San Diego Mobile Pet Grooming Blog
As any animal lover knows, there are dozens if not hundreds of shapes for mammal ears. From round mousey flares to attentive kitty triangles to long floppy bunny ears, and dog breeds run the gambit with an incredibly wide variety of ear types and sub-type shapes. Because of this incredible difference of ear from pet to pet, naturally not all ear-care is the same. Floppy-eared pets like rabbits, beagles, pigs, and even goats or donkeys (rare but not unheard of) need special care for their ears, which can catch and hold all sorts of things in the folded area protected by the floppy part of the ear. Make sure you're tending your pet's ears with the right amount of care, thoroughness, and frequency to ensure they are happy and healthy every day you spend together.
Soft, Furry, and Sensitive
Most ears are pretty sensitive. While ear-injuries on people are rare, if you've ever experienced a scrape or sharp impact to the ear, it can hurt pretty badly! Floppy ears are even more sensitive, and there's a lot more of them. For pets with especially long ears, it can be very uncomfortable when they are damaged, clogged, or worse, infected. To know how your pet's ears are doing, check them closely at least once a week for bald spots, scabs, and internal cleanliness. Remember to be gentle and patient, pets are often shy about letting people 'mess with' their soft, sensitive ears.
Identify and Prevent Infections
Because floppy ears form a protected inner area, they tend to catch and hold material like dirt, ear wax, and random particles from playing outside. The worst things that can get into your pet's ear are bacteria and yeast, both of which can cause an unpleasant infection. Infections can cause redness, swelling, and an unusual odor from the ears, and your pet will experience pain and itching. If you suspect your pet has an ear infection, take them to the vet first. You will want their medical opinion on how you should treat it before you try to clean the infected ear at home. If the ear really is infected, the vet will prescribe medication and probably suggest that you clean the ear gently each time before applying it.
Cleaning Floppy Ears
Pet ears are a lot like people ears, only bigger, softer, and more exposed. It is all too easy to cause damage with careless pressure or delving too deeply into the ear structure. Here are a few suggested supplies to have nearby before you get started:
- several clean cloths, gauze, or cotton balls
- clean warm water
- bottle of safe, pet approved ear-cleaning solution
- bowl of treats to reward your pet for patience and good behavior
Do Not Use
- Ear Swabs - this can hurt your pet and push debris deeper into the ear
- Rubbing Alcohol - this is a drying irritant and will not help as much as you might think
Soothe your pet and hold them still as you use a damp cloth or cotton ball to wipe down the wide, furry parts of the ear and repeat as necessary until the cotton ball comes away clean. Remember to focus on the inner fold where dirt can gather. For normal maintenance, use another clean damp cotton ball to rub gentle circles around the inner part of the ear and repeat until clean. Surprising result at this stage can be a good reason to schedule a vet checkup, as it can be an early indication of an infection. If the ear is already infected, or you are facing an excessive amount of ear wax, it can be useful to fill the ear with a cleaning solution and then rub the canal with a cotton ball to swish it around and pick up the debris it looses.
Your floppy-eared animals do everything they can to be loving pets. They nuzzle your hand when they want to play, they cheer you up when you're down, and they let you play with their ears. Reward them by taking especially good care of their long, silky ears to help them prevent unnecessary ear infections. For more ways to love your pet through good grooming practices, contact us and talk to a professional San Diego groomer today!
Whip up a batch of delicious pup-sicles
A sunny day calls for a popsicle and your dog has proven many times that he agrees. Instead of having your pup sneak up and stake claim on your popsicle, whip up a batch of pup-sicles. These good-for-him treats are a guilt-free way to help your dog enjoy summer safely. And while you will have to hold the pup-sicle for him, the love you’ll get in return will be well worth it.
What you’ll need:
- 1 cup of chopped fresh fruit
- 1 tablespoon molasses
- 4 cups of water
- Popsicle sticks and molds
How to do it:
Add the tablespoon of molasses to your water and mix until it dissolves. Next, pour in the chopped fresh fruit, sans seeds, into the mixture. Freeze and enjoy! (Pssst… these aren’t only good for your pooch, but they are good for you too!)
*Helpful hint: If you want to avoid the sticky mess of feeding Fido, hold the pup-sicle up using a wet washcloth for easy clean up. Alternatively, you can freeze the pops without a stick and place it in a bowl. However, this can get kind of frustrating for some dogs so use your best judgement.
Offer chilled water to your dog when you can
Ice cold water is always a treat on a hot day. When possible, chill water (no ice please) in a jug. Use this to fill your dog’s bowl. For long trips, carry bottled water in a cooler.
Head to the shoreline
The beach, both lake and sea, are scientifically good for you and your dog too. At the beach, breathing in salt air can ease asthmatic conditions and respiratory distress. Likewise, the sand beneath your toes and the rush of the water has been shown to lower blood pressure and ease stress. As if you needed a good reason to set out for the shore!
*Helpful Hint: While your pet would LOVE to jump into the water… it isn’t always a safe bet. Always bring your leash along. Consider your longest leash to make running on the beach feel like a more freeing experience for him. If you have one, choose a harness feature. Also be sure to bring a long a Frisbee or ball to soften the blow of “No swimming.” (Yeah, I know...you're headed to Dog Beach and you're going to run free and have a blast, despite Mom's best advice to 'be careful.')
Make a weekend-project dog bed with a summertime vibe
Pinterest is filled with tons of great ideas for summery dog beds but that doesn’t mean that you cannot dream up a bed idea of you own. From an old suitcase packed with padding to a padded pallet designed with fun, decoupaged pics of you and your pet on vacation, a summer bed is super simple to dream up.
Take him swimming
For summer fun… just add water. Your dog is hardwired to love the water – especially if he is a hunting breed. A pool is a safer bet than the ocean. If your apartment does not have a pool, consider a kiddy pool for your balcony.Whether you take your pup for a swim or treat him to a new bed, summer is the perfect time to bond with your pet and soak up the sunshine as a team. Speaking of soaking, if you need any help with that – you know, the dog bathing kind, give us a call because summer is also a great time to look tip-top from, well, tip-top… to tip-tail.
While there isn't any question that being a dog mom or dad is one of the most rewarding experiences on earth, there is one particular matter that everyone could agree is not so pleasant: dog shedding. As the weather warms up, you'll find plenty of dog fur littered throughout your home on your furniture, clothing, and on every other personal belonging you wish hadn't been tainted by excessive amounts of fur. Although there's no way to completely stop your dog from shedding (it's healthy for them!), there are some things you can do to reduce shedding. Also, it helps to have a basic, but thorough understanding of dog shedding, what's causing it, when it's abnormal, and how to cut down on the hair. In this post, we'll walk you through a comprehensive guide to dog shedding.
- The Basics of The Shedding Process: Shedding occurs when your dog loses old or damaged hair. The amount of hair your dog sheds often depends on the breed of your dog. As you probably noticed, dogs are more likely to shed extra hair during the spring seasons, however plenty of dogs shed all year long. You can't stop your dog from shedding but you can minimize the amount of hair they drop all around your home. Regularly brushing your dog's coat is the first step in keeping shedding under control.
- When to Worry About Shedding: When a dog sheds constantly and excessively, especially out of their regular seasonal cycle, it could be a symptom of a bigger problem. Although general shedding is natural, it's important to know when you should take your dog to the veterinarian for their shedding. Excessive shedding could be caused by a number of conditions including pregnancy, a reaction to specific medications, food allergies, a bacterial infection, parasites such as mites, fleas, or lice, irritation from particular substances, cancer, or diseases related to the kidney, liver, or thyroid. If you notice your dog is losing large patches of hair or balding in certain places, schedule an appointment with your veterinarian to get to the root of the problem. Occasional, dramatic shedding at time of stress (for example in association with a vet or groomer visit) is normal. Stress-induced shedding will typically disappear and go back to normal within 24 hours.
- Expert Hacks on Controlling Shedding: What do you do when simply brushing your dog's coat doesn't seem to be enough in order to control or reduce shedding? You try other methods! Deshedding treatments really do work when done regularly. You can buy a FURMinator tool (or one of its knockoffs), and as long as you use it, you can reduce most dog's shedding by 60-80%. A professional groomer will utilize this type of tool along with special conditioners and force drying to remove loads of loose hair -- bags of it, sometimes. Much better than having it all floating around your house. Also, if your fur baby's coat is not shiny and healthy, look into reducing their stress and improving their diet. Bathe and brush regularly - or have a professional groomer do it. We'll get that hair outta there!
Looking for more information on shedding and how to control it? Don't hesitate to contact us for more information!
Many times, dog grooming is a dog owner's particular choice. Certain breeds are very easy to care for when it comes to caring for their coats, nails and overall appearance. On the other hand, some breeds absolutely must have scheduled grooming sessions. Got a cute, fluffy lap dog? It probably needs regular grooming and haircuts to stay that way -- every 4-6 weeks is a typical maintenance schedule. Have a dog that 'doesn't shed' - like a wheaton terrier or poodle (or anything 'oodle')? Yep, you guessed it, those coats also need regular grooming. Even dogs such as Huskies and labs that don't need haircuts, still shed 365 days a year, and a lot of care can sometimes be needed to keep their skin in peak condition. Whether you do it yourself or utilize the services of a professional, for heaven's sake, please take care of your dog!
When grooming yourself, be sure all the products you choose to use on your dog, are labeled expressly for dog grooming. Human shampoos might smell great, but the pH is not right for your pet! Dogs have different skin chemistry than we do.
Here are a few dos and don'ts that might want to consider anytime your own pet needs to be groomed. You can use these as a guide for yourself, if you are doing the grooming. You can also use these as a guide for choosing a professional groomer by asking if they do these things.
- When clipping your dog's nails DO use a set of clippers that are nice and sharp and are the right size for your pet. This will ensure that the clip is neat and leaves no sharp edges that will rip or tear into the quick. DON'T clip the nails so short that it bleeds and causes pain. On dogs with white or light-colored nails, this is fairly easy to avoid, but dark nails are harder to clip, especially if you have no experience doing so.
- When brushing your dog, DO make sure you use a brush that suits the breed, size and hair length of your dog, starting at the head and brushing your way down the body. DON'T neglect ear and teeth cleaning while you're at it. Doing everything at once ensures that you won't forget it later, and an overall clean leads to a healthy, happy pet (even if they don't care for the process while it's happening).
- For long-haired pets, DO use a special comb or brush if necessary to get the coat nice and smooth. DON'T neglect mats in the fur, because doing so will only cause them to get larger and harder. Gently work them out and consider a trim if it turns out to be too much.
There might be times when you are simply too busy to spend the appropriate amount of time grooming your animals. This can be a problem around the holidays and in the summer especially when the kids are out of school and our social calendars are busy with outings, barbecues and other functions. Don't make your fur baby wait (and don't let those mats develop). If you find yourself too busy or don't want to deal with haircuts and nail clips on your own, then by all means take advantage of professional grooming services. They can help keep your pets groomed, happy, healthy and ready to take on the world.
At Awesome Doggies, in the San Diego area, we not only groom your pet, we pamper them! We come to you and we take care of everything from bathing, eye and ear care and brushing to facials, paw and nail care and haircuts. For more information, and for details about our First Visit Special, please contact us today. You'll be glad you did!