As I write this article, I am sitting in the office of Pawsitively Pretty still wearing my paw-print grooming smock. I’m a little bummed today because I lost a paw print hoop earring. However, as I look around my office I see all sorts of paws on my walls, schedule book, and business cards. I know I’m not alone in my paw obsession. I bet all sorts of paws surround other groomers on a daily basis.
In the Veterinary Hospital
The pet industry as a whole is one of the most steadily increasing markets in the country. While owners are showing increased value in the relationship they have with their pets, and the willingness they have to spend larger quantities of money on them, they are also doing more research to ensure their pets are receiving the best products and services available.
Ask the Grooming Tutor
“Hi Michell. I am considering asking my boss to add a teeth brushing service so that I can improve my income. I would like to feel confident that the service I am providing is healthy for the dogs and worth charging for. Do you have any suggestions?”
It’s a rare groomer indeed who has never had to deal with fleas or ticks. For most of us, finding fleas and ticks on a client’s pet is an all too common occurrence. Unfortunately, many pet parents seem oblivious to the fact that their pets need protection from these nasty blood-sucking, disease-carrying creatures.
A Groomer’s Role in Spotting Signs of Kidney Disease
Did you know that more than 1 in 3 cats and 1 in 10 dogs will be impacted by kidney disease in their lifetimes? Recent studies suggest numbers might be even higher, with more than half of cats over 15 years old being afflicted.3 So, what does this mean for groomers? It’s another opportunity for you to add value to your clients and keep them coming back for the high-quality care and compassion you provide.
The skin is a pet’s natural barrier to the outside world. As one of the body’s largest organs, the skin plays many vital functions to keep pets healthy. It protects the underlying internal organs, bones and muscles, provides sensory information, and acts as part of the immune system to guard against pathogens and external threats to health and safety. As part of the skin, fur also acts as a barrier and protects the skin, maintains body temperature, and contributes to the esthetic appeal of pets.
I consider one of the most important aspects of a nose to tail assessment during check-in for each pet is noting the condition of the pet’s teeth. Mind you, I do not just willy-nilly open up a pet’s mouth. I exercise caution and approach with care as any pet may pose a bite risk.
As a groomer, why should you care about that pet’s teeth?
Keeping Them Current
Grooming Rosie (AKA The Vibrating Wonderdog) was always a challenge as she vibrated as if she was standing on a washing machine with an unbalanced load during the agitator cycle. Rosie suffered from a neurological disorder and I was always on guard when using any sharp tools around her.
What They Are and What They Do
In the new world of “Spa” that has taken the grooming world by storm, there are many concoctions, products, and ingredients that are being offered to us to help heal and detoxify the skin and coat of the pet friends that we see every day.
Masks and Oils are used for this purpose to prepare the skin and coat to receive a therapeutic shampoo or treatment.
When Healthy Becomes Hefty
Groomers are a key member of a pet’s care team and can help pet parents identify when there might be just a little bit too much flab underneath all of that fur. Even a small amount of weight gain has been shown to decrease dogs’ lifespan by about two years.
Cats are susceptible to a number of infectious diseases. Some of them are preventable, and most boarding and grooming facilities require cats to be current on vaccinations. However, no vaccine is 100% effective, and regardless of a cat’s vaccination status, scrupulously clean facilities and a staff trained to understand disease transmission protocols are a must to prevent disease transmission.
Back when I was in grooming school, the instructor asked a seemingly innocent question. “What would you do if a dog’s eye popped out?” I was dumbstruck. Trust me on this; my jaw doesn’t drop that often. But there it was, on the floor. It had never occurred to me that this could happen. Eyes can just pop out of a head?? Anything else I should be aware of?
The answer to that is yes. As the loss of vision or even the eye itself can happen quickly, prompt veterinarian treatment is essential. It is why you should take a good look at the pet’s eyes during the check-in process.
Fleas and Ticks. These hardy little pests have been causing problems and carrying diseases almost since the beginning of time. Fleas are tough…in fact; fossilized remains of fleas that existed millions of years ago have been found. Trying to control and eliminate fleas and ticks has always been a real challenge for groomers.
Did you know there are between 74 and 96 million pet cats in the United States? Depending on their breed and lifestyle, a percentage of these cats will need professional grooming for a variety of reasons. Many cats do an outstanding job grooming themselves, however, if the cat has emotional or physical issues or is unable or unwilling to self-groom, a skillful and talented pet stylist is crucial to the cat’s general health and well being.
What is a “Lick Lesion”?
When dogs lick over and over at the same spot they eventually cause sores that veterinarians refer to as “acral lick dermatitis” or an “acral pruritic nodule”. These are itchy, thickened, centrally ulcerated or “raw” areas of skin, typically on the legs and forepaws, caused by excessive licking and complicated by bacterial infection and scarring.
At first it seemed just a tough bout of kennel cough, so we updated Bordetella vaccines. Yet every day we got worsening information. Was it the canine influenza (H3N8 virus)? The usual flu vaccines were the only treatment available. Symptoms were a distinctive cough, lethargy and inappetite.
Ringworm is one of the most over and under diagnosed conditions in veterinary dermatology. Dermatophytosis (ringworm) is a fungal infection of the hair, superficial skin, and occasionally nails. Contrary to the common name for dermatophytosis, “ringworm,” it is not a parasite and worms are not the problem!
In the 15 years I have been grooming, one thing I learned is that accidents can and do happen. We do not plan them, but we work with live animals. Being prepared to perform first aid promptly will reduce the pet’s pain and speed healing.
First aid is the prompt care of wounds prior to any necessary veterinary treatment.
It may seem baffling to you that veterinarians will emphasize and re-emphasize flea bite prevention for pets when neither you nor the owners have ever noted the presence of fleas or “flea dirt.” It is sometimes difficult to convince pet owners to consider flea bite allergy as the primary trigger for their dog’s itching and hairloss on the rump or tail when owners insist that “My pet doesn’t have fleas!”
Dog and cat ears are nothing short of amazing. Did you know they could hear in the 45KHz range, while we are limited to 23KHz? That’s why you can shake a bag of treats and your dog will come running from the other end of the property. Human ears have three measly muscles as compared to 18 in dogs and 32 in cats.