Archive for the ‘New’ Category

Dog Food & Supplements: An In Depth Look At Nutrition

Gemma | May 12th, 2005
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Dog Food & Supplements: An In Depth Look At Nutrition For Your Pet (6)

Pet food manufacturers have made it quite easy for the average dog owner to feed their pets without having to be an expert nutritionist. All of the work has been done by the modern manufacturer.

Since it isn’t possible for manufacturers to list all of the nutrients and their required percentages as published by the NRC (National Research Council) on their labels, the terms complete diet, nutritionally complete, balanced, and balanced diet are used.

This tells the consumer that the product inside the can, bag or box, contains all the essential vitamins, minerals, proteins, carbohydrates and fats the average dog needs to satisfy his daily requirements.

The nutritional requirement for puppies, however, is somewhat different than that required for adult dogs. The diet of the adult dog is usually referred to as a maintenance diet where a puppy diet is referred to as a growth diet.

In 1974 a regulation went into effect that required all dog food manufacturers to specify on their labels whether the product is complete and balanced for the adult dog (maintenance), complete and balanced for puppies (growth), or complete and balanced for growth and maintenance both. Since all manufactures comply with this regulation, the only thing left to the consumers is to read the label.

Among the varieties of canned, bagged, or semi-moist dog foods, there are certain drawbacks, as well as advantages. This is true even though they are nutritionally identical if advertised as complete and/or balanced.

Because canned dog food may contain up to 78% moisture, a dog necessarily has to eat a larger quantity of a canned product to get the same volume of food that he would get if fed a dry product. It takes three pounds of commercially prepared canned dog food to be equivalent to one pound of dry food.

But manufactures do not fill a can two-thirds of the way with water, then top it off with a little dab of dog food. The moisture content inside the can is there by the very nature of the ingredients. For example, when a human buys a thick juicy steak, he’s buying well over fifty percent moisture. The butcher didn’t inject that moisture into the steak with a hypodermic needle.

The moisture content in canned dog food serves a definite and useful purpose, both in processing and in the dog’s digestive system. The drawback to the consumer insofar as canned dog food is concerned, is usually one of economics. It can be very expensive due to the large quantities of canned food most normal to large sized dogs will need to eat to get in their daily caloric and nutritional needs.

What Dog Groomers Won’t Tell You: A Brutally Honest Opinion

Gemma | May 8th, 2005
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What Dog Groomers Won’t Tell You: A Brutally Honest Opinion From A Professional

Have you taken your dog to a groomer parlor lately? When was the last time he was clipped? Brushed? Cleaned? If not, then allow real-life groomer, Sara Gordon, with decades of experience, give you an honest, no-nonsense opinion from a professional groomer’s standpoint on dog owners that come to see her for their grooming needs.

Read Closely, You’ll Learn Something

From Sara Gordon:

I groomed some forty years and prefer to groom in the quiet. I have nothing to hide but the dogs being groomed, as they certainly act up when they see the owner, or anyone else but me.

I must agree with most groomers, however, that it is difficult to control a dog while someone is trying to take a peek as you groom.

My first concern was the dog’s safety. In fact, even the sound of car tires will excite a dog and make it very difficult to handle.

I never used or believed in tranquilizers; in fact, I’ve groomed many dogs that bit their owners, but never bit me and I didn’t use a muzzle or a gag. I simply let the dog know I wasn’t going to hurt it.

In fact, I preferred that the owner didn’t even tell me that the dog would bite. Dogs are like children if they’re allowed to rule the house then they will.

I found that most of the folks that wanted a sneak peek didn’t love their dog as I did, as the dogs would always come in completely unbrushed for grooming; I mean to the extent that there was no way one could get a brush through its coat.

They would say, My dog will never let me brush him, which is, in my opinion, a very poor excuse indeed!

Letting a dog go two to four months without brushing can create a real mess. Owners must think groomers can just wave a wand and it’s done. I always told them they could brush if they really cared to.

A good way to approach it also is to ask if they would let their child go two to four months without brushing or combing their hair. The answer is always no. They think about it then. It is mean to a dog to brush it after that length of time. It is sheer torture.

I’ve had many people say, I just brushed her last night and she is already matted.

This is NOT TRUE! All they actually brushed was the top of the coat, and it should be brushed from the skin out. I have proven that even five minutes a week will keep out the dead hair that causes those mats.

And my last gripe is about owners that insist on seeing their dogs while I am grooming them. A groomer loses time when people want to see the dogs that are in to be groomed, as they all start barking and whining and are hard to settle back down. So I say it’s cruel to upset them.

I told them to take their dog somewhere else if they insisted on watching. I was just not going to put their pet through that ordeal. They all left them with me, and, I might add, were very pleased with the results.

Puppy Grooming: How To Get Your Dog To Absolutely Love

Gemma | May 5th, 2005
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Puppy Grooming: How To Get Your Dog To Absolutely Love Baths, Clippings, & Brushings

All puppies need to get used to being groomed, and starting as early in its life as possible. Doing so will prevent future grooming problems from happening later on in their lives.

Whether your puppy has a short coat (Boxer, Basset Hound, Labrador Retriever), long coat (Lhasa Apso, German Long-haired Pointer, Samoyed) or one that falls somewhere in between, shell need to be groomed on a regular basis.

One Size Does Not Fit All

Different kinds of coats require different grooming steps, but basic grooming care such as bathing, brushing, ear and teeth cleaning, and nail trimming is needed for all dogs. If you have a long-haired breed, grooming will have to be practiced more often and may be a bit more difficult. Therefore, it is important to introduce your puppy to grooming early on in her life. Life will be more pleasant for both you and your puppy if she learns to enjoy this experience while shes still young.

Groom Your Puppy Everyday

In order to make sure that your puppy creates a positive experience with grooming, you must introduce her to the process slowly and often. Get her familiar with each piece of equipment by showing it to her one at a time. Show her the brush, let her sniff it for a few seconds and then give her a small treat.

Next, gently touch her with the brush and the treat. Once she has fully accepted the object, gently brush one stroke and immediately follow with a treat. Repeat this about three more times until she realizes that being brushed is a great feeling. Break down the procedure into small steps as this will give your puppy the chance to create a positive experience within each step.

Take her to the grooming station and let her get to know the area before you start the grooming process. A few days before giving her a bath, put her in the bathtub while its dry and let her play with a toy and throw in her favorite treat. Repeat the same process the next day, adding some water and a sponge. Let her get used to the water before filling the tub.

The same procedure goes for the nail clipper, toothbrush, and other grooming tools. Take the time to introduce them to your puppy and she will enjoy grooming for the rest of her life.

Poodle Grooming Q & A Session (2)

Gemma | May 3rd, 2005
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When it comes to taking care of your pet Poodle, grooming her curly locks may be the most challenging part. Below are more questions about grooming a Poodle.

1. Clipping my Poodle isnt really much trouble until I get to her feet. Why is she so jumpy about it and what can I do to make the job easier?

Many Poodles are extremely sensitive about having their feet clipped, especially the front ones. I think that the first few grooming sessions set the pattern for this sensitivity. You may never be able to change him now, even if you manage to develop a gentle touch with the clipper.

It is important to hold the weight of the clipper in your hand instead of resting it on your dogs foot while you clip. Pull the hair away from the toenail with your fingers so the clipper can pick it up easily.

Do not dig it out with the sharp points of the blade. When you clean the hair from between the toes, let your finger separating the pads beneath the toes protrude just enough to protect the web. Any dog that has been poked and cut will always flinch, so it may be necessary to get someone to hold the leg at the elbow to prevent movement.

2. Everyone tells me that I should show my new Poodle puppy. Should I do anything special about his clipping?

I believe that getting involved with a kennel club and learning all of the ins-and-outs from them is one of the best ways to go about this concern. There is much more to being a show dog than meets the eye. This includes expending lots of energy and time. In the meanwhile, be sure any groomer who clips your puppy knows you intend to show her so the groomer wont cut the hair you will need later.

3. My Poodle’s teeth need to be professionally cleaned by the vet once or twice a year. Is there any way I can keep from having to have this done? She refuses to chew bones.

In the first place, chewing bones is not always all that effective, and, of course, you have to be very careful about that anyway. I have seen dogs that chew that have terrible teeth and dogs that dont and have beautiful teeth. The best solution is to brush your dogs teeth everyday using a baby toothbrush. If this is too much for you, then continuing your regular trips to the vet is the next best solution.

Poodle Grooming Q & A Session (1)

Gemma | May 2nd, 2005
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Grooming a Poodle can be a very difficult task to do, especially if you arent exactly the type of person who likes to play hairdresser with your dog. But whether your Poodle is a show dog or a regular household pet, you still need to give her a nice haircut, especially for the dot’s health and comfort. Below are three common questions and answers about grooming your Poodle:

1. Why does my groomer charge extra when my Poodle doesnt come in regularly for a grooming session?

Operating any business is a matter of making the income cover all the operating expenses, and allowing a margin for profit, and time does cost money. A Poodle that is even a week or two late will take a small but measurable amount of time longer to brush, dry, and finish. In some clips a shaved pattern must be re-set rather than simply followed.

A Poodle that does not come on a regular basis is more apt to be dirty and matted, and the blades that cut her hair will dull much more quickly and have to be sent away for sharpening. If money is a real problem, though, ask your groomer to suggest a simple clip that can go a little longer between grooming.

2. My Poodle comes home from the grooming shop a nervous wreck and it takes several days for her to calm down and return to her normal self. Does this mean shes mistreated at the grooming shop?

It is possible, but I also believe that most dog groomers, if not all, love dogs or they would not have chosen dog grooming as a profession. Talk to your groomer about it. Its possible that he or she is not even aware that your Poodle has a problem. There have been several cases of Poodles that are cool and calm but had nervous reactions after grooming.

3. I like my Poodle long and hairy. Is there any real reason why he should be clipped?

The Poodle was first clipped for function, second for beauty. If you are willing to brush him everyday, keep his nails cut and ears cleaned out, make sure the hair around his eyes is kept clean, and bathe him when he needs it, there really isnt anything wrong with having a shaggy Poodle. If it happens that you cant keep up with this program, you may have a very reluctant Poodle when you do decide to have him clipped.

Nightmare Grooming Services How Safe Is Your Pet? (2)

Gemma | April 28th, 2005
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Nightmare Grooming Services How Safe Is Your Pet? (2)

Have you considered having your dog groomed by an unlicensed groomer, perhaps one that is considerably cheaper than a professional? If so, there are some important things you should be aware of.

For starters, at present, any animal left with a groomer is unprotected by law, and no requirement exists that the particular groomer has to be qualified and proficient in the art of dog grooming. Laws requiring dog groomers to pass state board tests, or to otherwise prove their capabilities, simply do not exist.

Grooming schools that allow students (whom are not yet licensed) to perform on your pets are not required to give the student a sufficient number of hours to assure the graduate will be capable of safely handling an animal. A novice simply should not be permitted to groom animals for money without sufficient training to avoid the many accidents reported daily.

Grooming Horror Stories

In doing some serious behind-the-scenes research, we have learned of the many horror stories which otherwise would not have surfaced. It has been reported throughout many cities that teats have been cut off accidentally, and dogs are suffocated daily in unsafe homemade dryers – as examples of the injuries occurring at the hands of untrained persons dealing in grooming services.

A woman from California who experienced a terrible accident when she brought her Poodle to a backyard groomer stated It’s getting to the point now where licensing is a must, as protection for the legitimate groomer, the animal, and the owner.

Reports of dog groomers who are sadistic, as well as dishonest, have been reported to the authorities in many areas across the nation. One report alleges cruelties such as smashing dogs’ heads to the floor from the grooming table. These types of reports, although hard to believe actually happen, were investigated and found to be true.

The animal cannot fend for itself and there must be guidelines set up to protect everyone dealing in and needing grooming services. The public is under the impression that professional dog groomers are already licensed.

There are no health standards governing backyard grooming shops, and many with public locations are not legally licensed or respecting any particular health codes.

In many of these places you will find everything from cockroaches to mange. Proper methods of disinfecting the premises, general rules of safety in handling animals, and proper crating procedures, are totally ignored or are foreign to many so-called groomers who have simply purchased a business license and became self-styled dog groomers.

The garage groomers have no problems of proper hygiene, because, due to the lack of licensing procedures, they have no license to be revoked. All the garage groomer has to do is close up and move to another location when he becomes unpopular in one neighborhood.

Nightmare Grooming Services How Safe Is Your Pet? (1)

Gemma | April 23rd, 2005
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Nightmare Grooming Services How Safe Is Your Pet? (1)

Powerful and influential groups are lobbying in many state capitals for licensing of dog groomers. If they are successful, it will no longer be possible for individuals to learn grooming from a book and then open up a business. They would first be required to pass a written test administered by the state.

There has been considerable dissatisfaction and uneasiness within the ranks of professional dog groomers for the past few years. This is due in part to the growing number of self-styled groomers those who read a few books and declare themselves qualified.

There also appears to be a growing number of grooming schools. Established professional groomers are unanimous in their assertion that many grooming schools are not adequately staffed, nor do they provide adequate curriculum to turn out fully qualified, competent, dog groomers.

In too many cases, it is alleged that these schools are not state-approved and in business solely to make money from unsuspecting students.

Representatives of grooming schools counter with the claim of professional jealousy, and add that established groomers are finally feeling the pinch of competition, and that eventually such competition will force grooming prices down.

This is due to the cut-rate fees charged from grooming at schools. The work is done by students, and the prices are not in competition with the professional. In any case, where factions square off at each other, someone need only to shake a few trees and all sorts of interesting things begin to fall out for public scrutiny.

Garage Groomers

Another faction infiltrating the industry are the garage groomers. These are people who cannot afford to pay rent on a grooming parlor. They set up business in their home as a hobby, charging but a fraction of what their professional counterparts would charge, and are not trained in the proper handling of an animal with emphasis on the welfare of the pet.

Without the need to pay employees, rent utilities and in many cases, the Internal Revenue Service the garage groomer can cut his prices considerably.

Regardless of what motivates the various factions to make the accusations they do, one fact has surfaced which warrants the attention of the public: There are many unscrupulous, unqualified; inept and incompetent dog groomers in this country. The real issue, it seems, is dog abuse through ignorance and lack of proper training.

According to legal resources, there is no recourse for the dog owner or law enforcement agencies in cases of animal abuse or injury caused by drunkenness or ignorance of a self-appointed groomer. If licensing procedures were enacted, there would be.

Nightmare Grooming Services – How Safe Is Your Pet? (5)

Gemma | April 20th, 2005
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Nightmare Grooming Services – How Safe Is Your Pet? (5)

Many reputable groomers across the country welcome the possibility of being required to get a license to continue their grooming businesses. Of course for every one reputable groomer, there are probably hundreds that run their business in an undesired manner, resulting in abuse and mistreatment of the animals left in their hands.

Many people feel that federal licensing is near at hand. Legislation of certain controls has already filtered into the pet shop industry, cutting many pet shops’ business in half. Controls on importing exotic birds, exotic animals, domestic animals, turtles, and even some tropical fish, have hurt many pet shops financially.

A lot of pet shops have taken up grooming to make up for the loss even though they are not qualified dog groomers. If legislation can control pet shops, legislation can and will control the grooming industry.

In many ways, it’s too bad, but in the long run it will do the industry good. It will help rid our industry of the many quacks and incompetents and will make the grooming shops a safer, cleaner place for our pets.

Licensing will give the consumer a lever in which to demand fair and humane treatment of animals left in the care of groomers. It will help to ensure proper and sanitary conditions for the helpless creatures left in the care of dog groomers, without the worry of the animals contacting mange, kennel cough, distemper, or worse getting beaten and cut by the unprofessional practices of some individuals.

As a guideline for the pet owner and until licensing does come the National Dog Groomers Association of America (NDGAA) suggests that the pet owner look for the code of ethics logo displayed by participating grooming establishments, or a Better Business Bureau logo.

With state licensing requirements, we can put an end to the fakes and sadists that have hung out their grooming standards. Sure, there is money in grooming, but there’s money in the medical and veterinary field too. A person doesn’t sit down and watch one episode of a home cooking show and then open up a restaurant.

Licensing will come, but not a day too soon. Until it does, we’ll have to wonder what kind of groomer we’ve left our pet with. It makes me wonder just what our pets would say if they could tell us what’s going on behind closed doors.

Nightmare Grooming Services – How Safe Is Your Pet? (4)

Gemma | April 16th, 2005
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Nightmare Grooming Services – How Safe Is Your Pet? (4)

How would it feel knowing you took your dog to a local groomer, sat in the waiting area outside of the view of the groomer, and then found out that in order to get the job done the person tied your dog’s mouth up, smacked its bottom, and did other things to restrain the pup so that the groomer could finish the job?

This type of approach is being used every day in dog grooming parlors around the country. When asked about such practices most give the same reply: That these are the necessary tactics to getting the dog trimmed and groomed.

Sandra Booth, A Professional Groomer For More Than 20 Years, Doesn’t Agree:

All of our grooming is done in plain view so that anyone can watch their pet being groomed. All I ask is that the owner pretend to leave the shop so the dog won’t be looking around for that owner. Once the animal is convinced that the owner has departed, that owner is perfectly free to watch the entire grooming process of their pet.

Some shops invite first-time customers into the grooming room for a behind-the-scenes peek, which usually delights the dog owner. However, customers are not encouraged to view their dog during the grooming process.

The pet is anticipating going home, and when the groomer is working on the dog using sharp shears, the chance of an accidental cutting is great when a dog goes into an alert at their owner’s presence.

The shop operated by Sandra Booth is located in a quiet suburb of a large Southern California city. It was immaculately clean with the smell of disinfectant in the air even though an interview was unannounced.

Do you see any dog mouths shut? asked Mrs. Booth. Do you see any of my employees giving tranquilizers? Any dogs being spanked, hit, beaten, or mistreated? There’s absolutely no reason for dog grooming to be done behind closed doors, unless the groomer has something to hide

Sandra goes on to say, If a groomer knows his or her business, enjoys the work, likes animals, and keeps their welfare uppermost, then there is no reason to hide anything. If a groomer’s work can’t stand the light of day, and has to be kept hidden, then there is something wrong.

When she was asked her feelings about the possibility of getting license after all of these years being in the business, I’m all for it, she replied. It’s about time. There’s been too much quackery in the grooming business, with incompetent, self-proclaimed groomers not only hurting the reputation of reputable groomers, but hurting dogs as well.

Nightmare Grooming Services – How Safe Is Your Pet? (3)

Gemma | April 13th, 2005
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Nightmare Grooming Services – How Safe Is Your Pet? (3)

Cruelty among unlicensed backyard groomers has been a growing series of unfortunate events in both small and large towns across the country.

With cheap services that are far lower priced than professional groomers, it’s easy for many dog owners to see the benefit of saving money over the possibility that the groomer might not know what he or she is doing.

Fortunately, there is an organization that works hard to protect the sanctity of professional animal groomers across the nation. They are the National Dog Groomers Association of America (NDGAA).

With tens of thousands of members running strong, the NDGAA has been responsible for introducing legislation around the country to bring more responsibility and legal protection for dog owners and the garage groomers that do business today.

Unfortunately, it has not been an easy task to convince lawmakers to hold the same standards to the dog grooming business as they do for human barber shops and stylists. Beauty operators and barbers are licensed and must adhere to various controls to protect the consumer.

Licensing of dog groomers appears to be just over the horizon. While nobody likes federal and state governments to step in and control private industry, the present state of the grooming industry is such that steps must be taken to protect the consumer, as well as the unsuspecting animal. At present, any person has the right to call him or herself a groomer.

A Recent Shocking Survey

Last year a small group of individuals who support laws to come down hard on dangerous grooming practices and unlicensed shops took it upon themselves to interview 85 establish groomers in as many grooming shops as 5 large cities.

It was bewildering to discover only one shop conducting grooming in full view of customers and other patrons. This led to the shaking of a few more insights, and a desire to know why grooming is normally done behind close doors.

The answer, it seems, is that the dog owner wouldn’t understand why a groomer was doing a particular thing or treating an animal in a particular way. It seems that many animals left for grooming are in such a terrified state of mind that they have to be tranquilized.

In some cases, some animals are anesthetized before any grooming can take place. One groomer explained:

Most animals left to be groomed are spoiled rotten, and you can’t do a thing with them unless they get their bottom spanked. Sometimes, we have to tie their mouths shut, but the general public just wouldn’t understand this.

These groomers may have a point here about having a hard time keeping dogs calm during the process, but the underlying justification to abuse animals in order to get the job done is not enough to warrant such practices.