Second Chance: Healthy Hygiene for Hairy Pets

Second Chance: Healthy Hygiene for Hairy Pets

Animal hygiene can be a touchy subject–as can personal hygiene, but this is the Pet Column so we don’t have to go there…

Pacha before

Pacha after


Some pet parents like to bathe their dogs (and cats!) on a weekly basis. Some can go years between a brushing. Whether you bathe or brush a dog or a cat is rightly influenced by four aspects: your comfort and health and theirs.

Let me explain…

Two of my three dogs LOVE to roll in deer poop. When it comes to washing them after they have gallivanted in those fragrant pellets there is no doubt: I am sudsing them up for MY comfort (phew!)

But if you own a long-haired dog, or live in an area with lots of tree sap, or burrs, or other grasses/branches that cause major knots and mats, now bathing and grooming become about your pet’s comfort AND health.

Make no mistake, mats, tangles, burrs and sap monoliths are a health issue for your pet. Without opposing thumbs, your animal cannot rid itself of the offensive mess and with time and movement, things only get worse.

As the area grows, the fur involved gets more tightly knotted and starts pulling on the skin below. Not only does this cause ongoing pain and discomfort, but it also leads to skin breakdown and infection, all preventable with a little grooming…

If you don’t want to have to groom an animal, adopt a short-haired dog or cat. Short-haired animals can be easily and quickly brushed on an occasional basis and do fine. Bathing is optional, unless they run into something toxic, greasy, or smelly.

If you don’t mind grooming, or know a fabulous groomer, then go ahead and adopt a longer- haired animal — but be vigilant! Your accidental inattention could cause pain and suffering.  And now a few words from my co-author, Pacha.

I have a gorgeous orange and cream long-haired coat. When I arrived at Second Chance it was not so gorgeous and had to be trimmed down significantly. But now that I am being groomed regularly my luscious coat is glowing and growing out again and I am much happier.

Pacha before

Pacha before

I have included before and after photos to show the difference in my appearance. But better than how I look is how I feel. And being properly groomed makes me feel loved, significant, and of course – dazzling!

So now my lovely hair and I are ready to find a forever lap (or laps) of my own.  I am independent, like a cat, and outgoing.  My favorite movie is “Lion King” and my favorite people are those that place felines in their proper hierarchical position. (Yeah… that would be the top).

Editor’s note: It’s no secret. The Telluride region is dog heaven. Well, pet heaven. Unless you are one of our furry friends who gets caught in the maw of neglect and abuse. Then heaven is on hold until Second Chance Humane Society comes to the rescue. Second Chance is the region’s nonprofit dedicated to saving animals’ lives and promoting responsible pet parenting and human-animal bond. In her weekly blog, executive director Kelly Goodin profiles at least one, generally two of the many animals now living at the no-kill shelter, Angel Ridge Shelter, a dog and a cat, hoping to find them loving permanent homes. The column is sponsored by Ted Hoff of Cottonwood Ranch & Kennel, who from time to time exercises his skills as a dog whisperer, partnering with Kelly and her staff to help train a particularly challenging animal.

Ted Hoff & Mae

Ted Hoff &  Magnificent Mae


By the by, there is no better place to park your pup than Cottonwood whenever you head out of town (for locals) or are heading to town and staying somewhere that does not allow pets. Consider joining Ted’s Very Important Dog (VID) Club for added benies. (Details on Ted’s website.)

Second Chance Humane Society Animal Resource Center and Thrift Shop are both located in Ridgway, but service San Miguel, Ouray & Montrose Counties. Call the SCHS Helpline at 626-2273 to report a lost pet, learn about adopting a homeless pet, or about the SCHS Spay/Neuter, Volunteer, Feral Cat, or other Programs. View the shelter pets and services online:

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