Chemical Scent Signatures On Safety Equipment

0683358F-700D-4CCF-8267-8B2859C04178

Something a few groomers might not have thought about, or maybe you did and you’re already addressing it…

If you use a muzzle or an E collar on a dog that tries to bite you, or is scared, the next dog on which you use that muzzle or E collar can smell whatever came out and that dog’s breath or saliva or skin oil that was left behind on your equipment.

These things stay behind on hard surfaces for quite a while (porous surfaces even longer) even though pheromone and stress chemical signatures released into the air will dissipate in a much shorter period of time.

 

It’s science, not woo, trust me.

 

So what do groomers do to cleanse these things between each pet- not only for sanitization, but to remove these scent signatures that could in turn cause the next pet additional stress or anxiety by smelling and reading them?

I prefer a hot water and antibacterial dish soap scrub on each piece after use. Once dry, I then apply a hydrosol of chamomile essential oil.

#themindfulgroomer


Medicated Shampoos

Can we talk a little bit about how often groomers are using OTC medicated shampoos in the salon to combat things like yeast, secondary bacteria and fleas? 

Not prescription medications from a vet, but over the counter truly medicated formulas like all of our pesticidal formulas, and our skin treatment formulas like Chlorhexidine, KetoChlor, SulfurBenz, Ketoconazole, MiconaHex, MalAcetic, Malaseb, etc..

4F0783C6-5132-4741-A888-00B14CFDA0FA

Do you find yourself using these products more than once a day? 

 

Are you using gloves and an apron and possibly even a mask to protect your skin, your eyes, and your airways?

 

Have you considered learning about using raw ingredients such as sulfur, pure oils, and clays for therapies instead of off-the-shelf medicated shampoos? 

 

Are you using these products but wonder about a safer and equally effective way to combat skin and coat issues we commonly see, while keeping yourself safer? Or do you honestly just not find yourselves gloving up like you probably should be because you are in a rush or aren’t sure if what you’re using might eventually cause harm? 

 

Do you ever wonder if washing the same dog in a medicated shampoo at every grooming visit could actually be causing the dog’s symptoms to be harder to treat due to bacterial resistance and adaptability? 

50E41495-7AC2-498B-B1C5-844838C3A746

These ready to use products can definitely help, but we just want to remember that they are a medicine with truly active ingredients just as much as any tablet or liquid suspension. 

 

 

Even though the active ingredients within these formulations are in very small amounts, it’s the low level exposure and repetitive contact that groomers should try to be aware of and protect ourselves from.

 

For our industry, liquid grooming products have come a really long way in their formulations, effectiveness, and ease-of-use. 

 

I just want to ask groomers to remember that these formulas are definitely a medicine, and we should be protecting ourselves whenever we use them in order to possibly avoid health risk or immune system response. 

Especially when many formulas might list their active ingredients but are not federally required to list the entire ingredients deck for a product because of our industry being unregulated. 

 

Take good care of yourselves groomers! ❤️


Grooming For Optimal Coat Health

DD478CC6-9308-4499-AD2E-11F9A4F20095

Before

 

9711E9DD-71C7-4A01-92DA-8223FC6F55C1After

 

Look at the angle at which a dog‘s hair coat grows out from its skin. This is the same angle that you should be using your carding, stripping and fixed tooth raking tools to remove dead coat.

The position of your carding or stripping knife on shorter coat, and your rakes on longer coat should resemble the direction in which the hair emerges from the follicle in comparison to the skin. This can be anywhere from 5° for tight, oblique coats such as boxers and flat work on terriers to upwards of 80° on our primitive or Nordic breeds which are triple coated.

It is our heavy or triple coated breeds with the most dense undercoat alongside ample guard coat that are at the greatest risk for skin irritation and coat damage when we use our tools.

Dense or long hair=more finesse and diligence.

If you do not take into consideration the way the hair follicle sits within the skin and hair grows out and away from it, you will inevitably risk stretching and breaking both guard coat and undercoat because of not working with the natural coat lay.

 

If you are raking out dead undercoat from a double or triple coated dog- your tools should be dull, your raking action should be coming in short strokes from your elbow and/or shoulder- but with a fixed wrist position, and the coat should be clean and conditioned with no tools being worked through dirty coat except for certain instances with hand stripped terriers.

 

When you cleanse (change the electrical charge on the coat & remove particulate debris and dead hair that cause friction and snagging), condition (further adjust the skin pH or electrostatic charge, seal & smooth the hair shaft, add pliability, moisturize the skin & add structural integrity to each hair shaft) and then HV blow dry canine coat (set topicals upon the hair and skin, gently remove dead hair, set coat lay & visually inspect the skin and haircoat condition), this is a streamlined yet multi step process each step has a very necessary purpose.

During HV drying you also open up the packed, and tangled hair coat just the same as you do with your coarse/medium/fine cycle of raking tools. This action also has to be done with due process to help set the lay of coat so that you can move your tools across it without tugging or causing breakage or discomfort.

 

Remember that the job of undercoat is to create loft and density to the haircoat towards thermoregulation (heat dissipation or heat retention to maintain core temperature for health), and in doing its job it effectively locks in amongst the guard hair- so we need to open that coat to maintain it optimally.

 

As groomers we have a tough job to do. Often playing catch-up for each dog on the table per its grooming needs and genetically predetermined coat type. But the last thing we want to do is to be using tools or topical products on the coat that cause wear or damage, or enacting methods upon the coat with disregard to its natural state. 

 

If we do these two things we will fight that coat at every visit and only make more work for ourselves.

Microscopic cutaway view of an oblique or nearly parallel hair follicle in the skin.

0A80D8C5-D3A2-42A7-BE33-33D1EBB9516E


Dog D-Skunking 101

 

82160A00-7E7E-4946-BF40-3B91E0B87A04

You let your dog out to go to the bathroom in the dark of night. You hear a small commotion from the yard, and they come streaking back to your door, full throttle and wide-eyed.

You usher them in and WHAM-O! PEEEEYOOO!! 

They’ve tangled with a skunk! 

What do you do!?!?!

The first thing is to corral your dog, but to also try not to panic.

After an encounter like this, unless your dog is a true hunter, they are going to be completely freaked out and will immediately pick up on your energy and endorphin signature which comes out in your sweat and breath. This will make their anxiety even worse and possibly cause them to be more in a state of fight or flight. Staying calm and doing what needs to be done in these few initial steps are very important to get right.

In my opinion every single pet owner needs to have a deskunking rinse or shampoo on hand at all times if they live in the country. Sometimes even dogs in town can encounter a skunk if they just happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. 

If you aren’t prepared and don’t have a specific product on hand, then I suggest you take a look at this recipe which is safest for odor control but will not dry out the skin and hair coat as badly as some other concoctions, while being made up of a lot of the normal things you might have around the house. 

I urge you though- if you don’t have all of these things on hand in the proper proportions- to not just concoct something. If you’re short on supply in order to complete such a recipe, then I recommend you head to town instead and just pick up a deskunking product to be most safe.

As a professional Pet Groomer versed in canine skin and coat, the recipe I’m about to share I must advise can be quite drying to skin and hair coat so it is incredibly important that you follow up as soon as possible with a professional grooming where your stylist uses a moisturizing protein-based shampoo and a high-quality remoisturizing conditioner in order to avoid secondary skin dryness and itching or coat breakage. 

But if you are in a tight spot and don’t have many options, this is the safest recipe which can be found also on the akc.org website.

 

  1. 1 quart of 3% hydrogen peroxide solution
  2. 1/4 cup of baking soda.
  3. 1 teaspoon of liquid dishwashing soap

 

You might find that you have to double or triple this recipe per the size and haircoat of your dog, but keep your proportions equal throughout- and mix it well. AND, if you have a quality pet shampoo on hand, you can always follow up with a second or third bath with that to help replace a little bit of skin moisture which will be drastically removed by the chemical action of this homemade formula.

 

And remember: DO NOT get this in your pet’s eyes or let them lick it at length off of their haircoat.

Part of pet ownership is often running damage control, and part of that is thinking ahead and being prepared for things like this.

Part of being a professional pet groomer is having these products on hand for your clients as well as being able to navigate a skunked dog coming into the salon in a state of emergency or happenstance. 

So if this happens and you are able to get in contact with a professional groomer to handle the situation while keeping your pet contained until your appointment time, that is probably in your best interest.

 

Typically it’s the head, face and neck areas of the dog that always get hit the worst because this is the part of the dog making the closest encounter with a business end of a skunk.

But these areas are also difficult to thoroughly treat due to the sensitivity of the eye tissue and mucous membranes and the fact that most dogs are extremely nauseous and drooling due to having this acrid liquid in their face and so near their nose- which is incredibly sensitive.

Concerning the skin and hair of the face and head, you will need to apply a separate method of cleansing this area and rinsing it to keep the eyes safe.

Once you have corralled your dog in a safe area somewhere inside your home or garage and away from that monstrous skunk so that they feel safe, go and grab your deskunking products and get them ready to go into the tub or laundry basin. 

I do not recommend trying to wash your dog in the backyard with cold hose water in the middle of the night; just my professional and empathetic opinion.

 

30482DB1-2FF2-47D3-99C6-2B0DA0F51589

If you can get them safely into a laundry sink, shower basin or a bath tub, that is best. Before moving them into a bathroom I recommend removing or moving your shower curtain and bathroom rugs or any other type of fabric material away from the tub onto where he could shake water and soap and skunk odor.

 

Once he is in the bathing area, **do not pre-wet his coat with water!**

**This part is incredibly important!**

If you wet his coat you are making it very hard for your cleansing product to grab onto the skunk spray sitting on his coat and giving it a chance to ride around on the surface of the water and deposit more deeply into his hair and skin.

Drench him thoroughly with your homemade rinse or cover him thoroughly with your deskunking shampoo. Massage this by hand into the coat and expect that you’re going to get a little wet and a little smelly in the process.

Per the manufacturer guidelines, once the ready to use products are massaged and lathered deeply into the coat, give them the recommended adequate development time in order to fully do their job. 

Most enzymatic cleaners of any type need at least a handful of minutes in order to work well. If you’re making this at-home mix in an emergency, allow it about 5 minutes on the coat while lathering it all over.

Thorough saturation of the coat down to the skin as mentioned before is another huge component of getting as much smell out as possible.

After this, you’re going to want to use tap water and thoroughly rinse, rinse, rinse! Until every bit of bubbles are gone from the coat and the coat yields a squeaky clean feeling.

Most of your deskunking cleaners have a very high pH, which is part of what helps them to work as an enzymatic cleaner with the chemical composition of skunk spray, so if you find yourself itching after rinsing your dog, I recommend rinsing your skin well again with cool water. Unless you have a true chemical allergy, you will be just fine. And of course, if you had the presence of mind and the supplies on hand to don cleaning gloves and an old shirt or apron, those tools will always help out.

If you happen to have a pet specific shampoo on hand or even a high-quality human shampoo with a moisturizing additive, I recommend you follow up with an additional bath after the deskunking step to help thoroughly cleanse the coat of dirt and oil and the rinse you applied.

Even after a thorough cleansing bath with just the right products applied to dry coat in adequate amounts and rinsed thoroughly, commonly there will still be a lingering odor on the coat for weeks and sometimes even months. Especially each time the coat gets wet with moisture again. 

And why is this?

Let’s delve a little deeper into what happens on a physiological level with skunk spray and how it acts upon canine skin and hair coat.

 

One part of the reason that skunk odor lingers for so long on your dog is that their body is continuously growing and shedding skin cells and hair coat in regular cycles. As the process of desquamation, or skin cell turnover happens, right along with that comes a bit of that odorous liquid that’s still residing throughout the layers of skin.

Considering this fact of it, it is also the way it permeates the hair shaft and remains within the actively growing haircoat at the time of the encounter which is all still sitting in the follicle cup, right alongside dead hair ready to be lifted out, and new hair still being generated deeper within the follicle- that is all still growing in its typical cycles through the skin. 

The fact that this oil permeates deeply and uses sebum to accomplish this, but it also has a far different pH level than the average pH level of a pet’s skin, is also worth consideration.

In its chemical composition (acidic nature and caustic nature), it can penetrate several layers deep into the skin, which will continue to cause the newly emerging hair to still hold odor even after resting growth phases are all shed out. 

This prolongs the smell even more.

The individual hair shaft itself holds the odor also, and every time the hair cuticle is lifted with moisture contact, those odor-causing enzymes are reactivated alongside the water. This is obviously part of the reason why it’s so important to try to initially deskunk a *dry coat *without *pre-wetting because of the oil vs. water equation and using the micellar bonds within your shampoo surfactant (cleansing) formulation to encapsulate that oil-based substance as thoroughly as possible so that it can be suspended and more thoroughly rinsed from the coat. 

It’s also very important that you have an adequate cleanser not too greatly diluted so that the oil substance from the skunk does not simply ride around in the water and then redeposit in the coat during rinsing when the micellar bonds are broken down again.

So yes, the normal cellular replacement cycles do continue to re-release the odor just as much as the haircoat itself does. And you pick up on this by the very same signature ways that your nose tells you this each time you your pet again becomes damp or wet with moisture.

Add to that that typically dogs get skunked the worst in the head and face and it can be incredibly hard to efficiently apply a de-skunking or cleansing product strong and ample enough in these areas without causing eye or mucus membrane tissue irritation- so a lot of groomers still send dogs home with a slightly smelly head and face, and this is what the owner smells every time they are close to the dog even if the body is more effectively cleansed. 

Groomers are trying to keep your pet’s eyes, nose, mouth and ears safe while applying the topical, so there is a possibility that some odor will remain even after a professional grooming. 

And obviously, this pungent substance only takes a tiny amount to find objectionable and putrid, LOL!

It only takes once of having to go through trying to deskunk your dog in your bathroom tub in the middle of the night for an owner to have WISHED they had deskunking products on hand, so if you read this blog I suggest you stay ahead of the curve and buy what you need in the event of such an emergency.

  1. De-skunking Shampoo or Enzymatic Coat Rinse
  2. Moisturizing Shampoo
  3. Moisturizing Conditioner
  4. Plenty of towels, and an effective method of completely rinsing shampoo from your pet’s haircoat.

 

Happy Hounding!

 


The PGC & a Big Announcement!

838BBE38-ED4A-4D98-BB22-F13FBD111446

I’m on CLOUD NINE!!!

Today I received notification that my CCE course library, my Caring For the Canine Coat book AND the Mindful Groomer Series library have ALL been formally accepted as educational material for the Professional Groomer Credentialing program!

If you I haven’t heard of the PGC and all it has to offer Groomers and our entire industry, you can find a lot more information here:

https://www.worldpetassociation.org/grooming-credentialing-program/ 

I’m honored, and SO EXCITED to have my work really count towards standardized educational requirements, formal credentialing for our entire industry, and to aid in honoring the hard work of fellow professional groomers to keep moving themselves forward!

719FC4C6-5702-4524-A29A-AACBCA1BFD06
0C5A349F-5A8B-4DEC-B7D3-EA3172BB6B36



Battling Static Cling!

3F97979A-151C-4F2A-B4E9-244F030CBC27

Static electricity in the salon got you down?

I personally don’t like to use fabric softener sheets but they DO work wonders for ending static electricity on your uniform and on your grooming table.

Simply place one in the bottom of each of your shoes to stop those gobs of slippery hair sticking to your feet, and one in the pocket of your grooming smock to help stop its sticking to your uniform.

If you’re extra desperate you can even take one and rub it across the surface of your grooming table a couple of times through the day to help alleviate hair sticking there as well.

 

For your tools and the dog a good coat conditioner during the bathing process and a follow up scissoring/anti-static spray is still the best method. This does a great job at alleviating sticky situations as well as those electric shocks!

 

Try to avoid misting with simple water as it can actually make the problem worse once it evaporates!

 

Static electrical charge can actually work to lift the hair cuticle surface as well!

HV dryers are great at getting the coat dry, but those warm magnetic motors actually can generate additional static charge once the coat is dry if adequate remoisturizing has not been done to the skin and coat.

 

This causes a greater possibility of coat damage during combing and brushing, and lots of tangling while at home between grooming visits. 

Dry, damaged coats and white, porous coats are at an immediate static charge disadvantage as soon as we strip away skin oil during the bathing process.

 

Never underestimate the importance of your coat conditioners and grooming sprays to help smooth the hair shaft, return a bit of moisture lost during cleansing, provide slip for your tools, and to add to overall hair strength and coat health!

 

#themindfulgroomer


Enough Is Enough

Tell me again how this industry should not require industry-specific testing, require continued education each year, have local business registration and licensing alongside industry certification, how we shouldn’t have a system in place for accountability and reporting when our groomers witness this type of ongoing behavior only to be met with no opportunity for professional monitoring when we are the ones who best recognize mishandling. 

We as “professional caregivers” can’t even report blatant disregard for even the most minimum of care and handling practices being upheld.

WE are ASKING to be governed over by not getting our shit together.

Tell me again how groomers like this should be allowed to just keep on doing this, publicly posting it, with no industry repercussion, making us all look like we might be capable of hurting the very animals that we claim to be caring for.

And tell me again how this type of shit doesn’t put us directly in the crosshairs of the same legislators we definitely do NOT want randomly governing us, because of this type of stuff going on and pet owners pushing for accountability.

 

Put down the torches and pitchforks on social media and groomer forums, and pick up the phone!

Call your local groomers, put a group together and then call your local legislators, introduce yourself, and pledge to them that you want these things to stop and will work to be an advocate for professionals like yourself so these types of groomers can no longer continue doing this.

Video after video on her channel, dog after dog... they deserve more. 

We deserve more as an entire industry.

 

I wish we could all be left alone to groom happily and peacefully in this industry... but it’s apples like this that make the whole bushel look bad. And people like this aren’t going anywhere unless we do something about it.

 

PS- THIS DOG WAS REVIVED. 

And the owner then stayed tableside to hold it down while she finished.

Anyone ever had a dog seizure on your table before? 

Would you finish the groom on the poor thing?!

The owner allowed this dog to be a matted mess and then helped push it through an awfully stressful and painful groom just to get it done- which are two strokes on him, IMO. 

Want owner accountability for neglect or for them not to be able to blame us for things we didn’t do? Then industry regulation and networking between pro groomers needs to happen, because no time soon is a state going to view a dog as anything more than personal property like that of a suitcase- unless we push for that, too.

 

Video found at:

https://m.youtube.com/watch?feature=youtu.be&v=T6qTxVjRjWU&fbclid=IwAR3_kcPYzkLATsCLhDgy9Lg7Qc6uYSnUUNokzTMeVWdaFUVrz0zvzv6nGNs


Honoring Our Seniors

B5E2944F-7FDC-43DA-B6A4-422AC93A9E86

We need to honor and respect and appreciate our senior pets that come to us for care. 

We need to slow down and have empathy and exude kindness and patience when they come to us for the care that they very much need in order to have quality of life. 

We as professionals in the business of offering CARE... must be willing to actually CARE.

 

We have to be willing to step back from a place of duty, and work from a place of the heart.

We need to respect our clients who have faithfully brought their pets to us, which in turn has supported our business and us caring for ourselves and our families and bestow that mutual appreciation to the end. 

 

We too, will grow old someday. Mind that thought. 

For yourself, you would never want to be at the mercy of someone taking care of you without kindness, honor, respect and patience for all you’ve experienced, all you’ve given, and how little you ask for in return.

 

#themindfulgroomer


Another Facet of This Pandemic for Groomers

E9886396-E33D-4206-BDDC-1C8609E98642

All of the puppies sold and dogs adopted during a pandemic add up to a whole generation of dogs entering into pet homes without proper socialization. 

At home stays means in-person training programs are off the menu, as well as puppy socialization get-togethers and classes.

Not even being able to have friends over means all of these pets have had very limited interaction with anyone outside of their immediate family unit and only inside their own homes.

 

So for us as groomers that means we’re going to be caring in the next few months for a whole lot of puppies that haven’t been socialized, adult dogs Who already had baggage when they entered into the rescue or shelter system, that have now been living in a very small bubble, and are likely going to be completely overwhelmed when they are put up on our grooming table.

 

Understanding canine behavior and body language and being willing to slow down to get these dogs started off on the right foot is always of paramount importance. But thanks to the pandemic there’s a new element of pretty much no socialization across-the-board that we will have to learn to navigate.

 

#themindfulgroomer


Dealing With Dry Eyes

Dealing With Dry Eye

59D1D04A-729A-4D03-A02F-4633CA834E56

Eyes use tears as a method of naturally cleansing and hydrating the surface of the eyes. 

Dogs with larger eyes generate more tear production, and therefore are more prone to both weepy eyes and then dry eyes they age.

 

Typically we have to clean up around the eye area quite a bit due to tear drainage and environmental pathogen accumulation, but as groomers we also see a lot of dogs with dry eyes, especially as part of the aging process.

In these instances we can have different presenting symptoms that have to be addressed during the grooming visit.

Eyes void of tears or moisture are *extremely sensitive*, painful, present a host of serious visual symptoms, and can put the dog on high alert due to the pain.

 

Aside from communicating what we see to our pet owners in hopes that they will remedy the situation on a medical level, there’s a few things we need to do in the salon when working alongside these symptoms.

7C2A9D31-7DFA-4EBC-A444-C33A25D045C6

During the bathing process we have to remember that a dry eyes will not have the surface lubricated adequately. This means that when we get shampoo in the eyes, there’s really no place for it to go except directly against the eyeball and lid membrane it’s self. 

 

This could create a world of trouble & a lot of pain! 

 

I highly recommend with dogs that have crusty eyes that we first wet the face with adequate water and use a mild face cleanser as we *gently* clean up the eye area and then immediately rinse before moving on with bathing the rest of the dog.

 

Once the bath and rinsing is done I highly recommend a lubricating eyedrop be applied to each eye before moving to the drying process.

 

Some groomers prefer mineral oil and that is personal preference. 

However mineral is messy and it can actually cause water-based shampoo to ride around on the surface of the eye opposite the oil, and redeposit under the lid possibly causing severe ulceration.

 

When  you have finished grooming, it’s very important for you to check the moisture level on the surface of the eye and carefully remove any hair splinters or particles that came into contact with the eyeballs or lids during the haircutting process.

 

I would never carefully wipe away hair splinters without applying more lubricating eyedrop solution as this can cause severe eye irritation.

 

Without doing this as a final step, it is possible for the hair splinters and any other particular debris to just sit on the eye instead of the adequately rinse away as it normally would.

 

If the owner has eyedrops from the veterinarian, then urge them to reapply once they get home. 

I do not personally recommend administering any type of prescription from the salon storefront due to liability unless their veterinarian has issued a *written consent form* for you to administer in their absence. 

‼️The same goes for medicated shampoo and eardrops!😉

 

More medical info on dry eye, or Keratoconjunctivitis sicca:

 https://vcahospitals.com/know-your-pet/keratoconjunctivitis-sicca-kcs-or-dry-eye-in-dogs

 

#themindfulgroomer