Tip of the Month

  • Not Taking Your Dog To The Groomers? - February 2013

    Cost Cutting Grooming Tips

    Skip Taking Your Dog To The Groomers?
    When times are tough, people frequently try to save money when it comes to grooming their dogs. Obviously, one option is to not take their dog to a groomer at all. Another is to go less often or shop for a salon that provides less-expensive services. Whichever strategy you choose depends on how you want to balance saving money with keeping your pet clean and healthy.

    What Groomer's Provide For Your Pet

    Keep in mind, in addition to bathing, drying and trimming your pet’s hair, there are a number of other important services groomers offer. These services include: expressing anal glands; getting rid of parasites such as mites, fleas and ticks; searching for foxtails; cleaning ears; and trimming toe nails. Sometimes groomers can spot a potential health problem and bring it to your attention. While groomers don’t diagnose health issues, they can recommend a call to the veterinarian to check up on whatever abnormality they found during grooming. Early intervention on a potential health issue is important and could save you money in the long run. Let’s take a few minutes and examine the pluses and minuses of each option listed above:

    Stop Going to the Groomer

    Do-it-all-yourself is a good way to eliminate most of the expense of keeping Fido clean. This is the easiest way to go if your pet is a small, short-haired animal. However, if Fido is a medium- or a large-sized dog, it gets a lot more complicated. Obviously, your pet will eventually need a bath, and you have to be willing to take the time and effort to do it. This might be a challenge for you and your dog. Think about it: filling the tub; getting a reluctant dog out of hiding; commencing with the bath, including the soak, the suds, the scrub and the rinse; drying your wet dog; and, finally, the clean up. And, if your pet has a beautiful long-flowing coat, a good complete combing and brushing will also be necessary. You’ll need to get rid of snarls since they tend to bind tight and will be very uncomfortable for your pet.

    Extend the Time between Trips to the Groomer

    As with the first option, this is easier if your pet is a small, short-haired animal. If you opt to go to the groomer less often and you have a long-haired dog, you should consider buying a really good dog brush. You’ll want to get a brush that can smooth and keep the mats out of your pet’s coat. If you go too long without getting your dog bathed and groomed, and you do not brush out the coat, you could end up with a very matted dog. If your dog’s coat becomes overly matted, it will cost you a lot more money than you’re saving when you take him in for an emergency grooming session. Plus, your poor pet will be very uncomfortable in the meantime..

    Shop Around for a Less-expensive Groomer

    Check with friends and neighbors for references as many groomers stay competitive with their prices. Explain to a groomer what you can and can’t afford. Most will usually work something out. However, if you find a groomer who won’t compromise on his or her fees—and there are some who feel they really can’t or shouldn’t—then move on to another salon. The decision isn’t personal; it’s a business transaction. After all, Fido won’t care as long as he’s being cared for.

    By Colleen Riley
  • Pet Grooming Tips for the Winter - December 2014

    Winter Grooming Tips

    Dog Grooming Schools

    Cold rains and frigid winds, along with winter’s snow and ice can wreak havoc on your dog’s skin and coat when you take him for his daily walks. It’s the most difficult time of year for maintaining your best friend’s grooming routine. What’s the best way to protect your dog’s coat and paws from cold-weather damage and avoid those springtime shave downs? Consider these grooming recommendations.

    Brush your dog’s coat often

    Brushing your dog daily or even weekly can significantly reduce the amount of shedding and matting in his coat. Excess hair can cause mats and eventually, the mats become so close to the skin that it can become painful or even dangerous to remove them. Keeping the coat in a breathable condition allows it to insulate your dog as it’s supposed to. Regular brushing also helps distribute the natural oils in your dog’s coat, which helps relieve the dryness that results from winter weather. The last thing you want to do is let a winter coat get so matted that the dog must be shaved down in the middle of winter.

    Use a pet sweater only when necessary

    Another contributing factor to mats is the use of pet sweaters in the winter months. I cannot stress enough the importance of brushing your pet each and every time the sweater is taken off. Remember that coats and sweaters continually rub against your dog’s coat, causing friction that will lead to large mats. This is the main reason for springtime shave downs. Oftentimes, when the mats are shaved off, they are in the shape of a pet sweater. Doggy coats should only be used when the pet goes outside. If a sweater is needed for indoors, the pet should be brushed daily.

    Maintain your dog’s paws and nails

    You should pay special attention to your dog’s paws and nails. Ice and salted sidewalks can be extremely irritating to paw pads and can lead to cracking or sores. Be sure to clip any long hair on the bottom of the paws. This is to prevent any snow or ice from sticking to the hairs and forming painful snow balls. After walks, it is a good idea to rinse your dog’s feet with warm water to remove any ice, salt, or gravel. It is also especially important to keep toenails short. Cold toenails break more easily when running through snow and ice. Dog booties are also an option – if you can get your dog to leave them on.

    Remember, even though he may not get outside as much in the winter, grooming your dog in the cold months is just as important as in the warmer ones.

    By Shelley Williams
  • How To Transport Kitty - August 2012
    How To Transport Kitty

    Tips on Transporting Your Cat

    Someday in the life of your cat, you will eventually need to take her to the vet, groomer, or move her to a new location whether for living permanently or for boarding. Instead of chasing down the cat and trying to trap it with a blanket or towel, think about using a less disturbing method.

    Before you convey any indications that you are even thinking about transporting the cat anywhere, you will have to make a plan. If you just suddenly take out the carrier, then kitty will disappear and you will have to pry her out of the hard to reach location.

    Cat Containment

    Hours before your appointment, work on containment. If you feed your cat in the kitchen and it has doors that can be closed, begin with that. Otherwise, try to feed or give treats in a room that has doors that you can close. Preferably, in a room, that does not have beds, sofas, and other inaccessible places to hide. Better yet, have the carrier in that consolidated room, in a place that is accessible for you and the cat. If the carrier is stored open where the cat can check it out, she may even use it as a place to nap. In addition, if a treat is placed inside every once in a while, it will entice her to visit.

    Practice Trips

    Another way to make a trip to the veterinarian or groomer not so traumatic is by taking kitty on a ride in its carrier before. It is always best to condition a pet in a gentle non-stressful way, especially when they are young. However, it is never too late to begin conditioning your cat. If you have a cat that is difficult to handle and scratches, you can invest in a pair of pet handling gloves to have ready in case they are considered necessary.

    A little before trip planning could not only go a long way in the comfort of your cat and your sanity, but could also prevent any frantic spraying that could soil your car.

    Always Use A Pet Carrier

    Another thing to remember is that cats should always be transported in a carrier, especially to the veterinarian or groomer. Dogs in the waiting room may frighten them and you could end up being bitten or scratched. Keep all of these tips in mind when you are considering how to “transport kitty”, whether it be for a visit to the doctor or a family vacation that is much needed!
  • Pets and Cold Weather  - December 2010
    Cold weather affects pets as well as humans. Some pets are better suited for cold weather than others. There is a common (and false) belief that dogs “will do just fine” if left outside. This is not true; professionals, including dog groomers, will tell you that all pets need proper shelter and protection from the cold. Pets should not be left outside for long periods of time in freezing weather as they can suffer hypothermia and frostbite just like humans, especially the young or very old.

    A designated area inside is best, but if that is not possible, an adequate shelter that is insulated with blankets or straw and that is protected from wind, snow, rain, and cold will help retain your dog’s body heat. Also, don’t forget to provide plenty of fresh water as licking ice or snow will not provide enough fluids. Using a heated water dish will keep the water from freezing. Consult pet professionals such as a groomer or pet care specialist at your local pet supply store about finding heated water dishes.

    The use of heat lamps, space heaters, or other electrical devices is not recommended as they may not only burn your pet but may also create a fire hazard. Pet product suppliers have heated mats for pets to sleep on. These mats could also be placed under a dog house. Be sure to read all manufacturers’ directions carefully to avoid misuse or injury to your pet. Also, note that outdoor pets require more food than normal for energy and for maintaining body heat.

    Foot Care
    Large chunks of ice can get between your dog’s or cat’s foot pads, causing discomfort. Clipping the hair between the pads will help in keeping such ice from forming. Some dogs will tolerate dog boots which offer protection when walking in snowy areas or on icy sidewalks. Your groomer or a vet assistant can help you in trimming the fur between your dog’s or cat’s toes.

    Salt and Chemical De-Icers
    De-icers can cause chapped, dry, and painful paws, and afflicted pets will lick their paws. This could cause stomach irritation and vomiting. Be sure to wash your pet’s feet with warm water after a walk on icy ground.

    The warm engine of a car is a tempting area for cats to curl up and sleep during cold winter nights. Before starting your vehicle, honk the horn or bang the hood to frighten off any sleeping animals.

    Senior pets with arthritis have a more difficult time in the winter cold. Be cautious of icy walks, provide warm and soft bedding, and handle pets gently. Should you notice that your arthritic pet is having trouble getting around, contact your veterinarian to examine your pet.

    Finally, be sure to have plenty of supplies in case the roads become unsafe.
    • Pet food
    • Litter
    • Fresh water
    • Warm blankets
    • Any medication that the pet takes on a daily basis

    Have a happy, safe, and warm winter with your pets!
  • Canine Vehicle Safety Systems - November 2010
    Studies show that seatbelts save lives – according to the NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration), 64 of people killed in car accidents were not wearing a seatbelt. For this reason, and due to the enforcement of seatbelt laws, most people wear seatbelts while driving and while riding in the cars of others. However, many people neglect to follow the same precaution with their dogs, allowing their dogs to roam freely inside the cab of their vehicle and endangering their lives, though it is simple to protect them using a safety system. Think about it – the average Labrador Retriever weighs approximately 60 to 75 lbs, which is the average weight of an 8-year-old child. An unrestrained Labrador would receive the same trauma that an 8-year-old child not wearing a seatbelt would in an accident. We wouldn’t let our children ride without seatbelts, so we should make sure we “buckle up” our precious companions as well. Owners can do this with the help of a specialized restraint system.

    While seatbelts did not always exist for dogs, this has changed in the recent past with the invention of canine vehicle safety systems. One excellent canine restraint system is the Ruff Rider “Roadie,” which is manufactured by Ruff Rider Products, LLC. Animal training sessions can help animals get accustomed to using the system. The Roadie's tensile strength exceeds the Society of American Engineers’ tensile strength standards for human seatbelts of 5,000 pounds. In addition, when creating the “Roadie,” consideration was given to the forces that occur in all directions while traveling in the car in both normal and emergency situations. Thus, this system was manufactured with great attention to all things that could go wrong and injure a dog while he is a passenger in a vehicle.

    Canine vehicle safety systems can be purchased from many pet supply stores. The “Roadie” offers 5 models to choose from, and they manufacture systems that fit dogs ranging in weight from 7 to 160 lbs. Make sure to choose the right size for your dog as proper fit is essential in maximizing the efficacy of the system. Also, read all manufacturers’ instructions for adjusting and applying the harness to your canine. Be patient during the first few tries as your dog may resist being strapped down. Some patience and training by you will be necessary to accustom your pooch to being belted in. However, while applying the harness may prove tedious at first, it can make a world of difference in the event of an accident.

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