Tag Archives: Pet Care

GreysAngel Q&A Corner: Short haired doggies like spa day too!

Q: I have a pug-bulldog-doxie-corgi…(insert other short haired fur baby).  Does he/she really need to be groomed?

A: Congratulations for picking a low maintenance dog in terms of grooming needs!  It is true, these short haired cutie pies never need to grace the doors of a groom shop or puppy spa.  However, there are benefits to bringing your easy breezy canine companion to a groomer such as:

  • Nail clipping – Not all vets will do this unless asked (and charged!), and not all dogs get enough exercise to naturally grind down their own nails (puggies, I’m not looking at you …honest).  Healthy nails equal healthy paw pads and healthy leg stance along with walking and running gait. Make sure your dogs’ nails clear the floor..if they are clicking on your tiles or wood, they are too long.
  • Forced air drying – Short hair does not equal less hair when it comes to the dreaded shed.  Depending on the breed, dogs either shed year round or they shed cyclically.  There is no product that will completely eliminate shedding.  NONE.  There are things that help reduce the excess.  A trip to a groomer who uses forced air drying will really help in blowing and brushing loose coat, leaving the remaining coat shiny and healthy.
  • Fwunk redunx – Fwunka funk.  You know what I’m talking about.  Ears.  Eye goobers and crusties. Butt.  Anal glands. Girly bits.  It happens.  A good groomer gets deep in those ears to clean out the black and yeasty.  Products like Micro Tek help reduce unpleasant odors in other areas.  Well that, and just a good deep clean with someone who’s used to getting their hands dirty.
Bella Corgi

Look ma, clean ears!

So next time you are chasing around fur balls (the ones without legs) or getting your legs mangled by the eager puppy claws of death, give a shout out and get your pooch pampered and squeaky clean!

Hot Spots – The 411

Hot spots (fancy name: acute moist dermatitis) are circular lesions varying in size that appear on various parts of a dog’s body. They tend to be most often found where a dog can reach such as the legs, paws, belly, and sanitary area. Hot spots are moist, raw, inflamed and hairless, and can be quite painful. Dogs will most often lick, bite or scratch the area, irritating the inflamed skin and growing the spot even more. Depending on how obsessive your dog is over the spots, they can change dramatically in size over a short period of time.

Hot spots are often caused by an allergic reaction such as insect bites (including fleas and mites), food allergies or inhalant allergies, but can also be caused by ear infections, burs, or mild burns that can occur from poor grooming. Hot spots tend to occur more with long haired dogs and dogs with dense undercoats.

Prevention of course is the best treatment. Many dogs that have repeated problems with hot spots can have the incidence greatly reduced by keeping their hair clipped short during summer, giving them frequent medicated baths and following a strict flea control program. Depending on the location of the hot spot, cleaning the ears regularly and expressing the anal glands as needed may also be beneficial.

The good news is this is not a long term disease and can be treated and be gone in less than a week. Another lesion may suddenly appear later the same summer, the next year or never be seen again on that dog. Treatment should be directed at stopping the growth of the hot spot as well as trying to eliminate the cause. The first step in treating hot spots is to clip the hair over and surrounding the lesion which allows air to get into the inflamed tissue and makes it easier to treat and heal. The surface of the lesion should then be cleaned with a non-irritating solution followed by a desiccating powders such as Burows solution (Domeboro powder and water). The next step is to prevent your dog from traumatizing the area even more by blocking his/her access to the spots. An elizabethan collar works very well for this. Nails should also be clipped or sanded and socks can be put on the hind feet to reduce trauma from possible scratching.

I use Eqyss MicroTek medicated shampoo and spray/gel for prevention and treatment of hot spots…the link to Eqyss can be found on the right. I have found that all three products really help cut down the dogs’ desire to itch which helps to prevent hot spots from occuring and helps in the healing process of already existing hot spots. The spray can be used in between baths or for cleaning ears by spraying a cotton pad and gently wiping the inside of the ear. The gel can be used directly on an existing hot spot as long as your dog doesn’t like the taste of the gel or can’t get to the spot!

GreysAngel Q&A Corner: Short haired doggies like spa day too!

Q: I have a pug-bulldog-doxie-corgi…(insert other short haired fur baby).  Does he/she really need to be groomed?

A: Congratulations for picking a low maintenance dog in terms of grooming needs!  It is true, these short haired cutie pies never need to grace the doors of a groom shop or puppy spa.  However, there are benefits to bringing your easy breezy canine companion to a groomer such as:

  • Nail clipping – Not all vets will do this unless asked (and charged!), and not all dogs get enough exercise to naturally grind down their own nails (puggies, I’m not looking at you …honest).  Healthy nails equal healthy paw pads and healthy leg stance along with walking and running gait. Make sure your dogs’ nails clear the floor..if they are clicking on your tiles or wood, they are too long.
  • Forced air drying – Short hair does not equal less hair when it comes to the dreaded shed.  Depending on the breed, dogs either shed year round or they shed cyclically.  There is no product that will completely eliminate shedding.  NONE.  There are things that help reduce the excess.  A trip to a groomer who uses forced air drying will really help in blowing and brushing loose coat, leaving the remaining coat shiny and healthy.
  • Fwunk redunx – Fwunka funk.  You know what I’m talking about.  Ears.  Eye goobers and crusties. Butt.  Anal glands. Girly bits.  It happens.  A good groomer gets deep in those ears to clean out the black and yeasty.  Products like Micro Tek help reduce unpleasant odors in other areas.  Well that, and just a good deep clean with someone who’s used to getting their hands dirty.
Bella Corgi

Look ma, clean ears!

So next time you are chasing around fur balls (the ones without legs) or getting your legs mangled by the eager puppy claws of death, give a shout out and get your pooch pampered and squeaky clean!

POW – Rascal!

I joke that I have tapped into a secret underground organized gang of frisky well adjusted Westies. I thought there were no Westies in New Orleans after several months of grooming here and not having one. Then one magical day my luck changed and within a week and a half I had groomed five of them! They are all fantastic owners and I have them all on a pretty regular schedule so about every 9-10 weeks I have the Westie mafia roll into my hood 😀

He's a lover not a fighter!

He's a lover not a fighter!

This little heart throb is Rascal – he’s twelve years old but just as feisty and fun as any youngin I’ve encountered. Mom is a groomer’s dream – a clockwork groom schedule with a bath and tidy up appt in between. We like to keep Rascal comfy so he gets a shortened skirt, but he’s got great hair structure to support the full Westie head.

Groom Lingo: #7 from 1″ below occiput down the back. Skim the #7 down the ribs to blend the back pattern and where the skirt begins. Note: there should not be a real sharp contrast here..the skirt should not look “wide”…the skirt should fall naturally downward from the widest part of the rib cage. Scissor legs, skirt line, carrot tail and face/head using thinners to clear inner eye/bridge of nose as well as to finish the blend on the skirt. Tip top third of the ear with a #10 and scissor the edge for a sharp ear.

Public Service Announcement – Think once, think twice before committing to puppy parenthood.

Today we have a tale of two maltipoos. Actually it’s only one tale because the happy little maltipoo pic that you see in my Flickr box on the right really needs no elaboration – she’s cute, she’s loved and she’s Moxxie.

In general, I see dogs that are in pretty good shape. There may be a mat here or a funky ear there, but all in all it’s doable in the realm of responsible parenthood. Once in a blue moon (usually when volunteering to do shave downs of rescued street doggies with the shelter), I see this:

Spike1

And I swear most of the time I just cry a little on the inside. I’m not even sure that the picture does it justice. Remember it’s a Malti poo – a very over fed and beyond neglected should-be-little dog (look at Moxxie again just to have a comparison).

Here are some close up face shots which I swear was one big clump starting with eye fwunk that connected to dried up food chunk:

Spike3

One side of said food/eye fwunk chunk:

Spike5

What absolutely kills me is not that this dog is fat…hey, I understand a good meal. What kills me is the fur is so matted and covered with sh*t (I spared you by not taking a back end pic, trust) that the skin is not getting air and hence his belly and chest literally smelled of rot. His back legs are hurting from the serious wide load, but the front legs are even worse – completely turned out like a bull dog due to nails being so long that they are curled under his pads. So all his weight is on those nails. Here’s the length of what I was able to take off; there was more to remove but I didn’t want to quick the poor dog:

Spike6

The hair in the pads were impacted and the paws themselves splayed thanks to the weight on those feet and curly nails. I did what I could. With this kind of situation, it’s always a moral dilemma: do you turn away the parent and refuse to do the dog and hope that the parent learns his/her lesson? Or do you groom the dog so at least for a little while he feels more comfortable, can walk, see and hear?

Obviously I choose the latter:

Spike7

I did what I could to lecture, educate and advise the parent and offer them a dirt cheap rate for a follow up visit within 12 weeks. It’s pretty much all I can do apart from going home and hugging my little two nearly to death.

So my public service announcement is please don’t get a dog unless you can take care of it!!

Spike8

Doggy Foot Care -The 411

If I had to pick the #1 unintentional area of neglect with most doggy owners, I would pick the feet – nail trimming/clipping in particular. 

We groomers see and deal with all kinds of downright fwunka (for lack of a better term);  lucky for y’all, I’m one of those strange people that find gross things kind of interesting.  I’ll have owners approach me with the walk of shame; heads hanging as they guiltily hand over the mats, the fleas and the brown ears.  I know because I used to be one of those owners, and I would feel all kinds of bad dropping off Angus and Molly with a little mat under the armpit or something.  Seriously y’all, that is 1)not really a biggie (unless their coat is just one big knitted knotty mat) and 2)kind of our job to make it better.

The bigger issue is the nails.  Depending on your dog, you can go a pretty long time in between grooms…some dogs don’t ever need to visit a groomer.  However, fish gotta swim, birds gotta fly, and nails gotta be clipped.   The only exception to this is a highly active dog who is getting his nails naturally worn down on outside surfaces.   Most pooches do not get that level of “natural filing” and therefore benefit from regular clipping.  Here’s the why:

Inside the nail lives a quick which is basically a blood vessel: check it out!  If your dog’s nails are white/clear, the little pink line inside is the quick.  This quick grows inside the nail.  In a perfect world, the nail gets regularly clipped, the quick receeds back, the nail happily rests clearing the surface of the ground, and the healthy footed dog uses his little leathery pads to sense his walking surface.  In a more common scenario, the nails grow to the point that they are on the ground vs the pads which leads to the quick growing longer.  This means when you cut the nails, you have to cut that quick in order to get the nail back to a healthy place resulting in a less than pleasant experience for the dog.  If not, overly long nails can lead to ingrown nails, splayed pads and sore paws.  I’m thinking I would not like to carry all my weight on my toe nails, how about you?

The jury is out as to whether nail clipping or cutting the quick hurts a dog or not.  Angus and Molly are two shih tzus about 2 lbs apart:  Angus couldn’t care less and practically holds out his paws for me.  With Molly you would think I was subjecting her to cruel and unusual torture as she will fidget, fuss, cry and hyperventilate to try to get out of this 1 minute ordeal.  I have seen all shapes, sizes, breeds and personalities, and I can never predict what the response to clipping is going to be.  From a practical point of view, I think clipping probably doesn’t hurt – it’s just a pinching thing that some dogs fuss about.  Quicking probably does cause some discomfort; much like when you bite or break a nail below the natural bed line. 

So what’s “regular clipping”?  Well, that depends if your dog gets any natural grinding or not.  As a general rule, I would say every indoor dog would benefit from a nail clipping or sanding every 8 – 12 weeks.  I vary between a traditional nail clipper and a sander…some dogs prefer the sander as there is no pinching.  However a sander takes longer and I tend to use the clipper with fidgety dogs who don’t like their paws touched at all; may as well get it over with faster for me and for the dog!  Senior dogs and Terrier breeds tend to have longer quicks so their nails will naturally be a little longer. 

Nail trimming is part of all my grooms whether it’s a bath or a full styling.  And if money is tight and you can’t afford a groom, at least get those nails clipped if they need it.  Groomers tend to offer nail clipping cheaper than a vet’s office visit!

GreysAngel Q & A Corner: Shedding, Tangling, and Matting – Oh My!

Q. When researching a family puppy purchase, I decided on a “non shedding” dog.  But instead of dealing with hair all over the place, I have to deal with matted clumps.  What’s up with that?

A. Hmm…where to begin.  First off, non shedding doesn’t mean non maintenance.  You wanted to get a dog and let’s face it, 99.9% of dogs have hair.  Just to make you feel better — dogs that shed can also get mats so at least you licked half the problem. 

Non-shedding dogs do not regularly shed their coat, although there is always usually some coat loss.  Non shedding coats continually grow (in fancy words: undetermined coat type) and these breeds generally require regular clipping and grooming to maintain a healthy and tangle/mat free coat. Some of these dogs have a cottony textured coat (for example a maltese) which will tend to tangle easily.  Other non-shedding dogs may not have the cottony coat, but will have a top coat or undercoat and topcoat that will need regular and repeating brushing…at least once a week for medium length trims and every couple of days for longer styles. 

Unless it’s some kind of debris picked up from outside that gets tangled into the coat, mats generally start from the skin outwards…by the time you notice it, it’s a problem.  Popular mat hideouts: inside the back legs, around the feet, in the armpits and around the dog’s collar.  Untreated mats will continually grow and cause skin irritation due to the tugging as the mat continues to twist itself against the skin and the matted dog who will keep itching, rubbing and gnawing at that mat.

When thinking about a snazzy pooch style, think about your lifestyle as well as his/her lifestyle.  If Suzy Shih Tzu is out tip-toeing through the tulips and digging through dirt piles, a show standard complete with top bows and long lashes is probably not a good idea.  Most non-shedding breeds look very cute in a puppy cut, which is super easy to care for.  And believe me you’re not stuck with the two choices of long or shaved down to the skin….there are lots of styles and lengths in between to discuss with your groomer and most groomers are thrilled to offer suggestions or work with you to create a perfect look.

And for those of you with shedding breeds, don’t despair!  Grooming and/or regular brushing help remove that loose and dead hair and keep man’s best friend looking shiny and gorgeous.

Feel free to contact me with any questions you may have.  I’m also happy to recommend tools, tips or products to help your dogs look and feel great in between grooming appointments.

JeAnne