The Holiday Season Is Here!

Sarah Drouin NCMG – VIP PET SALON – Pet Tech CPR Certified – Award winning

The holiday season is here! With that being said, I think we should cover a few bases for safety.

First if you do have a tree inside, tree water, which may contain fertilizers that can cause stomach upset. Stagnant tree water is a breeding ground for bacteria, and your pet could end up with nausea or diarrhea should he consume.

Tensile, you know that really pretty stuff; cats like that too! If they should swallow it, dehydration and possible surgery. It’s best to brighten your boughs with something other than tinsel.

Wires and electric are everywhere, oh my! Batteries and glass or plastic ornaments out of reach. A wire can deliver a potentially lethal electrical shock and a punctured battery can cause burns to the mouth and esophagus, you can never be too safe.

You may abide by your rules of no people food, but what about sweet granny? She can’t say no to Bella’s sweet begging eyes! It’s probably best to keep them secured in their own secluded space. A Room of Their Own: Give your pet his own quiet space to retreat to, complete with fresh water and a place to snuggle.

Have great holidays and be considerate of your pets!

The Importance Of Letting Owners Know

Shannon Moore, NCMG Director of Grooming Education, Espree Animal Products

Of course, we let the owners know when there are strange bumps and lumps popping up on the dog’s skin.  After all, we have our hands on the pets more frequently than just about anyone. The owners are almost always grateful for letting them know so they can take their pet to the vet for diagnosis and treatment.  But what about those spots that show up that we have accidentally caused (or at the time, we think we were likely to blame) ? Every groomer I know has some type of healing cream or Aloe Witch Hazel Spray to help quickly heal those areas that were brush burned or clipper burned.  It’s not like this happens every day but every once in awhile, it does happen regardless of how careful we are. We are human, we make mistakes and accidents can happen.  But did you ever stop and think that maybe it is not your fault and something medically could be going on with the pet?

Groomer’s are our own worst critics.  We immediately place the blame on ourselves or the products we have chosen to use if spots start to show up on the skin when we are grooming the pet or shortly thereafter.  I always try to provide immediate relief if I see this on a pet that I am grooming, but I also let the owner know.  If it happens more than once, I recommend the pet see their regular veterinarian for blood work.   I become suspicious of an autoimmune disease in the dog.  Sometimes what appears to be brush burn (or clipper burn) is actually something going wrong with the immune system.  The immune system plays a vital role in maintaining the body’s overall general health and resistance to disease.  Sometimes, things can go wrong with the immune system.  Normal handling and brushing can trigger an immune dysfunction with dog’s suffering from autoimmune disease.

Since environmental as well as genetic factors can “trigger” an immune dysfunction, I am more likely now to refer the dog to the vet when these unwarranted “spots” show up from normal handling and brushing.  Stepping outside of your comfort zone (of course, we don’t want to be blamed for causing these unusual skin irritations), recommending the owner takes the dog to their veterinarian may allow for proper diagnosis of an autoimmune disease that could have been left unattended for a long time!

5 Must Haves for Foster Parents of Rescue Dogs

Shannon Moore, NCMG  Director of Grooming and Education, Espree Animal Products

Fostering a rescue dog can be a rewarding experience.  You have a chance to help a dog in need and offer a rewarding experience for them to start a new life!  It does require consistent care by providing a safe and suitable environment, food and water, basic training, and most importantly lots of love and socialization.  The foster experience can last a few days to several weeks or months depending on the pet and situation.  We have comprised a “must have “ list to help make the foster experience as rewarding for you and the animal.

#1 Wire Crate: This will provide a safe-haven for the animal while you are way from home.  A wire crate also gives them a space to call their own. It keeps the pet safe from hazards such as electrical cords, plants that may be chewed, glass that could be knocked over, or small items or children’s toys that may be eaten.

#2 Toys: Not only will toys keep the pet from becoming bored, but they will also help bring out the pet’s personality.  In order to avoid spending a small fortune on toys, I put a few toys down one day and then pick them up and change the toys out for the next day.  Your foster will think they get new toys every day, when in reality you are recycling them.

#3 Shampoo: Espree’s Hypoallergenic or Espree’s Tea Tree & Aloe Shampoo work great for rescue dogs.  The Hypoallergenic is great for dogs with sensitivities while getting them squeaky clean.  If skin issues are present, then the Tea Tree & Aloe is the perfect choice. The lather well, clean the skin and coat, and provide an abundance of hydration.  This wholesome solution will not only have your foster looking and smelling better, but feeling better too!

#4 Pet Wipes: Espree Perfect Calm Pet Wipes are great for cleaning up minor accidents and spot cleaning when you don’t have time for a full bath.  They are infused with Lavender and Chamomile to help with anxiety and stress.

#5 Wound Cream: Espree’s 3 in 1 Healing Cream is a must for anyone with a pet.  Pet wounds are particularly challenging.  Pets just can’t leave the area alone.  # in 1 Healing Cream is formulated with Bitrex to stop licking and chewing while Yeast Extract ad Aloe promote healing and cell regeneration.

Styling Products Are All The Rage!

Shannon Moore, NCMG  Director of Grooming and Education, Espree Animal Products

What about the everyday pet that walks into our grooming salons?  Is there a place for styling products in the salons?  Absolutely!  However, everything in moderation.  Styling products are great to use if you are doing a groom with an Asian Show dogs and grooming competition dogs use styling products on a regular basis to achieve that “just stepped out of the show ring” look.  Styling products have really evolved over the years with an increased demand to “fix” coat issues.  The products are not only used for topknots and spray ups, but also to add texture, density, and volume to a coat.  There are styling products specifically designed to use on topknots and the head to help the hair stand up such as a root lift.  Then, volume mousse to help obtain volume in leg hair.  Volume spray to help with scissoring and adding texture to coats that are soft.  And, of course, the famous shine spray! A must have for every groomer and show handler to add that winning touch to their finished masterpiece. These products are great for these types of dogs and trims.

Also, if you have “not so good” coat and you need a bit of lift or texture to get those legs columned or the hocks to stand up. And for puppy coats that are supposed to be a curly coat, and they are so soft and silky they resemble the silky texture of a yorkie.  Remember, the show dogs and competition dogs can sometimes be loaded with product.  This product needs to be broken down after they have shown or competed.  How do you break down the product? With my dogs and many show dogs, the product is immediately washed out.  Yes.. another bath.  If I am not going to bathe and condition the coat (maybe I am showing the next day),  I will at least use a conditioning spray and brush through the coat to separate and divide the hair.  My personal favorite is Espree’s Aloe Hydrating Spray (I am addicted to this spray), because it maintains perfect hydration while the coat is separated and divided without leaving a residue.  You cannot feel it I the coat and it improves the elasticity of the coat.

When we send a client dog home, the chances of dog’s coat being sprayed with a conditioning spray is slim to none.  We all know that!  In reality,  we don’t want to use a lot of styling products to “junk up the coat”.  After all, it is just as important to keep the skin and coat in great condition, so when the dog comes back its topknot is not glued to its head with a bow that is 2 seasons behind.  Or, its leg hair is so matted that a #7 smoothie is the only option.  The bath and prep must be top notch and the brush out must be complete.  I will use styling products sparingly with salon dogs.  Less is better, so I use them very sparingly. I always comb through the coat after applying the products too, since they more than likely will not be broken down.  I use styling products on my clients to give them a little extra help with their coat, but I am taking every precaution so I don’t damage the coat.  Happy Styling!

In Style

Melinda Owsley  |  Professional Pet Stylist

Trends change they always do but the one thing that always appeals to the eye is balance. We are wired to recognize it. You will see it. Every home, regardless of decor. Pictures, wall hangings, curtains, etc… There is a balance to style and if there is no balance…wow it sure stands out.
I came from the corporate world where we did cookie cutter cuts. Thankfully I had the opportunity to attend the wonderful Paragon School of Dog Grooming, and I always strived for more.
What I see at many shops is the bladed all trim. #7 thru #3 3/4 all over with a round head. While this is simple, neat, and clean it leaves no room for creative flair, flaw correction, and in many cases leaves Poochie looking like a bobble head.
What about time? People don’t want to pay more and time is money after all??? How do we maintain a timely service while individualizing each pet?
I built my local popularity by doing simple trims that create balance. I use snap on combs. I generally clipper the body and jump two steps longer for legs and head. This naturally creates balance. Combined with correct product selection, I always recommend a premium line, and proper bathing and drying technique, I can do a style trim as fast as I can shave a dog down.
Espree even has products that can add volume to a floppy head, allowing for efficient shaping.
When you take these steps as a stylist you will create a following. You will set yourself apart as a groomer and will have your customers regularly commenting how their pet has never looked so good.
Find your style, find your balance, make your mark!!!

All Mixed Up!


Article written by: Melinda Owsley

In the words of the great Bob Dylan…the times, they are a’ changing.  17 years ago, when I completed grooming school, we focused our main attention in breed standards. I remember the Complete Dog Book from the  AKC as one of our primary text books.  We focused of pure breeds because that’s what we mostly worked with.  Pure bred dogs got groomed, mixed breeds ran around back roads in the country.  Today, probably 75% of my clientele fall in the “designer breed” category, and are most certainly “groom dogs”.  I go days sometimes without seeing a purebred dog.
This bothered me greatly, when the phenomena began.  I didn’t want to see us lose the value of our purebred dogs, but mostly, I didn’t like seeing my clients lied to and exploited, by the ever famous, pocket padding, breeder of the non-shedding, non-matting, doodle.  It hurt my heart to see breeders that work so hard to preserve and protect their breeds, get passed over, in search of an even more expensive mutt.  I’ve come now to just accept it.
I see so much ugliness on the professional grooming groups, in response to mixed breeds.  So much disrespect to the owner, of said mixed breed… So much personal offense and indignation. Jokes and cutting comments when legitimate questions are asked. “What is the best length for a doodle?” “A #7f all over!!!” Tons of laughter… It’s getting old, groomers.  While I agree that we are responsible for educating our clients, we should do so gently, and by leading with example.  I don’t consume animal byproducts anymore… How obnoxious would I appear if I were a waitress,  taking an order like, O…M…G… you want steak??? I hope you like diabetes, then proceed to make their order look and taste horrible, just because I could? This may seem ridiculous, but is our general attitude really that different?
I don’t support or recommend any dog be bred, sold, or bought, unless it is by a dedicated breeder that health tests and guarantees puppies.  I personally own two wonderfully bred Standard Poodles and a Cocker Spaniel.  My clients see this, my clients get my advice if they ask for it.  I lead by example.  I personally feel if you aren’t willing to invest in a dedicated breeder you should adopt.  Indiscriminate breeding didn’t start with Doodles.  Allergy ridden, bad bite, bad eyes, ill tempered, fiddle fronted, Shih Tzus made up LITERALLY 75% of my clientele for a decade. When it wasn’t them it was a warty, puss eared, pooping Cocker on my table…all of them were “purebred” but no closer to breed standard than I was… Society is never going to make sense, they are always going to go from one goofy trend to the next. Personally, I prefer Doodles and Mixiewhatsits to the Shih Tzu and Cocker of yesteryear.
I give my mixed breed clients the same care, consideration, time, and quality work as I give my pedigreed crew… I use the same product, strive for balance, and work to find each pet’s perfect trim.  Why? Because I like money, I like referrals, and I love tips.  I am a stylist, and I approach my clients in a non-judgmental way.  I have specific products I use on apricot Poodles, due to the texture of the coat.  I love Espree’s  Keratin Oil Shampoo, and Aloe Hydrating Spray as a light conditioner, then follow up with Boost spray to help lift the floppy coat…. My Doodles get the same thing…. I want them balanced and beautiful… Not shaved down because I’m too good to groom a mutt.
It saddens, me just like it does my industry peers, that we are loosing the public’s interest in the wonderful sport of purebred dogs.  However, at least in my region, I have seen a drastic increase in the quality of care and value placed on the canine family member.  This is my main concern before anything else.  My clients hire me, because I come highly recommended, and I give them the best I have, regardless of papers… Because that’s what I do;) Happy Grooming Everyone!!!

How To Grow Coat

Shannon Moore, NCMG  Director of Grooming and Education, Espree Animal Products

I am frequently asked how to grow coat on a dog?  I have an extensive background in coated breeds as I grew up raising Yorkshire Terriers, and now I raise and show Bichon Frise. I hear some pretty interesting concoctions regarding expediting coat growth.  Years ago, many people would joke around saying I could grow coat on an onion if I tried.   I thought I would share a few of my simple, yet effective ways that have worked for me.

Whether you have a show dog, contest dog, or a client dog that you want to grow coat on, keep your expectations realistic.  My goal is always about an inch of coat growth every 4 weeks.  Average coat growth on a heathy coat is an inch every 6 weeks.  But, if you want to expedite coat growth you must be consistent with whatever regiment you choose.

A very simple way to expedite coat growth is keep the coat clean.  Every time I do maintenance baths, I always condition the coat.  This helps lock in moisture and improves the elasticity of the coat making it stronger. Often, I will condition the dog and wrap them in a warm towel for about 10 minutes, then rinse.  Also, never brush the coat when it is dirty as it will break.  I typically bathe and condition a dog I am trying to grow coat on twice weekly. You must be consistent.  Trust me, there are many times I come home after a long day and the last thing I want to do is bathe my show dog.  But, I do it anyway.  Consistency is the key to success!

If I find, I am still struggling for growth, I might add some nutritional supplementation to their diet as well.  A good omega added to the food daily never hurts to keep the skin in coat in great condition.

The Magic of Aloe Vera


Shannon Moore, NCMG Director of Grooming and Education, Espree Animal Products

All Espree products contain organically grown Aloe Vera from the inner filet of the Aloe plant in place of water.  Aloe Vera provides a wholesome solution to meet the needs of so many pets.  It is chocked full of beneficial nutrients that act as a powerful skin hydrator.  Aloe is absorbed into the skin 4 times faster than water. Aloe Vera has an abundance of healing properties as well.  It exfoliates the skin helping to remove dead and damaged skin cells.  It also helps decrease itching through its anti – pruritic properties.  It also has anti-microbial properties with its ability to kill certain bacteria, yeast, and fungus.  It promotes healing so wounds and skin irritations heal approximately 1/3 quicker than normal.  The healing power of Aloe Vera is like magic.  It brings immediate relief to allergic rashes, sunburn, insect bites, and minor abrasions while simultaneously alleviating swelling and boosting immune response.

Tips to Protect Your Dog’s Paws from Hot Pavement


Shannon Moore, NCMG  |  Director of Grooming & Education, Espree Animal Products

It’s that time of year again… the warm summer months, many owners like to take their dogs out for long walks.  It is a great way to spend some quality time with your four- legged friend, but many owners forget one very important detail.…. hot pavement will burn your dog’ s feet.  It is tempting to take your dog everywhere with you, but you can cause serious harm to your pet if you aren’t extremely careful and cautious about outside temperatures.  If the asphalt is too hot for your feet, then it is too hot for your dog’s feet.  Hot asphalt can result in horrible burns on the pads of your dog’s feet.  This is especially true if you have a young puppy with tender pads.

Here are some tips to help protect your dog’s feet from the hot pavement during the hot summer months:

1. Walk your dog early morning or evening when it is a bit cooler outside. The pavement is the hottest in the afternoon or early evening, so avoid the pavement with your pooch during this time.

2. Stay on the grass when it is hot! When you are taking your dog on walks, try to stay in the shad and on the grass whenever you can.  Remember when the asphalt is so hot that you can cook an egg on it, it will more than likely burn your dog’s feet.

3. Moisturize your dog’s feet.  Try to keep provide protection to lock in hydration to the pads of the feet.  Dry pads are more susceptible to cracking, abrasions, and peeling.  Dry pads have a tendency to be more susceptible to burns from hot pavement. Consider moisturizing your dog’s pads daily, especially in hot weather, to help prevent injuries and burns.

4. Toughen up your dog’s feet.  During the cooler seasons and cooler times of the day, try walking your dog on the pavement. The hard and rough surfaces will toughen the pads of the feet.  This will provide a natural resistance to damage from hot surfaces.

5. Use Paw Balm. Espree’s Paw Balm can be easily applied to the pads.  Paw Balm is designed to protect your dogs feet from potentially harmful surfaces by helping to provide a protective barrier.

These tips will help keep your dog’s feet safe from the dangers of hot pavement during the summer months.  Be sure to keep a close eye on your dog from any other heat related injuries as well.

Have you ever helped a homeless pet?


Sarah Drouin NCMG – Pet Tech CPR CErtified – Award Winning Stylist – www.theplushpooch.com

There are many ways you can help.

A lot of people are aware of donating money to a local shelter.

Did you know they take items for dogs; such as dog beds, leashes, bowls, blankets, etc.

These dogs are sheltered but still have no home to call theirs yet.

Dogs that you see on the street, well this can be tricky. You never know if they are friendly, and you don’t want to get hurt.

You can lay food and water out to help them. I will say that you can put out a kennel with food and water in it and safely capture them. Then you could transport them to a shelter.

If you are anything like me, anytime I see a loose dog; I always try to capture them and find their home. 9/10 they are lost, and do have a family searching for them. I provide them with water/food and a safe environment until I get in touch with their owners.

Another way, is if you do capture one and you are able to take them to a spay/neuter clinic, do that.

It’s rewarding helping dogs who are homeless, or lost.