Let's Talk

Splash Feet First into Dog Grooming!

Throughout my time as a groomer, I have met an interesting array of people wanting to become dog groomers.  However, I never recommend diving head first into grooming, but wading in the stream of bathing.  Water metaphors, gotta love them.  When I first worked in a corporate environment dealing with the grooming aspect, I was not allowed to go fully into grooming.  I had to work my way up to it as a bather first, learning the basic in and outs of the profession.  I was working as a bather for over a year before being offered to go to grooming school, a four-week class teaching the basics of dog grooming.

Now, I had people among me that went to grooming school sooner than I did, and bathed a shorter period than me.  I was most likely not ready, for I was really young at the time, but I will say having been just a bather, it prepared me more for what lied ahead.  I was able to perfect my speed and efficiency for bathing, drying, trimming nails, doing sanitary trims, and foot trims.

Should everyone wait a year before they learn the ins and outs of grooming?  Not necessarily, but I will say this.  I have dealt with people who only worked a bathing position for around three months before going to a type of grooming school, and not being able to stick it out.  Most who attempt this career path fail due to the physical and emotional demands, and not realizing all that it takes to become a groomer.  Groomers do not play with dogs all day, unfortunately.

However, those who stuck with bathing for over six months had much more success in dog grooming and groomed longer than two years.  Six months is the least amount of time that I recommend just bathing dogs, before heading into dog grooming.  The absolute basics are learned throughout that time, tough skin is formed, usually, and as I have stated previously, a better grasp and understanding of what lies ahead.

Last words of wisdom before I go, when you are a bather, you are going to get the short end of the stick.  Unfortunately, that is how it goes.  Dealing with a multitude of dogs to bathe, walk-in nail trims, answering phone calls, bathing groomer dogs, the list is endless.  Most groomers had to go through these tribulations, but it made them stronger, faster, and better at what they do.  So if you are truly passionate about this profession, and feel it is the right fit for you, be prepared.  The road is long and hard but as the saying goes, anything worth having is worth bathing for, or something along those lines.

Hopefully, this gave a little more insight, as well as something to think about before splashing into the dog grooming world.  Is there anything you would like me to delve into deeper with, or another topic you would like me to discuss?  Is there anything I missed?  Please let me know in the comment sections down below!  I would love to hear your thoughts, suggestions, comments, questions, and concerns!  Till next time!

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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!

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Review

Review: earthbath Hypo-Allergenic Shampoo

It’s that time again!  Review time!  Today is all about the earthbath Hypo-Allergenic shampoo.  As always, I will be going over the ingredient deck list, the pros and cons, and where to buy.  Like my previous shampoo (and conditioner) reviews, I am going to be referencing my bottle that I purchased for this review.  earthbath is designed to be natural, non-toxic, and environment-friendly.  Quoting directly from my bottle, “This product contains no: DEA, parabens, phosphates, synthetic dyes, or perfumes… The sudsy runoff is completely safe and will not harm kids, lawns, or other living things.”  earthbath is also a cruelty-free brand, which believe it or not is hard to find in pet products, so YAY!  One more side note, I purchased this product myself, with my own money.  No one is paying me to give this review, this is 100% my own opinion. 🙂

Now, let’s talk ingredients.  This so far is the shortest ingredient deck list I have seen on a product, and I could not be more thrilled!  Again, using the bottle that I purchased we have purified water, extra-mild renewable coconut-based cleansers, aloe vera, xanthan gum, and olive oil squalene as a preservative.  That’s it.  Nothing else.  For those wondering xanthan gum is a thickening agent and is also a stabilizer to help prevent ingredients from separating (Google).

Moving on to the product itself, there is no fragrance, in my opinion, it literally smells like nothing.  It is mostly clear, with a slight, slight yellow tint, and is on the thicker side for consistency.  The directions on the bottle explain to shake well to mix the natural ingredients together before using, and once spread onto the coat, it does not run off easily, giving plenty of time to lather the product into the coat.  It suds up nicely, and washes the coat well.  I have no issues rinsing the product and do not feel any residual product on the coat.  I do notice, however, that after drying, the coat feels soft and plush, but again, I don’t feel any residue or greasiness.  Also, with this shampoo, I feel I don’t have to use a conditioner.  Having used quite a few hypo-allergenic shampoos, none of them left the coat feeling super soft after drying.  One last thing to mention is the coat smells clean, but not fragranced, after the bath.  My dogs do not have any odor, just clean.

Overall, I do not have any cons for this product.  I tried to be as critical as possible, but I cannot give a negative remark for this product.  It cleans beautifully, lathers perfectly, has a short and good ingredient deck list, is biodegradable (forgot to mention that earlier), and is cruelty-free.  My most sensitive dogs have not had any negative reactions to this shampoo, and I could not be more pleased.  I have yet to try other shampoos from this brand, but they are for sure on my list!  This has to be one of my favorite shampoos that I have tried not only for my own dogs but for clients dogs as well.  What are some of your favorite dog shampoos?  What do you think of earthbath, and have you tried this shampoo?  Let me know in the comment section down below!  Also, any questions, comments, or concerns, feel free to leave them as well!  I would love to hear from you!  Till next time!  PS. I’m trying to shorten my posts, but let me know if you like the long posts, or try to keep them on the shorter side like this one!

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Various locations to purchase, none of the following links are affiliate links.  And these are just base prices, not including shipping and handling.

Amazon.com

Chewy.com

Petco

Pet Edge

PetSmart

Ryan’s Pet Supplies

Basic Information, Clippers, How To

Trimming Up Those Feet!

beforefoot0913-002Nothing is more satisfying than taking what I like to call “grinch” feet, and turning them into polished feet.  To accomplish this task, you need to shave the pads and trim the excess hair.  The tools I use are a pair of detachable blade clippers, such as the Andis AG+ 2-Speed Clipper, which I have done a review on, a #10 or #40 blade, in the pictures and clips below I am using a Wahl Ultimate Competition Series #40 blade, a slicker brush, and a pair of scissors, shown are Value Groom 6.5″ Curved Ball Tip Shears.  Now, some people will also use thinners, or solely use thinners.  That is personal preference; I like normal ball tip shears because they are shorter, and quicker for me, and I can still achieve a natural look.  Also, having a form of Cool Lube, a spray that helps cool off blades, is recommended.  When you are new at shaving pads, it will take you a while to do, and you need a coolant to help cool off your blades.Showcased below will be a video on how to shave pads and trim feet.

afterfoot0913-002As in the Nails, a Daunting Task… or is it? post, I explained about how to hold the leg and foot in a more natural manner that is comfortable for the dog.  You want to make sure you are not overextending the leg, and you don’t want the leg pulled straight back, you want around a 45 degree angle, close to the body.  Now, after I finish trimming or grinding the nails is when I will trim feet.  The reason for this, is because when you try trimming around the foot with longer nails, you are not going to be able to get a good looking foot, and you will keep catching your scissors on the nails, which can damage your scissors.

shavedpad0913-001Now we are going to discuss the first part, which is shaving the pads.  Whenever I have trained bathers on this task, I always have them start out with a #10 blade, so if you are just starting out with this, that is what I recommend.  For the bathers I have trained, if they decide to pursue dog grooming, they will then be trained to work with a #40 blade for the feet.  I have had some groomers stick with a #30 blade, and that is totally fine as well.  Whatever blade you end up being comfortable with using that can still remove a good amount of hair works.  Also, make sure your coolant is nearby, because like I said, if you are just starting out with this, your blade is going to get hot, and a towel to catch the excess of coolant and to wipe down the blade.  You want to be consistently checking your blade to make sure it is not hot.  I check the blade on my wrist or my cheek.  To use the coolant, I have my towel underneath, hold my clippers down, and with the clippers running, I spray the coolant, until the blade gets cold.  I then wipe the excess product off on the towel to dry off my blade.  How I like to start with shaving the pad is beginning near the two nails in the center.  I want to get the bulk of the hair off first, and lying the blade flush with the pad, I will shave from the nails to the very top of the main pad.  I use this same technique following the line of the hair with the two outside nails.  Next is shaving in between the main pad, and the four pads connecting to the nails.  You want to scoop out the hair, NEVER dig.  When you dig into the pad and foot, you will cut the skin there.  You want to use a scooping method and follow the main pad.  It is angled like a V, so you want the edge of the blade to hit the bottom corner of the V on the pad, and you want to angle the blade so where it lines up straight following the V shave.  I have a picture showcasing what I am trying to explain.  You then lightly scoop out the hair.  If you are not understanding what I mean by this, the video below showcases that.  You do that for both sides, and you are good to go!  It will take some time to perfect shaving the pads, so please do not feel discouraged.  It is nerve racking for first timers, and dogs will tend to be a little more wiggly because they can sense your nerves.  Don’t worry about perfection when you are first starting out.  Pay attention to the holding and technique, and you will improve on getting more hair out, the more you practice shaving pads.

beforefoot0913-001If you were scared about shaving pads, I know you are going to be nervous about trimming feet.  It is another daunting task, involving a really sharp object, a pair of scissors.  This is something else that I recommend you taking really slow, because it is scary trying this out.  I use a pair of ball tip curved scissors to complete this task.  The first thing I do is lift and bend the paw, and brush all of the hair around the back of the pad down, where I want the hair overlapping the back of the pad.  With the curved part of my scissors, I will trim straight across the back of the pad.  Now, pay attention to the placement of your scissors.  You want to make sure that when you trim, you are not going to be catching any part of skin or pad, you just want the hair.  I will brush down the hair one more time, then repeat trimming the hair across.  I’ll set the foot down for a second and start working on trimming the hair on the foot.  With your slicker brush, you want to brush up the hair on the foot, meaning you want to brush the opposite way the hair is laying.  You want the hair to stick up.  On the same aspect of how you want to pay attention to the placement of your scissors behind the pad, you want to do the same here and pay attention to the tip of your shears.  Using my curved shears, I follow the curve of the foot, and trim following the roundness of the foot.  When it comes to the sides of the foot, you want to do the same thing, follow the natural curve of the foot and trim, being mindful of the placement of your scissors.  My philosophy when you are just starting out, trim less, then as you get more comfortable and confident, you’ll be able to trim closer.  One other thing I like to do, after I have done a base trim of the foot, is to take my fingers in between the toes and pull up more hair, and trim the excess.  Your brush cannot get everything, so using this technique I’m able to clean up more hair.  Instead of scissors, others will use thinners or blender to trim up the hair in between the toes and of the foot for more of a natural appearance.  If you need a better understanding, the video is down below on shaving pads and trimming feet.

afterfoot0913-001Hopefully I was able to explain and showcase this process easy enough for you to understand.  Any questions, comments, or concerns, feel free to leave them in the comment section below.  I’m going to say this, because I have to say this, perform these tasks at your own risk, I am not held liable or responsible for anything that may occur at your own hands.  Till next time!

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Basic Information, Let's Talk

Quality Over Quantity

bringinggroomerspics0821-002Here’s a topic that is very near and dear to my heart. Probably the most important topic I will touch base on. It is Quality over Quantity. Now I’m sure we have all heard this saying dozens of times, and think, sure, yeah yeah, quality over quantity, but let me tell you why it is so important in the dog grooming world.

Dog groomers have the potential to make a decent amount of money, however dogs are NOT dollar signs. They are living, breathing, feeling creatures with so much love to give. I have seen way to many people in my time blow through grooming just looking at the monetary value of it. I know when I first started grooming, I was so excited the amount of money I was making, however, I was stressed out and not happy with my work or my interactions with my dogs. The more I focused on the actual quality of my grooms, and the actual experiences my dogs had with me, the better groomer I became, the happier I was, and I started getting more request dogs, with pet parents who valued what I did.

When pet parents come to a groomer, they are entrusting the groomer with their dogs safety, happiness, and general well being. Focusing on doing more dogs and making more money will stress out the groomer, cause corners to be cut, and stress out the dog. It also leads potential for the dog to receive an injury because the groomer has to work quicker in order to get the amount of dogs done. I’ve actually had a head manager explain doing more dogs like going 120mph on the freeway. The faster you are, the more focused you are. Dogs are not cars, tables are not freeways, and there is a greater risk for an accident with a deadlier impact when you are going at that rate with cars and dogs, just to be clear.

doodlecut0814-001Now, not every groomer is busting out dogs left and right because they want to make more money, some are stuck in corporate environments, or corporate mentality environments where the people in charge only think about the bottom line, and yet know absolutely nothing about grooming. They just see numbers, and don’t see the work put into the service, or what it takes physically and mentally to be a groomer. They think it is just a dog, and it is just this or just that. Groomers will tell you that is not the case. Groomers that can groom 10 to 12 dogs a day in a 6 to 8 hour period, are not doing it well. They have to cut corners, which essentially cuts quality. You want to make sure the pet parent is getting what they are paying for and are going to be satisfied. Obviously not every pet parent is going to be satisfied, but you get the generalized point I am trying to make.

On the other side of this, are pet parents rushing groomers to finish their dogs. It can take anywhere for 2 to 5 hours for grooming, depending on the dog, the type of haircut, and what the groomers day is like.  If you are a pet parent, just like I talked about in the Grooming: What It Entrails & How To Make A Proper Appointment post, you need to make sure your groomer has adequate time to perform the services you are requesting. Unfortunately, groomers can have the problem where someone else is controlling the booking of their schedule, and don’t understand how to properly book appointments. When you have dogs inappropriately booked, it causes other dogs appointments to be pushed around, then it adds stress to the groomers day. Adding that stress, where the groomer feels rushed, lowers the quality of the groom.

Then you have the total opposite side of the spectrum, where there are groomers who only want to groom 2 dogs a day in an 8 hour period, everyday, but they are not show grooms. They don’t work on their techniques, or perfecting their groom, they just don’t want to groom, which is extremely unfortunate. Those type of groomers should not be groomers, they are not passionate about their work and do not care about the quality of their grooms. Unfortunately, I have worked with quite a few of these types of “groomers” as well.  On a quick side not, I can also promise you that groomers do not want the dogs they are grooming at their facility longer than necessary.  It does not give a groomer joy to have a dog sitting in a kennel for over 4 hours.

At the end of the day, your name goes out on that groom. That is your artwork you are sending off into the world. I know, when my pet parents leave, and someone asks who groomed their dog, I want to make sure they can proudly say my name. I want them to be satisfied, I want them to be happy. I love what I do, and I try to showcase that in every haircut. Having that passion, having that drive for grooming, you understand why quality over quantity is so important. Till next time!

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Review

Review: Lambert Kay Fresh ‘N Clean Oatmeal ‘N Baking Soda Conditioner

freshncleanoatmealconditioner001-0908After doing the review on the shampoo of this line, I only saw it fitting to follow up with a review on the conditioner.  Just like my previous reviews, we are going to discuss the pros and cons, the ingredient deck list, some of the claims, as well as the consistency and application of this product.  To make this perfectly clear, this product was not sent to me, I purchased this product with my own money, and have been using this product for years.  Lambert Kay products are made in the USA but they are not a cruelty free brand.

Now, first thing I will go over is the ingredient deck list.  I know this may be tedious or unnecessary for some, and if that is the case for you, please feel free to skip ahead.  I have had some of my pet parents ask about the ingredients in certain dog shampoos and conditioners that I use, so I feel including and going over the ingredient deck list is a necessary step.  First up with have purified water, followed by hydroxyethylcellulose, a thickening agent.  It is a plant-derived ingredient used in many beauty products, cleaning products, and household items, and raise no flag of concern (Wikipedia).  A conditioning agent of Cocamidopropyl PG is next, which is a coconut derived ingredient.  Most of the times, when you see an ingredient starting with coca, it usually means that it is derived from coconuts.  There have been many mixed reviews on the use of coconut derived ingredients in products.  The most information I found on this ingredient is that it could be a very mild skin irritant, but nothing more serious than that.  Citric Acid, a natural pH adjuster, then a humectant which is glycerine follows the conditioning agent.  A humectant, just in case you were wondering, is used to help preserve moisture.  Fragrance is the next ingredient down on the list, and I hate when companies do this.  From my research, when a company just uses “Fragrance” as an ingredient, there are usually multiple ingredients used, but not required to list.  So you are not going to be aware what is used to make the fragrance.  Next we have oat extract as an anti-irritant, sodium bicarbonate (aka baking soda) as a deodorizer, and soothing agents such as Vitamin E and Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice.  The last three ingredients include coloring agents, a coat strengthener of hydrolyzed wheat protein, and a preservative.  As I have stated in the shampoo review of this product, I do not like the fact that the preservative isn’t listed, as it could be a form of formaldehyde, but being the last ingredient on the deck list it means it has the least amount in the product.  Overall, I have no huge concerns over this product, and am not weary of using it on my girls or my clients dogs.

Now lets go on to some of the claims of this product.  Reading and quoting directly from the bottle I have, this conditioner contains natural colloidal oatmeal (clearly) for dogs with sensitive, itchy, or irritated skin, it says it controls coat and skin odors naturally with baking soda, conditions coats and helps remove mats and tangles, and has a scent that lasts up to 2 weeks.  The directions of use are pretty simple, after shampooing and rinsing your dog, you apply conditioner along the dog’s back, work the conditioner into the coat, adding more if needed, and then rinse thoroughly.  Since I have the gallon size of this product, I would need to dilute mine, following the directions on the back, before applying to my dog.  As in the claims, it can be used as a detangler, applying the conditioner at full strength to the mat or tangle, working in briskly with fingers, then combing through.

Moving on to the consistency, scent, etc, it has very much the same scent as the shampoo, a strong clean laundry fragrance, however it is slightly sweeter..  It reminds my almost of yogurt, as odd as that sounds.  Coloring is exactly the same as the shampoo, a milky, almost cream color, and opaque.  The consistency is much thicker, having more sustenance, but still easy to work with.  Even if the product is not diluted, I have no issues spreading this along my dog, and easily working it into the coat.  After rinsing the coat, I don’t feel any residue, then after drying the coat feels soft without feeling heavy.  I’m able to work through a dry coat without issue for brushing, and the coat smells of clean, fresh laundry.  As with the shampoo, I have noticed the scent lasting around 3 days, and then my dogs not smelling of anything, but not smelling dirty or feeling dirty.  Again, my dogs are indoor dogs, only going outside to go potty.

In the end, I would recommend this product, but like with the shampoo, I would not recommend this conditioner if you are highly sensitive to fragrance, because it is immensely strong.  I also would not recommend this shampoo on dogs with extremely sensitive skin, even though the claims say it is suited for them, simply for the fact of the fragrance, because it will cause skin irritation.  However, dogs that are itchy, but not sensitive would do great with this shampoo!  Lillith, my older girl, has more sensitive skin, but not to the extreme, and this shampoo and conditioner helps her not be so itchy, and her coat comes out super soft and shiny.

So like with any product, do your own research, and come to your own conclusions.  If this conditioner seems up your alley, I would recommend going into a store that carries it, smelling it there, and purchasing it if you are still interested.  If you go home and try it, it is a bit easier to return than having to deal with the online hassle of returns if it ends up not working out.  Researching multiple sites, some of which I will have linked down below on where you may purchase this item, this product has over 4.5 out of 5 stars, so I am not the only one who feels this is a great product.

Ryan’s Pet Supplies

PetEdge

Chewy.com

PetCo

Amazon

Hopefully this review was helpful, maybe you learned something new or found a new product to try.  If you have any questions, comments, or concerns feel free to leave them in the comment section down below.  Have a shampoo or conditioner that you swear by, let me know!  I love finding new products to try out!  Also, please leave any suggestions on what posts you would like to see, or if there are any products you would like me to try out and review, like I said, I always love finding new products.  Till next time!

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Basic Information, How To

Nails, the Daunting Task… or is it?

whitetoes0906-002One of the biggest obstacles when starting out either grooming professionally, or trying to maintain your dog at home, is trimming nails.  It can be a daunting and scary task, because no one wants to make the dog bleed.  However, once you get the hang of it, trimming and grinding nails ends up being a piece of cake.  If the dog is really well behaved, I can trim the nails on all four paws in under a minute, no exaggeration.

whitetoes0906-001When a dog has white nails, it feels a lot easier, because for the most part, you can easily recognize the quick, the blood vessel that resides in the nail.  Your goal is to trim as close to the quick as possible without injuring the blood vessel, causing it to bleed.  In the video I am correlating with this post, you will see me use a grinder or dremel.  I prefer this method just because I can get closer to the quick and smooth out the nail so that it isn’t sharp.  However, I am going to be talking about trimming, because that is the easiest way to ease into nail trimming.

safarinailtrimmer
Safari Nail Triimer, image from Amazon; https://www.amazon.com/Safar…

First, you want to find a good, sharp pair of nail trimmers.  Right now, I have been using the Safari brand nail trimmers for Small/Medium dogs, which can be purchased on Amazon, Ryan’s, and other pet supply stores.  Image is shown on the side.  I do NOT recommend ANY Guillotine style nail trimmer, EVER.  The reason for this is because you have to put the dogs nail through a hole in the tool, then you squeeze the tool which then trims off that nail guillotine style.  Why do I not recommend this?  You can trim off a lot more than you intended to, causing serious damage to the dogs nail.  Dogs feet are constantly moving and twitching.  It is immensely rare for a dog to hold perfectly still like a statue.  I have had someone come to me, because they tried trimming their dogs nails at home with a Guillotine trimmer, and cut the nail down to the foot, leaving a small nub, because the dog moved when trimming.  When a nail is cut that short, and you cannot stop the bleeding with Styptic powder (I’ll explain what this is in a moment), the dog needs to be taken to the vet and the quick cauterized to stop the bleeding.  That can be a traumatic experience for the pet.  Sometimes, experiences of that type of nature, can cause dogs to be extremely fearful and aggressive when their feet are being handled.  One bad experience can “ruin” a dog for its nails, unfortunately.

stypticpowder0906-002The second item would be Styptic Powder.  Styptic powder is a type of cauterizing agent in powder for, that if you slightly quick the dogs nail, you put a small amount on, and hold for about 15 to 20 seconds.  This usually stops the bleeding,  Fair warning, do not open this product after it has been shook around.  You don’t need to shake this product around to use it, but if it drops on the floor, give it a few minutes to settle because the cloud of powder that emerges is very potent, and will more than likely make you cough.  Also, this product stains.  I would recommend putting a towel down below where you are trimming your dogs nails, so that way if you do accidentally quick the dog, the styptic powder falls on the towel.  It stains your fingers, floors, clothes, and it does not want to come out.  If you do not have styptic powder, and you are at home, some cornstarch or flour will suffice, just use the same method of placing a little product on the bleeding quick and hold for 15 to 20 seconds to stop the bleeding.  If you slightly quick the dog, it can be upsetting, but quicking a dog lightly stings almost like a hang nail for us, and a majority of the time, dogs don’t make any sound or movement that you quicked them.  Your goal is not to quick them, but things do happen.  Some dogs have immensely long quicks, and sometimes you feel you can trim more, but sadly cannot.

Now that we got the tools out of the way, let’s talk about holding the foot and trimming the nails.  You want to find a position that is comfortable for you as well as the dog.  You also want to be careful of the placement of the dogs limbs.  You want to be holding the dogs feet and legs in natural positions.  If a dog is kicking or fighting to get out of your grasp, and this dog is known for being really good at getting their nails done, then you are probably pulling their legs into an unnatural position, causing discomfort.  I like to have my dogs about hip level on me on a table, so that way I can reach my arm over and under them to grasp which ever leg I need.  I tend to lift the leg and bend it straight back at around a 45 degree angle, I don’t want the foot and leg completely perpendicular to leg naturally.

blacknails0906-002Now it is time for the trimming part.  While holding the foot firmly but still comfortably for you and the dog, you want to take your trimmers and lightly tip the nail.  You want to just trim a little bit off at a time.  If the dog has white nails, you are looking for the pink quick amongst the white.  It is always better to trim a little bit off at a time, then to go in all Wyatt Earp.  If the dog has black nails, you are looking for the black dot inside the white part of the nail.  See the picture on the side. I know it is a little hard to see, but right at the tip of where the arrow is pointing is the black dot amongst the white part of the nail.  That is the quick.  At the bottom, I will have a video showcasing myself grinding Xandria’s nails, and showing you the quick.

Like I said previously, just trim the nail a little bit at a time.  It is going to take some time getting use to holding the feet, holding the trimmer, figuring out how much pressure and grip you can use.  It can take anywhere from 1 to 3 months for new bathers to get fully comfortable with trimming nails, because it can be scary and intimidating.  However, with enough practice and confidence, you’ll be able to get to a point of trimming dogs nails in under a minute.  The frequency of how often a dogs nails need to be trimmed honestly depends on the dog.  I can do my own girls once a month, and their nails are still nice and short.  If a dog has really long quicks, I would recommend once every two weeks to help expose the quick, meaning you trimmed down to the quick without making the dog bleed, and to help the quick recede.  The process of getting a quick to recede also varies on the dog.  Sometimes it takes only a few months, sometimes longer.  I would recommend every 2 to 4 weeks for nails to be trimmed on dogs.  The longer pet parents or you wait to trim the dogs nails, the higher chances of the quick growing with the nail, and more chances of injury, such as getting caught on objects, and either breaking a nail or completely ripping out the nail, which I have seen both.  If you are a pet parent, and this still seems a bit daunting for you, most grooming facilities either offer walk in services for nail trims, or appointments for nail trims.  Either way, call the facility and ask about any paperwork you might need to bring, and any policies they have.

Well, I hope all of this was helpful.  With enough time and practice anyone can become a pro at trimming nails.  Some dogs will be more difficult than others, and if it is your own dog, they can sense when you are nervous about trimming their nails, and I guarantee you they will use that to their advantage.  Worse case scenario, you will need to take your dog to a groomer, or have the nails done by the vet.  One more tidbit of information, some vets offer nail trimming that can be painful to the dog, but on very rare occasions it is necessary.  What some vets offer to do is trim the dogs nails all the way down to a nub, and cauterize the nail.  The dog is sedated for this procedure, but imagine someone taking 3/4 of your nail and removing it.  Your nails will be extremely sore, and painful.  Then imagine type and doing everyday tasks with your nails.  It will hurt.  That is how it feels to dogs to have this procedure done, because they have to walk on their feet.  However, like I said, it is extremely rare, but really only done when truly necessary.  Usually when a dogs nails are so long, and even trimming them regularly the quick is not receding, and the dogs nails are becoming injured.  This is also possible for dogs who are extremely aggressive over having their nails done, so that way they don’t have to get their nails done often.  I never recommend this procedure unless I feel the procedure would greatly benefit the dog.  Always, always, always consult with your vet in regards to this procedure.

Okay, well, this was an extremely long post, but I wanted to try and get as much information as possible on this subject.  If there are any questions, comments, or concerns, feel free to leave them in the comment section down below and I will try to get back to you as quickly as I can.  Till next time!

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