Home Grooming Tips  

Take 5 -  Getting down to business with your dog or cat

Home grooming can be a perfect time for you to relax as well as get the necessary grooming tasks done on your pet.  We are all busy with day to day activities and stresses, but did you know that you also benefit from a regular home grooming program?  Grooming allows us to have physical contact with our pets in a loving way that is both calming and soothing for you and your pet!  Including your children in the process can make it a wonderful family time too....it gives your pets a chance to give love to you! 

Remember 5 minutes is all it takes!  In 5 minutes you can:

- brush the key areas that tend to matt (behind ears, under arms, bottom, and feet)

- wipe "eye gunk" away from the eye with a clean wet cloth.  Wipe away from eye to avoid depositing any debris or "matter" back into the eye.

- and give a quick little back and or hip massage (dogs love it!  If you are unsure about this part ask for a FREE  demo next time you are in)

This daily routine will make your pooch more relaxed, bonded with you and your family and pleasant to have around.   

So....  "Take 5" to better health for you, your family and your little one.

Remember:  Nail trims are FREE for grooming customers who have regular grooming appointments for their dogs.  Last appointment must be no longer than 1.5 months prior to this Free  nail trim service)  Included in this service is a mini massage and a little refresh!  Regular nail trimming is an important part of foot health; preventing splaying of the feet, nail infections and breakage, and foot displacement which results in difficulty walking. This free program allows for a free nail trim between grooms for grooming program appointments that is scheduled and completed up to 3 months apart.   This free add-on is held Fridays (excluding holidays) from 2-4pm

Winter Home Grooming Tips (see below for summer tips):  Well here we are again - at the brink of another long cold, wet and icy winter!  At this time most of us are thinking about letting our dogs coat/fur get longer to protect them from the cold and wet winter weather however, there are some things to consider when managing a longer style coat. 

Eyes, ears, face:  Your pooch still needs to see through all that hair, and requires regular maintenance of these areas to ensure healthy functioning/vision into later years.  Eye infections become more common when hair is allowed to grow and fall into the eyes, is not wiped regularly.  Ears tend to gain debris and waxy substance that needs to be cleaned out so mattes don't form inside the ear canal:  a perfect environment for ear mites, odor and yeast growth.

Skin & Coat:  This must be by far the most important aspect of grooming in the winter.  The weather doesn't make allowances for wet paws and tummies.  Wet hair  gets clumped and tangled, dead undercoat falls out and gets caught in the live coat.  With your dogs regular physical movements such as tail wagging, walking, ears dangling the wet tangles then become matts.  Each time a matt gets wet it can shrink closer and closer to the skin causing discomfort, pinching and eventually restricting air flow to the skin, free movement and sometimes even going the the bathroom.  This can then become "felt-like" in nature.  I have seem many cases of this in the spring when dogs come to get the mattes/felting removed:  this is a very sad and stressful situation for the dog who is felted, not to mention unhealthy for any dog, and can be on the verge of forming open sores forming under the mattes which leads to secondary bacterial infections etc.  (not to freak anyone out but I have actually seen alot of this - regular home grooming at the very least - is an absolute must)

Feet & Nails:  The winter weather calls for alot of salting of our walkways, streets, and roads.  When Fido walks on this salt it can cause all kind of problems mainly dehydration of the foot pads and "pinking" which is cause from licking the salt which means your little one is eating it which can cause other problems.  Foot hair needs to be kept short during the winter; especially between the toes and pads to minimize wicking up of water and salt.  This will also minimize snow and ice sticking to the coat around the foot.  It is not recommended to use "wood ash" to treat slippery walkways when you have pets.  Wood ash is actually Lye and Lye can cause severe problems with foot health and when licked off the hair and feet can actully cause poisoning of your pet. 

Your little ones nails still grow in the winter too.  Nails should be trimmed monthly.  I offer free nail trims between grooms for customers who are on a regular grooming program with their dogs.  Unclipped nails can cause splaying of the toes, and foot probems including nail bed infections from undue pressure on the base of the nail. 

So how do you get your Fifi's coat longer ?    With regular  home and professional grooming I can help you manage a longer coat style for your dog to keep them warmer in the winter. 

A longer coat can take just as much grooming maintenance as a shorter summer style.  Sometimes even more home brushing is required to help remove tangles that can be formed into mattes.  The best brush for this type of home grooming is a slicker brush.  (see facebook groups page for photos) 

Ask me about my cost-effective "winter coat program"  Winter grooming consists of dead undercoat removal, coat management through detangling and key (matt) area shortening, nails/foot care, ear care, and skin specific natural shampoos that keep the natural lanolins in the coat to protect against a harsh and wet climate. 

 

Summer Tips: 

When the summer weather comes it can be a challenge to keep your little one's body temperature down.  A sure sign of over-heating is heavy panting, a dry nose, and they will usually display anxious behavior.  Keep your dog in the shade when outside and always carry water with you

One easy tip for cooling off your dog is to soak a face-cloth (or just use your fingers and apply direcly) in cool water and wet the outside of the ears.  Ears have tiny capillaries (blood vessels) that are close to the surface of the skin.  Make sure not to get water inside the ears; if you do just blow lightly in the area of their ear and they will shake the water out.  Never stick objects in the ear. Never pour water into the ear.  Never use ice-cold water to spray down your pet.  In severe cases of over-heating you may spray them down with tepid water for a short period, as well as remove them from the source of heat immediatly. It is important to always check the status of your dogs temperature and stress level in the heat.  Good luck and happy summer!

Another tip is to make a shady area available to them, you can also freeze some water in a bucket or bowl for them to lick as it slowly melts in the heat. Place it in the shade and let it melt slowly.

Never leave your dog unattended in the vehicle; not even for a few minutes - vehicles heat up quickly and it is too easy to loose track of time. Dogs lose moisture through panting and through the pads of their feet. They do not have sweat glands like we do. Remember; if your dog stops peeing or becomes lethargic (dopey) it is a sure sign vetrinary attention is required.

Walk your dog early in the day and later in the evening to avoid the major heat of the day.  Make sure to give your pet a cool place to hang out where he/she has access to clean and fresh water.  

 

Ears , Eyes and Face:  Always make sure to check your dogs face on a regular basis.  Make sure ears and eyes are free of gunky build-up and debris.  Use a warm and wet facecloth to gently wipe these areas daily.  Your "little wiggle" will love the extra attention and it will remind them of their mother cleaning/licking them when they were a puppy! Facial cleaning can be an extra special time of bonding.

Keep the face clean and free of foodstuff (on the beard etc.)  The breath should be fresh and sweet - check with your Vetrinarian if there are any foul odors from the mouth or swelling/redness of the gums etc.  Your dogs nose should be moist and free of anything that may block the nostrils or dry onto the nose area. No area of your dogs body should emit a foul odor (flatulence excluded); take your dog to the vet if there are foul odors.

Skin and Coat:  It is important to have the correct brush for the correct type of coat;  it can be a little ovewhelming at the pet department of your local store when you see all the choices.  Feel free to give me a call to discuss the best type of tool for your dogs grooming needs.  The two most common types of brushes for home use are the "soft slicker brush" and the "round tipped pin brush"  - in a pinch even a human hair brush will do.

Brushing should be done daily and always before you bath, paying special attention to the areas that tend to matt easily:  under the legs, behind the ears, under the tail, and in the groin area. Be careful that you brush the fur; not the skin.  A motion that hooks the coat ad lifts upward and outward pulling out loose hair is best.  

Daily brushing helps distribute the natural oils through out the coat evenly. This also helps the skin "breathe".  There should be no dryness or flaking present

Feet and Nails:  Feet are often overlooked where dogs are concerned.  It is important to inspect your dogs feet and get them accustomed to having their feet handled.  Nails should be trimmed  monthly; overgrown nails can cause splaying of the feet - if excessivly overgrown they can curl right into the foot pad; causing infection and pain etc.  We offer free nail trims between grooms for regular full service customers Fridays from 2-4pm. (excluding holidays)

In the Winter there is alot of salt on the roads and sidewalks;  this can be very damaging to your dogs feet.  When salt is present you will see "pinking" of the fur around the feet and the dog will often lick the area alot.  An easy fix is to rinse  and thoroughly dry their feet of when coming indoors. 

Bottom and Privates:

This area is often neglected or forgotten.  When fur matts around these areas the outcome can be well....not very pleasant for you or your dog.  An easy way to keep this area clean is to use a wet cloth or gentle baby wipes with aloe and wipe this area clean on a regular basis.  Both male and female dogs can become so matted at the exit of the urethra (where the pee comes out) that infection can cause other sometimes extreme health problems.  Keep the hair on this area trimmed and the area wiped clean.

Conclusion:  You and your dog will become closer and more bonded as a result of regular grooming.  A clean dog is pleasant to hold close and cuddle. A clean dog is more heathy to have around children too.  Dogs are pack animals; it is in their nature that grooming is a part of acceptance and pack dominance order. 

If your life is busy and stressful; take a few minutes with your dog.  Grooming your dog is a wonderful way for you to decompress and relax as well.  Enjoy using grooming to get to know your "little wiggle".  Your dog will love you even more for it!