What’s the “Woof”? Archives

Read all the little “kibble and bits”  😉

  • Park Principles: Personal experience and Park etiquette
  • Bullying the Pitty: How negative media impacts a breed
  • Tricks of the Trade: Nail trimming for Dogs: Learn how to trim your own dog’s nails
  • Harnessing the Right Knowledge: How the right type of harness can help stop pulling
  • Clean Out Your Ears and Listen to this…: Learn how to clean your dog’s ears
  • You’re Just too Sensitive: Sensitive stomachs
  • Hard to Swallow: What swallowing behaviour could mean
  • Dogs put the FUR in ‘furniture’
  • King of Tools
  • Dif-FUR-ent Products
  • Oh Snap!
  • Oste-OH NO!

Park Principles

Zeea at dog park rainZeea loves the dog park, it is one of her favorite places and I love it too. It is a great way for her to exercise and have tons of fun. I know most of the dogs (owners names sometimes escape me 😛 ) that go there and they know Zeea. Of course there are always new dogs to meet. Zeea in particular has a ‘thing’ for beagles and most recently a long haired Chihuahua. This is where etiquette of the dog park comes in handy because although Zeea liked the Chihuahua it wanted nothing to do with Zeea and would sit down and look nervous. So the owners would pick up their dog and move, getting annoyed. Zeea of course would follow and once they put it back on the ground Zeea would get her nose in the little dogs face and then bark, asking to play. Obviously this behaviour was not acceptable and Zeea would not leave the dog alone no matter how much I told her too. This was the reason I gave her a time-out. I took Zeea into the small gated area and had her sit. After a bit of time one of Zeea’s friend entered the park and they always wrestled together, but the beagle in question (told you she had a ‘thing’ 😉 ) would never travel to far from his owner. I thought this would be ok because Zeea would be near the entrance of the park and the dog was all the way at the end of the park. So I let Zeea go play and everything was going great. Zeea was playing happily and staying away from the Chihuahua. Just as thing were going great and I thought problem solved the Chihuahua decided to come and see what was going on. Once again Zeea’s attention turned to the little one and we were back where we started. The owners of the Chihuahua became extremely annoyed and proclaimed out loud they were picking up their dog and leaving.

I felt bad because I knew my dog was part of the situation and I do say part. Why, because Zeea although bugging the dog was doing nothing wrong, she wasn’t being aggressive, or biting she was trying to sniff and get a new playmate. Zeea should have left the dog alone though because I told her to leave it. On the other hand the owners were nervous and didn’t give their dog a chance to get used to Zeea; at the first sign of any nerves they would pick their dog up. This is reinforcing the dog behaviour and basically tell the dog that “yes you should stay away from that dog”. Also they did bring their dog to the dog park, and it wasn’t like I showed up after, so they were well aware of the dogs present including Zeea. I understand that not all dogs like all dogs but in this situation there was no threatening behaviour or chance of either dog getting hurt is there a reason I should have left?

Etiquette followed: I took my dog away, gave her a time out, and had her playing with other dogs far away from the Chihuahua. The Chihuahua came to where Zeea was this time, after my attempt, therefore it is better for the other owners to leave if they were uncomfortable. 

Bullying the Pitty

Disclaimer: The content of this post may be controversial. I would like to clarify that the views expressed in this article are my own personal opinions.

Recently I have read two stories about pit bulls/pit bull mixes that tug at the heartstrings. In New York a 3 year old pit bull was found stuffed inside a suitcase that was then thrown into a dumpster. The dog was very malnourished and disoriented when found; it had been thrown out like garbage. In another town, Roseville, a pit bull/beagle mix, Courtney, was found tied up behind a Walmart in the freezing cold. The cable Courtney had been tied with had become tangled around her foot so she ended up chewing off her paw. Luckily both of these dog were saved and are now in the care of animal rescues. Although it may just be a coincidence that both of these dog contain pit bull, this fact did jump out at me. There are also many rescues filled with pit bulls out there and it made me wonder why are people giving up or getting rid of these dogs. I think that this is partially because many people are not getting pit bulls/pit bull mixes in the first place. There exists discrimination against the pit bull breed and laws banning or restricting them. How are rescues supposed to decrease their numbers if those that wish to adopt a pit bull are not allowed to because of the laws in place? Many American states have breed-specific laws (BSL) which were created to regulate pit bulls and pit bull mixes. In Canada, Ontario has a ban. In fact, the ban in Ontario is so ridiculous that even travelers cannot bring their pit bulls/pit bull mixes into the province without the risk of having their dog seized and euthanized; the only exception to this rule is competition dogs. The law places humans and their safety above all other animals and even states dogs fall under the category of possessions. I wonder if those designing the law considered how it would affect the way people treat pit bulls. Looking at stories such as the ones I mentioned above, I think these laws may be causing more harm and increasing the abuse against this specific breed. Even if the state or province itself doesn’t ban the breed, there are usually other regulations in place as well as those who fight to introduce the ban, having heard about pit bulls mauling people. I am not saying that pit bulls never attack but the blame does not always lay solely with the dog. The humans involved also play a role, principally the owner. I believe that with proper training any breed of dog can solve its problems with attacks. By training I mean behavioural training because the dog may be anxious or afraid. During dog-human interaction you do not always know the reason why the dog attacks. Also in some attacks there are people whom are not taking responsibility for their actions; this includes anything and everything because you never know what the dog could have reacted to. The anxiety of the person could have even made the dog anxious, as dog are very in tune with peoples’ emotions. I would like to firmly state that I do sympathize with victims of dog attacks. That being said, it is often not 100% the dog’s fault. In sum, due to these laws, all pit bulls/pit bull mixes have been grouped together and portrayed in a negative light. Could this prejudice against the breed have triggered the above actions? Even though it sounds like both dogs have lovely and warm personalities, could these have been outweighed by the fact they were pit bulls?

I used to work in a grooming salon and I could see the reactions of both co-workers and customers when a pit bull or a dog resembling one came in. I was shocked that even those that work with dogs professionally reacted as though pit bulls were all the same. So at the salon where I worked, pit bulls were turned away including one pit bull that had been a customer for years. This particular pit bull would come in to have his nails done and would just lay on the floor and that was it – easy. This dog was just a big teddy bear and yet, because of his breed, he was being denied a service he had received many times before. Once the pit bull law had been passed the store did end up with a rule that did not allow pit bulls as clients. Although this is an anthill compared to other stories, it does show how media perceptions can really influence one’s opinions, especially when fear is used.

Pitbull angel

Found on buzzfeed.com

I believe these laws should be revoked, each case should be considered individually and owners should be encouraged to educate themselves. I personally believe that any dog, no matter what breed or breed traits they may have(as some dogs do exhibit certain traits such as same-sex aggression), can be controlled and with knowledge and training any dog can be man’s/woman’s best friend.

See 5″Unadoptable” Breeds That Prove You Shouldn’t Believe Everything You Read. http://barkpost.com/5-so-called-unadoptable-breeds/?utm_source=Sailthru&utm_medium=email&utm_term=non-subscriber&utm_campaign=20140218_NonSubscriber_Newsletter_Post%20%5BB%5D&utm_content=B

Tricks of the Trade: Nail Trimming for Dogs

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I previously worked in a grooming salon and we were constantly flooded with nail trims. I can’t count how many times I had to remind people to get their dog’s nails trimmed more often (usually about once every two weeks, although it does differ depending on the dog and breed (e.g. Basset Hounds have naturally have long nails)). One issue that arose was curling nails which was especially common with the dew claws (the highest nail and the inside of the paw). This becomes a problem because, just like humans, dogs can get ingrown nails; the nails can actually grow into the footpad. There were cases where we had to refuse to do the dog’s nails because they were so curled that there was no way to safely cut them (no way to get the trimmers around them). Sometimes we had to notify the owners that they needed to go to the vet to have the claw removed from the pad. To help owners prevent this problem from occurring in the future, I am going to share my knowledge and tricks on nail trimming. Before we begin, I would like to explain what the dog’s kwik is, a common word used in grooming salons. The quick is the blood line in the dog’s nail; it curves with the shape of the nail and can grow longer overtime with the nails if the nails are not cut regularly.

Here are a few tricks to start off with if you plan on trimming your dog’s nails. The best thing you can do is to start as soon as possible in the dog’s life but not before 4 months. For those with older dogs, you can still begin using these methods now. Sometimes it is not the actual trimming the dog dislikes but the fact that their paws are being held, so start by touching and holding your dog’s paws and pushing apart their toes so they get used to the sensation. Even if they are okay with their front paws being touched, make sure to do the back paws too. Remember to praise your dog or give them a treat when they show you the desired behaviour. Another part of nail trimming that can bother the dog is the clippers or the noise they make. Begin desensitizing your dog as you did with the paws by holding the clipper up to the nail, but not around, and close the clipper to make the clicking noise. The dog will get used to the clippers while learning the noise does not mean anything scary or negative. Give praise and treats; you want to reinforce this good behaviour. When actually trimming the dog’s nail, it is best to not let them see what you are doing. If you have clicked the clipper without cutting the nail, the dog will be more comfortable when you actually do the nail because it will just be the clipper sound they hear which they have already become accustomed too. Another thing to pay attention to is your own nerves; dogs can sense when you’re tense and this will cause them to share your anxiety. Try to relax; just remember that it is better to cut the nails too long and more often than to cut them too short, causing the dog pain and possibly scaring him off from future nail trims.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERANow that you know how to get your dog used to the idea of getting their nails done, the first step is purchasing the right tool. Different types of nail clippers are available but not all clippers are right for your dog. Size is very important; the nail clippers should easily fit around the dog’s nails with empty space between the curvatures of the clipper and the nail. This will make it easier to apply the force needed to cut the nail. The type of clipper is also an important factor. If you have a nervous dog or a dog that pulls its paws away, avoid the guillotine-style clippers as dogs can easily catch their nails in the hole and can possibly tear their nail off; choose the scissor style instead. Also I suggest saving your money and not buying the Kwik-finder nail clipper. These clippers are supposed to be coated with a solution that senses the blood under the dog’s nail; however, there have been many complaints that these clippers do not work or that they end up causing you to cut the quick. When purchasing clippers make sure they feel comfortable in your hands and they open and close easily.

The next step is positioning your dog. This is important because it allows you to have control over the dog’s body and movements. The position that I have found provides the most control and support is facing towards the OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAback of the dog, while the dog is standing, on the same side as the nails you are going to cut (you will need to switch sides), kneeling in ‘proposal’ positon (which allows you to use your knee to prop larger dogs up if need be) while one arm holds the paw so the pad is facing up, keeping the dog’s leg bent. The other arm, with the hand holding clippers, goes under the belly. When doing the dog’s nails on the same side as your dominant hand, your arm will need to go in between the dog’s legs. If you still find your dog won’t stay still, you can try placing them on a table if they are small enough; the feeling of the different surface can sometimes cause dogs to ‘freeze-up’ (just make sure they don’t fall off) (also instead of kneeling you will be standing). You can also secure the dog’s head to a stable object using their leash. The leash will need to be looped to make sure the length is short so the dog cannot turn his head all the way around. Another idea is to do the trim with two people, where one does the clipping and the other distracts the dog and keeps it still either by petting it or giving treats.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWith the right tool and right position, we move on to the actual clipping. To make sure you can see the nail clearly, use the thumb of the hand holding paw to push apart the toes slightly. Many dogs have both white and black coloured nails; it is much easier to see the quick in white nails. Just keep in mind that the kwik curves with the nail, getting thinner as it reaches towards the nail’s tip. Make sure to cut 2 mm beyond the kwik so as not to catch the very tip of the kwik. With black nails use the white nails as a guide but always cut them on the longer side, you can cut them more after a little bit at a time. If you wish to make the nails shorter, as I’ve had many requests to cut the nail as short as possible, check the freshly cutnails cut tip to see if you can actually go further. If you see a pink circle in the centre of a white nail or a darker black spot that looks wet in the centre of a black nail, that is your sign to stop. However, as I say this I know everyone makes mistakes and if you do accidentally kwik your dog there are tricks to help. If the kwik was only cut a little bit, you can apply a powder; stores sell Kwik-stop which is effective. If you want to save some pocket money though, simply apply some flour to nail. This clots the blood, stopping the flow just as kwik-stop does. I would stay away from baking powder because it is chemically a strong base and can sting when applying it. Warning: If the blood does not stop with powder and pressure, take your dog to the vet for treatment.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOnce done with the nail trimming, make sure not to forget the treats. The more positive the experience is for the dog, the easier it will become.

Note: Fresh cut nails are sharp to smooth them go for a walk on pavement or use a nail grinder (a small dermal-type tool usually called the Pawdicure).

Harnessing the Right Knowledge

It’s time to walk the dog and I’m sure your fuzzy friend is all ready to go; mine would be sitting at the door, thumping her tail ecstatically. So your dog loves the walk but do you? Sure you love being with your dog, the fresh air and the exercise. What you don’t love? The squirrels or rabbits and your dog’s eagerness to chase them. The leash tightens, the dog pulls then starts coughing and you’re afraid the dog is going to hurt itself. So what is the solution? One answer is training but this applies to just about every problem. The other option would be to not have anything around the dog’s neck, right? Yes but what can you buy instead of a collar when pulling is a problem? A harness is an option, especially if you have a squished-nosed dog or one with breathing problems (i.e. pug, Shih Tzu, bulldog, Boston terrier, etc.). However, the harness is not the best solution to help a pulling problem. The basic harness wraps around the torso of the dog and closes across the back OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAwith clips that each have a loop through which you attach the leash. You try a harness out and find that the dog isn’t choking anymore but he is still after that squirrel/rabbit and you find that you have little control of your dog; you’re afraid you may lose your arm from all the pulling! ^^’

What went wrong? The dog is in a harness so you should have control because more of the dog is restrained; right? Not quite; since more of the dog is covered, the surface area the dog can pull with is much greater and all of its weight can move in a forward motion easily with little resistance coming from you behind. There are a few key examples that explain why harnesses do not work for pulling problems. Huskies wear harnesses to pull sleds, Newfoundlanders use harnesses to deliver wagons of milk and working dogs, such as service dogs who wear harnesses to have greater physical control of their owner. If you are putting your dog in a harness, you are actually giving him more pulling power.

So how can this problem be solved? With an Easy Walk (or a similar product). An Easy Walk is technically a harness but not the common type of harness everyone thinks of. This harness is clipped in the front which means that the leash is hooked to the loop in the OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAmiddle of the chest strap rather than at the back. The other straps still go around the torso like a normal harness. So what is the big difference? Why is pulling reduced? Simple – because the dog is working against itself. The dog can only go as far forward as its chest will go, meaning that once the leash has reached its length, the tension on the chest strap, where the leash is hooked, forces the dog to turn. The dog simply cannot go beyond itself.

I know many people who love the Easy Walk (or a similar product); some say that it’s like they got a new dog! One lady couldn’t walk her large dog at all, only her husband could because the dog was so bad at pulling. After switching to the Easy Walk, she has no problems walking her dog at all; she can even do it in heels (lol, to each their own 😉 ).

To sum up this post: if you have a dog that pulls, go with the front clip or an easy way to remember – “don’t go back to pulling.”

*If you are thinking of getting a front clip harness first try your local Humane Society where you may be able to purchase a SENSE-ation Harness. They are just like the Easy Walk but have the bonus of supporting a great cause. ❤

Clean Out Your Ears and Listen to this…

From the tip of the nose (:∙ᴥ:∙) to the tip of the tail ∫’’, dogs need to be kept clean; this includes the inside of the ears^^. Whether the ears are pointed, floppy or a combination, they all need to be cleaned. Having worked in a grooming salon, I am well aware that this area can be easily forgotten or cleaned incorrectly. Many people know that cotton swabs (Q-tips) should not be used in human ears but still do so; therefore they can be used to clean dogs’ ears, right? – No. Just like a human has a risk of puncturing their eardrum, there is an even higher risk of puncturing a dog’s eardrum while using a Q-tip, causing possible deafness. This is because a dog’s eardrum is closer to

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the surface/outside of the ear which creates less area for the Q-tip to travel and thus a higher risk of hitting it. So what should you use? My advice would be a cotton ball. Besides cotton balls you will also need an ear cleaning solution made for dogs. There are many choices but I would suggest getting one that says it dissolves wax. Apply the solution to a cotton ball, place it inside the ear and use your fingers to push around the cotton, only going as far into the ear as your pointer finger will go without forcing it. With some solutions you can put a few drops of the cleaner right in the ear then fold the ear over and gently massage it to move the solution around. After the ear has been rubbed with the cleaner, use a clean cotton ball to dry the inside of the ear. Either step can be repeated if necessary. In Zeea’s case her left ear is always much worse than her right ear and can take up to 4 cotton balls.  The difference in ear cleanliness is really quite common so always make sure to check both ears to see if they require cleaning. Also, it is usually the ear prone to being dirtier that gets infected. To check for infection look at the colour of the inside of the ears; a healthy ear is usually a light to a slightly dark pink whereas an infected ear is usually red or has red patches. A good way to know if the inside of one ear is a different colour than the other is to compare the two. Another sign of an infection is the smell which is caused by the growth of bad bacteria. The smell has been described as a bit fishy; however, it should be noted that if there is any strong’ maybe odor coming from your dog’s ears it could be a sign of an infection. One other indicator that I have found is that the inside of the ear becomes hot to the touch. Behavioural clues that an infection could be present are a lot of head shaking, excessive scratching of the ears and/or rubbing their head against objects. Regular cleaning of your dog’s ears will help prevent infections if done properly. If your dog’s ears are constantly getting dirty, ear cleaning can be done once a week though it is usually suggested to do it once every two weeks. The step of drying the ear can also aid in preventing infection because bacteria’s 👿 favourite place to grow is somewhere damp and dark. This is also the reason you should not use water instead of a dog ear cleaner as bacteria can grow very easily in water. Soap is another thing you want to avoid inside your dog’s ears as they are very sensitive.

Not all dogs like to have their ears cleaned so if you have a puppy that just won’t sit still,trying laying them down. If still wiggly, have them lay on their side with their head sideways on the ground; in this position it is easier to have control of your dog’s head.

Also, as with every experience, reward with a treat! This way maybe next time they want you to clean their ears (wishful thinking…for some of you 😛 )

 *If you think your dog could have an infection please consult a vet*

You’re Just Too Sensitive…

I know for a fact that I am not the only one that owns a dog with a sensitive stomach. I am sure, like me, you have found yourself constantly in the vet’s office only to leave with another suggestion, hoping all the trial and error will lead to a solution. You’re frustrated that nothing seems to be working and your poor puppy’s stomach has her heaving or/and constantly whining to go out only to squat. You have reached the end of
IMG_20150628_010620your leash :/ – read on and hopefully my trials will help give you and your dog some relief.

I cannot count how many times I had been to the vet’s because Zeea had diarrhea, blood in her stool or was constantly swallowing and after each visit I left with a temporary solution. Medications or switching her diet to plain chicken and rice to settle down the digestive system became regular occurrences. I would stay on the course instructed by the vet until the end, making sure nothing else was thrown into the mix – no treats, no chews, nothing. I followed the vet’s instructions to the letter only to end up right where I started. The vet suggested it was time for a biopsy of Zeea’s intestines to find what was causing the irritation and inflammation, so I got all the blood work needed and we set a date for the procedure. Before the date, however, Zeea had a check-up and the whole plan was
wd foodchanged; the vet decided to change her diet yet again but this time permanently. Zeea’s procedure was cancelled and she was put on Digestive/Weight/Glucose Management w/d, a Hills prescription diet (vet-sold only). This time the kibble would be the only thing Zeea would get and in a few months I should see a change. Within a couple of months there was definitely a change which was a lot more pooping and a bit of constipation. The stool itself was like saw dust (because of the low fat content in the w/d) but the food was doing its job.

Finally a solution had been found! Zeea’s stomach was definitely feeling better but Zeea herself was not thrilled with the solution. Less and less of her kibble disappeared and soon Zeea stopped eating altogether. I consulted the vet and she wasn’t surprised Zeea didn’t want to eat as it is not the most flavourful food. We decided that adding wet food would help; this wet food was still w/d of course. At first the small change seemed to help but even the moisture of the wet food didn’t take away the blandness. Also, what dog doesn’t want a treat? Try dog-training with kibble and you’ll learn the answer. Zeea definitely falls under treat-motivated and I want to treat her if I can. Did you say spoiled? No….I mean, what dog doesn’t have their own blog and piles of toys they are encouraged to destroy? 🙄 Yes, she is spoiled! (Who can say ‘no’ to thatOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA face though?). Perhaps if the plain factor had been the only issue with w/d, Zeea’s diet might only consist of it but there was more to it. Zeea stunk. o_O Not only did her breath reek, even with weekly teeth brushing, but the food affected her natural oils and the smell was seeping from every pore. So a smelly dog is not the end of the world but as I mentioned the food was changing Zeea’s natural oils and in turn this heavily affected her coat. Being a husky-mix, Zeea is going to shed, it’s a fact, but when fur starts coming out in clumps, and it’s not the undercoat but the topcoat, it is time to realize that this is not normal shedding. Grooming will not solve this ‘hairy’ situation, it all comes down to the food; this was my initial assumption and I confirmed this with the vet. So Zeea may have a healthy digestive system but her overall health was not great. Time for a change…

To be continued… (I will continue posting on sensitive stomachs and what I have learned so keep reading)

Hard to Swallow…

Even though we wish our pets could tell us what’s wrong with them, we can only watch changes in their behaviour and hope the vet has seen it before so a diagnosis can be quickly made. Zeea sleeps at the foot of our bed and sometimes her dreams cause her to utter strange noises; the sound of lip smacking one night, however, was new 😕 . Not only was she smacking her lips but, with the lights on, I could see that each time she would swallow after. The swallowing movement was exaggerated and Zeea’s whole head bobbed (think of the song “Here Come the MIB” 😎 when Will Smith says, “make your neck work”). Sometimes it seemed like Zeea was heaving but she did not vomit. This behaviour continued for a couple hours and at 8 AM I called the vet. The vet explained that lip smacking is a sign of a dog having eaten something too salty and the swallowing was a sign of an upset stomach. This made a lot of sense because, during training classes, Zeea was getting Cesars Softies which are more processed (and thus usually contain more chemicals) than her usual Northern treats; according to the vet, more processing and chemicals means more salt. This could also be the reason for her upset stomach that night. The vet gave her a shot to help with the inflammation in her stomach caused by acid build-up and irritation (so I assume it was an anti-inflammatory) and prescribed some anti-acids. It wasn’t long before Zeea was feeling better and her behaviour was back to normal. I stopped using the Cesar treats and made sure that Zeea was receiving only more “natural” (i.e. less processed) treats. A few examples of “natural” treats are Northern, Pure Bites (freeze-dried meat), Crumps and N/A Nothing Added.

Northern is my top choice because of the variety of flavours, ingredients you can understand (not like propylene glycol) and if you have a dog with certain grain allergies, Northern has both wheat-free and grain-free options. Also they are made they are made in Canada (and I am a proud Canadian) and as an extra bonus the company employs people with disabilities (that impede their ability to work) to apply the labels.

I would like to note that I am not in any way associated with the company Northern and these opinions are all my own – this was not a sales pitch, haha. I also give Zeea treats like beef lung, beef liver, and fish skins. Always make sure to make a mental note (or write it down if you need to!) when your dog has received a new type of treat so if your dog starts lip smacking or excessively licking or swallowing, you know what the cause may be and can fix the issue. Of course don’t forget to consult your vet – you know how miserable an upset stomach can be so make sure you and your dog don’t have to stomach it 😉 .

Dogs put the FUR in ‘furniture’

As I was doing laundry today (blankets and bed sheets), I could only groan at all the fur that clung on to the linen. And I even vacuum the blanket in between washes too! I’m sure this situation is familiar to many of you, especially those that have dogs with double coats (topcoat and undercoat). Most breeds with an under coat are said to blow their coat twice a year but many dog owners can tell you that shedding happens all the time and I mean ALL THE OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERATIME. This is when I thought “wouldn’t it be great if you could throw something in the dryer with your laundry that would collect the fur?” Dryer sheets do nothing (supposed to reduce static cling allowing fur to separate from the clothes) and although the lint trap does gather the fur, it doesn’t do enough. Dryer sheets got me thinking though. I have these FURminator Shed Control Cloths which don’t work at all if used as intended (in a brushing motion); so since they look like a dryer sheet why not use them like one? The results of four tests were: two sheets disappeared (yes I mean vanished o_O ; I couldn’t find them anywhere. I thought maybe they had melted away) and the other two, although still there, did nothing. FURminator not only advertises that the cloths collect hair but also that they reduce surface coat shedding and, to go even further, they can be used up to three times before disposing. Of course, to use it again it would have to work the first time. 🙄

So this is how I got here, writing about different ways to deal with shedding, and where
else to start but on the actual dog. There are breeds that have hair instead of fur that shed but not to the same extent or the same way. Instead of finding single strands everywhere, usually the hair is in a clump and doesn’t cling all over your clothes (black dress pants and dog fur is a classic fashion trend 😉 ). Let’s face it though –you may hate the fur on the furniture but your OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERApuppy wouldn’t be as cute with a different coat. So my next posts will continue to shed light on the different tools available to help with your shedding pup. After all just because ‘furniture’ includes the word ‘fur’ doesn’t mean it should be covered in it. 😛

The King of Tools

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I first came across this tool when I worked in a grooming salon and needed to get a mat out of a dog’s coat. The comb was not proving useful and so a groomer suggested I try one of her tools and voila! 😀 the mat was removed. This great tool is known as the Coat King and it can do more than break apart mats; it can also be used to strip coats and remove loose/dead fur from the topcoat and undercoat.

The tool has a simple design; it’s a row of curved metal teeth atop a straight handle. The teeth are technically blades and can be sharp; however, because of the curved design, your dog should not be harmed if used correctly. The Coat King is intended for dogs with coats that need to be stripped or have thick or long coats. It is not intended for dogs with short fur nor is it to be used on areas of the dogs that have shorter hair such as the face, legs and belly. The tail should also be minded – it’s great for the edges but be careful along the tailbone. During the seasons when your dog is blowing their coat, this is an indispensable tool that easily gathers and removes the undercoat. Of course, this grooming tool can be used all year-round because it will also pick up loose/dead fur in your dog’s coat. When grooming Zeea this is the first tool I use as it removes the bulk of shedding with ease, thinning the coat down so you won’t waste your time brushing through fur that is going to end up in the trash. The Coat King will definitely be the crowning piece in your grooming set.

Dif-FUR-ent  Products 

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A well-known brand, FURminator has many products (I already commented on the deshedding cloths) made to help with shedding from the beginning to the end of your grooming routine. As far as I know, FURminator has become famous at Petsmart as it has a whole grooming package built around it. This package includes: FURminator shampoo, conditioner and a really good brush down with, you guessed it, the FURminator deshedding tool. A lot of owners believe that this package is supposed to stop the shedding of their dog; however, that is and never will be the case as shedding is a natural and needed phenomenon. The FURminator shampoo and conditioner actual lift up the undercoat so excess fur can be removed easily and at one time instead of having your dog continually shed fur everywhere. The best way to see how effective the shampoo is (and conditioner, though I find the shampoo is enough) is when blow drying (not with a human blow dryer as the temperature is too high for a dog’s sensitive skin), fur flies everywhere; it’s like you’re in a fur-nado (hey if they can do sharks, I can do fur 😛 lol). If you routinely use this shampoo you should see that your dog will start to shed less over time.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe deshedding tool is another product by FURminator. It is made up of a row of numerous tiny metal teeth that vary in height depending on the length of fur intended for the tool (short, long or all); personally, I don’t see the difference between the varying teeth
heights when grooming. There is also a simple cleaning mechanism: pushing a button, the FUR-jector, on top of the tool’s head slides a piece over the metal, pushing the fur away from the base of the teeth for easier removal. The benefit of the deshedding tool’s design is that it does indeed ‘de-shed’ your dog by removing loads of loose fur and undercoat.Although this tool is useful, one must always have to be careful when using it. I was out OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAthe other day and came across an owner with a lab/retriever mix and the dog’s scruff had been shaved down by the vet recently. We got to talking and it turns out her dog had recently been groomed with the FURminator deshedding tool and, as in other cases I’ve seen, due to the improper or overuse of this tool the dog was left with multiple sores/cuts around his neck 😥 . It is crucial to know that this tool is not one you can brush with for extended periods of time and you need to be wary of how many times you’ve run over the same spot as the skin can become irritated and red. This is especially prevalent in dogs with short fur or dogs that do not have undercoats. Also, if your dog is prone to hot spots or has sensitive skin, I would not choose this deshedding tool.  So although this tool can ‘de-shed,’ it can be a bit ‘ruff’.

FURminator has also done something that I do not usually see in grooming tools and that
is release the same tool but in different editions, such as the limited time metallic one. Why you would need to own more than one of a tool (unless you’re a professional groomer) is perplexing 😕 to me and if the company thinks people will collect the different editions I think they are barking up the wrong tree. FURminator shedding tools are expensive as is.

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For those who are interested, I do use this tool on Zeea. I use it at the beginning of her grooming when larger amounts of the undercoat are present and again near the end as a finisher to gather any loose hairs sitting on top of Zeea’s coat. I make sure never to dig the tool into her and I go with the direction of the fur. Also I, and I suggest this to other owners, only use the deshedding tool on areas with large masses of fur (i.e. the back). With Zeea, I am also lucky because I can tell the  difference between the layers of her coat, with her top coat being a more wiry texture, so when I start to see those pieces becoming prominent in the teeth I know I should stop. Ultimately, the FURminator is a great tool for grooming but it has to be used properly.

Zeea: All brushed out 

Today I gave Zeea a good grooming. As you can see she had quite a bit of undercoat (minus the fur that stuck to my clothes 😉 ). Also I have been using deshedding shampoo since she was a puppy, 6 months old, defiantly helps. No bath today though (as you can see Zeea is all smiles 😀 ).

Zeea groom

Oh Snap!

Zeea has demonstrated time and time again that toys are not as strong or long-lasting as advertised. The main indicator of durability is the material. Toys are not the only products though that rely on the structural integrity of a material. In this post I want to bring your attention to another dog product whose material determines its durability – leashes.

With laser focus, Zeea slowly inched forward so as not to alarm the small furry rodent. Beady eyes intently staring back, the rabbit was still like a statue – no OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAmovement except for slight nose twitches. The hunter instinct in Zeea heightened as she got closer and closer; feet shifted just enough to release the tension from the leash but I soon let the leash’s slack tighten again. The temptation! Tensing all her muscles, Zeea shook from the excitement. Not being able to resist… Snap! Zeea took off like a rocket. In slight shock, I stood there just holding the leash or what was left of it at least. I was surprised by my dog’s feat: there had not even been a tug on the leash and yet the force with which Zeea took off was enough to snap the leash in two.

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The leash in question was a Bret Michaels, 4 foot long, embossed leather leash. That’s right: leather, a material known to be durable, snapped. On top of that, I had owned this leash for only a month. Whether it was poor construction or Zeea’s monstrous strength, I can’t really say. Perhaps it’s the husky in Zeea that has given her powerful pull regardless of her size. Oh, and did I mention that the leash was layered leather? All I can say is Oh snap! 😮

Oste-OH NO!

Educate yourself on Canine Bone Cancer. It never hurts to know more about disease that
may affect on your dog or help out others; we all want a healthy and happy canine. 

Canine Bone Cancer: The Big Story on Osteosarcoma

Canine Bone Cancer: The Big Story on Osteosarcoma: Developed by Orvis.

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