I just wanted to shout out a thank you to all of you who trust your pets to me. I enjoy getting to know you and your pets. It is my privilege so work with such wonderful people and pets!
Today I had several old dogs, all in their teens. They all seemed healthy although a little frail. I have a special place in my heart for older pets.
One little girl was a terrier mix. Like a little watermelon with legs. She was solid. But what an adorable face, her brown eyes framed by wisps of hair. What a little cutie.
The older bichon wouldn't let me use the clipper on his front legs. So instead, I had to scissor them. But the scissors would tickle his legs and he would twitch. So it wasn't the best haircut...
The little black poodle went after my hand trying to bite it. But it was so old and slow that it just made me laugh. She finally settled down and stopped biting.
Often it takes the old dogs some time, after you, even gently, touch them or pick them up, to settle down. As if the touch is over-stimulating to them and they have to regain themselves. That's why it is important to be very patient especially when grooming older pets. They are trying their best.
And maybe that is it, I see their struggle and I feel for them. So I try to make grooming as comfortable as possible for them.
Don't let the summer heat get you down...
This has been a hot summer. Keeping your fur kids cool can take come creativity! Dogs keep them selves cool differently than humans. Our bodies rely on persperation and a breeze to cool us down and water to keep us hydrated. Dogs pant and cool their bodies from the inside out. It is a very efficient system as long as they have fresh water. However, some pets are more sensitive to the heat, some have very heavy coats and others may lack shade in the heat of the sun.
Grooming is key is keeping your pet cool. I have two dogs with shepherd-like coats. While I don't shave them for the summer, I do make sure to deshed them and get that excess coat out. Our deshedding treatment consists of using the Furminator shampoo and a variety of tools, as well as the blow dryer to get the excess coat out. Even just having a clean coat can lift the hair and cause it to act as an insulator against the sun.
Of course having too much hair can make a dog hot as well. If your dogs hair is the type that grows long, trimming helps them to cool down. Shaving is not always necessary. We can do just about any length that you want.
The important thing is to observe your dogs and how much they are panting. Provide shade and water and on days where the temperatures climb close to 100 degrees, bring them inside where it's cool. If they seem to not be able to cool down and are panting excessively, they may need emergency attention. Look for these signs of heatstroke:
Rapid Panting, bright red tongue with pale gums or thick, sticky saliva, depression, weakness, dizziness, vomiting (sometimes with blood), diarrhea and shock. Cool your dog down and seek veterinary care immediately if you see these signs.
Stay cool and enjoy your summer. Hope to see you soon!
A welcoming home session between myself and my four kitties, brought me some insight into a basic activity and how it can reduce shedding problems. But first, let me introduce my four felines.
Noodles, the newest addition, and the youngest, is a rescue from the desert of Arizona and is my most vocal kitty and is literally whipped by my smallest and only girl cat, Triffid, (we all are). More about Triffid, later, and I mean more! Noodles is the most playful of the kitties and bounds along with the others like the little brother that just wouldn’t go home. He is a jolly boy and loves his big cheeks rubbed and his neck scrubbed. Heck, he loves it all! His red mackerel coat sheds the most noteably in my hands. I enjoy his vocalizations, they are unique as he is. As if always asking a question, he roams the house until I call his name and he then answers back with what I can only imagine to be something like “Oh, ok, just wondering”.
Sebastian is my daughter, Raven’s, cat, but as the rule went in my house, if you get a pet at my house, they stay there. The animals here have formed relationships and have made a home together with me, they stay here. I can care for them and my girls are free to rescue more animals when they live on their own, which they have. So he lives with us and is a very regal looking cat like a white mini cheetah with a black butterfly shape going across his head at an angle. Cuddling is one of his favorite activities along with chattering at prey out the screened window. Whenever my hair is laid out on a pillow or top of the couch, he can be found snuggling in it. He places his pink nose on it so delicately and drools. (I know, ooh, gross. But he’s so cute!) All the while making muffins.
Pumpkin loves me the most. He shakes his tail at me and manipulates me into taking him outside. I want to build a cat enclosure for him especially! He a longer haired tabby than Noodles and more red in hue. Slight of frame, he seems to have unnatural powers over me. He has learned “Out” and says it all the time. Ok, maybe I learned his word for “out”.
Last and the one you’ve been waiting for, Triffid. Ruler of The Kingdom. She rules not just me and the other cats, but the dogs as well. She is small and in charge. Just over 6 lbs, she has a personality larger than the mightiest lion. But she really is just so cute that she gets her way. She rides me around like a horse commanding my direction with her meows. Directing me to the food dishes where a cabinet full canned food hangs open. Salmon is her favorite, so I pull out a can while under the spell of her cuteness.
So, finally what we all came here for… Petting your cats is a great way to get rid of their shedding hair. It is why we get cats in the first place, they are so soft! So pet then with a dry hand, and moistened hand, and gloved hand, and hand holding a brush or a Zoom Groom… find something that works for your cats individual coats. I prefer hands and the Zoom Groom. I gather up the hair that is coming off of them and throw it away, then vacuum. Have a heavy petting session every couple of days and vacuum and you will not only have less hair floating around, but you will improve your relationship with your kitty.
There has been a lot of press lately about the dangers of grooming. Here is what to look for in a groomer and some facts about our trade.
Pet groomers do not need to be licensed or certified. There is no certification authority in New Mexico or other states. Here in Albuquerque, NM we need to be inspected by the Animal Services Department for safety and cleanliness. But there is nothing overseeing the handling of the animals as in grooming.
There are independant organization who certify groomers. These groomers have fulfilled their training requirements, usually information on sanitation, tool care, breed trims, and many other fundamental aspects of caring for your pet during a grooming session. Shop cleanliness and organization are also a part of the curriculums. These certifications vary in the breadth of knowledge required. And it is voluntary to get these certifications. Some certifications can be obtained through the internet without ever having handled a dog. So it is important to receive certification through a respected Organization.
Pretty Pets has chosen to certify through International Professional Groomers, Inc. or IPG. At a recent convention, I was able to speak to the founder of IPG and was very impressed with her philosophy about pet care. The code of Ethics for IPG includes: "Treat humanely all animals entrusted in my care and place their welfare above all else, to exhibit compassion and integrity when dealing with these pets, ensuring their safety and health." Among several others that can be found at http://www.ipgicmg.com/default.html.
We have started studying for our certification and both the salon and groomers will all be certified through IPG.
Some facts about Pretty Pets:
•We never leave a dog on a table or in the tub unsupervised.
•Pets are dried by hand. We don't use cage dryers.
•We use shampoos with natural and organic ingredients.
•Your pets have orthopedic fleece to lay on in the kennels.
•Your pets have access to water during their stay.
•All kennels are solid bottom.
•We have over 25 years of experience grooming pets between us.
Please feel free to ask questions and share your concerns. We are here to help.
Thank you, Marilyn
Pretty Pets 293-1600
Recently I learned of Blue’s, liver failure. He is my oldest dog, a 13 year old shepherd mix. His liver is smaller than normal. And apparently, bloodwork can not detect liver failure until 70% of the liver is compromised because dogs bodies compensate so well.
This takes me back to when I have heard the bad news of an aging pet. I remember all the extra effort to make them comfortable and the fear of the impending loss.
End of life decisions are very difficult to make. We speak of quality of life vs. quantity. Each dog has their own specific ability to manage pain. Evolution has given dogs and cats the ability to look healthy up until either they fail, or we intervene with a cure or treatment for their condition. Just because a dog is showing pain, however, doesn’t mean it is time to put them down. Pain can be managed and so can nausea and other issues to a degree. The will to live is strong in animals just as it is in humans. That is what makes the decision to let them pass so difficult.
Each of us has our own tolerance to pain and suffering. In fact, it is amazing the tolerance people have to suffering. Of course, that doesn’t mean it is quality living. We can’t help but project onto our pets what we are feeling when we see them struggling, as this is how we try to understand them. And our human compassion makes it hard for us to see them in pain.
There is, however, an objective way to track your pets pain and discomfort as well as understanding how they are feeling about how they are feeling. The scales have psychological and behavioral cues as well as how the pet responds to palpitation, which can give you a good idea of how much pain your pet is experiencing.
Using this scale periodically a couple times a week when you are facing the difficult decision can help you to track how your pet is really doing . Keeping track of the scores can help you tell and when your pet has more bad days than good ones and more unhappy times than before. It makes it a bit easier to understand what your pet needs.
Many other things factor into our decision. How many times we have gone through it, what our experiences have been, how attached we are to our pet, and our own will to live.
It is never an easy decision. Most veterinarians will give you an idea of when to put your pet down to relieve their suffering. But ultimately you have to make the decision and when you do, listen to your intuition, try talking with your pet. Sit with them for a while. You will make the right decision because your love for your pet will guide your choice.
Cat Pain Scale PDF http://www.csuanimalcancercenter.org/assets/files/csu_acute_pain_scale_feline.pdf
Dog Pain Scale PDF
Pet grooming is much more than making dogs/or cats pretty. Keeping pets groomed is required by Bernalillo law and for good reason. Groomers can alert pet parents to many health issues such as skin problems, joint and muscle pain, tumors, bumps, and behavioral issues. A well trained groomers can provide basic training and pet care information to pet parents. Because groomers see many of the same dogs often, we form may notice subtle changes and create trusting and loving relationships with pets.
I started school as pre-vet, worked as a vet tech and have volunteered for non-profits. I wanted to give back to animals all the support and love they have given me during my life. A major life change required me to learn a job quickly and knowing I had to work with animals, I began learning grooming, I was concerned I wasn't going to be able to make as much of difference as I would have wanted. But as I began to train as a groomer, I realized that clean pets are cuddled and included more.
Not only that, but I have found tumors, ear infections, festering sores under mats as well as many more health issues that I could either take care of myself (like removing mats, foxtails, etc.) or I could make sure they went to the vet. Groomers often find health or behavior issues that owners and even Veterinarians may miss.
After working at several grooming shops, I discovered not all groomers take care and patience with pets. Injury, abuse, and neglect happen in many salons. Shops requiring groomers to groom too many dogs, too fast, and without enough care threatens the safety of the pets and groomers. Here at Pretty Pets we only hire kind and caring groomers that work together for the pets' best grooming experience.
Grooming requires patience, skill, strength, mindfulness, intelligence and a commitment. Skills can be learned within months, but like all skills, can take years to hone. Not a day goes by when I don't learn something new or meet a new pet. I go to work to get cheered up! And know I am making a difference in those pets lives.
Comparison of Wages Between Vet Techs and Groomers
Grooming Industry Statistics
Industry publication eGroomer issues an annual survey of grooming businesses, and a more accurate assessment of groomers' income can be gleaned from its 2012 State of the Industry report. At an average* commission of $22.25 per dog in the salon, a groomer finishing five dogs per day would earn $111.25 per day or $556.25 per week. At 50 weeks per year, that's $27,812.50. On the same basis, a groomer finishing seven dogs per day would earn $38,937 per year. Eight dogs per day would add up to $44,500 per year, and 11 dogs equals $61,187 per year.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects growth of 23 percent between 2010 and 2020 for its broad category of animal caregivers. The 2012 eJournal survey is also optimistic, with 91 percent of grooming salon owners expressing optimism about their businesses despite a sluggish economy.
*Average commissions tend to run closer to $25-30 per dog today (estimate from my shop).
Vet Tech Industry Statistics
While entry-level earners make a little over $20,000 per year, the highest-paid vet tech salary is over $44,000 annually, according to the North American Veterinary Technician Association (NAVTA). According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2013, the average vet tech salary is approximately $30,000 per year.
Although cats may seem to constantly groom themselves, they sometimes need our assistance. It's a good idea to get kittens used to basic grooming and handling so they can go through the process of it with ease. Once it is obvious that your cat’s coat is matted, it is often too late to comb or brush it, without causing your kitty a lot of pain and discomfort. If your cat is matted, it is best to take them to a professional who has experience handling and grooming cats. Feline body language is quite different than dogs, and there is a high risk of injury for both the cat and the groomer if the kitty is scared.
Cat dander causes all the dander from sticking to the hair and makes the cat easier to wash, but some people have found that it makes the dander worse. If you have allergies, there are several breeds of cat that do not produce as much dander such as the Cornish Rex and Russian Blue.
I don’t trim my own cat’s nails because if they are trimmed they aren't able to climb the cat trees, and this is a good way that they get their exercise, and prevent them from scratching the furniture. To trim a cat’s nails, you must expose the claws by gently pressing the toes between your fingers. Do not clip the vein, it appears as a pink or dark color inside the nail. Cats normally shed their claws by scratching, but when they are clipped, the claws tend to thicken and become flaky.
Ears are sometimes the home of mites that can thrive in a cat’s ear. Clean the ear with a cotton ball and little bit of oil. Petroleum Jelly can be used to smother them, as well as small ticks and other bugs. If you smell a foul odor, or you pet it scratching at their ears or shaking their head, they should go to the veterinarian.
When it come to grooming the coat, a brush and comb are the best tools to start with. Brushes help remove tangles and extra hair, and you check your cat for tangles or mats by combing from nose to tail once a week. For bad tangles, hold the hair at the base so you don’t pull the hair too hard. Talking gently to your kitty is a good way to reassure them that you aren’t going to hurt them, tell them what you are doing before you do it and over time, they will learn to understand what is coming up next, and try to use a similar method each time so they can get used to it. Most cats shed in the spring and early fall. If the shedding hair from the fall remains in the cats coat over the winter, it will mat faster once their spring coat grows in.
Bathing a cat may be necessary especially as they get older. Greasy or oily fur can cause mats and make your kitty uncomfortable. Kitties usually don’t like water, so bathing them can be a challenge, and even keeping them in the tub is a challenge because if you hold them, they may scratch or bite. Scruffing a cat by the neck, like their mamas do, helps kitties to calm down by releasing natural chemicals to relax them. Scruffing too much, however, can make their skin sore.
Grooming your cat also helps to build a trusting relationship. If you need to use a groomer, find one you trust and stick with them for kitties sake.
These are the charcoal portraits my daughter, Erin, gave to me for Christmas before Maddy and Charlie passed away from cancer in January.
2012 had a bumpy start for my family and me. In January, two of our dogs passed away. They had been with us 12 years and they and my daughters grew up together. It is always hard to lose a family member. I have lost several in my life, not just pets, but my parents, a brother, and several others as well as some friends. Death isn't new to me, yet it feels deeper each time. While it can make it tougher to take, it gives me an opportunity to reflect on the many I have loved and lost. And how fortunate I am to have had them in my life. I may not always show my appreciation to the best of my ability, but it is a life long goal of mine to improve that.
Every dog’s needs are different. Not sure how you should groom your furry friends for the summer? Here are a few things to consider while you head to the groomer.
My girl, Maddy, is a German and Australian Shepherd mix. I describe her as a seventy pound Pomeranian. Her hair is long and thick. It also has several different textures. She is the most challenging dog I groom. And although I don’t typically advocate shaving shedding breeds, she just has too much hair for this climate. I can tell she suffers from the heat with her full coat. After I give her a haircut, her activity level increases and she is more social. She has had several hair cuts such as the “Smoothie” or “Bikini” (What I call a close shave down) and the Lion Trim (quite darling on her - it shows off her girly figure underneath - without that naked feeling). However, she seems most comfortable when she has a good inch or two of length. It cushions her as she lays and is softer on her sore, dysplastic hips.
Every dog’s needs are different. Not sure how you should groom your furry friends for the summer? Here are a few things to consider while you head to the groomer.
Consider where your pet spends most of their time. Is it indoors? Outdoors? On tile? On dirt? Dogs skin needs to be protected from the elements, just as our own. We need to protect them from sunburns and exposure to the sun that can lead to cancer.
Often, pet owners will grow their pet’s hair out for the winter and shear them short for the summer. Unfortunately, if the pets aren’t groomed between times, tangles, mats and hot spots (open sores on the skin) can form under the coat. Often, we can’t see them until the groomer strips that coat off to reveal the sore skin underneath. And with the difficulty of shearing matted hair, nicks and clipper burns are unfortunately more likely to happen.
To prevent these problems, make sure that your pet’s hair is brushed and trimmed (if needed) on a regular basis.When having your pet shaved, leave enough hair to protect their sensitive skin from the sun. It may mean that they may have to get another haircut or two during the summer months to continue to keep them cool.
Mats make dogs hot. The hair can get packed right up next to the skin, holding in the heat, not letting the skin breathe. Brushing and deshedding helps keep the coat moving freely, keeping your pet cooler. For double coated, shedding breeds, brushing removes undercoat. De-shedding techniques range from treats and special shampoo to blow drying and de-shedding tools. Make brushing at home a part of your pet’s regular grooming. It is important to get out undercoat and mats as well as stickers, foxtails, etc. that are making them uncomfortable.
When brushing, do so gently, pulling the brush away from the skin so you don’t scratch the skin. Grooming tools vary in their effectiveness for different types of coats. Some may find a comb most helpful in keeping their pet detangled and/or the undercoat out, others may find different tools more useful. Ask your groomer to show you some tools and techniques to keep your pet brushed out.
Shaving down certain coat types, such as Goldens, Shepherds, Chows, etc. can result in the coat growing back thinner with a different texture that tends to mat quicker, requiring more maintenance. The long (guard) hairs, act as an insulator from the sun, keeping the dog cooler. Just be sure to get the undercoat brushed out.
Of course, haircuts and de-shedding aren’t the only measures you can take to keep your furry friend comfortable during the heat. Provide plenty of fresh water and a comfortable and cool place to lay down, both indoors and out. Panting, laying on cool surfaces like tile, seeking shade and water are ways your pet cools themselves down.
One final thing to remember, as silly as it seems, pets can get embarrassed when they get a haircut that is a drastic change. Let them know they are cute, adorable and/or handsome, etc. They will respond to you and strut their stuff. If you think they are cute, that is all that matters to them!
Marilyn Haldane is owner of Pretty Pets and Administrator of the Zia Fund. "My goal is to further the understanding between pets and people and impart the responsibility we have towards animals both in our care, and in the wild." Her special interests lie in older and special needs pets. The Zia Fund raises money for older pets in need, as well as pets who need veterinary care and whose owners can't afford the treatments. Read more about the Zia Fund here.