Tag Archives: dog grooming

Beyond Bath, Brush, Cut: Specialty Treatments

Perhaps your dog has sensitive skin or allergies. Or, maybe your pup stepped into some tar or gum, which seems impossible to remove at home. These are just a couple of unique circumstances which may require some additional primping beyond the basic bath and trim. We’ve broken down a variety of special grooming treatments offered by most groomers that are worth asking about, depending on your dog’s needs.

• An oatmeal bath provides soothing relief for dry skin, itching and irritation. A gentle formula designed for sensitive skin, this special shampoo will condition and help restore natural moisture to your dog’s skin and coat.

• A flea or tick shampoo is designed to remove these pests from your dog’s skin and coat on contact. The formula is designed specifically for this purpose, and does not contain harmful insecticides that could be dangerous to your dog.

Hypoallergenic shampoo is another gentle washing product free of dyes or perfumes, which can irritate the skin of dogs prone to allergies.

• De-skunking treatment is appropriate for a dog who has come into contact with a skunk and therefore absorbed an offensive odor. A specially formulated shampoo and/or solution typically with hydrogen peroxide, baking soda and lemon essential oil removes the smell.

• Hot oil treatment rejuvenates the skin by applying natural oils to offer maximum coat protection and conditioning.

beyond-bath-thumbnail• Relaxation massage is perfect for an older dog or pup with sore muscles or joints, arthritis or hip dysplasia who are in need of some relief and extra attention. Many salons offer special tubs with HydroSurge® technology, which provides invigorating and relaxing massage that increases blood circulation during the bathing process.

• A “pawdicure” treatment is…you guessed it, a full grooming for your dog’s nails. Clipping, filing, grinding, buffering and even a polish are available services at most salons.

• De-shedding treatment usually involves a specially formulated shampoo which will help loosen troublesome hair and thin out your dog’s undercoat to cause less shedding. Special brushes and high velocity dryers are typically employed to remove excess, dead fur.

Specially medicated baths are often offered for specific conditions such as dandruff or dermatitis. To that point, it’s always a good idea to inform your groomer ahead of time of any areas or issues that need special treatment.

• Hand Stripping or Carding is a grooming technique used for certain breeds such as terriers and spaniels. The process involves plucking the outer guard hairs after the coat is blown out with a dryer. The top coat is pulled out using fingers, a stripping knife or stripping stone in a steady rhythm. When complete, the top coat is completely removed to reveal a dense, soft undercoat.

Whitening treatment is typically offered for light-colored dogs who have stained coats due to environmental factors, diet, urine or saliva. Ask for a natural optical brightening or “blue shampoo,” which is used to remove light stains and cause the coat to more effectively reflect light, giving off the appearance of a whiter coat. Stay away from bleach or clarifying shampoos, which are very harsh and could permanently discolor your dog’s coat or cause other issues.

After reading this, you may have come to the conclusion that just about any special spa treatment available for humans, is available for dogs. …And you’d be right.

More Than a Hair Cut, Grooming is Health Necessity

Many dog owners consider grooming their pooch a luxury or vanity service, rather than a health need. Yet, this notion couldn’t be further from the truth. It’s crucial to change this perception as grooming is a necessary in taking care of not just your dog’s look, but also his health and well-being. And so, we’re here to educate dog owners on the following health benefits of regular grooming.

Ear Mites and Ear Infections
Most groomers will closely check your dog’s ears, which are breeding grounds for bacteria, and be able to spot infections or mites, which may otherwise be invisible to the untrained eye of the average dog owner. If infection or mites are found, the groomer may recommend over the counter treatment, or depending on the severity, recommend you see a veterinarian for a prescription.

Fleas, Ticks or Parasites
A professional groomer will check your dog’s body for ticks, fleas and other parasites, which should then be removed meticulously by the groomer. Fleas are typically found while your dog is being bathed in the tub and with a thorough shampoo, most if not all fleas will die in the water.  If the groomer finds ticks however, they are typically removed during the high velocity drying process by splitting the dog’s hair line by line, removing the dead coat and drying the skin row by row. If your groomer finds worms, you’ll be referred to a vet for a checkup. You may want to ask your groomer if they “fluff dry” or “brush dry” to confirm they use either of these thorough techniques.

Abnormal Skin Growths
It’s a good idea to remind your groomer, who is familiar with dog anatomy, to check for skin abnormalities during the grooming process. Because they’re spending a great deal of time on your pup’s hair, skin and body, this is an appropriate time for them to notice any bumps, lumps or abscesses. If these symptoms are identified in the early stages, you can treat your dog before the condition worsens or a serious illness develops.

Nails, Teeth and Sanitary Area
A typical professional dog grooming packaging doesn’t just include a bath and a trim, but also maintenance of other important hygiene areas such as paws, mouth and buttocks. Nail trimming prevents blood vessels from growing too long inside the nail, which could cause problems as your dog gets older. Not to mention, the sound of long nails scratching the floor or furniture can be reason enough alone to get them trimmed regularly! It’s also important for your groomer to trim hair that grows in between the toes, as sometimes burs and tar can get stuck, penetrate the skin and become infected. Regular teeth brushing can also be performed by your groomer, which can help prevent dental disease and bad breath. Lastly, trimming around the sanitary area removes excess hair that’s more prone to hosting bacteria and carrying feces. If your dog is in need of external anal gland expression due to inflammation, allergies, infection, or abnormal stool, your groomer may be able to handle as well. If it’s a larger problem that requires internal expression, you should be referred over to your vet.

Some breeds with longer hair are prone to matting (also known as knotted balls of hair), especially in hard to detangle areas like the face, neck and ears. Besides looking a bit rough around the edges, mats can be painful because they pull the skin tight and can lead to skin ulcers, abrasions and other problems. Sometimes a mat can be cut out with scissors, but other times they require a complete shave down. The good news is that with a regular grooming schedule, mats can easily be prevented.

Finding Puppy’s Groomer: Consider These Factors

Something as superficial as your dog’s hairstyle may seem silly and unimportant, but choosing a professional groomer should be a high priority. Depending on your dog’s breed and hygiene needs, they could be visiting the groomer as often as every 4-6 weeks, so deciding who will be responsible for keeping your pooch clean and primped requires some research. Here’s a quick checklist to run through before getting your pup’s hair done:

  • Get a Referral – Begin by asking friends, family and neighbors for recommendations. Trusted reviews are invaluable.
  • thumbnail-dyi-grooming-cutCheck Prices – When you start calling local groomers, ask for a full rundown of their services and prices. For example, some groomers include nail clippings or other grooming services in their regular grooming packages and others do not, so it’s helpful to know exactly what’s offered. Many groomers’ prices depend on the size and breed of the dog  as well, so be sure that you aren’t comparing prices for a Maltese to prices for a Golden Retriever!
  • Take a Tour – Before booking your pup’s first appointment, you’ll want to visit the facility and observe the activity. Take mental notes of the setup, lighting and cleanliness level and make sure you’re comfortable with the environment. You’ll also want to check to see if the kennels are large enough and separated for dogs and cats. Watch to see if the groomers handle their pups in a caring and professional manner and ask the staff administrative questions such as what type of records they keep and how much advance notice is required for scheduling.
  • Bring Vaccination Records – Most groomers will require immunization records for rabies, kennel cough and other infectious diseases before accepting new dogs into their salon. It’s also worth noting that spayed and neutered dogs tend to be calmer, less hyperactive, and therefore more tolerant of grooming.
  • Speak Up about Any Special Circumstances – Before you drop your pooch off to get his or her hair done, make sure your groomer understands any health conditions to be aware of – whether it is dry/flaky skin or something more serious like hip dysplasia that would require extra gentle handling.
  • Say Goodbyes Quickly – Many dogs, especially those who display anxious behavior, have a difficult time with grooming. A long, drawn-out goodbye can make the experience worse for a socially anxious pooch, so don’t make it a big deal. There are also a few preparatory things you can do at home to get your pup more comfortable with the experience. Brush your dog often and give a reward after each brushing session.

If this all seems to be a bit much, just know that when you pick up your best friend, he will look “pawfect” with a shiny coat, fresh smell and maybe even a bandanna or bow in her hair to boot!


DIY Grooming in Five Easy Steps

If you’re on a budget and looking to save on what can be costly professional grooming appointments (especially if your breed requires a cut every 4-6 weeks or if you have multiple pets), DIY grooming may be right for you. The keys to successful at-home grooming are time and preparation. So, if you can commit to the idea that the process can be time-consuming, and that you’ll need some basic, necessary tools in your “home salon,” DIY grooming can be done by following these 5 simple steps. And get the camera ready – nothing is cuter or funnier than a soapy, wet pooch!

  1. Brush

Begin the process by gently brushing your dog from head to tail. Be sure to choose the right brush. For instance, if your dog has a long, thick or difficult to manage coat, you’ll need a detangling brush. If Fido has soft, oily hair, a bigger bristle brush designed to remove excess oil may be necessary. Take your time and do your due diligence in removing all debris and locating all matted knots that need to be cut out. You’ll quickly notice which areas will require the most of your attention.

  1. Bathe

As you get ready to bathe your dog, reassure him with a sweet, encouraging tone. Many dogs get skittish in and around water, so now is a good time to offer comfort if needed. It’s best to wash your dog in a sink or shower with a nozzle/spray attachment for easy, comfortable access and control. Your dog will do best in lukewarm water (a damp, cold dog will shiver). Choose a baby or pet shampoo made for sensitive skin to be safe. If your dog has dry, flaky skin, you’ll want to buy a moisturizing shampoo. If your dog may have fleas, you’ll need a flea-specific shampoo. Lather your pup up well and be careful to avoid his eyes and mouth. After washing the body, clean eyes and ears with a warm cloth only. Towel dry with a large towel and try to remove as much excess water as possible.

  1. Cut

thumbnail-dyi-grooming-cutYou’ll need to purchase a pair of special grooming scissors from a pet store or online. Never use regular scissors on your pet! For an even cut, you’ll need the blades sharp and cut at a blunt angle. Always be extra careful around the face and in hard-to-reach areas like the belly, bottom and feet. And remember to clean up all the fallen hair so you don’t see it tracked all over your home afterwards!

  1. Dry

thumbnail-dyi-grooming-dryDrying your dog’s hair the right way can also be the scariest part of the process for your pup! The only way to get your dog’s hair completely dry and free of that awful “wet dog smell,” is to use a hair dryer but the mere sound of the blower can often make your dog want to run in the opposite direction. To speed up the process, ask a friend or family member to help hold your dog in place while you dry your anxious pup. Brush your dog’s hair simultaneously while using the dryer for the optimum soft, fluffy coat.

  1. Reward!

You did it! And your pup not only survived, but now looks fresh, clean and more adorable than before!  Celebrate with hugs, kisses, treats and verbal praise. That way, Fido associates bath time with positivity and well-deserved rewards.

After your first DIY grooming session, you may think twice about doing it again, but remember – it gets easier with practice!  Your hard work as a stylist is not only a cost-saver, but also provides other benefits. Grooming your dog yourself gives you total control over how your dog is handled (rather than entrusting a stranger) and offers your dog the familiar environment of home where he can be less stressed and have a more relaxed experience. Rest assured that the more you do it, the more of an enjoyable experience it will be…for both you and your dog!