Chewy’s resident veterinarian Dr. Katy Nelson, DVM, of the Belle Haven Animal Medical Centre in Alexandria, Virginia, took over Chewy's Instagram Stories for a lunch break chat to answer some of your most pressing questions about pet grooming during the coronavirus pandemic. While it may not be possible to see a professional groomer right now, there are still lots of things you can do at home to keep your pet clean and feeling their best.
Q: What’s the best wipe to use on dog’s paws after a walk in this COVID-19 world?
A: Well, since there is a shortage of baby wipes right now and disinfecting wipes, I’m going to go with good ol’ fashioned soap and water on a wash cloth; that’s probably the best way to get those paws clean.
Q: How many times should you wash your dog a month?
A: The answer is going to depend on your dog. So, if you’ve got an indoor dog with no skin issues, once a month is probably fine. Outdoor dogs that go out and get mucky, now that’s a different story, and you’ll have to just play that one by ear.
Q: How do I know if my dog needs his anal glands expressed?
A: And now for a glamorous question. If he’s licking at his bum pretty consistently, or if he’s doing that awesome little scoot across the floor, then that’s a pretty good sign it’s time to get those anal glands done.
Q: Anal glands. Should I attempt to express them myself?
A: More glamorous questions. I’m going to say "no." Most of the time, you can end up doing more damage than good unless you go rectally, which is how we have to do it in the hospital.
Q: What is the easiest way to get rid of knots (besides brushing)?
A: The best way to work through a mat or a knot is to start by giving a bath with a good detangling shampoo, and then pull out your brush (sorry, you’re going to have to use a brush), and just gently start just picking through the knot, pulling gently.
Q: Is washing your dog outside with the hose too cold for them?
A: It really is going to depend on the climate. If you’re in 85 degrees, it’s probably going to be fine. If you’re up North where it’s still a little bit chilly, then probably inside would be a lot better.
Q: Should I be concerned with a hair strand in my dog’s eye? How do I clean it out?
A: The quick answer is yes, it can lead to irritation or even infection. So, if you’ve got some clippers at home, giving them a quick clip around their face will keep their hair out of their eyes and prevent irritation.
Q: How do you clean a dog’s ears?
A: The best way to clean a dog’s ears is to start with a proper ear cleaning solution. Put it in the canal until you see that level come up and massage to help break up all that material that’s in there. Take a cotton ball (not a Q-tip!) to take the excess out, and then let them shake.
Q: How often should I clean my dog’s ears?
A: Usually, if your pet has no ear problems, once a week is just fine. If they do have some build up in there though, maybe going to every other day might work so you can help ward off any ear infections.
Q: My rescue pup hates when I touch his paws. How do I help him overcome this fear?
A: The best way to get your dog to be comfortable with you touching his paws is when he’s nice and relaxed—maybe when he’s lying next to you on the couch. Just start with a simple graze here and there and build up over time until you get them where you can do basically anything to [his paws].
Q: I am scared to hurt my dog when I cut his nails. Do you have any tips?
A: Chewy has a lot of choices for tools to use, but the most important thing is to know where to cut. So you want to go where you can see the end of the quick in the nail and start to trim there at an angle.
Thank you for asking the great questions. Stay tuned to Chewy’s Instagram for more lunch break vet chats!