The Christmas Gift That Keeps on Giving

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Shannon Moore, NCMG  |  Director of Grooming and Education of Espree

With the Holidays quickly approaching, many people are starting to think about that special present to give to their children, spouse, or significant other.  That image of everyone sitting around the tree, and your child opens up a big box, when out jumps a fluffy, adorable puppy with a big bow around its neck is simply priceless.  But, let’s stop and think about this.

When a puppy or kitten go to their forever homes, it is a stressful time in their life.  In order to make a peaceful and healthy transition, the house needs to be puppy proofed for starters.  Little things like making sure they do not have any access to electrical cords is very important.  When the new family member starts to explore their surroundings, you don’t want to entice them with chewing on a cord. Unless they can be monitored closely, they should be kept in a safe place like the kitchen, laundry room, large bathroom, or a crate.   Their food should remain the same as what they were eating when they were at the breeder until a smooth transition can take place too. These are just a few suggestions for your puppy to transition smoothly.

Now imagine the hustle and bustle at Christmas time!  The beautiful tree is up, and of course you want to turn on those pretty lights.  Tinsel is hanging all over the tree, which could potentially send your pup to the emergency vet clinic if he gets into it.  Now you are cooking up a storm in the kitchen.  The puppy acts like a vacuum cleaner so you better not drop any scraps on the floor.  Then you have all of your friends and family coming over to celebrate.  Do you really think it is a good time for your puppy to transition into their new home this time of year?

If you purchased the puppy for your children, it is likely you will be the one taking care of it with football games, dance recitals, and then off to college.  But what if you purchased it for your significant other, and they were completely surprised? At the time, the puppy seemed like a great gift, but eventually the novelty will wear off.  The commitment to get up in the middle of the night to potty train is tough.  But the financial commitment with supplies, vet visits, trips to the groomer and boarding kennel is far greater.  So before you try to put the puppy or kitten under the tree as a gift, just remember, a Christmas puppy or kitten is the gift that keeps on giving.

The Holidays are Quickly Approaching

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Can you believe it is almost that time of year again?  There are 16 Fridays before Christmas…yes, 16!  The Holiday madness will be here before we know it.  Every year, so many people want their very talented pet stylist to primp their pooch for the Holidays, so they are sporting that wonderful Holiday cheer with family and friends.  Sometimes, we ask our groomers to make a miracle happen by de-matting a very matted pooch, or making their four legged friend super fluffy when they have been shaved down all summer.  Or we make the mad dash to the groomer just a few days before our family and friends arrive.  Plan in advance, pick up the phone and schedule your pet’s appointments from now through the Holiday season.

This is the time of year to start getting your pooch ready for the Holidays.  Bring them in for a spa day between styling appointments to keep the skin and coat in optimal condition.  Dead Sea Mineral Mudbaths if your dog has skin issues will help soothe the skin, get rid of the dead skin cells, exfoliate the skin, and allow your pooch to feel so much better.  Deep conditioning treatments and hot oil treatments are also great for dog’s that have dry skin and coat.  They will help hydrate the coat allowing the natural oils to permeate the skin which in turn will help add a beautiful shine to the coat. And if your dog has a lot of staining from playing hard this summer, select a whitening bath to help lift the staining off of the coat.  Your pup might need two or three if he had a lot of fun romping this summer in the yard, hiking, or even swimming.

In order for your pooch to have healthy skin and coat, you must stay on top of the game.  Remember, it is a process.  Sometimes it takes several visits before you can get your desired result.  So if you want your pooch sporting a nice “do” for the Holidays, there is no better time to start than the present.

A Good Life in the Golden Years

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

Our pets are living longer than ever before.  Not only are they living longer, their quality of life is better!  Some say it is good genetics, but I think it comes from understanding the changing needs of our aging pets.

There are so many ways to enhance the quality of life for our senior friends. Staying active is a crucial part of keeping your pet healthy and enjoying those golden years.  A short walk, even if it is to the mailbox and back, would not only be beneficial physically, but mentally as well.  A healthy diet is also a key ingredient to enhancing the quality of life with your senior pet.  Not only diet, but supplements are another way to offer cognitive support to promoting joint health to allow your pet to age vibrantly.

Keeping teeth and gums healthy is also imperative.  Red, swollen, or bleeding gums are not normal.  Talk to your veterinarian about ways to promote good oral hygiene.  Brushing their teeth, water additives, brushless toothpaste are just a few ways to help maintain healthy teeth and gums.  Regular visits to your veterinarian are important too.  Immune systems can weaken with aging pets.  This makes them more susceptible to disease and infection.  Keeping your pet fresh and clean plays a major role to your pet aging gracefully.  Sometimes caring owners have a tendency to not bathe and groom their senior pets.

Keeping the skin and coat clean and healthy is a major component to feeling better.  Don’t you feel better when you bathe and wash your hair?  Don’t you want the same for your loyal four legged companion? Let him have a spa day at home with a lavender infused shampoo for relaxation.  Or better yet, give your buddy a massage while shampooing him with one designed to sooth sore muscles, inflammation, and arthritis.  That will alleviate the hip ad joints providing immediate relief for your pet.  Don’t you wish you could have a spa day like that?

Take a few extra minutes out of your day and continue to develop the bond with your senior pet.  Human touch and interaction are important in their golden years.  A hug, a kiss, or a quick massage  helps assure them that everything is going to be alright.  They have been your loyal companion and always by your side.  Knowing that you have done everything you can to help your pet during the golden years.  After all, they have been devoted to you since day one!

Groomer’s Know Best, or Do They?

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Deana Mazurkiewicz IGMS, NCMG  |  Owner/Founder of  Intellectual Groomers Association, Inc  |  7810 Gall Blvd, #177 Zephyrhills, Fl 33541 813-944-0446  |  www.intgroomer.com 

I wanted to open a discussion some may not like. I’ve seen others post about this before. I completely hate cyber bullying, especially if its kids, but it’s no better when its adults in any form. Even if you don’t personally like the individual, it’s not ok.

So here’s my “beef”. I can’t stand when Groomers attack other Groomer’s Grooming.

I’ve seen it before where a very green or newer Groomer doesn’t execute a cut correctly, maybe they’ve used a blade that’s very short on a pattern, hula skirts etc.

I think it’s important for everyone to know that as a groomer, at some point, you were that groomer to some extent. You may have just gotten out of school, maybe you taught yourself, or maybe someone who didn’t know any better taught you that way. Maybe you didn’t groom to the extent I have mentioned, but no one picks up scissors and grooms amazing from day one.

I’ve told Groomers who have asked me through the years, “How long was it before you were comfortable grooming?” or “How long before you were so fast?”

In responding to those questions I remember that I didn’t feel comfortable with certain breeds until I had groomed 5 to 7 years. I’m not saying I had complaints or that customers didn’t like their dogs, but I’m saying my own insecurities made me think, and told me I should do better, and keep learning about certain breeds until I felt confident.

Now these days were long before social media, Facebook, MySpace even the Internet. My goals were to make it to as many shows as possible, making sure I had a front row seat for every seminar I chose to attend. I was that annoying groomer that raised her hand 100 times and asked a million different questions, and then took all that knowledge and tried to make myself better.

So I consistently educated myself, I stayed up on new trends, purchased all the new products, bought every shiny new tool, and passed the knowledge I had down to those who are younger and newer then I.

I never put myself on a pedestal, and never made anyone feel I was better than them, and if I ever did it certainly was not intentional.

So here’s my problem. I cannot stand when someone posts a picture of their groom, being particularly happy with their effort, you have no idea how long they’ve been grooming, tears their grooming efforts apart. They may be simply asking for a critique or they’re just sharing because they’re happy what they accomplished that day, so they posted it on their business page or their private Facebook page.

Most everybody knows I keep a business page on Facebook, aside from my regular website. The grooms I post on a daily basis are pet dogs. They are my client’s dogs who are loved more than life itself. They feel proud to bring them to me. They’re happy when they come in, they’re happy when they pick them up and they love whatever I done.

Does that mean I’m the world’s best groomer? Of course not!

It means when someone comes to me with their dog and gives me instruction, I follow them. It doesn’t matter if it’s to shave a dog that’s not matted from nose to the end of its tail. It’s because that’s what their family likes. They may want me to leave a silly top knot on a cocker spaniel, or even the Westie that I groomed in a modified poodle Dutch Clip for the last 18 1/2 years, until she passed away. If it’s what the client wants, it’s the haircut I’m going to give their dog.

So what’s the problem with that? Absolutely nothing! I groom pet dogs. I make my pet dog’s owners happy, by doing sometimes silly haircuts on their dogs. Remember it’s their pet, not mine.

The problem comes in when another Groomer wants to criticize the work done because it’s incorrect according to them, but not the owner. The answer to that is it’s what the client asked be done.

It may be incorrect to the breed standard. In my case I Groom pet dogs maybe 75% of the time not based on breed standard. I’m going to restate that I groom pet dogs. I show pet dogs on my business page. When I do groom someone’s dog for a show, I don’t post that on my business page. I don’t need it for advertising because I don’t personally take new clients, and I don’t need it at this point in my career to make me feel important, and I also don’t need to post them to make my clients feel like they have less important dogs.

So the purpose of my post is to make all of you feel better about the pet dogs that you groom on a daily basis. No one has attacked me on my business page and said anything inappropriate about someone’s pet, if it were to happen it would be deleted immediately. However, someone did feel the need to bully me in a way, by saying that I only know how to do shave downs, that my poodle topknots are too short, and I have nothing to show.

I actually thought the comment was pretty hilarious. My first thought was that I do do a lot of shave downs, absolutely I do! I live in Florida, where it’s hot and about 75% of my clientele keep their dogs very short. I’ve been grooming 25 years, the majority of my clients are on pet two or three with me, which if you do the math, lets you know the majority of my clients are over the age of 55. That majority of clientele wants the least amount of work to do at home for the upkeep of their pet dogs.

Another percent of my client’s get cute scissored attachment haircuts. The few hand strips, and the occasional show dogs are sometimes posted on my page.

My client’s cute little attachment dogs get scissored when requested.  Some want their dog’s ears short so they don’t get into the water bowl. I do very short topknots because they don’t want their hair to fall into their eyes in a matter of weeks. They may ask for supertight feet because their dog drags its feet in the dirt. The requests are endless. My point is to stop judging how other people are grooming. I didn’t become a master Groomer doing things incorrectly, I have plenty of pictures, and trophies, and ribbons and plaques, but I don’t have any need to show them. Those were awarded to me and nobody else.

Embrace your industry, make friends, socialize, learn, and do what your mother told you in kindergarten….BE NICE, make friends, and treat them the way you want to be treated.

 

Happy Grooming!

Short Haired Dogs Need Grooming Too!

labrador-bathingArticle By: Sarah Drouin, NCMG  |  Pet Tech CPR Certified  |  Award Winning Stylist  |  The Plush Pooch – Landenberg, Pa.

“Oh, you groom dogs? That is really neat.  I have a Black Lab, so he does not need grooming!”  As a professional pet stylist, that is a conversation I have on a daily basis.  Short haired dogs, like Labrador Retrievers, need regular grooming too!  Most people assume that just because their dog has a smooth, short coat, that they do not need a professional groomer.  A quick bath outside with a garden hose and any shampoo should do the trick.  Right?

Well, not exactly….short haired dogs need grooming too!  Every dog is different and requires different types of grooming!  While a Shih Tzu or a Yorkie need a haircut because their hair grows continuously, other breeds such as Labrador Retrievers, American Staffordshire Terriers, Great Danes, etc…grow hair to a point, it stops, then eventually it dies off.  As a matter of fact, the shorter the hair, the shorter the life cycle of the hair.  What does that mean? While a few layers are shedding off onto your floor, couch, or clothes, there are many other hairs growing in different cycles to take their place.  This is a continuous cycle.  This cycle is why short haired dogs have short hair.  However, they do need regular grooming for their skin and coat to stay smooth, shiny, and in great condition.  Professional groomers can accelerate the shedding process in the grooming salon to remove any loose coat.  That means more coat in the grooming salon and less on your kitchen floor!

Now, what exactly does regular grooming mean?  How regular is regular grooming?  Every dog, like every person is different.  Every coat is different too. In order to keep the skin, coat, ears, and nails in good condition and healthy, every 4 weeks is an excellent schedule for your short haired dog.

Tips to Keep in Mind When Introducing a New Dog to Your Home!

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In our last article, we talked about the best practices for dealing with an apartment dwelling dog. Now generally having a dog in a house is a much easier process. You can simply open a door to let them into the backyard and they have a bit more room to roam around in the house. But there are still a few things to keep in mind when you introduce a new dog to your house.

First, take time to introduce them to the house. They will be curious and this gives you a chance to find out what areas you may need to “dog proof”, which applies to apartment dwellers as well. Trash cans are a big target for dogs and need to be secured as quickly as possible. Your old food smells irresistible to them and while chowing down on three day old hamburgers seems like a great idea, other things you throw away can make them sick and even poison them. Make sure your trash is secured behind a door or a very sturdy trashcan and depending on the dog, a heavy one at that. Cat litter boxes are also alluring to a lot of dogs, so keeping them as clean as possible is in your best interest.

Second, double check your backyard for any possible escape points. Whether it is a small opening near the fence or an easy way to jump over the gate, you need to make sure that your yard is secure. Nothing is worse than letting your dog out for a bit, only to come back and find them missing. We have covered this before, but make sure you get your new dog microchipped just in case this happens. You also want to keep a collar with updated tags and information on them at all times.

Depending on your climate and how long you plan on leaving your dog outside, always make sure you have fresh water and a place to escape the heat/cold, although it is generally not recommended to keep them outside for too long in extreme temperatures.

It also helps to introduce your dog to your neighbors. A lot of dogs can become territorial and you want to make sure they are on good terms with people they might be seeing a lot of. This will also help in the event your dog does escape, since your neighbors might recognize him and even help get him home. On the same note, be mindful of how much of a barker they will turn out to be. There is always one person in the neighborhood whose dog barks all day and night. Don’t be that person.

Finally, set clear boundaries with your pooch on day one. If you don’t want them on the couch, you need to start working with them right away so they learn early. Same with where they are allowed to go. Your dog may decide they enjoy rolling around in your closet, playing with your expensive shoes. Deciding to work with them months later will make it that much more difficult, plus confuse them if they have been used to doing something.

Overall, it will be a learning experience for the both of you, but with some careful planning, patience and a lot of love, your new friend will love living in their new house. We will continue these series of articles by discussing what dogs work best with your family and depending on your age, what works best for you.

Tips for picking the right dog for your environment!

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Deciding on the right dog for you and your family can be a fun process! There are several things you want to look out for when deciding on your new pet. One of the more important being how they will react in certain environments.

First off, what is your setup at home? Are you a single guy living in an apartment, an older couple living at home or a new family with young children? All of these scenarios present their own unique needs and requirements.  In the first part of this series, we will go over raising a pooch in an apartment setting.

Starting off with apartment dwellers: you might think you need a smaller dog but this is not always the case. Many apartment complexes have their own walking trails, dog parks and clean up areas that cater towards animals. This allows you to much more easily exercise a dog who might usually need to get out more energy. Keep in mind that certain breeds will always require more play time than others, hence why having a yard can be easier on you. If you do get a highly energetic dog, a Husky for example, at least an hour a day should be dedicated to playing and walking. However, please be mindful of your apartment complexes rules. Many these days have restrictions on what breed of dog they allow.

At least a couple of times a year, apartment companies will send people to enter your home for any number of things, including fire inspections and maintenance. And with a good majority of dogs being territorial, this can present an issue. You can crate your dog somewhere out of the way for the day, but not everyone keeps one on hand. There is also the option to stay home when they arrive, but not everyone can afford to take time off like that. The last option also leads into our next section; socializing your pet.

It is highly recommended you give your dog some special play time with other dogs when the opportunity arises. Look for doggy daycares in your area and start bringing them there at least once a month. Not only will this change up their routine from staying at home every day while you work, but gives you an easy option to place them somewhere when maintenance needs to enter your apartment.

We previously mentioned crating. Depending on the age and energy level of the dog you bring to your new apartment, it is very important to determine if they will need to be kept locked up while you are gone. Given that you are renting your apartment, it is in your best interest to keep it damage free and a bored puppy or pent-up dog can easily make a mess, causing you to lose your deposit.

Finally, it is important to find somewhere nearby where you are able to let them off the leash and allow your pets to have fun. If the only exercise and outside time they are getting is when you take them to the restroom, they can gain weight, become lethargic and even depressed. Make sure to look up dog parks that may be near you and give your furry friend the outside time they deserve, as well as some much needed socializing.

No Butts About It!

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Article By: Janet Gray, CMG  |  Blue Sky Pet Spa, Madison AL

BUTTS. Everyone has one. Big ones, little ones, skinny ones, um, not so skinny ones…but we are here today to talk about the FURRY ones. As in…have you looked at YOUR dog’s butt lately?

At Blue Sky Pet Spa, where I spend a good part of my life, with dogs of all shapes and sizes, I’ve come to the conclusion that most clients tend to have no idea of what goes on ‘back there’. I’m going to touch on a few topics of client education which arise frequently as a result of dogs having ‘bottom’ issues.

Scooting on the floor or ground: This can be caused by several reasons. The old wive’s tale that a dog that is scooting has worms isn’t too far-fetched. Tapeworms, which are caused by eating a flea that is infested with tapeworm larvae, can break off into segments and crawl out of the dog’s anus, causing them to itch, and, well, want to scratch.

Excessively full anal glands can also cause scooting, as well as licking the area. What are anal glands, you say? Anal glands are two little sacks of fluid which reside on each side of the anus. They empty a few drops of anal gland fluid each time a dog squats to poop, providing the poop is firm and well formed. (Well-formed firm poop comes from feeding a proper diet, but that’s a subject for another article). Dogs that are couch potatoes or dogs who have ‘soft-serve’ poop tend to have anal glands that are overly full. Sometimes the anal gland fluid thickens and becomes hard, and the anal gland ruptures, forming an abscess. We received a call from an irate client a few weeks ago who was certain that one of our groomers had ‘cut’ her dog under the tail during grooming. She brought the dog back in upon my request, and when I inspected the area, I found a little hole under one of the anal glands which was leaking fluid. It seems that the area was disturbed just enough during the bath to uncover the abscess. A visit to the vet was in order, and of course, the groomer was not responsible.

Scooting can also be caused by the occasional clipper sensitivity after grooming, but usually clears up after a day or two. The area feels a little scratchy, and for a furry pet that hasn’t been groomed in awhile, feeling the air on their skin is enough to make them want to scratch the itch.

Another thing to watch for are growths and tumors: As your dog ages, you might see the occasional lump or bump develop on their skin. Most of these are harmless fatty tumors or warts, but it’s a good idea to have your vet check them out during an exam. In between visits to the vet, it’s a important to give your dog an exam of your own on a regular basis. When doing this, don’t forget to check under the tail. I pointed out to the owner of a toy poodle that I groomed last month a little ‘bump’ under the tail that looked like a pimple. It turned out to be a cancerous growth that her vet was able to remove. Since it was caught early, it hadn’t spread.
Groomers usually notice anything unusual or different since we see most of our clients on a regular basis, but for the dogs who don’t need a haircut, it’s up to the pet parent to catch these changes.

Last, but not least, for owners of Collies, Shelties, and other furry breeds who need regular grooming, lift that tail to make sure the way is clear for the poop to happen. These breeds in particular tend to collect hair and fecal matter under their tails. If you’ve ever wet a dog in the tub with a matted, poopy rear, then you know what I’m talking about…phewww!!

So…the next time your adorable dog takes you for a walk and you look at that cute little wiggly butt in front of you, remember to lift that tail and check it out!

Traveling With Pets!

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Now that summer is in full swing, this is the time when a lot of families will be taking vacations. And sometimes that means bringing the entire family, pets included. Good planning goes a long way to ensuring a great vacation and if you are bringing the family animals along, it is always important to be prepared.

First off, how are you traveling? Car rides can be easy for most dogs and they generally tolerate them pretty well, but it is always worth it to give them a test run if you aren’t sure, especially if they are new to the family. No problems? You are ready to take off! Get your luggage, start the car and make sure everyone has their seatbelt fastened. Yes, this include your pooch. If they are small, often times they will be fine riding in a dog carrier, which can be easily fastened into a seatbelt. Larger dogs require special harnesses that can still give them some mobility, but will save them in the event of a sudden stop.

Going by air? This can be trickier, since the rules for flying with your dog can vary depending on the airline you fly. For example, some only allows dogs and cats that can fit into a carrier, with no larger dogs allowed. While others will allow large dogs, but only if they are in a kennel and flying with cargo. It is very important to check on this before booking a flight with your pet.

When traveling with your dog, always have food and especially water on-hand. You can buy a collapsible water bowl that works great for cats and dogs and is easily stowed away. On a long road trip? Make sure you stop often enough for your dog to stretch their legs and use the restroom and always keep a leash on them, no matter how well they are trained. They are in a new environment and you can’t always be prepared for how they may react.

On your vacation it is important to be aware of hotels that allow pets, since many of them will also have amenities catering towards pet owners, such as a designated lawn for dogs and waste bags. Best Western, La Quinta Inn and Days Inn are just a few of the more popular hotel chains that accommodate pets, but it is always best to call and head and ask since not every hotel in a chain allows them.

It also helps to be aware of nearby veterinarians in whichever area you are staying. We take for granted that if something happens to us, an ambulance will get us to the nearest hospital, but it is on the pet owner to be prepared in the case of an emergency.

Finally, make sure your vacation itinerary isn’t going consist of leaving your pet alone for long periods of time. Being in a strange place by themselves can result in nervous or even destructive behavior. So if you brought your dog just to save on the cost of a pet hotel and plan to leave him alone for long periods of time, maybe you should consider saving up for a mini-vacation for him as well.

Traveling with your dog may seem like a lot of preparation, but being ready means enjoying a vacation with the entire family, furry relatives and all. We here at Espree hope everyone has a safe summer and enjoys their vacations, pets included.

Dog Overheating and How To Prevent It!

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Summer is upon us. For many, that means vacations, pool parties, BBQ’s and heat. Sunburns, hot cars, sunstroke, dehydration; all the bad things that go along with the summer months. For many, this is a way of life, especially if you live farther south, but no matter where you call home, it is important to be aware that you might not be the only one suffering from the heat. Your pets are also going to need protection from the sun and like us, they too can easily overheat and even die if not properly taken care of.

First off, prevention. Let’s start with the biggest one out there that many people still do and is probably one of the most preventable issues. Never, ever leave your dog in a car, even with the windows cracked. In just 70 degree weather, the interior temperature of a car can reach up to a 104 degrees in half an hour. And that is just typical spring time weather. During the summer, it can climb into the 180’s. Your dog has no way of escaping this kind of heat and can easily overheat and even die if left in a hot car for too long. Don’t take the chance, even for a minute.

If your dog spends a lot of time outside in the yard, make sure they have a shaded place to relax, along with access to a plentiful source of water. In some states where the weather gets up to the 90’s and higher, you might want to consider bringing them inside if they are normally an outside dog.

This goes hand in hand when walking or playing with your dog in hot weather. A lot of them will continue to play and run with their owners simply to please them, not realizing they are close to overheating. Always keep a close eye on their condition at all times.

So let’s say you suspect your pooch of overheating, what are the symptoms and how can you help them? Obviously panting is a big giveaway, so if you notice it is excessive, get them some water and shade immediately. They could also be drooling, acting lethargic and feel hot to the touch. If you suspect your dog is overheating, apply cool (not cold), wet towels to their body. You can also rub alcohol on their paw pads and ears to help draw out excess heat. If your dog doesn’t improve, get them to a veterinarian immediately.

Remember, summer time can be fun for you and your animal family but always be aware of the dangers it brings. If you do bring your dog outside, ensure they always have access to water and shade and never overwork or play with them until they are exhausted. Stay vigilant, stay safe and enjoy the summer with your furry pals.