Health & Safety

Quicked nail care

We all try not to do it. But inevitably it happens to the best of us (and usually on a white dog to boot!).

You quick a nail.


If the dog has jerked, or you have not been careful enough you can actually get one very deep into the quick and those can be very very difficult to stop.

I have detailed, step by step instructions on how to stop the bleeding if that happens.

First of all you know you did it generally speaking because the dog jumps or fusses, or in some cases screams. There are some cases where you don’t see it until later, but that is unusual.

The minute that it happens, CLAMP DOWN on the nail pad by applying pressure from the top and the bottom. This stops blood flow to the quick itself and numbs the pain.


THEN using a lightly wet fingertip or cotton tipped applicator, apply a SMALL AMOUNT of quick stop. I always try to keep a small container of QS on my table while trimming nails just in case I need it. After the QS is applied, hold for a few more seconds and release slowly. If the blood has not stopped, then continue to hold, and reapply if needed.


If there is a lot of blood, or you didn’t notice that you had quicked it until later on in the process, pinch the pad, WIPE the nail with a damp paper towel or spray with peroxide to remove the blood, and then repeat the steps above. Applying the QS over the nail and without the blood being present will ensure the blood can clot better and will result in a lot less mess created by the QS.

If the nail is torn, or really deeply cut this technique works well to stop it from bleeding further. Pinching it off will numb the pain as well for you to be able to recut in the event of a torn nail, and will make it possible to apply QS in a way that results in less yellow or brown mess that many people have when applying QS straight to a bloody nail.

This technique can ALSO be used to do what is referred to as a “show quick” where the nails are deliberately cut short into the quick to make the nails short FAST.

I know, you are horrified by this! BUT! In some cases it CAN be done and MUST be done.

Take the cases of elderly clients on blood thinners. Their pets do severe damage to them if the nails are left long, and they do not always have the time it takes to make the nails shorter by dremeling twice weekly (and there is some discussion that the technique does not work anyway to shorten the nails).

If done correctly, this DOES NOT cause extreme pain. DOES NOT make dogs hate their nails being done. DOES NOT result in infection.

I am NOT SUGGESTING that it needs to be done routinely, but the fact is it has been done for as long as we have trimmed dog nails and there are ways to do it successfully and painlessly.

This technique can keep a pet in the home it has always been in with an owner that loves it. And that is worth a few seconds of discomfort, every month or so if you ask me.

Dryer Seizures


This is Katie and she has dryer induced seizures

If you have been grooming for any period of time you are likely to have seen this happen before. 

You are drying a dog you have groomed many times before, usually a dog that is getting older but not always, and out of nowhere they start pacing, screaming and acting like they have no idea who you are, what you are doing or what is going on around them. You struggle to turn off the dryer and hold onto the dog (if you are lucky you have someone who can help) and do everything you can to calm them down.

Nothing works. You have to hold the dog until the episode stops and hope no one gets hurt. It can be scary if you are unaware of what is going on. They can last anywhere from a few seconds to several minutes and nothing you do will stop them once they stop. They have to resolve on their own.

What has just happened? Most of us refer to these as dryer seizures. 

There are many theories as to why these episodes occur. 

Some people think it is the sound of the dryer that triggers them, but I am beginning to doubt that. The way my shop is set up, the dog that are bathed are placed in holding kennels in the same room as the dryers. I have never once seen a dog react to the dryers unless they were the ones being dried. Odd if the sound is what triggers it isn't it? 

So that got me thinking and I have been doing research on seizure triggers in humans. There are many things that will trigger a seizure in humans and every person has a different trigger (or series of triggers). Temperature fluctuations, like a dog having been bathed being dried with warm air, can trigger seizures. Moving air can trigger seizures in some humans and so can loud or abrupt noises, like the sound dryers make when the nozzle is moved on their bodies. There have even been anecdotal reports of humans seizing when a fan is on them, or a hairdryer is being used to dry their hair. 

When these seizures occur in dogs they usually occur after a few minutes of drying, generally, although not always, as you get closer to the head with the dryer. They remind me of the seizures reported on Medlink under the "hot water epilepsy" topic. Here is a quote from that page: Reflex epilepsies are classified as a group of etiologically heterogeneous epileptic entities, the common factor being precipitation of seizures by precise sensory and cognitive precipitating factors. The seizures may occur immediately with stimuli or after a short delay. However, this response should be consistent. Photosensitive epilepsies are so far the commonest in this group. However, seizures precipitated by touch, music, reading, eating, and other complex cognitive processes have also been reported (Wolf 2004).

Here is a link to reading more on reflex seizures

I don't want to get into the technical and medical aspect too deeply since I can really only find medical substantiation for humans, but it makes sense to me that there is similar response in dogs to those in humans. 

Since we never know when these are going to occur it is virtually impossible to "catch one" on video. HOWEVER! We have a groomer, Deanne Olson Morris, who was determined to get one of these episodes on video so that the vet could see what had happened. She set a camera up in her drying area and turned it on every time she had a dog that had ever had one of these seizures before, or that she thought might be one that would. It took several tries, because of course, when you know a dog has one of these you do not want to provoke one so you take precautions to prevent them, but we do have the video now to study, learn from and share with new groomers and vets.

WARNING! This video shows a real dog having a real seizure while being dried. It MAY BE DISTURBING TO WATCH! 


The reason I think this video is important to watch for all groomers is that if you watch it several times you can see what is happening before the seizure starts. The dog starts acting different. Pacing, stepping, and moving differently. Not every dog will do this, but every dog will have predictors. 

I have a poodle that we can dry up until we get to her head. the closer you get to her head (in retrospect) we noticed that she starts moving her head slowly from side to side and its obvious she is trying to get away from the dryer. If you catch it and stop, no seizure. If you do not catch it, then she goes full on screaming, thrashing, scratching, trying to get away from the person drying her as well. 

A 35 pound mix we do named Mikie? She starts picking up her legs in a "marching band" type step. She only does this a few times, but if you catch that predictor and stop the dryer she will not seize. If you miss it (and we did the first time or two) then she gets so upset that you will not get her off the table until she is done. She often urinated, pooped and in general was difficult to dry before the seizures stopped. Were they an indicator there was going to be a problem? I don't know for sure but I would guess yes. 

Brady is a cockapoo we do that you cannot even turn a dryer on him anymore. He is about 12. He used to be wonderful for grooming but now? He gets towel dried, placed under a fan and then after he is mostly dry finished with a stand dryer. No more problems. The last time he had a dryer seizure it took him almost 20 minutes to completely stop and was thrashing so badly that Brian, who was drying him, got injured in the process of trying to put him in a crate. He had scratches all over his arms, hands, face and he threw out his back as well trying to control him. However, Brady did not get hurt. Thankfully.

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When using a Happy Hoodie, lay the ears down over the ear canal and secure them with the HH. It will muffle sound and speed up drying the ears and head.

While it is clear that there are no real warning signals for which dogs will seize, there are things you can do to minimize these seizures in dogs already prone to having them. Possibly.  

  • First of all DO NOT use a force dryer with a nozzle (especially a cone nozzle) to dry a dog that has had one. The nozzle will cause more stimulation both to the skin and to the hearing induced seizures.
  • Use cotton balls in the ears and if you have them add a Happy Hoodie as well. This will help tremendously if its sound induced or if, like in my own ears, the sound from the dryer buffeting as it moves triggers the problem. On a sidenote, I cannot be in a car with only one window open due to the air buffeting. I cannot open both back windows of my car either because the noise and pressure change makes me sick. 
  • Whenever possible, dry the dog with a stand dryer or hand dryer instead of a force dryer. 


When packing ears with cotton I tear the cotton ball into small pieces and insert deeply into the ear canal.

What do you do when it happens? 

  1. It is critical that you not continue to force through one of these episodes and continue drying the dog. It can be damaging for the dog if you do that.
  2. Turn off the dryer as fast as possible.
  3. Remove the dog as quickly as possible from the area the sound is in.
  4. Hold the dog if possible close to your body until they have calmed down.
  5. If that is not possible, place them in a kennel with a pad or towel for their own safety.

After the seizure has resolved, the dogs usually act as if nothing has happened and the groom can continue as normal. 

I always tell the owners that it happened, because most of my clients bathe and dry their dogs in between grooming and the hair dryer at home can also trigger this in some cases. I also suggest they mention it to the vet and watch for other seizures at home. Usually these are isolated and no other activity is ever noticed.

There are two schools of thought as to what to tell the owners. I DO tell people that they have had "what I refer to as a dryer seizure". I also tell them "the vet should probably be notified of what happened" and then go into as much detail as I can without scaring the client. I also offer my business card and tell them the vet is free to call me if they want more information. Some people say we should not use the term seizure, because we are not vets and that might be diagnosing. Personally. I don't see an issue with it, but if you are not comfortable then use the words "episode" or "incident". I will go into more detail with a client if they want more information about what happened, what caused it, what we can do to avoid it. Most are extremely grateful and NOT ONCE In twenty years of being a groomer have I had a veterinarian call me giving me a hard time or accusing me of diagnosing. Thanking me for the detailed information and concern? ABSOLUTELY.

I also try to let the owners know that their dog's health is more important to me than their appearance and as a result i cannot guarantee the quality of the groom will be the same if I cannot dry the dog completely. I have never had anyone complain about that because my clients appreciate that I put the dog's health and safety first.

Doing this blog post has been educational for myself and hopefully for everyone who has read it.

If you are a new groomer or one that works alone, you may have had no idea what happens when these occur or what to do about them until now.

Maybe what you learned here can help you or a dog in your care have a better, safer experience. Let's hope so!

Dust cloud in the shop!

I often hear people say they blow out dogs before bathing sometimes. I have never been a huge fan of this, but I will admit it does help get dander and sand out of a coat before bathing.

We do it on really rare occaisions. Twice this year in fact. BUT. Today we did use this technique. 

We have a cocker named Toby who comes into the shop and he is always filthy. He is impossible to get clean no matter what we do, he always has a little bit of grey cast to his coat, and it matters not if he gets one bath or 5, he is still always dirty.


I want to add that I have always told people that IF they blow out dogs they should wear masks and goggles. WELL today that didn't happen and in the following photos you can see why I am so adamant you need to wear them to protect yourself.

Meet Billy:


He is badly sunburned from cutting grass yesterday, and he DOES have gray hair, but not THIS gray! Notice the film on the glasses and the arm of the glasses? That is DANDER from the dog.


His hand is covered in dander.


The jacket USED to be black.......


Notice all the dander on the hose? It wasn't there before he blew out the dog.


On his arm there is a lot of dander in his hair.

My theory on why this dog doesn't get clean is because the dander, that you can see there is a lot of, turns into sludge when wet. It will not wash out and it will not blow out while it is wet. It becomes almost like glue and we can comb it out while wet but it will not rinse out or wash out.

The air conditioning filter, which is outside the room by the way, is so covered in dander from this dog that I had to wash the screen and change the filter.

As you can tell, this is a dirty, messy process, but it IS effective. Just be aware that if you choose to do this you MUST take care not to breathe it in and to protect your eyes as well.

Billy said at times this felt like he was being sand blasted. The entire process took about 5 minutes to blow him out thoroughly, yet saved us about 20 minutes of bathing and extra drying time. It did take about 5 minutes to clean up. 

So, yes, blowing out dirty dogs is effective. It will redue your bathing time and make the process faster. 

It is however possibly dangerous and is MESSY to say the least. If the dog is on flea prevention, you are blowing pesticides all over the place. Toxins the dog ay have come into contact with are now airborne. Allergans, like grasses and weeds, are in the coat and are now in and on  your skin and lungs and eyes. Its NOT a safe thing for groomers to do without proper protection. Even WITH protection I would be concerned about doing this all the time.

If you choose to do this always wear goggles to protect your eyes, masks to protect your lungs, long sleeves and pants to keep it off your skin, and a fresh smock to replace the one that will inevitably get dirty during this process. Wash your face, hair and any exposed skin after you are done.

I wouldn't make a habit of doing this in my shop, but it is another technique that has its place and will be used when needed.



Chloe's Story

This is Chloe’s story as reported to me. It is sad and I have to warn you, it is disturbing in so many ways it may make you totally rethink the way you operate your drying facility. It has me asking questions that I cannot answer about dryers in general. 
To begin with, on Sunday, January 31, 2010 I was checking my email when I saw a subject that made me do a double take. It read “Chloe, horribly burned at groomers”. Let’s just say that got my attention FAST. I opened it and was horrified at what I saw and read. Over the remainder of the afternoon I exchanged several more emails with the person who found my blog when researching burns on pets. After the incident, a friend of the family (the person who emailed me the story) came over and took photos for them and is assisting the family in dealing with this. She asked me to write the story and inform groomers of the incident, as she has decided this should never happen to another dog. I agree 100% that it should never happen again, but I also feel like it should never have happened in the first place.
I am confident that this injury is legitimate and I am confident it didn’t have to happen. 
WARNING!!!  The photos below are GRAPHIC and are used with permission.
One day last week, Chloe, a rather small yorkie, was dropped off at a grooming salon that she usually goes to with no problem. Everything went according to plan as far as the owner knew. They picked up Chloe and she was groomed but she had a horrible odor they couldn't pinpoint. When they got home, they realized she was limping slightly, but she took off upstairs and ran under the bed before they could investigate further. A relative came by and went to retrieve her from under the bed and she yelped like something hurt. Upon further inspection they discovered an area of red dots that looked like pimples on her chest. She was not acting really sick, so they watched her. The spot got larger and weepy as time went on, and she got lethargic and refused food and water. At this point the family felt they needed to go to their vet. He was in surgery but advised they not wait and take her to the Emergency clinic.
She was diagnosed with a thermal burn. Here is the photo of the injury, a couple of days after the grooming. 
The only thing Chloe had done that day that would have caused this type of injury was go to the groomers. 
What at a grooming shop could cause such a burn to occur you might ask? Simple: a heated cage dryer or a stand dryer that has heat being used as a cage dryer. These dryers have temperatures that reach up to 155 F according to the manufacturers and since that heat is enough to do severe damage to skin with short contact time, imagine what prolonged contact can do. Can you imagine being in a closed box with that type of heat being blown on your skin? I can't and I cannot understand why groomers still use this type of dryer!
The groomer was shown the photos by the family friend and was visibly shaken. They had no idea there was a problem with the groom. The thing to note is that according to my contact, the grooming, drying and bathing are all done in the same room at the shop in question. They do use heated cage dryers and it is believed that this is what caused the injury to Chloe. According to the shop owner Chloe never made a sound or acted like she was uncomfortable. 
I have a hard time believing that a dog would not make an effort to try to get away from a heat source that is burning their skin. You would imagine that at least as the burn was beginning to occur the dog would be whining, scratching or barking. After the burn set in deep in the tissue, pain would be diminished as nerve endings are damaged, but at the beginning, there are signs. Likely the signs were tuned out or ignored as a normal fussy dog. In this case that decision may result in deadly consequences.
Chloe is scheduled for her first surgery this week. They had to wait until she was stable to perform the surgery. From my experience with burns, they were likely also waiting for the skin to finish dieing off. She will likely need more surgery, and possibly skin grafts to cover the area damaged by the burn.
In Chloe’s case, I FIRMLY believe the burn could have been caused by a hot dryer used on a metal cage. The metal cage bottom gets hot and holds the heat that is being transferred to it from the heat dryer. It never cools off and transfers its heat into the dog’s skin. A yorkie, with thin hair, has no insulation from the heat and the skin damage caused is deep and traumatic. I have seen Vari Kennels melted from the heat of a dryer! Imagine what they can do to skin over time!
 I do not believe anyone WANTS to injure a pet, but when equipment is used incorrectly or by people not paying attention, injuries happen. A heated stand dryer (pointed into a cage and used as a cage dryer), or a cage dryer on Medium or High in an enclosed area creates an oven. Cages that are covered, surrounded or enclosed fit that bill. It is an accident waiting to happen.
Many groomers do not think that the dryers they are using can cause damage to the skin of the dogs. We need to rethink that position. We need to educate groomers and bathers to the dangers of the dryers we use daily. Unless we KNOW that they can kill, and either never use them or use them extremely carefully, then more dogs will get hurt or die as a result of their use.
In the next installment of this series I will discuss the way burns occur and then in the third installment we will discuss ways that heated dryers can be useful when used correctly and alternatives to them that are safer and more effective. I will also have an installment on what cage dryers actually ARE and when they become a problem because many people thing cage dryers are all equal and nothing could be further from the truth! 
My goal is to educate as many people as possible to the effects of these dryers in the hopes of another pet never having to go through this.  

Stop the Heated Dryer Madness!

I get emails from people around the country quite often about their pets who have been injured, and I always try to assist them in whatever way I can. Sometimes it is a simple accident, like a quicked nail, or a small irritation and I can calm them down and help them feel like it was really not a big deal and they are happy when they fully understand the problem. 

Then there are the rare exceptions, thank goodness, that contact me because of a major, horrific accident, like I detailed in Chloe’s story .

One such person is Bailey’s mom.

I have reprinted her first email to me with her permission and her name withheld. She did give me approval to list her area of Canada. I was shocked to say the least and wanted to share this with all of you and maybe help educate someone in the dangers of heated dryers and in what to do if you suspect a burn. Bailey, below, was burned at the grooming shop by a heated cage dryer 2 weeks ago. She is still dealing with major medical complications. Here is her Mom's email. 

 Oh My Debi,

 I just was fwd'ed your story about poor Chloe's story at the groomer.  We have just experienced almost the same incident here in Prince George, BC , Canada.

 Our dog Bailey, a coc-a-poo, went to the groomers on Aug 24, 2010 when I picked her up at 2:15, the groomer told me that there was a little incident and that she got a small burn....when I looked at her stomach, the whole belly area and the inside of her legs were black and purple. The groomer stated that the dog had a poop in the kennel and as such was sitting at the front of the kennel, obviously too close to the dryer and got burned. The groomer stated that she was in the kennel for about 15 minutes and was alerted to her situation when Bailey was panting really hard. 

 When I picked her up, I noticed that her burn was already oozing in a couple of places, and luckily I proceeded directly to our vet, where she was put on antibiotics and a few days later on pain medication as well. She has not had to be hospitalized up to this point, but we as a family are providing a lot of care for her and really having to work at making sure she is fed and hydrated, as her drive to eat and drink is not there.

 I am attaching a few pictures. Do you know if there are Canadian journals, magazines etc that I can get in touch with to share my story so the word gets out there? Here in BC there does not seem to be any regulations around grooming facilities. I just do not want this to happen to another dog. The groomer that we dealt with refuses to look at the pictures, we have offered a few times and she has declined. She is not wanting to take responsibility and learn from this unfortunate incident. We are very, very upset with the situation and how the groomer is handling it.


(name removed)

Prince George, BC Canada

 I find it absolutely repugnant that a groomer who KNEW the dog was injured failed to seek medical attention for that dog. I really find it horrible that the dryer industry continuously ignores the problem and continues to make dryer that get hot enough to cause this damage. Follow up emails have stated the groomer will not look at the photos and admits no fault in the case. 

Remember the quote from above that reads: "The groomer stated that the dog had a poop in the kennel and as such was sitting at the front of the kennel, obviously too close to the dryer and got burned. The groomer stated that she was in the kennel for about 15 minutes and was alerted to her situation when Bailey was panting really hard". If the dog was indeed left with feces in the kennel it was not acceptable. If you have a dog have an accident clean it up! If the dog was indeed in the kennel for only 15 minutes then that dryer must have been extremely close and extremely HOT to do that kind of damage. 

If this happens in your shop, you are obligated to seek medical attention and to pay medical bills regarding the situation. PERIOD. If you are using heated dryers hanging on kennels, you need to be extremely careful in how hot they are, how long you leave them in place and what type of cage bottoms you have. I have said it before and it bears repeating. NEVER use them on metal pans!  Never use them in covered or solid sided cages, and never use them on high. Those things help make them safer. They are not, however, safe 100% in any case. there are several articles in this blog that discuss how to use them safely.

 Here are the pictures I have so far.



the picture above was taken immediately after she got home, and immediately after seeing the vet.

Immediatley after vet visit


Bailey 3

Bailey 6

In my opinion, this groomer is negligent and should be dealt with accordingly, if for no other reason that she failed to seek immediate medical attention for a condition that was noticeable at pick up. 

I feel the dryer companies are negligent in that they continue to make dryers capable of this type of injury despite numerous burns occuring every year.

We have to do something to stop this madness! Banning cage dryers is not an option nor do I think it is a good idea, but I do think that dryers with safety switches, mandatory ten minute timers, and heat regulators that prevent them from putting out that much heat in the first place are all valid ideas that the industry has so far ignored. 

How many more dogs have to suffer like Chloe and Bailey before this stops? Please do your part and make sure that IF you are using a heated cage dryer make sure you understand how it works and be safe about it! In my opinion, a cage dryer should have no heating element. I know not everyone agrees with me, but there is truly no reason for using a heated dryer on a dog in a cage. This is one of the things lacking in our industry. Safety controls on the manufacture of our equipment! Add to that we lack EDUCATION on how to use the equipment safely and correctly.

Until groomers start accepting responsibility for accidents and using equipment safely and in a way that makes sense, these types of accidents will continue to happen. Sadly there is no way to explain to a parent or a pet that is injured or one that has died as a result of groomer negligence, that nothing is being done to stop it from happening again. I am doing everything I can to spread the word. PLEASE spread the word yourself to everyone you know.


Comfort in crates


I am lucky that I sew. That means I can make things that no one sells or that are cost prohibitive to buy. One of those things I make for my shop is memory foam crate pads. They keep the dogs comfortable and happy, and happy dogs are quiet dogs. 

You can buy crate pads pre-made, but they are pricey! By making them myself I can get exactly the size I need so that they fit my crates perfectly! 

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I figured out a few years ago that I can use a mattress pad and make waterproof covers for them, followed with pillowcase type covers and have comfy beds for my guests. You can use new ones or if you are replacing one (they wear out after a year or so usually) then use the old one to make dog beds with.

I started making them just for home, out of a mattress pad we were replacing since it had sort of come to an end of its usefulness in my bed. It wasn't supporting my body any longer but it did great for the dogs and that was a way of reusing an item rather than disposing of it in the landfill. 

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I use en electric knife to cut the foam if its more than 2 inches thick, and a rotary cutter if its less than that. I measure the size I want, mark it with a sharpie and cut to size.

Then I take the waterproof fabric (I get mine on Ebay) and lay it out on my table. Place the foam pad on top of it and cut a piece of fabric the size of the pad plus the depth. With a 4 inch thick pad you would want the width plus 4 inches. You need two of these pieces of fabric. I put a zipper in the shortest end and then sew the two pieces together. You can always make a slipcover like a pillowcase sham if you like, but I prefer zippers. If you cannot find waterproof fabric you can also use shower curtains. Those are a little  heavier and more noisy but they work great.


The covers that go over this fabric are either flannel or fleece. I use fleece blankets as well sometimes to make covers out of. You can make them the same way as the waterproof cover using a zipper or you can cut one piece of fabric about 6-8 inches longer, and make a "pocket" to keep the pillow inside. You do that by folding the end down and then sewing the sides, hemming the edge if needed.


We change the top covers between each dog and if an "accident" occurs the waterpoof pad makes it easy to clean up. They can be sprayed and wiped off with regular spray cleaners or they can washed and hung to dry. The foam RARELY needs washing. It does not wash well in the washing machine if its more than about an inch thick, but if a leak happens and the pad gets wet you can always put it in the tub, work some soapy water into it and wring it out really well, lay on top of cage to dry. 

I am a stickler and want the covers to all match so I have two complete  sets of covers that fit my cage banks and play pens out in the front room. I have two or three "extras" in case of accidents. I do holiday themed ones as well just to be fancy. 

The older dogs get the thicker, cushier beds. They seem to enjoy the pads and usually sleep most of the time they are here. 

I have several beds like these at my house as well. My dogs love them! 



Clean, Disinfect and Sterilize


Like many of you I am a member of several online forums. I have noticed that there is a huge amount of confusion about these three words:Clean, Disinfect and Sterilize.

Many people use them interchangably and yet they are not by any stretch interchangable. They each have a place in our industry and each has a definate definition attached to it.

Let's face it. We all want a clean, sanitary environment for our pets we care for and yet we all go about this differently. Understanding the differences in these words will make it easier for you to decide what to use in your shop to acheive what level of disinfection you are comfortable with.

Let's start with CLEAN. From the dictionary: To be free of dirt, marks or harmful materials.

Usually when an item is cleaned, soap or detergent is used in conjunction with water and/or a brush or cloth to remove unwanted materials from its surface. For example: Snap on combs, brushed, combs, blades, shears and nail trimmers can be cleaned with soapy water and rinse off. That will remove dirt, dander, blood, sebum, shampoo and conditioner residue, styling aids, etc. from their surfaces. This is a process that needs to be done routinely.

It is also NECCESARY to clean items before disinfecting them! 


Disinfecting by definition: the killing of most microbial life that can lead to infection in humans—such as Influenza, Staphylococcus, HIV/AIDS, Herpes, Salmonella and Hepatitis. This can be acheived by using a chemical disinfectant or a tool like a UV sanitizer. 

It is almost impossible to disinfect or sanitize a dirty item. You can kill the germs involved but you will still have dirt, grime and the like if you do not clean the items first.

I see all the time where people say they use Barbicide to clean. Well, no, you didn't. It is NOT a cleaner! It is, according to it's own website FAQ section a disinfectant to be used AFTER cleaning. From the lable:

INSTRUMENTS AND TOOLS: Thoroughly clean brushes,
combs, clipper blades, shears, razors, and other
inanimate hard surfaced non-porous tools and implements
prior to complete immersion for 10 minutes (or as required
by local authorities) in a solution as prepared above.

 If you fail to clean the items first you are not effectively disinfecting your tools. 

Now, I am not a fan of Barbicide. I know it can damage our equipment, especially non stainless metals. I use a cleansing alcohol and peroxide to disinfect my equipment. I wash everything off in soapy water, quite often in my tub after a day of grooming using my left over shampoo. Rinse, Dry. Then spray with alcohol. In between dogs, I remove hair and spritz with my alcohol.

NOW we have the word STERILIZE. In most cases this term DOES NOT apply to grooming tools. When an item is sterlized, generally cold or heat autoclave units are used. They are used to kill 100% of all organic micro organisms. This is needed in surgical situations but it is not needed nor is it practical in grooming tools. Once an item is removed from a sterile packet or uv sterlizer, it is no longer sterile. 

Since we are not using our tools inside an animal there is no reason to sterilize our equipment. 

Another issue I see all the time is people not using their disinfectants correctly. You cannot simply spray a surface down and wipe it off. You MUST allow it to stay in contact (wet) with the cleaned surface for the amount of time specified on the lable of the product. Barbicide states a ten mi nute contact is needed. Bleach usually kills many things on contact but for stubborn bacteria and viruses it takes ten minutes. Parvasol? Ten minutes. Chlorhexidine? 15 minutes. Nolvasan? Again 15 minutes. 

I have even seen vets spray down a table, wipe it down and then get upset when I put my own towel down but I do it anyway. I just dont trust their cleaning!

Now, Peroxide based disinfectants are faster. 30 seconds to one minute! Alcohol requires ten minutes. 

If you simply spray and then dry with a cloth you are accomplishing nothing. You must allow the surface to stay wet for the required time or you are not actually disinfecting.

If you do not clean the items first you are wasting your time.

Make sure you are actually disinfecting items correctly! Otherwise you are not only wasting time and money but you could be spreading illnesses and that is not what we want to do!


Who knew???

Something strange happened to me today at work and I wanted to share it with you because it’s something that might affect all of you at some point in time.



One of my groomers was wearing a pair of sneakers that were brand-new, and I noticed that they were collecting hair on the bottom so bad that it was tracking through the entire shop when he would walk from one room to the other. Apparently he had worn them a couple of times this week and I just hadn’t noticed. In fact now a comment that the AG Department inspector made when he came to inspect makes a lot of sense to me; “There is hair everywhere in the shop!”

It turns out they had felt built into the bottom of them. Yes, they had a rubber soul like you would expect but there was felt in the middle of the footpad and even on the heel.


I’m not some experience with issues from before because my daughter has bought some flat shoes at Payless before that had them, so I know how much hair they collect as she used to work the front desk for me. What I didn’t realize until today is how dangerous they can be!

My groomer was sliding everywhere. He would clean off the bottom of the shoes take two steps and have the bottoms covered again. He actually said  “I think I’m going to break my neck in these!” So I decided that a blog entry on what to look for in the soles of the shoe before buying it was a really good idea.

What I learned actually makes me very glad I am doing this article. Not only are they slippery and dangerous to walk in, they are actually banned in several states on fishing boots and water waders. Who would’ve ever thought that that felt on the bottom of the shoes would be a health hazard?


Felt bottom shoes have become popular with fishermen because they help grip better on slippery surfaces when they are wet. The problem is the felt never seems to dry out completely and it can transfer bacteria and fungi from one location to another. That is dangerous to the environment because it transfers illnesses that are isolated in one area to other areas where they are not present.

Since 2008 felt soled boots have been prohibited in New Zealand and various states in the United States are following suit: Maryland, Vermont, Alaska, Maine and Montana to name a few.

This got me thinking, which is a dangerous thing sometimes. In a grooming shop or a vet clinic this can be HIGHLY problematic because you could be tracking and parvo, distemper, or other illness that a dog or cat has and carry it from one part of your shop or clinic to another, possibly infecting other animals.

This is actually one of the hazards I never saw coming and had no idea was going to exist!

So what should you look for in choosing a pair of shoes to work in?

  • Rubber soles that are easily cleaned
  • 100_0881

  • slip resistant soles are always a good idea
  • 100_0882

  • low-profile soles with little decoration
  • 100_0886

  • shallow ripples or small nubs tend to work much better than deeper ones that can grab hair 100_0887

  • surfaces that can be disinfected easily
  • 100_0884


  • really good support

I have actually had sneakers that before that I purchased two groom in that I couldn’t groom in because they were very, very flexible and the grooves in the bottom were very deep. Very deep grooves will trap just as much hair as felt will. If the bottom of the shoe is to smooth it will also slide across the top of the hair rather than grip the floor. So look for something with a little bit of traction on the bottom that’s not very high profile.

If you work at a vet clinic is extremely important that you be able to disinfect your shoes by either stepping in a bleach solution or spraying it with some type of disinfectant before you leave, and often times before you go into another room. One of the clinics I serviced had a parvo  room and every time you went in and every time you went out you bleached your shoes. If nothing else you going to be spraying disinfectant on the bottoms and they need to be sturdy enough to handle it.

Even in a grooming shop it’s not a bad idea to disinfect your shoes before leaving and even when coming into the building. If you are around animal waste as in a boarding Kennel it can be critical to disinfect your shoes. Cheap shoes won’t stand up to disinfecting well so make sure you spend some money and get a good pair.

It’s just good sanitation to make sure your shoes are clean and cleanable! So it’s not just about safety it’s about health as well. Shoes with felt on the bottom cannot be sanitized and therefore have no place in the grooming shop or vet clinic in my opinion.

So next time you’re shopping for shoes don’t just look at the bottom price look at the bottom of the shoe! It may very well save you from injury and the lives of the dogs (or fish) you come into contact with may well be at risk if you don’t.

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WHO KNEW????? 

Wow! Sao Paulo groomer frees poodle

This article showed up on a friend of mine's Facebook feed and I am posting it here to share it with you.

It is one of the worst matted dogs I have ever seen in my career.


The story as told in the newspaper is as follows (I did work on the translation a bit)

At the end of last week, around 1 am, the staff of Pet Center Marginal Marginal Tietê, which runs 24 hours, jumped. The poodle came up there for the aesthetic center (grooming center) of the site led by a trio of young people who had left a concert and rescued the pup on the street. The surprise, of course, was the deplorable state of the animal.

Her long-haired and filthy that had not seen scissors for at least four years. Some wires were wrapped into the dreadlocks. Customers waiting in line at the bathing and grooming once gave way to the poor pooch. For two hours, the employee Araceli Sousa unfolded it to get rid of more than 3 pounds of badly tangled hair that was hard like a cast. Fleas nor water could penetrate the coat it was so hard and thick.

During the procedure, done with scissors and electric shaving, the poodle was angry, because it was necessary tugging your skin to remove the hair. Furthermore, his ear, for example, was hematomad. The result was worth it and it came out pretty clean (and much lighter) as shown in the last picture. In the end, kissed, licked the groomer and returned to his new home with one of the boys who saved him from the streets.


I wanted to share this with everyone, because we do not see th ings like this often, thank goodness, but some people DO see them, and knowing how to remove t his type of hair is a tremendous skill. 

That groomer needs an award!


Have a little faith in me

I know that many of you are ardent ear pluckers and have the thinking (albeit flawed) that if you do not pluck that a dog will have ear infections. I am of the other school of thought but generally we trim the ear hair back to allow airflow.

WELL, on Bo we obviously didn't do that. Here is a picture of his ears with the hair that has never been plucked in his life. 


It is the same length as the hair on the outer part of his ears. 


Please note that it is not discolored, not stained in any way. the ear is clean, not inflamed, red or smelly. This dog has never had the first ear infection that I know of in two and half years. 

So this is to prove my point that NOT plucking does not always lead to ear infections. Plucking alone does not lead to healthier ears. 

i am a firm believer of  the "If it ain't broke don't fix it" way of thinking.

I think that cleanliness of the dog, diet, and genetics play a huge role in whether or not a dog will have ear problems. 

I know that some dogs need plucking but this is proof that not all do. When a client says to me "The vet said to have you do it" I tell them why I don't do it, and tell them that if the vet thinks it is medically neccesary to do it let him do it. I ALSO hear "The vet said it doesn't hurt them" and I explain that it CAN and quite often DOES hurt the dog and that I do not want to be the bad guy causing their puppy pain unnecessarily. I then go on to explain that the hair is actually a sheild against dirt and water and will help the ear stay healtheir if they just leave it alone. 

I have not e er lost a client that I know of because I refused to pluck the ear hair. I did have one person years ago get angry with me because I told her I couldn't pluck her dog's ears but it was a lab with no hair in the ears. There was no reasoning with that person. I have had clients get pset when I refused to clean or pluck inflamed, obviously infected ears, but I don't deal well with clients who put other things before the health of their dogs.

SO whenever you wonder if the ear plucking has to be done or else, look at  Bo. Obviously it doesn't.