Tag: Grooming

How to Prepare For a Visit to the Groomers 1

How to Prepare For a Visit to the Groomers

A dog groomers job is not just to “Style & Cut Hair” (You Don’t Mess With The Zohan Movie Quote). It’s also about making the dog feel comfortable and keeping their skin and coat healthy. If the dog is comfortable it makes the groomer’s job a lot easier!

But do you know who else has a say in how a dog feels when it comes into the grooming salon? It’s yours! That’s right, you too can help ensure your dog is ready for its pamper ‘sesh’ by following these easy practices that your dog and groomer will love you for!

Firstly, tell yourself: “My dog, Mr. McFluffigans, Is going to have the best time ever at the groomers today!”. Don’t laugh! Your dog feeds off your energy, so even though your dog might usually be timid, doesn’t take well to strangers/new groomers and is also really sensitive to loud noises. Go in there with YOUR tail high and your dog will feel the positive energy from you and feel confident about what he/she is walking in to!

2. Tire Him Out!
But not too much… A super excitable dog will benefit from a good walk, run or play to lose some excess energy. A groomer will be using scissors and clipper blades that are already dangerous enough without Fido jumping around all over the place. For the benefit of your dog and the groomer, don’t bring them in when they’re full of energy. We’re trying to create a relaxed and comfortable environment for your dog to hopefully enjoy being pampered.

3. Don’t Make a Fuss!
This comes back to your energy again. Even if your dog is good with other people and doesn’t mind you leaving them; yelling and talking in high pitched noises before or as your leaving – “Bye Fluffigan! Bye Baby!..Good Boy!..Yes You Are!” – Will only upset them once you close the door.

Keep calm and walk away – “no touch, no talk, no eye contact.” – Cesar Millan

4. From a puppy, get your dog comfortable having their whole body handled and bring them into the groomers as soon as their fully vaccinated. The more your dog is accustomed to being handled and groomed the more comfortable they will feel in the salon.

5. Get a brush suited to your dog’s coat type and brush them every few days, little bits at a time. That way your dog gets used to the frequency of brushing and it becomes normal. Then you don’t have to sit there for an hour brushing all the knots out that accumulated over the weeks and your groomer will have more styling options for you.

6. Do not let your pet get matted! This is super uncomfortable for them and can cause pain and irritation. Once your pet’s hair is matted, the safest/easiest and most stress-free way to eliminate it… is to shave it all off. Prevention is easy! Regular brushing from either yourself or a groomer. Some pets are more susceptible to matting (Coat length, environment & your pet’s activity level and disposition) and that means dropping them at the groomers once every 6-8 weeks might not be enough and you may need to help out with some brushing at home.
*Do not be confused! Just because you like your dog’s coat shaved, doesn’t mean it’s ok to let them go through the pain of having a matted coat… 🙁

4. Don’t forget about grooming through Winter. You may think it’s cold so Mr. McFluffigans should keep EVERY SINGLE STRAND OF HAIR ON HIS BODY! But this is not true. Your dog will stay warmer the better maintained his coat is. For long-haired breeds, you can stick to coat trims & washes in winter and regular brushing to remove dead hairs.

Now that your dog is calm & comfortable, your dog’s groomer can safely complete your desired haircut or even try something a little fancier!

Did you see a difference in your dog by following this guide?

Why is Grooming Important?

Grooming your dog is not just about his looks and accentuating his big brown eyes. Grooming is also about ensuring your pup is healthy and well and yet many don’t actually know what grooming consists of and what they need to do for Rover.

If you look at your dog – and I mean it actually look at your dog – what do you see? Your dog may have a soft silky coat, eyes hidden behind dreadlocks, tight tuck up, short tail/long tail etc. Point is, every dog breed and every dog is different. Feeding requirements are different, exercise requirements can differ and health and grooming requirements are different.
But you know how much to feed your dog, right? And you certainly know when he needs a break from running beside your bike, yeh? And that’s awesome! Because despite the differences between dogs, you can still look at your dog and just know when he needs something. Unfortunately, grooming seems to be that 1 area that people struggle with so here’s a few things you can do to keep an eye out for possible issues and to maintain your dogs coat.

Why is it so important?
This question could result in a super long list of things that could go wrong when your not grooming or not properly grooming your dog, but you don’t need to know the veterinary answer for why it’s important. Here’s the short answer.
Grooming your dog enables you to check your dog over for any abnormalities as well as the fact that brushing distributes the natural oils through the coat just like our scalp and hair. Abnormalities could include: fleas, skin conditions, rotting teeth, ear infections and inflammation.

How do i check my little shnooky wooky over! (Alright got a little excited on the title there!)

  1. Every day you should be patting your dog and feeling all over to check for lumps and bumps.
    Tip: To check your dogs paw pads, sit next to your dog facing the same way, hold your dogs paw that’s closest to you and tilt it up so you can look. Try not to lift it too high off the ground and then using your thumb you can push or squeeze (gently) in the center of the paw pad (metacarpal). This will expose the inner most part of the paw for your inspection.
  2. Your dog’s nails should be just off the ground when standing squarely. If they are curling, they need a trim. If your not comfortable or sure how to do this – don’t because you can cause your dog some pain and bleeding if you cut them too short.
  3. Keep an eye on your dogs nose for debris and whether or not it’s wet or dry. Dry is not always bad, give your dog a drink and check back a little later. On a hot day they may just be dehydrated.
  4. If your dog has big bright eyes with no discharge that is a good thing. If your dog’s eyes are leaking, discolored or seem sore – that is not good!
  5. Take a look at your dogs teeth and mouth. Nice salmon pink gums and clean teeth are what your looking for here. If you don’t brush your dogs teeth expect to see some left overs and plaque. Teeth cleaning is becoming more and more common these day’s but I don’t think there’s anything wrong with giving your dog a large bone every now and again or some Greenies to remove the plaque.
  6. Have a look in your dogs ears, smelly ears is not a good sign, a little bit of brown dirt is ok. You can wipe this out with a tissue wrapped around your finger and some ear cleaner.
    Tip: some people will recommend ear buds as they’re more precise but I find that their shape is uncomfortable for many dogs. If you aren’t comfortable using your finger because dog ear gunk is gross!… Wrap the end of the ear bud with a tissue to make it thicker and more comfortable.
  7. Spread a part some of your dogs hair on different parts of his body to take a good look at his skin, this is a lot easier on dogs with long hair but as long as you can see the skin it’s fine. Again your looking for abnormalities, redness, swelling, scratches etc.

If I’ve missed anything please feel free to comment. And please don’t read this thinking “OH My G**! As if I’m going to do all of that!” – I tend to over explain some things in fear I will be misinterpreted and cause someone or somepup pain! Have a read through and try to commit the important bits to memory.

ANYTHING ABNORMAL FOR YOUR DOG IS WORTH CHECKING!

I didn’t write how often you should check because I think it’s best to always have these things in mind. The sooner you spot an abnormality the easier it is to fix.

So there you have it. Groom your dog for health and looks. Check your dog over daily and learn whats normal and what’s not for Sally Winkles sake! (again I got excited with the pet names… please forgive me.)

Why You Should NOT Clip Double Coated Dog Breeds

Firstly we must understand what a Double Coat or Heavy Coat is. In short, these are breeds that have a lot of undercoat. Undercoat is the soft fluffy hair that you see typically around the rear and chest of your dog. It is responsible for keeping your dog warm and is shed during warmer weather. In winter, while this hair is still present, there is a considerable reduction.

The two comments that owners generally make are:

Why can’t I clip them? It’ll just grow back?
Technically yes and no. This is a common statement made when a double coated breed has become matted. While it is entirely possible for a dogs coat to grow back, it does not always grow back. This can be due to age, diet or improper grooming. An older dogs hair growth tends to slow down, accompany that with shaving off their entire coat and you could have a hairless dog for quite some time. A dog that is lacking in nutrients may not have the ability to grow the hair back at all or they may only grow it back in sections. A lot of people think that they do not need to groom their dog if the hair is short, they may wait for the hair to become long before they pick up a brush. This is one of the worst things you can do after a double coated breed has been shaved. Failure to provide aftercare via brushing can result in the Primary Coat (also know as Guard Hairs) from being able to grow through the undercoat. These hairs get stuck and the dog becomes matted again. By brushing your dog you are helping to free the coat and allowing it to grow in as it should. More info on this here.

But it’s summer now, he’ll get too hot if I don’t
Sorry that’s not right either. The purpose of your dogs hair is actually to keep them warm in winter and cool in summer. The undercoat is like insulation and the outer coat is like the bricks on a house. Your dog will actually struggle more in the heat after having its coat shaved off since the sun would be directly hitting their skin.

Recap
Although in most cases, your dog’s hair will grow back perfectly fine, it’s not the main issue I see with shaving double coated breeds. The main issue I have is with tampering with their natural cooling system.

So how do I keep my fluff ball cool?
This one’s easy! Brush out all the loose hair! And you don’t have to spend hours either 😉 A little bit today and a little bit tomorrow is enough. Removing all the dead and loose hair is what will help keep your dog cool as it allows for proper airflow. Leaving all the loose hair hanging from your dog is similar to them wearing a jacket or being wrapped in a blanket. They’re no longer able to raise the arrector pili muscles to move the hair away from their skin so this hair just sits there – heating up on them.

As always,

The 9 Types of Dog Coats

Is it hair? Is it fur? Is it double? Is it wiry? We’re going to get to the bottom of this hairy situation (pun most certainly intended) and explain once and for all in plain, English terms… what’s the go with coat types?

Hair vs Fur
It’s commonly believed that hair continues to grow (poodles, white fluffies) as fur stops at a natural length (German Shepherd). This is actually incorrect. Hair and Fur are actually characterised by their ‘feeling’ and ‘look’ as opposed to growth cycle.  Excellent article explaining this here.
Dog’s that are often thought to be hypoallergenic simply have shorter growth cycles, thus shed less. Alas, still shed hair and skin dander – which I might add most people are allergic to the dander, not the actual hair. (I say most because I am not a doctor but I’m pretty certain it should be ALL)
That being said dogs with ‘fur’ have thick plush coat textures and dog’s with hair have long thin, single layered coats…But technically all dogs have hair!

Common Coat Types
Here’s a list of the common coat types seen on most dogs. The coat type generally refers to the length and/or texture of the coat. See where your dog fits in below!

Smooth Coat
This is a coat that lays close to and flat against the dogs skin. Often while patting you will have short “eyelash” length hairs on your hand (Or clothing…). These coats are often shiny and, well…smooth. Eg: Boxer, Whippet, Dachshund.

Short Haired
I like to think of this coat as a smooth coat with an extra layer. It looks like a smooth coat but it tends to have a shorter growth cycle that leads to more shedding. Think Jack Russel or Labrador hair.

Long Haired
Hair longer than roughly 1-inch. It tends to be thinner from experience or at least seemingly thinner than a short haired dog and there are some breeds with very silky flowing coats which are sometimes separated from this coat type into it’s own Silky Coat type.  Eg: Shih Tsu, Maltese, Yorkie

Combination Coat
Exactly as the title says, it’s a combination of Long and short hair sections or as groomers would call, feathering. Dogs like Golden Retrievers or setter breeds have short hair on their back and can have longer hair (feathering) down their legs, stomach, ears, tail, feet and chest. these breeds usually have a drop coated appearance that can be wavy.

Double Coat
The double coat is not to be confused with a heavy coated breed. A double coated dog has fluffy short hairs for insulation covered by longer, thicker ‘guard’ hairs. The thicker coverage helps to wick moisture, prevent bug bites and protect the skin form the sun. The guard hairs are often where the dogs coat colour comes from as the fluffy undercoat is generally white or lightly coloured. These breeds are not to be clipped!

Heavy Coat
Quite literally, a much heavier, denser coat. Dogs with heavy coats can actually also have a double coat (soft under, thick outer) but it’s generally characterised as an evenly spread thick consistency from the base of the hair to the tips. The perfect example of this type of coat are Chow-Chows and Pekingese.

Woolen/Curly Coats
Woolen or Curly coats are exactly that, where the hair strands circle around one another and create a woolen type appearance. The hair can be long like some poodles or short and compact like some Labradoodles. It’s considered one of the harder coats to look after but with a little brushing everyday to every other day this coat can be kept lovely and soft.

Wiry Coats
This coat has thin long and sometimes slightly spiky hairs, similar to guard hairs on double coated breeds. When you hear someone talking about hand stripping a dog, this is the coat they are referring too. Breeds such as  Schnauzers and Irish Wolfhounds sport this rough coat.

And Lastly, Corded Coats
Only few breeds have a corded coat. Personally this coat requires a more careful grooming approach, no turbo drying, no brushing everything by hand carefully until dry and re-corded if you will. These breeds are born fluffy and develop cords or dread-locks (as I like to say) as they mature. You can however continue to brush your dog to prevent the cording appearance if you will but the hair tends to have a predisposition to sticking together. Examples are: Puli, Komondor and Bergamasco Sheep Dog.

 

And this is the wondrous array of coat types that I get to see on a daily basis… Each requiring some sort of different grooming technique and care just to keep things interesting.

Which category does your dog fit into? Let’s talk easy grooming home care for your dogs coat type!

The Importance of Caring for Your Dogs Paws

We don’t even know we do it. “She looks so happy!”, “He’s been inside all day…”, “Just a quick one!” we would say but unfortunately, walking your dog in the heat or cold weather can provide some discomfort or even injury. We don’t notice a lot of the time when we could be doing something wrong, especially when we see others doing the same thing. Paw Pads are designed for protecting your dogs bones and joints from shock just like sock absorbers on your car, provide insulation against extreme weather and help protect the deep tissue within their paws by cushioning rough ground. Although they sound pretty tough, they’re still not equipped for walking on our man made surfaces in the blistering sun. Even a sudden burst of exercising on rough natural ground can cause some after pain for your dog.

Don’t feel bad!
Hey, it happens, we’re all just trying to do our best. There are a few ways to prevent and heal damaged paw pads that are pretty easy to do.

Looks like…
I liken damaged paw pads to a humans heels. Unless you moisturise your feet and every now and again file away the dry skin; there’s a pretty good chance your heels are cracking, dry and sore. When this happens I’m guessing you would visit the local Beauty Salon or organise your own home salon treatment. But what about Lassie?
Your dogs paws will look quite similar when they’re damaged from rough/hot surface walking and they can be accompanied by some pain. there are cases however where dogs paw pads seem like their in terrible condition and yet aren’t bothered by it. Don’t confuse that with “Since it doesn’t bother him and he’s not sore, my dog must be tough and he must be ok!” he may not show signs to you and he may actually have no discomfort and that’s great! But it doesn’t mean you should walk your dog on hot surfaces.

Grass Seeds are a common issue. Where there is grass, there is a possibility of a grass seed working it’s way into your dogs paw pads. THIS is definitely painful and needs immediate attention and extraction before it causes any complications eg.: Red swollen and sore paws, seed migration between the ligaments and tendons.
Usually if you attempt to spread the dogs paws apart, if they have one they will pull back or yelp. See if you can settle your dog to check there is one, characterised by a small wheat-y like tuft poking between the toes. Once confirmed if your confident to do so (and it’s not very deep) simply pull it out, otherwise, a quick trip to the vet for extraction. If it’s already heavily infected or bleeding etc. Don’t try to remove it yourself for risk of infection. This goes for anything stuck in your dog’s paws.

Prevention
On hot days, think smart. Is it 3pm and boiling hot? Don’t walk your dog. Is there no shade where you will be walking? Don’t walk your dog. If you can’t hold the back of your hand on the floor for longer than 10 seconds then it’s too hot.
If you often walk through the country side or grassy parks and your dog has long hair it can be a good idea to visit the groomers for a nail trim and a paw pad shave. Having a clear view of your dogs feet can aid in spotting problems before they become vet visits.
At times when you are unable to walk your dog, have a play at home to drain some excess energy.

Stop It!
The only way to stop your dogs paws from feeling the effects of the surface beneath them is to not walk them…. No only kidding!!! You can always buy dog boots for them to wear. Many happily learn to wear them before walking anywhere! I would only recommend your dog wear them when necessary once they’re trained to feel comfortable in them because you still want your dog to develop some sort of resistance. Have a read of this before you purchase any. I should also add, it’s not the best idea in general to walk your dog on really hot days! You know, the hot ground and all.

Healing
If you have taken the dog out and the weathers changed on you, Melbourne pups put your paws up!, then Lassie could certainly benefit from a paw treatment. Purchase a dog safe Paw Butter such as Warren london – Paw Defence Wax  or Surf Dog Australia – Paw Balm and massage your dogs paws. Both will hydrate and soothe their feet a bit like moisturiser to your toes would.

*Tip: Massage as long as possible to maximise the benefits as most dogs will lovingly lick it all off once applied! Some groomers (Such as myself) provide this or similar as a service so on your next groom ask if your groomer can do anything to help you out 🙂

Tell me, how do you look after your dog’s paw pads?