Tag Archives: grooming

Tips for Dealing with Dog Fur

It’s a known fact that most dogs shed, but this doesn’t keep us from loving them. At the same, it can be a pain to find fur all over your clothes and furniture. Some breeds, such as Labrador Retrievers, German Shepherds and Siberian Huskies, shed more than others. Whatever the breed, we’ve got the tips you need to keep your dog’s shedding under control.

Brush, brush, brush!

Brushing your dog’s fur regularly (for some dogs, this means daily) pulls out the loose hair that will otherwise end up on your carpet. It will also leave Fido’s coat cleaner and softer and will prevent his fur from matting.

Invest in a good vacuum.

Especially if your dog sheds seasonally, you’ll need a good vacuum to pick up after his fur. Spare yourself the headaches that come with a weak-suction vacuum and get yourself a machine that will get the job done the first time.

Use a lint roller.

Don’t underestimate the power of a good lint roller. The simple, inexpensive product can be a lifesaver in a home with a super-shedding dog. Use an extra sticky lint roller such as this one to easily pick up stray fur from yourself and from around the house.

Feed your dog a high-quality diet.
Dog food made from mostly corn or grains can be difficult for your pup to digest, causing dry skin and excess shedding. Food allergies can also contribute to hair loss and skin issues, in which case a veterinarian should be consulted. A diet high in protein and omega-3 fatty acids can improve overall coat texture.

Choose the right brush for your pup.

The type of brush you use for your pup can make a big difference in controlling his shedding. Your veterinarian can advise on what kind of brush to use, but there are generally brushes for two fur types: short and long. For dogs like Beagles and Bulldogs with shorter coats, a natural-bristle brush or hound mitt can be used. For dogs with longer, thicker coats, especially double-coated breeds like Pomeranians and Collies, a slicker brush or rake makes a better tool for getting rid of all that fur. Start by brushing in the opposite direction of your pup’s hair growth, then brush again in the direction of hair growth to fully remove all the loose, dead fur.

Give your dog a bath.

Regularly bathing your pup is not only a staple of good doggy hygiene, but it is also key to a healthy coat. Products like NuVet Conditioning Oatmeal Shampoo help sooth itchy skin and prevent dryness that can ultimately lead to hair loss.

While shedding might be one of the few things we don’t quite love about our dogs, it doesn’t have to be a burden. Instead, grooming your pup can become a daily bonding activity for the two of you. Less fur, more fun!

The Argument: Cats vs. Dogs

It is sometimes said that there are two types of people: cat people and dog people. Each will try to argue why their pet is best, yet a consensus is never reached. Here’s what we have to say about the two furry creatures—and by the end of this article, you can reach a conclusion on your own.

While felines have the cute and cuddly appeal of dogs, the similarities between the two domesticated animals pretty much stop there. Cats and dogs are said to have almost opposite personalities. For cats, the stereotype is that of an aloof, amusingly self-centered creature who offers limited affection. However, depending on the individual cat, felines can be very affectionate creatures who will show their love when and with whom they trust.

While cats are cool, dogs are our favorite for many reasons. Their loyalty, humanlike gazes and unconditional love towards their owners make them irresistible companions, while their playfulness and energy give them an apparent zest for life. Though personality varies between breeds and individual dogs, canines tend to express enthusiasm towards being around their owners, while a cat’s relationship with humans looks more like indifference.

When it comes to housetraining, cats require almost no prompting to use the litterbox; the act is purely instinctual. Yet whether out of lack of skill or just mere disinterest, cats won’t do tricks or follow the commands that dogs do, nor can they be trained for service jobs. Despite this, cats are very intelligent and are believed to have much longer memories than dogs. Cats also have extraordinary night vision, and their speed rivals that of dogs.

A dog’s famous sense of smell not only makes for a curious creature, but a dog’s nose has also proven useful for important tasks such as detecting bombs, drugs, missing people and even cancer. Dogs will do almost anything to please their humans. On the other hand, training them comes at a cost. The time and energy needed to housetrain, socialize and teach dogs obedience, especially to become “working dogs,” is intensive.

Because of their generally clean nature, cats do not require as much grooming as dogs. They like to lick themselves clean and typically do not need a bath unless they have gotten themselves especially dirty. Grooming and maintaining a dog’s health, on the other hand, can vary in price and time commitment, depending on the breed. However, both cats and dogs will need regular nail trims.

Statistics on cat aggression are quite slim, though because of their retractable claws which always stay sharp, a cat’s scratch can be comparable to a dog’s bite. However, instances of aggression in both cats and dogs often result from lack of training or poor parental supervision.

For better or for worse, cats are solitary creatures. They can thrive both indoors and outdoors, and are independent enough to survive without their owner for long periods of time, as long as there is food and water left for them. Dogs are largely pro-social creatures, which may make them more dependent on their owners, but it is just a result of their boundless love for our company.

Cats and dogs may be at opposite ends of the spectrum, but there are pros and cons for owning each. Our pet of choice is the loyal and fun-loving dog, but who says you can’t have both?

Who do you think wins the cat vs. dog contest? Comment below!

Spring Cleaning Applies to Your Pooch, Too!

Spring is in full swing, and if you haven’t already begun your Spring Cleaning, you’ve likely gotten the itch to start. When making your “laundry list” of cleaning “to do’s,” don’t forget to add pet care to your agenda. It’s important to maintain a clean environment both for you and for your dog’s health and safety, so pay special attention to your furry child’s things, too. Pet beds, bowls, toys and clothing should all get deep cleaned on a regular basis, so if you’re a little behind on making sure Fido’s stuff is up to snuff, take this opportunity for a fresh beginning.

Crates and Carriers
Ideally, crates or carriers should be cleaned once a week since that’s where your pup is likely spending a lot of his time. Use warm soapy water or a mild disinfectant and make sure these items are fully dry before allowing your dog to use them again. Avoid bleach for its strong scent and potentially harmful chemicals. Before using any sort of cleaning product, check the ingredients list for any toxic chemicals that could be unsafe for your dog to ingest or inhale. Once the crate or carrier is clean, wipe it down weekly to maintain spotlessness.

Bedding and Covers
Choose a pet bed with removable covers that can be washed easily and regularly (again, once a week is a good schedule to follow). It’s wise to buy a backup set of covers to use in a pinch in the case of an accident in the middle of the night or when you’re too lazy to do a load of laundry right away. A small amount of unscented, mild detergent should do the trick, but consider trashing and replacing the covers at the point when no matter how much you clean, the bedding smells or looks dirty.

Dishes and Toys
Water and food bowls should also be cleaned weekly, if not more. While hand washing with liquid and hot water is sufficient, you may want to consider throwing your dog’s bowls (if not stainless steel) in the automatic dishwasher as the machine can do a more thorough job of disinfecting and sanitizing your pup’s dishware. Toys can also be laundered in the dishwasher, depending on their material. If washing soft, stuffed toys, launder them in the laundry machine in a mesh bag to keep them separate from the rest of your load.

If your dog wears a sweater in the winter time (or regularly – no judgement here!), avoid dry cleaning due to known toxic chemicals. Most pet clothing can be washed on delicate or hand-washed with a mild, unscented detergent. To store clothing, make sure it’s fully dry before putting it away in an air tight container. Avoid humidity, which can cause mold and moth balls.

Get Organized
Use this time to go through your pet closet or pantry and check all food and treats to make sure none have hit their expiration date. In fact, inspect all of your dog supplies and equipment including shampoos, toothbrush/toothpaste, ear cleaner, flea and tick medication, as well as collars, tags and leashes. Make sure all are in good shape, and if not, replace. Go through your pup’s toy box too. You’re likely to find toys that are dirty or ripped up. Time for a refresh!

Pamper Your Pooch!
Rejuvenate your dog by treating him to a trip to the groomer. In the Winter, many dog owners let their pooches’ hair go long to keep them warm so by the time Spring rolls around, they are way overdue for a trim. Use this time to splurge on any extra services such as nail trimming, matting removal, anal glands expression, or professional tooth brushing – you owe it to your pooch to have him primped to perfection. Plus, there’s nothing better than snuggling up to a newly groomed, fresh-as-a-daisy pup!

Don’t Cry! The 411 On Dog Tear Stains

It’s likely you’ve noticed a dog with red or brown stains around its face and eyes. These stains aren’t a result of playing in the dirt; rather they are actual “tear stains” caused by a variety of physical factors. Just like humans, dogs produce tears that keep their eyes moist and protect them from environmental irritants. Some breeds are more prone to tear stains than others, but white pups are most likely to have visible staining because of their light color. Pigments in canine tears dye white fur easily, making these light-colored pups’ eyes the hardest to keep bright and clean!

Several factors that can contribute to tear stains on your pup include:

  •  Excessive tear production: If your dog is producing too many tears, there is nowhere for them to go, so they end up immediately outside of the eye, on the snout area.
  • Faulty tear drainage: Dogs have small holes that drain tears away from the eye (called “puncta”), but a variety of conditions can affect the functionality of this system. Eyelids turned inward, shallow eye sockets (as in snub-nosed breeds), and blocked drainage holes can all contribute to your dog’s tear drainage not working properly.
  • Long hair around the eyes: Overflow of tears is more likely and heavy when there is more hair growth around the eye. Thus, long-haired breeds may be prone to staining.

Puppies are also susceptible as they are born with the conditions that cause tear stains. Prevent the stains from forming by incorporating “face grooming” into your daily maintenance routine. A quick wipe down of your puppy’s face and eye area every day can go a long way in keeping those stains under control. Make sure to:

  • Use a cotton ball or soft cloth to clean the eye area. Moisten the cotton or cloth with a saline eye-wash solution, and rub gently underneath and around the eyes. (Pre-made saline solutions are perfectly fine, but if you prefer a homemade solution, mix boric acid powder into distilled water and boil. Keep refrigerated until use.)
  • Trim hair around the eyes as often as necessary to keep excess hair from irritating the eye and wicking away tears.
  •  Wash hair on the snout with a wet cloth and a gentle dry shampoo or hydrogen peroxide to remove stains.
  • Keep moist areas dry by wiping away excess water after your dog drinks or goes for a swim. For added moisture absorption, sprinkle cornstarch under the eye and around the muzzle. Moisture in these areas can lead to the growth of bacteria and yeast, which will likely cause irritation, or even infection.

There are plenty of special grooming products available for removing tear stains under your puppy’s eyes (check out these wipes and this comb). It’s always worthwhile to check with your vet as well, to confirm there is no medical problem and no foreign body present that may be causing excess tearing. If a medical problem is present, your vet can usually suggest an effective treatment and send your pup on his way to cleaner eyes in no time.

Keeping Your Dog Fresh and Clean Between Baths

Fluffy comes home from the groomer’s looking prim and perfect, with a coat as white as snow. The next day on your walk, she rolls around in a pile of manure, practically undoing the maintenance of yesterday, but it’s too early for another bath. What’s a dog owner to do?

Taking your dog to the groomer’s can get expensive and time-consuming, especially if your pup is one to get into all types of smelly trouble. We’ve got you covered with a list of tips and products to keep Fluffy smelling fresh before her next bath and after playtime.

Brush Early and Often
You might have had the experience of trying to comb a massive knot from your pup’s fur. Mats in your dog’s fur are not only unsightly, but they can also cause pain and discomfort for your dog. The good news is that matted fur can easily be prevented with regularly brushing. For long- or thick-haired breeds, daily brushing is recommended. You can even purchase a fur-detangling spray to make your dog’s fur easier to work with before brushing.

Try Doggy Wipes
Doggy wipes are an easy and convenient way to freshen up your pup when there’s no time for a full blown bath. You can use them on your dog’s entire body, or on particularly dirty areas like the paws or rear-end. While they aren’t a replacement for a proper bath, many dog owners love using wipes like these when they’re on the go.

Dry Shampoo: Not Just for Humans
For those of you unfamiliar with the recent fad, dry shampoo is a powder that is used to remove excess oil from the hair while deodorizing and cleaning. Just rub the formula into your pup’s fur and brush it out. (She’ll most likely take care of the rest by giving a big shake.) Once again, this is not a replacement for bathing, but rather a quick on-the-go solution.

Spritz on Some Fragrance
Doggy perfumes or colognes can be used in the same way that human fragrances are used—to add an extra bit of “oomph” on a special occasion, or alternatively, to hide an unwanted stench. While some doggy perfumes are made to mimic popular human brands, you should NEVER spray your dog with a human fragrance, as it can cause severe irritation.

Keep Her Bedding Clean
A dirty bed not only makes for a dirty dog, but a smelly general living space. Alleviate the lingering odor of dirty dog bedding by cleaning out your dog’s bed, blankets and other possessions on a regular basis. Products like NuVet Stain & Odor Remover can effectively eliminate both physical and airborne signs of a dirty doghouse.

Give Her a Teeth Cleaning Treat
You can spray and wipe your pooch all you want, but without good dental hygiene, you’ll surely smell your pup before you see her. A teeth cleaning treat like this one can keep her teeth clean while giving her something to chew on.

You don’t have to worry about a dirty pup when your next grooming appointment is still weeks away. Simple hygiene pup-keep can keep her looking and smelling her best, both before and after the groomer’s!

Clean Your Dog’s Ears in Just a Few Easy Steps

With all of the upkeep that goes into caring for your beloved pooch, ear cleaning can be an easily forgotten hygiene task. But don’t play this health regimen “by ear,” if you catch our drift. It’s imperative to clean your dog’s ear canals on a regular basis and keep them unobstructed to prevent infection, discomfort and in worse cases, hearing loss. Convinced yet?

You may know that dogs have superior hearing to humans, yet surprisingly, their ears do not have a mechanism for self-cleaning. Your pooch needs YOUR help to get his ears up to their optimal performance. Cleaning your dog’s ears at home is not only a good potential bonding activity, but it also saves money on vet or grooming visits, where the professionals will charge extra for the simple service.

Follow these easy steps to clean your dog’s ears properly and safely:

1. Inspect your dog’s ears carefully. Once he’s in a comfortable sitting or standing position and you have easy access and visibility into his ear canals, take a close look. If you only see dirt or ear wax, your dog’s likely in good shape and ready for his ear cleaning. If you happen to see any of the following warning signs, stop right away and call your vet: drainage of fluid or discharge, foul smell, redness, swelling, crusty texture, hair loss, thick waxy material, scratches, scabs, wounds, mites, ticks, fleas or parasites. Also, if the earwax is brown or black, it’s a sign that he has an infection. Call your vet and schedule an appointment right away as cleaning an already infected ear could make the condition worse. Do not under any circumstance, use a Q-tip in your dog’s ear. You can easily rupture an eardrum or injure your dog with this instrument.

2. Use a commercial all-purpose dog ear cleaning solution or make your own. Products such as NuVet Ear Cleaner and Life’s Abundance Ear Care Formula use natural ingredients to alleviate common ear hygiene issues. To concoct the fluid yourself, mix a few tablespoons of vinegar with the same amount of rubbing alcohol together in a clean bowl. Make sure the solution is at room temperature as cold liquid in the ear can be very uncomfortable for your pooch.

3. Dip a cotton ball into the liquid. Squeeze out the excess so the cotton is wet but not dripping. If you have a very small dog, you may want to use just a half of a cotton ball. An alternative is to wrap a piece of gauze around your pointer finger, hold in place between your thumb and middle finger, and dip into the liquid. Again, the gauze shouldn’t be sopping wet.

4. Swab the inside of your dog’s ear flap. Gently remove all dirt and debris you can see. This process may take quite a few cotton balls. As long as you’re calm and stay towards the front of the hearing canal, your dog should tolerate this procedure very well. Be thorough in cleaning out all the crevices where dirt and wax build up the most. Remember to clean carefully as the delicate skin in the ear canal can easily be broken and vinegar and alcohol can sting.

5. If deeper clean is needed, call the vet. If you notice after several swabs, that there is still a lot of debris, dirt and wax in the ear, it’s worth a call to your vet to get approval for a full irrigation. Once you receive the “ok,” put the solution in a squeeze bottle and drench the ears completely, then gently rub the base of the ear and massage the ear carefully for a minute. Use dry cotton ball or gauze to clean out the gunk that comes out. This process should remove most if not all of the sticky, thick material from the ears.

6. Let your dog clear out his ears. You’ll notice your dog immediately have the urge to shake his head after the cleaning. Let him do so, but make sure to turn away so you don’t get fluid or debris in your eyes. The head shaking will help shake out any excess liquid out of the ear canal.

A Cut Above: The Hottest Pup Hairstyles

You may think there’s nothing more to dog grooming instruction than the words “just a trim” or “a complete shave.” You’d be wrong however. In fact, there are a variety of simple to complex hairstyles for your pup to sport. If you’re looking to get inspired or educated on the different options, we’ve broken down some of the most common dog hairstyles below. Your pup is sure to be pampered, prepped and photo-ready with any of these choices.

The Puppy Cut
puppy-cutDon’t be fooled, the puppy cut is not just for puppies, but for dogs of any age. This low maintenance do is defined by a uniform, all-over hair length about two inches long and can be achieved on almost any breed. To maintain the short “puppy cut,” depending on how fast your pooch’s hair grows, he may have to get groomed on a weekly basis.

The Teddy Bear Cut
lionThis adorable cut is achieved by trimming the hair around your dog’s head and face evenly, yet keeping the head slightly longer than what’s on the body. The body hair is kept a bit shorter, making this cut ideal for the summer months.

The Lion Trim
Popular among small dogs such as Pomeranians, as well as big, long-haired dogs like Chow Chows, this cut is designed to make your pooch look like a ferocious, yet adorable lion cub. The lion cut is defined by a short cut on the body, with long hair around the head and jaw to create the look of a mane. The tail is kept short until the very end, with a small tuft of hair is left to look like well…a lion.

The Lamb Trim
lambWant your dog to look like a little lamb? Ask for this cut, where both the head and body are trimmed short. This low maintenance look only requires a trip to the groomer every 6-8 weeks, and is great for warm weather, keeping your pup cool.


The Poodle or Continental Cut
poodleOne of the most popular cuts for Poodles, there are several different varieties of the “poodle cut,” which is generally is associated with closely trimmed fur around the belly and face and a thick downy fur appearance on the legs, ears and tail. Some variations leave “pom pom” balls on the tail and bottom joints of the legs, which are called bracelets. Not just for poodles, this cut is designed to show off the back legs and is appropriate for any type of dog with thick, curly hair.

The Schnauzer Cut
schnauzerThis adorable cut is a good choice for any breed with similar hair characteristics to the Schnauzer. Longer hair is left on the dog’s legs, while the back and sides are trimmed very short. A light fringe of hair is left on the lower part of the dog’s body, and the signature “mustache” cut sculpts the hair around the face.


The Topknot
topknotThis style is typically associated with the Shih Tzu breed, but can be given to any dog with sufficiently long hair, such as the Yorkshire Terrier. Good news for DIY at-home groomers, the style simply requires bunching and tying the hair into a bun at the top of your pooch’s head. It requires no clipping, and follows the current hipster trend adopted by millennials across the country.

A “Quick,” Easy Guide to Nail Trimming

Many dog owners avoid trimming their dog’s nails because it can be a stressful experience for both owner and pet. Owners are afraid of cutting their pup’s nails too short, causing pain, and making them hate the procedure even more than they already might. However, cutting your dog’s nails is a practice that, if done correctly, doesn’t need to be nerve-wracking or traumatic!

Why It’s Necessary
Why is it so important to trim your dog’s nails? For one, toe nails that are too long can cause discomfort while walking. Hard surfaces push long nails upwards into the nail bed, putting pressure on the toe joints. Over time, this makes the toes very sore, and will make your pup even more unwilling to let you touch his feet. In addition, long toenails can affect your dog’s posture which over time will change to compensate for sore feet and sensitivity from their toenails touching the ground.

If your dog doesn’t tolerate you touching his feet/toes, get him comfortable by running your hands up and down his legs and gently holding his feet. Do this “pawssage” every day for a week or two, and chances are that he will be significantly more relaxed about letting you touch his feet. It’s a good idea to start this routine practice at a young age if you’re raising a puppy!

Once your pup is prepared, have these tools ready:
– “Scissor” style clippers are best for clean cuts. Stay away from “Guillotine” style clippers, which crush the claw and can be painful.
– Emory board (to smooth rough edges)
– Cornstarch or styptic powder to stop bleeding (just in case!)
– Treats to reward your pup and to make nail trimming fun
– Optional: an electric nail grinder. This tool has a rotating Emory board that allows you to file down your dog’s nail or smooth your trim quickly and easily.

The Trim
– Hold your dog’s paw gently (don’t squeeze!), using your fingers to separate his toes. Trim toe hair with scissors if need be.
– Identify the “quick,” or blood supply. On pigmented toes, the insensitive nail will be the dry, chalky part surrounding the quick at the center. The quick is more glossy, like living flesh. On white toes, the quick will appear pink, and in black toes, the quick will be a bit harder to see, as it is also dark in color.
– Keep the clipper blades almost parallel to the nail and cut. Make sure you are cutting around the quick, and won’t hit it with the blades.
– Use your emory board to clean up the trim.
– If you need to, you can cut one nail or one paw a day. You don’t necessarily need to trim all 16 toes in one day – do whatever works best for you and your pup’s schedule. Create and adhere to a schedule that keeps all of his nails short and both of you happy!
– If you’d like to maintain your dog’s nails at a short length, trim them once a week. Once the insensitive nail is trimmed, the quick will recede, allowing you to cut the nail even shorter the following week. Shortening is a gradual process – do not try to cut the nail short in one cut, as you will almost certainly hit the quick.
– Remember, make trimming an enjoyable experience. Give lots of praise, kisses and cookies so your pup associates nail trimming with rewards!

Don’t Panic!
nail-trimming-thumbnailIf you accidentally cut the quick and your dog’s toe starts bleeding, dip it into the cornstarch or styptic powder you have ready. Alternatively, use a cotton swab or Q-tip to apply the powder to the bleeding area. The powder should stop the bleeding quickly. (This method is only useful for small, superficial wounds. Do not attempt to stop bleeding from a large wound in this way).

Keep it Up
Dog nails need to be maintained, just as human nails do; it’s best to give them a trim every two weeks or so. As a general rule of thumb, if you can hear your dog’s nails clicking on the floor, they are too long. Make sure you either sharpen or replace your clippers if you sense they are getting dull and aren’t working as effectively.
Don’t forget, it’s not the end of the world if you accidentally quick your dog. If you’d like to, talk to your groomer or veterinarian for a nail trimming demonstration or advice.

Dog Breeds by Fur: Low to High Maintenance Pooches

When deciding on the best dog for your family, grooming responsibilities probably don’t top of the list of criteria during breed selection. However, depending on your financial situation and time constraints, hair may be a factor worth considering. Depending on the type of dog and their grooming needs, you could be visiting a professional groomer as much as every two-four weeks, or at a minimum, intensively brushing at home on a daily basis. Here’s a rundown of the lowest to highest maintenance pups when it comes to hair, which should help with setting expectations, planning and budgeting.

Short-haired, smaller dogs are going to require the least amount of grooming. An important caveat however is that even though these breeds are short-haired, they will still shed somewhat as all dogs shed some fur. Check out these breeds with low grooming needs if you’d rather not trade in your day job for a styling gig.

Italian Greyhound
Boston Terrier
Miniature Pinscher
• Harrier
• Whippet
• German Pinscher
• Basenji
• Australian Kelpie
• English Foxhound
• Black & Tan Coonhound
Rhodesian Ridgeback
Great Dane
• Neapolitan Mastiff

talk-ab-fur-thumbnailConversely, if you can’t resist a fluffy, long-haired pup, target this list of styling breeds, who require more hands-on attention to their coats to avoid matting, shedding and hygiene issues.

Alaskan Malamute
• Bearded Collie
Bernese Mountain Dog
Bichon Frise
• Border Terrier (or most terriers, for that matter)
Chow Chow
Cocker Spaniel (and most other Spaniels)
• English or Irish Setter
• Giant, Standard and Miniature Schnauzers
Lhasa Apso
Old English Sheepdog (and other sheep dogs)
• Pekingese
Portuguese Water Dog
Shih Tzu
Siberian Husky

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!