The right shampoo is a big part in keeping your pets coat healthy. There are many factors that determine the health of a dogs coat, and while I cannot always control internal factors, I can assist in helping externally.
So how do I pick the right shampoo for your dog ?
The first step I take is research. I make sure I have an understanding on what goes into the shampoo and how it works. Here are lists of ingredients I avoid when picking and why.
SLS (sodium lauryl sulphate) and SLES (sodium laureth sulphate) are types of detergents or surfactants. Detergents are the most abundant ingredient in a shampoo and makes up about 10-15% of a formula. It lifts oils and dirt and carries it away from the coat.
So why do I avoid SLS and SLES?
There is a lot of mixed research on how these surfactants affect the skin. What we do know is it can be very drying and cause skin and eye irritations. As there are many other alternatives to these detergents I feel it’s better to be safe and avoid.
Parabens are a preservative added to products to give them a longer shelf life and to inhibit the growth of bacteria. Parabens are known to cause skin, eyes and respiratory irritations and allergic reactions. They also can be absorbed by the skin, blood and digestive system. Endocrine disruption: Of greatest concern is that parabens are known to disrupt hormone function, an effect that is linked to increased risk of breast cancer and reproductive toxicity.
Formaldehyde also used as a preservative. Formaldehyde is considered a known human carcinogen by many expert and government bodies, and has been linked to leukaemia. Widely understood to cause allergic skin reactions and rashes in some people
Testing a chosen shampoo
This product has been tested on humans
Yes I admit I test all shampoos on myself before using it on any pets. While our ph. levels maybe a little different, I can get a better understanding on how the product feels during and after the process and if any irritations occur. I also see how the product affects my hands, using shampoo all day every day I know if a product is going dry out my hand it will do the same for the dogs skin.
There are some cons to being a groomers dog
Yes poor Chase sometimes is my next guinea pig. Chase suffers from external allergies so if a product is ok with him it will be for most other dogs. I also can keep watch over him for 24hrs and close to bathing facilities if a reaction occurs.
Test patches and observation.
Lastly is your pet. I carry a wide range of shampoos; everyday, medicated, clarifying, whitening, soothing, deep clean. So how do I know which one to use? At the beginning of every visit I assess your dogs coat to see if its oily, dry or brittle or flaky and from their decide which will best help correct the skin to a normal ph balance . Once the skin starts to normalise itself i will change back to a gentle everyday shampoo. Many factors can change your pets coat from one visit to the next so my shampoo choice on your pet will also change making sure what leaves my salon is a healthy coat and happy pet.
1. HIDE AND SEEK
This can keep your pet entertained for hours with enough variety to prevent it becoming repetitive. Start by getting your dog to stay while you go and hide somewhere in the house. At first hide somewhere they can still see you and offer treats as a reward when they find you. Then you can gradually make things more difficult hiding well out of sight. The game can be transferred to your dog’s favourite toy or treats.
2. TUG OF WAR
This is another great energy release game for both you and your pets. It’s important that your dog knows a ‘release’ command to let go of the tug toy when needed.
3. INTERACTIVE TOYS
You can find many interactive toys at your local pet shop but are also easy to make your self at home. A drink bottle with a small neck filled with dog or cat food. Or you can fill one with raw rice and close the lid tightly the noise will entertain your dog for hours.
All dogs need grooming and love the extra attention. Not only will this help you bond with your pet it will also keep the coat healthy and matt free.
5. PASS THE PARCEL
Nothing more fun than unwrapping a present and your dog loves it too. Wrapping their toys and treats in different layers of newspaper and watch him have fun finding what’s inside.
It’s hard to keep your dog active and entertained during those long rainy days. With winter just around the corner, over the next two weeks we’ll show you 10 ideas to keep your dog from being bored senseless…and you going stir crazy.
Being cooped up indoors can be the perfect opportunity to practice some basic training commands. Once you have mastered the basics you can move on to more advanced tricks like playing dead or high five. You tube is a great source for new tricks you can teach your dog.
2. DOGGIE PLAY DATE
Does your dog have a favourite friend? Invite them over for a rainy day play date, this will keep both pets entertained while you can catch up with a friend for a coffee.
3. OBSTICAL COURSE
If you're going to do something, go all-in, right? Setting up an obstacle course for your dog and helping teach him how to navigate the obstacles is a lot of fun. A lot of work, sure, but you're stuck inside on a rainy day so why not! Here are some suggestions for what to use:
· A sturdy milk crate, stool or other item to balance on
· A kitchen chair to jump up on or run underneath
· A box with two open ends that he can crawl through
· A basket alongside a pile of toys he has to place in it
· A pole on two stools or boxes that he can leap over
· A hula hoop to jump through
· A frisbee or ball to catch
Create a few obstacles and guide your dog through each one, building up to go faster each time. Make sure to reward your dog with lots of praise, tug games or other high-value rewards each time she gets through the obstacle course. Make it fun, rather than work. And you can make it as challenging as your dog needs.
4. LASER POINT
Not just for cats, a cheap laser pointer can keep your dog entertained for hours. Move it around often to give him plenty of exercise.
5. DOGGIE BASKET BALL
This great clip shows you how to teach your dog to play. Don’t have a basketball ring? Why not use a washing basket? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mwzScx4tnZQ
Next week: Want to know how to play Hide and Seek with your dog? We’ll tell you in Indoor games for bad weather days, Part two
Introducing Your Puppy to grooming is one of the most important aspects to raising your dog. Grooming is something they will have to deal with their entire life and because this is a learnt behaviour, setting them up for success at a young age is very important.
The earlier you can introduce your dog to grooming the better, younger dogs are more open to new experiences. By the time most people bring their puppy in for their first groom they usually require a haircut. This can be a long a tiring process for your pup the first time around and can be over whelming being introduced to different types of equipment and process at the one time.
So what should your dog’s first experience be?
If possible I always suggest you should bring your dog to the salon a few time before making an actual appointment. This way your dog can get used to all the sounds, sights and smells of a grooming salon and get a positive experience (I often give a treat and lots of pats and play at this stage). If your dog is comfortable with their surrounding they can even be placed on the table for a quick brush and a sniff of all the equipment.
Puppy’s first booking should only involve a bath and tidy up, This stage alone introduces a lot of new experiences to your dog which sometimes can be scary and take a while to get used to. Here equipment that will be used on your dog later down the track is turned.
First full clip. If all steps are taken above by the time your pup gets to this stage they should feel very comfortable with the process and find it easier to deal with. Doing things that puppy loves straight after the grooming process will also make the experience positive, so a long walk or a good play will help extend a positive outcome.
While brining your dog in as early as possible is important, making sure your pup is protected is also crucial in keeping your pet safe. While it’s good to have all three vaccinations done, puppy should be ok after two weeks from their second vaccination ( consult your vet for more advice). If your puppy visits a grooming salon without having his vaccinations, it puts him at risk for all of the potential infections.
It’s still important for you to do some regular grooming by yourself at home, primarily brushing. Not only is brushing your puppy's coat a good way for you to bond with him, it can help set the stage for his later grooming appointments.
Dogs love nothing more than a run through the long grass during the warmer seasons. These outings are a good way to encourage physical and mental stimulation for pets as well as an opportunity for us to bond. But sometimes even the smallest of things can ruin a good time. Grass seeds! While very small and not looking like much trouble they can cause big problems for our canine friends.
This little dog shows the damage that can be caused by grass seeds if not noticed right away. The grass seeds make their way up though the dogs coat and embed themselves into their skin. Once embedded infections start to form which can cause serious health problems as well as discomfort and pain.
So how do I avoid this problem?
The best way to protect your dog from grass seeds is to be particularly vigilant during the months when they pose the greatest risk – usually from late spring to the end of summer. Keeping grass and weeds under control at home with a combination of mowing, removal and poisoning can reduce the number of seeds that the dog is exposed to.
When out walking our dogs, avoiding long grass is another way we can help, but we all know that some of our dogs love to jump through the tall grass and have fun. So once home make sure you do a thorough check of your dog from head to toe particularly paying attention to in between the toes, armpits, ears and groin areas and removing any grass seeds seen on the dog.
For those long coated breeds regular grooming will help reduce the amount of grass seeds attracted to the coat. Matted coats can hide grass seeds and infections, so by keeping the coat Matt free we can easily identify any changes to our dogs skin.
So what do we do if we find grass seeds in the dogs skin?
Immediate removal if not embedded to deep and the area cleaned with salty water is your best option. This will prevent infection and swelling occurring. If infection and swelling is already present or the grass seed has gone into the skin to deep a trip to the vet sooner rather than later is advised. They will be able to remove the grass seed safely and advise if antibiotics are necessary.
Happy long summer walks with your dogs.
As a rule of thumb, your dogs nails are too long when its paws are rested on flat ground and the nails are in contact with the ground. Or if you can here them as the dog walks.
While daily walking is usually a good way to keep your dogs nails at a good length, there are times when clipping either by yourself or a dog groomer is necessary. This is usually when your dogs foot is not in the correct posture (like us some dogs can have flat feet or bowed legs which cause the paw to sit in a different position.), Certain breeds that have tough nails that cannot be warn down from general exercise ( example Vizslas), dogs that are not walked daily and dew claws (specially if your dog has back dew claws)
Checking your dogs nails regularly to make sure they are at the correct length can also reduce paw problems developing and keep your dog happy and health.
If you need help with maintaining your dogs nails contact funky fur for advice or an appointment today
Summer! The sun is out, the days are longer and all you can notice is the blanket of hair covering your coaches, carpets and scattered along your tiled floors.
Your first thought is the dog needs to be clipped short. Not only for the sake of your house but also to help keep your dog cool for the long summer. But what if I was to tell you that not only will you have the same amount of hair floating around the house ( just shorter) but you are also hindering your dogs ability to cool itself down and in fact make him hotter.
What breeds are we talking about? These breeds include Border collies, Alaskan malamute, huskies, Pomeranians, golden retrievers, Japanese spits and many more.
The function of the coat
Your dog has two type of hair
1. The guard hairs- This is the top layer of the dogs coat. Its function is to protect your pet from external elements. It protects the skin from being sunburnt and helps reflect the suns raise, reduces bites from insects and mosqitos and reduces the amount of plants and debris penetrating the coat.
2. The under coat- this is the thick fluffy layer underneath the guard hairs and usually the cause of hair floating like tumble weeds around your house. Its function is to regulate your dogs body temperature. In the winter a thicker undercoat builds up to keep your dog warm by trapping heat to the skin and in summer the thicker layer sheds and a thinner layer replaces it and helps keep cool air close to the skin.
So what happens when we clip this type of coat?
When we clip the coat the first thing we are doing is removing the Guard hairs, taking away the dogs protection from the outside elements. Secondly we are cutting the undercoat layer short which can cause several problems. Firstly because the undercoat is not removed your dog will continue to shed around the house. Secondly clipping the undercoat can disrupt the natural cycle of the undercoat which may cause problems such as Post Clipping Alopecia (balding or patches of coat which no longer grow back). Thickening of the coat, the disruption confuses the coat and when the coat is meant to be dropping, it instead can build up increasing your dogs body temperature.
So what are the alternatives?
· The best option for your dog is to have a de-shed and a good coat conditioning. This is the removal of loose undercoat. This will reduce the amount of hair in your home while also assisting the coat in temperature regulation and still leaving behind the protective top coat.
· There is also the air conditioning strip. Clipping the underbelly and underchest can help a thick-coated dog cool off without damaging the coat, the dog can cool off by laying on a cool surface. We can also lightly trim the rear end and chest area to help assist in air floor
· If clipping your dogs coat is a must for you, a de-shed should still be performed before clipping to help keep the coat cycle as regular as possible
THE LIFE CYCLE OF A FLEA
.Adult Fleas - Adults fleas emerging from the cocoon can begin feeding immediately if a host is present. they can locate the host by visual and thermal cues. Before feeding, it pumps saliva which contains an anticoagulant onto the skin, this prevents the blood from clotting. The protein it contains can cause a severe allergic reaction in the host (causing flea allergy dermatitis). Adult fleas can survive throughout the winter on pets.
Eggs - Female fleas can produce about 40 to 50 eggs per day. Flea eggs readily fall off the pets hair into the environment. Wherever the pet spends most of its time is usually where the heaviest flea infestations is.
Larvae - Larvae hatch from eggs in one to six days given appropriate environmental conditions. Their principal food is adult flea faeces. Flea larvae are small, thin and white, measuring 1 to 2 millimeters in length. Indoors, flea larvae tend to live deep in carpeting or under furniture. Outside, they develop best in shaded areas or under leaves or similar debris. Any area of the garden where a pet seeks shelter from the heat or cold is potentially a great environment for fleas.
Pupae - A mature larva transforms into a pupa inside a silk cocoon. Under most household conditions, the adult flea will emerge in three to five weeks. However, a fully developed flea can remain inside the cocoon for up to 350 days, a reproductive strategy that enhances the flea's chance of survival. This helps to explain how a flea infestation can seemingly “explode” out of nowhere, even inside your home.
5% of fleas live in the environment as an adult, 95 % of fleas live as eggs, larvae or pupae. For effective flea control it is essential to break the lifecycle in the environment
· Egg-to-egg life cycle is usually two to four weeks. Under the right conditions this can be a little shorter (12 days), or much longer (8 months).
WHY DO FLEAS SPREAD SO QUICKLY?
Fleas breed at an enormous rate. The fleas you see on your dog represent only 5-10% of the fleas in the environment. The rest of the population is represented in the egg and larval stages found in your carpets, furniture, bedding and garden.
Ways to control fleas
Flea Control by Vacuuming
Fleas and larvae usually hide in dark spaces like deep in the carpet, corners and skirting board.
One of the things that convinces a flea that it is time to leave the cocoon and jump on a host is vibration. And a vacuum provides one hell of a vibration!
If you are going to vacuum less often than once every three days, you should probably spread diatomaceous earth all over the floor between vacuuming.
If you are experiencing a LOT of fleas, you might want to vacuum once or twice a day just to be comfortable.
Products to rid fleas on your pet
Spot on treatments - very effective, easy to apply, once a month treatments. Some products include worming or heartworm treatment as well as flea treatment. Examples of spot on treatments include Advantage, Frontline, Advantix, Advocate and Revolution.
Flea shampoo - kills fleas on your pet at the time of the bath, but once rinsed off have no lasting effect on fleas.
Rinses and sprays - vary in effectiveness, many need to be used weekly, some more often if severe flea problems are present. Rinses must be applied to a clean, mostly dry coat at the correct concentration to be effective.
Collars & Powders - are helpful, but not the most effective treatment. While it does prevent fleas around the collar you will find that the fleas are hanging around the dogs back end.
Oral treatment- such as capstar. Need to be used continuously until fleas are no longer present
For ways of ridding your homes and pets from fleas read "Treatment plan to break the flea cycle"
In order to rid fleas completely from your house, yard and pets, a treatment plan must be put in place for at least the length of the flea life cycle. Therefore a continuous treatment for the next 4 weeks or more will assist in eradicating the problem.
Garden treatment plan
-Flea larvae love dark places. Prune foliage and trim grass to expose flea larvae to sunlight. Find a way to expose dark areas to sunlight if you can.
-Wash any outdoor bedding in hot soapy water with bleach. Line dry in direct sunlight if possible. Repeat this process every 4 days
-If you have outdoor material furniture, sprinkle with Diatomaceous Earth. (DE) (Bicarbonate can also work if you cannot find this product) leave for a few hours then vacuum thoroughly. D.E or bicarb will dehydrate the eggs and larvae killing them in the process.
-Sprinkle DE or bicarb on the porch, along the house perimeter and any area where the sun does not reach. Fortunately fleas tend to live on the ground, so product application should only be on the ground, not on bushes, trees and flowers where bees might be affected. Owners should concentrate their yard efforts on the shady areas nearest the house, or anywhere their pets sleep in the yard. Repeat this process every 4 days
-Sweep out and spray outdoor kennel with flea spray ( can be purchased at pet stores) or citrus based sprays ( can be purchased at funky fur) Repeat every second day
House treatment plan
-Any material surface or bedding that can be washed, wash every 4 days in hot soapy water with bleach
-Thoroughly vacuum any carpeted areas. Repeat every second day. Sprinkling D.E or bicarb onto your carpets a couple of hours before vacuuming. Vacuum all furniture, carpets, cracks in the floor, bare floors, corners, behind doors, and anywhere else that dust collects. This will pick up most of the eggs, but larvae will latch onto carpet fibres and stick around.
-After vacuuming, immediately dispose of the vacuum bag outside to prevent escaping of larvae. If your vacuum has bags immediately spray bag with flea killer and dispose. If bag less empty and wash the cylinder in hot water immediately after vacuuming. Adding a drop of pure lemongrass oil or eucalyptus to the filters will deter fleas from the vacuum and add a nice smell in the air.
Pet treatment plan
-There are many treatments for your pet, the best being spot treatment such as revolution. Although they work for small amount of fleas, some fleas can build immunity to these products and if there is an infestation in your yard or house reinfestation to your pet can still occur. There are also oral applications such as capstar. Flea collars are not usually effective.
-Detergent removes the fleas protective layer causing them to drown. Washing your pet in a strong dishwashing liquid will help kill fleas by following these steps.
1. add just enough water to the detergent to make a spreadable paste
2. place your pet in the sink but do not wet your pet ( wetting the pet will allow the fleas to place a protective bubble around themselves)
3. add the detergent solution to your pet starting at the neck and ears and working your way down the pets body
4. let the solution sit on the dog for 5 min
5. scrub coat and rinse thoroughly make sure all soap is removed
6. if you still see fleas moving follow with a second scrub
7. As detergent strips a lot of natural oils from your dogs coat make sure you follow with a good conditioner. An oatmeal conditioner will help relieve any itching from flea bites or dry skin
-The main areas fleas like to hang around on your pet are in the joints such as armpits and groin, their belly and under their tail, around their bottom area. Have a container next to you with water and detergent in it. Use a flea comb to remove any flea from these areas and drop them into the container to drown them. Repeat every day or until fleas are no longer visible, and then every three days to make sure they are gone
- If there is more then one pet in the household make sure all pets are fleaed at the same time so the product is effective.
Please note that these processes should be kept up for at least four weeks even if you no longer see fleas. This is to make sure you have rid your pets and household of any flea eggs or larvae which can later cause a reinfestation. If you are in a flea prone area following these procedures once a week will decrease the likelihood of reinfestation
Bianca is the owner and groomer at Funky Fur dog grooming and always looking for ways to help you care for your pet.