Monday, March 30, 2015

Spring Is Here, Honest It Is

With spring in the air we are lucky enough to have Kathryn Pentland-Bruck as our guest blogger this month.  She has some great information to get through mud season.  Thank you Kathryn for sharing your knowledge with us.

At last - Spring is finally here and along with it comes the beginning of one of the busiest times of the year for the pet grooming industry.


Just as we humans are excited about being able to shed our winter coats, boots, hats, mitts, scarves and heavy clothing so are our pets. And so begins the race to get Fluffy, Max, Riley, Mr./Mrs. Whiskers -whatever your beloved feline/canine family member’s name may be - in for a good groom including a short Spring trim. And for those with double-coated pets a good brush out to get rid of all that loose undercoat which suddenly seems to be clinging to everything and moving like little tumble weeds through your home. Where the heck did THAT come from?

Just as we feel better after a long period of time without a bath/haircut so do our pets. Can you think of a time where you got really dirty or maybe simply weren’t able to bathe/shower as often as usual (say after a weekend of camping) where you longed for a good clean up and felt like a million bucks afterwards? I truly believe the same goes for our pets. I’ve seen many pets come into my salon and after a good groom suddenly seem more happy, playful and energetic.

So what can you, the pet owner, do yourself either as part of your home grooming routine or while you’re waiting to get into the groomer because when you called they said, “We’re booked solid for the next 2 weeks now that the warmer weather’s arrived”?   There are 3 main things.  Note - the following tips should also be followed year round and may even help to keep your grooming costs down.

Brush your pet – regardless if it’s a dog, cat, rabbit,…if it has fur - just like people who have hair - it needs to be brushed on a regular basis. There are so many benefits to this. 1) It will help to keep your pet’s hair from becoming a matted/tangled mess. Typically matts and tangles = total shave down/buzz cut as in most cases it’s the most humane thing to do. Note - while matts and tangles may be brushed out it’s slow going, painful (for both the pet and the groomer) and expensive (for the pet owner). We groomers don’t have a magic wand which we can waive to suddenly transform this into this,..although it would be nice if we didJ
 2) It helps to remove loose undercoat for those double coated pets – think Huskys, Shelties, Malamutes,.. 3) It helps to keep the skin healthy – helps to keep things like hot spots, dandruff, infections,…at bay, and 4) It’s a great way to bond with your pet. Think of how nice it feels when someone else washes your hair and gives your head a lovely massage,….mmmmnnnnn. Tip – when brushing your pet it’s very important to get right down to the skin. I’ve had many a customer come into the salon and look at me in complete bewilderment when I say I need to shave their dog due to matting regardless of the fact that, “they get brushed on a regular basis”. Imagine if you will that your hair is 10 inches long. You can brush your hair as often as you want; however if the brush doesn’t come into contact with your scalp 9 ¾ inches of your hair may be glorious; however that remaining ¼ inch of hair attached to your scalp will likely be ¼ inch of hot matted mess – also known as a pelt. Now imagine how it would feel to try to brush that out? It would be like trying to brush several packs of chewed sticky bubble gum out of your hair.    
If you bathe your pet at home it is very important that you brush their hair/fur really well prior to doing so! 

Keep your pet’s nails short – I have lots of clients that bring their pets, in my case dogs, in to have their nails trimmed and/or grinded for a variety of different reasons: 1) They’re nervous about doing it themselves – especially with dark coloured nails, 2) They don’t know how/aren’t comfortable doing it, 3) They can’t do it themselves, or 4) They don’t have the time or desire to. Whatever the reason is fine. I’m happy to do it. Regardless who attends to your pet’s nails there are things you can do to help keep them shorter. 1) Ensuring your pet gets lots of exercise. There are many reasons why this should be done. Nails is just one of them. 2) Ensuring your pet comes into contact with rougher surfaces – i.e., walks on the asphalt, concrete or sidewalk for example – please don’t do this in the middle of the day on hot/sunny days, 3) Playing with your pet’s feet. Even if you don’t trim their nails. Having your pet comfortable with having their feet/paws handles will make the process much easier for whomever does trim their nails, and 4) Regular inspections of their feet/paws, pads and nails. So you know if there are changes and when the nails are too long.
Which may leave you wondering how do you know how often your pet’s nails should be trimmed? Well the most obvious signal is when you can hear them making the “tick tick tick” sound when your pet moves about. Can you hear your pet before they enter the room? If so, as Jeff Foxworthy would say, “There’s your sign!” Are your pet’s nails circling around and starting to grow back into your pet’s feet/paws? If so it’s definitely time to have them attended to! As a general rule think of how often you trim your own nails? I suggest that pet owners bring their pets in monthly for nail trimming if, for whatever reason, this isn’t part of their home grooming routine. It’s a short appointment, isn’t very expensive and ensures your pet isn’t in pain. Long nails on people aren’t the same thing as long nails on pets.     

Keep your pet dry This doesn't mean your pet can’t get wet; but there are a few things to think about. Each time your pet gets wet if they have existing matts/tangles those matts/tangles can be worse. It’s like putting a wool sweater in the dryer. If you have a double coated pet it’s very important that they get thoroughly dry after being wet or you could find your pet is suddenly very smelly and has oozy patches on their skin – hot spots. When drying your pet be sure to get all the coat dry not just the top coat. Like brushing you need to ensure ALL the hair/fur gets thoroughly dried – right down to the skin.   

Well dear readers I hope you’ve found this information to be both helpful and interesting and that it provides you with the ability to enjoy the onset of the nicer weather with your beloved family member to the fullest! If you’re in the Kemptville/North Grenville area, or surrounding areas, and are in search of a dog groomer please visit or contact me at either or 613-258-1010.