Survey Says

Every couple of years I ask my clients to fill out a survey.

I hand them the survey and a pen and ask them to fill it out while they wait. My clients love the survey because it tells them I value their opinion. There is only 5 questions on my survey.

The first one asks what is the best thing about my services. This sets the tone for the survey because they are starting out positive. Its an important question because not only do I want to continue doing what they love, but it may also be a marketing tool.

The second question is what do they love least about my services. This will help you grow as a business. If you are getting the same response, its time to make a change. It may be something very minor and only pertains to them. Usually a very quick fix and Viola! A Very Happy Client.

The third asks what other services would they like to see me provide, while the fourth asks about products.

The last question isn't so much a question, but a space for their thoughts. Is there anything else you would like me to know? This is a good ending to a survey as I have found that most clients are grateful that someone is taking the time to listen to them.

My survey's have allowed me to fine tune my business and grow in the direction I want it to go in. 

 

 


Winter Safety Tips 2015

 

It's that time of year again. 

Car Safety

Watch for antifreeze leaks. Its sweet taste attracts dogs and cats, very poisonous, and the bright green color is a DEAD giveaway. It cleans up easily with soap and water.

Outdoor cats looking for warmth frequently sleep on car engines. Banging loudly on the hood before starting your engine should rouse them.

Leaving your pet in your car while you shop at the mall is like leaving them in a refrigerator. The car retains the cold and your pet could suffer from hypothermia. A great way to gauge the interior temperature of your vehicle is with a thermometer window cling. It tells you what the interior temperature of your vehicle is.  On the flip side, you do not want to leave them in the car with the engine idling. A couple of years back,  a Long Island, NY man went into a Cool Beans for a cup of coffee and left his car running. His dog knocked the gearshift into drive and proceeded to go for a ride. He ended up IN the business next door. Fortunately, there were no injuries.

The Great Outdoors

Animals that spend a lot of time outside need more food. In particular, a higher protein diet is required.

The very young and the very old have little tolerance for the cold weather. Provide them with outerwear for both body and feet.

According to the ASPCA, more dogs are lost during snowstorms than at any other time. They can lose their scent, become disoriented and lost. Remember, a well-identified dog has a greater chance of returning home.

Use pet safe ice melt. When that is not possible, or you are unsure of what is being used; wash their feet BEFORE they get a chance to lick them.

Indoors

Insects will be coming into our homes for the winter. Watch for spider and insect bites and familiarize yourself with the signs of anaphylactic shock. Insect traps are baited with something tasty, so keep them out of your pet's reach.

The Holiday Season is in full swing.

Decorations

The most common holiday plant is the poinsettia. It is toxic. Keep it out of reach of your pets. Both Pet Poison Helpline (www.petpoisonhelpline.com) and the ASPCA (www.aspca.org) has a database of toxic plants and phone apps.

Chewing on electrical cords can cause cardiac arrest. Tripping on electrical cords can cause broken body parts and sudden blunt force trauma. (OK, maybe more of an issue for me.) Dogs chasing after something have been known to be dragging a Christmas tree behind them after a cord was snagged on a paw.

Glass ornaments pose a problem for those pets that confuse them with tennis balls.

Garland and tinsel is a particular problem for cats. Remember; never pull it out of your cat, as there may be an ornament hook at the other end.

Pine water is poisonous to pets. Fertilizers and pesticides will leach out into the water bowl.

Holiday Food and Drinks

Alcoholic beverages can cause intoxication, coma and death.

Coffee, tea and other caffeine products contain theobromine. It is toxic and affects the cardio and nervous systems.

Ham, fat trimmings and turkey skin can cause pancreatitis.

Cooked bones can cause intestinal obstruction and lacerations of the digestive system.

 

Stuffings may contain sage, onions, mushrooms and raisins.

Too many sweets can cause obesity and diabetes. Artificial sugars cause a fatal drop in blood sugar, especially xylitol.

Holiday snack trays may contain macadamia nuts and grapes.

Chocolate contains theobromine.

A list of the most common people foods that cause problems for pets is found at both Pet Poison Helpline and the ASPCA’s website.

TIP: Broccoli can cause digestive upset and VERY gassy pets. You may want to keep that to a minimum unless you want your guests running for cover. Of course, if your guests have overstayed their welcome, then broccoli is the way to go.

You also want to provide your pets with a quiet place during the holiday parties. Even small gatherings can be stressful for them.

Cold Injuries

Cold injuries are caused by extreme or prolonged exposure to low temperatures. The most common areas affected are the tail, ears, paws and scrotum. A snout to tail assessment is always a good idea after coming in from the outdoors. Check for ice and salt in the pads and for any signs of frostbite or hypothermia.

The skin can become swollen, red and very painful. In later stages, it can become hard and pale. Additional signs of frostbite and hypothermia include shivering, slow or shallow breathing, lethargy, decreased heart rate and gums either pale or bluish in color.

If you suspect frostbite or hypothermia, you should first make sure the pet is out of the cold. DO NOT RUB THE AFFECTED AREA. The frozen ice crystals in the skin can lacerate the skin cells. Contact your vet for rewarming instructions. This is very important so that you can prevent further pain, stave off infection and minimize the possible tissue damage.

I hope everyone has a wonderful and safe holiday season.

©Mary Oquendo www.maryoquendo.com


Gordy's Decision

 

As many of you know, I am a Reiki Master and incorporate it into my grooming practice. I wanted to share a story involving one of my grooming/reiki clients.

 

One of my personal core philosophies involves animals and their sentience.

The legal definition of sentience, according to the Oxford dictionary, is the ability to perceive or feel things. Sentient beings are aware of their surroundings and can feel love, as well as pain.

Let’s take that one step further.

Without a doubt, I feel dogs have souls and a mutually agreed upon path in this world. They can act as our guides while on the earth plane, as well as from the spiritual realm.

As an energetic practitioner of Hands And Paws-Reiki For All, I respect and honor their decisions regarding any energetic healing on their behalf as I don’t wish to interfere on their journey.

Gordy was an elkhound mix that I professionally groomed on a regular basis. He was never too crazy about the whole process, but surely strutted around afterwards.

As he aged, he began to struggle with the effort on his quest to be beautiful. Gordy ceased to be a grooming and became one of my reiki clients instead. He readily accepted energy work.

That is, until the last time I saw him.

Every time I tried place my hands on him, he walked away, even though it was painful for him to do so. After a couple of unsuccessful tries, I tuned into him to see where the problem lay. Gordy was in a good place. He felt he was no longer in need of healing. Gordy’s concern was of his guardian.

Gordy’s caretaker was in conflict. She had recently lost her husband of over 60 years and couldn’t bear to lose Gordy as well.

I could see it was Gordy’s decision to refuse healing and instead treat his beloved companion. The following day she made the decision and Gordy was sent up.

I always allow the animal I am treating to make decisions regarding their healing. Sometimes it is the length of time and other times it’s the method.

But they are always in control of the session.

 

 


Pet Safety Tips For Halloween

 

I love Halloween.

Let me say that one more time.

I love Halloween.

It is my favorite holiday. Not only do I get to have guilt free bags of candy for all those cute little kids in costume coming to my house, I can also where the velvet dress I made for Renaissance Faire, that I was dying of heatstroke during the summer. AND I can dress up my pets in costume. However, my pets don’t share my enthusiasm. Almost everything about Halloween is problematic for them.

Ringing Doorbells and Scary Kids

For hours on end the ringing doorbell sends Speedy G and Cecil into a frenzy. There is also the possibility of them bolting through the now opened door and being frightened by several kids yelling, “trick or treat.” There is now the risk that Speedy and Cecil will bite those children.

Solution- Provide a safe haven for Speedy G and Cecil. I pile blankets on my bed for my two doxie mixes to hide under and play soothing music to calm their frayed nerves. While my other dog's reactions are not as extreme, the heightened emotions will stress them out as well. They stay in the bedroom as well. And no one is let outside for a potty break until the trick or treaters are done for the night.

 Halloween Candy

 

The three biggies are pets are chocolate, xylitol, and candy wrappers.

Chocolate contains theobromine. Dark chocolate contains higher concentrations of this toxic for pets substance than milk chocolate. Theobromine cannot be metabolized by pets and is stored in the pets liver until the liver reaches capacity. It has the potential to be deadly. A larger pet can ingest (store in liver) more theobromine than a smaller pet.

 Xylitol is an artificial sugar used in many candies. Xylitol causes a deadly drop in the pet’s blood sugar. Even small amounts will kill a pet. Other artificial sugars may pose a problem as well.

 Most pets will not bother to remove candy wrappers. Wrappers are not digestible and may cause intestinal blockages and tears requiring expensive surgery to correct.

 Solution- Keep candy out of reach of your pets. Or in my case, just eat it all. Can’t be too cautious. Keep the number to Pet Poison Helpline handy. 1-855-764-7661.

Pet Costumes

To make up for their obnoxious behavior, Speedy G and Cecil enjoy getting dressed up. I think this year they will both be land sharks. However, improperly or poorly designed pet costumes may result in injury.

 Solution- Fit your pet with a costume that does not restrict movement or visibility, nor has any hanging parts that may become snagged on an object.

 Candles In Pumpkins

 The danger lies in your pet knocking over the pumpkin with a lit candle causing a fire.

 Solution- Do not light candles or blow them out when your pet has access to the pumpkins. Or use battery operated candles.

While Halloween may never be a pet favorite, by ensuring their safety, it  will remain your favorite holiday.

 

Mary Oquendo is leader in pet well- being educational programs and teaches pet first aid and other safety workshops for professional pet industry, as well as pet owners. If you have a topic you would like to see addressed in this blog, contact mary@MaryOquendo.com.


Hershey Internet Mingle Update

 

With only a couple of weeks to go, the Internet Mingle is shaping up. It will be held at the Hershey Hotel (there will be signs up) from 7-9pm. There will be food and a cash bar. The vendors have really been stepping up to the plate for the raffle and sponsoring.

Sponsors will have their names or logos on the T-shirts that will be for sale at the Mingle and throughout the weekend until they are sold out.

We have secured donations from Barkleigh, Groomers Mall, Show Seasons, Continental Pet Company, Quadraped, Les Pooch, PetGroomer, Bardel Bows, Groom Pod, Warren London, Espree, Zen Dog, Mardi Paws. 

Groomers have also made donations.

By tomorrow, the list will grow.

Want to attend and support the GEAF, but cannot make it to Hershey. 

We have good news.

You can still purchase raffle tickets. If you win and are attending Groom Expo, you can pick up your prize during the show. 

Can't make it all. We will ship the prize to you if you pay for shipping.

You can still watch the Internet Mingle live!!!

We will be broadcasting live with Persicope.

Periscope is a free app that is downloaded to your smart phone. You must have a twitter account to sign in. Follow @Mary Oquendo and you will receive a notification when it starts.

 

 

 

 

 


Groomers Emergency Assistance Fund Updates

Two things to share!

1. For awhile I have wanted to get a newsletter going for the GEAF. It has finally reached the top of my to do list. The planning of it anyway. It will be quarterly (or so) and the first one will not be sent out until around October. I have 3 trade shows I'm speaking at beforehand and cannot fully devote the set up time until after Groom Expo. In keeping down costs, we have set a free MailChimp account which allows 2,000 emails a month. If we surpass that amount, then the newsletter will be staggered.

The newsletter will contain:

  • Information on the board members
  • Upcoming fundraisers
  • How to apply
  • How to help
  • Accounting information
  • Maybe a Quick Tip 

To sign up for the newsletter: click here.

 

And

 

2. Fundraiser at Groom Expo. On Thursday Sept 17th from 7-9pm, GEAF is hosting the Internet Mingle. There will be food, raffles, and auctions to benefit the GEAF. For more information, join the Facebook event.


Hypothermia In August

Pfft you say. Hypothermia in August! You must mean hyperthermia or heatstroke.

 

No, I mean hypothermia and I knew of a groomer who sent two cats to the veterinarian because of hypothermia in August.

 

How is that even possible?

 

The two cats in question were bathed, barely toweled off, and placed in a crate with a cool air dryer for several hours. Their exposure to prolonged cool air along with a wet body lowered their normal body temperature by at least four degrees. The cool air dryers, in essence, turned the crate into an igloo.

Igloo

 

Hypothermia is a condition in which a body experiences a dangerous drop in body temperature.  At this lower temperature, important body functions begin to shut down. Without timely intervention, it can be fatal.

 

The cats did not get to the veterinarian in a timely manner because they were not monitored and the early signs of hypothermia went unnoticed.

 

Signs Of Hypothermia

 

  1. Shivering
  2. Pale or bluish gums
  3. Cool to the touch
  4. Listlessness

 

Immediate Actions To Take

 

  1. Call vet for instructions
  2. Wrap in warm towels

 

Pets Most At Risk

 

  1. Puppies and Kittens
  2. Elderly
  3. Little body fat
  4. Immune compromised
  5. Pregnant and nursing

 

 

Like their cousins, the warm/hot air dryers, pets need to be monitored consistently when they are being dried. Hypothermia, as well as, hyperthermia are preventable accidents.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Heatstroke Awareness Day 2015

Last year I wrote a blog on the unexpected death of a beloved pet in a grooming shop due to heat stroke. A group of industry leaders, including myself declared June 13, 2014 as Heatstroke Awareness Day. To continue this consciousness, welcome to Heatstroke Awareness Day 2015. As the warmer weather is upon us, it is important to remember the how easy it is for a pet to suffer from heatstroke. None of us wants to injure or kill a pet in our care, so it is important to realize how this happened in the first place and make changes.

 

Let's make 2015 the year we don't hear stories like this one.

” I left my baby in what I thought to be the capable hands of a well-respected groomer. A few hours later I got a phone call…I was expecting a call around that time to come and pick him up. Instead I had to decipher the words of a sobbing groomer as she explained that she had found Bugzy dead in the drying kennel. I was in shock. It didn’t seem real. “ recounts the tearful mom.

 

Why don't  groomers notice when pets are in distress? There are several possible reasons that come to mind:

1. The drying cages were out of their field of vision.

2. Not regularly checking on pets while they were drying because they were out of their field of vision. Time is relative. You may not think more than 5 minutes has passed, when in reality, its been at least a half hour. 

3. Can't see the pet was in distress because the pet was out of their field of vision.

Do we see the connection here? There was no one monitoring the pets while they were exposed to heat with little to no air circulation.

How do you make a change?

1. Rearrange the grooming room so that the drying cages are in your field of vision.

2. If that is not feasible, then station someone in the drying area to monitor.

3. Set an alarm for 10 minutes, and visually check on each pet.

4. Mobile groomers are not immune to this this just because they do not cage dry. They are metal cans that heat up very quickly in warmer weather. The best safety tool I have is my Too Hot For Spot window temperature cling. It tells me how hot the interior is BEFORE I begin grooming. I know whether or not my A/C cab cool down the inside enough to work.

Notice that I did not suggest just using dryers with no heating elements. Drying a wet pet with cool air can result in hypothermia. You still need to monitor that pet.

 

What is heatstroke?

 

Heatstroke begins when the pets’ body temperature surpasses 104 degrees. The factors that set the stage for heatstroke is when the temperature in their environment (cage dryer) becomes higher than their body temperature with little or no air circulation (cage), high humidity (heavy panting) and close quarters (cage). The risk is much higher if groomers cover cages with towels to speed up drying. This is the exact same scenario when people leave their pets in a hot car to go shopping.

Signs of heatstroke include lethargy, heavy breathing and panting, bright red gums and tongue, vomiting and diarrhea. Heatstroke can cause shock, respiratory distress, kidney failure, and heart abnormalities among other complications. Damage can become irreversible once their body temperature reaches 106 degrees. Death follows. It is imperative that the pet receives medical attention before their temperature reaches 106 degrees. The only way to prevent this is with constant monitoring of the drying area. Minutes can make the difference between the life, quality of life, and death.

Very young, very old, immune compromised, brachycephalic (dogs with pushed in faces), pregnant, and nursing dogs, as well as all cats are more susceptible to heatstroke.

What can be done if heatstroke occurs?

1. Remove the pet from the hot environment!

2. Lower the body temperature by wetting with cool water.

3. Do not use cold water or ice water. It is counterproductive. It will shock the system and cause a thermal barrier. The pet will be unable to cool itself.

4. Contact a veterinarian for instructions.

5. Transport to veterinarian as soon as possible.

This is a preventable accident. Drying cages are one of our tools. Use it responsibly. If you do not have someone to monitor the pets while drying, then table dry them. There is an empty home right now that needn’t be.

 Let Heat Awareness Day 2015 be cause for celebration rather than a cautionary tale.

 


RIP Bugzy 2011-2014

It is with great sadness that I announce the unexpected death of Bugzy. He leaves behind his mom and dad, 3 two-legged siblings aged 9, 5, and 4, as well as two four-legged brothers.” I left my baby in what I thought to be the capable hands of a well-respected groomer. A few hours later I got a phone call…I was expecting a call around that time to come and pick him up. Instead I had to decipher the words of a sobbing groomer as she explained that she had found Bugzy dead in the drying kennel. I was in shock. It didn’t seem real. “ recounts the tearful mom.

Bugzy playing dress up

Every single year we hear the same story. EVERY. SINGLE. YEAR.

Why didn’t the groomer notice that Bugzy was in distress? There are several possible reasons that come to mind:

1. The drying cages were out of her field of vision.

2. She did not regularly check on pets while they were drying because they were out of her field of vision.

3. She couldn’t see that Bugzy was in distress because he was out of her field of vision.

Do we see the connection here? There was no one monitoring the pets while they were exposed to heat with little to no air circulation.

Bugzy meeting his best friend Kapono.

Heatstroke begins when the pets’ body temperature surpasses 104 degrees. The factors that set the stage for heatstroke is when the temperature in their environment (cage dryer) becomes higher than their body temperature with little or no air circulation (cage), high humidity (heavy panting) and close quarters (cage). The risk is much higher if groomers cover cages with towels to speed up drying. This is the exact same scenario when people leave their pets in a hot car to go shopping.

Signs of heatstroke include lethargy, heavy breathing and panting, bright red gums and tongue, vomiting and diarrhea. Heatstroke can cause shock, respiratory distress, kidney failure, and heart abnormalities among other complications. Damage can become irreversible once their body temperature reaches 106 degrees. Death follows. It is imperative that the pet receives medical attention before their temperature reaches 106 degrees. The only way to prevent this is with constant monitoring of the drying area. Minutes can make the difference between the life, quality of life, and death.

Very young, very old, immune compromised, brachycephalic (dogs with pushed in faces), pregnant, and nursing dogs, as well as all cats are more susceptible to heatstroke.

What can be done if heatstroke occurs?

1. Remove the pet from the hot environment!

2. Lower the body temperature by wetting with cool water.

3. Do not use cold water or ice water. It is counterproductive. It will shock the system and cause a thermal barrier. The pet will be unable to cool itself.

4. Contact a veterinarian for instructions.

5. Transport to veterinarian as soon as possible.

This is a preventable accident. Drying cages are one of our tools. Use it responsibly. If you do not have someone to monitor the pets while drying, then table dry them. There is an empty home right now that needn’t be.

Bugzy 24 May, 2014

For Pet Owners:

1. Ask questions. If the groomer is too busy to answer them, find another.

2. Ask to see the drying area. Notice if it is in their normal field of vision. If not, ask if someone is stationed there.

3. Find a groomer that table dries. (Note- not all dogs are candidates for table drying. The loud noise of the high velocity dryers is too much for some pets.)

Bugzy in his cast

    2011-2014