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Groomers refusing Doodles.

Never in my career have I heard so much groomer bashing. Groomers are frustrated too!

I’ve been a groomer for 15yrs and been contacted by several frustrated doodle parents searching for yet another groomer because the last one shaved their dog too short.

For several years now Doodles have been gaining in popularity due to their hypo-allergenic, anti-shedding fluffy coats. They are also highly publicized on social media for their size and loveable personalities. Doodles are a mix breed, which was not all that popular in the prior years when most pet parents preferred purebreds. Whatever the cross breed may be, often times the end result is a mix between two very different coats. For example, Golden Retrievers have two layers, a thick undercoat and a water resistant outer coat that is fine, soft and luxurious. Poodles on the other hand have coarse curly hair. Combine the two and it could go either way making it difficult to maintain.

Often times too much time passes, in between grooms with no grooming practices at home. I get it! Grooming can be expensive starting from $75 up to $200 (depending on size and condition of the coat) and its the groomers job to send them back just as the client requested, fluffy. Unfortunately, if they are not dried and combed out properly after a bath at home or swimming, it accelerates the tangles and matts. They may seem soft and tangle free on the outside, however, the undercoat tells a much different story. Often times a shave down is the only option and it comes off like a pelt. The main concern for the pet parent seems to be vanity, however, often times these ungroomed coats cannot be de-matted due to the severity. This condition can be VERY painful for dogs that when shaved exposes bruising, hot spots, excessive dander and other skin issues.

Below is just a few examples of this. (their faces are hidden to avoid embarrassment ;))

Honestly, doodle parents need to be responsible for the daily home maintenance of these complex, fluffy coats. Groomers only see them once a month, best case scenario. Can you imagine only combing out your own hair once a month? It’s plain and simple, if its too matted, it has to be shaved short. Shaving a matted dog is difficult for the pet and the groomer. It takes significantly more time, skill and expertise in order to not nick, cut or burn the dogs skin with the over worked clippers and sharp blades.

For daily grooming of a longer fluffy doodle coat, use a slicker brush all over from head to toe focusing on the spots that matt the most, i.e. armpits, neck area (specially if they are walked with a harness), rear end and legs. Then use a metal comb from the root outward. If the coat has matts that are too hard to remove by brushing or combing, its best to use grooming scissors or clippers to remove those specific spots. If the fur is fairly long and fluffy, you will never notice these little spots that need to be removed. It is also important to brush and comb PRIOR to at-home baths as well as after being dried. There are products available to lessen the comb out process such as all natural shampoos and conditioners.

In closing, if you work with their groomers on a plan to maintain the luxurious coat of these wonderful companions, all involved will benefit. Skipping around to different groomers just puts more stress on you and your pet. Pick a groomer you feel comfortable with and stick with them. Keep communication open at each and every grooming to build a relationship.

Be kind to one another, we all have struggles. Tell your dog I said “HI”.

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Homemade Dog Beef Stew

My dogs LOVE this recipe!

I totally get that we are all pressed for time and the thought of not only cooking for the family but cooking for the dogs too seems inconvenient and crazy!? Right? However, this is a really simple and easy recipe to make in a your Instapot or or slow cooker. If you can replace just one meal a day with this wholesome nutrient and moisture rich recipe, your canine companions will feel better and love you for it.

I’ve been cooking for our two Labrador Retrievers, Sparky (12yrs) and Bob (2yrs) for about 2 years now, starting with my own homemade healthy treats and holistic herbal supplements. After learning about the ill effects of kibble through our vet, education, research and coming across the documentary PET FOOleD by Kohl Harrington featuring Dr. Karen Becker, DVM, CVA, CCRT. (A highly recommended watch!) I figured it was a great alternative for kibble. A species specific raw food diet would be the ultimate diet for my dogs. However, I’m way to squeamish for the for that right now and this seems like a good transition.

Just a quick note about kibble…

There are several things to take into consideration when choosing dog food. The most important is to read the ingredients. Just like human food labels, the first few ingredients make up the majority of the contents. Meat should be the first and be specifically identified. For example, if the ingredients include “liver”, it should state what animal it came from… turkey, chicken, beef, etc. Otherwise it could be from the slaughter house or even road kill. It is difficult to dispose of large dead animals, therefore they are “recycled” by grinding them up and making what is called by-products. Bones, eyeballs, feet, intestines, etc. Gross! Also,kibble is processed at an intensely high heat to make the shelf life longer. All the natural moisture, vitamins and minerals are cooked out and synthetic vitamins and minerals are added so that the nutritional value is considered complete and balanced.

With that being said, lets try something better!

Here’s what you need:

If your pups are tolerant to grains, you can always add 1 cup of brown rice or quinoa.

  • 3 lbs cubed or shredded steak
  • 1/4 lbs calf liver (usually in the frozen beef section)
  • 2 1/2 cups water
  • 2 cups peas and carrots (frozen)
  • 4 cups chopped spinach
  • 1 cup cauliflower (fresh or frozen)
  • 1/4 cup bluberries
  • 1/2 can 100% pure pumpkin
  • 4 lrg eggs
  • 1 lrg sweet potato (chopped)
  • 2 apples (chopped, peeled and cored NO SEEDS, they are toxic for dogs)
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 pinch pepper

Add everything into your pot and stir well. If using an instapot use the pressure cooking setting for 25-30min. For a crockpot set on a medium setting for 6 hours. The KEY is to cook slow in order to retain the nutrients. Anything cooked at super intense heat cooks all the goodness right out of it.

When finished cooking your homemade dog food, mix well or use a masher. My dogs are big boys (100lbs+) so they enjoy it chunkie. This recipe makes approximately 14 cups and can be left in the refrigerator for 4-5 days and frozen in an airtight container for up to 3 months.

Disclaimer: I am not a veterinarian, nor a certified canine nutritionist. I am just a self educated concerned pet parent sharing my experiences and I want the best for my companions as well as yours.

Longevity for our dogs is the ultimate goal. We are what we eat, human or otherwise.

Tell your dog I said “HI”.

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Grooming for Senior Dogs

Should senior dogs and cats continue to be groomed?

The answer is YES! Although it can be a difficult process for the elderly dog and cat, it is essential for their health and well being. After the groom they tend to feel better and a little more energized. Being a groomer for 15 years I am a first hand witness to this. They come in a little smelly and soiled with long nails and dirty ears. When they leave, they seem happier and refreshed! Our pets are an integral part of our family. They provide us with loving sloppy wet kisses when we are sad, they are protectors, pillows and best friends. Our boy Sparky, AKA “Mr. gray face”, an aging yellow Labrador is now 14 years old (98 in dog years). He has saved every human in our family thru trying times with unconditional love and constant companionship. His eyes are cloudy, his joints unsteady and unable to go for car rides or a big hop up on the couch. He has a comfortable bed located in our family room where we lay on the floor next to him. There are good days and bad.

The ASPC estimates that 78 million dogs and 85.8 million cats are owned in the United States and almost half (47%) are age 7 years and older. As they age, they are prone to stress and anxiety making it extra hard on them going to the groomer. You may start to notice that certain sounds tend to frighten them into a panic such as wind or fireworks. At the pet salon they also tend to be afraid of the noisy dryers, clippers and other barking dogs. However, an experienced groomer can provide special extra amenities such as a sling and/or an ear sock to eliminate loud noise. Communication between you and the groomer is most important. Daily doses of pet CBD can calm them as well as provide relief from arthritis and joint pain. Pets also tend to slow down, sleep more, get a little wobbly and eating habits may change due to the effects of congestive heart failure, kidney or liver issues. You will notice that their nails grow longer quicker since they do not grind down naturally through activity. They must be trimmed or grinned more often so that the quick does not grow too long. It is important to keep them calm, clean, clipped and comfortable.

I came across this poem, I would love to share as it sums up the struggle between groomer and pet …..

“This is an open note to all the groomers out there who yesterday, today, or tomorrow, are holding tight a senior pet throughout their grooming sessions. 

The ones who wobble, the ones who struggle, the ones who tremble, the ones who bite & fight, the blind ones, the deaf ones, the ones who can’t hold their bladder, the arthritic ones, the stumbling fumbling ones, the screamy ones, the ones whose breath isn’t too fresh, the panicky ones, the ones whose coats are thin, the ones whose hair is dull and greasy, the ones whose bodies are worn out and broken down, the ones whose minds aren’t as focused as they were…….

Thank you for being extra patient and kind. Thank you for putting vanity aside in favour of our comfort. Thank you for going slow. Thank you for turning down the dryer. Thank you for the extra snuggly towel cuddles. Thank you for the thoughtful way you turn and lift me. Thank you for the extra warm bath massage. 

Thank you for knowing that I’m not giving you a hard time, but rather, that I’m having a hard time.”🐶 💓 Anonymous

Now if you can wipe the tears from your eyes and continue reading, here are some ideas and topics to discuss with the groomer:

  1. Ask for the most experienced groomer.
  2. Communicate to the groomer of any pressing concerns, ie. recent seizures, sore spots, skin or fur issues, anxiety, etc.
  3. Remind the groomer of any lumps and bumps to avoid with clippers and scissors.
  4. Ask if they can be groomed as soon as possible and not place in a cage. Use a mobile groomer if possible for a more calm, one on one experience.
  5. Bring a favorite blanket or squeaky toy for comfort.
  6. Bring a washable diaper in case of incontinence to avoid a mess on the grooming table or on the way home.
  7. Try giving a calming treat or a light sedative prior to the grooming service.
  8. Do not expect a perfect groom or ask for anything out of the ordinary. Their comfort is more important than vanity.
  9. Provide light daily grooming habits at home. It can help to identify new issues as well as creating a bonding experience.
  10. Do not wait too long in between grooms. It is a more difficult process if the coat is too dirty or matted.

We recommend these top 5 items for their at home care

  1. Waterless shampoo for the in between visits to the groomer
  2. Orthopedic bed
  3. Washable dog diapers for male or female
  4. Calming dog chews with probiotics
  5. Pet camera

Whatever the age, good grooming practices are essential for your pets health. Its important to start early so that they become comfortable with the process and continue it as long as possible. You may also want to consider grooming at your veterinarian office for sedation and immediate emergency care if needed. Your groomer my eventually deny service and recommend the vet because it has become too difficult. Please don’t get upset, its because they care. Groomers become attached to their furry friends and when we lose them to an illness or old age its definitely the most difficult part of the job. Keep in mind, for us, sometimes its a monthly occurrence.

Hopefully this was useful information. Thanks for reading. Tell your dog I said “HI”.

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Flea Treatments for pets 2022

Spring is in the air… and so are the fleas and ticks, oh boy! They are actually parasites that survive on other living creatures while depleting their nutrients. If you live in a warm climate, flea season is year round. Even in freezing conditions, they follow your pet into the warmth of your home. If the scratching keeps you up at night, imagine your pets torture. Prevention is key and there are many options, even homemade herbal treatments. We are comparing the different options.

As a groomer, when informing a client of a flea infestation on their pet, I would hear the utter shock in my clients voices. It is a major “first alarm alert” in the grooming shop anytime a dog or cat with fleas was being checked in. The pet is taken immediately to the tub for quick elimination so there is no chance of an infestation throughout the pet salon. Monthly extermination in pet grooming salons should be a must. Preventing fleas is much easier that treating a infestation. Its best to have different levels of protection, such as being proactive with their treatment as well as their environment.

So as it gets warmer, the flowers are blooming and the fleas and ticks are multiplying. There are 200 different species of fleas, the most common being the cat flea. The effects of exposure to these little pests can range from skin irritation and allergic reactions to Lyme Disease from ticks, which can cause lameness, joint swelling and kidney complications in dogs.

Nowadays, fleas and ticks are stronger than ever. The more affordable options such as topical shampoos, drops and dips are quickly becoming ineffective due to mutations in fleas and ticks. These methods can also be harmful to your pets skin and health since the main ingredients are harsh chemicals.

The following are two of the more common and more effective treatments opposed to topical treatments that are available…

Seresto Bayer Flea and Tick Collar, approximately $80 for 8 mo. Pros: no prescription needed from your vet, easy and conveniently kills fleas, ticks and lice. Cons: less effective when exposed to water, so if your dog swims or gets groomed often, it should be removed and in some cases have resulted in skin irritation and hair loss.

Nexguard Chewables, approximately $70 for 3 mo.Pros: 1 chew per month actively kills fleas and ticks, can be used on puppies over 8 weeks, very palatable and low incident of vomiting. Cons: a prescription is needed from your veterinarian, cannot be given to cats, has to be chewed and not swallowed whole, cannot be given to pregnant or lactating female dogs.

Personally, I have used Nexguard chewables in the past and found that it worked great for both my little guy and big guy. I chose it because my big lab swam almost everyday in the summertime and my veterinarian at the time did not require appointment.

My big Lab ultimately passed away from a stomach tumor that was not visible. One day, he started vomiting a black liquid and I took him to the vet immediately who informed me that the tumor had burst and was septic. It was completely unexpected, since earlier that day he was in the backyard running around and playing with his jolly ball. We will never know what exactly caused it, but I will be more careful choosing food and treatments with my future pets.

Now, as a more educated pet parent and being concerned with eliminating harsh pesticides and chemicals from my pets, I have researched different holistic herbal alternatives. Which is much less expensive AND can be used by the whole family.

For a quick topical solution we now use: Citronella, tea tree, peppermint, eucalyptus, and neem which are all great essential oils for getting rid of fleas. Just add 10 to 20 drops to a spray bottle filled with water and spray on your pet’s coat, taking care to avoid their eyes.

For a preventative, internal solution: Our Doggone Green Superfood Blends contain Pumpkin seeds with the amino acid cucurbitin, which works to paralyze and eliminate parasites from our dogs digestive tract. Whats better than a natural remedy for parasites and worms!? You can also feed the seeds whole or grind them up and add to their food. Besides being safe for deworming, Pumpkin seeds also prove to be a quality protein, amino acids and many nutrients.

Disclaimer: I am not a veterinarian, nor a certified canine nutritionist. I am just a self educated concerned pet parent sharing my experiences and I want the best for my companions as well as yours.