What You Need To Know About Kidney Stones In Dogs

What You Need To Know About Kidney Stones In Dogs

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Nephroliths – or kidney stones – are hard clusters that develop inside the kidneys or urinary tract. While bladder stones are more common than kidney stones in dogs, both are formed when an accumlation of salts or minerals naturally found in the urine form into clumps.

Kidney stones can range from a mild inconvenience to a medical emergency. Some dogs may not show any symptoms at all.

Why do some dogs develop kidney stones?

Kidney stones in dogs develop when an overproduction of normal mineral salts in the urine build up into crystals. If enough of these crystals unite, they form small sand sized granules that eventually become larger clusters.

Both gender and breed can play a role in the development of kidney stones in dogs. Females are more prone to stones than males. However, male dogs are at higher risk for serious complications due to their long, narrow urethras where stones can become lodged.

While any dog can develop kidney stones, certain breeds are more susceptible. Miniature Schnauzers, Lhasa Apsos, Yorkshire Terriers, Miniature Poodles, and Shih Tzus top the list of “stone former” breeds.

In addition to gender and breed, kidney stones in dogs can also be caused by metabolic disorders, certain birth defects, urinary tract infections, and diets that increase urinary pH.

What symptoms will a dog with kidney stones exhibit?

Many dogs with kidney stones never show clinical signs. In fact, the condition is sometimes diagnosed when radiographs of the abdomen are taken for a completely different reason. However, dogs suffering from certain types of stones or those with urinary blockages often have one or more of the following symptoms:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Discomfort during urination
  • Licking penis or vulva
  • Blood in the urine
  • Urinary accidents
  • Foul odor to urine
  • Increased or decreased urine production
  • Lack of appetite
  • Vomiting
  • Lethargy
  • Fever

If you dog is showing any of the above signs, seek veterinary care promptly.

How are kidney stones in dogs diagnosed?

As mentioned above, bladder and kidney stones in dogs are sometimes diagnosed by accident when veterinarians spot them on radiographs or ultrasounds. Stones are very dense and appear bright white on diagnostic images, making them easy to see.

Urinalysis and blood work are also recommended. These diagnostic tests can help your vet detect signs of infection and montior changes in kidney function.

How are kidney stones treated?

The course of treatment for kidney stones depends on the dog’s clinical symptoms. If they are not causing any problems, your vet may opt to simply monitor the stones or allow them to pass naturally.

However, dogs suffering from painful symptoms need immediate care. If no blockage is present, a combination of antibiotics, diet, and plenty of fresh, filtered water should do the trick. This method takes time, but most smaller stones will dissolve with the right combination of medication and/or lifestyle changes.

There are two options for dogs with life-threatening blockages or stones that cannot pass organically. They can be removed surgically or broken down into passable bits by a process called lithotripsy. Dr. Berent of the Canine Health Foundation explains the benefits of this procedure over traditional surgery:

“We can go in with a scope and see the stone. We then put a laser fiber through a cystoscope and direct it onto the stone. When the stone comes in contact with the laser, the energy fragments the stone until the pieces are small enough for removing. Over 90 percent of the time we can get stones to pass. Patients are able to go home the same day, which also helps to reduce the cost versus conventional surgery.”

How are kidney stones in dogs managed long-term?

Some dogs have a tendency to form stones several times throughout their lives, but there are precautions you can take to help prevent them. Regular urine and blood tests should be performed, even if the dog has no symptoms.

Depending on which type of stone(s) your dog is prone to, your vet may also prescribe a long-term treatment and diet plan. There are several prescription diets that help manage and prevent kidney stones. Some balance urinary pH, while others control protein levels or minimize stone forming minerals. Finding the right one may take some trial and error, but dietary management can be very effective.

In addition to a strict diet, dogs with a history of kidney stones should drink lots of filtered water and be taken out to urinate frequently. The more water a dog drinks, the more dilute the urine will become, helping to flush stone forming salts and minerals each time they potty.

With the help of your veterinarian, you can keep your dog healthy, happy and free of kidney stones.

 

H/T to Dogster, Whole Dog Journal, Pet Health Network

The post What You Need To Know About Kidney Stones In Dogs appeared first on iHeartDogs.com.

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10 Tips for Taking Your Dog Swimming in a Lake or River

10 Tips for Taking Your Dog Swimming in a Lake or River

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We love taking our dogs swimming during the hot summer months! Irie and Tiki always enjoyed trips to Texas lakes and rivers–and now Barli has quickly learned that nothing’s better on a hot day than a dip in the lake. Barli and Tiki love swimming in Lake Travis, and Barli recently enjoyed his first visit to the San Gabriel River at Georgetown’s dog-friendly Blue Hole Park:

For all the fun that swimming with your dog brings, though, it also means you need to take some dog swimming precautions when taking your pooches swimming in your local river or lake. Wherever your dog is swimming, keep these points in mind:

Beware of stagnant water.

As water flows slow late in the summer, rivers and lakes can become stagnant…and dangerous. Among other dangers, warm weather always brings a rise in the risk of encountering brain-eating amoeba most often found in hot, stagnant water. Avoid small bodies of water that are not moving.

Watch out for blue-green algae.

Hot weather also means a bloom of blue-green algae on many lakes and ponds. This algae is toxic for dogs and can be fatal.

Consider a life jacket.

Dog life jackets are a must for boating dogs but they’re also recommended if your dog is an unsure swimmer. (Plus your dog will just be so cute in it!) On that same note, keep your dog away from any dangerous currents in fast-flowing streams.

Watch for water snakes.

Living on a creek in Texas, we’re accustomed to keeping an eye out for water moccasins but water snakes can be found just about anywhere. Keep a close eye on your dog so he’s not nosing around holes in riverbanks or lakeshores.

Bring fresh water for your dog.

Yes, your dog will want to drink lake or river water but he’s safer drinking water that you bring from home. You’ll not only reduce his risk of running into potentially bad bacteria and parasites like giardia but also reduce the chance of minor tummy troubles.

Watch for glass and metal.

Just as our feet do when they’re wet for an extended period, dog paws get soft when they’re swimming–making them even more susceptible to getting cut by broken glass and metal.

Carry a first aid kit.

Accidents happen, whether it’s a cut paw or a thorn in a paw.

Dry your dog’s ears.

Water in your dog’s ears–especially floppy ears–can lead to ear infections. If your dog has been prone to ear infections, talk with your vet about an ear cleaning solution you can carry on your swimming trips.

Dry your dog’s fur.

Wet fur on the drive home can make your dog more prone to hot spots and other skin issues. If you have access to fresh water, it’s great to rinse your dog off then dry him before the trip home.

Check your dog head to tail.

Once you’re home, brush out your dog and do a good head to tail check looking for ticks, cuts, thorns, and any potential problems.

Taking your dog to a river or lake can be a great way to make summer memories…and you’ll wind up with one cool canine on these hot summer days!

dog swimming precautions-Irie

Originally published August 2013; updated August 2018.

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Barli Tries The Farmer's Dog

Barli Tries The Farmer’s Dog

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Last winter, Tiki and Irie reviewed The Farmer’s Dog, a meal delivery service that features real food with USDA human-grade ingredients. Delivered within days of cooking, the freshly made pet food comes frozen in a variety of recipes, ready to serve.

As you know, a few years ago we authored The Healthy Hound Cookbook (Adams Media, part of Simon & Schuster). I love to cook both treats and meals for our dogs–and they love fresh ingredients–but my schedule sometimes makes that difficult.

That’s where The Farmer’s Dog comes in.

Developed when the founder’s dog had an intolerance of commercial foods, The Farmer’s Dog takes the work out of homemade pet food by creating meals based on your dog’s specific needs and tastes.

While we’d tried it with adult dogs, we hadn’t tried The Farmer’s Dog with a puppy–until now. Barli received a box of The Farmer’s Dog to review, an easy process that begins online with information about your dog size, activity level and breed(s). Based on your dog’s size, age, and activity level, The Farmer’s Dog will create a meal plan with the option of selecting your dog’s favorite flavor(s):

 

Barli loves turkey, beef and pork so we selected all three recipes for him to try. Online you’ll find a complete breakdown of each recipe, from ingredients to Kcal count:

As you can see, The Farmer’s Dog foods are formulated for all life stages, so we could feel good about feeding it to Barli, still in his puppy stage.

The Farmer’s Dog arrives frozen (yes, even in our 105 degree weather…we were impressed!), each packet containing one day’s meals:

Barli didn’t understand that he needed to wait for the food to thaw…he was ready to dig in!

A quick glance at the food shows that this is no ordinary dog food; you’ll see that it looks like a meal for humans, with easily identifiable bits of veggies in the mix:

Barli gives The Farmer’s Dog a big paws up; he didn’t leave a scrap of food on his plate at any meal! You can opt to feed The Farmer’s Dog at every meal or, if you’re watching your budget, use it as a food topper or replacement for just part of your dog’s meal. And, speaking of budget, if you would like a two-week trial for your dog, click here to receive 50% off your trial–and let us know what your dog thinks of The Farmer’s Dog!

For More Information:

Barli received a trial of The Farmer’s Dog; we were not paid for our review. If you order a trial for your dog, we will receive a stipend for your first order. As always, we only share products that we use with our own dogs and ones that we think you’ll love!

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National Dog Day August 26th

National Dog Day August 26th

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As pet parents, we know that every day offers us an opportunity to show our furry family members that our fondness for them is far from mere puppy love…it’s dogged devotion! However, one day in particular has been set aside to give all Rovers the recognition they so deserve.

Established in 2004 by pet and family lifestyle expert Colleen Paige– the creator behind the dog-themed date on the calendar that shines a spotlight on our youngest canine fur kids, National Puppy Day, National Dog Day (August 26th) is a time not only to give your own pal with paws extra praise, but also to thank the Fidos in the work force who strive to enrich people’s lives as service dogs, KP cops and working military dogs.

Along with thanking our tail-wagging chums, the day is also dedicated to showcasing the option of pet adoption and all of our barking buddies in shelters who would love to celebrate the next National Dog Day in a forever home.

From taking your canine companion out for a day of play or capturing their cuteness for posterity with help from a professional photographer or artist, to marking the day by donating items (or the precious gift of your time) to a local shelter or welcoming an adorable adoptable into your heart and home, the official National Dog Day website offers a list of 20 ways to celebrate the pet holiday.

Special Offer

As we celebrate not only this special holiday but the 10th anniversary of DogTipper next week, we’ve got a special offer for you: a free PawZaar Year of the Dog bracelet set! The first silicone bracelet proclaims YEAR OF THE DOG while the second features words to woof by. Use coupon code DOG to get your free bracelet set (and pay $4.95 shipping and handling) or order with any paid PawZaar product to get free US shipping! The bracelet is available in two sizes and both are included in the promotion. Limit one bracelet set per order. Offer good while supply lasts. Coupon codes cannot be combined.

Fun Ideas for National Dog Day

 

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Win a $100 Gift Card! #Giveaway

Win a $100 Gift Card! #Giveaway

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We’re celebrating around here! The coming days mark not only the 10th anniversary of DogTipper (wow, how did that happen already?!) — but also the weekend of the POP Cats show where we’ll be exhibiting! Instead of having a giveaway at our booth, we decided to host a bigger giveaway online so everyone could join in!

Enter below to win a $100 PawZaar gift card, good for everything in our PawZaar gift store. The giveaway is open to pet lovers everywhere!

And, if you’ll be in Austin this weekend, please swing by Booth #126 to say hi!!

Enter to Win

As always, you’ll enter in the widget below and you may return for additional entries any time during the giveaway period. Good luck!

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Three-Legged Dog Helps Middle School Boy Conquer Bullies

Three-Legged Dog Helps Middle School Boy Conquer Bullies

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Middle school isn’t the easiest stage in life, but for a boy named Carson, life at school was almost unbearable. Bullies harassed him in the hallways, and it didn’t take long for their hateful actions to take a toll on Carson’s emotional well-being. His confidence plummeted, and he started feeling anxious and depressed. It took all his courage to walk into school, and every day was a struggle.

Courtesy of A Forever Home Rescue Foundation

To try and help their son, Carson’s family sought every kind of professional help they could think of. They communicated with the school and utilized outside resources, but nothing seemed to make a difference. Then Carson’s mom had an idea. Pets have been proven to promote self confidence in children and help them feel more secure. A relationship with a dog can help a person struggling with depression feel good about themselves, and that’s exactly what Carson needed.

Carson’s mom was on a mission to find the perfect canine companion for her son. She ended up meeting a six-month-old puppy named Zero. After being hit by a car, Zero tragically had his leg amputated. He was up for adoption with A Forever Home Rescue Foundation, and life for the rescue pup wasn’t easy. He had to learn how to live with only three legs, and without a home to call his own, life wasn’t what it could be. Zero needed a family that would love him unconditionally.

Carson’s mom fell in love with Zero the moment she met him. She was sure the resilient puppy would inspire her son to overcome his own challenges. It turns out that mothers know best. Carson and Zero formed a fast bond, and now they’re best friends. Carson can look at his dog and know no matter what, he has a friend that will love him forever. Zero has had to face his own pain and heartache in life, but his happy personality is an inspiration for Carson.

When school started again this fall, Carson’s depression and anxiety melted away. He walks the halls with newfound confidence, and his family is thrilled to see the dramatic improvement in Carson’s mental health. Bullies may still be a problem, but now Carson knows his best friend Zero will always be there to help him through.

Courtesy of A Forever Home Rescue Foundation

Carson and Zero’s story is only one example of the amazing ways dogs and people benefit from each other. To celebrate this bond, The Petco Foundation is hosting their annual “All for Saving Lives” campaign. Their goal is to raise $2.2 million for lifesaving animal welfare organizations like the one that brought Carson and Zero together.

You can visit their website to read about more life-changing adoption stories. You can also help their cause by donating online or at any Petco store through Sept. 9. If you’re ready for a new furry family member, the All for Saving Lives National Adoption Weekend is Sept. 1 – Sept. 2.

Featured image via A Forever Home Rescue Foundation

The post Three-Legged Dog Helps Middle School Boy Conquer Bullies appeared first on iHeartDogs.com.

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Happy 10th Gotcha Day, Tiki + DogTipper Blogiversary!

Happy 10th Gotcha Day, Tiki + DogTipper Blogiversary!

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It’s hard to believe, but 10 years ago today we adopted Tiki at what is now Texas Humane Heroes! Tiki had been found by shelter staff when they arrived at work one morning; she was just sitting at the entrance gate. A bout with kennel cough meant her stay at the shelter extended for a month, and when we met Tiki she was just coming up for adoption.

Tiki quickly came in and became best buddy and sister to Irie (adopted just six months previously). Since Irie’s adoption we’d been playing with the idea of starting a dog blog so with Tiki’s adoption, we launched DogTipper!

Tiki loves to meet people and their dogs, visit new destinations (especially the beach), and explore the outdoors.

Now Tiki’s a big sister to little Barli, and is teaching him the ropes…

Happy 10th birthday, Tiki!

We’re Celebrating with a Giveaway + a Special  Offer

We’re celebrating with a $100 gift card giveaway this week–please be sure to enter!

We’re also celebrating with special offer for you: a free PawZaar Year of the Dog bracelet set! The first silicone bracelet proclaims YEAR OF THE DOG while the second features words to woof by. Use coupon code DOG to get your free bracelet set (just pay $4.95 shipping and handling) or order with any paid PawZaar product to get free US shipping! The bracelet is available in two sizes and both are included in the promotion. Limit one bracelet set per order. Offer good while supply lasts. Coupon codes cannot be combined.

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6 Reasons Why Dogs Pant

6 Reasons Why Dogs Pant

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You’ve seen your dog pant. When you’re running around together, it’s not unusual for you both to be panting! We like to think it’s because they’re happy – and panting does look like a big happy smile, right? But for pups, panting is multi-purpose. Some dogs may even be panting for a reason that requires the attention of a vet. Knowing why dogs pant and paying attention can tip you off and help you take better care of your dog.

 1. To Cool Off

Your dog doesn’t sweat like a human would, but he has other ways of keeping cool. Many dogs love to cool off in pools or puddles of water or mud. But the reason why dogs pant when they’re hot is to circulate air through their bodies to keep their body temperature down. If you notice your dog panting while you’re out in hot weather, take a break, make sure he stays hydrated, and find some shade or air conditioning for you both.

 2. Heat Stroke

Keeping your dog in the heat too long can lead to heat stroke. Shade and water can help stave it off, but your dog can still overheat even if he has access to those things. It’s best to keep your dog with you, not outside for long periods of time or alone in a car. We know one of the reasons why dogs pant is to cool down, but it’s not enough to avoid heat stroke. Learn How To Spot – And Treat – Heat Stroke In Your Dog.

 3. Anxiety

Excessive panting can also be a sign that your dog is anxious or afraid. You may notice “stress panting” when you introduce your dog to new situations. Loud noises like fireworks and thunderstorms can also set his anxiety off. If you think your dogs pant because of fear or stress, see if you spot any of the 10 Signs Your Dog Has Anxiety.

 4. Illness

Some dogs pant when they become sick – particularly with respiratory disease or heart issues. Respiratory disease can make it difficult for your dog to breathe, often causing sneezing and coughing, or clogging his sinuses. Heart disease can send the heart rate up suddenly, making dogs pant to get enough air to catch their breath. If your dog is panting while resting, be sure to see a vet. See these Top 5 Signs Of Heart Disease In Dogs if you think your dog may have heart issues.

 5. Allergies

Dogs pant when they suffer from allergies too. If you’ve ever had them, you know how difficult breathing can become. Airways can become inflamed or constricted, causing your dog to breathe harder. Listen for wheezing, and check if your dog has any of the other 10 Signs Your Dog Is Suffering From Seasonal Allergies.

 6. Poisoning

A panting dog can be a sign that your dog has ingested poison. Dogs who may have been poisoned may also be lethargic, or may be vomiting. Poison may not always be what you think it is – there are many things we keep around our homes that can be harmful to our dogs. You probably have at least one of the 10 Foods You Didn’t Know Could Hurt Your Pup in your home right now. Make sure to keep your counters clear and a lid on your trash cans.

 

 

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How Omegas & Probiotics Can Help Ease Allergies

How Omegas & Probiotics Can Help Ease Allergies

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Since the release of our Pronine™ Flora 4-in-1 Canine Probiotic, Prebiotic, Digestive Enzyme, Herb Supplement, people have been asking whether or not they should switch their dog to that from the Project Paws® Omega 3-6-9 Select Chews to help control their dog’s allergies. While each product individually can help reduce symptoms of allergies, the products work differently and actually work best in conjunction with each other to reduce your dog’s itching and scratching.

Omega-3 helps reduce inflammation. Inflammation can cause all sorts of health problems including allergies, arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, heart disease, diabetes, liver or kidney disease, and cancer. According to Dr. Angie Krause, DVM:

“Every dog should be on an omega-3 fatty acid supplement. Omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to help decrease inflammation and benefit organ function. For some itchy dogs, this [is] all they need to drastically improve their itch. Giving your dog omega-3 fatty acids can significantly reduce the amount of steroids that it will take to eliminate biting, scratching and chewing.”

Probiotics are different. 70% of all your dog’s immune cells live in his gut. Probiotics add beneficial bacteria to your dog’s gut, which can help improve his immune function. An improved immune system can better handle things like allergies. According to Marcella D. Ridgway, VMD, MS, DACVIM:

“A daily probiotic supplement may also provide some ancillary benefits for dogs such as better skin and coat appearance, a reduction in gas, improved breath, a reduction of allergy symptoms, a reduction in yeast-associated disorders, and help in regulating bowel function.”

Since Project Paws® Omega 3-6-9 Select Chews and Pronine™ Flora 4-in-1 Canine Probiotic, Prebiotic, Digestive Enzyme, Herb Supplement work differently to help control your dog’s allergy symptoms, the combination of both products should offer the optimum benefit for your fur child.

Whether you choose to use one or both products to help reduce your dog’s allergy symptoms, you should definitely consider signing up for AUTOSHIP. With AUTOSHIP, you don’t need to worry about running out of the products that help your pup live his best life. His supplements are delivered on a predetermined schedule, which you can change, pause, or cancel at any time. Plus, you’ll save 5% on each purchase by using AUTOSHIP!

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. The information on this website is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified healthcare professional.

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10 Ways To Ensure Your Dog Stays Safe During A Grooming Session

10 Ways To Ensure Your Dog Stays Safe During A Grooming Session

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All dogs need at least a little bit of grooming over the course of their lifetime, even if it’s only regular nail trims and the occasional bath. Whether you groom your dog yourself or take them to a groomer, it should be a positive experience for your dog. Unfortunately, things can go wrong and accidents can happen. Luckily, there are things you can do to help ensure your dog stays safe during a grooming session.

Tips for grooming your dog yourself

#1 – Give your dog plenty of treats during and after grooming

Your dog should look forward to your grooming sessions rather than dreading them. A happy dog is more likely to hold still. Most accidents occur because a dog is wiggling or trying to get away.

#2 – Never use scissors to cut out mats

This is one of the top causes of owners accidentally injuring their dogs. Use a #10 blade on clippers to gently shave off mats. Skin can get pulled up into tight mats, making it easy to cut the skin if you try using scissors to cut mats out.

#3 – Go slow

Rushing is another common way for accidents to happen. Break grooming into several smaller sessions if necessary to keep yourself and your dog calm. There’s no worse feeling than injuring your dog because you were rushing their grooming.

#4 – Do your research

Whether you watch a ton of YouTube videos or talk to a professional groomer, learn as much as you can before grooming your dog to avoid the most preventable accidents.

Tips for finding a groomer

#1 – Ask about their experience

Currently, no state in the United States requires groomers to have any licensing. The facilities may be licensed, but the groomers themselves are not. That means anybody can buy a pair of clippers, watch a couple of videos, and declare themselves a groomer. There’s a huge learning curve in grooming. Look for somebody who has been grooming for at least 5 years.

While there isn’t any mandatory licensing for groomers, there are ways to get certified. Groomers with certifications have taken the time, expense, and often travel to go through intense written and practical testing to prove their skills. They may charge more than other groomers, but their certification shows their dedication to their craft.

Bonus points go to groomers who are familiar with how to do CPR on dogs.

#2 – Ask about the equipment being used

In particular, ask what kind of dryer or dryers the groomer uses. Kennel dryers can cause problems for brachycephalic (flat-nosed) dog breeds. Heated dryers can cause dogs to overheat. And high-velocity dryers can be frightening for sensitive dogs. Good groomers will know the best way to dry various breeds and personalities of dogs safely.




You also want to make sure the facility looks and smells clean. You may not be allowed into the grooming area for liability reasons, but unless a mess is actively being cleaned up, the grooming salon should smell clean and there shouldn’t be excessive amounts of hair on the floor.

#3 – Communicate clearly with the groomer

Is your dog afraid of the dryer? Does he panic if placed in a kennel? Do they tend to bite when having their nails trimmed? The more information you can give the groomer, the easier it is for the groomer to keep your fur child safe during the grooming appointment. Don’t be embarrassed to admit that your dog has problems with certain parts of the grooming process. A good groomer will be able to work around those things, especially if they’re aware of them ahead of time.

Having detailed conversations with the groomer at the beginning of the appointment also ensures the groomer knows exactly what type of haircut you’re looking for, reducing the chances of you coming back to a surprise when your dog doesn’t look at all the way you expected.

#4 – Watch how the groomer does other dogs…but not your own

It’s great to watch how the groomer handles dogs during the grooming process – but if your dog can see or smell you, they are likely to act up during the grooming because they will be trying to get to you instead of being calm for the groomer. Watching your dog get groomed can actually CAUSE accidents sometimes. Unless there’s a way to watch the process without your dog seeing you, it’s safer not to watch. Do ask if a groomer uses cameras in their salon – if you suspect your dog was abused during an appointment, a camera can show exactly what happened.

#5 – Look for reviews

These days, there are plenty of opportunities for people to leave reviews of groomers, whether it’s on Google, Yelp, or the business’s Facebook page. Keep in mind that accidents can happen, and there may be the occasional nasty review, but a groomer or grooming salon should have overall positive reviews.

#6 – Stick with one groomer and see them regularly

Infrequent grooming with a different person every time can cause dogs A LOT of stress, which increases the chances of an accident happening. If your dog can develop a relationship with one groomer who they see on a regular basis (usually at least every 8 weeks, depending on the breed), your dog will know what to expect from the grooming appointment and will be more relaxed, reducing the odds of any accidents happening.

This also allows the groomer to get to know your dog and recognize any changes in him. Groomers are often able to spot health changes (like bumps, skin changes, fur changes, or personality changes) before owners who see their dogs every day.

(H/T: People, TODAY, She Knows)




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