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February 2009

January 2009

Intergroom 2009 Pet Tech Pet First Aid and CPR Seminar

Date:  Friday, April 17, 2009

Time: 12 to 4pm

Where: Garden State Expo Center in Somerset, NJ

This is a comprehensive, hands-on seminar that is designed for the pet professional. Topics include restraining and muzzling, primary pet assessment, rescue breathing, CPR, choking (conscious and unconscious), bleeding and shock, fractures and limb injuries, poisoning and poisonous substances, snakebite, heat and cold injuries, seizures, snout to tail assessments, pet vitals, first aid kits and emergency preparedness kits.

Each participant will receive a 42 page handbook, certificate and wallet card. Class size is limited to 30 people. Everyone will have there own stuffed dog to work on. Ricky, Pet Tech Assistant Instructor #4 will be on hand for live demostrations.

Visit to register for the class.

To View Intergroom Flyer:Download Intergroom Flyer

HHBacker Spring 2009 Pet Tech Pet First Aid Seminar on Friday, April 3rd

Date: Friday, April 3, 2009

Time: 12 - 4 pm

Where: Baltimore Convention Center

This is a comprehensive, hands on seminar that is designed for the pet professional. Topics include restraining and muzzling, primary pet assessment, rescue breathing, CPR, choking (unconscious and conscious), bleeding and shock, fractures and limb injuries, poisoning and poisonious substances, snakebite, heat and cold injuries, seizures, snout to tail assessments, pet vitals, first aid kits and emergency prepardness kits.

Each participant will receive a 42 page handbook, certificate and wallet card. Class size is limited to 30 people. Everyone will have there own stuffed dog to work on. Ricky, Pet Tech Assistant Instructor #4 will be on hand for live demostrations.

To register Download HHBacker Spring 2009 Pet First Aid and CPR Seminar Registration.The form should be filled out and faxed to 312-578-1819 or go directly to ,click on Spring Show, then Attendee Information, then Pet First Aid and CPR Seminar. The link to HHBacker will be active on Monday, January 26th.

Below are photos from the HHBacker class held last October.

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Just Checking In

Check-in is the time for clear communication with the pet owner. Well thought-out forms simplify the process while showing professionalism. This is a wonderful opportunity to educate your clients in proper pet care. Thank you to everyone who has graciously allowed me use of their forms. It will help your grooming facility in customizing your forms based on your own needs.

1.       Client Information CardDownload Client card

Thanks to Alex Chapman of the Philly Dog Spot. Her website is You, not the owner, should fill out a card for each pet. Your own handwriting is easier to read.  You will notice that Alex has allowed for five means of contact: address, email, phone number, cell number and work number. The pet information includes vaccination history(getting bitten is not the time to find out the status of rabies protection!). There is space for personality and medical problems. If the owner states no medical issues, you should offer a few possible suggestions. It may jar their memory. Dr. Greg Keller of CHIC at has offered use of their health survey.Download CHIC pg1 Download CHIC pg2  It is a complete list of health issues which may pose problems during grooming. The back of the card should detail the grooming. What products did you use? This is very important should an allergic reaction occur. Did you note which blades you used and the type of haircut received clearly printed on the card? To emphasize, PLEASE PRINT CLEARLY. One of my more famous boo-boos occurred when I worked at a shop. I pulled the client card and thought the instruction read “Skin-7F”. What it really said was “Skim-7F”. The owner was not happy. All card information should be updated at each grooming visits.

2.       Grooming Release FormDownload Grooming release

This form should clearly show what your shop policies are. Philly Dog Spots’ form covers their policy towards veterinarian visits, the effects of grooming and dematting, extra costs that may occur, right of refusal, damaged caused by the pet, disclosure of temperament, missed appointments and an indemnify and hold harmless agreement. When Alex’s clients sign the form, they are now aware of her policies. Your release should state what YOUR policies are.

3.       Veterinarian Consent FormDownload Veterinarian release

If an emergency arises, this form allows you to bring the pet to a veterinarian for treatment. Carole McFarland of My Pet’s Nanny at  says, “A vet consent form allows all around protection, it protects you, the pet and the owner. I have every client fill out one.” Her form lists a vet choice and credit card information. She has the client write in an authorized amount. You should talk to the veterinarians in your area to determine what THEIR policy and procedures are. Your form should be crafted accordingly.

4.       Matted Pet Release FormDownload Matted dog release

Philly Dog Spots’ form details problems caused by matting and the risks associated with the dematting process. It releases them from any liability as a result of the stripping process.

5.       Snout-To-Tail Assessment@Download Snout to tail worksheet

Thom Somes of Pet Tech at  has kindly allowed use of his copyrighted worksheet for your personal use.  The purpose of the initial snout to tail assessment sets a baseline on the health and condition of the pet. This should be done with the owner present. You want all pre-existing conditions noted before the groom. The time spent with the owner and the pet presents a good opportunity to educate your client on proper pet care. You need to keep in mind that “Any pet in pain or moved into pain, can and will bite”. A muzzle should be handy. During the assessment you are looking for any problems that may worsen by the grooming process.

The assessment should include the following:

a.       Teeth

Teeth in poor shape will cause mouth pain. Smaller dogs tend to have more problems than larger dogs. It is one explanation on why a dog will be snappy when grooming the face. It hurts! Educate your clients on proper dental care.

b.      Eyes

Hardened discharge may have irritated and raw skin under the scabs.

c.       Ears

Foul odor, redness and/or discharge can be an indicator of ear infections. Very thick ears may be a hematoma or contain severe matting.

d.      Legs

Arthritis or a prior injury will cause pain when touched or moved.

e.      Spine

Pain in the area may be arthritic or neurological in origin. It may also be a prior injury.

f.        Nails and Pads

The area should be checked for injuries and overgrown nails.

g.       Undercarriage

If there is distension or hardness, you should refer immediately to the vet.

h.      Anal area

Is there a foul discharge or any cysts apparent?

i.         Skin and Coat

Look for lumps, bumps and warts and note their location. Can you even see the skin? The coat may be matted and you don’t know what you will uncover.

You should encourage your clients to continue this at home to track their pet’s overall health. Problems found early stand a better chance of successful treatment. You should recommend any concerns found during the assessment checked by a veterinarian. Changes should be noted at future grooming appointments.

6.       Grooming Estimate

This form should say what you are and are NOT doing. If you are not providing a normal part of your service, a reason should be noted. For example: Due to a suspected ear infection, you cannot clean the ears.  It should show a probable price range and reasons the estimate may be higher. Temperament and dematting times can alter an estimate.

7.       Grooming Report Card

This is given to the owner after the groom. It lets them know how their pet handled the grooming process and alert them to any suspected health concerns. Please keep in mind, that unless you are also a veterinarian, you cannot diagnose.

This investment of time allocated to your clients will reap future benefits. It will reduce “misunderstandings” and give your clients the tools they need to make educated choices for their pets. Time and thought went into the preparation of these showcased forms. If you choose to use any of these forms, please drop them a note of appreciation.


Good Shampoo Sense


A good shampoo is an expensive investment. It’s part of what separates the professional from the pet owner. Like any investment, we must take care of and protect it.

Every manufacturer that I spoke with can claim that an unopened bottle has a shelf life of 2 years. Once opened, there are too many variables for them to offer any guarantee. If you practice good shampoo sense, you can expect a strong shelf life on an opened bottle. You practice good shampoo sense by maintaining its integrity.

All shampoos should be stored in a cool, dry and well ventilated place. This can be a problem for mobile groomers whose vans are exposed to the elements. As a mobile groomer, I keep my shampoos in smaller, labeled bottles. In extreme temperatures, those smaller bottles are easier to haul into my house.

Open bottles are subjected to airborne microbes, water and hair. Keeping the lids on reduces contamination. By using smaller dispenser bottles, the larger gallons exposure to contaminants is kept at a minimum. Reusable dispenser bottles need to be sterilized regularly. I have 2 sets: when one bottle of undiluted shampoo becomes empty, I replace it with another. The used bottle is then sterilized.  Food based ingredients such as oatmeal and baking soda have a shorter shelf life.

Shampoos will use one of three preservative systems:

1.       The first is a cosmetically formulated system. It uses chemically produced preservatives. Some examples are the parabens, formaldehyde, Quaternium 15, Sorbic acid, DMBM hydantoin and potassium sorbate. Some of these preservatives are known or suspected carcinogens. You also run the risk of introducing toxins to the pet and yourself. However, they have a proven track record of killing bacteria and staph.

2.       The second is a botanical extract system. The natural properties of the botanicals kill harmful bacteria. Some common extracts are lemongrass, orange, eucalyptus, tea tree, peppermint, thyme, lavender, birch, juniper, rosemary and chamomile. These ingredients are non-toxic and non-carcinogenic. Like chemical preservatives, you or the pet can run the risk of serious allergies. Cats, in particular, have issue with botanicals. Some extracts are food based and therefore have a shorter shelf life.

3.       The third is a self preserving system. This is new technology. Manufacturers claim the same shelf life as a cosmetically formulated system. The system is set up on 6 principals:

a.       Botanical products and glycerin are chosen with properties to bind water. It reduces the availability of microorganisms to feed on water.

b.      They keep the pH between 3.5 and 4.0. Low pH hinders the growth of microorganisms.

c.       They use natural active ingredients with anti-microbial properties.

d.      They use pumps instead of lids. This keeps air contact to a minimum.

e.      Clean manufacturing practices eliminates contamination at the manufacturing level.

f.        A patented liquid crystal system used in the delivery of the shampoo.

How do recognize that your shampoo has gone bad? Some of the signs include:

1.       Foul odor.

2.       Visible mold spores.

3.       Separation of liquids unless label indicates shaking is needed.

There are times when there will not be any visible signs of spoilage. I recommend you contact your manufacturer for a realistic shelf life.

Additionally, water quality directly affects shampoo quality. Bathing systems should be cleaned out between dogs and at the end of the day. I use Davis 2% Chlorohexidine shampoo and run it through the system for 10 minutes. This will prevent bacteria from contaminating your system. For mobile groomers, another issue is our water holding tanks. Many of us do not have easy access to clean our fresh water tanks. There are products you can buy at any RV store that will keep the fresh water tanks free from bacteria.

Furnunculosis is a recognized severe skin infection that follows grooming with contaminated shampoo or conditioner. This is preventable by practicing good shampoo sense. In addition, only pre-mix the amount needed for a day. Discard any unused product. Pre-mix bottles need to be sterilized daily. This includes the pumps and sprays. I use the same Chlorohexidine soak for my bottles and sprays as I do for my tub. Contact time needs to be at least 10 minutes for it to be effective.  Handstripped dogs are particularly susceptible to furnunculosis. Handstripped dogs should not be bathed for 2 weeks following stripping.

I highly recommend taking the time to educate yourself on the products you have chosen. Every shampoo manufacturer I spoke with was more than willing to discuss their products. I would like to offer special thanks to Barbara Bird. She offered up her brain for me to pick. Her website is