Finding Puppy’s Groomer: Consider These Factors

Something as superficial as your dog’s hairstyle may seem silly and unimportant, but choosing a professional groomer should be a high priority. Depending on your dog’s breed and hygiene needs, they could be visiting the groomer as often as every 4-6 weeks, so deciding who will be responsible for keeping your pooch clean and primped requires some research. Here’s a quick checklist to run through before getting your pup’s hair done:

  • Get a Referral – Begin by asking friends, family and neighbors for recommendations. Trusted reviews are invaluable.
  • thumbnail-dyi-grooming-cutCheck Prices – When you start calling local groomers, ask for a full rundown of their services and prices. For example, some groomers include nail clippings or other grooming services in their regular grooming packages and others do not, so it’s helpful to know exactly what’s offered. Many groomers’ prices depend on the size and breed of the dog  as well, so be sure that you aren’t comparing prices for a Maltese to prices for a Golden Retriever!
  • Take a Tour – Before booking your pup’s first appointment, you’ll want to visit the facility and observe the activity. Take mental notes of the setup, lighting and cleanliness level and make sure you’re comfortable with the environment. You’ll also want to check to see if the kennels are large enough and separated for dogs and cats. Watch to see if the groomers handle their pups in a caring and professional manner and ask the staff administrative questions such as what type of records they keep and how much advance notice is required for scheduling.
  • Bring Vaccination Records – Most groomers will require immunization records for rabies, kennel cough and other infectious diseases before accepting new dogs into their salon. It’s also worth noting that spayed and neutered dogs tend to be calmer, less hyperactive, and therefore more tolerant of grooming.
  • Speak Up about Any Special Circumstances – Before you drop your pooch off to get his or her hair done, make sure your groomer understands any health conditions to be aware of – whether it is dry/flaky skin or something more serious like hip dysplasia that would require extra gentle handling.
  • Say Goodbyes Quickly – Many dogs, especially those who display anxious behavior, have a difficult time with grooming. A long, drawn-out goodbye can make the experience worse for a socially anxious pooch, so don’t make it a big deal. There are also a few preparatory things you can do at home to get your pup more comfortable with the experience. Brush your dog often and give a reward after each brushing session.

If this all seems to be a bit much, just know that when you pick up your best friend, he will look “pawfect” with a shiny coat, fresh smell and maybe even a bandanna or bow in her hair to boot!

DIY Grooming in Five Easy Steps

If you’re on a budget and looking to save on what can be costly professional grooming appointments (especially if your breed requires a cut every 4-6 weeks or if you have multiple pets), DIY grooming may be right for you. The keys to successful at-home grooming are time and preparation. So, if you can commit to the idea that the process can be time-consuming, and that you’ll need some basic, necessary tools in your “home salon,” DIY grooming can be done by following these 5 simple steps. And get the camera ready – nothing is cuter or funnier than a soapy, wet pooch.

    1. Brush
      Begin the process by gently brushing your dog from head to tail. Be sure to choose the right brush. For instance, if your dog has a long, thick or difficult to manage coat, you’ll need a detangling brush. If Fido has soft, oily hair, a bigger bristle brush designed to remove excess oil may be necessary. Take your time and do your due diligence in removing all debris and locating all matted knots that need to be cut out. You’ll quickly notice which areas will require the most of your attention.
    2. Bathe
      As you get ready to bathe your dog, reassure him with a sweet, encouraging tone. Many dogs get skittish in and around water, so now is a good time to offer comfort if needed. It’s best to wash your dog in a sink or shower with a nozzle/spray attachment for easy, comfortable access and control. Your dog will do best in lukewarm water (a damp, cold dog will shiver). Choose a baby or pet shampoo made for sensitive skin to be safe. If your dog has dry, flaky skin, you’ll want to buy a moisturizing shampoo. If your dog may have fleas, you’ll need a flea-specific shampoo. Lather your pup up well and be careful to avoid his eyes and mouth. After washing the body, clean eyes and ears with a warm cloth only. Towel dry with a large towel and try to remove as much excess water as possible.
    3. Cut
      dyi grooming cutYou’ll need to purchase a pair of special grooming scissors from a pet store or online. Never use regular scissors on your pet! For an even cut, you’ll need the blades sharp and cut at a blunt angle. Always be extra careful around the face and in hard-to-reach areas like the belly, bottom and feet. And remember to clean up all the fallen hair so you don’t see it tracked all over your home afterwards.
    4. Dry
      dyi grooming hair dryDrying your dog’s hair the right way can also be the scariest part of the process for your pup! The only way to get your dog’s hair completely dry and free of that awful “wet dog smell,” is to use a hair dryer but the mere sound of the blower can often make your dog want to run in the opposite direction. To speed up the process, ask a friend or family member to help hold your dog in place while you dry your anxious pup. Brush your dog’s hair simultaneously while using the dryer for the optimum soft, fluffy coat.
    5. Reward!
      You did it! And your pup not only survived, but now looks fresh, clean and more adorable than before!  Celebrate with hugs, kisses, treats and verbal praise. That way, Fido associates bath time with positivity and well-deserved rewards./li>

After your first DIY grooming session, you may think twice about doing it again, but remember – it gets easier with practice!  Your hard work as a stylist is not only a cost-saver, but also provides other benefits. Grooming your dog yourself gives you total control over how your dog is handled (rather than entrusting a stranger) and offers your dog the familiar environment of home where he can be less stressed and have a more relaxed experience. Rest assured that the more you do it, the more of an enjoyable experience it will be…for both you and your dog!

Tips for Dealing with Dog Fur

It’s a known fact that most dogs shed, but this doesn’t keep us from loving them. At the same, it can be a pain to find fur all over your clothes and furniture. Some breeds, such as Labrador Retrievers, German Shepherds and Siberian Huskies, shed more than others. Whatever the breed, we’ve got the tips you need to keep your dog’s shedding under control.

Brush, brush, brush!

Brushing your dog’s fur regularly (for some dogs, this means daily) pulls out the loose hair that will otherwise end up on your carpet. It will also leave Fido’s coat cleaner and softer and will prevent his fur from matting.

Invest in a good vacuum.

Especially if your dog sheds seasonally, you’ll need a good vacuum to pick up after his fur. Spare yourself the headaches that come with a weak-suction vacuum and get yourself a machine that will get the job done the first time.

Use a lint roller.

Don’t underestimate the power of a good lint roller. The simple, inexpensive product can be a lifesaver in a home with a super-shedding dog. Use an extra sticky lint roller such as this one to easily pick up stray fur from yourself and from around the house.

Feed your dog a high-quality diet.
Dog food made from mostly corn or grains can be difficult for your pup to digest, causing dry skin and excess shedding. Food allergies can also contribute to hair loss and skin issues, in which case a veterinarian should be consulted. A diet high in protein and omega-3 fatty acids can improve overall coat texture.

Choose the right brush for your pup.

The type of brush you use for your pup can make a big difference in controlling his shedding. Your veterinarian can advise on what kind of brush to use, but there are generally brushes for two fur types: short and long. For dogs like Beagles and Bulldogs with shorter coats, a natural-bristle brush or hound mitt can be used. For dogs with longer, thicker coats, especially double-coated breeds like Pomeranians and Collies, a slicker brush or rake makes a better tool for getting rid of all that fur. Start by brushing in the opposite direction of your pup’s hair growth, then brush again in the direction of hair growth to fully remove all the loose, dead fur.

Give your dog a bath.

Regularly bathing your pup is not only a staple of good doggy hygiene, but it is also key to a healthy coat. Products like NuVet Conditioning Oatmeal Shampoo help sooth itchy skin and prevent dryness that can ultimately lead to hair loss.

While shedding might be one of the few things we don’t quite love about our dogs, it doesn’t have to be a burden. Instead, grooming your pup can become a daily bonding activity for the two of you. Less fur, more fun!

How To Bathe A Puppy?

Picture this: it’s late one afternoon and your puppy is about three months old. You sit down on the ground, ready to have a play session… when the awful happens. Your beautiful pup walks around the corner covered in… something very dirty and smelly. As unpleasant as this may be, it’s an expected occurrence for a young, curious pup. From three to six months, your new puppy is learning more about the world and learning what he or she can’t do, including getting into the trash or digging a hole in the backyard. Nonetheless, it’s time for your new friend’s first bath! You might imagine bathing a puppy to be a fun and cute experience, almost like a movie. However, the reality is that a bath for a wiggly, scared puppy can be a little challenging. Not to worry; we’ve created a quick 5 step process to follow to make those picture-perfect dreams of bathing an adorable puppy come true. 

1. Start Young… But Not Too Young 

Baths can be frightening for a puppy. That’s why you want to start giving baths as young as possible (after 8 weeks old) and as often as once a month. Age and frequency are important to ensuring the puppy gets used to the ordeal and acclimated to the new feeling, temperature and sounds. Make sure you give plenty of praise and remain calm the whole time. Your puppy is always looking to you for reassurance about new situations and by telling them everything is okay and that they’re doing great, you’ll quicken their acceptance and enjoyment of a bath.  

Remember however, don’t do any puppy grooming under 8 weeks old. Under this age, they will have a harder time regulating temperature and a bath could do more harm than good. If you need to give a young puppy a wash, try a washcloth with warm water and no soap for a light “sponge bath.” At this age, their skin will still be much more sensitive than that of an older dog. 

2. Make It Fun 

Since baths can be scary for a puppy, make sure you and puppy are having fun by making the bath a playful activity. The goal should be to make your puppy feel at home so that bath-time is associated with happy play-time. Bring his favorite toy (as long as it’s water and soap proof) into the tub to keep him interested in what’s happening. If you have the option, add a rubber mat to the bottom of the tub to keep him more secure, and detract from their fear of the situation. 

3. Pick The Right Soap 

Puppy Bath
It’s safest to go with a natural or allergy-friendly soap.

Picking the right soap is a huge part of the success of the bath as the wrong soap could hurt your pet or be ineffective. When it comes to puppy grooming, make sure to have a mild and sensitive soap that will take the smell away while leaving the oils that are good for your pet’s fur. Since you might not know if your pet has any allergies at the onset, it may be safer to go with a natural or allergy-friendly formula.  

If you have more specific goals than simply getting rid of dirt or a smell, you’ll need to look for customized washes that treat certain skin issues. To rid your puppy of fleas for example, be extra careful when buying soap. Some flea washes have age and weight requirements and certain instructions for rinsing. If ever unsure which soap is safe for your pet, talk to your veterinarian.

4. Rinse Well

After lathering up your pup and waiting for the soap to do its magic, it’s time to rinse your puppy. The most important thing is to make sure your puppy has absolutely no soap left on their skin. Just like with humans, dry and itchy skin can often be traced back to a bad rinse. When your puppy will likely only have a bath approximately once a month, this can lead to a lot of discomfort for the puppy and therefore, a dislike of baths. An extra tip: Make sure to keep your puppy’s eyes, ears, mouth, and nose clean and dry. This can best be done by not washing the face with soap at all and rather, starting at the neck. If you need to wash the face, use a washcloth with warm water and dab the dirt away rather than scrubbing with soap and rinsing. A surefire way that your pup will hate the bath is if you dump water over his head! .  

5. Dry Safely

puppy bath
Gently dry your puppy, getting any excess water off before he has a chance to shake it off onto you.

The bath is over and now your puppy is clean as a whistle although he is still wet as a pond. Have a towel ready so that you can quickly drape it over him. Use this time to gently dry your puppy, getting any excess water off before he has a chance to shake it off onto you. Be ready: When the towel comes off, the shaking begins. It’s especially important in the winter when it’s cold and particularly with long and thick-coated dogs, to make sure your puppy is completely dry before they venture back outside. For those that use a heat source like a dryer, get the puppy used to this slowly as the sound of a dryer can spook even the calmest of pups. It’s also important to use a low-level heat setting at a good distance from the skin to avoid heat sensitivity or worse, burns.  

Bathing your puppy should be a fun and rewarding bonding experience. A bath should be something both you and your puppy get excited about. With an early “dive in,” and by following the right tips, you and your pup will achieve success. And remember even if the first try is unsuccessful, don’t give up. With enough repetition and love, your pup will learn to enjoy getting clean!