Basic Information, Let's Talk

Grooming is So EXPENSIVE!

“I brush my dog everyday,” is probably the number one thing groomers hear the most, another is “What do you mean you don’t have time today to groom my dog?!”  The other most popular thing?  “You are more expensive then my hairdresser!”  Really, it gets old.  So let me break a few things down for you.

Grooming can be expensive, yes, however, your pet, cats included on this, have a lot more things done then just your normal “hair cut” appointment.  Most facilities charge by breed, and additional charges may follow depending on the type of haircut and difficulty of the pet.  I have researched that some grooming facilities charge by weight and size, however this breakdown is universal.

First off, when your hairdresser washes your hair, it is the hair on top of your head, that’s it.  Groomers wash an entire dogs body; face to the tip of the tail.  That includes their private areas, which usually has residue stuck, and their feet.  Next, anal glands are usually included with the service, although upon request for most facilities.  That means we are squeezing the pets rectum area, searching for two little sacs that fill up with a viscous, brown liquid that smells of rotting fish or eggs.  Pleasant, huh?

Now comes the drying time!  Some dogs tend to tolerate this, however dogs ears are more sensitive than humans, meaning the loud noise does scare a few dogs, so we have to let them air dry.  That is additional time added on to the service, because groomers do not want to stress out the pet.  After the pet is fully dry, we brush them out, then comes the haircut!

What’s included in a haircut you might ask?  Well, basic trims include the sanitary and feet.  That means we are taking clippers to trim the hair on the dogs potty areas, where they urinate and were they poop.  I am pretty sure a hair stylist is not going to shave your pubic region or your anal opening during your hair appointment.  Next we shave out the hair in the pads, and trim up the feet to get rid of the grinchy toes.

Then, if it is an all over type of haircut, we trim in front of the eyes, trim up the face, trim ears, take clippers or scissors all over the body, including the legs, belly, tail, butt, etc.  I didn’t even mention the nails yet!  Nail trimming is usually included in this service!  A pedicure for your pet is included!  Ear plucking and ear cleaning tend to also be included with this service.

So let’s go over this one more time, a bath, anal gland expression, blow dry, brush out, haircut, nail trim, and ear cleaning.  Let me break this down in human costs, and I am just going to reference the few places that I have been to.

Hair wash, blow dry, and cut just for the hair on my head runs me about $45.  Nails, well a pedicure is around $20, and a manicure is around $20 for me.  A Brazilian wax (basically a sanitary trim for pets) is around $30, legs waxed about $20, arms I believe was about $15.  Adding all of that together, you are looking at around $150.  So, if your pets haircut runs around $55 if it is a small dog, you are getting one hell of a deal.  Heck, I groom large dogs for no more than $100.

Here’s another tidbit of information to consider.  Groomer’s get bit at, scratched up, peed on, pooped on, hair sticks to everywhere, and we constantly smell like wet dog.  On top of that, dogs are not statues.  They are living, moving, breathing creatures who constantly move, and don’t understand that they need to hold perfectly still.  We have the stress of dealing with not trying to nick a pet, on top of everything else.

Also, I am going to make something else clear.  When groomers hear “You are more expensive than my hairdresser,” or something along those lines, what we hear is that you do not value what we do for your pet, and you are insulting our work.  That we are not worth that type of money, which honestly, most of the time you are being undercharged for what groomers do.  Most groomers absolutely love what they do, and they take pride in their work.  Those comments irritate us, and again, insult us.  I am pretty sure you would not like someone coming to your line of work, saying they could get the same service cheaper.  Hopefully this was insightful and informative, and let me know what you think in the comment section below!  If you are a groomer, did I hit the nail on the head with this, did I miss a few things?  Let me know!  Also, any suggestions for future posts, or any questions or comments, put them in the comment section down below!  Till next time!

revisedsignature

How To

Drying Tips & Tricks

dryingtechniques0823-004There is a lot that goes into drying a dog, and unfortunately this is one of my the main aspects of grooming that dogs don’t care for.  Can we really blame them though?  The dryer is usually very loud, and blows air hard and fast to help dry the coat quick.  For any aspect of grooming, after a bath, the dog needs to be fully dried.  For haircuts, it is not a good thing to run blades and equipment over wet hair, it will rust your equipment, and dull it, making it necessary to have your tools sharpened more frequently.  On top of that, it is difficult to give an even, good looking haircut, when there are tufts of damp spots all over.  On the same aspect, you do not want to be brushing a wet dog.  It is not good for the dogs coat or skin.  Also, if you are trying to get undercoat out, don’t expect to get any out unless the dog is fully dried.  Wet hair clings together, is dense and stays closer to the skin.  Drying helps break apart the hair, pull it away from the skin, and enables you to fully brush out that undercoat.

When drying a dog, I have noticed their most sensitive areas to dry are the butt, feet, and head.  The butt because air that is blowing around their anal opening feels immensely strange, and they just want to sit down.  Feet because a good amount of dogs do not like their feet messed with too much, I mean, they do walk on them, so I would be sensitive as well.  The head, well, the head should be pretty obvious.  The dryer being super loud, blasting air in their ears, air going up their nose and their mouths, of course they are not going to like it!  However, we are going to touch on ways of drying, and helping the dogs cope as best as possible, with as little stress as possible.

dryingtechniques0823-001One thing that I like to do after the bath and towel drying the dog a little is spray in a leave-in conditioner.  Whichever you prefer, I always go with The Stuff, it helps shorten drying time, helps me brush out the coat quicker, softens the coat, and makes it shiny.  If interested further on this subject, click here to go to my full review on The Stuff.  Then, I like to put cotton balls in the dogs ears before I dry them.  Now, I don’t have to do this with every single dog, because I have quite a few dogs that tolerate the dryer beautifully.  However, putting cotton balls in the ears during the drying process helps block the ear canal from the harsh air flow, as well as dull down some of the noise.  This is especially helpful with puppies.

When I start drying a dog, I always, ALWAYS like to start with their back end.  The reason for this is it helps give them time to adjust to the noise and the feeling.  You want to hold the base of the nozzle where it connects to the hose.  If you hold the hose, it can burn your hand, because the machine can heat up the hose.  You can try out different motions to dry the dog, but you want to try and use your shoulder to move the hose back and forth.  Using your wrist and elbow can cause strain and injury.  Groomers are famous for getting tendonitis and carpal tunnel.  I slowly work down the backs of the legs, then move up towards their heads.  Now, you need to be able to read the dog, and adjust your drying with the dogs needs.  If it is a new dog, and you have a two speed dryer, try it on low speed or one speed first, to see their reaction, so how comfortable they are with the drying process.  I dry puppies differently, and I will touch on that in a second.  Usually, at this point I am drying with a nozzle on, example shown on the side.  If the dog seems to be tolerating it well, I will dry their body as much as I can with the nozzle on the hose.  For their head, I take the hose and dry them at a distance, just to get the bulk of the water off their head, but again, I will adjust accordingly to how the dog is reacting.  If they are stressing out about their head being dried, I will back off, and continue with their body.  At this point, if I am at my professional grooming facility, I will turn off the dryer, and put the dog in the kennel and put a kennel dryer on them, as long as they don’t have any breathing or trachea issues.  Now, to make this part perfectly clear, the kennels I use are not fully enclosed, and do not have a plastic covering to encase them.  The kennel dryers I use are not heated, they blow room temperature air, at a low speed.  Think of a box fan that you use for your house, on low speed. I do this to give the dog a break for a bit and to help get some of the excess water to fall off their coat.  This also helps with the drying time later.

dryingtechniques0823-002After a good break, I take them out, place them on my table and hook them up, and start the drying process again.  However this time, I take the nozzle off the dryer.  Now it will feel more like a high powered hair dryer, dispersing air in a larger area.  Now with this method, you do need to be careful of the air heating up, because even though it is not a heated dryer, it is still a machine.  You always want to be checking the temperature of the air leaving the hose.  Too hot for you, too hot for the dog.  The nozzle off approach is exactly how I start with puppies, I NEVER attempt to dry a puppy with the nozzle on the first couple of times, I want to slowly introduce them to drying.  It is stressful and scary enough as is for puppies on their first few grooming experiences.  Doing the same thing as when I originally started, with the nozzle off I start drying the coat at the back end, then I work section to section.  Going down a leg, fully drying a foot, moving to the other legs, etc.  You want to make sure that the coat is fully dried, all the way down to the skin.  When you can see every strand separated, instead of big clumps of strands, that is usually a good indicator the coat is dry.  Also, use your hands or even have someone else go over and see if they feel any damp spots.

Now, time to dry the head.  Like I have said previously, this is one of the main issues dogs have with drying.  If you put cotton in their ears before drying the first time, check to see if they are still in there, if not place new ones.  Now when drying their face, I like to hold on to their muzzle.  The reason for that is because I can help hold their face (as best as they will let me), to help control where I am blowing the air.  I try and avoid their noses as much as possible.  I like to blow on top of their head, down the sides of their cheeks, I will then lift their chin and dry under there, and keep repeating that process for a few minutes, then give the dog a break to dry their ears.  Now, with the ears I am going to try and explain this as best as I can.  I like essentially fold the base of their ears, covering their ear canal; this helps to further prevent air from blowing into their ears.  So, I tend to pinch the opening of the canal closed with my forefinger, middle finger, and thumb, then use my ring finger and pinky to hold up the rest of the ear so I can dry the ear.  This for me is second nature, but I promise you, holding the ear canal closed helps the dog tolerate drying the ears more.  It might take some time getting use to, but try different holds that help keep the canal closed, and you will have an easier time drying the ear because the dogs tend not to freak out or stress out as much.

dryingtechniques0823-003With the nozzle off, I keep bouncing from area to area, if they are starting to get stressed with me drying their head, I got an work on their body.  I do not like to stay drying in one place too long, because as I have stated previously, the dryer can heat up, warming up the air.  I don’t want to stick the dryer on one place for more than a few seconds at a time, because I do not want to hurt them.  Keep bouncing around, and stay at a distance from your dog, I would say about 6 to 8 inches.  If you notice the dog is stressing out, regardless of giving certain areas a break, give the dog another break.  You never want to compromise the safety and well being of your dog.  If it takes longer, oh well, you need to do what is best for the dog.

Now, if you are drying at home, with your own hair dryer, you can use the same drying techniques with the nozzle removed from the hose as your own hair dryer.  HOWEVER, hair dryers are heated!  If you have a cool setting, you need to be using it.  If your hair dryer does not have a cool setting, you are going to be drying your dog for a while at a distance, because getting too close to a dogs skin with a heated dryer, you will burn their skin.  You need to be a good distance away, and have your hand touching your dog while drying so you can keep a constant feel of the air temperature.  Drying at home may be a little more tricky, because you need to make sure you have a spot where your dog is secure, but safe.  You want to make sure if anything were to stress out your dog, you could quickly detach them if needed.

One final note is that I do not like brushing out dogs while drying.  I want to fully focus on drying my dog first, that way I can focus on thoroughly brushing them later.  I will be having a post coming up on brushing techniques for different coats.  Any questions, comments, or concerns, feel free to leave them in the comment section down below.  Till next time.

leahsignature

Review

Review: The Stuff

410dj+-tEHL._SL500_AC_SS350_
Image from Amazon; https://www.amazon.com/The-Stuff-16oz-Conditioner-Detangler/dp…

Today let’s talk about… The Stuff. Yes, The Stuff. It is a hypoallergenic, non-toxic leave-in conditioner. The claims, reading from the bottle I have, is that it is a coat conditioner, it helps shorten grooming time, it is a tangle remover and preventer, helps removes winter undercoat, repels dirt, dust, and urine, is pH controlled, and is suitable for all breeds. The Stuff is made in the USA by T*H*E Laboratories, Inc. I have been using The Stuff for almost 2 years now, and hopefully that says something about the product. Now, it does have a few drawbacks, but let’s talk about the pros that I have found with this product.

 

The way that I use it, that I have found works best, is to spray it into the coat after bathing and towel drying, but before velocity drying. Giving it time to sink into the hair follicles, I feel, helps utilize this product with the coats. It has a very light clean, almost lemon scent, but the smell dissipates after drying. Using this product, I have noticed a huge difference in drying time, as well as coat condition. Drying time is shortened, and the coat is left soft and shiny. I have also noticed that the coat is much easier to brush out. The reason I give these notes, is because I have done many side by side comparisons using 2 dogs from the same family with the same type of coat. One set I’ve tried this one was two Shetland Sheepdogs. I bathed the dogs at the same time, with the same shampoos, towel dried them, then sprayed one of them with The Stuff, and the other I did not. I then had one person dry one, while I dried the other. The one I had, which had The Stuff sprayed into his coat, was dry before the its brother. After brushing both dogs, my dog had a much softer and shinier coat, which even the pet parent recognized. I have done this experiment around 5 times now, and the results after the 2 time were more than conclusive for me. I cannot speak for the repulsion of dirt, dust, and urine or the product being pH controlled.

Another way I like to use this product is with matts. If I have a dog that is not fully matted, but maybe has a few tangles on his tail and maybe one on his ear, before the bath I will spray some of The Stuff onto those tangles, then lightly brush the product into the coat. I will let it sit for a couple of minutes, and then give the dog a bath. After the bath, I will concentrate a spray on the tangles, work it in with my fingers, then again, let it sit. When the dog is fully dried, brushing out the tangle is a breeze. Just a small side note, this product does not leave the hair greasy or oil. It melds in with the hair follicle and softens the hair without adding weight, texture, or grease/oil.

The price point for this product is right on the money, if you order it from a wholesaler, such as Ryan’s Pet Supplies or Pet Edge. Looking on Amazon at the time of writing this, The Stuff for 16oz Ready to Use is around $16, with Prime free shipping. However, that same size is $8.79 on Ryan’s Pet Supplies and $5.99 on Pet Edge, but you still need to factor in shipping. There is also the concentrated version, which you can dilute yourself, and even though you may be spending a little more upfront, you end up with more product in the long run at a lower cost per ounce. Another plus side to this product, is you do not need to use much, which extends the life of the product. A couple of sprays over the coat, and lightly rubbing it in will suffice.

Now, lets talk about the couple of draw backs. If this product lands on smooth floors, such as tile or linoleum, it will cause the surface to be extremely slick. There is a caution on the back of the bottle explaining this, so I am very appreciative of that. However, the second draw back of this product, is that there are no ingredients listed. I have searched Amazon, Ryan’s Pet Supplies, Pet Edge, as well as T*H*E Laboratories website, where they have a .PDF file with information about The Stuff, but not an ingredient deck list. I do not know why they do not have their ingredients listed on the product or the website, but that can raise some red flags to certain pet parents. I trust this product, I use it on my own dogs as well as clients dogs, and have yet to have an issue or cause for concern. As recommended with any new product, do a patch test and see how it interacts with the dogs skin and coat.

So in the end, would I recommend this product? Absolutely. The pros of this product, along with the immediate noticeable difference, makes this product well worth it. The softness and shine of the coats, along the added bonus of decreasing drying and brushing time, makes this product a necessity at my place of business. I hope this review was helpful, and if you have any product recommendations, things you would like me to test out and review, feel free to leave them in the comment section down below, along with any questions, comments, or concerns. Till next time!

leahsignature

Basic Information, How To

The De-Shedding Treatment

FURminatorbeforeSo we have talked about basic bathing, now we are going to go further into bathing with the DeShedding Treatment.  It sounds more daunting than it truly is.  It is a technique using a de-shedding shampoo as well as a conditioner, blowing it into the coat, and doing a thorough brush out after fully drying.  This technique is recommended for double coated dogs that shed.  This type of service is not needed for dogs such as Malteses, Bichon Frises, or Poodles.  Examples of shedding dogs, Shiba Inus, Labrador Retrievers, Golden Retrievers, and Siberian Huskies.

Now, there are several shampoo brands out there that carry de-shedding shampoos and conditioners.  For today’s reference purpose, I am going to use the FURminator Shampoo and Conditioner, because that is what I use for this treatment on my own dogs as well as clients dogs at the grooming facility I work at.  Side note: Not sponsored.  I purchase these products on my own and have been using them for years.  They work great for me, never had any issues with them, and will continue to use them unless something happens.

So, after you started the bathing process, click here if you need a refresher, the shampoo that you will use to lather would be the de-shedding shampoo, in my case, the FURminator shampoo.  Work it all over the dog’s body from the base of the head, around the neck, and back.  The FURminator shampoo is NOT hypo-allergenic, so if your dog has skin allergies, I would not recommend using this shampoo.  Most de-shedding shampoos are not hypo-allergenic.  The de-shedding treatment is still possible, at this stage just use a hypo-allergenic shampoo as the base.  Then, time to put on the FURminator conditioner.  The FURminator conditioner is hypo-allergenic, which is one reason I enjoy this product because even on dogs that have allergies but shed, I can still use this treatment.  Rub the conditioner in well, starting at the base of the head, around the neck, and back.  Make sure you get the tail, butt area, and sides really well with these products.  Now, it comes time to blow the products into the coat.  This is where a high powered velocity dryer comes in handy.  You want to blow the product into the coat, it shouldn’t take more than a minute or two.  After that, let the product sit for about 5 minutes.  If you don’t have a high powered velocity dryer, just let the product sit for about 10 minutes.

After letting the product sit, it is time to fully rinse the dog.  Now, if you are using the FURminator products, it will take longer than normal to rinse out all of the product.  As I said in my bathing basics post if you think you are done fully rinsing the dog, rinse all over one more time.  Then towel dry, getting as much excess water off, eye wash, then optional, spray on a leave-in conditioner.  I then take the dryer and fully dry the dog.  You want the dog 100% completely dry, they cannot be damp for the next step.  If you have a velocity dryer, awesome if you are bathing them at home and need them to air dry, just wait till the next day.

furminatorMedDogLongHair
Image from FURminator, http://www.furminator.com/Products/Dogs/dog-grooming-deshedding-tools/how-to-stop-dog-from-shedding-medium-long-hair-dog-grooming.aspx

Now that the dog is fully dry, and like I said, they cannot be damp, it is time to brush them out.  If you were able to use a velocity dryer, you are not going to have to brush as much.  If you were not able to use a velocity dryer, you are going to be brushing for a bit.  Depending on the dog’s coat, you can either use a tool like the FURminator brush or some sort of Coat King or Rake.  FURminator’s tend to work best on shorter coat dogs, Labrador Retrievers, German Shepherds, and Siberian Huskies.  Coat Kings or Rakes work best on longer haired dogs, such as Golden Retrievers, Newfoundlands, and Border Collies.  A slicker brush and comb will also be helpful in this process.  One side piece of information concerning the FURminator brush, you do not want to run it over the same spot more than a couple of times, max 3 to 4 passes over one area.  The reason for this is the FURminator brush is like a blade, and it can cause irritation and brush burn on the dog’s skin if you press too hard and go over the same area too many times.  I like to do a few passes over per area then use a slicker brush and a comb.  Again with the slicker brush, dogs can get brush burn, so try not to press too hard on the dog’s skin.  After I have done both of those steps, I follow through with a fine tooth comb, and it will help find further thick areas that I need to work on.  If you were able to use a velocity dryer, most of the time about 10 to 20 minutes will suffice for brushing, but that also varies due to the condition of the dog’s coat.  If you were not able to use a velocity dryer, I would not do more than 30 to 40 minutes.  If you are at home and it is your dog, I would do 30 minutes one day, space out a few days and do another 30 minutes of deep brushing to break up the undercoat.

FURminatorafterNow, I do know with the FURminator treatment, I cannot vouch for all of the other de-shedding shampoos and conditioners, if you or the client is consistent about doing the treatment every 4-8 weeks, it has potential to help curb shedding up to 90%.  Consistency is extremely important for this service.  You cannot do this service one time and expect the shedding to be down by 90%, it does not work that way.  I have several clients that do this service, and we have been consistent with it, and their dogs hardly shed anymore.  Like I said, they are consistent.

Well, yet another long post.  Sorry about the lengths, but I am trying to be as detailed and thorough as possible.  Hopefully, it was easy to follow, and you learned something new!  Any questions, comments, or concerns, please feel free to leave them in the comment section below.  Also, like I stated earlier, this is not a sponsored post, I bought the products mentioned and shown myself.  I have been using these products for years.  Okay, enough for now.  Till next time!

leahsignature