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The first step in grooming is to provide your pet with a healthy diet. Good nutrition will give your pet healthy skin and a shiny coat.

Bathing - Our favorite products for bathing right now is Eco-Me's shampoo and conditioner. For the first time, our dog didn't even need to be brushed after bathing. Usually his fur mats up after a bath. This time, he came out clump free, soft and shiny. It smells great, too.

Nails - We are against the declawing of an animal. Pets can be destructive, but trimming claws can minimize damage (for cats, scratching posts and cat trees will help keep them from scratching furniture). For cats and dogs, I prefer a lopping nail trimmer over the guillotine trimmers, but it is up to your personal preference. For kittens and small animals, small, scissor-like clippers are great.

Every pet will respond differently to having their nails trimmed. Some are very easy going, and can be held in your lap while you trim their claws. Others will fight. I have found the best method for these pets is to "sit" on them. Kneel down on the floor, and hold the animal between your knees (or have another person do this, while you sit in front of them) Hold them just firmly enough that they can't get away, but so there is no restriction to their breathing. For pets that get extremely upset or nervous, we have found a great products to relax them. PetAlive's Pet Calm is the first calming aid we have tried that actually works and makes the pet more cooperative. It starts working in only 5-10 minutes, so give it a little while before you are going to clip nails.

Brushing - For grooming pets with medium to long hair, I like using a rake comb. One with rotating teeth makes it easier to work through tangles without damaging hair. For short haired pets, a slicker brush works great to remove the excess undercoat. I prefer a self cleaning brush, which makes it easy to remove the hair that sticks to the brush.