to the dreaded anal gland expression.

If your dog isn’t a groomer regular, consider visiting your vet who can also take care of many of these concerns. It’s the perfect time to work in a yearly exam as well, to ensure your pet’s thriving not just externally, but inside as well.

The home edit: Pet edition

Spring isn't just an opportunity for a thorough brush and pedicure; it's the ideal season to freshen up your pet's living essentials, too. Think about it— those beds, toys, bowls, and crates have been gathering a winter's worth of dander, drool, and who-knows-what-else.

A deep cleaning of these items not only creates a healthier environment for your pet but can also be a game-changer for your own allergies. Dust mites, pet hair, and other allergens don't stand a chance against a good spring clean.

Regularly disinfecting bowls prevents the buildup of harmful bacteria that could upset your pet's stomach, while washing beds and toys can minimize the spread of germs and parasites. Plus, keeping your pet's crate clean ensures they have a safe, hygienic space to retreat to.

In the long run, staying on top of these cleaning tasks contributes to your pet's overall well-being and can significantly reduce allergy triggers in your home, making for a happier, healthier season for everyone involved.

Glow up, accomplished

Spring grooming is more than just a chore; it's an opportunity to bond with your pets and ensure they're healthy, comfortable, and looking their best. By following these tips, you're not just contributing to their physical well-being but to their holistic welfare as well. And who knows, with your pet looking this good, you might just be inspired to step up your own spring-style game!

Remember, patience and treats go a long way in making grooming a positive experience for your pets. Happy trimming!

(Note: Specific product recommendations and professional services should be tailored to your pet's individual needs, so consider consulting with your veterinarian for personalized advice.)

Lizz Caputo is the Manager of Content Strategy at Figo, animal enthusiast, and owner of a rescued senior American Bully. Her hobbies include checking out new restaurants in her area, boxing, and petting dogs of all shapes and sizes.

Figo writer Lizz Caputo


Lizz Caputo

Manager of Content Strategy at Figo

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