Eliminating Grooming Anxiety and Dog Bite Exposure
While we love their bounding energy and excited demeanor, dog are not the cleanliest of critters. Unlike their feline adversaries, k-9 companions often need a little extra help when it comes to grooming and individual hygiene. Proper grooming and care is important to the health and comfort of many pooches and their companions, but bath-time can also be a time of conflict, anxiety and chaos for many pet owners. While some dogs love a routine spa session, others can be a little apprehensive about getting all cleaned up.
As we have mentioned before, when animals feel anxious, scared or that they are in danger they can lash out against the perceived threat, which can include biting, scratching and other aggressive behaviors. It is important to be able to recognize the warning signs of fear and aggression in an animal so that you can prevent and avoid potentially traumatizing experiences for everyone involved.
When it comes time to groom your beloved companion, here are a few recommendations from the pros to facilitate a safe and happy grooming experience for yourself and your companion.
Introduce grooming early– Bathing and grooming may come naturally to humans, but the same isn’t necessarily true for dogs. Conditioning and acclimating your pet to brushing, bathing, and having their face, paws, ears and other sensitive places handled early is one of the best ways to improve the experience. For those who acquired their pets at after their puppy years, taking a calm and patient approach can help ease older dogs into the new experience. In both cases experts recommend using lots of positive reinforcement tactics such as treats and praises.
Fur matting can be painful– Longer haired dogs often encounter a problem with tangles and fur clumping. These tangles are actually exacerbated by the introduction of water due to the physiological make up of a dog’s fur. Regular and careful brushing is one of the best ways to prevent matting, which is caused by dead hair, oils and dirt build-up. When mats are found they can create discomfort for the animal and working out those tangles can be a trying process for both the groomer and the pet. Experts recommend working out mats by using conditioner and a comb as gently as possible to prevent pulling or tugging at the skin which can cause pain for an animal and increase the likelihood of nipping and biting.
Be thorough– While the back and tummy may be the easy parts of your pet to access, it is often the hard to reach places which need the most attention. Grooming sensitive areas such as the faces, ears, tails, bums and legs is vital to the health and comfort of your k-9 but often create anxiety for animals who may not like to be handled in those areas. Again, patience and a calm demeanor will go a long way when working with these sensitive areas. It is important that the animal feels safe and that no harm will befall them while these areas are being addressed. Experts also recommend handling these areas in a non-grooming setting through play or affection, this will allow dogs to grow more accustom to having their paws, tails, ears and faces touched and associate it with a positive experience.
While your dog may have never even given you a nibble and may not even show any signs of aggression, the truth is that all dogs, regardless of breed, size or temperament, can bite whether out of fear or even over-excitement. That is why it is so important for dog owners to obtain Dog Bite Liability Insurance. F.I.D.O., the Federation of Insured Dog Owners, Inc. offers the Covered Canine Policy, an exclusive product and benefit for F.I.D.O. members only that specializes in Dog Bite Liability Insurance programs that will protect you should your dog bite an individual and cause harm. Coverage starts as low as $75 a year per dog, and can help provide the resources you need should you ever have to face a dog bite claim. To learn more about our policies and what to do if ever faced with a dog bite claim, please visit our Claim Info page and contact us at (855) 534-6495.