Environmental pollutants both outside and inside our homes have greatly increased the toxins we and our pets are exposed to every day. Our pets are sentinels of chemical hazards to human health. As they walk through urban neighborhoods with industrial activity, and are exposed to numerous household and garden chemicals, our pets accumulate toxins on and in their bodies, often at levels that far exceed those found in humans.
Skin is the biggest organ on any living creature and absorbs these toxins as they sit for long periods of time. Regular bathing and grooming is one way to mitigate and minimize the chemical burden your pet faces.
Bathing at least monthly is ideal for most pets, with longer-coated animals and those living in heavily polluted environments requiring more frequent baths. A sugar-based cleansing formula is optimal since it cleans the skin and coat without stripping away natural oils and keeps the pH balance neutral. Using pure, no-fragrance, gentle shampoos, a professional groomer can help pets by doing far more than just removing dirt, debris and excessive hair. Washing removes many of the toxins trapped in the coat and on the skin, reducing a pet’s exposure to chemicals that cause cancer, neurological impairment and disruption of normal endocrine functioning.
Regular grooming can also help reduce itching a pet may experience and reduces allergies in people by removing dead skin and hair. A knowledgeable groomer will get to know each pet and can help alert owners to the presence of new skin abnormalities or growths. Any concern pointed out by a vigilant groomer should be brought to the attention of a veterinarian. While a concern is not always serious, in general, small malignant skin tumors during a follow-up exam with a veterinarian would be removed in order to prevent invasive growths and distantly spreading cancers.
The benefits of a good relationship with a pet groomer also include pampering for our furry friends. Many pets enjoy the attention during bathing and brushing, and good groomers will work to make the experience positive for every pet. Some groomers have expanded their services to include spa-like amenities, such as deep-conditioning treatments for skin and coat, aromatherapy for relaxation and pet massage. Incorporating appropriate essential oils and therapeutic touch techniques, top-level pet salons are a haven for our four-legged companions.
Dr. Laura Weis and her husband, Dr. Ransome Weis, own and operate Doylestown Veterinary Hospital & Holistic Pet Care, and Holiday House Pet Resort & Training Center, in Doylestown. For more information, call 215-345-6960 or visit HolidayHousePetResort.com. April 2018