Posts Tagged ‘grooming’

Est. 1973

A new allergy season is picking up where the old one left off. We’re seeing more cases of dogs and cats with itchy ears, faces, bellies, feet and rumps. Add dry, flaky skin, fur loss, excessive licking and chewing (especially at the feet), scabs, and fleas and you’ve got one unhappy furbaby.

There are some things you can do at home to ease your pet’s allergy symptoms, especially in the case of allergens which are inhaled or absorbed through the skin.

1. Keep your pet’s skin moisturized – from the outside. Dry skin allows allergens to more easily pass through the skin barrier and cause itching. Use a rehydrating shampoo (we like Hydra Pearls) plus a separate conditioning rinse or spray.

Allow the shampoo to contact your pet’s skin for 10-15 minutes. That is forever in dog-bathing time, but that’s what it takes for the shampoo to be effective.

If the shampoo is the non-lather kind (many are) don’t add more; doing so will just make rinsing it out all the more difficult. Which brings us to the next tip:

Rinse your pet’s coat thoroughly, to remove all soap. Follow with a cream rinse or leave-on conditioning spray (such as Dermal Soothe Spray.)

2. Keep your pet’s skin moisturized – from the inside. Ask your vet about powder or capsule-type Essential Fatty Acid (EFA) supplements, like ProDerma or Free Form Snip Tips. Skip the fish oil supplements designed for human use; your pet has its own EFA requirements that can’t be met with a human product.

3. Rinse your pet with plain water to remove allergens, daily if necessary. Most pets won’t need a full-blown sudsy bath daily or even weekly. But a cool water rinse can help take the heat off, as well as physically remove pollens that can cause your pet to itch. If a daily rinse is not realistic, try targeting your pet’s problem areas with a damp cloth, especially after your pet has been outdoors.

4. Use your pet’s monthly flea treatment every month, even if you aren’t seeing fleas (which means the treatment is working!) For a hyper-allergic pet, a single flea bite can touch off a serious inflammatory response.

For more complex issues, antibiotic and anti-inflammatory medication may be necessary. Your vet may also suggest a six-month elimination diet to rule in or out food allergies. A trip to the veterinary dermatologist may also be in order, especially for young animals that will be dealing with lifelong allergy problems.

If your pet is suffering from allergy symptoms, schedule a vet visit to get recommendations and treatments tailor-made for your dog or cat. There really is no one-size-fits-all approach to treating allergic pets, so be prepared for some amount of experimentation to see which method gives your pet the most relief.

NOTE: This article is for general informational purposes only and is not meant to diagnose or treat any diseases, or take the place of a client-patient-veterinarian relationship. If you have questions about your pet’s health, your veterinarian will be your best source of information.

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Lil’ Pals Pet Photography will be bringing its RV studio to our neighbor, Robin’s Grooming Nest, on Friday, July 26th so reserve your sitting time now!

Portrait sessions take place inside the tricked-out RV, so don’t fear the heat (or a rainy day.) The sitting fee is only $10 and space is limited.

Lil Pals

To make your pet’s reservation, call Robin’s Grooming Nest today, at 757-583-2225 or Lil’ Pals at 540-903-3895.


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We’ve got a few ideas for last-minute (and novel) gifts for the pet owners on your Christmas list.

Grab some of these on your next visit to our clinic:

Extra-fine flea comb
Flea combs

Grooming glove


Pill crusher/splitter

Gift certificates

P.S. – Congratulations to Mary W. and Barbara B., the two winners of our special December drawing!

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     Have you examined your pet’s feet lately?  What do the toenails look like?  Unless your dog or cat gets groomed on a regular basis, its nails could be growing wild.

  • Some dogs and cats are afflicted with claws that grow around into the toepads.  The result is a bloody and painful mess.
  • Dewclaws or “thumbnails” which are not trimmed can sometimes catch in rugs, upholstery, or fences and tear or break off, which also leaves a bloody and painful mess.
  • Untrimmed nails may cause your pet’s toes to spread apart when standing or walking, which can cause discomfort.

     If your pet’s toenails are clicking on the floor, then it’s probably time to trim them back.  You can do this at home with a cooperative pet, a good pair of nail clippers, and steady nerves.

Start with a good pet nail trimmer.

     If your pet’s nails are white and you can see the pink quick inside, trim in front of the quick to lessen the chance of cutting a vein.  The quick is the fleshy part of the toenail, which has veins and can bleed when cut.  Leave a small amount of white nail between the trimmer blade and the quick.

Note:  Since cats normally retract their claws, you will need to gently squeeze each toe to extend the claws for trimming. Take care to wrap your cat in a thick towel if he tends to scratch or bite. 

     If your pet’s nails are black, you will not be able to see the quick.  In this case, trim off small amounts at a time.  In some pets, the tip of the nail is thinner than the base and is hollow-looking from the underside.  This is typically a safe area to cut, as it rarely contains blood vessels.

     Do not trim more than you are comfortable with.  If you feel that you have not removed enough of the nail, be sure to ask a groomer or vet to finish the job.
     Keep in mind that a pet will sometimes sense the owner’s nervousness and become nervous in response.  If you are anxious about trimming your pet’s nails, because you are afraid of cutting the quick, your anxiety may transfer to your pet which will then run and hide, saving you the trouble of trimming its nails.  As a result, you may wish to ask a groomer or the veterinary staff to do it for you.

     If you do cut the quick, the nail will bleed.  Use styptic powder or cornstarch with cotton and firm pressure to stop the bleeding.  Cut the other nails longer than any that bleed.  You can try a dremel tool like the sort advertised on tv, but we have heard few positive remarks about them.  Most clients report that their pets do not like the sound of the tool and run out of the room.

     Need a photo demonstration?  Washington State University has produced a guide to trimming claws on dogs and cats. 

Originally posted on October 26, 2010.

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Free glove with purchase of 6 or more tubes of Advantage.

     Bayer, the maker of Advantage Flea Control, has sent us a supply of grooming gloves to be given away with purchases of 6 or more doses of Advantage.* 

     I decided to try the glove before foisting it on an unsuspecting public and here is what I found:  The glove removes dirt and loose fur from pets, as it is intended to do, but my favorite use is removing fur from upholstery with the glove.  Granted, that gets a little messy when the fur starts flying, but it is fun and effective.

     The Grooming Glove is especially useful if your pet is fussy and does not like to be combed or brushed, but does enjoy being petted.  This is what we in the business call Stealth Grooming.

     Remember to ask for your glove the next time you purchase 6 or more doses of Advantage.  Limited quantity; offer is good while supplies last; one free glove per household

     *Qualifying purchase quantity must be made on a single visit; cumulative purchases do not qualify for the free glove offer.

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