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December 2008

November 2008

Shop Safety


Preventable accidents are a leading cause of death and disability among dogs and cats. Let’s take a look at your grooming environment and make it as safe as possible.

Checking In

You should start by doing a snout to tail assessment of each pet before the owner leaves the premises. You want to look for any injuries that could be exacerbated during grooming .

Blades and Clippers

Are they in good repair? Broken teeth in a blade can cause injury. Tools that are not cleaned, oiled and maintained well will become hotter faster and can cause irritations. Electrical cords should be up and out of the way. They are a tripping hazard for you and chewers can suffer cardiac arrest. All corded equipment should be checked for shorts to prevent electrical shocks.


All nooses should have a quick release. My Pictures0089 They’re better than using your $300 scissors to cut a noose. Your $300 scissors cannot cut through the metal nooses with the plastic coating. Pets should never be left unattended on a table. A fall could cause sudden blunt force trauma, broken body parts, concussions and even death.

Stand and Force Dryers

Filters should be cleaned frequently. If not, the dryer will run hotter. This will cause the hoses and nozzles to heat up. Do not use a force dryer around the ears. A Happy Hoodie or a towel wrapped around the head will protect the ear drums.My Pictures0085 There are those dogs who insist on biting the force dryer’s nozzle head on. They should be muzzled to prevent a lung from being blown out.


Are the grates and bars in good repair? A paw becoming stuck in a grate or a snout stuck in the bars can cause injury.

Cage Dryers

Is someone monitoring the pets? A timer is a good investment. A pet in a cage with a hot dryer can develop heat stroke. A wet pet in a cage with a cool dryer over an extended time can develop hypothermia. A bowl of fresh water or cage bottle should be available to prevent dehydration.


There should be gfi outlets near the tub. Is the floors non-slip or covered with a textured floor mat? Pets are not left unattended in the tub. Pets should be noosed to prevent them from licking the soapy water.SDC10338 There are products that will protect the eyes from the shampoo. There is some disagreement amongst pet professionals to the pros and cons of them. I always rinse the eyes during the “rinse cycle”. Eye wash should be handy in case of eye irritations. Pre-mix only the amount of shampoo or conditioner you will use in a day. The rest should be tossed. Furnunculosis has been linked to pre-mixed shampoos and conditioner that have been left out longer than that.


Table, tools, tubs and kennels should be cleaned and disinfected in between dogs to prevent the spread of zoonotics. A cleaner doesn’t disinfect well and a disinfectant does not clean well. You should use both.

Proper storing of disinfectants, cleaners and shampoos will prevent poisonings.

Outlets should have child proof covers on them to prevent dogs from sticking their wet noses into a live outlet.

You should have an answering machine to take calls when you are working. You do not want to leave an unattended dog on a table or tub to field phone calls.

You should have a familiarity with dog and cat behavior. You need to have control over the pets in your care. A pet that is uncontrollable is a danger to himself and others.  

Cats and dogs are better separated. There is far too much stress on both when they are in close quarters. A better plan is to have a “cat day”.

You want to make sure there isn’t any unauthorized exodus from your shop. There should be safe guards installed to prevent pets from escaping from your shop.

I am crediting two of my instructors for this next one. They are Terri Tomlinson and Beth Cristiano. They repeatedly stressed that I know where the tips of my scissors are and when body parts begin and end.

Tired, stressed out groomers make mistakes.

In spite of providing a safe grooming environment, we all know that accidents can and do happen. Are you prepared for them with a well stocked, I know what’s in it first aid kit? Have you taken a pet first aid class?

As pet professionals, it is our duty to provide a clean, safe and nurturing environment for all our furry clients.

 *It is with many thanks to the Auger Family for allowing Gracie and Buddha to be photographed. As always, they are a joy.

Winter Safety Tips

Yet another winter is upon us and I would like to share a few tips to keep our pets safe during this time of year.

Car Safety

Look out for antifreeze leaks. It has a sweet taste that attracts dogs and cats. It is very poisonous and its' 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. On the flip side, you do not want to leave them in the car with the engine idling. A couple of weeks ago in Long Island, NY, a man went into a Cool Beans for a cup of coffee and left his car running. His dog knocked the gear shift 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.

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

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


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

The Holiday Season is in full swing.


The most common plant is the poinsettia. It is toxic. Keep it out of reach of your pets.

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

Garland and tinsel is a particular problem for cats. Remember to 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 can be toxic and it affects the cardio and nervous systems.

Ham, fat trimmings and turkey skin can cause pancreatitis.

Cooked bones can cause intestional 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 are toxic especially xylitol.

Holiday snack trays may contain macademia nuts and grapes.

Chocolate contains theobromine.

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.

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. You would 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 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.



First Aid Kit for Hikers

While hiking through the woods or playing at a dog park, you do not want to haul around a suitcase for your possible first aid needs. You need something that will fit in a fanny pack or camera case. Before you start out, it's always a good idea to do a snout to tail assesment. It will establish a baseline for when you return from your walk. It will also determine if there are any injuries that might be exacerbated by strenous activity. You should do the same on your return to check for ticks, burrs, insidious foxtails and any injuries sustained during your outing that may have gone unnoticed.

Since we have limited space, we do want some of these items to do double duty.

1.Roll of gauze or vet wrap.

2.Gauze pads.

3.Extra bandanas. They can used to splint fractures or as a sling to help walk out an injured pet.

4.Sterile eye wash in a sealed bottle. This can be used for eye irritants and to flush out a wound. Always remember that bottled water is not sterile.

5.Hydrogen peroxide in a travel size sealed bottle. It can be used to induce vomiting.

Unsealed bottles have a way of becoming empty bottles.

6. Novalsan to clean out wounds.

7. A photo of you and your dog. It will establish ownership should you become separated from your dog and someone else finds him. A well identified dog that has become lost has a better chance of coming home.

8.Liquid gel benadryl and a safety pin. The fastest way to get an antihistamine into your dogs system in case of an allergic reaction or anaphylatic shock, is to poke a hole into the liquid caps and squirt it directly onto the tongue.

9.A plastic card to flick out stingers. Using a tweezer will only inject more poison into your dog.

10.Antibiotic cream

11. Bandaids for you.

12. Fold up water container. They should be able to drink water to prevent dehydration. They are available as small as a credit card.

13. Constricting band. This is important if you are hiking in an area with poisonous snakes.

14.Puplight. This is a LED lighted collar as strong as a flashlight. It will enable you to see during dusk/dawn walks.It will also make your dog more visible.

Happy hiking and remember not to overdo it for either of you.

March 2009 Pet First Aid Class and Instructor Training Schedule

The schedule for March 2009 is complete. We will be holding both a one day 8 hour Pet Tech Pet First Aid, Cpr and Care Seminar in conjunction with the 3 day Instructor Training. It will be held in North Adams, MA on Fri. March 28th through Sunday, March 30th. The one day class will be held on Friday, March 28th. If you are interested or need more information, email me or call 760-930-0309 to register.

The Million Petizen Rally

There are companies within our industry whose goals include helping companion animals in need. This will be the first in a series to recognize those companies with the heart of a dog.

The Million Petizen Rally is looking to raise one million dollars for four charities. This goal is the latest for Thom Somes "The Pet Safety Guy", who has dedicated himself to the care and well being of companion animals everywhere.

This is not a multi-billion dollar corporation, but rather a family run business. Thom, Cindy, son Parker and Rio are the First Family of Petizen. Their journey began in 1994, when a student of Thom's Human First Aid class posed a question. "Hey, this class was great, but what would I do if my pet was in trouble?"Dsc05402

Thus, Pet Tech was born. Pet Tech Pet First Aid, CPR and Care classes and Instructor Trainings have been taught throughout North America to over 15,000 adults, both pet professionals and pet owners. Pet Tech's mission statement is "Helping to improve the quality of pet's lives, one owner at a time." Their training and education has, over the years; helped to save thousands of pet's lives.

In 2001,while reading a Dear Abby letter from a grieving pet owner, who lost her beloved pet due to a preventable accident; Thom was inspired to write "Knowing Your Pet's Health". After receiving a copy of this book, Dear Abby wrote Thom. "I'm sure your booklet will save the lives of companion animals that might not survive. I commend you for providing such a readable and easy to understand guide."

The second edition has formed the base of the Million Petizen Rally. In addition to helping create and maintain a thriving lifestyle through more knowledgeable and capable owners, the First Family of Petizen will donate a portion of the sale of the book to each of four charities. To learn more about this wonderful book, go to

The first charity is Dogs for the Deaf, ,541-826-9200. Through four programs,Hearing Dogs, Miracle Mutts, Harmony's Hounds and Career Change Dogs; they have placed over 3,000 dogs. all dogs are chosen from adoption shelters. They have been helping people and companion animals for over 30 years.

The second charity is Alley Cat Allies, ,240-482-1980. It is THE national non-profit clearinghouse for information on feral and stray cats. For more than 10 years, Alley Cat Allies has been dedicated to advocating non lethal methods to reduce the outdoor cat population.

The third charity is United Animal Nations, , 916-429-2457. Since 1987, they have focused on bringing animals out of crisis and into care through a variety of programs, including emergency animal sheltering and disaster relief services, financial assistance for urgent veterinary care and humane education. Their programs are the Emergency Animal Rescue Service, The Lifeline Grant Program, The Premarin Awareness Campaign and the Humane Education Ambassador Reader.

"As an organization committed to helping animals in crisis, United Animal Nations has promoted Pet Tech as an excellent source of pet first aid and training for years, particularly for our Emergency Animal Rescue Service volunteers," said Nicole Forsyth, president and CEO of UAN. "We commend Pet Tech for its' ongoing commitment to helping people care for the pet's they love, and we are thrilled to be chosen as a beneficiary of the Million Petizen Rally."

I encourage everyone to visit the above charities to learn more about their programs. The fourth charity is to be announced via the Petizen's Choice Award. You can help to choose this charity by visiting for details on how to vote.

With both paws up and a heart woof woof, thank you to Thom, Cindy, Parker and Rio for creating something special that benefits pet owners, companion animals and the charities that look out for them both.

What Is The One Phone Number That Could Save The Life Of your Pet?

It Is 888-426-4435 and it is the number to the ASPCA's Animal Poison Control Center. They are available 24/7/365. The center, through specially trained veterinary toxicologists; provides diagnostic and treatment recommendations in the event of your pet's exposure to hazardous substances. These veterinary toxicologists have at their disposal an extensive collection of scientific journals, books, databases and case histories not available to everyone else. The center is funded by grants, gifts, corporate sponsorships and your user fee. It is currently $60 and in the case of a poisoning, it will be the best $60 you can spend on your pet. Last year, they fielded over 116,000 calls

Death by poisoning is one of the more preventable accidents of dogs and cats, dogs being far more likely than cats to be poisoned. It is usually caused by careless handling and storage of toxic substances or by allowing access to areas where toxic substances can be ingested, inhaled, absorbed or injected.

The Animal Poison Control Center has issued a list of top 10 household product categories that have been called in:

1.Human Medications. People medications and pet medications are not formulated the same even though they may have the same manufacturer and prescription name. People medications are generally dosed for symptoms and pet medications for weight. Two frequently used pain medications for people are acetaminophen; which is deadly to cats,and ibuprofen; which causes kidney damage in dogs.

2.Insecticides. There were 27,000 calls alone for topical flea and tick products.

3.Veterinary Medications. This includes vaccines. In addition, there have been cases of dogs chewing the lids off of anti-inflammatory medications and consuming the entire contents. My own dog did this and in 2000 it cost me $1800 at my vet.

4.Plants. On the ASPCA's website, ;there is a list of common toxic household plants. While you are there, you can request a free refrigerator magnet. You will always have this important number handy.

5.Household Cleaners. Improperly stored bleach,detergents and disinfectants.

6. Rodenticides. These are usually baited with something tasty like peanut butter.

7. Chocolate.

8. Chemical Hazards.This includes anti-freeze, which cleans up easily with soap and water.

9. Physical Hazards. The ingestion of objects causing choking or intestional obstruction. You should provide appropriate treats and toys for your pets. You should always monitor play and treat time.

10. Home Improvement Products. This includes paints and glues.

Signs of poisoning include vomiting, diarrhea, excessive salivation, breathing difficulties, excitability, loss of consciousness and seizures. In the event of a poisoning, it is paramount that you remain calm. The more excited you are, the more excitable your pet is, the higher the heart rate, the faster the poison is going through their system. The center or your vet is going to want to know what the suspected substance is.There are different protocols for different substances. What helps in one situation, may cause harm in another. They also want to know how much was ingested and for how long. They may ask if a vomit or stool sample is available. This may tell them what the suspected substance is if you are unsure of what it is. YOU ONLY INDUCE VOMITING IF INSTRUCTED BY THE CENTER OR YOUR VETERINARIAN.

Always make that life saving phone call first, before you take your pet to the hospital. In the time it takes to get to the hospital, it may be too late.

Pet First Aid Kits

Why do you need a pet first aid kit?

Beth and I have collectively groomed for over a quarter century. We know that accidents can and will happen! During that time we have used our kits countless times, sometimes for pets and sometimes for people. In the last year, I used my kit 4 times.

1. Reno, one of my dogs went into anaphylactic shock after being bit by a spider.
2. Myself, after being bit by a dog. (See last article)
3. Beth had an allergic reaction to something she ate.
4. My hubby cut his hand.

Items in the kit are interchangeable between people and pets.

What is important about a kit?

1. That you have one.
2. You must know what's in your kit. There is nothing worse, then experiencing an emergency, tearing off the cellophane of your brand new kit, only to discover you don't have half of what you need.
3. The kit should be well stocked and up to date. Items must be replaced when used and expiration dates kept current. (If you buy a pre-packaged kit, do an inventory and see what needs to be added.)

So, what's in my kit? I keep the items in a large, denim Tinkerbelle bag. Aside from Tink being the "bomb", the bag is convenient when moving from place to place. Other options are fishing (tackle boxes) or craft boxes, which have plenty of compartments for storage.

The items are listed by category, you will notice that some items overlap.

Bleeding/Wound Injuries:

• Adhesive tape
• Gauze pads
• Gauze rolls
• Vet wrap
• Rubbing alcohol sealed bottle
• Hydrogen peroxide sealed bottle

Unsealed bottles have a tendency to leak leaving you with an empty bottle.

• Antibiotic cream
• Providone iodine ointment
• Sanitary napkins (soak up excess blood)
• Bandanas/triangular bandages

These cloths can be used for splinting fractures. They can assist carrying a dog by taking pressure off of an injured limb.

• Sterile solution sealed for flushing injuries.

Unsealed bottles are no longer sterile. Bottled water is NOT a sterile solution.

• Squirt bottle- once used replace

Anaphylactic Shock, Allergic reactions, insect bites:

• Liquid gel antihistamine
• Safety pin

The safety pin is used to puncture a hole in the liquid gel to squirt the antihistamine into the mouth. That is the easiest and most effective method for a layperson to administer antihistamine.

• Plastic card for flicking out stingers.

Do not tweeze them out as you will inject more venom into the host.

Heat Stroke:

• Rubbing alcohol squirted onto pads aids in cooling pet.

• Poison Control Center 888-426-4435.

A note about the following items. DO NOT ASSUME YOU SHOULD INDUCE VOMITING!!! Different situations call for different treatments. You must call poison control first and then follow their directives.

• Hydrogen peroxide to induce vomiting
• Activated charcoal to absorb poison
• Baking soda to absorb topical caustic material
• Squirt bottle to administer treatment(s)
• Plastic baggies for vomit or stool samples for vet

• Sterile solution for 1st and 2nd degree burns.
(Do NOT rinse 3rd degree burns.)
• Bandanas/ Gauze to cover burns


• Small flashlight with spare battery to check throat for debris
• Plastic baggies for vomit sample


• Emergency muzzle

If you need to use your kit, your pet is probably in pain. Any pet in pain or being moved into pain, can and will bite!!!

• Digital thermometer and petroleum jelly (They will thank you later)
• Blunt tip scissors
• Tweezers
• Eye dropper
• Honey packets for diabetic/hypoglycemic dogs
• Survivor blanket will help keep a dog warm if it's in shock. Not to be used when shock is caused by a heat stroke. Can also be used to carry a small to medium dog.
• Black light/glow sticks can be used to illuminate the most common strains of ringworm. This is not a full-proof diagnostic tool. It is to be used as an aid. Glow sticks have the advantage of being disposable.
• Photos of me with my dogs. The photo establishes ownership should I become separated from my dog(s) while hiking or traveling.
• Unflavored Pedialyte used to re-hydrate stressed pets. It must me unflavored because the other varieties contain artificial sweeteners which can be toxic to pets.

That's my kit. If you have any suggestions or ideas, please let us know. We are always looking for new and inventive items for the first aid kit.