Owning a Successful Home Based Salon

2020 Pet Stylist Invitational!!


This year our trade show has gone fully virtual!

This learning summit offers 2 full days, 16 hours total, of educational classes on Friday, October 17, and Saturday, October 18th, and a full day of livestream grooming competitions  Monday, October 19th, judged by our industry great: Michell Evans!!

There’ll be shopping discount opportunities all weekend long to stock up on supplies before our holiday rush!

Enjoy this final opportunity of the year to invest in yourself and your business all three days for only $99!!

You can register here:https://finer-details-pet-spa.square.site/product/pet-stylist-invitational-registration/64?cs=true


The Society of Holistic Pet Stylists

A long time ago I began to feel that I was different.

Be nice! LOL

But seriously, I have always been a little different in my thinking, my outlook on most things, and especially I felt different in that I could never force myself to stay at a job for very long if I wasn't happy doing it. I struggled with leaving things at the door, with doing tasks that I felt didn't have lasting result, with feeling lost in a sea of faces, and most of all with just taking my paycheck and writing the rest off.

But luckily, I eventually found grooming.

Gratefully, I have been able to do a job that I love, and for that it rarely feels like work.

When I began grooming, I noticed right away that everyone worked just a bit differently, and that was rooted deeply in their general personality traits.

I groomed over the years with many, MANY different types of people, but I learned most of all about MYSELF.

I learned what I liked, what I couldn't tolerate, my strengths and weaknesses, to challenge myself to always think outside the box, and to never fear trying something different. I learned more about myself from the dogs I groomed each day than any other aspect of my grooming experiences. How I groomed began to define a very large part of who I was as a person. And to this day, it still does.

It is in honor of the time I've spent just pondering and watching the pets I groom, of the previously unimaginable awe of a pet's unconditional love I have come to know, and of all the wonders an animal can bring to your life, that I still find myself so passionate and overflowing with joy that I find in grooming.

In honor of the lessons I have learned, of how "different" I am so happy to be, that I have worked so hard to try to encourage other groomers and animal lovers to NEVER ignore that little voice inside themselves, and to ALWAYS follow your curiousities... that I have worked to form a new and wonderful association for groomers that may have also always felt "a little different".

Of these honors, I am very grateful and happy to announce,

The Society Of Holistic Pet Stylists.


Our new society promises to be like nothing our industry has ever seen, a breath of fresh air, and a place for all stylists to come together to learn and share and forever change our industry through doing great things.

Together with Mary Oquendo, Barbara Bird, Daryl Connor, Lori Gulling, Sue Palmer and Melissa Jepson, we are creating an entirely new learning format and an entirely new opportunity in skill sets for the grooming industry.

Please visit our website for more information, or contact me directly with your interest!

www.HolisticPetStylists.com or www.HolisticDogGroomers.com




Session with Chris Sertzel on GroomerTALK LIVE!

Bio pic

Hello everyone!

Be sure to listen and call in for my LIVE session for PetGroomer.com's GroomerTALK!

This session will be on August 12th, 7PM EST.

Please call in with any questions you can come up with about things like skin and coat issues, offering supportive and spa type services, questions about competition grooming, or anything you can think of that might help you out! Its sure to be a fun and interesting broadcast!

Holiday Jester Collars

Skeeter 2My dog, "Skeeter".

These fun little grooming salon embellishments for the holidays, birthdays, or just for fun, are super easy, low cost, and really loved by clients!

Supplies Needed:

Assorted ribbon

1" wide elastic banding


hot glue or craft glue

assorted small decos to glue onto the ends of each ribbon tassel; foam cutouts, jingle bells or pom-poms work well

First, choose some ribbon! Try choosing at least 3 colors or prints of ribbon that compliment each other. You can choose just one color or two colors, but the more variety the better if you want to use less ribbon. You'll find that if you use all one color, you will need to tie on a bit more ribbon to make the collars really look full.

It makes a nice collar to have some ribbon that is 1" wide, and some that is 1/2", but ribbon of the same width works great, too. Be sure to use ribbon with no wire in it. And tulle works nicely as well.

Cut yourself a sturdy rectangle of cardboard. The length of the cardboard should be about 4 inches shorter than the length of the collar when finished. On each end, cut a slit about 1" deep that you will use to slide the knotted end of the elastic thru.

Cut a length of elastic long enough to fit comfortably over the dog's head and on its neck without being at all tight. Tie a single knot at each end of the elastic. Slide the knottend end of the elastic into the slit which you cut in the cardboar. Now stretch the banding across the board pretty snug. Tie another knot in the other end where needed to keep it tight, and slide that knot thru the other slit on the opposite side of the cardboard. When stretching the elastic banding across the cardboard, by pulling it fairly tight before securing it, the collar when removed, will pucker and be nice and full.

Resized collar #1

Now cut your ribbon! For large dogs cut the ribon in about 12" segments. For medium dogs, cut it about 10". And for smaller dogs, about 8" works nicely. This will make a nice drape around the neck and not hide the collar if the dog's hair is longer.

Now slip the lengths of ribbon, all laying flat, underneath the elastic banding. Simply pull the ribbon ends up and tie a single knot to secure the ribbon onto the elastic. Be sure that the ribbon is knotted closely to each other so that you can get a very full and thick collar.

Resized collar #2

Once you've knotted lengths of ribbon to cover the entire elastic except an inch or two on each end, remove the entire collar, and tie or thread stitch the ends together: DONE!

Resized collar #4

Also, as an added detail, you can also glue your embellishments onto the end of each ribbon after you've tied it onto the elastic and before taking it off of the cardboard.

Skeeter 1



Understanding Your Product Labels


  Shampoo label

For many years product labeling within grooming industry has been discussed at length.  Labeling and disclosure has always been a hot topic- with those either for or against it firmly planted on either side of the figurative line in the sand. However, nothing has ever really significantly changed the actuality of the legislature in place to require manufacturers to label and to disclose their ingredients in full.

These days many manufacturers are stepping up to the plate and acknowledging that their customers: the industry groomers and professionals, as well as their customers' own client base: the pets- need to and deserve to know just what they are using and applying every day in the salon. Yet still, many products still exist which we use on a daily basis without any inclination of just what they contain.

It is worth mentioning that it is not that any product could contain toxins or ingredients that directly would cause ill effect, but more so that labeling disclosure is a necessary component to a better path to safety and to lessen usage liability (and increase educated purchasing decisions) based on our personal preference.

Labeling is required in nearly every other industry, and it is definitively required with any cosmetic product for human use, so why is it not required for animal usage? The reason is two fold; first regarding the fact that our industry is a trade industry where no licensing such as that in the cosmetology field is required. The other reason has to do with how states and legislature view animals as pets with regard to legal liability. However, with pet ownership or caregiver legislature in place per each states' guidelines, it is important for us to be up to date on where we as care providers sit in terms of requirements and legality within your practicing state.

The second consideration with regard to liability is the one we as groomers should be most concerned about. We as care providers will have a legal responsibility to provide care for incoming clients. If that breaks down by way of any service given, or product used which we offer as part of our care, that responsibility rests with us in the event of an injury.  When a product which lacks labeling is used upon an animal in our care, it grays the delineation of where product liability starts and user liability ends, or visa versa. Meaning that if negative or ill effects do happen upon a pet in our care, while we as professionals are using a product expressly produced for animal care, if legal action is made to recoup loss in any way on the end of the pet owner who is our client, we will have to foot the bill.  It will in turn be up to us to try to not only locate and compile the necessary information regarding what is in the product which we knowingly used, but it will rest on our shoulders to show that we did so with no understanding of what was in the product to either present our case for defense, or to gain any reimbursement from the product manufacturer. This makes for A LOT of work and worry on our part. Being in the middle of a client situation is stressful enough without swimming in a sea of misinformation. Within the cosmetology field alone, human cosmetologists are required to be educated and tested upon chemical ingredients and compounds of a number of the products which they use, yet since groomers as a profession are not, many groomers do not realize that legal liability rests with us.

Fingers crossed

Legal liability is not the only reason labeling is important. Many of us will get through our entire career with no serious injury to any pet in our care, yet it only takes one accident or serious injury where we have to try to make it right for a client to seriously alter not just our financial state, but our mental state about the products and services we offer from there on out.

Another facet to labeling is our own personal safety. On nearly any given day, within the grooming forums or chat groups, someone mentions have skin or respiratory issues and is concerned as to the origin of such symptoms. With the plethora of products a pet stylist or groomer uses each day in the salon to address grooming and skin and coat care needs, we handle many different chemicals and formulations- any of which could be the cause. As products continue to develop to address these needs, so does the amount of products we can choose from to use. It can be greatly difficult to isolate just what product we used which caused any ill effect, and really only over time can most people begin to make a connection between a product and an outcome. By labeling our products, and by finding products which we understand and keep regularly within our care and usage program, it can be much easier to make those connections. Furthermore, with the ever growing amount of products we have to choose from to make our grooming work easier, we could easily also be choosing products to use which make the business side or our salons easier to define and keep our arms around as well.

In the event of any adverse reaction, whether upon ourselves or upon the pets in our care, we need to be able to know quickly just what we have used in any given product. Having that knowledge at the ready is not only a consumer's right, but it could save us much time, money, and suffering.

So what can we do?

To start, we can support those manufacturers who are towing the line and giving disclosure of their ingredients. We can respectfully ask more manufacturers to not hide behind flimsy excuses for not spending the time and money it may take to have a product labeled, and we can talk with those manufacturer on an educated level about our concerns to best represent our professional ability and to create a ripple effect of positive change upon our industry.

Whether we want to personally use more "eco-friendly" or simply formulated products, we need to also realize that while we can make those choices, we should also be educating ourselves to just what those labels we DO have at our disposal mean and translate to on our skin and the pets as well.

Since our industry does not have any regulations in place requiring manufacturers to list all of their
product ingredients, we should know that anything they list is completely voluntary whether on the
label or the technical data sheets. Many companies will list certain key ingredients which they wish to
place importance on, but not necessarily disclose everything which actually makes up the product.
Most complete labels should begin with water and end with either a colorant, preservative or
fragrance. As with foods, the first three to five ingredients comprise most of the formula makeup, and
the ingredients are listed from the greatest in volume to the least in volume, but anything at less than
1% can be listed in any order. If a product touts a certain ingredient, always be sure to read the label to
see just where that ingredient actually falls within the list- if it is listed farther down than the fragrance
ingredients, it is likely less than 1% of the total product, and therefore not necessarily as beneficial as it
is being claimed.
Also a side note on MSDS (material safety data sheets) (www.msdsonline.com): It should be noted that
MSDS –sheets- are not necessarily the complete list of ingredients within a formulation, but instead are
only a list of the ingredients within a formulation that have been known or documented as having
caused negative reaction or ill effect upon a human- this does not included any reaction upon an

Do some research, ask some questions, and make some decisions. Any change always starts in small ways and grows from there.

This and much more information concerning product labeling and understanding what ingredients are is all included in my newest book, "Caring For The Canine Coat".

Caring For the Canine Coat Book cover photo form

Canine Soak & Sugar Scrub Videos

This is a sequence of videos showing Max, a 13 year old American Cocker Spaniel who has had lifelong allergies & a plethora of secondary associated skin issues.

These videos should be watched in order, as they illustrate how to do a full soak & sugar scrub followed by a bath.  There is mention made of some massage topics, but this is not a massage video.  That is still to come!

Apple Cider Vinegar Rinse:

2 cup vinegar to 3 gallons of warm water

1/3c of dried Rosemary

1/3c of dried Thyme

Also added to Max's soak is

1 level cup of Epsom Salts per 5 gals of water

Fill the tub to desired depth with well warmed water, add your vinegar, then herbals & then salts & agitate well with your hands to dissolve the salts & allow the herbals to steep.

Let stand for about 10 minutes or until the water has become tepid.






Grooming With Canine Disease In Our Salons

This guy needs grooming too; how would you care for him?


As we all know, our canine clients often come to us with pre-existing health concerns or issues that may at times need our attention.  Most all canine diseases in some way affect all aspects of a dog's life- from its physical condition to its mental state, and these can vary at any time.  Some pet dogs will exhibit a variety of symptoms that a diligent owner will inform us of in effort to make the pet's visit as enoyable and safe for both parties as possible. With others, we are on our own to understanding how a dog's condition changes its experience in the grooming salon, as well as being honest with the owner in the event that it changes the outcome of the groom itself. 

Each disease, in general terms, carries its own set of symptoms, yet these symptoms can also be shared with other diseases as well, so it is always important to remember not to try to diagnose the dog on our table, but to always keep an educated eye on the pets in our care, to keep open communication with your clients, and to remember that a pet with special needs is just that--they need us to do what we can to assure their safety, comfort, and betterment of care. 

In general, remember that pets diagnosed with medical conditions should always be cared for as quickly and carefully as possible in the salon. Make efforts to help them enjoy their stay, meet their needs of care as thoroughly and gently as you can.  Always keep their Veterinarian contacts on hand during their stay.  Be sure that your client discloses to you as much medical background as possible, and have them sign a medical release waiver or form at each visit. Having one form with multiple signature lines helps save time & paper for keeping current. 

Remember that as with any disease or illness, some visits may bring the pet in feeling better than during other visits. And remember that if a pet acts out, this may well be the only way that they can communicate that they are in some sort of pain.  Be gentle, be educated, and remember that they are someone's cherished pet.

Listed below are some of the more often seen canine illnesses and their related symptoms.  In addition to this, I have listed what areas to manage with care while grooming. 

**On a side note, remember that changes to a pet's coat and skin can be a side effect of hormonal changes, high fever, or anesthesia- so if you see a coat change aside from seasonal shedding, etc., always talk with your client.

Also, to have on hand, here is a wonderful website for reference:

Merista Vet Logo Merista Vet



Allergies can come from multiple causes, including being a symptom of an underlying disease, so it is always important to never try to diagnose but instead to avoid possibly causing any further reaction by the pet, and to provide relief if at all possible. 

What we should do:

use simple and hypo-allergenic products during the groom. 

avoid scents- like colognes- as needed

avoid treats as needed

avoid contact with kennel bedding & towels as needed

clean & sanitize your equipment thoroughtly before contact with an allergic pet (as always)

make the pets visit as brief as possible

use care when handling the pet's skin & coat and avoid excessive mechanical (scrubbing) cleaning of skin, ears, etc. if irritated.

 Arthritis & Joint Disease

-Can affect any area or areas of the pet, can be diagnosed at any age, and may show no outward symptoms.

-Can have multiple causes; varying from acute trauma, to congenital or developmental or metabolic or hormonal disease, but the most common outward symptoms are:  stiffness, limping, or favoring a limb - particularly after sleep or resting, inability to rise, a reluctance to jump or climb stairs, and noticeable pain including vocalizing, swelling or heat around a joint. 

What we should do:

Allow the pet a large enough kennel space to stretch out if needed

Make their visit as short as possible

Be sure their bath water is warm and not too cool

Be sure to handle the dryer, your grooming tools, and your use hands gently on affected areas

Use utmost care to not overextend or pull on any symptomatic areas; lift appendages slowly and minimally

Displasia, Luxating Patella, etc.

-Displasia is a disease affecting the hip and/or elbow bones & joints & connective tissue.  It is caused by abnormal joint structure and a laxity of the muscles, connective tissue, and ligaments that would normally support the joint. As joint laxity develops, the articular surfaces of the two bones lose contact with each other and subluxation can occur.

-It can be symptomatic at any age, and is more predominate in certain breeds, later in life.

-It can be present with no obvious outward symptoms. Most often the outward symptom is a popping or clicking of associated joints, stiffness and lameness, and many of the same symptoms associated with arthritis. 

What we should do:

Handle the dog in much the same manner as you would for arthritis & joint disease. 

Be sure that if a joint does become dislocated, the groom is stopped and the pet is taken to the vet for care. 

Some dislocations can happen without our knowing, and some may even right themselves without manipulation. However, the pet could exhibit signs of injury hours or days later, so always alert your client if you suspect a problem, and work with care.

 Hearing & Vision Loss

-As with any loss of a sense, often the other senses will compensate with extra attunement. So, it is important to remember that for instance, a dog who cannot see well, will likely be more sensitive to loud noises and voice commands, scents & smells, etc.. Symptoms can associate themselves with the affected area- ie; vision loss can cause head shyness, staring and focusing on inatimate objects, reactiveness to their surroundings like snapping or ducking or cowering, etc. and hearing loss can cause similar symptoms.

What we should do:

Always take the lost sense into consideration when handling, moving or being in close proximity to an affected pet.

Remember that any outward trauma that caused the loss of sense, ie: chronic ear infections, cataracts, loss of an eye, etc. is likely to be physically sensitive to the pet, so handle those areas with extra care.

Mind slippery surfaces.

Use gentle touch, a gentle low voice and avoid extra noise in the salon if possible.

Make their visit as brief as possible.

If they are old,,maybe take the time to give them an extra cuddle or kind word--they feel it, and you will, too.

Dementia or canine cognitive dysfunction syndrome

-Dementia, or loss of cognitive function or response, is often associated with older age. Indeed it can also be a symptom of a neurological disease or stroke, so age may not always play a factor in its definition.  Remember that pets with dementia may also feel humiliated at their actions or responses, such as pottying uncontrollably, so be tender to their feelings as much as their symptoms.

Symptoms can include loss of bladder or bowel, barking or howling, loss of motor skills and coordination, forgetfulness, snapping at the air, biting uncontrollably, or any other off the wall, weird or abnormal behavior that goes along with not being in contact with reality at any given time.

That said--symptoms are widely ranging, and so should be your level of awareness.

What we should do:

Handle the pet carefully

Always be on alert to your proximity to the pet's teeth

Mind loud noises and engaging environmental changes in the salon

Use a gentle and low voice

Lyme Disease

When canine Lyme disease occurs it often does not begin to manifest for weeks to months after infection at which point arthritis signs are noticed. Sometimes there is a fever. In dogs, heart and neurologic issues are exceedingly rare. Often in larger dogs there will be excessive lethargy and stiffness.  These precautions for the salon should be considered with regard to the extent and phase of the disease, ie; if the pet has been diagnosed, is finished with their required initial medications, and is not running a fever.

What we should do:

Handle the pet carefully

Be mindful of joints and muscles as with arthritis pain

Make their stay as brief as possible

Look for areas where the pet has licked or chewed due to discomfort and be sure to remove any matted hair and notify the owner if there are any secondary sores, etc.

Alert the owner to any issues that you notice during grooming, such as swollen joints, fever, stiffness of appendages or neck & spine, etc.


-Hyperthyroidism is generally a disease in older cats, caused by a benign growth on the thyroid gland due to it producing too much T3 (an inactive form of triiodothyronine- or active thyroid hormone, which works normally to set the body's metabolic rate).

"Pre-existing kidney insufficiency can be masked in hyperthyroidism. This is because the heart disease and high blood pressure that goes with hyperthyroidism actually increases blood flow through the kidneys making the kidneys more efficient (virtually the only positive aspect of having hyperthyroidism)."- exerpt from MeristaVet,

so remember that increased urination or thirst may be evident at times.

-The most common symptom of hyperthyroidism is weight loss regardless of how much the pet eats.  During a salon visit, you may notice these symptoms:

     weight loss and muscle loss or wasting (shrinkage)

     bones being closer under the skin due to weight loss

     poor coat quality; including non-regular and excessive shedding; especially of the          undercoat

     increased thirst & drinking or frequent urination


-Hypothyroidism is the condition where one has inadequate active thyroid hormone. It is also the most common hormone imbalance of the dog.

The most common symptoms of this disease are increased weight and inactivity.

What we should do for either condition:

Allow a potty time during the pet's stay

Allow access to drinking water during the pet's stay

Be careful picking up the pet under the belly as there is often distension and possibly an enlarged liver which could be uncomfortable

 Addison's Disease

Addison's disease is a deficiency of the corticosteroid hormones.  These hormones are what help dogs to cope with stress.  This disease is predisposed for some breeds such as Standard Poodles and Bearded Collies, and is more prevalent among females of those affected.

The symptoms of this disease can be vague but may culminate into an "Addisonian Crisis", by which, due to even small stressors, a dog can "collapse in shock due to its inability to adapt to the caloric and circulatory requirements in stress. Blood sugar may drop dangerously low. Potassium levels soar and disrupt the heart rhythm because there is not enough conserved sodium to exchange for potassium. Heart rate slows, arrhythmias result. The patient may not survive this episode".

-(courtesy of Merista Vet Library)

So, it is important to understand that if the grooming client is diagnosed with this disease, or is now, but develops these symptoms during the grooming process to take them very seriously, notify the owner and their vet as soon as possible.

What we should do:

Avoid stressors as much as possible such as loud dryers, barking dogs or hectic ould environmental surroundings

Possibly schedule these dogs during your more quiet or slow periods of the day

Groom quietly and progressively to have the pet in & out as quickly as possible

Brachycephalic, Collapsing Trachea, etc.

Many of the breeds of dogs that we groom have a short muzzle, facial folds, or "smooshed" face.  There are several structural similarities that these conditions share. Most occur due to the skull and facial respiratory structure of these short nosed breeds, but also can occur concerning the windpipe and lung capacity of these breeds. 

Brachycephalic literally means "short head".  These breeds of dogs are bred to have  normally formed lower jaw, and a compressed upper jaw. This cosmetic feature produces a smaller amount of space for physical formation of the dog's air intake and expulsion organs- the nasal passages, the mouth palette, the throat and the windpipe.  It also can affect the formation of the dog's tear ducts and ear canals as well as the brain case of the skull.  In short, keep in mind that these breeds are put together in a way that has shrunk the amount of space that holds many a very important part of what the dog needs to breath and cool itself.  Remember also that these breeds' lung capacity may be smaller as well- even if the breed is actually a larger dog.  In addition to these issues, these dogs may also be predisposed to having dental problems since they have less room for their teeth set.

A collapsing trachea is often associated with this physical attribute, but can also be evident on its own in dogs with a longer muzzle structure.


Since these breeds of dogs are innefficent panters, they cannot adequately cool themselves by panting, so adding heat to their grooming process, whether while drying or in the salon atmosphere in general should be monitored.

What we should do:

Do not kennel dry these breeds in a dryer where heat is produced

Do not dry these breeds in a manner where a large amount of air or air at a high velocity is forced against the face

Thoroughly clean & dry the facial folds

Be aware of eye, ear canal, or teeth issues and alert any of these concerns to the pet parent

Be careful holding or squeezing the muzzle of any dog that has excessive teeth issues as they may be tender, swollen or even have an abcess that could rupture.  If you notice any swelling under the eyes, or around the gums of a dog, be sure to alert the pet's owner.

Use care when holding the muzzle of any dog as their nasal cavities run across the side of their nose, and can inadvertently be pressed shut when the face is held. If your dog thrashes its head or begins to cough while having its face held, this could be the reason.

Use your grooming loop across the chest and under one front arm instead of directly around the neck of a dog that "reverse sneezes", coughs, pants excessively, is wheezy or exhibits any breathing changes during their visit.

If the dog shows excessive signs of stress, either end, or give a break to the grooming process, and possibly have the pet owner present for the grooming in case of any issues.

Cushings Disease

Cushings Disease is caused "by the body's exposure to cortisol or related hormones over a period of time.  “Cortisol,” is a hormone produced by the adrenal glands which are located atop the kidneys. Cortisol is stored in the adrenal gland and is released in times of stress where it helps our bodies prepare for a “fight or flight” situation. It adjusts the metabolism to expect physical exertion by mobilizing fat and sugar stores and retaining sodium and water. It puts us in a state of “break down” so that our stored resources can be used quickly. If the body is exposed to this hormone most of the time, however, instead of during short stressful periods only, the state of break down becomes debilitating".

-(courtesy of Verista Vet)

Symptoms of Cushings Disease (are often associated with the aging process of a dog):

Excessive drinking, potbellied appearance, excessive hunger, muscles weakness, hair loss and possible subsequent skin disease- such as acne and darkening of the exposed skin, dermatitis, post clipping alopecia, poor healing ability, skin dryness, calcium deposits within  the skin (hard light colored lumps), secondary skin lesions/infection due to scratching.

What we should do:

Allow the pet adequate water as needed

Make their stay brief

Be aware that their muscles may be weak for standing long period of time or for leg lifting, etc.

Be careful handling or lifting the dog if their belly is distended

Address any skin issues that the dog may exhibit such as dryness, sores/lesions, acne or missing hair with supportive handling and products to help their condition. Groom them as best you can! 

For acne and alopecia, a follicular flushing shampoo or a detoxifying masque will help clean up the skin and hair follicles.


Thank you to Merista Vet for their wonderful site!


Depending on the cause and the area affected with Cancer, remember these concerns:

Cancer affects every part fo the dog's body regardless of what area it is associated with

Cancer can cause intense amounts of pain that the dog may not outwardly exhibit, but may cause it to react suddenly to if hurt.

Cancer causes all the systems of a dog to function differently and that can include their mental state, so always handle these dogs with tender care and compassion.

Do your best to work with the owner to provide supportive grooming care for the pet as long as their visit is not stressful and is comfortable for their current life stage.

Make them comfortable and clean, and remember that some parts of their grooming may need to be discontinued if necessary- and that is alright. Their condition is most important.

Advanced Heart Murmur

Heart murmurs can be caused by multiple congential or developmental issues. What it is caused by is the "left ventricular outflow tract just below the aortic valve has a scar-like narrowing or “stenosis“ (which is another word for “narrowing.” This means that the left ventricle must pump extra hard to get the correct blood volume through the narrowed area. The blood squirts through in a turbulent fashion which creates a sound known as a “heart murmur.”

-(courtesy of Merista Vet)

What we should do:

Allow the pet rest periods during their groom if they are panting or seem stressed

Avoid excessive stressors for the pet

If the pet seems lethargic or listless, or unresponsive as normally they should be, call their owner and alert their vet immediately.

Hypoglycemia & Toy Breed Hypoglycemia: 

Read more on its causes and symptoms here:


What we should do:

Be aware of any shaking, weakenss or listlesness. Convulsions and seizures should be taken seriously.  End the grooming process if these symptoms occur.  You may attempt to feed a treat or kibble but be careful of putting hands near the mouth, or objects into the mouth in the event of a seizure, and call the pet owner immediately.


Remember that seizures are to be taken seriously.  They can be caused due to outside stimuli such as light, dark, noise or heat/cold. They can be a symptoms of a multitude of health conditions as well.  They can be precursored by listlessness, aggressiveness, nose bleeds, shaking, panting, urinating or defecating, etc.

Use your discretion as to when to end the grooming visit when a seizure has occured. But know that a seizure often leaves a dog exhausted, muscularly sore, disassociated, disoriented, and can cause later loss of bladder & bowel.  In most cases, the grooming should be stopped, the pet layed on the floor, talked soothingly to, and pet firmly- with good pressure to help them concentrate on this interaction, to help them regain their consciousness to their suroundings.  Keep all things away from their mouths and help support their heads and limbs if thrashing.


Read more on Diabetes at length here:


What we should do:

Avoid treats

Be aware for wobblyiness or listlessness and in this event, contact the pet owner


End the grooming visit until the pet is stabilized.

Hemophilia or von Willebrand's disease:

This disease causes the pet's blood to not clot properly. Simply put, even the smallest cut might cause severe blood loss or hemorraging.

What we should do:

Try not to cut the pet!

If we do cut the pet: apply pressure, elevate the injured area above the heart, and call the pet's Vet and owner immediately. 

Pets having previously ingested poison such as antifreeze or rodent poison and are living with associative symptoms:

Remember that these poisons affect both the dog's organ and system function, as well as their mental/cognitive funtion and response. 

What we should do:

Be aware of possible skin tenderness (rodent poison attacks the circulatory system of a dog and can cause irreversible clotting and circulatory problems including tender skin, hair loss, bruising and ruptured capillaries)

Be aware of and openly ask questions of the owner as to differences they notice at home and take those symptoms into consideration when grooming- such as: weakness, vision loss, loss of equilibrium, excessive thirst, changes in breathing/lung capacity ability, etc.


Always be aware of the whole dog on your table. Never be afraid to address any issues or concerns that you witness or have.  Educate yourself to these and other canine and feline health concerns. Openly communicate with your pet owners and their vets and you will find you have a greater confidence while grooming, and a more comfortable response mechanism in time of need. 

Remember that we as groomers and pet stylists are an integral part of a pet's overall health and life quality.  Being proactive and skilled in your ability will only be an asset to your business longevity and reputation.

Happy Grooming!


























Credit to www.peteducation.com for some of the medical explanatives of these diseases.

Adding Supportive Servces to Your Salon


We would all benefit immensely by being able to increase our salon revenue without having to wear ourselves out with grooming more pets.  We know that there is much more to owning a pet than keeping up on their grooming.  So why not consider providing more than just grooming for our clients and their pets from our current salon? 

There are many services and programs that can be easily added to your pet salon or spa that will require only a little change to your frame of mind and your appointment book.  Most all of the care and services you can offer in addition to grooming take less money to add to your business, but they do take time to add to your focus.  Dedicating some of your time to learning about and scheduling these services will take you much less time than figuring out how to possibly groom more dogs in your already busy day.  You should always know exactly WHY you are offering any service or recommending products and giving advice. This will shine through every time you counsel and talk with pet owners.  Or it will be your greatest hindrance in taking yourself and your business to the next level.  The worst thing you can do for yourself at any time, and especially when starting to make these changes, is to try to sell things just for profit and to not be able to treat your clientele genuinely and supportively.  You should work with the mindset that you are focusing on educating yourself first and sharing that education with great purpose to your career and your livelihood.  After all, time is money, learning takes time, and you don’t want to have your new plans and goals undermined by poor planning and not following through. 

 Remember to network.  One of the most important things we should realize is that we cannot do it all.  One of the most lucrative and business supportive things we can work on is to create a network of reputable and honest people who can offer the care for our clients that we cannot.  Of course, we want to maximize our business opportunity and to not turn clients to others that we could be caring for ourselves. But if there are things your clients needs that you just aren’t able to address, setting their course with someone who can, will still land you in a position of being the go-to person for your clients.  They will respect & appreciate your guidance, so they’re still going to value you just as much.

      Sources to look at networking with:

  • Veterinarians-

Work diligently and proactively to gain several Veterinarian sources that are supportive to your pet care ideals, and supportive to your services as well.  I believe strongly in Holism and Integrated Alternative care, so I have worked to find Veterinarians who offer their care with the same basis.  I do this because I understand and believe in this as a way of life, and I care for my own pets this way, so it comes natural to look at my client pets this way as well.  Networking with like-minded business people can take only help you in your own business.   You can also consider that most Vets in turn network for things such as dental care, internal medicine specialties, and surgery specialists, so it is only natural that we could as well.

Other pet care providers:

  • Day care or pet sitting
  • Pet Walking
  • Boarding
  • Behavioral Counseling & Training
  • Nutrition Counseling
  • Local Kennel Clubs and Class Sources- for activities such as agility, earthdog, dock dog, ground work and Canine Good Citizen
  • Contacts for living assistance programs such as LABS, Angel On a Leash, or TheraPaws, and for therapy dog programs that offer to train your clients’ dogs
  • Food and Supplement Retail (some may have no space for food retail in their salons)
  • Extended Pet Supply Retail (this is very important because you want to turn them to people who will advise them on purchases they cannot make with you, and not just sell them things they don’t need)
  • Massage or Acupressure, Chiropractic and Supportive Care
  • Emergency Vet Care (always have a list of Vet contacts near your salon phone)
  • Reputable Breeders
  • Rescue and Shelter Organizations
  • Pet Hospice Care
  • Pet & Owner Bonding & Communication Counseling
  • Pet Memorial or Remembrance Services and Grief Support Groups

~Just think, about all of the things “pet” out there, and work to either get your business involved, or have a source of referral for it for your clients.

I say give the extra time, give the extra knowledge, and by all means give that part of yourself that wants to consider those things outside of the average or the norm that a grooming salon offers.  We can only add to the longevity of our careers, add to the enjoyment and fulfillment we take from our work, and add to the healthy, happy percentage of well cared for pets in our area.  The rewards are immense, and the return comes in ways that are meaningful- not so much just as profit, but the pride and professionalism of our industry as well, and of being part of that positive progression.