Stray animals entering the shelter are often in need of some level of grooming whether it’s a simple bath or a serious shaving. A dirty pet may be nothing more than an affront to our olfactory senses, but other aspects of an unkempt pet can lead to more serious issues.
Problems such as dark red or black gunk in their ears could be a sign of infection or mites, matted fur can cause skin infections and urine burns. Here at the shelter we see strays come in all the time that are in need of a good clean up, but we also see a large number of owned animals that need some maintenance.
There’s one aspect of grooming that seems to be a real challenge for pet owners, even those that are generally on top of keeping their animals well cared for. A very important part of pet grooming is maintaining the length of their nails. No matter whether you have a dog or a cat, nails can be a huge problem if they are not trimmed on a regular basis. Allowing their claws to get long is a problem for you and for your pet which can result in discomfort for them, damage to your belongings and harm to you.
Recently we’ve seen some bad cases of stray dogs with nails so long they were curling under. If left untrimmed, the nails can actually curl under making walking difficult and even growing into the pads of their paws.
Many dogs are not comfortable having their feet handled and will resist attempts at trimming, it’s a routine that you should start at the earliest possible opportunity when acquiring a puppy. For older dogs that fight nail trimming, it may be necessary to take them to a grooming salon or your veterinarians office to do the deed.
Getting them into a regular routine every six to eight weeks may help resolve their anxiety.
Cats on the other hand shed their nails every few months so the issue with them is the damage they can do. Their nails grow in layers, kind of like an onion, but even after shedding old layers, the fresh nail is sharp and pointy.
Cat nails are very easy to clip because you can clearly see the quick. The only question is, will your cat let you do it. Once again, starting them out as kittens will make the task easier and save your belongings and your skin. I should mention here that declawing a cat is cruel and unnatural and should be avoided.
Kittens need foster care
On a completely different note, the shelter is desperate for cat and kitten food as well as foster homes for immature kittens. At this moment there are more than 200 cats and kittens in the shelter and more than 100 in foster care.
Many of the kittens at the shelter would be much better suited to foster care in a private home because of their fragile, immature immune systems. Their lives depend on a nurturing environment where they can receive the attention they need to grow strong and healthy.
If you can help with fostering, email email@example.com.
Donations of dry cat or kitten food, without dyes, or a gift card to purchase food can be dropped off at the shelter or ordered online for delivery to the shelter.
Shelter needs: Dry cat and kitten food, without dyes, canned dog food, soft dog treats, cat nip, hot dogs, liquid hand soap, hand sanitizer, paper towels, and gift cards for grocery and pet supply outlets.
Shelter address: 1244 N. Delsea Drive in Vineland.
To submit an adoption form for one of the Pets of the Week or another animal at the shelter, visit https://southjerseyregionalanimalshelter.org/