Ruminations of a Canine Cosmetologist ~ Personal insights and experiences in the dog biz.

Brought to you by Shampoodles Grooming Studio.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

The importance of nail trimming

Dogs live on their feet.  Or more accurately, their toes.  Healthy paws are key to survival.  And yet, so often and easily, toenail maintenance is overlooked.  Dogs are stoic creatures, and generally pretty agreeable pets, so they are not apt to complain much (at least in a way most humans can understand) about a neglected manicure.  But despite this seemingly unimportant little thing, damage is being done by overgrown nails.  Pressure from extra long nails radiates up the leg into the entire body, having an almost systemic effect.  This can be subtle or apparent, and chronically neglected nails can cause permanent damage.
Dogs walk on their toes, perhaps somewhat comparable to a ballerina; unlike normal humans who mostly walk on the soles of their feet, and use their heels.   If you've ever worn tight shoes and felt your own overgrown toenails being pushed back, you are familiar with a fraction of the discomfort a dog feels.  Of course, being human you're far more likely to complain about it, and certainly more capable of doing something about it.  Obviously our pets rely on us to keep them healthy and properly groomed.
Here is a good video discussing toenail maintenance.  While it is mainly aimed at performance dogs, it is every bit as applicable to house pets.  After all, they walk, run and play just the same as any working dog, as well as get old... no dog should have to live with the pain of overgrown nails.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

What Causes Paw Licking?

Like most other professionals, for years I have attributed excessive licking (and subsequent staining) to allergies.  It is, after all, one of the most common causes.  And with so much out there contributing to our pets' weakened immune systems (low quality processed diets, over-vaccination, environmental toxins, genetic predisposition...) is it any wonder this is such a common problem?
Well, I just came across this very interesting article, pointing out another potential cause of paw licking.  Definitely worth a read!  If you have been unsuccessful with allergy treatment programs that "should have worked", it might be time to look into chiropractic or acupuncture.
While allergies will probably remain my first guess, especially when there is extensive staining elsewhere on the body (face, belly) or other symptoms of detox (ear infections, skin problems), I'll be looking more closely at dogs who pay "special attention" to a certain foot or two.  The neurological connection makes so much sense.  Of course, there is also the possibility of a dog having both allergies and spinal issues...

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Tara accepts the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

And now for something totally unrelated to dogs...

I've never been one to follow internet memes... actually, I don't even know what the heck a "meme" is, but apparently this is one of them.  So when my niece nominated me for the #IceBucketChallenge I admit I groaned ever so slightly.  But despite some cynics out there, this particular stunt actually has been making a big difference.  Check out this article I found, which made some good points and played a small part in me deciding to accept the challenge.  Also go to the ALS Assn's website for more info straight from the horse's mouth.  To help out, click on the big red "Donate" button. 

A special thanks to my clients, whose generous tips over the summer have made this extra contribution both possible and painless.  :-) 

Saturday, February 22, 2014

A Veterinary Guide to Tear Stains

I am often asked about how to deal with staining problems in pets.  That rusty brown hair around your dog's eyes or mouth, or places he licks a lot, like feet, etc. is not only unsightly but is generally a sign of an underlying health condition.  Unfortunately there are several potential causes, so no one remedy will necessarily clear up the cosmetic symptoms. 

Here is a very good article from a vet clinic that was recently shared within my groomers network.  While an entire book would probably have to be written to cover all the potential underlying causes of staining and go into detail on the many treatment options, this article is one of the most thorough and helpful I have seen.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Show Dog Transformation

Big fluffy coats on our Poodles is so luxurious... but maintaining it is not all fun and games.  Come spring & summer, we must contend daily with mud, ticks, etc. and our dogs are starting to get hot.  Time for a trim!
But what of the show dogs like Tripp?  Well, we can still have style with shorter hair!  After one final cleaup - the bath alone taking a full hour, then drying for approximately 1.5 hours - I decided to put Tripp back in pattern.  Yes, this means I shaved his butt.  No, he is not embarrased by it.  This is actually the traditional trim for hunting Poodles (they are historically versatile working dogs) - excess coat was removed for free movement in the water without being weighed down, while hair was left on the chest and joints to provide insulation.  Obviously these retrievers did not sport the big hair you see in today's show ring!  The "Historically Correct Continental" is much closer to the original Poodle trim, yet it conforms to modern breed standards.  Although most handlers opt for full coats (and most judges prefer it), it's entirely within regulations to show a dog in HCC trim.  Several dogs actually have been successful in the AKC ring, finishing their Championships or earning other awards while in shortened coat.  A good judge who looks beyond grooming to the dog itself (as it should be) will put up the better dog, regardless of hair length.  In the UKC ring (where Tripp shows), you will see many more Poodles in alternate clips, as here it is standard for judges to evaluate the dog by more important merits.  It seems that Canada is more accepting of Poodles in HCC trim as well.  Of course, such a tight coat is less able to hide faults, so it takes a well put together dog to truly pull it off.

Tripp is now ready for the hot summer shows & trials, with his sexy new 'do.  As you can see, even though the HCC is a tighter show trim, it still has plenty of flair!  But then, we all know Tripp looks good no matter how I groom him.  ;-)