Salon Sanitation Online Workshop

 Want To Take The Drudgery Out Of Cleaning Your Salon? 

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You love your pet grooming business, but hate cleaning up at the end of the day?

Want to change that!

If you've ever:

🎉 Wondered why other grooming facilities always look clean and sparkly.

🎉 Spent hours cleaning and it still smells funky.

🎉 Just closed the door at night and hoped for the cleaning fairy to come before morning.

THEN YOU ARE GOING TO LOVE THIS WORKSHOP!

Improper cleaning protocols may put your clients, staff, and yourself at risk for cross contamination.

Did you know you could cut your time cleaning by:

️ Instituting routines and checklists.

️ Knowing which products (including natural options) are more effective than others.

️ How to spot a possibly contagious pet and send them home!

 

 Finally An Easy To Understand Salon Sanitation Workshop 

In this Amazing Workshop, taught by a pet groomer, you will learn:

🌹 4 ways to reduce cross contamination in your facility.

🌹 What are the health concerns you need to be aware of as a groomer.

🌹 How to compare and decide which products to use.

🌹 What are effective natural options.

🌹 How to choose the method and schedule that works best for you.

and more!

PLUS, I'LL TELL YOU MY PERSONAL REGIMEN

 Hi, I'm Mary Oquendo! I have been in the pet industry since 1999. I’m a firm believer in continuing education and evolving my business to meet the ever-changing demands. Ever since I took a field trip to other salons as a student, I realized the importance of a clean shop. 

 Ready To Step Up Your Game? 

This workshop is limited to 20 participants.

Date: Wednesday, May 24th

Time: 8 PM EST

Just $47 Right Now!

http://bit.ly/SalonSanitation

Plus, there's bonuses!

💙 Ability to review the recording for future use.

💙 Worksheets and Handouts so that you can continue to evolve your own shop plan.

You'll also get access to our free Private Community to discuss sanitation with other students long after the live workshop is over.

http://bit.ly/SalonSanitation


Heatstroke In The Grooming Facility

Once the warmer weather starts, we hear the same story. In some years, it’s seems like we are bombarded with it over and over again during the course of the summer. It starts out like this: A pet that was in the care of a professional groomer has died of heatstroke. In fact, I have yet to go a single year in my professional career without learning another pet has died due to heatstroke at a grooming facility.

 

Why didn’t these groomers notice that a pet in their care was in distress?

Especially after it was reported in the news yet again. There are several possible reasons that come to mind:

  1. The drying cages were out of the groomer’s field of vision. Out of sight, out of mind. Nobody thinks that a pet is going to die in his or her care. Many cage dryers are located in the back of the shop or even in a separate room.
  2. The groomer did not regularly check on pets while they were drying because they were out of his or her field of vision. Groomers are busy; we are working on a pet on the table, washing a dog, talking to a client, and so forth. Time can get away from us. What seems like five minutes can really be a half hour. And a pet that is just beginning to exhibit signs of heatstroke, a half-hour is too late.
  3. The groomer couldn’t see that the pet was in distress because this pet was out of his or her field of vision. If we don’t notice those immediate signs of heatstroke, it may be too late to reverse them.

Do we see the connection here?

There was no one consistently monitoring the pets while they were exposed to heat with little to no air circulation, as well as no or limited access to drinking water.

They were out of our field of vision.

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. But that’s another article.

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. Let me repeat that: Death follows.

It is imperative that this pet receives medical attention before their body temperature temperature reaches 106 degrees. The only way to prevent heatstroke is with constant monitoring of the drying area. Minutes can make the difference between life, quality of life, and death.

Any pet is susceptible to heatstroke, but puppies and kittens, elderly pets, immune compromised, brachycephalic (dogs with pushed in faces), pregnant, and nursing dogs, as well as all cats are more susceptible to heatstroke.

What can a groomer do if heatstroke occurs?

  1. Remove the pet from the hot environment! Not just turn off the dryers. The ambient air inside the cage is still hot.
  2. Lower the body temperature by wetting with cool water. Put the pet in the tub and turn on lukewarm water. Don’t spray the pet as it may scare them. You can also wet towels and drape them over the pets’ body.
  3. Do not use cold water or ice water. It is counterproductive. It will shock the system and cause a thermal barrier. Cold water closes skin cells. This pet will be unable to cool itself.
  4. Contact a veterinarian for instructions.
  5. Transport to veterinarian as soon as safely possible after following any directions that were given by the veterinarian.

Prevention

  1. Station an employee in the drying room. This employee can answer phones, return calls, or do some paperwork instead of just sitting there, but the pets will be his or her line of vision.
  2. Set an alarm for every five minutes and have someone check on each pet in the drying room.
  3. Redesign your grooming shop so that all pets are visible at all times while drying.
  4. Table dry all pets. This is not always feasible as some pets are fearful of high velocity dryers to the point of a seizure.

This is a preventable accident. Drying cages are one of our tools. We need to use them responsibly. If a pet dies while in our care, it damages more than your reputation. There is a family who now has to deal with the preventable loss of a beloved family member.


Do You Have A Business Plan?

Hey, hold on a second. Are you thinking of passing by this blog because you don’t think you need a business plan as you:

  • Are not getting a bank loan for startup.
  • Have been in business for a while.
  • Think they are too hard to do.

I mean if God wanted you to know how to write a business plan, someone would write an easy to understand article on it.

A written business plan is more than a means to raise funds for your venture. It is your business’s blueprint. Everything you need to know right at your fingertips. A business plan is an invaluable tool to propel your business ever onwards and upward.

Planning is bringing the future into the present, so you can do something about it now.”- Alan Lakein

My business plan has seven parts to it.

  1. Business Description. What does your business do? How do you deliver it? What makes you qualified? What is your why? This is more than the name of your business and your core service or product. Let the soul of your business shine through.

    My Example:
    Spirited Dog Productions is dedicated to pets. Yours in particular. We educate pet owners and their professionals through Pawsitive Educational Training. We care for your pet’s physical and emotional needs with holistic grooming via Pawsitively Pretty Mobile Grooming. We care for their health and wellbeing by offering Hands And Paws Reiki For All.

It all started with Pawsitively Pretty Mobile Grooming in 2002. Mobile grooming allowed me to have that one on one time with each pet. Pawsitively Pretty offers a holistic and relaxing atmosphere for all pets, while specializing in elderly dogs and cats.

When I couldn’t find information I felt was necessary to grow my business, I took things in my own hands and added Pawsitive Educational Training to my lineup. We offer business and safety programs for the pet professional.

As a nationally recognized innovator and educator within the professional pet industry, I wanted to offer educational opportunities for pet owners to Pawsitive Educational Training as well. I value continuing education and spend hundreds of hours every year learning better ways to serve your pets.

In 2012, I opened Hands And Paws-Reiki For All. As a holistic pet groomer, Advanced Crystal Master, and Reiki Master, I wanted to offer wellness opportunities for your pets that my pets already benefited from.

  1. Products and Services. Detailed descriptions of all your services and products, including what makes them unique. This section should include how you decided on pricing, as well as time spent delivering the product or service? After all, time is money. Does your pricing reflect your operating costs?
  1. Sales and Marketing Strategies. How are you acquiring your clients? This section should detail all forms of marketing, including your website and social media. The most important part is the metrics of past strategies. What worked and what did not. Meaning which strategies netted you clients.
  1. Day-To-Day Operations. What does it take to run your business? Overhead, start up costs, employees, outside support professionals, salary (yours), and end game. Unless you plan on working until the day you die, you must plan for the end of your business. That’s retirement and/or sale of your business. Your business will command a higher price if you can demonstrate its value through documentation, such as yearly updated business plans and tax returns. Your outside business support personnel may include accountants, marketers, lawyers, service repair, insurance agents, coaches, suppliers, and so forth.
  1. Development. While every other section is based on facts, here is where you can dream. What are planning to offer in the future? This holds space for you make those plans.

My future plans for Spirited Dog Productions will focus on introducing a consistent line of recorded and live online workshops geared towards the pet professionals, as well as pet owners.

  1. Financial summary. If you have not started your business, then income is projections based on similar businesses. No detail is too small. Account for every penny. The health of your business depends on your familiarity with your financial summary. Accounting software makes this easier than you think. Income should be separated divided by every thing you sell or offered service. When you track each income stream individually, you can see what is making money and what is not. Are you allocating resources that are not adding to your bottom line? You’ll know that if you track your expenses.
  1. Business Summary. Sums up your business in easy to read bullet points. Most financial institutions, investors, or prospective buyers will read this first before making the decision to read further.


A written (or typed) business plan gives you the tools to make intelligent decisions regarding the future of your business based on real time analysis rather than conjecture and guesswork. It adds measureable value to your business.


The Complete Mobile Groomer Online Workshop

*Hanvey Vans are offering $500 towards the purchase of one of their new vehicles after taking this program. And there are a couple of $147 spots left.

 

💎 Are You Ready To Drive Your Mobile Grooming Business?💎

Mobile grooming is the fastest growing segment in the pet grooming industry! You’ve seen how successful other mobile groomers can be and want to run with the big dogs. You want their knowledge, but don’t know where to start.

Are you stuck in neutral? Want to shift into drive?

Does this sound familiar:

🎉 You’re thinking about dropping a large sum of money on a grooming vehicle and want to hit the ground running.

🎉 Are you making payments on an expensive vehicle and need to get your business up to speed?

🎉 You have an established mobile grooming business, but are looking to grow.

THEN YOU ARE GOING TO LOVE THIS ONLINE WORKSHOP!

Mobile grooming is rewarding and can be profitable right from the start.

Did you know you can:

➡️ Bypass the trials and tribulations of early mobile groomers.

➡️ Experience differing perspectives to choose the right methods for your business.

➡️ Get the tools to effectively run your business.

 

💥 Finally An Easy To Understand Complete Mobile Grooming Workshop 💥

 

In this Amazing 4 Module Workshop, taught by two mobile pet groomers, you will learn:

🌹 Module 1- Know Your Vehicle -The goal of this seminar is to familiarize yourself with your vehicle and work areas, so that you can make decisions based on the wellbeing of yourself as well as your clients

🌹 Module 2- Nuts And Bolts- day to day decisions that work best for your business.

🌹 Module 3- Business Of Being A Mobile Groomer- Make informed business decisions that positively impact your bottom line.

🌹 Module 4- develop the skills you need as an employer. Whether you are a business of 1 or more, you will learn how to make informed decisions about your business's future

and more!

💎💎 Hi, We are Mary Oquendo and Beth Cristiano! We have been mobile groomers since 2002 and have a collective experience of over 30 years in the mobile grooming industry. We are firm believers in continuing education and evolving our businesses to meet the ever-changing demands. Let our experience drive your business to success💎💎

 

💥 Ready To Drive Your Business? 💥

 

This workshop is limited to 20 participants.

Dates and Time:

Module 1: Tuesday, March 21st 8pm EST

Module 2: Wednesday, March 22nd 8pm EST

Module 3: Tuesday, March 28th 8pm EST

Module 4: Wednesday, March 29th 8pm EST

 

Just $197 Right Now!

 

http://bit.ly/Mobile-Groomer

Plus, there's bonuses!

💙 First 10 people to sign up will get a reduced price of $147.

💙 Worksheets and Handouts so that you can continue to evolve your mobile grooming business.

💙 Workshops are recorded for your future use.

You'll also get access to our free Private Community to discuss mobile grooming with other students!

 

http://bit.ly/Mobile-Groomer


Dehydration In Pets

Remember that plant you received on Valentines’s Day. The one you forgot to water until you noticed the brown leaves. Well, if you caught it quickly, the plant could still thrive but those brown leaves would never recover.  If you let that plant go too long without water, it would not recover and die. That’s dehydration. There is no difference between dehydration between plants and animals.

Dehydration is the loss of normal body fluids including water and electrolytes. The body’s cells are now deficient in the necessary water needed to perform vital functions. Dehydration can cause permanent kidney damage, heatstroke, shock as well as damage the circulatory system. It will also cause organs to shut down. Untreated dehydration can lead to death in a matter of hours.

There are three ways dehydration can occur. There is a reduced fluid intake, an increase in fluid losses or a combination of both.

REDUCED FLUID INTAKE 

1. Their water bowls are unclean. Nobody likes to drink dirty water. Or water is not provided for them because the groomer does not want to pet to knock it over and rewet themselves. Personally I would rather re-dry the pet then have to explain to the owner why their pet was taken to the veterinarian. Or worse, why they died in my care. As a mobile groomer, I provide water for the thirsty pet.

2. Stressful events (grooming) and travel (driving to the groomer) can reduce the pet’s desire for water.

3. Dogs and cats require a diet that is 70% moisture. Most dry foods have between 8 and 12% moisture content. If supplemented foods and water do not make up the other 60%, then the pet is living in a state of dehydration. This continual dehydration damages the kidneys. Kidney failure is the number one cause of death in cats and the number two cause for dogs. The basic rule of thumb for water consumption is the takes the pets weight, divide it in half, and convert it to ounces. For example, an 80  pound dog would need 40 ounces of water a day.

INCREASED FLUID LOSSES

1. Overexertion and panting due to heat (hot air dryers) or exercise (dancing on our grooming tables).

2. Medications that cause the pet to urinate frequently such as steroids and antibiotics.

3. Illnesses, diarrhea, vomiting, fevers, large wounds, and burns. To begin with, we should not groom sick or injured pets. In addition, recuperating pets need more fluids than normal.

4. Excessive drooling. This can be a particular breed issue such as Newfies and Mastiffs or an allergic reaction to a grooming product.

5. Kidney disease and diabetic pets are unable to retain fluids effectively and urinate frequently. When discussing the medical history of a pet upon check-in, these are two of the conditions I specifically mention. It’s amazing the number of people who do not equate diabetes with a medical condition.

Young, older, immune-compromised, pregnant and nursing pets are more susceptible to dehydration. Like the tell tale brown leaves of a plant, pets exhibit signs of dehydration. When signs are apparent, it’s important to go to your vet immediately.

SIGNS OF DEHYDRATION

  1. Skin loses elasticity. The “pinch test” is a quick way to check for dehydration. Pull up the skin like a tent and let it fall back down. It should return to its original position immediately. This is not an accurate test for obese pets as their skin is already stretched to capacity.
  2. Lethargic or depressed in appearance. This pet looks like it has no zest for life. It will also be accompanied by sunken and/or dull looking eyes.
  3. The gums are dry and sticky to the touch. Even though the heart may be racing, the capillary refill time is slow. You can check capillary refill time by pressing on a pink area of their gums. Normal refill time is two seconds or in the amount of time it takes to say, “capillary refill.” Exercise caution when putting your fingers into a mouth of a pet. Many do not appreciate your concern.
  4. Tremors in back legs.

While physical findings can point to dehydration, it cannot determine the extent. A complete blood count, packed cell volume and total blood protein tests are needed to determine the extent or percentage, cause and check for kidney damage. A complete biochemistry profile is recommended.

MEASUREMENTS OF DEHYDRATION

  1. Less than 5% is considered mild dehydration. The stretched skin will return to normal quickly. This is not an accurate test on obese pets.
  2. Between 6 and 9%. There is a noticeable delay in skin returning to normal position, eyes can be sunken and the gums dry. This range can cause significant health problems in cats.
  3. Between 10 and 12%. The skin does not return to normal, eyes are very sunken, pulse is weak and the heart rate is accelerated. This will cause significant health problems in dogs and can be fatal in cats.
  4. Between 12 and 15%. This is life threatening for dogs. They will be in shock and most likely unconscious.
  5. 15% is death.

It does not take long for your pet to go from 5% to 15% and any delay in treatment can be fatal.

In mild cases of dehydration you can give the pet fluids by mouth or into the cheek pouch with a syringe. Use Smart Water© or UNFLAVORED Pedialyte© instead of water as either will help to replace lost electrolytes. Do NOT use flavored Pedialyte© or Gatorade© as they contain artificial sugars. Artificial sugars are highly toxic to pets as they cause an unsafe drop in blood pressure. In more serious cases of dehydration, the pet needs immediate veterinarian intervention and treatment. The vet will determine the proper rehydration dosage using IV fluids. This pet will need monitoring at the hospital. The vet will also determine and address the cause leading to dehydration. It bears repeating, untreated dehydration can lead to in a matter of hours.

There are steps to reduce a pet’s risk of dehydration. The first is to educate your clients on dehydration. As a groomer you do not want to begin with the dehydrated pet. While the pet is in your care, provide fresh, clean water and pay attention to the pet for any signs of distress.

Prevention is always better than treatment. Just ask the plant on your counter.

 

 

 


Know Who Your Clients Are

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©DepositPhotos, Hasloo

I’m moving. Not only am I moving a service-based business, it’s going from one coast to the other. However, when you’re looking for an entirely new client base, it doesn’t matter if it’s one or several thousand miles away. The question is simply:

Will the area support my business?

The answer lies in who are your clients.

Do you know who they are?

I mean your personal clients. Clients are people who are interested and need your services. Not the general population at large. Marketing can get very expensive when you are trying to reach everyone. That only works for companies with marketing budgets in the millions of dollars.

My budget isn’t, so my clients:

  1. Have problems I can fix. I am a mobile groomer and Reiki Master specializing in elderly pets and cats. The first problem I fix is dirty and disheveled older pets and cats. The second is improving said pet’s wellness with complementary therapies.
  2. See me as a necessity. All my services are provided either in their driveway in my state of the art mobile grooming van or in their home. These clients do not want to take their elderly pets or cats outside their home for services and are willing to pay a higher rate.
  3. Pays me my worth. They understand I am a premium service. When setting pricing, the cost of living for the area is taken into consideration. How much do I need to make to live comfortably? Read the Small Business Agency (SBA) blog. Or this article from Inc. magazine. Here is where some people get hung up charging their worth. I currently live in Danbury, CT. In Danbury alone, there are over 9,000 licensed dogs. That does not include cats. Add in the surrounding towns, and we are upward of 30,000 pets. I can’t groom that many. I only need about 125 of them. When you market to such a small portion of the population, while offering a premium service, you can charge more than the areas’ average.
  4. Within my travel radius. How far are you willing to travel from your home to work? For me, it’s 15 miles. That tightens up my choices quite a bit. If I was willing to open up that radius, my home becomes less important to my business. Income can range widely within any given 30-mile radius. I could service a higher income area while living in a more affordable one.
  5. Other criteria. What personal decisions factor into your business decisions. My personal decisions regarding locations included: pension friendly state, area attractions, weather, and liberal leaning politics.

How do I know if the area will support my business?

There is some work on your part that needs to get done. It begins with demographic research.

  1. Remember all those pesky census bureau questionnaires we filled out? All that information regarding the population of the United States can be found at Census.gov. Everything from age, sex, income, education, and so forth is right at your fingertips.
  2. The Small Business Administration (SBA) makes demographic information available to us as well.
  3. Trade Associations publish demographics particular to their industry. Didn’t know you had a trade association? Here’s a list of them.
  4. Once you have an area in mind, contact the local Chamber Of Commerce. They will have demographic information specific to their coverage area.
  5. Use the SBA’s SizeUp tool to compare yourself to similar businesses in your chosen area. This app is a little dated, however, it still offers valuable insights to other providers in your area.
  6. Before taking the plunge, visit the area and see for yourself if it’s a good move for you and your business.
  7. Are there businesses that I complement or do I fill a void in similar businesses? For myself, complementary would include human wellness such as massage, yoga, health studios and so forth, as well as veterinary offices that do not offer grooming. Similar businesses would be other grooming shops that do not want to groom elderly pets or cats.

While we don’t always get to choose where we live, there are always choices when it comes to our businesses. Better business decisions come when you have more information to work with. And the added bonus of knowing who your clients are is the ability to plan a marketing strategy that will save you thousands in the long run.


New Google Rules

I'm sure many of us can relate to the playground bully.

You're happily swinging away when someone much larger than you decides they want your swing. You could stand your ground, but we know how that plays out.

Think of Google as the very large kid on the playground. You want to play there? Well then, you follow their rules. They have their own browser (Chrome) and it is the search engine. Google averages 3.5 billion searches every day.

Google has instituted 2 new rules.

The first you can thank the porn industry for. 12% of all internet sites are porn related. To "protect" users from fraudulent sites, Google is requiring all websites have a basic SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) certificate. The purpose of this certificate is to provide an extra layer between your computer and any site. It changes http:// to https://. It provides that little lock you see on some websites. 

Without this certificate, anyone visiting your website will get a warning that this site may be unsafe. That will drastically reduce the number of people going to your site.

This rules is already in effect. If you're not sure you really need to bother with this. Head over to the Chrome browser and put your website in the search bar. That is how you're site will appear to potential clients.

My recommendation is to have your host provider install this certificate. It should run you anywhere from $10-30 a year. DO NOT USE cheaper third party software. 

And don't forget to to have your provider do a 301 redirect as well. The certificate is meaningless with a 301 redirect. If you don't know what it is, then don't attempt on your own.

The second is only important if you have a pop-up on your site. A pop-up encourages people to sign up for your newsletter. If they consider your pop up intrusive, then they will blacklist your site for mobile applications. Pop-up dimensions can appear much larger on mobile devices. If you are uncertain if your pop-up is annoying Google, visit your website from your phone. If it appears quickly or takes up the screen, then its intrusive and you need to fix that. If you don't know how, contact your pop-up provider.

Google is the search engine of choice by billions of users. Don't reduce the likelihood of potential clients even finding your site. These are pretty easy changes to make. If you think this is beyond your capabilities, then let your website hosting company do it for you.

 

 

 

 


Wesley And The Snake

 

Wesley was always one of my favorite golden retriever’s, as he loved to take a bath. Whenever I arrived, I would have to step back after opening the door so I wouldn’t get knocked to the ground when Wesley rushed into the van.

One day after I finished Wesley and gave him his treat, I waited in their kitchen for mom to pay me. Wesley settled down a couple of feet away from their kitchen table. A minute later, Wesley picked up his treat and went into the living room with it.

I was still waiting when the 10 year-old son walks past me, sighs very heavily, and calls out to his dad. “Dad, there’s another snake in the kitchen. “ And then just continues walking away.

I’m standing there frozen in place in the kitchen with the snake. I left my glasses in the van, so I’m blind as well. I don’t dare move because there’s A SNAKE IN THE KITCHEN and I don’t know where it is. All I’m thinking is the kid said another, so this is something that happens on a regular basis and that bum Wesley, took his treat and abandoned me with the snake in the kitchen.

I got up the courage to look at the kitchen table as I suspected that Wesley was no fool and had no plans to share his treat with a snake. And there it was, not 5 feet from me. Just curled up being a snake.

Dad comes running over with a bucket, scoops up the snake, tells me the cats keep bringing them into the house and not to tell his wife.

Three months later they moved about 500 miles away. Which sounds like how I would react to finding a snake in my house. While I would miss the traitorous Wesley, I wouldn’t have to worry about standing next to snakes in their kitchen anymore.

That’s not the end of the story. About a year later, a current client bought the house from the person Wesley’s family sold it to.

They also moved about two years later.


Winter Safety Tips 2016

 

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, as it is easy enough for an excited dog to move the gear shift from park to drive or reverse.

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


Swat Team Vs. Groomer

I was working at a corporate store and we had just lost our store manager.

He quit. Imagine that. The store was having a hard time replacing him. And as a result they kept revolving other store managers to cover my store.

Every single day the store alarms would go off. 

Every Single Day. 

Apparently upper management didn't trust their own managers and would change the alarm codes on a daily basis. It was a running joke between the stores. 

One morning, the store manager du jour and myself were chit chatting while he tried several different codes to shut off the alarm when the phone rang.

I picked it up and the voice at the other end said: "This is the Brookfield Police Department, please exit the building."

I thought it was a joke. Many of the groomers in other shops were fully aware of what was going on and it was not usual for us to play jokes on each other. 

I told the store manager what the caller had said.

So, we both giggled and raised our arms as if we were being held up.

The next thing we know, 6 police cars come flying into the parking lot, there are cops outside the building with guns drawn, and one of them has a bullhorn. I would not have been surprised if the swat team came rappelling down the side of the building.

Depositphotos_21863681_s-2015

©depositphotos, londondeposit

Needless to say, they were not amused with us. They let us know they were not amused, but didn't feel like doing the paperwork involved with hauling our butts down to the station. And as Brookfield is a pretty quiet town, they had bragging rights amongst the other small town area cops. After, we profusely begged forgiveness, they went on their merry way. 

On a positive note, corporate stopped changing the store alarm code.