Lets talk Skin & Coat

An ongoing series of informational entries

Allergies: What I Observe as a Groomer, What I do as a Pet Mom

August 2013

  Understanding allergies can be complicated and frustrating. This time of year is often the worst for environmental, outdoor or contact allergies. Signs of this may be pink itchy skin, goopy eyes, chewing/licking feet, sneezing and or hot spots. Let me start by saying its imperative you establish any other agitators that may be compromising your pets immunity first so that your pet is in tip top shape to get thru this season. Your pet is never too young or too old to develop allergies and they are most commonly allergic to things things they have been exposed to all their lives such as the food they ate for 10 years or the laundry detergent used to wash their bedding so please don't rule anything out! If you suspect year round allergies that are worsened or out of control this time of year with environmental allergies in full swing you might start by switching foods. Because i have 2 special needs and 2 pets with food allergies I chose to cook for my dogs to easily accommodate all their issues with 1 diet. I realize this isnt possible for everyone but there are a lot of foods geared toward the allergy pron pet consider a "limited ingredient " pet food based on something your pet hasnt been exposed to such as Fish or Bison for 2 weeks. If you discover this has been helpful start adding ingredient or treats 1 per week to establish triggers. If you conclude your pet has food allergies you should consider a "rotation diet" so they dont become allergic to the new food ingredients change their food every 3 to 6 months slowly. Pets absorb things in their coat thru their skin and paws so you may also consider household cleaners and detergents use an extra rinse cycle for washing bedding maybe switch to steam cleaning not just for them but for you too!.

NEXT now lets deal with the environment: Here is what has helped my pets. I start the season by boosting immunity and anti inflammatory abilities of my pets. Helping pets along with Omegas( a deficiency can make your pet more susceptible to inflammation).I add fish oil, salmon oil, sardines or Salmon to their diet. Year round I use Daily DEfnese by Glacier Peak Holistic but add Peak Immunity:http://www.glacierpeakholistics.com/Peak-Immune-Immune-System-Booster-6-oz-Powder_p_15.html during this season. You have to realize their hair may hold pollen or other agitators so we start bathing 1x a week or more frequently with Micro Tek by Eqyss http://www.petedge.com/product/EQyss-Micro-Tek-Medicated-Shampoo-16-oz/44832.uts a coordinating spray can be used between baths and a gel is available that works wonders for hot spots or another shampoo I like is Sooth by Show Season http://showseasonproducts.com/magento/index.php/16-oz-soother-medicated-shampoo.html. These products are gentle and safe for regular bathing. I dont recommend oatmeal because although it has healing and moisturizing qualities and is commonly believed to be soothing oatmeal is a natural exfoliatiant also and you may see the skin become more inflamed within days of bathing. Bathing more frequently to combat outdoor allergies might be the best thing I can do for my pets providing the most relief from that which I cant control by washing it from their coat and soothing and protecting skin. If you cant bath as frequently as I suggest try wiping your pet down with a wash cloth and using the Micro tek spray to sooth. Lastly you may discuss with your vet if an antihistamine would be helpful.

If you would like to set up weekly or bi weekly baths for your pet we offer pay by month packages to help your pet get thru this season ask us now to get your pet started! We also sell Allergy or 'Sensitivty Assessment" test kits to get quick at home results and solutions tailored for your pet based on hair And saliva samples. Glacier Peak offers nutritional consulting through their website.

These are tips that may be helpful but please continue to consult your veterinarian for advice and treatment when necessary. Wishing your pets a safe .healthy itch free season! 

Serious Talk On Suds

October 2013

Because I believe washing your pet can cause more harm than good and even create problems you didnt have I am going to try and explain briefly and simply some of the basic do's and donts of the propaganda I see on the internet. Some might say Im over the top, a stickler for some pet subjects but the skin is the single biggest organ on the body and pets absorb everything add to this healthy hair sheds and matts less and you have reason choose your products wisely.

"Why not my shampoo?"

When you look around your bathroom you will see more than 20 products maybe more than 50 to cleanse, heal, treat, skin, hair,nails, feet,eyes, ect. High quality pet products need to accomplish all of the above in unison safely. More importantly if your products are PH balanced for humans please note a dogs PH is higher than human PH and you are doing the equivalent of giving your dog a glycolic peel by using human ph balance shampoo.result: itchy,dry,pink irritated skin. Truestory:White Maltese pink peeling skin all over head to toe courtesy of Mom's Ph balanced strawberry shampoo.:((

"Dawn dish soap is gentle enough for animals victim to oil spills why not my dog?"

Diluted Dawn dish soap is the cheapest, safest option to remove oil quickly in these isolated situations. Using this as a pet shampoo will strip and dry your pet of natural oils. It may create dry irritated itchy skin and over time your pet may start to over produce oil to compensate making him/her oily and stinky faster, you bath more frequently,and he/she becomes even more oily stinky even faster...you see my point? True story I had a potential client that was bathing oily stinky Mastif every 2weeks in Dawn with skin and coat just getting worse requiring"more baths" :(

"Antibacterial soap sounds good" NOT

I am including this home made shampoo ingredient simply because its so commonly listed and in theory sounds good. But there are good and bad bacteria found on the body and antibacterial soap indiscriminately kills them all. Good bacteria on healthy skin will will control and kill off bad bactereria .For a quick understanding of the potential more harm than good of antibacterial soaps please watch http://news.discovery.com/videos/why-antibacterial-soap-is-dangerous.htm

Again these human products have varying PH and are high in sulfates and other questionable ingredients they are not meant to promote healthy hair follicles or clean healthy skin, the biggest organ on the body of your dogs.

And lastly "What's Wrong With The Cheap stuff"

Although Im glad your using Dog shampoo Im not thrilled with the quality or integrity of the mass produced product you see on the grocery store shelf. These often use the cheapest possible ingredients,high in sulfates to strip down the coat and create a ton of lather to fool the novice annual bather that they have achieved squeaky clean dog add to that various color additives & cheap fragrance and again you have a recipe for an itchy dog especially if you bath frequently.

Every once in a while someone will ask me why I don't use bows and bandanas. When I first opened I was on a tight budget but I refused to compromise and buy cheaper bathing products even though many would say I was crazy spending 2 to 3 times as much on shampoos and conditioners when the cheap stuff would make a pet look just as good walking out the door. But thinking about the future pets walking in my door... healthy skin and coat was my 1st prerogative for it makes a happier dog, a dog that sheds less and knots less. If you have ever damaged your hair using a dye or perm you understand dry, brittle or damaged hair knots and breaks easier so this should be common sense. Figuring out the cost of bows and bandanas per dog I realized if I forfeited the decorations for the same additional cost I could afford the products that I believe would be most beneficial in the long term.

Hope this has been a helpful hound tip!

6 to 8 Weeks, Is That a Magic Number?

May, 2016

We are so often asked about best scheduling for pets to be groomed and we encourage setting up maintenance plans not only to ensure healthy, happy pets, reduce shedding, prevent tangles & added charges associated with length & matting But where do we get this magic number 6 to 8 weeks? This is a 2 part answer because we have shedding dogs and non(less) shedding and partly the same but slightly different reasons for recommending this time frame. If you consider people have 1 single hair per follicle compared to our furry shedding friends who may have upto 20+ hairs PER follicle and when we see them professionally for the first time the coat is usually in all stages, hundreds of hairs pushing to release from each of the follicles and we have several tricks of the trade to help that happen but the results can be temporary when we only see these pets sporadically through the year. A rule of thumb the shorter denser coats of for instance a pug may go through a complete coat cycle in a month yet a dog like a collie may have shorter hairs that complete a cycle in a month and longer hairs that complete a cycle in 3 months and dogs such as poodles may grow hair for years before it completes a cycle so they seemingly dont shed but do need to be trimmed. On average the coat cycle is 45-60 days ( 6 to 8 weeks). Getting on a grooming routine that corresponds with the coat cycle of your pet will greatly reduce shedding , some say by up to 80%. I personally feel although after the 1st professional visit the results can be noticeably pleasing after the 3rd or 4th visit on a 6 to 8 week plan pet lovers will see longer lasting results because these visits start to become more about removing fur that is at the end of the cycle and is about to push out and less about playing catch up with hundreds of hairs jammed up trying to get free. Now every dog is different, different life style, different diet , different coat and seasonal changes influence the cycle so 6 to 8 weeks is an average although we find some people like to come more often and some prefer to keep up with things at home and spread appointments out a little more.

Now for our non or less shedding dogs that grow something more like hair that needs to be trimmed, 6 to 8 weeks still seems to be the perfect rule of thumb. These pets regardless of the length you choose and if your desired style holds up for this time frame or longer they still grow hair in their paw pads, around their eyes and potty path that is undesirable and sometimes unhealthy and needs to be trimmed on a regular basis. Now you can choose an ultra short style that may hold up for your pet 10 to 12 weeks and alternate in between with a tidy to keep your pet healthy or for some they prefer longer lengths or styles that always look maintained and prefer to come monthly and than of course some of you have pets like mine that just love to play in mud and roll in grass and get tangled so monthly just works best with a short & sassy style :). Over all we find the majority of families and pets, need something in between that is cute and low maintenance will last the 6 to 8 weeks and this is the perfect “happy place” for maintaining these coats and optimum skin health. Be advised in some cases pets left ungroomed for months on end can lead to unwanted veterinarian bills for various problems that can result from over grown, dirty and matted coats. And lastly for most pets 6 to 8 weeks also seems to be the magic time frame nails need to be trimmed, feet start smelling like corn chips, ears get stinky and our pets get that musty wet, old dog smell that starts to linger, we can barely stand to cuddle with them at this point and a trip to the spa is in order! :) Please talk to us about what will work best for your pet and family and we’ll help you choose a length and style for your personalized pet maintenance plan, you can reschedule up to 1 year in advance or book your next appointment via our Online booking sites for Lakeside, Deer Lake or Downtown Pottsville locations.

Have a dog gone great day!