Tip of the Month

Grooming Basics
  • Think A Poodle Cut Is Too Hard? - April 2014

    Poodle Cuts are Easier than You Think

    poodle cuts made easy

    Faithful companion and capable hunting dog, the poodle has been a friend to man since it first came to be in Germany as a water retriever as far back as the 15th century. Today, poodles are more likely to be seen in a family home than out in the field or lake, but one thing remains undeniably unchanged: the poodle's thick curly coat.

    A Poodle's Coat Makes Grooming Fun

    One of the many exciting parts of owning a poodle is that their thick curly coat can be shaped into many different cuts. As a Poodle owner, you should try new cuts and looks for your dog in order to truly get the most fun, fashion and function that only a poodle's coat can deliver. One unique cut you can try out is the Dutch Clip. This is a fairly easy cut you can do right in your own home by following just a few simple steps.

    A Clean Feet Start

    Begin by giving your poodle "clean feet." This is a term used by groomers for the shaving off of all hair on the feet. Since we are doing a trim on a pet poodle, a #10 blade will suffice on all clipping described here. Remove all hair on the sides of each toe, and in between the toes and pads on all four feet. Move to the dog's tail and clip approximately one-quarter up from the base, leaving a pompom at the end.

    Do A Sanitary Trim

    Next, perform a sanitary trim, clipping away hair from the dog's belly button to the groin and around the rectal area. Return to the base of the tail and clip a straight line, going against the grain, from your poodle's back all the way to his withers. At your poodle's flank, clip away another strip of hair, this time to the dog's stomach. Now move to the area where a collar would fall and from that collar line clip away all the hair neck, all the way up to the base of the ear and to the jawline.

    Clean Face

    Then, give your poodle a "clean face" and remove the hair along the cheeks, muzzle and mouth from the corner of the eye, all the way down. Now with curved shears you are going to shape the hair left on the body. When doing this cut, everything should be rounded and full. There should be no sharp edges when your scissoring is complete. When finished, use a slicker brush and comb to fluff the coat out and double check for stray hairs in the process, too. Once you are satisfied that the coat is sufficiently shaped, you are all done!Now that you have a fun, new look for your poodle, go show it off. Your poodle will surely be turning heads on his daily walks now.

    By Shelly Navarro, ABCPG

    Click here if you are you interested in learning how to become a certified dog groomer.

  • Tips on Grooming the Irish Setter - March 2014

    Grooming the Irish Setter

    Irish Setter Grooming Tips

    The Irish Setter has been a valiant hunting dog and a loyal family companion who has touched the hearts of many. With a beautiful, deep-red silky coat, this breed is easily identifiable; and by following these few tips you can care for your Setter's exquisite coat right in your home.

    Starting the Grooming Process

    To begin the grooming process, run a comb through the dog’s feathering to ensure that no tangles and/or matting are present in the coat. Next, take your clippers with a #10 blade attached and clear out the excess hair found within the dog's paw pads. Use the same blade to also clip away any excess hair around the rectal area, keeping the area as clean as possible.

    Moving to the Front

    Now move to the front of the dog and, using the #10 blade, begin clipping the top of the head, going with the grain of the hair all the way to the base of the skull. Clip the cheeks, around the ear and the muzzle as well. When clipping the muzzle, be sure to stretch the lips out to remove the hair in the flews. Going against the grain of the hair, clip from the top all the way down the foreface. This should leave you with a smooth, clean face.

    Ears on Down

    Still using the #10 blade, clip away the hair all the way down the throat in a "U" shaped pattern. Think of the top of each ear as the high points of the "U". Now turn your attention to the ears and clip away the top third. Replace your #10 blade with a #7f blade. You are going to clip the body, starting at the neck and going with the grain of the hair.

    Working the Lower Half

    Use the dog's elbow as a visual stopping point as you move around the dog. Keep in mind that the lower part of the dog's hip should be the invisible line where you begin to taper off in order to have plenty of hair for blending. You will want to take your thinning shears and neatly blend that area from the dog's lower hip to elbow to create a seamless transition.

    Feathering

    Using thinning shears, clean up the feathering by trimming it 1 to 3 inches, depending on how long the feathering is. Also trim up the base of the tail and the hocks to create a neater appearance. Switch over to your straight or curved shears (depending on your preference) and trim up the paws. Brush the hair up between the toes and trim. Finally, take the tail and trim it up so that it is longer at the base and goes to a point at the end of the tail. Then make sure the hair does not fall below the point of the hock.Your Irish Setter should be looking fabulous now and will be turning heads, whether out in the field or on a walk around the neighborhood.

    By Shelly Navarro

  • How to Groom a Lowchen - January 2014

    Grooming the Lowchen

    Lowchen Dog Grooming Tips

    About the Lowchen

    Lowchens, although on the smaller side of the dog scale, have rather big personalities. Often referred to as "little lions," these dogs have been frisky and loving companions to both royalty and peasants throughout their history. How these little lions came to receive their signature cut is a matter of a debate, but one thing is for certain: These dogs wear their breed cut fabulously. With just a little bit of grooming your Lowchen can wear the look of his ancestors in no time.

    Lowchen - Mats & Tangles

    To begin grooming your little lion, run your comb through body, face, legs and tail to ensure that there are no mats or tangles present. Be sure to check areas of high friction, such as the armpits and behind the ears, where mats are likely to form. If you do run across a mat, try breaking the mat down by slicing it into smaller pieces (always cutting way from your dog's skin) and brushing it out.

    Clipping and Trimming the Lowchen's Paws and More

    Once you have confirmed that the dog's coat is free of any knotting, using a #10 blade on your clippers, remove the hair from the pads of the dog's feet. Not only will this give the dog better traction when walking or running, it will also give the foot a much tidier appearance. Next you will want to perform what is called a sanitary trim. Take your clippers, with the #10 blade still attached, and clip the hair around the rectal area, inner thighs and groin. This way, when your dog does his business, it will be a much cleaner process.

    Grooming the Lowchen's Back Half

    Next, locate the middle part of the dog's tail. From the base of the tail, take your #10 blade and clip away the hair to that midpoint. There should be a nice plume remaining on the tail. Now feel along the dog' sides and find the last rib on the ribcage. You will be clipping away the hair from that point all the way back. This includes down the legs, up until you reach the hock joint.

    Final Touches

    On the front legs, clip the hair from the elbow to the knee. Once that is complete, check to make sure there are no stray hairs sticking out of place on the dog. Any out of place hairs may be scissored away. Once you are satisfied with the neatness of your Lowchen's appearance, he should look just like a small lion is meant to.Keep in mind that these are instructions for a pet trim, although they do follow the pattern set up by the breed standard. Feel free to alter the length of the blade you are using, leaving the pattern shorter or longer to coordinate best with you and your dog's grooming needs and lifestyle.

    By Shelly Navarro

  • How To Remove A Tick - December 2013

    How to Safely Remove a Tick from Your Dog’s Skin

    How to remove a tick

    Ticks Are A Year Round Threat

    There is a common misconception among pet owners that once the weather cools down, ticks go dormant and no longer pose a threat to their pets. This, however, is not always the case. If you live in an area that has mild winters, ticks can be a year-round problem. If your dog spends a lot of time out in areas where long grass and brush are common, there is a very good chance that Buster could pick up a tick or two. No need to panic, though, as removing a tick is actually quite easy and with a few simple steps you can have it out in no time.

    Use Care During The Tick Removal Process

    First off, do not agitate the tick by pouring alcohol on it, smothering it in petroleum jelly or putting a recently lit match on it. While these methods might cause the tick to pull its head out of the skin, or even kill it, it will also regurgitate what is has already devoured, spreading bacteria into the open wound it created. The best method is to manually pull the tick out. Do this with great care as you must remove the head of the tick or it will cause the area to abscess.

    Tick Removal Tools

    Removal can be done in a couple of ways. There are tick-pulling products such as a “tick key” or “tick twister.” These ensure that not only do you remove the head but also never have to come in contact with the tick. One could also use hemostats or gloved fingers to complete the extraction. Just be sure not to squish the tick while using these.

    Carefully pull the tick straight out of the skin, avoid any twisting motion as this can cause the tick’s head to break off. Once the tick is removed, place it in a container of rubbing alcohol. This will kill the tick in a short amount of time. Smashing the tick will also kill it but be warned; some ticks have very tough bodies and can be near impossible to squish. Avoid using methods such as washing it down the sink or flushing it down a toilet. This will not kill the tick and it will likely crawl back up the out of the drain, leaving it free to wander through your house.

    Keep Your Tick

    Once the tick is dead, you might want to keep it in a plastic baggie for a couple days; if your dog falls ill, you can bring it with you to the veterinarian’s office for species identification and proper treatment for your dog if needed. .

    Disinfect the wound left behind from the tick’s bite with peroxide or an over the counter antiseptic. Then, be sure to give Buster a treat for being such a brave boy.

    While dealing with ticks is never a pleasant experience, it is a common problem pet owners face. The more prepared you are to handle the situation when it arises, the better it will be for you and your dog—and the worse it will be for that pesky tick.
  • Grooming the Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever - October 2013

    Maintenance Grooming Your
    Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever

    Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever


    Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retrievers, or Tollers as they are affectionately called, are the smallest of the retrievers yet, ironically, have the largest name. These dogs were bred to attract ducks and geese into the shooting range of hunters and retrieve the bodies once the prey is shot. This involves a lot of jumping in and out of the water, making their water-resistant coat harsh and protective against the cold. While baths are not a frequent necessity for this breed, it is important to maintain the coat by removing excess undercoat and keeping the feathering clear from mats and tangles.

    Start By Checking for Mats

    When beginning a grooming session with your Toller, first check for mats. The feathering behind the legs and ears is going to be the main place of concern. If matting is present, there are several options for removal. If aesthetics are not a concern, then removal by trimming or shaving the mat is one solution.

    If the mat is sufficiently away from the skin, you could even use thinning shears so that the hole left in the fur is not so dramatic and noticeable. If you prefer to keep as much hair intact as possible, you can break down the mat into smaller pieces by cutting through it with shears or using a dematting comb to saw through it. Once the mat is split several times, you should be able to brush it out with a slicker brush. If the mat continues to give resistance, slice it further into smaller bits until it is easily detached. Once your Toller is mat free, brush through the feathers with a slicker brush to ensure there are no further tangles.

    Consider Using a Carding Tool

    While the Toller is not as extreme of a shedder as some other breeds, they do benefit from regular removal of dead undercoat. A slicker brush can help pull some of the dead hair out, but you will likely find a carding tool to be a much more efficient method. A carding tool can be as simple as disassembled #40 blade or can be purchased from your local pet supply store, Carding tools are often marketed to the general pet owner as a “shedding aid” or “de-shedder.” With your carding tool in hand, run it in short, quick motions along the neck, back and sides of your dog. These are the areas where excess undercoat is likely to be hiding. Once you have finished, slicker brush the area one last time to ensure that the bulk of the dead hair has been eradicated.

    After a quick check of the nails to make sure they have not grown too long and a peek in the ears to make sure they are clean, your Toller will be the best-looking dog on the hunt.
  • Doing a Show Cut on a Doberman - September 2013

    Doberman Grooming Tips - Show Cut

    Tips For Doing A Show Cut On A Doberman


    Despite being a smooth-coated dog, Dobermans who compete in conformation go through regular clipping and trimming. Although the grooming procedures are nowhere near as extensive as those for long-coated breeds, these small steps will make a big difference in your Doberman’s look. Even if your Dobie does not compete in conformation, try some of these steps out to see the effects a little grooming can have.

    A Doberman's Ears

    Although it is not required, almost all Dobermans shown in the United States have cropped ears. Many handlers will clean up the hair on the inside of the ear flap and along the outline to create a much crisper look. It is a fairly easy and quick clean up, and makes a dramatic difference in the look of your dog’s face. To do this, simply take your clippers and a #40 blade and clip the inside of the ear flap completely clean. As you move down along the dog’s ear, use caution so as not to accidentally nick it. Once all the hair on the inside of the ear is removed, take a pair of blunt-tipped scissors and trim along the edge of the ears, removing any stray hairs that might be sticking out.

    The Doberman's Tail

    If your Doberman has a docked tail, clipping the underside and the area where the docking took place will help create a much neater look. With your clippers and a #10 blade, clip the underside of the tail from the base to the point of docking. Then take your shears and trim any hairs that are be sticking out in an unruly fashion at the docking point. Be careful not to take off so much as to expose the scar tissue underneath.

    Trimming The Flank Of A Doberman

    When dealing with the flank, you must be extremely careful when trimming as it is a place where dogs are prone to being nicked. Only perform this if you are confident in your scissoring ability and your Dobie’s ability to stay still during the trimming. That being said, neatening this area will help accentuate the outline of the dog. Take your shears and trim along the flank creating a nice, crisp curve.

    The Whiskers On A Doberman

    Although the whiskers on a dog’s face do have an important function and purpose, clipping them creates significantly cleaner appearance, which is why many show dogs are missing them. If you do choose to cut your dog’s whiskers, you can use either clippers or shears to complete the task. If using shears, simply trim away the whiskers one by one. If using clippers, do not run the blade over the dog’s face. This removes all the hair and creates the clean face people often see on a poodle. Instead, keep the blade raised slightly above skin level and move it along the sides of the muzzle. Do not forget the whiskers on the lips, cheeks, eyebrows and underneath the bottom jaw.

    Whether your Doberman is getting ready for the ring or for a nap on the couch, these simple steps will help show off the stunning beauty that is characteristic of the breed.
  • Tips On Grooming the Shikoku - September 2013

    Grooming the Shikoku


    Shikoku Dog Breed

    About the Shikoku

    The Shikoku is a medium-sized breed that fills the gap between its larger cousin, the Akita, and the smaller Shiba Inu. Originating from Japan, this breed was once used to hunt deer and wild boar,and many of the Shikokus of today still retain their hunting instincts. They have also kept the thick double-coat that makes hunting in colder weather a breeze for them. With the proper tools, grooming the Shikoku’s coat can be an easy undertaking.

    Caring for the Shikoku's coat

    The double-coat of the Shikoku must never be trimmed. Instead, this is a breed that should be routinely carded to remove excess undercoat and control shedding. There are many commercial carding tools available, which can be easily found at your local pet supply store. One can also use a disassembled #40 blade to complete the task.

    Take your carding tool and, moving with the grain of the hair, run it across the coat. I find that quick, short strokes work best when carding a dog. Be sure to pay close attention to areas that tend to become packed with coat, such as around the neck, back and haunches. This is especially true if your buddy is “blowing his coat” (a biannual event where the shedding of the undercoat becomes extreme). Once you have removed a sufficient amount of hair, take a rubber curry over the coat to help loosen any remaining hair.

    More Grooming Tips

    With your Shikoku’s coat properly cared for, there are a couple of other areas that should be checked in between bathing sessions. First, check his nails. If any are touching the ground then they should be trimmed or grinded back. When performing this task, always be mindful of the quick and slice or grind nails with care and due diligence. Also, check your furry friend’s ears. If there is any waxy residue, it should be carefully removed using cotton balls and an ear cleaning solution specifically formulated for dogs’ ears.. Always follow the manufacturer’s directions on the ear cleaner and never insert anything into your dog’s ear canal.

    Afterwards, you’ll notice a more vibrant coat that will bring out the beauty of your Shikoku. You’re now ready to show off this spectacular rare breed to everyone you meet.

    By Shelly Navarro

    Click here to learn more about how to Become a Dog Groomer!
  • Grooming the Fila Brasileiro - July 2013

    Fila Brasileiro - Grooming Tips

    Grooming the Fila Brasileiro

    With the power of a mastiff, the working ability of a bloodhound, and the tenacity of a bulldog, the Fila Brasileiro is a breed that requires an owner as formidable as it is. This versatile breed can track, herd and control livestock, and hold large game at bay with its immense power. Filas are also often used as guard dogs due to their incredible loyalty to their family and suspicion of strangers. It is highly recommended that most grooming is done by the owner of the Fila or someone close to the dog because of this natural distrust of strangers. Luckily, the Fila Brasileiro is a smooth coated breed making grooming a breeze.

    Tend To The Ears

    For in between bath grooming sessions there are a couple of areas that require special attention on the dog. First and foremost the ears of Fila should be thoroughly cleaned. Those long, pendulous ears are wonderful to aid in tracking game but are also known to trap moisture, dirt, and debris inside the ear. A damp, environment with very little airflow makes a perfect breeding ground for a yeast or bacterial infection. To properly clean the ears, choose a liquid ear cleaning solution approved for canine use. Place several drops into the dog’s ear canal. It is very important that you do not place the nozzle into the dog’s ear as this could cause painful and permanent damage to the ear. Next, massage the drops down into the canal by rubbing the base of your Fila’s ears until a “squishing” sound can be heard. Allow the dog to shake its head now. Take several cotton balls and remove excess wax and moisture on the outside of the ear. Once the ear is clean and dry, repeat the same process on the other side.

    Wrinkle Cleaning

    The other big concern when grooming the Fila Brasiliero is their wrinkles. All prominent wrinkles need to be meticulously cleaned. Lack of care will cause these crevasses to produce a foul odor and can lead to skin problems. To wash the wrinkles, first take a fresh washcloth and wipe the area. Apply a mild, dog-safe shampoo to vicinity. Swab clean with a new washcloth, making sure no soap residue is left behind. Then with a clean towel dry the area gently but thoroughly. To ensure that there is no moisture left behind for bacteria or fungus to grow, apply a small amount of talcum powder to the wrinkle.

    Brush Down

    Finally, it is time to pull out the curry brush and give your Fila a good brush down. Move the curry in short, quick strokes across the coat to draw out any lose hair or dirt. Then a quick brush over with a boar bristle brush to distribute oils throughout the coat and your Fila’s maintenance grooming session is over! He should be looking good and ready to face any challenge!
  • Grooming Tips for The Leonberger - May 2013

    Grooming the Large and Loveable Leonberger

    Grooming the Large and Loveable Leonberger
    The Leonberger, or the Leo for short, is a super-sized, affectionate breed that originates from Germany. During World War I and II, the breed nearly went extinct but has since made a comeback—although they remain rare in the United States. Despite the fact that Leos are seen infrequently in North America, they are certainly hard to miss. These giant fluff-balls can weigh more than 150 lb. and are covered in thick fur. To keep your Leo from turning into a furry disaster it is important to have a weekly grooming regimen and stick to it.

    To tackle this sizable task you will need the following tools in your arsenal: slicker brush, undercoat rake, carding tool, medium-tooth comb, mat comb, thinning shears, clippers, #10 blade and a high-velocity dryer (optional).

    There are two main things you will need to focus on when grooming the Leonberger: removing the excess undercoat and ridding the coat of any mats that may have formed.

    Start by feeling your Leo’s body. Are there any large mats needing immediate attention? The places you will most likely find matting are behind the ears, in the chest area, the feathering around the legs and on the tail. Sizable mats should be removed humanely by trimming them out with thinning shears or, if the mats are very close to the skin, shaved out with a #10 blade. Small mats can be removed by breaking them down with the mat comb and brushing them out with the slicker brush.

    Now that your Leo is mat free, it is time to tackle the undercoat. If you have a high-velocity dryer available to you, now is a great time to put it to use. Place the condenser cone on the nozzle, turn the dryer on, stand back and let it snow. A high-velocity dryer is an excellent tool for blowing out dead coat, but it can get messy. If you do not have a high-velocity dryer at your disposable, you will have to de-shed your Leo by hand.

    Start with a good all-over brushing with the slicker brush. This will help pull out any small tangles. Then take your undercoat rake and go through some of the thicker areas where the hair is likely to bunch up, such as by the rump or chest. Once those areas are thinned out, take a carding tool to the body to remove undercoat buildup around the back, sides and outer thighs of your Leo. Now take your comb and go through the feathering to ensure there are no snags. Finally, one more brush through with the slicker brush and your weekly grooming session is done.

    While grooming a Leonberger may seem an enormous task, your Leo will thank you and pay you back pound for pound with love and gratitude.
  • Brawn and Beauty: Grooming the Perro de Presa Canario - June 2013

    Grooming the Perro de Presa Canario


    Brawn and Beauty: Grooming the Perro de Presa Canario


    The Perro de Presa Canario is a beautiful embodiment of pure power. Equipped with prominent muscles, huge frame, and a working dog attitude the Presa is an amazing specimen. Originally bred to help farmers with livestock, this rare breed is used more often these days as a deterrent for would-be burglars. Their coats come in two accepted colors, fawn and brindle, all of which are composed of a short, smooth coat that makes for easy grooming.

    The Presa is a Smooth Coated Breed


    Being a smooth coated breed, there is minimal upkeep in between grooming for owners to keep up with. The main focus of the weekly, at-home grooming regiment will be shed control. While Presas lack the dense undercoat seen in many other breeds, they do still shed and would benefit from a good brush out at least once a week. The best tool to accomplish this with will be the rubber curry brush. This brush is a must have for any owner but especially owners of smooth and short haired breeds. Void of a protective undercoat, the use of a wire slicker brush on these dogs would easily scratch the skin leaving what is referred to in the grooming world as “brush burn”. Curry brushes, since they are made of rubber, eliminate this problem and will make your Presa feel as though he is receiving a massage. Move the curry in circles or in fast, short strokes with the grain of the hair. These motions will help release loose hairs in the coat and will collect in clumps for easy removal.

    Bathing the Presa


    If your grooming session is more than just a weekly touch up and you find your Presa in need of a bath, first find an appropriately sized tub for him to get into. Place cotton balls in both ears to insure that water does get in them (this is especially important if your Presa has cropped ears which would make them very vulnerable to getting water inside of them during the bath). Wet the coat thoroughly and apply a gentle shampoo. Massage the shampoo over the body and create a nice sudsy lather. Use a tearless shampoo on a washcloth for the face area and rinse it clean with a separate washcloth. Follow by rinsing the body clean of all shampoo. If your Presa is especially dirty, repeat the process until the water running off the dog is no longer tinged brown. After your Presa is all clean, cover the body with conditioner which will bring a shine to the coat and prevent that “doggy smell” from coming back so soon. Allow the conditioner to soak for several minutes and then rinse clean. Once your Presa is free of conditioner, its drying time. Remove excess water with several clean towels. If you have access to a high velocity dryer now would be the time to use it. Not only will the dog dry faster but it will fluff up their coat too. If you do not have a high velocity dryer at home, no worries! The Presa Canario has a wash and wear coat that will make air drying a breeze.

    Now that your Presa is clean he will be able to take on any task thrown at him with shiny coat and a fresh scent.
  • The Bald and Beautiful: Grooming the Hairless Xoloitzcuintli - April 2013

    Tips on Grooming: The Hairless Xoloitzcuintli


    The Bald and Beautiful: Grooming the Hairless Xoloitzcuintli

    About the Xoloitzcuintli

    While the Xoloitzcuintli (pronounced show-low-itz-quint-lee), known as the Xolo to its friends, is just now coming back from the brink of obscurity, it is actually one of the more ancient breeds of dog. Originating in Mexico, this breed is slowly gaining popularity after nearly becoming extinct only a few decades ago. What makes this particular breed stand out in a crowd is, other than a few tufts of hair on its head and tail, it is hairless. While there are versions of the breed with hair (called powder puffs), the hairless Xoloitzcuintli is touted as a nonshedding, odorless and hypoallergenic breed, making it very appealing to dog owners who are tired of vacuuming up tumbleweeds of hair in their homes every day. However, before you run out and add a Xolo to your household, it is important to note that even though this breed is almost completely without hair, it still requires a regular grooming regiment.

    Regular Bathing Needs

    Despite the Xolo’s lack of “doggy odor,” it is still important they receive regular bathing sessions. On the other hand, it is also important these sessions are not too frequent, as too many baths will strip their skin of its natural oils, causing dry skin, blackheads and acne. About once a month will do just fine.

    Tips on Bathing a Xoloitzcuintli

    The Xolo is bathed just like a dog with hair would be. Carefully lather the dog’s body in a gentle shampoo and rinse. It may be a good idea to dilute the shampoo since Xolos tend to have sensitive skin. Once his body is rinsed of shampoo, it is time to condition. Apply conditioner to his body and allow it to soak for several minutes. This will help replace some of the oils that were stripped from the coat during the shampooing process. Once the time is up, rinse all the conditioner off and lead your not-so-furry friend out of the tub. Drying is as easy as a gentle pat down with a towel.
    Now for a step that is not seen with coated breeds: moisturizing. Xolos need their skin rubbed down with a hypoallergenic, non-oily lotion. Much like the conditioner, this will keep his skin from drying out.

    Since your Xolo was such a good boy during his bath, be sure to reward him with one of his favorite treats. He’s all clean and your bald buddy is ready to take on the world like a brand new dog!
  • Grooming Your Westie - March 2013

    Thinking of clipping your Westie?

    If you answered yes, springtime is the right time to do so, as it will give her a comfortable amount of hair in the warm days ahead. West Highland terriers can get two different types of haircuts. You can hand strip them or use clippers. Professionals typically do hand stripping for show dogs; however, experienced owners can opt to do it, too. That said, most people prefer to have their Westies clipped.

    Cut Style Options

    There are several popular styles to choose from. You can opt for the iconic “Westie” cut: a full round face and a long skirt and carrot-shaped tail. However, if you have a busy Westie, it can be a good idea to try a different style such as a puppy cut. The hair is shorter and the same length all over the head and body. There are also less common styles, such as a Scottie or Schnauzer look, particularly around the face.

    As mentioned, experienced owners can do hand stripping, which is done without clippers. The dead hair is pulled from the dog’s coat, usually with a special stripping tool. Hand stripping tends to leave the hair feeling stiffer than if clippers were used.

    Here are a few things to consider before choosing a specific cut. First, before you decide to clip or strip your Westie look closely at the hair. Does she have sensitive skin or thin hair? If so, you may want your Westie’s coat left a little longer on the top. Does your Westie like to romp and play in the mud? Then you may want her skirt left shorter. This is a practical style for Westies who really like to dig in the dirt and get into mud, since it can take a lot time to brush their hair out afterwards.

    Nail Trimming

    Regardless of the style, it’s very important to keep the nails trimmed nice and short. Westies have short legs for their stocky bodies. Untrimmed nails can cause them to slip on tile and laminated flooring, and have back problems.

    Don’t forget; once your Westie has an appropriate style for warmer weather, an occasional brush or trim may still be necessary. Either way, you and your pet should enjoy the good weather.

    By Colleen Riley
  • Doggy Earwax - How To Clean It And When To Worry - January 2013

    If Your Dog's Earwax Could Talk...
    What a dog's earwax can tell you about his or her health.

    Believe it or not, your dog’s earwax can tell you a lot about what is going on inside its ears. By assessing the color and texture of the earwax, you can help prevent a small problem from turning into a much larger one.

    Tips On Cleaning Your Dog's Ears

    To properly clean your dog’s ears you will need cotton balls or gauze and ear wash made specifically for canine use. (Ear wash can be found at most pet stores that carry grooming supplies). Gently hold your dog’s head steady and apply several drops into its ear. (The directions on the bottle indicate how many drops to use). Massage the ear wash into the dog’s ear canal until you hear a “squishing” sound. Now release its head and allow the dog to shake. If your dog does not shake proceed to tilt its head to the side, allowing the excess ear wash to dribble out. You do not want any leftover fluid to remain inside as this can lead to ear infections.

    Next, take the gauze or cotton balls and wipe the outside of your dog’s ears, removing excess ear wash and wax. Repeat this until the ears are free of any waxy substance. IMPORTANT: NEVER INSERT ANYTHING INTO A DOG’S EAR CANAL AS THIS CAN CAUSE PERMANENT DAMAGE. After one ear is sufficiently clean, move to the other side and repeat.

    Signs of Possible Problems

    Assess the earwax you removed. Black earwax with crumbly texture could indicate a mite infection. Reddish-brown or yellow earwax with a sticky texture could indicate infection, allergies or an overexposure to water. It is important to have your dog seen by a vet if any of these ear discharges are present. Leaving ear issues untreated can be painful for your dog and, overtime, can lead to deafness.

    Remember to check and clean your dog’s ears regularly in order to have a happy, healthy pup.

    By Shelly Navarro
  • Grooming America’s Favorite Breed: the Labrador Retriever - February 2013
    Grooming a Labrador Retriever
    For the past 20 years, Labrador Retrievers have been one of the most popular breeds in America. Their reputation as fun-loving, family dogs has won the hearts of many admirers and has kept them at the head of the proverbial pack. One thing that draws potential owners to this breed is their easy-to-maintain coat. However, that doesn’t mean a Labrador doesn’t require any grooming. Here are a few steps to follow in order to help keep your lovable Labrador friend smelling fresh and always looking his best.

    Labrador Shedding Control Tips

    Talk to any Labrador owner and they will tell you their dog sheds a lot. This breed is notorious for covering everything they touch with loose hair. This means your buddy will need a good de-shedding before and in-between baths to help keep some of that hair under control. The appropriate tools to use include a rubber curry, a shedding blade and a carding tool.

    The rubber curry is your first line of defense. It is safe to use on all parts of the body and will feel like a massage to the dog. Move the curry in circular motions or with the grain of the hair to pull out the loose hair. After you’ve gone over your dog with the curry, you may want to follow up with a shedding blade or a carding tool. These should only be used where the hair is thickest, such as on the back or barrel. Be careful to not press down too hard or you may scratch your dog. Once the de-shedding process is complete, your companion will be ready for a bath.

    Tips on Bathing Your Labrador Retriever

    To begin the bath, place cotton balls in your dog’s ears (not too deep) to keep water from getting into the ear canal. Wet your dog thoroughly with lukewarm water. A Labrador’s coat is naturally water-resistant, so you may have to really work the water in.

    Shampooing

    Next, spread a gentle shampoo throughout the coat and work into a lather. Be sure not to get any shampoo in your dog’s eyes. Use a wet washcloth with tearless shampoo to wash her face. Then use a clean, wet washcloth to remove the soap. Now that your dog is sufficiently soaped up, it is time to rinse. Rinse her coat until the water runs clean and no soapy residue is visible.

    Coat Conditioning

    Now it’s time to condition the coat. Spread conditioner around your dog’s body and allow it to sit on the coat for several minutes. Afterwards, rinse the conditioner out, much as you did for the shampoo. The bath portion is now complete. Encourage your furry friend to shake the water off as it will help take some of the excess water off of her.

    Drying Your Dog

    Towel dry your dog vigorously but gently. This may take more than one towel. If you have access to a high-velocity dryer, this is a great time to use it. The high-velocity dryer will not only help remove water, it also removes any loose hair left over from de-shedding. If you do not have a high-velocity dryer at your disposable, a human hair dryer on the “cool” setting will also work. Work your way around your dog, drying each section until she is void of water.

    Once your Labrador is dry you will have a clean, de-shedded friend who is ready to take on life’s next adventure with you.

    By Shelly Navarro
  • Winter Grooming for your Dog - January 2013

    Keep Your Dog Warm

    Since cold weather and winter go hand-in-hand for most of the country, there are key factors to keep in mind when grooming your pet during the chilly season. First, you should let your dog’s hair grow longer to keep her warm when she goes outside. This is especially important if Fifi is an indoor apartment pet. Also, some dogs, such as small breeds or elderly dogs, are more affected by the cold. All dogs, especially city dwellers, need to get outside once in a while. Here are a few tips to ensure your dog is prepared for cold weather.

    Keep Grooming Your Dog In The Winter

    Letting your pet’s hair grow doesn’t mean you stop grooming Fifi on a regular basis. However, winter grooming needs are different. You need to make sure your dog is used to being brushed with its longer hair or double coat. While the longer or thicker the coat means more protection from the cold, it also requires more work to keep it clean and neat. Explain your needs to your groomer and he or she will groom accordingly.

    Check Their Toes

    Another tip is to tend to the area between the toes. If there is snow and ice on the ground, it can accumulate on the hair between the toes and create icy pellets. These can irritate your dog and be painful for her. Discuss this with your groomer as well.

    Plan Ahead with Your Groomer

    Since longer fur might require extra grooming, there is a chance your regular groomer gets very busy during the cold months. To make sure you get in, schedule your appointment far in advance. When you drop your dog off, explain what you want done and write it down for your busy groomer. For instance, if you or Fifi is allergic to a certain shampoo, your groomer might greatly appreciate a written reminder. This can help you and your dog avoid any unpleasant effects an exotic shampoo might cause.

    Keep Your Dog Comfortable

    Winter doesn’t have to be a stressful time of the year for you and your dog. Just make sure your dog is comfortable and happy when she goes out and romps around in the snow. Be sure to adjust grooming needs for the weather, such as making advance appointments and be very specific and clear with the groomer regarding anything you want done or not done to your pet.

    By Colleen Riley
  • Caring For The Coats In The Herding Group - October 2012
    The dogs in the Herding Group such as the Rough Collie, Belgian Sheepdog, German Shepherds, or any of the Shepherd breeds that have long furnishings in their chest and behind their hind legs (called feathers) should never be clipped or shaved. These breeds should be brushed twice a week to cut down on shedding, as well as a bath at least every three months. Dogs that are kept in doors should be brushed and bathed more often because the in door temperature throws off seasonal shedding.

    The grooming tools on hand should include a large slicker brush, a deshedding tool with longer teeth, large metal comb, large pliers style nail clippers, and a garbage bag.

    While your dog is lying down or secured to a harness / collar and tether, begin deshedding lower on the dog’s body. With one hand, hold up the hair while gently brushing downward. Slide your hand upward to release more hair as you brush downward. As the brush packs with hair, use your metal comb to remove the hair from the brush, and repeat the above steps until you have covered the entire body. Be careful to not scratch the skin. If you are gentle, your dog will grow to love the attention and the time spent with you during this routine.

    If the coat is especially thick, you can use the hose attachment of your vacuum cleaner with the attachment that has teeth. Some dogs do not mind the noise and love the cooling feel of the vacuum. Dogs with vacuum fears can wear a Happy Hoodie or other covering over their ears. Use the metal comb to comb the longer portions of fur on the legs and tail.

    The items that you should keep on hand for bathing a dog include: shampoo & conditioner, ear cleaner, cotton balls, styptic powder, washcloth, hand dryer on a stand, small high-velocity dryer and absorbent shammies. Other helpful equipment for bathing a large dog at home include: a grooming loop on a suction cup, shower with a movable showerhead, or a large grooming tub such as the Booster Bath.

    First, clean your dog’s ears with cotton balls and ear cleaner. Next, clip the nails, being careful to just snip off the white part on white nails and slice just the tip of each black nail to see where the vein is.

    Secure the dog in the shower or booster bath, then, with warm water, use the nozzle right up close to the skin to wet down the entire coat. Shield the eyes and ears as you use a lower strength stream while wetting the face. Apply diluted shampoo in an applicator bottle to the face, head, and ears. Massage the shampoo well, especially the outer ears and neck area.

    Let the head soak while you apply the shampoo to the entire body. Pay special attention to the rear, belly area, and feet. Once shampoo is applied to the body, move back to the face to remove the shampoo using a low spray, while you protect the ears and eyes. Once the head is free of shampoo, move back to rinse the entire body. When all signs of the shampoo are gone, repeat the above steps using the conditioner. To avoid the doggie smell returning 3 days later, it is important to use conditioner to counteract the skin’s attempt to reprocess the oils that were removed in washing.

    Once all signs of conditioner are removed, use the shammies to absorb as much water as possible. Squeeze out the shammy often. When you are unable to remove any more water, place a squeezed out shammy under the feet and use the high velocity dryer beginning on the back fur. Use the hand dryer on the stand aimed at the face and feet as you work on the body and finish up your pooch’s grooming time!
  • Solutions For Sharp Cat Claws - October 2012
    Most people who have cats do not think about clipping their cat’s claws, but in some cases, it is a good idea. This is especially true for house cats that use furniture or the carpet to sharpen their nails!

    Cat claws are made of keratin, which is a protein. The outer layer of the nail consists of dead keratin, which is known as the sheath. The quick, which is a blood vessel, runs through the center of each claw. This quick contains nerves and the blood vessel, which causes the nail to grow. When a cat scratches on the furniture or carpet, many people believe that their cat is sharpening their nails. This is not the case. As the nails grow, the cat instinctively scratches on a rough surface to shed the old sheath.

    If your cat is aged or ill, she may not sharpen her nails as she should. She could end up with a nail growing into the paw pad or the having a nail form into an ever-growing circle. If a nail grows into the delicate paw pad, you will have to take your cat to the veterinarian to have them cut and cauterized. In some cases, just like a dog, overgrown nails can cause the cat to walk differently or not be able to retract their nails. These overgrown nails can become caught in carpets or even cause your cat to develop back problems.

    To avoid this you should clip your cat’s nails. Begin by investing in a small pet nail clipper. Do not use human nail clippers. Pet nail clippers are available in three styles. The first type is Guillotine, in which the cat’s nail is slipped through the hole and cut. The second type is like a small scissor. Then there is the “pliers style”, which is more popular because most people feel they are easier to use. It is also a good idea to have either a styptic pencil or styptic powder on hand in case you cut into the quick. Styptic powder (or a styptic pencil) can be used to blot on your cat’s nail in case the quick is cut and the nail begins to bleed. This helps the blood clot and cease.

    With cats, you will need to be ready when they feel the most comfortable. For instance, if your cat likes to lie on your lap while you sit on the couch or chair, have your nail clippers nearby so you can grab them and snip a couple while your cat is relaxed. If your cat is food motivated, then always offer a special treat.

    To begin conditioning a nervous kitty, start by massaging the cats paw pads. Once the kitty’s trust has been achieved, then gently press the paw to reveal the nails. Do this for all nails. If your cat already likes this, then proceed to clip off some of the white portion of the nail. Do not cut into the pink part, as this will cause the nail to bleed and hurt your cat. If you do cause the nail to bleed, you should use a styptic powder or stick to stop the bleeding.

    Learn to become familiar to your cat’s attitude as you work with her and if she seems to be annoyed stop. After every session with your kitty, give her a special treat.

    Another solution for cat claws is “nail caps”. Several different manufacturers make nail caps. Nail caps come in all sorts of different colors and decor, as well as different sizes. To apply nail caps you will have to follow the same procedures as above to condition your cat to become accustomed to the application process.

    Once again, when trust has been gained, while your cat is in your lap, apply some adhesive, and place the cap on each nail. Remember to gauge your cat’s demeanor and give your cat a special treat when you are finished. Nail caps will last between 4 to 6 weeks.

    If you are unable to perform any of the above tasks, you can always try your veterinarian’s office or your local groomer for assistance.
  • Grooming the Double Coated Dog During the Summer - September 2012
    Golden Retriever Getting Washed

    Double Coated Dogs - Summer Grooming Tips

    If you have a dog of the “working” or “sporting” breeds (such as German Shepherds or Golden Retrievers) your animal may have a double coat of hair. If this is the case, and your dog was outside doing the activity he or she was bred for, then the double coat probably wouldn’t bother you. In fact, you might not even notice.

    Natural Double Coat Shedding During the Summer

    However, many of these animals are indoor pets rather than outdoors, and the natural shedding that occurs is often a frustration to you and other human companions around the house. That winter coat that grew nice and thick to keep the animal warm outdoors will shed everywhere during the summer.

    Shedding Requires Care

    It is important to take care of the extra hair that is shedding off your dog’s coat. If you do not remove the hair from your dog, as he is shedding, it can cause thick clump-like mats. Unfortunately, if your pet has clumps of unattended hair on his body, bugs (such as fleas and ticks) can get aboard and hide from you. Also, twigs and other material can get tangled in his fur and cause hard and tight knots.

    Bathing and Brushing

    There are a couple of ways you can take care of shedding hair. Bathing regularly is important. Some of that extra loose hair can be flushed away with the bath water. Another thing to do is brush! When the hair is dry, very gently brush your pet’s fur. Pet supply stores have tools such as a “rake” or “slicker”. These are designed to get under the top layer of fur and pull at the lower undercoat.

    When you brush your dog’s coat with these items, make sure to use short gentle strokes. You do not want to pull hard or scrape the dog’s skin. Hard brushing can cause a brush burn on the skin. If the brushing becomes painful the dog will struggle to get away and it will be unpleasant for both of you. Worse, your pet might get skittish and will not cooperate with brushing in the future. You want a cooperative pooch since the brushing sessions must be frequent, so be gentle!

    Before Shaving - Consult a Groomer

    Some owners will try to avoid the whole problem by having their pet shaved. This does not prevent shedding one hundred percent. Yes, this will take the hair off the dog, but Fido will still shed little hairs left behind by the clippers. Also, while the double coat kept out the cold, it also helps keep out the heat! So shaving might unwittingly cause the dog a temperature discomfort. Check with a professional dog groomer before taking this step.

    If you have a groomer do the job they may charge a little more then normal, especially if your dog’s undercoat was not previously tended to, but they will be sure to remove the under coat and make your dog feels comfortable and happy!
  • The Poodle Cut - June 2012

    Grooming Your Poodle

    Poodles are cute, playful and loveable dogs! Due to all of these attributes, they are very popular. It is quite possible many owners adopted or bought their poodle because they are so famous for being loveable. The pet owners also knew about the fabulous “poodle” cut. These people most likely did not give consideration to any special needs that poodles might have. Poodles are not “low maintenance” by any means. In fact, just the opposite is true. They are “very high maintenance” pets. So, let’s talk poodles!

    Poodle's Fur

    Whether you have a small toy poodle or a large standard poodle they all have the same kind of fur: very, very, curly. The fur never sheds and never stops growing. Summer or winter they need regular grooming, including baths, frequent brushing, and clipping. The most popular styles are either the traditional “poodle” cut or the “summer” cut.

    Summer Cut Caution

    A lot of people think during the summertime it is best to give their dog a summer cut. That means clip the fur so they have no curls and this in turn will help keep the dog cooler. If that is the chosen style the pet owners need to make sure not to cut the fur so short that the poodle gets sunburned. Yes, that is possible!

    Longer Coat Style

    If a longer coat style is chosen for the summer, here are some things to do to maintain the fur and help the dog’s comfort and health. First and most importantly, brush your poodle daily. If your poodle likes to swim, make sure you brush any mats out before they jump in the water. If mats and tangles get wet, when they dry out the mats and tangles will get much tighter. This could cause discomfort to your dog.

    It is best to get your poodle used to being groomed while it is a puppy. This should be a consistently scheduled time. Make it an enjoyable bonding time for you as well as your dog. Frequent brushing helps get rid of matted and tangled fur.

    Do A Search When Grooming

    While you are doing the grooming always be certain to do a total hands-on search. Feel for any prickly things or bumps under the fur. These may be foxtails, debris, or ticks. If your dog starts aggressively scratching or licking one area, especially after a romp outdoors, this could be a sign of ticks. Remember, just because your dog went swimming, doesn’t mean the problems hidden under the fur was washed away. Actively hunt for these items.

    Bathe your poodle occasionally with a quality dog shampoo. Clean the ears often. Some people use trusted commercial ear cleaning solution for dogs. A professional groom will remove hair from inside the ear canal. This will help avoid ear infections.

    Lastly, inspect the dog’s feet. A professional groomer, in addition to cleaning ear canals, shaves the fur on the toes of your pet. This should be short enough for you to see between each toe. Take advantage of this to make sure there are no foxtails-or ticks there, either.

    Poodles are regarded as one of the most intelligent of all the dogs. They love prancing around, especially when they feel and look their best. Take good care of your poodle and enjoy their company.
  • Basic Body Clip - June 2012

    Basic Body Clip Grooming Tip

    Many pet owners at some point ponder the notion that they could perform a haircut on their pet to save on grooming fees. They will see the clippers available at the local pet superstore and decide that the price of the clipper will pay itself off in about 3 or 4 clips. They will get the clipper home, put on a blade, and start shaving. They soon learn that it is a bit more “hairy” of a procedure than they thought.

    Not All Dogs Need Clipping

    First, what type of dog do you own? If you have a dog that does not require clipping such as a Golden Retriever, Labrador, or breeds with fur instead of hair, put down the clipper and buy a deshedding product. If you clip these breeds, you will destroy the coat and it will not grow back in properly. In some cases, the coat will not grow back in at all or in blotches. These breeds also need the coat to protect their skin and just the undercoat is what should be removed.

    The best breeds for beginning clipping are the ones with hair such as the Poodle breeds, Shih Tzus, and Bichons.

    Clipper Tips

    The clipper should be quiet, so ask if you can plug it in at the shop to try it out. In addition, if possible have them show you how to attach & remove the different sizes of blades. If your clipper has attachable blade combs, you can use those with a number 10, 15, or 30 blade. The number 10, 15, and 30 blades should never be used to clip the pet’s body without a comb attachment. Never just grab a clipper and start clipping until you have checked to see that you have a safe blade size on the clipper. For a short puppy cut, you can use a number 4F blade. Always cut in the direction that the hair grows, otherwise you will end up with a cut shorter than wanted. For a longer puppy cut, use the attachable clipper combs.

    Note: The higher the number on the blade the shorter or closer the cut will be. A #4F blade will leave 3/8 of an inch.

    Shears

    Thinning shears can be then used to blend any areas that are uneven. Thinning shears can also be used to shorten the face. Caution should be taken when working with the face, ears, and always know where the skin is. If you do clip your dog, take your time, have the dog secured, and have someone to help if necessary.
  • The Shih Tzu, Lhasa Apso, & Havanese - May 2012

    Dog Grooming Tips for Long Haired Dogs:

    Many dog owners love lavishly long haired popular breeds like the Shih Tzu, Lhasa Apso, or the Havanese. Each breed has a specific coat style and everyone usually admires the “look”. What a lot of owners do not know is that there are basic grooming concerns related to these breeds that everyone should be aware of. Even though certain breeds get cuts and trims that look like the show dogs, certain steps have to be taken to keep their pets healthy and happy. Here are a few items you should look out for to prevent problems.

    Summer Grooming – Caution, Dogs Can Get Sunburn

    For all of the breeds listed above, unless you are purposely trying to keep the hair long like a show dog, you need to get it trimmed. A lot of people during the summer will request a summer trim. When requesting a summer trim for your dog, you need to take a couple of things into consideration. You do not want the hair too short. If the hair is trimmed too short and the dog is outside in the hot sun for a long period of time, he could get sunburned. The Shih Tzu, Lhasa Apso, and Havanese breeds will need some hair to protect their skin from the sun.

    Winter Grooming – Think About Your Dog’s Hygiene

    During the winter, owners may want to keep their dog’s fur a little longer but the dog’s hair should never be allowed to get too long. You want to avoid the hair from matting and if the hair grows to an excessive length, matting will occur. If you decide to have your Shih Tzu, Lhasa Apso, or Havanese sport longer hair in the winter, be sure the fur on and around the stomach and genital area is kept trimmed short and sanitary. The ears should be trimmed and cleaned up so that food or water does not cause matting in or on the ears. The owner should inspect the ears occasionally as well to avoid infections.

    Trimming Your Dog’s Nails – Things To Consider

    If your dog is an inside pet, you need to consider getting his nails trimmed a little more often than usual. If your dog can not go outside, he will not be able to wear down his claws the natural way by running around on the rocks or cement. You also do not want to forget the dewclaw. The dewclaw is the fifth nail on a dog’s paw, usually on the inside of the front legs and occasionally on the hind legs of the dog. Since the dewclaw does not touch the ground like regular nails, it is your responsibility to make sure the dewclaws do not grow into the dog’s skin. To avoid this, you need to make sure the dewclaws are kept trimmed just like the dog’s other nails.

    Having a popular breed like a Shih Tzu, Lhasa Apso, or Havanese is a lot of fun. They bring a lot of joy into your life. To pay them back for their loyal companionship, make sure you do not overlook regular trimming to keep your pet healthy and happy.
  • Bathing Your Cat - March 2012
    Just because cats bathe themselves daily does not mean that you do not need to give them an occasional bath. A short or long coated cat will benefit from a bath at least a couple times a year. A bath can help cut down on shedding, reduce the dander that affects people with allergies, cut down on the amount of hair ingested that causes hairballs, and remove fleas. In addition, if your cat is ill or has soiled herself you may need to help her out with a bath, especially if she has long hair.

    If your cat is excessively matted, you will have to take her to a groomer to be shaved. Mats are very uncomfortable and will have to be removed professionally. Mats will only tighten with bathing so do not try to bathe them out yourself.

    If you have a kitten, it is a good idea to let her become familiar with water as soon as possible. When introduced early, your kitten will likely learn to love water as part of her grooming routine. Some cats even will climb into the tub with you if the “fear” of water is eliminated at an early age.

    To bathe your cat at home, begin by collecting everything that you will need. You will need at least two absorbent towels, a washcloth, paper towels, a gentle cat shampoo or baby shampoo, a squirt bottle or cup, and a hand dryer. Depending on your cat’s temperament, you may need another person for additional help.

    Use a sink that is large enough for your cat, hopefully in a room that can be closed off. The kitchen sink will be best, especially if you have a nozzle with a gentle flow. Have one towel folded in half lying nearby on the counter.

    Fill the sink half full with warm (never hot) water. A rubber sink mat will help with scratching the sink and keeping your kitty in the tub. Be sure to keep your hands on your kitty at all times and look for signs that she is going to try to escape so you can prevent this. All movements should be smooth and you should remain calm at all times.

    Carefully, put kitty in the water and gently wet her down. Be careful not to spray water directly in her eyes or ears. The squirt bottle or cup filled with water is a gentle way to rinse and add water. Apply the shampoo with a gentle but firm all over massage to help relax kitty. Use the washcloth to wash and rinse her face. Open the drain to remove the soapy water. Rinse all shampoo from your kitty’s coat and reapply shampoo only if excessively dirty.

    Before drying, use your hands to smooth off as much water as you can. Take kitty from the sink and place her on the towel. Use the other towel to wrap kitty and absorb as much water as possible. Turn on the hand dryer on a low speed to help the cat become accustom to the sound. At first have the dryer away from the cat and then move it closer. If your cat is not tolerating the hand dryer, you may have to just let her air dry in a warm room.

    After a few baths, your kitty will become accustomed to the baths and learn that the experience it not bad.

    NOTE: When bathing a cat infested with fleas, you will need to wet around the cat’s neck before placing in the tub and apply a cat safe natural non-toxic flea shampoo, so the fleas will not migrate to the cat’s head and ears. Then place kitty in the sink of water. Let the water drain several times to wash the fleas down the drain. You may need assistance with this bath.
  • The Puppy Boot Scoot Boogie (What You Need to Know About Canine Anal Glands) - March 2012
    At one time or another, you have probably seen your dog scooting his bottom on the floor, or you might have smelled a bad odor coming from your pet. Your first thought might be that the dog may have worms. Even though scooting their rear end on the floor may be a sign of worms, dogs engage in this behavior for a number of reasons.

    This is often an unpleasant topic, but it is a very important one. Many pet owners do not know about their dog’s physiology. Pet owners should be aware that dogs have small glands near the anus commonly called, “anal glands”. During a dog’s daily life, these glands perform their primary function, which is to scent the feces for marking territory. Often times, the anal glands become clogged (or full), which can be very bothersome and in most cases, cause irritation to the dog’s rear end. The unpleasant feeling encourages reactions, including the scooting behavior.

    Why do the clogged anal glands cause a dog to scoot?


    In addition to scooting, some clues indicating clogged anal glands may include the dog biting or chewing at his backside. The dog is trying to squeeze the anal gland and release the fluid clogged inside. This process is called “expressing” the gland. Fortunately, most dogs are able to “express” the gland themselves.

    However, there are some dogs that just cannot unclog these glands no matter how much they try. A number of small breeds tend to have this problem. The glands become full and irritate the dog’s rear end. Dogs sometimes chew so bad that they may chew their hair off in the process. You can bathe your dog to hide the smell, but this will only be a temporary fix and it will not resolve the underlying problem.

    Constant scooting could irritate the dog’s rear end and cause him pain and suffering.

    Unless you are experienced, you do not want to try “expressing” your dog’s anal glands yourself. If you see the symptoms mentioned above, what can you do? Take the dog to your favorite dog groomer and be sure to inform the groomer of the symptoms you have noticed. You can request that they express the glands. There are some groomers who will do this for a small fee. In fact, many pet owners have this done as a routine part of the grooming experience. Your pet will come home looking and smelling great, in addition to having avoided a potential health problem!

    Be aware that groomers are only able to express the glands externally by accessing the part of the gland outside of the dog’s body. If the groomer is not able to express the glands, they will inform you. You would then need to take your dog to a veterinarian where they are able to express the gland internally at the vet’s clinic.

  • Brushing Cats - January 2012
    Often cat owners do not take their pet for regular grooming sessions because they think that cats groom themselves. This is true, but cats do need a little bit of help with the brushing procedure. Regular brushing of your feline will keep down the amount of hair that the cat swallows, which results in hairballs. Regular brushing will also help to keep the older cats from developing mats in their fur. Matted cats are one of the major reasons that cat owners take their cats to the groomer.

    Taking a matted cat to the groomer is an ordeal in itself. You will need a cat carrier, and of course as soon as you pull out the cat carrier the cat will think she is going to the veterinarian and hide from you! Once you do get the cat to the groomer, they will most likely have a cat mask put on. Then the cat will go through the torture of being shaved to the skin. To avoid the torture of having to have your cat shaved at the groomer, you should develop a regular brushing routine.

    Indoor cats constantly shed and have a fluffy undercoat that becomes heavy and packed several times of year. Regular brushing will cut down on the amount of hair dropped all over the house, left on cloth furniture, and scattered on your clothing as well as the hair seen on the back of people leaving your home! For short hair cats, you should use a soft bristle brush. Long hair cats will need a longer soft bristle brush and a metal comb to work out any mats.

    The earlier you begin your brushing routine the better. If your cat is already ten years old, it may take you a few months to condition her into accepting the new activity. Try to do it when the cat is relaxing on your lap and be aware of the signals that she has had quite enough. If you push brushing for too long the first time, you will find that the next time she spots you with the brush she will be gone in a flash!

    Keep the brush near the place you will brush her. Having a bag of treats nearby is also a good way to show kitty that this is a worthwhile activity.

    In the end, you will have some wonderful one on one time with your happy mat-free kitty.
  • The Cold Equation: Grooming For the Winter Months - December 2011
    During the winter months of December through March pet grooming is not only fashionable for your fuzzy friends, but also very functional. When taking your four legged pal in for a grooming session, certain factors should be considered when grooming your pets during the cold weather season. For example, if your dog has longer hair, you might want to request that your dog groomer leaves your pet’s hair a little bit longer than usual to provide them with some extra warmth generating insulation. Also, remember that long haired dogs should have the fur around their toes and foot pads trimmed for easier snow removal and cleaning.

    If your pet has short fur, make sure to consider them during the cold winter months as well. For dog breeds with shorter coats, a pet sweater might be a good option to provide them with an extra layer of protection during the frigid weather.

    Some pet owners who have dogs with longer hair prefer to have their dogs wear sweaters for warmth during the winter months as well. If this is the pet owners’ decision, then it is very important for the pet owner to make sure that their dog is groomed properly first. A dog with longer hair should have their hair cut shorter and trimmed well. If this is not done, and a dog with a longer coat wears a sweater for a decent amount of time, matting of the long hair under the sweater could occur. This will not be fun for the pet, or the pet groomer when they go back to the salon.

    Finally, for good grooming care of your pets during the winter months make sure to towel or blow dry your pooch when they come in from a rainy or snowy romp outside. It’s pertinent to keep your pet’s paws clean and dry as well in order to avoid irritation, drying, or cracking of the delicate paw pads. Proper care of your pet during the winter months with season appropriate dog grooming will not only keep your pet happy, but also comfortable and healthy!
  • Prepping Your Puppy For A Lifetime of Grooming! - January 2012
    It is important to get your dog used to the grooming process at an early age. Whether you have a little puppy who will remain a small to medium adult dog, or a puppy that is going to grow into a large companion, the sooner you get them used to being touched and handled, the more comfortable they will be in a grooming setting. The first few grooming experiences can be trying for our furry friends. Before taking your puppy to the groomers, there are a couple things you can do to help make it as easy on them as possible.

    Be sure to brush your puppy’s hair often. There is never a “too soon” when it comes to brushing your puppy. Even if your puppy doesn’t have a long coat yet, by using a soft brush and gentle strokes, you will start getting your puppy used to the sensation of being brushed. This will not only help calm them when at the groomers, but it is a good way to keep ahead of shedding or matting. When getting ready to brush your pup, make sure you choose the proper brush for the type of hair your dog has. Start from the back of the head and brush your way down the back to the butt. Always go with the grain of the hair and do not brush against the hair’s natural growth. Go very slow and soft, getting your puppy used to being combed all over his or her body. This may feel weird to your dog at first, but in the long run it will make for a very happy grooming experience.

    In addition to getting your puppy used to being brushed, you should also start getting him used to having his paws cared for. Touch and examine your puppy’s paws as much as you can. This will help prepare the pet and the owner for what they dread most about the grooming process: nail trimming! When touching the paws, make sure it’s a fun and positive experience by massaging the paw pads and spreading the toes. These massages will make your pet more comfortable with their paws being handled, therefore when they are at the groomers, they won’t jerk their paws away as much or (heaven forbid) bite! This type of paw massage is also a good way to check for mats or shrub between the toes.

    Always remember, the ultimate goal of all of these exercises is to help your puppy to adjust to the sensations of these activities so he can be calm while being handled on his first trip to the groomers!
  • Brushing Your Pooch - November 2011
    Brushing your canine regularly is important, not only to keep your dog looking and feeling great, but also to significantly decrease shedding, get rid of dirt, dead hair and dry skin, stimulate and spread the skin’s natural oils (which aid in promoting a healthy coat), and most importantly, so you can become familiar with your dog’s skin and coat. Becoming familiar with your pet’s skin and coat allows you to quickly recognize any signs of infection or other problems that may need treatment or a diagnosis from your local veterinarian.

    When it comes to dog grooming, many pet owners often wonder, “How often?” In terms of brushing your canine friend for general purposes, the answer is roughly about every couple of days, regardless of the coat length.

    Since there are many different types and styles of brushes and combs available, it is important to understand the main function of the brush you are planning to use. Brushes should be specific to your dog’s coat type and what you are attempting to accomplish, whether it be for general purposes, detangling, etc. Some common brushes modified according to coat types and purposes may include:

    Bristle brushes: These brushes can be used for any type of coat. They consist of different spacing between the bristles and various bristle sizes and durability options.

    Wire-pin brushes: These brushes are commonly used for brushing medium to long haired coats, in addition to curly and woolly coats.

    Slicker brushes: These brushes are typically used to remove tangles or mats from your pet’s hair. These types of brushes can be identified by their fine wire bristles. If the knots on your pooch are too big, or are on sensitive areas such as the ears or underbelly, you may need to ask a professional pet groomer to do it for you to avoid causing harm or discomfort.

    Brushing and combing your canine companion on a regular basis is vital in keeping their coat and skin looking and feeling good. Remember to brush ALL of the hair, as many dogs have more than one coat. Whether beginning at the head or tail end of your pooch, either is perfectly fine as long as you are thorough, working from one end to the other.

    Remember, regular brushing is an important part of keeping your dog both healthy and happy. Make the experience fun and positive for both of you!
  • Pet Shampoos - September 2011
    When it comes to dog grooming, a commonly asked question by some pet owners is “Can I just use MY shampoo on my pet?” Just like with human hair care products, there is a myriad of pet shampoo types and formulas to choose from. However, you should always use a shampoo formulated for your type of pet. Both cat and dog shampoo is available and can be found in almost any pet store. Human shampoos have a different pH level than pet shampoos, so for the safety and comfort of your pet always go with a shampoo that was designed for them.

    Similarly, just like the variety of human shampoos on the market, there is also a wide variety of different pet shampoos that are specially formulated to help your pet with any number of problems. Some pets may have dry skin, dandruff, allergies, or other skin conditions that benefit from a cleansing or soothing bath using an appropriate shampoo.

    You will soon discover if your pet has one of these conditions and if so, make sure to advise your pet’s groomer. If your animal friend has super-sensitive skin, for example, it may just be an issue of your groomer using a hypo-allergenic shampoo which is full of Vitamins A and E and void of any detergents or perfumes. Your pet groomer may also have herbal or oatmeal-based shampoo formulas that they can suggest for your animal friend. In addition to these, there are also pet shampoos available that include: hydrocortisone and lidocaine (for itch and inflammation relief), Miconazole (an antifungal), Chlorhexidine Gluconate (a proven antimicrobial agent necessary to cut through oily coats and wash away built up scales and dander), and even waterless shampoos. Before utilizing any of these “specialty” shampoos, please consult your pet’s groomer or veterinarian to make sure it’s the appropriate formula of shampoo for your dog or cat. Regardless of the shampoo used, it’s always important to keep your pet clean and hygienic. This helps to promote better health and a happier pet!
  • Drying - July 2011
    When it comes to pet grooming one of the most daunting tasks can be drying. Depending on the animal, you may have to use a variety of tools to get the job done. In this article we will discuss different tools that can be used for drying a pet.

    Every pet is different, not only in coat type but also in their demeanor. Not all dogs like the blow dryer. Actually many pets are afraid of the noise. It is crucial to make sure the client is as comfortable as possible while grooming. This will prevent any anxiety, stress or harm to your client. There are several options available for groomers to ensure the client can be dried in a safe and happy environment.

    Generally a groomer will use a small or portable air dryer on your pet. This tool is especially beneficial when it comes to dogs and cats with thick fur and or an undercoat. Sometimes a groomer will use a kennel attached to a blow dryer. Often times the noise of the dryer or the sensation of the air blowing may cause panic or distress in a pet. In this instance there is a product that may be helpful. It is called the Happy Hoodie. This product is gauze like and stretches over your pets head and ears. This allows the pet to be dried without the loud and discerning noise of the blower.

    Another method for drying pets would be to let them air dry. This is more common with short haired pets. If your pet has sensitive skin, an abrasion, or incision that would be otherwise irritated by the rubbing of a towel or heat from the dryer, air drying may be a good fit you’re your pet. Usually air drying is not recommended because it can cause fungus growth in between the paw pads or under the armpit and can also cause more serious problems like an ear infection. If a dog or cat with long hair or an undercoat is left to air dry it may cause matting of the fur and other skin problems like hot spots.

    Lastly you have the towel dry method. There are several different products available for towel drying. They all have the same functionality; it would just be a matter of preference for your pet. For example the Drypet is a hypo-allergenic and anti-bacterial towel used for fast drying. This product reportedly can hold five times more water than a cotton bath towel. The Safe -T-Pet Dry towel is said to be made of a new, revolutionary material similar to that of an automobile chamois. It holds more water than a regular cotton towel and also claims to be resilient against ripping and tearing. The Safe-T-Pet Dry towel is easy to use and only needs to be rung out to dry. There are also products like the Pet n’ Dry. The Pet n’ Dry is a glove or mitt made for drying. Rather than using a large towel simply place this micro fiber glove over your hand and begin petting your client dry. This product is small and compact. It claims to be five times more absorbent than terry cloth towel.

    No matter how you choose to dry your pet or your clients, remember to keep the environment friendly and comfortable to ensure a happy customer. If you are interested in a specific product to dry your pet make sure to consult an ABC Certified Dog Groomer.
  • To Trim or Not to Trim…. That Is The Question - May 2011
    Each summer dog owners contemplate giving their pet a short haircut so they won’t have to suffer in the heat.
    Even dogs with a long coat can be comfortable in the heat. The hair on a well-groomed dog will actually keep him cool. In most cases a dogs coat is used to regulate his body temperature. The coat acts as insulation against the heat or the cold.

    Dogs with an undercoat will shed this layer once the temperature starts to rise. The outer coat will protect him against the heat and the sun. Dogs with an undercoat should be brushed daily to help with the shedding process.

    A matted coat will trap heat and moisture, causing redness, irritation and odors. This is when a shave or clip may be beneficial. If the dog groomer can brush the mats out and the owner can maintain a healthy coat, a shave or clip is not necessary. When hair becomes severely matted, even a professional groomer won’t be able to brush out the mats and a shave may become a necessity.

    Keeping your pet’s coat trimmed year round is always the best option. Most dogs need a haircut every two to three months. Fluffy dogs like Poodles and Bichons, probably need attention every month. The best way to determine how often to clip you groom your pet is to speak with an ABC Certified professional groomer about your pet and the goals you have for comfortable living.

    It is important to remember that if your dog is shaved without his coat, your pet will need extra protection from the sun, flies and other parasites. Exposed skin is sensitive to the sun. Sunburn is a very likely possibility if you are not careful. Severe sunburn can lead to several skin disorders. Please remember to apply sunscreen to your pet’s skin when he is exposed to the elements.

    No matter what length you decide is best for you and your dog, make sure there is always access to cool water in the heat of the summer.
  • Preparing for Fleas - March 2011
    It’s that time of year again, where the sun is shining and the flowers are blooming. However, spring doesn’t just arrive bearing nice weather. This favored season is also accompanied by a pesky parasite that pet owners worldwide have come to dread; fleas. For anyone who has ever experienced a flea infestation, you know that it is extremely difficult and expensive to get rid of, so the best way to deal with the problem is to take preventative measures ahead of time.

    One of the most effective ways to prevent a flea problem is by exercising cleanliness. Does your pooch spend half of his time curled up on his favorite dog bed? Will your feline gravitate to a specific living room chair when she is in the mood to snooze? Determine your pet’s regular haunts and thoroughly clean these areas at least once a week. Fleas will prosper in areas that are ignored, so be sure to pay extra attention to the spots that your pets like the most when you are sanitizing your home.

    An important aspect of flea prevention is preventing an infestation in your pet’s mane. Fleas are a parasite, which means that they bite and drink the blood of their hosts. This process causes pain, inflammation, and itchiness, and will make your dogs and cats miserable, so medicating them before fleas decide to make your pal’s fur their new home is imperative to their comfort and health.

    Regular grooming is something that will assist you in making sure that your pet isn’t playing host to fleas. If you do find a flea while brushing your cat or dog, you should bath your pet in flea shampoo and once dry treat them with a flea prevention medication. You should take your pets to see their veterinarian and get the appropriate medicine for flea prevention. You can brush your dogs and cats all you like, but the only thing that will get rid of fleas once you find them is flea control medicine.

    There are a lot of options for flea control that you don’t have to go to pet grooming school to apply to your animals. You can use prevention pills that you add to your pet’s food, flea collars that you simply put around your pet’s neck, or liquid drops that you can place on his or her back to keep the fleas away. Whatever methods you use to keep away the fleas are up to you, depending on both your pet’s disposition and your budget. Hiring an exterminator to get rid of fleas is more expensive than buying medicine to prevent them, so make sure you take your animals to see the vet and the groomer regularly.
  • Proper Grooming Methods for Long-Haired Felines - January 2011
    If you have a long-haired cat, it is imperative for both their health and comfort that you regularly brush and groom them. Cats that have long and thick coats regularly shed so when they bathe themselves they end up swallowing the excess hair, which in turn causes them to vomit up fur-balls.

    Luckily, it is not difficult to employ basic dog grooming methods to care for your pets, as long as you regularly attend to their brushing and sanitary needs. When it comes to long haired cats, you can guarantee that you will have to spend a certain amount of time brushing them. Using a fine-toothed brush is an excellent way to free them of extra fur without hurting them. Plus, a lot of cats actually enjoy being combed.

    Sometimes if you neglect grooming your long-haired feline for a certain period of time, they can develop mats in their fur. If you do find a mat in your cat’s fur, do not, under any circumstances cut it out with a pair of scissors. Unless you are a professional who has attended grooming school and you have extensive experience with trimming cat fur, it can be extremely dangerous. Your cat’s skin is extremely thin and sensitive, and a mat can be deep-rooted in their fur, which makes it complicated to trim out. There is a possibility that you might hurt your cat by accidentally cutting her, so it is safer to use a different method to remove tangles.

    There are plenty of detangling serums for cats on the market, so if you are faced with a knot in your feline friend’s fur, go shopping at your local pet store and see what you can find. That way, you can combine the serum with brushing and comb the mat out without hurting your cat.

    If you still cannot remove the mat, another solution is to shave the spot where the fur is tangled. However, if you have not taken pet grooming school it is strongly advised that you do not try to shave the cat yourself. If you do not have experience with complicated grooming, take your cat to your local groomer and have them shave her instead of attempting it yourself.

    Remember, taking preventative measures ahead of time alleviates the stress and cost involved in taking your pet to a local groomer, so brush your cat regularly to ensure that she is healthy, happy, and content.
  • Fleas - February 2011
    Let’s face it almost everyone has heard of the dreaded flea. They are a menace and can cause you a lot of grief. If you don’t control your pets fleas they will end up in your home. They can also be extremely hard to get rid of if you don’t manage the situation right away.
    Fleas are 1/8’ long, they can be dark reddish brown, or sometimes black in color. They are wingless, hard-bodied and have 3 pairs of legs which allow easy movement between the hair, fur or feathers of its host. They are excellent jumpers, leaping vertically up to 7” and horizontally up to 13”. Fleas can be found on pets and will eventually take up residence on a human if the problem persists.
    Fleas pass through a complete life cycle consisting of egg, larva, pupa and adult. After a blood meal, a female flea will lay about 20 eggs per day. Eggs loosely laid in the hair coat drop out most anywhere especially where the host rests (carpets, rugs, furniture, kennels, sand, gravel, grass, baseboards, and floor cracks). Eggs hatch in 2-14 days into larvae. Most fleas winter in the larva or pupa stage with survival and growth best during warm, moist winters and spring. Newly emerged fleas live only about 1 week if a blood meal is not obtained. Your pet can pick up fleas anywhere (other animals, walking paths frequented by other animals, camping, dog parks, pet shops, pet grooming shops and day cares etc…).

    Flea Control
    Flea control is best achieved with a simultaneous, effort involving sanitation of your home, pet treatment and premise treatment (outside and around your home).

    1. Locate heavily infested areas and concentrate efforts on these areas.
    2. Vacuum furniture and carpets. Remove and vacuum under cushions and in cracks and crevices of furniture. Vacuum under furniture and all base boards. You can also purchase flea powder for the carpets and furniture form a local pet supply store or dog groomer.
    3. Wash all bedding and blankets in hot water and soap.
    4. Spray all bushes and grass in the yard. You can buy premise spray at a pet store or your veterinarian.
    5. Continue to vacuum for 10-14 days to kill any newly emerged fleas.
    6. Contact your veterinarian for the best treatment for your pet(s). You may choose to flea bath your pet every 7 days for 3-4 treatments with a shampoo that is designed to kill fleas. Consult your veterinarian for best results in accordance with the spot treatment you are using.
    7. CATS-talk to your veterinarian before using any treatments on cats because some may be harmful.
    8. There are many natural ways to treat fleas as well for those who are opposed to using chemical treatments. Some of these items include rosemary, peppermint, and orange oils sprays and shampoos. For more information contact your local pet grooming shop.

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  • Clipping your Dog’s Nails - March 2010
    Many dog owners have expressed the difficulty involved when it comes to having their dog’s nails clipped. Many dogs can be cautious of having their nails trimmed because the quick (vein in the nail) may accidentally be cut, which causes them pain. Helping your pet overcome this fear is extremely important and will greatly help your groomer the next time you bring your pet into the grooming shop.

    Your dog’s nails should be clipped about every 4-6 weeks as overgrown nails can lead to other health issues. Nails which grow too long can curl, causing the nail to curl into itself or into the paw pad, which is very painful and often results in a trip to the veterinarian. Additionally, an overgrown nail can also cause the dog to step gingerly throwing off her posture, skeletal structure, and bring about back pain. Hence, it is best to pay attention to your dog’s nails and keep them trimmed.

    Some dogs that are very active and have concrete to run around on naturally grind their nails down. Other dogs have short nails on their back paws because they push off and only need clipping on the front nails. With all dogs, you need to be aware of dew claws (the claw on the upper inside of the legs). Dew claws must be trimmed and always remind your groomer to clip them.

    As mentioned above, helping your dog to overcome her issues of clipping her nails will not only put your dog at ease, but you will be doing a great favor to the groomer as well. A couple of tips to relax Fido are by touching her feet often; you should massage them, it is a good idea to start when she’s a puppy. Take a little time to sit with your dog gently massaging her feet and pads. If you are not able to cut the nails yourself, try to find a groomer who will tip the nails just to the quick. Watch out for groomers who cut the nails too short and others who do not cut them at all.

  • Cleaning Your Dog - April 2010
    If ear infections are not caught or properly treated your dog could sustain permanent damage leading to hearing loss. Some signs that the dog may have an ear infection is shaking its head, constant scratching the ear, redness, ears hot to the touch, sensitivity when touched, foul odor, discharge, or excess dirt. If you suspect that your dog has an ear infection you should consult your veterinarian. While you are inspecting the ear keep an eye out for signs of mites or foxtails as well.

    The best way to prepare your dog for ear cleaning by you or your groomer is to frequent touches. When you are sitting with your pet massage the ears. Dog’s ears come in all sorts of shapes, sizes, and configurations that require different methods of care. The basic dog ear shapes are:

    Drop & Pendant: Some are large, V shape, folded, triangular, and some hang in folds. (Large drop breeds include Hounds & Spaniels, and smaller drop ears include Poodles, Bischons)
    Erect: These ears are large upright rounded or blunt tipped. (Breeds include French bulldog, Corgi’s, etc.)
    Semi-Erect: Ears that fold over or semi-pricked that folds at the tip and sometimes curls backward. (Some breeds include shepherds & collies)
    Semi-Cropped: Ears that have been surgically altered. (Some breeds include Doberman & Great Danes)

    Dogs with large drop ears need to be inspected weekly. Try to put them up so they can air and they must be kept dry from moisture. Therefore, if your dog is a swimmer, you must dry the ears completely.

    Poodles and Bischons are some of the long hair breeds that require the hair to be plucked from the ear canal. Inspect your dog’s ears to see if there is hair down in the canal. If so, you should make sure to have it noted on your grooming order when you take the dog to the groomer. If you groom your own dog, you will need to purchase ear powder. To begin, lift up one ear, gently tilt the head, and sprinkle in a small amount of ear powder. With your thumb and forefinger, gently pull the hair from the ear canal by grabbing up only a few hairs at a time. When you have successfully removed all of the hair from the ear canal of both ears, it is time to clean them.

    Cleaning the Ear (*Note: Follow the instructions on the specific bottle of liquid ear cleaner that you are using. The following directions are for most ear cleaners) Lift the earflap, spritz in some ear cleaner. With your fingers, gently press the side of the dog’s head and swish it a bit, then stand back to let the dog shake its head. Wipe the remaining solution from each ear with cotton balls making sure to use several until the cotton ball appears clean. Add additional solution to a cotton ball if necessary. Never use q-tips.
  • Brushing Fido’s Teeth - May 2010
    An important grooming issue to keep your dog healthy is to brush her teeth on a regular basis. As with people, dogs teeth need to be checked for plaque buildup, bad breath, cavities, and missing teeth. Tartar that builds up on the dog’s teeth could lead to bleeding gums and an infection. If bacteria are allowed to enter the bloodstream, it can reach vital organs in the body. This can lead to disease and even death. Therefore, it is very important to catch tooth decay early.

    From an early age, you should help your dog become accustomed to having her teeth brushed and having fingers poking around her mouth area. To do this, gently massage around the muzzle area, lifting up the lips, and opening her mouth. If you are patient with your dog during these gentling exercises, in time, you will see great results.

    Many dogs come to love their teeth brushing experience. You should purchase a toothbrush appropriate for your dog’s size. They are available in several different configurations such as ones similar to people toothbrushes, dental wipes, finger brushes, and toothbrushes that can brush several surfaces at one time. There are also dental chews on the market and a chew-it-yourself toothbrush. It is very important to supervise the use of these items. It is also a good idea to feed your dog some kind of hard food instead of just wet to assist in the breaking down of tarter.

    If your dog develops heavy tarter and plaque, you may have to have your dog’s teeth cleaned by a professional. Dogs that are at ease with people touching their mouth and their teeth should be able to tolerate the anesthesia free cleaning. Anesthesia free cleaning is available through several grooming shops and by mobile. If you have a dog that is not able to handle someone working on his or her teeth, you will have to take your dog to a veterinarian. Veterinarians perform teeth cleaning under general anesthesia.

    In any case, it is much better to keep your dogs teeth clean so you do not have to endure any heath issues in the end.
  • How to keep your hound happy in hot weather - August 2010

    Dog in hot weather

    Keeping Your Dog Safe During The Summer

    The summer season is an enjoyable time for all, but can be dangerous for dogs if the necessary precautions are not taken when the weather heats up. There are many simple ways to protect your best friend from the heat, even if you have little to no experience with dog obedience.

    Grooming

    Proper grooming is a necessity for the comfort of your hound when dealing with the summer heat. Your dog trainer and veterinarians alike may recommend that you take your dog in for a trim when the weather gets warmer. For an accurate comparison, imagine wearing a full fur coat when it’s eighty degrees outside! As you can guess, having a heavy layer of fur can be incredibly cumbersome, and increase your pet’s risk of suffering from heatstroke. Since dogs are just as prone to sunburns as humans, it is not recommended that you shave him past one inch above the skin.

    Water

    Another important factor to keep in mind when taking precautions in the heat is to ensure that fresh, clean water is available to your pet at all times when it is hot outside, as all dogs are prone to dehydration when their supply is too low. When he is outside, it is also vital that you provide your pet with a shady place to escape from the heat. Even with proper water supply, a dog can still become overheated when they are left out in the sun for a long period of time without a hiding place. If it is excessively hot, it is recommended that you keep your dog indoors.

    Hot Paws

    It is important, even during the summer, to regularly exercise your dog. However, you must keep in mind that the asphalt heats up under the rays of the sun, and your pooch’s sensitive paw pads can burn if they linger in one spot for too long. In order to prevent this from happening, it is recommended that you keep walks limited to early morning and evening hours, when the air is cooler. If you must walk your dog during the hottest hours of the day, make sure to shorten the length of time you spend walking so that your pal does not get overheated.

    All of these tips will keep your hound happy & safe during the summer season. For more information on how to keep him healthy in the heat, consult your local veterinarian.
  • Assessing Your Dog - February 2010
    Being in tune with your dog’s body is very important to her health and well-being. You should take time to assess your dog by moving your hands over her entire body in a caressing manner. Doing this from time to time will relax your dog, alert you to changes, and make your dog more at ease with the groomer’s touch. This is especially important with the paws and ears.

    Beginning with her head, gently massage her skull, ears, muzzle, and neck with your fingers. Keep track of any lumps anywhere on the body as well as any changes in size or constancy. If you find a lump is changing or growing in size, you should consult your veterinarian. Continue your examination by massaging the ears being aware of any discharge, odor, or mats behind the ears. Look in your dog’s eyes for discharge, dried tears, redness, or cloudiness. Open your dog’s mouth to inspect the teeth for plaque, decay, and be aware of odor.

    As you continue, bring your hands over the shoulders, withers, and across the back. Lift one leg to a bend at the elbow; fold the paw backward to view the pads. Continue around the dog to check each paw. You can also do this while the dog is lying down or on its back in your lap. Be aware of any hotspots or sores, and treat accordingly.

    The nails should be nicely trimmed, not cracked, and not clicking on the ground while walking. Check for dewclaws (the claw higher up on the inside of the leg). When your dog is in for grooming, always remind them to trim it. If your dog walks with a limp or favors a leg, inspect the foot. Again, while the dog is on the ground or in your lap, look at the bottom of the foot. The pads should be smooth; hair should not be matted in between the toes. Look for foreign objects such as thorns, foxtails, etc. Take time to massage the pads so your dog will be well accustomed to someone touching her feet.

    You should check the armpits, chest, and down the legs for mats. Continue to move your hands over the rump area and down the back legs. One spot where dogs love to be massaged is just at the rear above the tail. While around the rear area be aware of any odor around the rectum or if there is swelling. If you suspect that the anal glands need to be expressed you should have that performed by your veterinarian. It is important to have them expressed professionally, or you run the risk of a rupture.

    Personally examining your dog at least once a month is another valuable time of bonding. You will be in tune with your dog, as well as preparing her for a visit to the groomer.
  • Why Every Dog Needs Grooming - January 2010
    There is no such thing as a grooming-free breed of dog. Some breed categories, like those with short hair, may seem like they do not need grooming, when in fact, all dogs need to be groomed. For your pet’s well-being, he should be groomed on a regular basis.

    Purebred dogs come in many coat varieties and mixed breed dogs may have several configurations. Whether you take your pet to a groomer or groom at home, care should be taken to choose the right shampoo and conditioner for each type of coat. In addition, you should always follow the bath with conditioner because shampooing not only removes the dirt but also all of the oils. If you do not replace it with conditioner, the sweat glands (Sebaceous Glands) go into overproduction, which is why many dogs smell a few days after a bath.

    This is usually the case with the smooth coated breeds such as the Bulldogs, Dalmatians, Pugs, etc. who are known to have skin problems. Many people see these breeds as a wash and go pet; spray the dogs down, shampoo, rinse, and let them air dry. They need a gentle shampoo and conditioner, and they must be dried completely.

    The medium double-coated dogs blow their undercoat a couple times a year and more often if they are an indoor dog. When these dogs are bathed, they release much of their undercoat and for several days later. Some owners have these dogs shaved to get rid of the shedding. By doing so, the owner is not only ruining the dog’s top coat that will never grow back properly, but now the shedding will be little short particles of hair that end up in the air and can be breathed in. Other owners of medium-coated dogs also shave them because they live in hot climates. The hair is actually protecting them from the heat. Shaving any dog and then exposing them to the elements could be harmful. The way dogs actually cool themselves down is through the glands in their feet and nose, and with extreme heat through their tongue.

    The long hair dogs have another completely different set of issues. If an owner does not keep these coat clipped, combed, and conditioned, they can end up with a painful full body mat, which usually has to be removed with a surgical blade.

    If your dog is clean, brushed, nails trimmed, and ears clean, you both will be happy and you probably will spend more time with him. Generally, dogs that are only bathed maybe once a year tend to be neglected, unhappy, and are at a greater risk for health issues. Whereas the dog groomed by a groomer or at home tends to be included in the owner’s daily life, and is probably better behaved because he is not desperate for attention.

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