As you groom your pet to remove dead hair, dirt and dead skin flakes, take the time to examine its body. Look for unusual lumps under the skin, rashes, bald spots, sores, dull or flaky skin. These are potential warning signs that may warrant a trip to your veterinarian.
Brushing and combing your cat's haircoat regularly removes loose and dead hair before it can be ingested by your cat during self-grooming. This helps minimize the formation of hairballs and prevents your cat from vomiting on your favorite bedspread or carpet. Excessive accumulation of hairballs, particularly in older cats, may cause impactions in the gastrointestinal tract.
Grooming is the time to check for fleas or other external parasites. Part your pet's hair to the skin and examine your pet from head to tail. Fleas are tiny and not always easily seen, especially on longhaired pets. However, you will know if fleas are present if you observe black specs which are flea droppings.
When you groom your pet, look for cuts, punctures or the presence of foreign objects in its foot pads. During winter months, snow, ice, salt or other chemical de-ices as well as mud can injure paws. They should be cleaned to remove salt and mud particles and the pads treated for cuts from sharp edges of ice. Clean with soap and water and apply an antiseptic. During summer months, when your pet romps or roams outside, inspect its paws for thorns which should carefully be removed with tweezers. Then apply an antiseptic.