Preventing Dry Skin for Your Dog in Winter

Dogs dry skin in winter

Most of us are familiar with that lovely by-product of winter – dry skin. Between the cold temperatures outside and the warm, dry environment indoors our skin is ready to crack, literally. While we can slather on moisturizer – the situation is a little more complex for our furry friends. A coating of creams, oils or balms will not do the trick. So, what are some ways to prevent dry skin for our dogs in winter? Here are a few tips to keep in mind.

Start From the Inside

Make sure your pup is eating a diet of high-quality, well-balanced dog food that will provide important nutrients to keep his skin and coat healthy.

Consult your vet to see if supplements are advisable for your dog. Fish oil supplements are often recommended to promote a silky coat and to maintain the proper moisture balance in skin.

Brush Regularly

A regular, gentle brushing through your dog’s coat will have many benefits. By removing dead hair and old skin cells, stimulating hair follicles, and releasing moisturizing oils in the skin, brushing is one of the most important things you can do throughout the winter to maintain your dog’s healthy skin and coat.

Make sure you are use the appropriate type of brush for your dog’s coat for best results. (Click here to review our selection of high-quality dog brushes for every type of coat.)

Bathe Appropriately

How often should you bathe your dog in winter? Just enough…but not too much. Too many baths will dry out delicate skin. Too few baths will allow a buildup of irritating dirt and debris. One bath a month is typically a good rule of thumb.

If you bathe your dog at home, make sure you are using high-quality, non-soap based products  that will gently remove dirt and debris while not stripping your dog’s skin of precious moisture. Also, consider using a crème rinse that will detangle hair and moisturize coat and skin.

Protect the Paws

Winter weather is brutal for a dog’s tender paws. Cold weather, snow, and ice, combined with the salt, sand, and chemicals used to melt ice can cause dryness, cracking, and trauma to paws. A few options to protect paws from winter’s natural and manmade elements include:

  • Applying a balm to paw pads before and after a winter walk.

  • Rinsing off paws after walks on roads or sidewalks.

  • Putting booties on dog’s feet to keep them covered.

Taking these steps can help you to take the best care of your best friend.  If your dog has a serious problem with dry skin always talk with your pet groomer and/or vet to try another course of treatment.

Keeping Dogs Safe During the Holidays

Holiday dog safety

For a moment, imagine the holidays through your dog’s eyes. Suddenly, without any particular warning, there is a real, live tree in the middle of the home. There are new people coming and going at all hours, some staying for a (very) long time. There is a smorgasbord of delicious scraps potentially falling (or being offered) from the table. There are sparkly lights, crinkly bows, and every kind of shiny thing to explore. While all of these strange, new developments can be exciting, they can also be bewildering and downright dangerous for your precious pooch. Here’s a checklist to keep your favorite furry friend safe during the holiday hustle and bustle.

Secure the tree and trim

Carefully anchor your tree so that it doesn’t fall over on your unsuspecting pup. Unless you are going to put a baby-gate around the tree or keep your dog away from it – be mindful of your tree trimmings. Tinsel is just asking to be grabbed and nibbled. Unfortunately, those shiny little ribbons are not only a choking hazard, but can wreak havoc on your dog’s digestive tract. Move breakable ornaments out of reach. Your curious dog will not realize that fun-looking shiny red ball is not for playing fetch until it breaks into a thousand, hazardous little pieces.

Avoid Dangerous Plants

Poinsettias are beautiful. And totally toxic for your dog. Either don’t bring them into the house, or keep them in a room your dog does not enter. Mistletoe and holly are also dangerous for dogs if ingested.

Watch the Food

Many of our favorite holiday treats are particularly dangerous for our pooches. Make sure you instruct guests not to feed your dog table scraps during the holiday meal. Not only will they be encouraging annoying “begging” behaviors, they could be feeding your dog foods that will cause digestive distress at best, and dangerous reactions at worst. Chocolate is particularly toxic to some breeds. If you or someone else drops that chocolate chip cookie on the floor – pick it up asap!

Prepare for Guests and Decompress

With all of the hubbub, extra excitement and noise of holiday parties, it is easy for your pup to become agitated and overwhelmed. Especially, if you will be hosting guests or a party – be sure and give your doggy plenty of exercise prior to your event – and then a quiet space away from the crowd to rest and relax during the event.

5 Tips for Holiday Visitors – Humans and Pets

Holiday visitors and your pet

With the holidays upon us, we can all expect a few extra visitors in the coming days and weeks. From babies to toddlers, tweens to teens, parents to grandparents – the influx of visitors can be varied and unpredictable. And while we may find this revolving door of family and friends fun and festive, the experience can cause angst and anxiety for our pets. Here are some tips to keep everyone (humans and pets) safe and sound during this social season.

Keep Your Routines

As tempting as it may be, now is not the time to skip your pooch’s morning walk or evening game of fetch. With so much sudden change and uncertainty, it’s more important than ever to stick to your dog’s regular routine.

Create a Safe Space

There are a variety of reasons why you should have a “time out” space for your pooch. Fearful visitors, over-stimulation, and unpredictable kids can create uncomfortable and sometimes dangerous encounters. Additionally, the allure of crinkly scraps of wrapping paper, toy parts and food scraps can also entice your pet into a troublesome situation. Whether you use a crate, a bedroom, or a cozy space in the laundry room, make sure you carve out a comfortable space where your dog can escape, relax, and recharge. Provide water, a puzzle, toy, bone, or other chew toy to keep your pooch occupied and to burn off a little nervous energy.

Control and Limit Child Interactions

Do not assume your dog will be comfortable with small children, especially if your pooch is not used to them. Toddlers can be particularly unsettling to dogs. Their faces are often at a dog’s eye level, their gait can be wobbly and unpredictable, and they are not old enough to understand the proper way to approach, touch, or play with a dog. To put it simply – do not leave your dog alone with unfamiliar children. Look for signs that your dog is stressed such as growling, ears pinned back, tail between legs, or snarling. Quickly remove your dog from any situation that appears stressful.

Manage Guests

Be clear in your communications if you don’t want guests to feed your dog scraps from the table. Providing treats for your guests to give your dog can solve multiple problems. First, treats can help build a positive relationship between your guest and your pet. Second, having treats available will appease that well-meaning guest who really, really wants to give your dog just a little piece of cookie, cheese, chicken, etc.

Take a Walk

Your sweet dog provides you with the perfect excuse to escape the hubbub for a quick walk. This will give your dog some much needed fresh air and give you another thing to love about your pooch.

How to Prepare for a New Puppy at the Holidays

Prepare for a new puppy

It’s the stuff that holiday dreams are made of – an adorable, fluffy little puppy under the tree. Shrieks of delight and loads of cuddles will welcome your furry new family member. But love and cuddles aren’t the only things that your new puppy will need. To ensure that your fuzzy friend is safe, comfortable, and secure in your home you need to be prepared. Here is a checklist of puppy supplies to have on hand and things to do before your family unwraps one of the greatest gifts of all.

Provide a Haven in Your Home

  • Crate – Be sure and have an appropriately-sized crate available for your dog for rest and sleep. Crates can also be useful for house-breaking. Buy a crate that will fit your puppy as he grows. Many crates have a movable divider that allows you to adjust the size of the usable space as needed.
  • Dog Bed – Put a cozy, warm bed inside the crate for a comfortable place to rest.

Feeding and Chewing Time

  • Small bowls for water and food
  • Nutritious puppy food
  • Small, soft treats (very useful for training)
  • Chew toys – puppies have a natural urge to chew. Provide plenty of acceptable options.

Time to Go Out

Your new puppy will need to go outside to use the bathroom….a lot! Supplies to have on hand:

  • Adjustable collar – put on their new collar to get them used to it.
  • Leash
  • Sweater or Jacket – consider getting a sweater or jacket for your puppy to keep him warm in the cold weather.

Puppy Proof!

Puppies are as curious and mischievous as they are adorable. Your new friend will want to explore, and likely nibble on, every inch of her new home. Prepare to protect your pup from hazards in your home and protect your home from the hazards of puppy teeth!

  • Gates – For safety (puppy’s) and peace of mind (yours) use baby gates or barricades to contain your puppy to certain parts of the house.
  • Get items off the ground – Be sure and scour the floor where your new puppy will be and move or remove any items that could become a choking hazard – or that you don’t want the puppy to chew. Puppies love to gnaw on, well…everything. Shoes, towels, socks, pillows, blankets, toys, cords, wrapping paper – nothing is off limits – unless you make it so.
  • Remove mistletoe and poinsettia plants – these are highly toxic to dogs if ingested.
  • Bitter Spray – have this on hand to spray on items that you cannot move, but do not want puppy to chew on. For example, a spritz of bitter apple spray on the legs of your kitchen chairs will deter puppy from using them as a chew toy.

Miscellaneous

  • Shampoo and brushes – be ready to give your pup a bath with a luxurious, gentle dog shampoo or creme rinse to keep his or her coat clean, soft, and shiny. Then brush out his coat with a  high quality brush to leave a beautiful finish.
  • Paper towels
  • Deodorizer/pet stain remover

Extra towels – keep an extra stack of “dog towels” near the door to dry off your little pooch after he or she has been outside.

A Dog’s Purpose

A dogs purpose
Recently, I was at the grocery store and heard a young family in line behind me entertaining their children while waiting to check out.  The mom was talking to her two young children about the movie, A Dog’s Purpose.  Having recently seen the movie, I loved hearing the how the children expressed love for their furry friend.  It got me thinking about my own dog Cassy, and how much we value her as a member of the family.  While she can help clean the house and I have failed at training her to get the newspaper off the driveway in the morning, she has a never ending supply of unconditional love, which is certainly welcome in a home full of five teenagers.

Cassy requires a significant amount of care, since, much like an infant, she can do little for herself.  Since marrying Cassy’s human “dad” last year, I have learned that taking care of her not only creates a bond between us, it is not a chore, but rather a hobby, one that brings rewards far beyond guitar lessons or crossword puzzles.

Bathing

Cassy and I share a love of visiting our local county park, which includes a 10k path around a beautiful lake. Walking around the lake is one of our favorite things to do together.  She is trained to run right alongside my bike, and on hot days,  will take frequent stops to jump in the water, which means she comes home smelling like a lake.  I have found that using a high-quality shampoo not only will remove the lake water small, but leaves a beautiful fresh scent and shine to her coat, afterwards.  We play the entire time I am giving her a bath right, through towel drying her.

Brushing

As a rescue, we are not quite sure what breed of dog Cassy is, but the vet claims she is a Husky Retriever mix.  She has rather short hair but sheds constantly…all over the house.  A high-quality brush is critical to managing shedding, since she needs a good de-furring every other day.  The brush you use on your pet should be efficient, effective, and comfortable to hold.

Exercise

I easily make my Fitbit goal every day with Cassy, as she requires a significant amount of exercise.  We take morning and nightly walks around the block, and sometimes we even take long bike rides through the park or neighborhood.

Nothing is better than pulling into the driveway and seeing Cassy waiting at the window with a tennis ball or bone in her mouth, ready to share her treasure and love with me.  She brings an immediate smile to my face, helps release any stress from the day, and is always ready to do something fun during the evening after work.

For Dog Groomers: Running a Thriving Dog Grooming Business

Run a thriving dog grooming business
We here at Les Poochs understand that you are running a business, and in addition to caring for dogs, you are also providing for yourself or your family.  A cornerstone of every thriving dog grooming business is repeat clients, so it’s always a good practice to groom the dog the best you can to guarantee a return appointment will be booked before the client leaves with their dog.

For dog groomers:  Special Touches for repeat customers

The following tips will help you in providing a phenomenal grooming experience by adding a few important finishing touches, for a really thriving dog grooming business.

First impressions

Providing a clean, safe, and inviting space is important.  Your client’s experience starts the minute they call to book the appointment or walk into your grooming salon. Keep your floor swept, and your counters and windows sparkling clean.

Even with a tidy salon, it is the end result many clients care most about, and that begins with the first impression they get after their best friend visits with you.  The cut of the dog is going to be the biggest factor when they come to get their dog.  For higher-end clients, this can require artistic talent and precision based on each breed of dog.  The next step is to take care of issues that your client will notice when they arrive home and resume spending time with their pet.

It’s not just about the cut – details matter

A dog must be clean; both the skin and hair, and muzzle and paws, and your cleaning process must address each of these areas.  Developing standardized procedures for you and your staff will help to make sure each area is cleaned on every dog.  The right procedures will make sure that the dogs are shampooed and rinsed to avoid tangles and leave the coat as shiny as possible.  You don’t want clients to find residue on their dog once they return home, or notice that their dog is starting to itch because of dry skin.  Using a high-quality dog shampoo will help.

De-shed and de-mat

A big reason many clients enjoy having their pets groomed by professionals like you is to take care of shedding and matting issues.  They usually do not want to be the ones who have to thoroughly brush their dogs on a regular basis.  Deshedding a dog can be hard with certain breeds, since the bathing process often produces a significant amount of shedding. However, with a set of high-quality dog brushes designed specifically for addressing shedding and matting, your job will be made much easier.

Top-notch customer service

Good customer service is on ongoing process that can make or break your success with running a thriving dog grooming business. As mentioned above, good customer service starts when a client makes a first call, and then it continues through every interaction between them and you and/or your staff.

Go above and beyond

Exceeding your clients’ expectations at every turn will ensure repeat business and referrals.  Spend time getting to know your clients, and teach them techniques they can use at home to take care of their dogs between visits to your salon.  As you get to know your clientele, you will learn whether they need reminders for appointments, or would appreciate a rewards program.

Final words for running a thriving dog grooming business

Of course, you can offer all kinds of bells and whistles in your business, but if you don’t continually produce a high-quality grooming experience, your bottom line will suffer. Keep these tips in mind and repeat your new standardized process with each client. Your expertise in taking care of each dog and using high quality products and good procedures will ensure you high standards are maintained (even exceeded), and that you’ll soon be enjoying success.

How to Untangle Your Dog’s Hair

How to Untangle Your Dog’s Hair

Have you ever been petting your dog and felt a bump in the hair?  It is not coming from or involving their skin – it just feels like a big clump of hair.  In dogs, this type of tangle is called a mat and can be problematic if not taken care of. Following are some tips on how to keep your dog’s fur mat-free.

How do you remove tangled hair from your dog?

The bigger the mat, the harder they are to deal with, and can actually cause significant problems for your dog, especially pain.   With great care and a calm dog, you may be able to take care of a smaller mat yourself. However, be very careful with bigger mats—they are usually best handled by a groomer.  Large tangles in your dog’s fur can result in injuries due to harsh and repeated brushstrokes, and even abrasions to the skin.

Can Groomers Remove Mats?

If the mat is big enough to cause you any concern, it is best to immediately call your groomer.  Groomers are skilled at keeping dogs calm during washing, and know just how to deal with mats to untangle dogs’ hair with the least amount of irritation or discomfort to your dog.  If a mat does have to be removed, your groomer will be able to do this with the least amount of shaving and may even possibly be able to blend in a shaved area until the hair grows back.

How can you prevent tangles in your dog’s hair?

The best mat prevention is regular brushing with a high quality set of dog brushes (link to dog brushes).  Depending on the breed of your dog, you can use a brush for the top coat and also a brush that specializes caring for the undercoat.  You can even lift hair into sections to ensure you take care of hard-to-reach spots.  Also, we highly recommend regular visits to the groomer to deal with tangles and mats.  Good groomers are able to spot a mat even before it starts.

We know your pooch is your best friend and you place great importance on taking care of him or her.  Once you get into a regular brushing routine and find a groomer you trust, your dog will be free of tangles and mats, and ready to spend time providing unconditional love for you!

Keeping your dog’s coat shiny

Keeping your dog's coat shiny

All pet owners want a dog with a shiny coat.  Your dog’s coat condition and care will largely depend on the type of breed.  Different breeds call for different nutrition and grooming schedules.  Most dogs look their best with a nice shiny coat, and many owners struggle to get the healthiest look possible.   If your dog does not have a shiny coat, there are several steps you can take to ensure you are doing everything you can at home to bring out the best in your dog’s appearance.

Regular brushing and de-shedding

Regular brushing is a fantastic way to aid in keeping your dog’s coat shiny.  Brushing activates a dog skin to start producing oils which in turn make the dog’s coat shiny and healthy.  Some dogs’ coats need a daily brushing, while others’ can skip a day or two.

Appropriate bathing

Some dogs need a bath once a week others can go longer to keep them clean and their skin/coat healthy.  Again, the type of dog and condition of his/her skin can play a factor in determining how frequently to bathe your dog. A high-quality dog shampoo specially formulated for your dog will ensure gentle care.

Grooming for keeping your dog’s coat shiny

A good grooming session will leave your pet looking his/her absolute best.  Groomers spend extra time and often have special products and tools, just like a visit to the hair salon for you!  If you start to notice that you just cannot get your pet looking its best, then a trip to the groomers is probably needed.

What can dull your dog’s coat?

Inadequate nutrition, medical issues, stress, anxiety, and even a lack of exercise can all cause your dog’s coat to be dull.  If you’re still not happy with your dog’s coat after regular brushing, bathing, and grooming, then it might be time to visit the vet’s office for a check-up.  Sometimes a change in diet or medication is all it takes – and your pet will start to feel better as well!

If you think your dog’s coat could look shinier a good first step would be to check with your groomer and veterinarian.  

 

Home Safety For Dogs

Home safety for dogs

Just like babies and young children, new puppies and even older dogs can get into dangerous situations at home. We often think that our most important task when it comes to home safety for dogs is to stop them from chewing on furniture, but there are other significant safety hazards that should be avoided at all costs. While dogs do have an innate sense that keeps them away from danger, there are a few problems that owners can take measures to guard against.

Following are some tips on home safety for dogs

During bath time

Bathing your dog should be a time of bonding and fun for you and your best furry friend. Make sure to keep the water at the right temperature to avoid burns, and never leave your dog alone in the water.

Chemicals and other dangerous substances

There are many items in our homes that are safe for humans to use but not ingest — cleaners, medications, and lawn chemicals, are good examples. However, dogs explore the world by closely sniffing and tasting what they find, and they do not know what is harmful. Even sugar-free gum is a hazard if it contains xylitol, which, taken in small amounts, can be fatal to dogs.

Be sure to keep these and other substances out of reach of your dog, in high cupboards or locked closets. Secure their packaging by tightly screwing lids on bottles and jars, pack any items that come in bags (which dogs can chew threw if they are interested) into tough plastic totes or pails — better yet, the kind that have locking lids.

Chewing:

Dogs, especially young puppies, like to chew on everything. This can include electric cords, sharp objects, your mouth guard left on your bedside table, and even small game pieces. All of these items can be dangerous for your pet. Secure these items from reach while keeping a variety of safe chew toys easily accessible around your home. Additionally, spend time working with your pet to ensure they know what is safe.

Outside:

Most dogs love to spend time outside exploring in your yard. However, danger can lurk at every turn. Carefully lock down your grill, tools, lawn chemicals, and fire pit, as these are all could be dangerous to your pet. Also take note of any lattice around your deck and fencing in your hard, which could be hazardous. While some dogs like to swim, be careful that they only have supervised access if they are allowed in the water.

A final tip on home safety for dogs

Dogs can get into every nook and cranny of your house. It is often hard to know what new interesting smell they will go after, and how they will try to maneuver around your home in dangerous areas. Your garage is another area to look over and ensure everything in it is no danger to pets. A few cabinet locks and some other basic precautions will do the trick. When it comes to home safety for dogs, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Selecting a dog brush: what you need to know

Selecting a dog brush

What should I look for when selecting a dog brush?

Whether you are a dog groomer or a dog owner, you share a common goal: you want to be sure you’re selecting a dog brush that makes a dog look spectacular and takes the absolute best care of their coat and fur. Following is information that we hope can guide you when selecting a dog brush.

For dog owners:

To keep your best friend looking their best, daily brushing is recommended. You want to ensure that the hair remains tangle free, shiny and as healthy as possible. If you have a breed of dog that sheds often, daily brushing will help keep the hair outside and off your carpet and floors. Make sure when selecting a dog brush, you choose one that is good for de-matting to have on hand in case you need to take care of an emergency mat situation, but also one that can handle the coat on a regular basis for maintenance brushing, to prevent as many problems as possible.

For dog groomers:

When you take care of a client’s dog, we know you want the owner to be completely satisfied with the outcome. We know your goal each time is returning a dog to its owner with a nice shiny coat that is well-brushed and completely tangle free. A good dog brush can help you do that.

For dog owners and groomers alike, brushing is a big part of pet care

Since it’s done frequently and can be hard work if not done right, it’s good to have a brush that has an ergonomic quality to make the work of brushing easier on you (and on the dog’s coat!). With this in mind, it’s good to go about selecting a dog brush that fits nicely in your hands. The curve of the brush is particularly important, as it should fit your hand and feel comfortable while you are using it.

Here at Les Poochs, we have designed our dog brushes to handle all of your needs. We use tested designs, and offer a variety of options, to ensure they provide exemplary service for you, your pet, or in the case of groomers—your business. Regardless of breed of dog and the particular coat they have, you can be sure when selecting a dog brush, that our brushes do the trick to keeping dogs’ coats as healthy as possible.