The Secret Truth About Oodles 1

The Secret Truth About Oodles

As a dog groomer, it’s my job to assist owners in looking after the health of their dogs as a whole. An attentive groomer will look after your dog’s skin and coat as their primary focus and then inspect their nails, ears and eyes. In doing so, they can ensure your dog is always kept comfortable and healthy. We definitely don’t just cut hair. 

When your dog first enters my dog spa, I assess their behaviour towards myself (dog to human interaction) and then I assess how they feel about common grooming tools and practices. This sets up how I will begin a groom. 

First and foremost, you want your dog to be happy. You never want to overload a nervous dog or break a dog’s confidence.

The next thing I look at is how healthy they are. A lot of people won’t include a dog’s hair when they consider if they are healthy or not, but a groomer’s job is to ensure the largest organ of the dog (and humans, mind you), the skin, is healthy. This includes checking for infection, rashes, bugs, lesions, knots, matting, differences in texture, growth patterns and so on.

Assuming a dog is healthy, most breeds have a consistent coat. Meaning, their coats grow and perform as they should and can be cared for in the same way as another dog of the same breed. However, this can’t be said for all breeds such as a mixed breed dog. Their coats are more unpredictable and don’t share the same characteristics as other dogs of the same mixed breed. This unpredictability leads to a coat that can be difficult to maintain. Oodles (a Poodle crossbreed) experience a high amount of matting, knots and general grooming discomfort due to their genetic makeup. 

This means there can be a lot more work involved in their upkeep.

Exploring a dog’s coat.

Your dog has 3 different types of hair on their bodies no matter what breed they are. (Ok, leave out hairless breeds haha!) Primary Hair provides waterproofing and sun protection, Primary Lateral hair helps distribute the coat and aids thermoregulation, and Secondary hair/ undercoat provides insulation.

Different breeds display different hair thicknesses, lengths, growth cycles and different quantities of hair, but they all have these 3 types.

This allows for the dog’s body to adequately thermoregulate and helps prevent knots and matting through the distribution and orientation of these hairs.
A purebred dog will have a consistent coat for its breed. There may be very small variances between individuals, but a good breeder will have maintained the breed’s integrity as a whole.
Over the course of decades, a dog’s coat has been selectively bred for a specific purpose in mind. For example, dogs originating in colder climates possess thicker strands and  a denser undercoat that doesn’t shed as regularly as other breeds.,
Terriers typically have beards and thick wiry hair to protect them from rodents and the environment they may hunt in.

It’s this purposefulness that keeps the coats of many breeds consistent.

A purebred puppy will inherit any percentage of genes from either parent’s lineage. When both parents have consistent genes, making them purebred, the puppies will follow suit and will, therefore “breed true” despite the puppies technically receiving different percentages of their parent’s characteristics.

For a mixed breed puppy, the same genetic rules apply; however, while the puppy may be receiving some genes from the mother and others from the father, the puppy will not “breed true”. This is because the puppy now has a larger gene pool from which to inherit characteristics from. Speaking purely from a hair perspective, that will mean the puppy may inherit a very unpredictable coat makeup.

What does that mean for Oodle’s?

An “Oodle” is any dog that has one parent or grandparents that are Poodles. This means they are a mixed breed and can inherit coat characteristics from either parent.

Typically, Poodle’s are bred with dogs that have high shedding coats in an attempt to produce a puppy with the temperament and ability of one breed and the lesser shedding capabilities of the Poodle. The result of mixing two breeds cannot be successfully predicted.
As an example, Labrador and a Poodle crosses (commonly referred to as a Labradoodle)have very different coat characteristics and in turn produce litters with varying degrees of curls, length and shedding quantities. Their coats can also be different on different parts of their bodies.  That is, a puppy could have a curly-haired body and straight coated legs. It also means that a puppy could possess different textured hairs all throughout its body. This is fundamentally what creates a “difficult coat.”

One of the most difficult coats to maintain is seen in Oodle’s that exhibit thin, wispy type hair as well as curls or waves. This mixture in coat types easily turns on itself and creates knots. These knots are then difficult to disentangle as they quickly become tight and require tools with smaller spaced teeth.  In contrast, an Oodle with thick, smooth hairs, say a Cavalier cross Poodle (Cavoodle) that looks more like a Cavalier, will typically have a very easy coat to maintain and creates minimal knots. The same can be said for any Poodle cross that displays coat characteristics that are closer to that of a Poodle.

The fundamental takeaway here is that it’s very much a roll of the dice with your beloved future cross-breed, despite what some breeders would like to promise.

Misinformation

Unfortunately, Oodles are often misinterpreted as having easy to care for coats and being naturally “shaggy” in appearance. This puts Oodle owners in the wrong mindset for their general upkeep. A reputable breeder won’t make false claims to sell puppies. Most of the time there is a selection process and forms to fill out; even meet and greets before the breeder allows you to take a puppy. They’ll quite often explain exactly how to care for them and what to expect. Due to the high demand for Oodles, this has resulted in a rise in unethical breeding practices – and the spread of misinformation.

#1 They’re Hypoallergenic!
Unfortunately, no dog breed is hypoallergenic. Some breeders will claim their dogs are hypoallergenic because they are low shedding breeds, however, not all Oodles are low shedding like the Poodle. Many people are allergic to a dog’s skin. A dog that is low shedding doesn’t produce as much skin dander or release as many proteins from the follicle and skin that are typically released when hair sheds. Theoretically, this would mean a low shedding dog could be considered hypoallergenic. Humans can also be allergic to dog saliva and basically anything else on a dog, however, the two common allergens are skin cells and saliva.
In order for you to have a hypoallergenic dog, your individual dog or puppy needs to be tested to your unique profile. You may be allergic to one dog but not another. In some cases, you may develop allergies later on in life.

#2 They’re easy to maintain and can stay looking shaggy!
The misconception that Oodles are to remain shaggy is what lands a lot of owners in trouble. When owners prefer a “shaggy” look for their dogs, the assumption is that they don’t need to brush or comb them often to retain that look. The problem is, a shaggy looking dog is often already matted or on its way to becoming matted. I worry that unethical breeders have trained owners away from being able to visually notice knots and mats, and to instead interpret a matted coat as being “a cute, shaggy dog”. Any dog with long hair requires a decent amount of home maintenance. Any person with long hair will brush their hair once or twice a day at a minimum. Any dog with an inconsistent, constantly growing coat, requires the same attentiveness. Daily brushing and combing at home and a professional groom once a month.

The Secret Truth About Oodles 2
This is a very knotty dog. Look for Visible separation and thickened areas. No light, airy look to the coat.

#3 They don’t shed!
Dog’s mainly shed based on their genetic hair life cycle or Pillar Cycle. This is displayed in two ways: Mains Shedding and Mosaic Shedding. So, yes, every dog sheds. Poodles, Bichon Frise, Maltese Terriers etc. are all known as dogs that don’t shed, but in fact, these dogs do shed, they just have a very long growth cycle prior to a hair being shed. As Oodles are mixed with Poodles, they are often marketed as “non-shedding”. If an Oodle inherits more of the Poodle’s genes then they may seem to not shed but do, just at a slower rate.

The Secret Truth About Oodles 3

#4 They don’t need a haircut until they are a year old and then it’s only necessary 2-3 times per year.
This is a very dangerous statement. Puppy-hood is a critical time for development and socialisation skills. That means exposing your puppy safely to lots of sights and sounds to produce happy, confident adult dogs. If your puppy is not introduced to all aspects of grooming from a young age they risk becoming fearful and grooming becomes stressful for all involved in your dog’s care. Puppies should be professionally groomed every 2-4 weeks for the first year of their life – no matter what breed they are.
After this training and exposure time, you can alter their schedule to be a little more infrequent. As a general rule, a dog’s nails, paws and ears need to be checked and tended to monthly. If you prefer your dog to have long hair, go for it! But just remember that you are in charge of home maintenance. If you’re unable to keep your dog mat-free, they may need to be shaved short. Mats are uncomfortable and can cause a myriad of health conditions from infection, rashes and sores to bruising and impeding natural movement. To keep your dog’s hair long and healthy, it’s recommended to see a groomer for a bath and trim every 4-6 weeks to reduce split ends and improve hair health. Seeing a professional groomer will also make home maintenance that bit easier.

#5 Puppy Coat and any mention of Puppy Coat.
Many breeders often refer to “puppy coat” as “the time in which a puppy sheds its puppy coat and an adult coat grows in its place. The change in coat causes knots to form more easily” and so on. However, this is not a true representation of the change your puppy is going through.
As a puppy grows, its hair temporarily “stops” in the resting phase of the growth cycle. During this time, many owners feel their puppies’ hair is fairly manageable. Then this phase ends and their growth cycle stabilises resulting in a sudden growth of undercoat that wasn’t previously there or noticeable. This undercoat explosion makes brushing more difficult and if you’re not aware of the change it can result in a very matted puppy. This phenomenon is what is often called “puppy coat” or “puppy coat change”, but has nothing to do with puppy hair vs adult hair.

A Groomer’s Responsibility.

I see and work with all different types of Oodle’s every day. They are well and truly one of the most popular crossbreeds. Unfortunately, they’re quickly forming a dirty breeding industry and one of which many caring, professional groomers hate being a part of. I would advise any owner to pay close attention to a dog prior to purchasing it and to really do their homework. There is more to creating a successful, healthy dog than simply “putting two nice dogs together”. Despite paying big $$ for an Oodle, many exhibit poor conformation and deformities, underbites and overbites, poor coat structure and behavioural issues like a lack of confidence or fearfullness. 

It pains me that so many breeders are simply trying to turn a profit. 

Whilst there is no ANKC breed standard for any Poodle cross, from my experience, the closer the coat is to one breed, the easier it is to maintain due to its consistency. As for physical bone structure, you can refer to either contributing breeds for an idea of what the correct conformation should be.

The Secret Truth About Oodles 4
Every breed is different. Know what a healthy shape for your dog is!

It’s difficult to explain how to brush and comb your dog thoroughly. Videos may help but the best thing to do is to book some time with your dog’s groomer and have them show you how to do it methodically. It’s not as simple as you might think, but it’s also not rocket science. It’s all about knowing which areas to focus on and how to get to them.

Your Oodle needs a brush & comb when:

  • They’ve had a bath or gone swimming
  • They’re coat starts to appear “shaggy”
  • At the end of the day or every second day

Commonly missed areas:

  • Inside of the legs and under the paws
  • Tips of the ears and behind the ears
  • Base of the tail
  • Chest and belly
  • Chin

Whilst it would be quite difficult to keep your dog 100% knot-free at all times, if you know what you’re looking at you can avoid matting, excessive knotting and having your dog in pain.

The Secret Truth About Oodles 5
Obvious Knots and pelting beneath top layer
The Secret Truth About Oodles 6
Clumping, thick in sections

👈 Unhealthy

Vs

Healthy 👉

The Secret Truth About Oodles 7
Visible separation.
The Secret Truth About Oodles 8
Light curls.

Where to From Here?

Now that you’re aware of how your Oodle’s coat functions and how it’s formed, you’ll have a better idea of how to care for them and prevent ever needing the dreaded shave down. Here are some articles for further reading:

Your Dog’s Hair is Amazing! Why I don’t recommend short haircuts.
How to Choose the Right Hairstyle for Your Dog.
The Myth about “Puppy Coat”.
How Soon Should I bring my Puppy in for Grooming?

If you suspect your dog’s coat might not be in the best shape, get in touch with a professional groomer and have a consultation to assess their needs.

For more advice and to keep in touch you can follow us on Instagram and Facebook @organixdogspa 

How to Choose the Best Dog Groomer. 9

How to Choose the Best Dog Groomer.

I often receive new enquiries from owners who are terrified of trying a new groomer or going to one for the first time. This could stem from having a bad experience, or learning about it from others.

Not every dog groomer will suit every dog or owner.

I’m here to set the record straight and help prevent you from having a bad grooming experience by explaining what to look for in a groomer and some considerations to keep in mind.

When choosing the “wrong” groomer for you and your pup, the end result can be that your expectations haven’t been met. This can happen when your pup receives the wrong haircut, isn’t handled correctly, or the customer service isn’t quite what you thought it would be. 

None of this needs to happen if you know how to find the right groomer.

One way that you may have previously searched for a groomer is by scouring Facebook but rather than jumping on social media and reading about the bad experiences others have had, find some reliable information on the groomer before you conclude that grooming your dog by yourself is the only way.

You can do this by:
1. Checking their website information.
2. Reading online & website reviews.
3. Follow them on social media and see what they post about, maybe even engage with them.

Then, if you like what you see and your ethos line up, contact them directly and have a conversation.

What you need to know:

  • Location
  • Accessible Facilities
  • Service Inclusions
  • Products
  • Training Methods
  • Knowledge
  • Availability
  • Cost

Wow! What an exhaustive list! Actually, it’s not. These are very basic things that you might need to look for in a groomer but it’s certainly not exhaustive.

LOCATION

The first thing I would recommend including in your search is location. Unfortunately, that amazing groomer you follow on Instagram might be interstate or even in another country! Begin by narrowing your search down to areas that you want to or can visit, and then expand your search a little further if you can’t find what you’re looking for. You might need to travel further for what you want, but if it’s just not physically possible, it’s best not to include those areas in your search to avoid disappointment.

ACCESSIBLE FACILITIES

This might sound really silly, but, if you have a REALLY large Giant Breed Dog, you and the groomer will need to know if they have the facilities to physically handle your dog.

Things like:

  • A ramp or stairs
  • A large enough bath or grooming table
  • Appropriate muzzles or restraints
  • Bedding, crates, housing
  • Do they have grass?
  • Do they offer treats? Is my dog allergic to their treats?
  • How many groomers are on hand?

There are so many considerations to think about when it comes to the actual facilities a groomer has access to.

Write a list of what you think your dog needs or even better, explain a little bit about your dog to the groomer. Most dogs don’t need any special requirements but if you feel they might then talk about it.

SERVICE INCLUSIONS

You send in a dirty dog and pick up a clean dog but don’t underestimate how much effort is required in grooming your dog. Therefore, I’d encourage you to find out what’s included in the service and what isn’t.

Remember, if you’re enquiring with a professional, expect them to advise what your dog may need based on your concerns and what your dog is presenting with. Education and information is constantly evolving so the service you used to get, might not be what’s required anymore.

Ask about what you think your dog needs and allow the groomer to explain how they can help you.

PRODUCTS

Technically, this should go along with service inclusions but I feel it’s important enough to have its own paragraph. Your dog’s skin is thinner than yours and therefore more delicate. So you would assume that anything labelled “for dogs” takes that into consideration. Unfortunately, dog cosmetic products are not regulated.This industry doesn’t even require mandatory labelling. A good dog groomer will not use any products that aren’t adequately labelled as any products used on the skin will affect the skin in some way. If the effect on the skin is negative, it’s important to know what ingredients were used to help establish the best course of action.

You don’t need to understand ingredients or particular brands but you should explain to the groomer anything you or previous groomers have noticed in the past. This will help the groomer to determine the right products for your dog. If you’ve never noticed anything, a knowledgeable groomer will identify the correct products to use based on the individual in front of them.

TRAINING METHODS

Your groomer’s job is NOT to train your dog. However, your job IS to train your dog. That being said, you have to remember that every person who communicates with your dog is inadvertently involved in their training. Therefore, while your groomer probably won’t be attempting to train your dog to sit and stay, every interaction that’s necessary for grooming will be “taught” to them. Your dog needs to learn to sit still, allow paw holding and 100 other things. If your groomer uses methods you don’t agree with or methods you don’t use, this can then become confusing for your dog.

The other side of this is what your dog might NEED. Do you have an aggressive dog? Is your dog really, really nervous? You need to communicate that with a potential groomer and see how they can or can’t help. Not every groomer is able to, or wants to work with aggressive dogs, and that’s okay – groomers shouldn’t have to go to work and be bitten.

KNOWLEDGE

Did you know there are over 200 breeds of dog that are recognised by the ANKC? And that does not include the vast array of commonly mixed breeds. While many breeds often follow similar haircut patterns, it’s quite common for a groomer to have never groomed or met a particular dog breed. This doesn’t make a groomer unknowledgeable. Groomers have many breed manuals that they can use to correctly groom a breed they’ve never groomed before, similarly to how a mechanic can follow a particular vehicle’s service manual if they aren’t familiar with that type of car.

Qualifications aren’t everything. What I mean by knowledgeable, is someone who has a wide range of skills. Choose a groomer with a foundation of qualifications coupled with experience and understanding about your dog’s breed and its coat.

If your dog is particularly difficult to handle, you might want to find out if a groomer has a background in dog training. If your dog has a lot of medical issues, you might want a dog groomer who has a background in Veterinary Services and so on. Whether their list of merits is long or short, you need to make sure that they are in line with what you want and need.

Now that you’ve found the best groomer for you and your dog, there are two other important factors to consider.

AVAILABILITY

It is very common for a groomer to be booked out months in advance. It’s even more common for groomers to only consider accepting clients who follow a particular appointment frequency. This is due to the level of care each dog needs to receive rather than locking you in for consistent work. Having regular appointments with your chosen groomer is also the best way to secure your dog’s future grooming and ensure that they are kept in good condition and health.

If you are not able to do this, you may need to find 2-3 suitable groomers and see if you are able to bounce between them. I generally don’t recommend this method because dogs are habitual learners meaning it can be hard for some individuals to cope with the constant changes, but if this is the only method that will work for you, just ensure the groomers are on the same page.

If you work odd hours or struggle to find the time to do anything, be sure to check their trading hours and see whether you’re able to make an appointment at a suitable time for you.

Lastly, how does drop off and pick up work? Some groomers have a window for drop off and a window for pick up and others follow specific drop off and pick up times. If you work 7 days it might be more suitable to find a groomer that allows for early drop off and late or after work pick ups.

PRICING

All specialist services are priced differently. Like most industries, you generally get what you pay for, so be sure to follow your new criteria and determine whether the groomer has the right experience, knowledge, facilities and understanding to accommodate your pup. This will give you a better understanding about what you’re getting for your dollar.
When comparing groomers, remember they are individuals too and at the end of the day, you’re investing in the individual service provider too.

WHAT NOW?

Not every dog groomer will suit every dog. And that’s okay. Now that you have an understanding of what considerations you may like or need, you can begin to make informed choices. There are so many suitable groomers out there just waiting for you to find them.

Are you looking for a wellness retreat where your dog can enjoy being groomed and pampered in a relaxing space? Then sign up to our wait list for your chance to experience this and more, right here in Wyndham Vale.

The myth about "Puppy Coat". Is it real? 10

The myth about “Puppy Coat”. Is it real?

It’s quite common to hear groomers, breeders and dog owners talking about “Puppy Coat”. Supposedly, it refers to a transition stage between puppy hair to adult hair. It’s often more difficult to manage and a lot of dog owners will use this theory as an excuse for why their pup has become so matted. But is there such a thing as “Puppy Coat?”.

THE MYTH

At an early age, puppies can go through a sort of excessive growth phase where most of their hair follicles are in the growth (anagen) phase for a very long time. This means that most of their hair is not shedding, it’s just growing. IF a puppy is going through this type of coat phase they can begin to grow a significant amount of undercoat as the phase lasts roughly 4-5 months and sometimes longer.
As the puppy develops a large amount of undercoat without shedding any or most of it, brushing and drying becomes more difficult. The texture of “undercoat” is far more fine and flexible than their primary coat, this is what causes the grooming difficulties associated with “Puppy Coat”. Fine, flexible hair is easier to knot, easier to break, more likely to matt and more difficult to brush through and keep disentangled.

Not all puppies will have a dramatic undercoat growth phase as explained above. Often, you would never notice that your puppy has undergone an extensive growth phase.

SO, IS IT REAL?

Not really. It’s certainly not a transitional stage between “puppy hair” and “adult hair”. Referring to this phenomenon as “Puppy Coat” implies that every puppy goes through this change and that during the early months of your pups life it’s inevitable that you will struggle to tame their coat but I don’t believe this to be true.
You can absolutely get through this growth phase without struggling and as I mentioned before, YOUR puppy might not even have any noticeable changes. It’s important to be aware of the possible changes your pup will go through but it’s more important to remember that this, in particular, is determined by your individual pups genetics, breed, lifestyle, current grooming procedure, health and more.

If you have a young puppy and you are really struggling with knots and/or matting, speak with a groomer for advice on grooming. That’s literally what were here for!

SIDE MYTH

Have you heard that “you shouldn’t have your puppies hair trimmed/cut/clipped until they are “x” months old?” Also, a myth. It’s super important that you expose your puppy to all the sensations of grooming as soon as it is safe to do so. (eg.: fully vaccinated.) In breeds that require haircuts, trimming your puppies hair will NOT affect the growth or texture.
In breeds that DO NOT require haircuts, obviously, ignore the above. Most of the time, your puppies first grooming sessions will only involve a bath, dry and sanitary trim anyway.

3 Reasons you should never wash a knotty dog. 11

3 Reasons you should never wash a knotty dog.

  1. Existing knots may tighten!
  2. Dirt & oil may become trapped! (Clogged follicles)
  3. You could create more knots!

If your dog’s coat contains a multitude of knots and/or matting, dirt and sebum can build up within the knots. This build-up of hair, dirt and sebum can cause “clogged follicles” which leads to skin irritation, dandruff, possible infection and, depending on the thickness of the build-up, it can prevent water and products from penetrating the coat.

When you wash a dog in this type of condition, even with good intentions, you will be unable to properly cleanse the skin and hair within the knotted areas. As the hair dries, either naturally or by using a hair drier, the hair constricts and tightens.
These knots are then much harder to remove. They are now more clogged with this build-up, tighter and the surface of the hair will be rougher as it was not able to be cleansed and conditioned. The skin beneath the dirt/hair/sebum build-up is unable to breathe, becomes itchy and causes irritation. This is aside from the fact that matting is painful and can pull on the skin restricting blood flow etc.

So what should you do with a very knotty dog?

Ideally, you would want to brush them out before a bath using a conditioning spray or even just a spray bottle with plain water. Hydrating the hair prior to brushing will assist in getting out the knots as the skin and hair are more supple and have more elasticity in order to handle that type of aggression.

Once the knots are out, the water and shampoo (conditioner, other products etc.) are better able to penetrate the coat. You do not need to remove ALL knots but you do need to remove any tight knots. This takes a bit of practice to figure out which knots you can leave and which you’ll need to remove so as a general rule – “remove all knots prior to bathing”.

3 Reasons you should never wash a knotty dog. 12

Once brushed and bathed, you’ll find any smaller or less severe knots are much easier to brush out, you were able to get a nicer finish and the skin will be more thoroughly cleansed plus, of course, the skin and coat will be much healthier and there is less chance of irritation.

This is the correct method of bathing to respect your dogs anatomy and the structure of the hair.

How to Choose the Right Haircut for your Dog. 13

How to Choose the Right Haircut for your Dog.

Your dogs hair can be overwhelming. I’m sure on several occasions you’ve wanted to say to your groomer “just shave it all off!” because you feel it will be easier for you to maintain. There’s no brushing to be done and your dog is inside 99.99% of the time anyway.
What if I told you that completely shaving your dog short was only easier for you? It did not serve your dog any purpose, in fact in some cases, it would make their life more difficult. Would you still request they be shaved?
Lets take a look at what actually happens when your dogs hair is cut and what questions to think about when choosing a hairstyle.

Firstly, let’s quickly speak about how amazing your dog’s hair is!
1. It allows your dog to regulate their body temperature. (When properly maintained.)
2. It protects them from the environment. Think bug bites and bumps & scuffs.
3. It protects them from sunburn or becoming excessively hot.

And here’s why you should never shave your dog if they have a double coat.

I bet you’re thinking, “but what about short haired dogs? It’s not like we glue hair back on them for protection?”.
While that’s true, the act of shaving hair is different to the coat of a short haired dog (SHD).

How to Choose the Right Haircut for your Dog. 14

When you shave a long haired dog very short, you affect the normal balance of hair. Dog’s have 3 different types of hair: Primary Hair, Primary Lateral Hair and Secondary Hair/Undercoat. They work together to distribute themselves around the dogs body in order to properly function. Interfering with this harmony without understanding the roles they play can lead to a hot and matted (knotted) dog. A SHD’s coat already contains the right balance of hair, shaving their coats to be even shorter would create the same negative affects that come with shaving a long haired dog. Learn more about your dogs coat here.

Now that the scientific part is out of the way, here are some things to consider before choosing a hairstyle.

  1. How much maintenance do I want to do?
  2. What is my dog’s lifestyle like?
  3. Does my dog spend most of their time inside or outside?
  4. What is their age? Do they have any medical conditions?

How much maintenance do I want to do?
If you’re not able to brush your dog as much as they need in order to maintain their coat then you can certainly opt for a low maintenance haircut. This does not mean NO maintenance. A style that doesn’t require brushing is generally too short to be comfortable for the dog. You can do something like 10mm-13mm all over and have their face, ears and tail trimmed short. This style requires very little brushing and is a nice easy length for at home bathing.

What is my dog’s current lifestyle like?
Knowing how your dog spends their time (either by their choice or yours) is really helpful in determining a hairstyle. I recently gave a poodle who was going in for an operation a “short all over” cut so that her owners didn’t need to bother her with brushing while she was recovering. This was a style choice based on her current lifestyle. She normally has a beautiful poodle cut. (If I do say so myself!) The key word here is “current”, giving your dog the haircut they’ve always had because they’ve always had it, doesn’t help anyone. If your pup spends a lot of time in the water I often recommend leg feathering be trimmed back to prevent debris getting caught while swimming and to make post swim grooming easier.

How to Choose the Right Haircut for your Dog. 15

Does my dog spend most of their time inside or outside?
A dog that sheds a lot, yet basically lives inside, would benefit from a monthly bath to prevent their shedding from happening around the house. If the same dog spent most or all of their time outside they would be just as comfortable with a weekly brush. If you had a Maltese Terrier type dog and you weren’t able to maintain their coat for whatever reason, you would find a happy balance of hair that you can maintain that still provides protection for your dog when outside. In this case, whether the dog were indoors or outdoors would not matter as in this example the owner is unable to manage the Maltese’s long coat either way.

What is their age? Do they have any medical conditions?
If you’ve noticed that a lot of older dogs haircuts tend to get a bit dodgy or really short, that’s because the groomer and owner have decided to care for the dogs coat based on their current physical condition rather than trying to get the best looking haircut. Which is exactly the right thing to do.  💚 
If your dog is struggling with arthritis in their back legs your groomer may choose to trim them so your dog doesn’t have to bend in a way that hurts them. This could mean them having uneven hair but it would be far more comfortable for them. If your dog were prone to hot spots in a particular area your groomer could shave a small section of hair to help keep the area dry.
I often, if not always, shave the inside of droopy-long eared dogs such as Cavaliers and Cocker Spaniels to help prevent ear infections. Shaving the inside helps improve airflow and drying capabilities as well as makes it easier to clean them in between grooming.

If you’re wondering if the weather should be impacting your decision at all, you must be new here. I don’t use temperature (literally at all) when advising a haircut because it rarely makes a difference to my decision, considering your dog has the part of thermoregulation covered.

Long gone are the days where we let our dogs become over grown and matted balls of mess during winter and shorn sheep during summer. We now know better.

To book a consultation or appointment at Organix Dog Spa, click here!

Your dog's hair is amazing. 16

Your dog’s hair is amazing.

I know, I know. Your dogs hair is falling out all over the place, what could possibly be so amazing about it?!
Well, I’m here to convince you of your dogs unique abilities that are only possible because of their hair.

As we continue to share our homes with more and more animals, we must realise that each animal (or pet) has their own uniqueness. They may have great noses, they may climb nearly vertical surface, maybe, they can fly. But, If you’re not willing to embrace your chosen pets abilities then I have to say that pet is not for you.

“I myself (at current) have a dog, 2 parrots, a Guinea Pig and a tropical fish tank. Each have their own needs and I respect that of them. My parrots rule the sky in my house, the Guinea Pig rules the fridge (they have the most veracious appetites!), my dog is in charge of walks and my fish keep us all as close to serene as possible. I, on the other hand, have the incredibly joyous task of caring for them all in whichever way is required of their species.”

Lydia, Organix Dog Spa

Our dogs are no different. They too deserve to be respected for what they are. Whether or not that is convenient for you.

YOUR DOG’S AMAZING COAT
All dogs hold the ability to thermoregulate their bodies thanks to the presence of three different types of hair.

  1. Primary Hair
  2. Primary Lateral Hair
  3. Secondary Hair

Let’s work backwards for a moment.

SECONDARY HAIR
This hair is soft, fluffy and thin. It is responsible for providing warmth to your dog. This hair is shed seasonally (usually) to provide your dog with the exact amount of warmth that they require.

PRIMARY LATERAL HAIR
This hair is thicker than Secondary Hair and grows in a slightly different direction. It’s job is to distribute the Secondary Coat evenly around your dog.

PRIMARY HAIR
This is your dogs waterproof coating. It is thicker and longer than the previous two hair types. It’s job is to protect the dogs body for the environment. If you’ve ever wondered why it takes so long to wet your dogs coat when washing them, it is because their Primary hairs are working properly via waterproofing. This is also possible thanks to a bit of sebum production – thanks skin  😜 

Although, all dogs have these three hairs on their body, some breeds and individuals contain different amounts of each. For example, Shih Tzu’s have more Secondary Hairs than that of a Maltese Terrier thus giving them the appearance of having a thinner coat. A German Shepherd has a lot of Secondary Hair which is why their seasonal sheds are substantial in comparison to say a Pointer.

The most common reason I am given when owners request their dog be shaved is that:
1. They are hot/It’s getting hot
2. They don’t want to deal with the amount of hair their dog has. (Brushing, washing, dirty etc.)

For reason number one.
Yes, they probably are hot. When it’s 30°c I’m hot too. Shaving your dog will technically be making them hotter. They will temporarily feel cooler however, after a few days their skin will return to its normal temperature and they will have no protection from the sun. A far better way to keep them cool is to keep their coat maintained and allow it to do its job. And provide water and shade, of course.

…when my parrots shed their feathers, the most minute breeze sends what seems like thousands of tiny dust particles floating through the house. So, yes, cleaning daily to two times a day is a must. I’d call that love.”

Lydia, Organix Dog Spa

For reason number two.
You have this amazing creature that’s health and well-being depend on what you feel like doing with them at any given day or time. That, to me, is a huge responsibility. One that I don’t take lightly. Respect your dog and learn what they require to be happy. If that means daily brushing, then brush them. If that means they need the more expensive dog food, then feed them the best.

While there are some perfectly valid reasons for selecting a very short haircut, now that you are aware of the function of your dogs coat, would you still insist on shaving them short?

Need help choosing a new hair cut for your dog? Have questions? Contact us.

Do You Need to Shave Your Dog in Summer? 17

Do You Need to Shave Your Dog in Summer?

If I had a dollar for every time someone said that they needed to have their dog clipped short for the summer, I would be very well off. Like, my own helicopter, well off. 🚁 The idea that a dog with more hair than other dogs means they are hotter, is incorrect*. An animal with more hair can keep themselves warmer than an animal without, though this does not mean they are unable to keep themselves cool, subsequently, requiring hair to be removed or to be shaved. In fact, they have their own mechanisms for keeping cool naturally and shaving them prevents this system from working.

There are a few reasons why hair may need to be cut shorter on a dog, none of which have anything to do with temperature.

Why would pup NEED a hair cut?

Do You Need to Shave Your Dog in Summer? 18
Glorious Poodle Mane. Courtesy of the ANKC
  1. Their hair grows constantly.
    Breeds like Poodles, Yorkies and Maltese Terriers all have coats that grow constantly. They appear to shed less as their hair follicles have a longer life cycle than other breeds, meaning each strand stays “alive” or “attached” for longer. These dogs could become mini woolly mammoths if not trimmed. Think about how big a Poodles top knot can get!
  2. Their hair has become matted.
    Matted hair often needs to be shaved off if they are especially tight to the skin. Once shaved off their skin can breath and the hair has a chance to regrow healthily. Shaving off any mats creates a clean canvas for you to work on. Brushing out a matted coat can be painful for pup and is often time consuming and difficult.
  3. For cleanliness and hygiene reasons.
    If your dog grows hair around their bottom and/or private areas, these can be shaved short to prevent infection and make bathing at home easier. I’d personally say this would be a must for pups that sleep in your bed! And If your dog’s eyes ‘leak’ or ‘cry’ a lot, the hair between their eyes can end up staying wet and cause an eye infection as the bacteria sits in the corners of their eyes so this hair can also be trimmed away.

Shaving your dog will prevent/limit shedding?
Sorry, not true! It often seems that way because during a groom, whether they are being shaved or not, a lot of loose hair is removed. Be that from brushing or from bathing. If your dog is shaved, the hair that is shed after this time is shorter (or smaller) and the quantity is reduced as so much hair has already been removed. This can give the appearance of a dog that sheds less. The same amount of hair, however, would be shed from the dog if they were not shaved – the hairs would just be longer and therefore, more visible at home.

Lydia Scarpari, Guest Wellness Keeper, Organix Dog Spa

Signs Pup is Hot
It is completely normal for your dog to Pant, lay in the shade, lay in some water, sit in a cooler position eg: lay on their side when they usually lay curled up, drink extra water and have sweaty paws. If it is hot, pup IS going to act hot. I can just about guarantee that your pup will exhibit these signs with or without being shaved. However, it IS possible for pup to be TOO hot to the point of overheating – just like we can. Young puppies, elderly and sick are more susceptible – just like we are. Certain breeds are also more susceptible, like Brachycephalic (short-nosed) breeds.

Signs pup has Heatstroke/Overheating
Heavy Panting & Raspy Breathing
Bright Red Gums
Stumbling & Falling Down – Seeming drowsy or dizzy

Prevention is Best & Common Sense is Key
Plenty of shade, freshwater & a cool place to lay down are not only things pup should have access to daily, but are all things that will help prevent Heatstroke. Use your common sense, if it’s an unusually hot day, try and keep pup inside. Where this isn’t possible, you can offer a shallow pool for pup to wade in if they like water or you can try some store-bought cooling options like cooling mats or gel mats.
You should also ensure pup has places to go that haven’t been purposely cooled. For example, don’t put ice packs under all of pups beds or they won’t be able to escape them.
Know your pup, what do they naturally like to do to keep cool? If they’re the type of pup to splay out on the tiles then a cooling mat or ice packs might be a good option. If they have a tendency to dip their paws on the water bowl then a kiddie pool or a few extra buckets of water would be ideal.

A lot of people try to offer unnatural cooling options to their dogs and wonder why they don’t want to use them. I’ve always found it easier to work with their instincts and find an option that suits what they already and naturally try to do.

Lydia Scarpari, Guest Wellness Keeper, Organix Dog Spa

Recommendations

If you suspect your dog is feeling hotter than usual, but, not to the point of heatstroke, of course. Give them a bath and a really good brush – but don’t go crazy either. Excessive brushing can damage their coat, remove live hair and/or scratch their skin. You want to get all the LOOSE hair out. This will maximize your dogs natural cooling ability. Too much undercoat laying around, sitting on your dogs skin is what increases body temperature.
Shaving your dog exposes their skin directly to the suns rays making it harder for them to keep cool and increases your dog’s chances of sunburn. It’s a bit like taking the roof off your house. Without hair, your pup won’t have anything to block the suns rays.

The Organix Method of De-Shedding – Hydrate & Release
Some groomers may advise you to have your dog “de-shed” for summer, in theory, an excellent choice. In practice, it can be done via excessive brushing which I would highly advise against. It’s important to speak with your groomer and find out what’s involved in their De-Shedding process and decide whether or not it’s right for your dog.
The Organix Method involves a deep hydration treatment (natural/organic/effective) that conditions the dogs skin and coat. A coat that is properly conditioned allows loose hair to basically slide out so there is no need for excessive brushing or damaging the coat. A dry coat traps hair and creates knots. Properly hydrated skin also allows for healthy hair to grow back through.

*Assuming the dog’s coat is in good condition. A poor coat with lots of loose undercoat can affect airflow and cause pup to become hotter than they should be.

For more info on Dog Heatstroke

How Soon Should I Bring My Puppy in for Grooming? 19

How Soon Should I Bring My Puppy in for Grooming?

I actually get asked this questions quite a lot! You might be worried they’re too young or you’ve heard that their coat (hair) might not be ready for a haircut or your pups breeder has already given you an indication of what age they should be for their first groom.

Don’t fret, the answer is simple if you think about it.
You have this beautiful little creature looking up to you for guidance. Everything they learn from the moment you get them, will be taught by you. Whether you mean to or not. Since your puppy will need some form of grooming throughout their whole life, even if it’s just a nail trim performed at the vet clinic, they still need to learn to be comfortable. It’s quite upsetting to see a dog so absolutely terrified at something as miniscule as a nail trim.

“Something that is done frequently, is done easily and well.” – Lydia, Organix Dog Spa

Not sue if I made that quote up but I’ll take the credit for it. If your puppy chews your chair legs today, I can guarantee the next day they’ll be much better at it, and so on. When you have a young puppy or an adult dog that is not used to something, they need to do more of that thing in order to get better at dealing with it. Or in the case of the chair leg, they need to be discouraged before they get better at it.

THE ANSWER.
As soon as your puppy is fully vaccinated (2 weeks after their final vaccination) they should see a groomer for an introductory groom. In my opinion, a puppies first groom should never be a full haircut and it should never push them past their comfort zone. There are things that need to be done that are scary for puppies and while they do need to get through those fears, they shouldn’t have to deal with them all at once.

Depending on the pup, an introductory groom could be a sanitary trim and tidy or just a bath and dry. It depends on what they are comfortable with and how quickly they are able to get over their fears. I have, on the odd occasion, completed a full haircut on a puppy so it really does just depend on your particular puppy.

SUPER IMPORTANT.
It is crucial to your puppies development that they see a groomer frequently while they’re still young and learning. If you wait too long in between grooms they will have forgotten what’s expected – or worse, they may not have been able to get over their fears and their fearfulness has become worse. The latter has happened too many times and is really unnecessary. If you’ve found a groomer that is willing to work with your puppy, you should take them up on the offer and allow them to teach your puppy that grooming is great so that they are happy to be groomed. The last thing we want is a dog who hates grooming, right?

How Soon Should I Bring My Puppy in for Grooming? 20

ABSOLUTE MYTH.
I hope you haven’t heard this one, but if you have, I’m terribly sorry for you and your puppy.
The myth goes “you should wait until your puppy is a year old before having their first groom because of [insert any stupid reason].”
This is a very dangerous statement. Why dangerous? Can you imagine a puppy that has never heard clippers or a drier before? A puppy that doesn’t know how to sit still while scissors are being used close to their eyes? This is a recipe for disaster! The more calm your puppy or dog is, the safer the groom and the better the result will be.

CONCLUSION.
Bring your puppy to a groomer who is happy to work slowly through the grooming stages, as soon as it is safe to do so. Failure to allow your puppy to be desensitized to grooming may result in a terrified and/or stressed adult dog later in life. I know that sounds super dramatic, but it’s absolutely not.

ANOTHER TIP.
I had noticed that my puppy clients were really chill for their first 2 visits and then suddenly hated the fact that their owners had left them alone with me when they were otherwise fine in the past. You need to give your puppy some alone time and some space even if you are home a lot. This can help them gain confidence and independence in situations that call for it such as, visiting the groomers or the vets – or really, for when you have to go to work. You don’t want your puppy crying for you all day.

What You Need to Know About Your Dog's Anal Glands. 21

What You Need to Know About Your Dog’s Anal Glands.

Disclaimer: If you don’t like talking about poop, exit this article right now! 😅 If you think your pup might have an anal gland issue then stuck it up and read on!

The issue with expressing anal glands for me comes with the lack of understanding. I find that many believe it’s just a normal occurrence. Something that the groomer can deal with at each appointment. Yes, having them expressed provides a moment of relief, but, are we causing more harm than good?

What are Anal Glands?
Anal glands are the two odorous sacks beside your dogs bottom. There are mixed theories within the scientific community for the glands purpose. Some say they are an extra tool for communication and provide additional scent to a dog’s markings, others believe they assist with lubricating the poop. 💩
If you’re wondering, “I’ve never noticed them before? I don’t think my dog has those!” then good! Because if you can’t see them externally then it means your pup (most likely) doesn’t have enlarged, swollen or inflamed glands. Kudos to you and your pup.

Signs there’s a problem:

  • Their bottom is swollen and/or red
  • They may lick their bottom and scoot a lot
  • They may be constipated
  • If the glands are full they may leak from their bottom
  • Generally uncomfortable and painful around their rear
What You Need to Know About Your Dog's Anal Glands. 22

What should I do if there’s a problem?
If the issue has arisen suddenly, think about whether or not anything has changed recently. Mostly, diet and exercise-related. Have you changed their food? Did they eat something they shouldn’t? Have they eaten a lot of one thing recently? Have they been sleeping more often? Have you not been able to walk them lately?
Both, lack of exercise and poor diet can affect the digestive system and cause upset. Try and return both of these areas back to normal and see if anything changes.

If the issue has been going on for a long time, try and improve your dog’s diet, obesity is one possible cause of anal gland issues, and think, truthfully, about whether or not they are receiving enough exercise. Dog’s do need lots of rest, but 1-2 walks per week is certainly not enough exercise. Think about the level of exercise they’re getting on a daily basis. Anyway, that’s a whole other story.

When in doubt, visit a VETERINARIAN first! You must have your pups anal glands inspected and diagnosed by a Vet. Your groomer may be able to assist afterwards under Vet direction, but you should never just assume that having your pups Anal Glands expressed will solve the issue.

“Anal Gland expression is a Band-Aid fix. Not a cure.”

Lydia – Organix Dog Spa

The issue with anal gland expression.
It’s not NORMAL for your dog to have Anal Gland issues. Your dog’s bottom should not be swollen, infected, painful and leaking poop. This should not be a regular occurrence. A once-off expression, maybe. But It should certainly not need to be done at every grooming appointment. If your dog requires regular anal gland expression, there’s most likely an underlying medical reason for it. Sometimes the fix can be as easy as a diet change and regular exercise, but, sometimes it’s more serious than that. Your dog doesn’t need to live with consistently impacted and painful anal glands. Taking them to the groomers to have them expressed is not a resolution to the problem, it’s just a Band-Aid fix. It masks the real issue.

If your dog is having some issues with their anal glands, it’s imperative that they see a vet and have the issue diagnosed and treated. It can turn into a serious medical problem. Not enough groomers are explaining the implications of regular anal gland expression and the importance of having them seen by a vet. And no one should ever attempt to express anal glands which are already working perfectly on their own!

Help! My Dog has Dandruff! 23

Help! My Dog has Dandruff!

In my experience as a Dog Groomer, the cause of Doggy Dandruff is sometimes a really simple fix. Of course, there are situations where dandruff requires medical attention, but, you can certainly look into a few things before using any drastic measures – and don’t be mistaken, it is not normal, your dog should not have dandruff and it should be addressed in some way.

What is Doggy Dandruff?
Dandruff is characterized as little white flakes found on your dogs skin & coat. You can often see the flakes exacerbate in areas which are itched/scratched more frequently such as, around the collar, along their back and towards the base of the tail.

What causes Doggy Dandruff?
There are of course medical reasons which can cause dandruff, these need to be seen and diagnosed by a vet and include things like Seborrhea and Greasy Seborrhea as well as mites. But, there are also a bunch of other causes which are reasonably easy to fix or we can at least provide relief for whilst undergoing vet help.

  1. Failure to adequately rinse your pup.
    Believe it or not, this is very common. When you bathe your dog at home, you may be “winging it” with whatever utensils you have a home. Be that a bucket or a garden hose. In some cases this can make it quite hard to get the job done and you can end up not rinsing thoroughly enough. When shampoo sits on the skins surface, it makes it hard for the skin to breath (this is a totally non-technical explanation mind you) and shed as it should. This can make your pup itchy in an effort to get the shampoo off their skin.
    Solution: Give your pup another bath, massage the shampoo in really well and then rinse. When you think you’ve rinsed enough. Rinse again.
    This brings us to cause number 2.
  2. Improper Shampoo.
    That is, improper for your pup or improper for all pups. Either way, both are bad! Many shampoo companies fail to label their products and that’s simply because there is nothing that says they HAVE to. Pretty, terrible right?
    I always say, “If I don’t know what’s in it, I’m not using it.” If there’s no ingredients written on the back, you can’t confirm if your dog already has allergies to anything in the bottle and you can’t ensure it is safe to your standards. Just because it says “natural”, “organic” or “gentle”. Doesn’t mean that it is any of those things.
    Typically, poor ingredients cause a bit of itching and some dandruff which may subside after a few days or after they’ve been in the rain, beach or pool and had it rinsed off. But, terrible ingredients can cause dry skin. Dry skin is a common cause of skin conditions as it exposes the skin and makes it vulnerable to absorbing pathogens & toxins. Healthy skin creates a strong barrier for deflecting these irritants. If you’re washing your pup in shampoo that is causing dry skin, you could also be creating an environment for other more serious conditions.
    Solution: Switch to a hydrating shampoo with no nasty ingredients. Your dog will need the extra moisture to help re-build the skin barrier and if improper shampoo is the culprit, you should notice a difference after one wash and their skin should gradually improve with fortnightly or monthly washes. Speak to a pet professional if you’re unsure.
  3. Nutrient poor diet.
    The saying “you are what you eat” has never been more true. As we look into our bodies health, more and more research is leading back to that statement. Vitamin & nutrient deficiencies can lead to health issues, such as, poor skin and coat. Don’t under estimate your pups skin, it’s an essential organ!
    For example, Omega 3&6 fatty acids help to form a waterproof barrier, promote healthy skin growth and prevent dry skin.
    I’m not saying to go and add a bunch of these nutrients to your dogs diet. You should look at your dog’s diet as a whole. A vitamin supplement for skin health might be all your pup needs but more often than not, they will still require a total diet overhaul. Basically, don’t feed a poor diet and then add 16 other vitamins to their bowl in the hopes that their health will improve, because you can’t beat fresh food.
    Solution: Research your dogs food whether it’s dry food, wet food, raw food or left overs and see if you can find a link. If you’re not sure how, ask a knowledgeable pet professional. I say knowledgeable because not every Vet is well versed it pet nutrition.
    When in doubt, I always recommend Meals for Mutts dry food as a healthy conventional dog diet.
  4. Food allergy or intolerance or environmental allergy.
    There are heaps of symptoms associated with allergies and intolerances but if it’s been a part of your dogs life for long enough they generally start to develop quite a few from the list. If your dog is experiencing one or two of these symptoms simultaneously, they will most likely have an allergy and should be seen by a vet.
  1. Flakey skin
  2. Constant scratching
  3. Chewing or biting at certain areas
  4. Dry skin
  5. Hair loss
  6. Rashes
  7. Ear Infections (Otitis)
  8. Nausea
    And so on…

A vet can help you determine the cause and prescribe a treatment but the only way to avoid the symptoms for good is to avoid the allergen. That being said, If your pup has an allergy to grass, for example, there are things you can do to help lessen or soothe the symptoms but you may not be able to avoid grass altogether.
Solution: obviously, speak with a vet. However, I do think the solutions are sometimes excessive. Changing their diet, shampoo, adding a supplement and finding a groomer who can assist product wise are easy enough changes to begin your pups recovery. If none of these things work on their own, definitely, incorporate a medical treatment plan.

When using harsh vet prescribed washes and rinses, always follow up treatment with a high quality, moisture intense product to prevent dry skin. If the issue has healed and pup is left with dry skin, you may find the condition will come back.

Lydia – Organix Dog Spa

As you can see, some skin conditions are pretty easily fixed. The most difficult being an allergy. It’s important to understand you and your pup are not alone. There are options that you can do yourself and there are options that require some assistance, but, there ARE options.

At Organix Dog Spa, I look after a lot of dogs with skin conditions. The most common skin condition I alleviate is dandruff and itching. More often than not it is fixed with adding moisture and nutrients back into the skin. Be that by use of our Mud Treatments or Herbal Pastes, depending on the dog.

If your pup is suffering from a skin condition, send us a message on social media and see how we can help you.
You can also take a look through our Treatments here.

*This article is opinion based. As I am not a qualified veterinarian, I am not offering medical advice.