Grooming – what do you really know about your groomer?




By Sharon Larson


Of course “Fluffy” is a valued part of the family. So how do you go about choosing a competent person to groom her?

It takes lots of careful handling to properly groom a dog, not to mention the precautions required around dangerous, sharp implements like scissors and electric clippers? A dog (or cat) groomer will be bathing you pet in soapy water and rinsing thoroughly. We surely aren’t going to trust her to “just anybody”.

Here are five basic tips to choose a professional pet groomer.

1. Ask around. Every time a dog leaves the groomer, it is a walking advertisement. Talk to your veterinarian, your kennel manager, your neighbor. If you see a dog on the street with a style you like, stop the owner and ask where the dog was groomed. People are usually very willing to talk about their pets, especially their new “do”.

Some veterinary offices have policies not to refer clients to any certain groomer or breeder. Don’t despair; ask more specific questions like “Have you treated any problems from this groomer, such as cuts or clipper abrasions? Have you had any complaints about this groomer?”

2. Call the groomer you are interested in using. Ask him/her questions. Did you go to grooming school or apprentice with a professional groomer? How long have you been grooming? Do you have much experience with (insert your breed here)? Do you have a problem putting poodle feet on a Cocker Spaniel? (Or some other non-standard clip?) Are you a member of any professional grooming organization? There is a national organization called National Dog Groomers of America Association and many states have their own groomers’ organizations.

3. Ask for proper certification. Some states require that groomers are licensed and certified in flea/tick applications. So ask if she or he is properly certified.

4. Be patient. Keep in mind that groomers are usually on an extremely tight schedule. Ask him/her if they would be able to call you back to answer these questions when they have ample time to talk. It’s hard to answer questions while fluff drying a dog. You should be able to develop a rapport with the potential groomer that will give you an overall impression. Hopefully it will be a good impression.

5. Trust your intuition. Just by asking around you will be able find answers to most of your questions. Using a groomer for the first time can be a disconcerting experience. If you’ve done some research by asking around and then place your trust in your groomer and then see a good result … then you can pamper yourself, too, like “Fluffy” was pampered.


Sharon Larson has been involved in animal health care since 1979. She attended the Wisconsin School of Professional Dog Grooming and has been grooming professionally since 1986.

Note from Pet NannyLiz / Happi Paws:  My experience with groomers; (Vet clinics, doggy day cares, pet stores, etc…) just because a groomer is affiliated with a business does not equal quality, gentle care and/or safety.  I have seen some horrible treatment within such facilities.

Questions to ask a pet groomer

We find that the first question asked by a new client is, “What do you charge?” and the second question is, “When can you do it?” While these may be important considerations, there are other questions you should consider asking when searching for that perfect someone to groom your beloved pets.


Some questions to ask:

  • • How long have you been grooming?
    • Where did you learn to groom?
    • What are your credentials? (Have they earned any certifications, or do they belong to a grooming organization?)
    • Do you have any special areas of expertise?
    • Do you have experience grooming my breed of dog?
    • Do you allow inspections of your facility?
    • Are the pets groomed in view of the customer?
    • How long do you keep the pets for grooming?
    • Where do you keep them when they are waiting to be groomed? Free roam or crated?
  • Are they always in view of someone?

Don’t be afraid to ask your groomer these questions, or any other questions you may have. If they seem reluctant to answer your reasonable questions, keep looking! Look for a groomer in the same way you would look for any other professional as there will be good ones, and some not so good ones.  This is your best fur-ever friend.  Make sure they are in good hands not harmful.


Referencing #5 above – trust your instinct but also take note of your dog’s reaction to, body language, behavior….. when dropping off at groomer and picking up from groomer.  Convenience and cost do not equal a good choice.


Yulin (horrific) Dog Meat Festival – NOT cancelled this year – June 23


Why China’s Yulin Dog Meat Festival Won’t Be Cancelled This Year After All

China’s most controversial celebration of food, the Lychee and Dog Meat festival in the city of Yulin, was widely reported last month to have been cancelled this year after multiple animal rights organizations claimed the local government was planning a ban on dog meat sales in the week leading up to the June event.

But reports of the festival’s demise, or even a sanction on dog meat sales that could negatively impact the festival, appear to be largely unfounded.

“We have spoken with several people working within the mayor’s office, the food and drug administration and the municipal building and no one seems aware of a Yulin festival ban,” said Jason Baker, Vice President of International Campaigns at PETA.

The festival faces negative press every year, with widespread condemnation from dog lovers worldwide. But in May, animal rights organizations Duo Duo and Humane Society International sensed a breakthrough when they released press releases claiming government officials had said they intended to implement a ban on dog meat in markets, streets and restaurants.

This followed a particularly strong backlash in 2016; a petition bearing 11 million signatures that called for the end of the festival was delivered to the Yulin government, while a celebrity PSA video starring Matt Damon and Rooney Mara that decried the event went viral.

However, in the lead up to the festival — due to take place on June 23 — activists who had made a recent trip to Yulin said there was no indication that a government intervention would occur.

“On May 29, I had a sit down meeting with officials in the Yulin government,” said Marc Ching, founder of animal rights organization Animal Hope and Wellness. He said he was told “there is no ban on dog meat sales during the festival as some animal rights groups have claimed.”

Stolen pets

According to Ching, the import of dogs has already started to the small city in the southern province of Guangxi — with stolen pets likely to be among them.

“Our ground team has already spotted trucks carrying stolen dogs entering the city,” said Ching, who will also be working during the festival to identify illegally sourced dogs protected under Chinese law.

“We will stop trucks, scanning the dogs for microchips — our foundation has microchipped thousands of dogs in the last few weeks in dog meat stealing areas — hoping to find stolen dogs on board the trucks as we intercept them. [We’ll be] asking police to enforce the law, theft of stolen property.”

The widespread misperception that the event would be cancelled is not uncommon, according to PETA’s Baker.

“Perhaps someone knows something that we don’t, but [we] suspect this is simply another rumor similar to last year, in which several media reports announced the festival was cancelled,” he said.

Ching, meanwhile, claimed Yulin government officials chalked this year’s rumors up to dishonest charity groups seeking public donations, and described the dog meat ban as a “ploy to discredit the Chinese government.”

One official, who declined to give his name, told FORBES the dog meat festival was a small event privately organized by individuals and that media reports otherwise were simply “hype.”

Millions eaten globally

Around 10,000 dogs are slaughtered at the festival every year. An estimated 30 million dogs are eaten annually worldwide, according to Humane Society International.

Supporters of the festival, which started informally among Yulin restaurant owners in the late 90s, argue that eating dog is a cultural tradition in Asia, where dog meat has traditionally been used for centuries. They also believe the consumption of dog meat is no different to other types of more common animal meat, such as pork and beef, and is a matter of cultural relativism.

But critics say the festival is unnecessarily inhumane for dogs. Some believe tortured dogs will provide better meat, so conditions with which dogs are transported and slaughtered are often poor with little oversight. Many of the dogs are unvaccinated and rabies is a major concern. There have also been accusations that some vendors even steal unattended family pets in a bid to meet the demand — and the increasingly high prices — for dog meat at the festival.

Despite worldwide opposition to the practice, confusing media reports about the fate of the festival may have worked in its favor this year.

“Because of the fabrication and false news spread by media and certain animal rights groups, this is the first year that the people have become silent. It is the pressure by the people that brings about change,” said Ching.

“The Yulin Dog Meat Festival is still happening, whether or not you choose to believe it.”

Me-ow! Change my diet

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How did my cat get bladder stones?”The most commonly accepted theory for stone formation is called the Precipitation-Crystallization Theory.”

There are several theories of how bladder stones form. The most commonly accepted theory for stone formation is called the Precipitation-Crystallization Theory. This theory states that one or more stone-forming crystalline compounds are present in elevated levels in the urine. This may be due to abnormalities in diet or due to some previous disease in the bladder. When the amount of this compound exceeds a threshold level, the urine becomes saturated and cannot hold any more of the compound. The saturation level depends on the specific minerals that are present and the pH of the urine. The excess precipitates out of solution and forms tiny crystals. The sharp crystals irritate the bladder lining, causing a production of mucus. The crystals and mucus stick together, forming clusters that gradually enlarge and harden into stones. This is similar to the way “rock candy” is formed.

How quickly can bladder stones form?

Bladder stones can develop within a few weeks or may take months to form. The rate of urolith formation and growth is variable, depending on factors such as on how much crystalline material is present in the urine, diet, the pH of the urine, etc.

What are bladder stones?

bladder_stones1Bladder stones (uroliths or cystic calculi) are rock-like formations of minerals that develop in the urinary bladder. There may be a large, single stone or a collection of stones that range in size from sand-like grains to gravel. Many times, there is a mixture of both large and small stones present.

Carnivores-meow/Crystals in urine. 

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The cause of struvite crystals in cats is dry commercial pet foods. Due to the lack of moisture in the diet, the urine becomes too concentrated, and due to the use of plant-based ingredients in dry kibble, the urine becomes too alkaline. An alkaline environment in very concentrated urine predisposes struvite formation. 

Elevated food bowls – 5 facts or myths

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5 Myths and Facts of Elevated Food Bowls for Dogs

elevated food bowls for dogs

1. Elevated Dog Food Bowls Reduce Bloat in Large Breeds

This is FALSE.

When first promoted, raised dog food bowls were sold as something extremely beneficial for larger breed dogs that are at a higher risk of bloating. This view was sold as “science” because it resulted from a statistical study (the Glickman Study).

However, this was no proper study and the conclusion was extremely flawed. All that this “study” did was look at the information of other available, non science-based literature and anecdotal evidence that already existed and did no research in to the matter at all.

In fact, the largest study on contributing factors to canine bloat in larger breed dogs to date says the exact opposite – elevated feeding may induce bloating in canines. True, this study also wasn’t perfect; however, it’s the best research paper we have to date on the matter, and from what research the scientific community currently has, the idea that elevated feeders can prevent bloat in large breed dogs is questionable at best.

So, do elevated feeders for dogs reduce bloating in larger breeds? The correct answer here would be that we don’t know for sure, but it’s very likely that they DO NOT.

RELATED: 5 Reasons Your Dog Has Canine Bloat and How to Prevent It

2. Elevated Dog Food Bowls Create a Healthier Posture

Elevated Dog Food Bowls Create a Healthier PostureThis one is both TRUE and FALSE.

One of the reasons why elevated food bowls for dogs were promoted as preventing bloating in large dogs is because they are supposed to create a “healthier eating posture.” The truth is that most likely, dogs have evolved to eat in a head down posture (sources: 123), so eating in a different posture may not necessarily be a good thing.

With that being said, in theory, this altered posture can be beneficial in other instances, such as older, arthritic, or injured dogs. When a dog has a case of canine arthritis, joint pain, or immobility issues, eating with a head down posture can cause excess strain and pain for the dog. By raising your dog’s food bowl, your pet no longer has to experience those pains and strains because they are not having to lean down as far to eat. This has not been research though, and is mostly guesswork.

So, is elevated feeding good or bad for older or injured large breed dogs? There is still controversy here as I’ve indicated in the my “theory.” Since the evidence is scare to support the benefits and detriments of each side, it is a matter of owner’s preference.

RELATED: 5 Best Collapsible Dog Bowls for Easy Travel

3. Elevated Dog Food Bowls Promote Cleaner Eating

Elevated Dog Food Bowls Promote Cleaner EatingThis is FALSE.

Somewhere along the line (probably with new companies trying to sell the “revolutionary” raised dog food bowls and making stuff up) came the myth that elevated dog feeders promoted cleaner eating spaces for canines. We aren’t quite sure where this idea came from, but this one is absolutely false and has no science or even logical basis to it.

Because of the way dogs evolved to drink water and consume food, regardless of the height of your dog’s food bowl, your pet can still spill kibble, drop kibble, or even move kibble outside of his bowl. When dogs consume food, they have their mouths in a same proximity to the source regardless of its height. There is no science on how elevated dog food bowls promote cleaner eating, nor do we need it; just watch your pooch eat.

4. Elevated Dog Food Bowls Don’t Slide Across the Floor

Elevated Dog Food Bowls Slide Across the FloorThis is TRUE.

One concern that some dog owners have is the fact that their dog moves his bowl across the floor as he eats. Elevated feeders can certainly prevent this from happening, and there’s no doubt about that.

However, it is worth noting that a raised dog food bowl is not the only solution to the problem. Just off the top of my head, two other things that can solve this issue are bowls with rubber on the bottom that prevents sliding, or rubbery dog food mats where you can place your Fido’s bowl to prevent sliding (which also helps to keep the area cleaner).

Therefore, because we have reasons to believe that elevated food bowls for dogs pose a potential hazard for some breeds to develop bloating, it may be better to choose alternative solutions to the “sliding bowl” problem rather than opt for an elevated feeder.

RECOMMENDED: 15 Must-Know Tips for New Dog Owners

5. Elevated Bowls Solve One Specific Problematic Behavior

Elevated Bowls Solve One Specific Problematic BehaviorThis is TRUE.

There is one very specific behavioral issue in dogs that isn’t common, but can be seen often enough for owners to start looking for solutions – attempting to swim or dig into the water bowls, even if the bowl is small.

Some dogs, particularly those with a high predilection for water, spend a great deal of time trying to paddle in their water bowls as if it’s pool. There’s no explanation to this, other than they just like to be in the water. The issue is most common with puppies.

Elevated feeders definitely discourage dogs from turning their water source into a pool.



Patrick Lumontod

Changing your dog’s food IS A GOOD IDEA.

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Change your dog’s food

Once you have selected a good quality dog food, that’s all you need to feed, right? Not really. You should vary your dog’s food periodically. There are many good reasons for this:

_ Dogs (actually all mammals) are designed to consume a range of different foods, and to obtain differing vitamins and minerals from each. They are not designed to eat “only chicken” or “only lamb” or any other food item for eternity. Changing foods, importantly the contents of those foods, every so often helps to give them the variety their bodies were designed to thrive on.

REMEMBER: When changing to a different dog food, blend it out/phase it out/in slowly.  Mixing with old for a few days then on to the new.  This will help in adjusting and lessen chances of stomach irritation. 

_ There is no one dog food in existence that “has it all”. And remember, the feeding trials that foods go through only last for six months (and not all foods are even trialled). Changing foods periodically helps to ensure that no dietary deficiencies or excesses build up over time.

_ Variety is the spice of life. Who wants to eat the same food day in and day out? Could you do it? For months or years? Feeding your dog something different helps to ensure that he does not become bored and frustrated with his food. This will not make your dog picky – we are talking about periodic changes here, not serving up something different or adding goodies to tempt him every time he doesn’t like his dinner.
And most importantly of all:

_ It helps to avoid the development of allergies. In a few extreme cases, you (or your dog) may be instantly and violently allergic to something. But that is a few extreme cases only – the vast majority of allergies are things that build up over time and with constant exposure. The surest way to develop an allergy to chicken, for example, is to consume it daily for an extended period. It is no coincidence that the most common allergens are things that have commonly been used in dog foods for many years. The (modern) advice given by nutritionists is that feeding a wide variety of different foods, preferably from a young age, can help to avoid the development of allergies in the first place (that’s the advice given for humans too).

Common signs of allergies are itchy skin, red itchy paws, chewing paws, yeast infections, ear infections, and skin infections that may respond to antibiotics but reappear as soon as the antibiotics are discontinued.

That all adds up to changing the food you feed every once in a while. That means changing to a food with different main ingredients. There is very little benefit to switching from one chicken/rice food to another, for example. If you have been feeding a food with chicken as the main ingredient, then it is far better that the next food is based on lamb, or turkey, or fish, or beef, etc and that the other main ingredients are also varied.

Gently & safely wash debris out of your dog’s ears.

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Dr. Hershman realized that when an ear is not inflamed and not painful but full of debris or tarry exudates from a yeast or bacterial infection, flushing the ear makes sense. “If you don’t flush it out but keep applying medication on top of the debris,” she says, “you’re never going to cure the problem. But I also learned that flushing the ear is an art. You can’t simply fill the ear with otic solution and expect it to flow out by itself, taking all the debris with it. Because the dog’s ear canal forms a right angle, you just can’t get the liquid out unless you suction it gently with a bulb syringe or some kind of tube with a syringe attached.”

Flushing the ears, says Dr. Hershman, is one of the most important techniques you can learn for keeping your dog’s ears healthy. “They don’t teach this in veterinary school,” she says. “It’s something people learn by experience.”

When should the ears not be flushed? “If they’re painful, ulcerated, or bleeding,” she says, “or if there’s slimy, slippery pus in the ear or a glutenous, yeasty, golden yellow discharge. In any of these cases, flushing is not recommended. But if the ears are not inflamed and are simply waxy or filled with tarry exudates, flushing works well.”

The procedure begins with a mild, natural, unscented liquid soap from the health food store. Place a few drops of full-strength soap in the ear, then thoroughly massage the base of the ear. The soap is a surfactant, and it breaks up debris that’s stuck to the sides of the ear canal. From a bowl of water that’s slightly warmer than body temperature, fill a rubber bulb syringe or ear syringe, the kind sold in pharmacies for use with children or adults. Place the point of the syringe deep down in the soap-treated ear, then slowly squeeze the syringe so it releases a gentle stream of water.

“By the first or second application,” says Dr. Hershman, “you should see all kinds of debris flowing out. It’s like a waterfall. At the end of each application, hold the syringe in place so it sucks remaining water and debris up out of the ear canal. Then empty the syringe before filling it again.”

For seriously debris-filled ears, Dr. Hershman repeats the procedure three or four times, then she lets the dog shake his head before drying the ear with cotton balls and Q-tips. “I look for blood or debris,” she says, “and I check inside with the otoscope. If there’s still a lot of debris, I put more soap in, do a more vigorous massage, and flush it a few more times.

“An ear flush can be traumatic if the ear is inflamed,” she warns, “and occasionally there will be an ulcer or sore that you don’t know is there and it will bleed. That’s why you have to be careful about how you do this. You have to be vigorous but not aggressive. You don’t want to make the ear more inflamed, painful, or damaged than it was to begin with.”

After flushing the ear, Dr. Hershman applies calendula gel, a homeopathic remedy. “I put a large dab in each ear and ask the owner to do that once or twice a day for the next three days. The gel is water-soluble and very soothing. Calendula helps relieve itching and it stimulates the growth of new cells, so it speeds tissue repair.”

If the discharge in the dog’s ear is yeasty or obviously infected, Dr. Hershman skips the ear flush, instead using the following treatment.

For more on diagnosing and treating ear infections, purchase Ear Infections by Whole Dog Journal.

Does that sound irritate your dog?

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Barking, whimpering, hiding under the bed, scratching at the door: you’ve witnessed the effects of sounds your dog can’t stand and want to avoid them whenever possible. For most dogs, the most irritating sounds fall into a few general categories, and although it’s always easiest to simply separate your dog from the source of the aural anxiety, it’s not always possible.


Loud Startling Noises

Unsurprisingly, loud startling noises, such as fireworks and thunder, can make your sensitive canine companion crazy! However, puppies and dogs can be trained to overcome their negative responses to even the most abrupt noise, with time and patience. By first identifying and then recording the offending clammer and later replaying it to your dog repeatedly and at increasing volume, your companion should become at least familiar enough with the sound to mitigate the negative response.

Unfamiliar Noises

Unfamiliar noises, such as the cries of a newborn baby you’ve just brought into your shared home, can annoy and frustrate your pet. Add to that the possibility that your dog may associate this noise with other negative changes to the environment, such as getting less of your time and attention than before, and the dog’s response to this sound may become unbearable. As is the case with loud noises, dogs can be trained to endure the unfamiliar disturbance by replaying a recording of it at gradually increasing volume. Note to expecting parents: In the case of a baby’s cries, it’s a good idea to begin this training before the new arrival rather than after.

Motorized Noise

Anything with a motor can whip your dog into an absolute state, so learn to either put him outside first, or delay your use of irritating appliances until he’s at a safe distance. Vacuum cleaners are notorious for their ability to frighten dogs, regardless of the brand, while other sources of motorized affliction for your pet include dishwashers, drills, blenders, lawnmowers and the much reviled band saw. But when it comes to that, can you blame them?

Noises Only Dogs Can Hear

Dogs are sensitive to higher frequency sounds and can actually hear sounds up to frequencies of 45 kilohertz, which humans cannot. Although it is uncommon and unlikely to persist, dogs have been known to respond negatively to high frequency sound. Some researchers, such as Stanley Coren, Ph.D., F.R.S.C., have even suggested dogs become anxious prior to seismic events, including earthquakes and avalanches, because of their ability to detect sound at these higher frequencies.


Remember I Love You – 10 Canine Commandments

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1. ....... before you adopt me. Please don't shop, adopt!


  1.  Don’t shop, adopt your pet.

2. We don’t understand or speak woof, so don’t expect our canine companions to understand human.  It’s a partnership.

3.  Trust you 4-legged companion but make sure they can trust you.  You are their pack leader.  Don’t let them down.

4.  If you are going to bring this 4-legged heart beat into your home, then make it a happy part of your family.  Not just a companion when it is convenient for you – otherwise get a fish.

5.  Our tone of voice and body langue speaks volumes to our pets.  Make them kind and caring.

6.  Dogs don’t do things out of spite, anger, maliciousness – that is us humanizing their behavior.  Please don’t yell, understand you dog needs you to show alternatives to bad behavior.  “Do “x” instead of “y”.

7.  Don’t hit.  See #6 above

8.  Our pets have bad days, uncomfortable experiences, don’t feel well, etc….. Stop and consider why your dog may be acting the way she is acting.

9.  Pets are NEVER disposable so while they are growing old, stay by their side, they stay by yours:)

10.  They always want you there!!! And one day you may meet them again up ‘there’.