Tag Archives: dogs

Doggone Beautiful!

Being beautiful is a vain trait of humans alone, especially since animals don’t worry about such trivial matters. However, being and feeling clean is something that is shared by both people and animals.

For today’s “Random Musing”, Animal Culture‘s author, Kalie Lyn, shares with us the world of pet grooming, and how it truly benefits our pets.


Working in the pet grooming industry as a bather and groomer for the past year, I have seen my fair share of bad hair days (and I’m not talking about my own, which is usually an everyday occurrence). I have worked with breeds from tiny little Yorkshire Terriers to gigantic Newfoundlands, all with different attitudes, hair types, and problems. Needless to say, I have seen it all, and it usually goes something like this.

The Heaven Sent:

This is the dog who feels like it was literally sent from heaven to give you some much-needed relief in an otherwise hectic job. Aside from short-haired dogs – such as Labs, Boxers, Beagles, etc., which are automatically heaven sent since they require little work – these are the long-haired dogs that have been well brushed at home, so much so that the comb slides right through their coat like butter. Of course, however, these lovelies come through as often as Hailey’s Comet. But you better believe that when they do, they and their parents get a huge round of applause from us groomers.

(Photo Via: Everything-shih-tzu.com)

(Photo Via: Everything-shih-tzu.com)

The Regular:

These are the dogs that have the groomer on their monthly calendar. They enter in good shape, with maybe a few knots here and there, but nothing that can’t be easily brushed out without yanking on their skin. Their pet parents usually bring them in every few weeks, and brush them at least once a week at home between grooming visits. Just like a bartender, groomers know the names and personalities of all their regulars.

(Photo Via: Doggroomingaldershot.co.uk)

(Photo Via: Doggroomingaldershot.co.uk)

The Liar:

The liar isn’t the dog, it’s the parent. “I brush Tootsie every day at home,” they’ll say. LIAR! You can spot a “Heaven Sent” the second that dog walks into the salon, but the “Liar” takes some feeling. The liar’s dog will look brushed at first glance, but once the groomer starts to feel the dog the lies start to unravel. There are no knots or tangles because they have evolved into full-blown mats. This type of matting is usually tight, thick, and to the skin, and occurs in places that the pet parent doesn’t think to brush – the legs, stomach, chest, and behind the ears, all places that are prone to matting. Usually, in cases like this, the matting is too bad to get out without hurting the dog, especially in the sensitive areas listed above. A call to the pet parent must be made letting them know that their dog will probably have to be shaved. And most likely, that pet parent will stick to their lie, stating again they brush their dog on a daily basis. The pet parents are important to groomers, as they are the ones who pay the bills, but the dog is the number one priority. When a dog is badly matted, a groomer will insist on shaving until the pet parent finally lets up and agrees. However, in some cases, a dog must go home as it came in because putting the dog through hours of intense de-matting, in sensitive areas, is painful and stressful. Eventually though, the liar usually confesses, and the clippers come out.

(Photo Via: Skywriting.net)

(Photo Via: Skywriting.net)

The APOCALYPSE:

It’s no joke when I say this is the dog who looks like it literally survived the apocalypse. I have seen this only a couple of times in my career, and thank god. There is no questioning the pet parent – trust me, they know – and there is no calling them. The clippers come out immediately and start shaving. In cases like this, the hair doesn’t fall off in pieces. It falls off in one giant matted clump, looking like an already knitted scarf or sweater. And, it’s no laughing matter for either the dog or the groomer. Shaving out mats that are that deep, mats that are pressed on the skin, can become very dangerous. Besides paying close attention as to not cut the skin, nicking sores that have formed from the moisture trapped in the matted fur is also something to watch out for. When seeing a dog like this, many thoughts go through your mind: Were they homeless? Are they abused? What is wrong with the people? There will never be a good explanation for a dog that has to suffer like that, with fur that is so matted they can’t walk, see out of their eyes, or use the bathroom properly. And though the dog may not be being hit or kicked, neglecting a dog to that level is still abuse.

(Photo Via: Gracielushihtzu.com)

(Photo Via: Gracielushihtzu.com)

So, how important is grooming for your dog? Very important!

Grooming isn’t just brushing or giving a dog a hair cut, grooming also consists of flea and tick checks during the bath, cutting the nails so they aren’t overgrown, and plucking ear hair that can cause ear infections.

It also helps socialize your dog with other people and pets, and the more your dog goes the groomer, the less they will hate it. Never give the excuse, “Oh, but my dog is scared of the groomers.” No, he’s scared because you’re scared. Once a dog leaves the arms of their pet parents, they enter an environment where dogs come first. Groomers are there to love, care for, and create a relaxed experience for your beloved pooch. We are trained to work with different breeds and personalities, and know what to do to keep pets calm and happy.

Another thing to keep in mind is, just like ours, hair grows back! If your groomer tells you your dog needs to be shaved, let them. Trust me, we’re not all shave-happy. Shaving takes time, patience, and focus, but the reason we suggest it is usually because of severe matting. It benefits your dog and you.

So, take a trip to your local groomer and treat your beloved family pet to some beautifying TLC. And remember, just like you tip your own hairdresser, tip your dog’s hairdresser too!

(Photo Via: Dogtemperament.com)

(Photo Via: Dogtemperament.com)


*Note: The article above was written by © Kalie Lyn, 2014*

Choosing “The One”

So, it’s time. You know you have the essentials to get a pet, and you know the importance of adopting vs. buying. Now, it’s time to consider what kind of pet is perfect for you – size, temperament, activity, and all! (Side note: since dogs are the most popular pet, we will focus this post on choosing the right dog.)

Just like with searching for a spouse, or claiming someone as our best friend over another person, we look at what kind of person they are. Their personality, behavior, and interests are all factors we consider in other people; and the same goes for dogs too. We all want our dogs to mesh with our lives, to be just another (albeit four-legged) member of the family. And with this desire, comes much to think about.


Size: Choosing a dog based on the space you live in is important. If you live in an apartment, it would not be ideal, for you or the dog, to adopt a large breed – such as a Great Dane, Great Pyrenees, Bernese Mountain Dog, etc. These dogs require ample space to both move around and feel comfortable, and for you as well. For people living in apartments or smaller condos/town homes, small to medium-sized dogs are more ideal. So, depending on where you call home, the size of your living conditions should factor in what size dog you should adopt.

Size does matter! (Photo Via: News.domain.com.au)

Size does matter!
(Photo Via: News.domain.com.au)

Temperament: While it’s nice to think that we would all be unbiased when it comes to choosing a dog, especially breed, realistically that’s not possible. Each individual dog has their own individual personality, and it’s important to know what kind of personality best suits you. First thing’s first, erase your brain of all those Pit Bull stereotypes. For a temperament test performed by the American Canine Temperament Testing Society, Pit Bulls passed with flying colors with a score of 83.9%. They even surpassed the Golden Retriever (83.2%) and the Beagle (78.2%), and highly out-did the average passing score of 77% for all breeds. While this can not be said for all Pit Bulls (there are bad eggs in all families), the owner is usually the problem. With gentle, loving, and proper leadership, Pit Bulls make great family pets. So, don’t exclude them just because of their bad rap!

(Photo Via: Thepetcollective.tv)

(Photo Via: Thepetcollective.tv)

Some dogs however, no matter the breed, may just have a bad temperament. Maybe they suffered from a traumatic past experience, or have lost trust in certain humans (some dogs even relate better to women than men, or vice versa). Whatever it is, there are ways to test out a dog’s temperament before adopting them. Most shelters already know a dog’s personality, and will inform you before adopting, however, if you are curious for yourself, there are some things you can test out on your potential future dog. Calmly and gently touch their feet, ears, and tail. These are sensitive spots for dogs, and if a dog shows signs of aggression when you touch them (i.e. barred teeth, growling, nervous retreating), these are things to consider, especially if you know your dog will be around young children. Another useful tip is knowing how a dog reacts around other people and animals. Most shelters allow you to walk the dog you are considering. Seeing how they react while on leash and on the street around other people and animals is a great indicator of a dog’s behavior. And lastly, make sure to have the entire family present when considering a dog. Making sure the dog meets each family member before adoption is important not only to determine behavior, but is also part of the bonding process.

Breed plays a role in a dog's character, but it doesn't determine their whole, often complex, personality. (Photo Via: Dogtemperament.com)

Breed plays a role in a dog’s character, but it doesn’t determine their whole, often complex, personality.
(Photo Via: Dogtemperament.com)

Activity: Just like with a human partner, we also look for common interests when it comes to our pets. Do you enjoy running, or are you more of a couch potato? Are you outdoorsy, or do you prefer to snuggle up inside? Activity is determined mostly by breed. Highly active breeds include Beagles, Fox Terriers, and German Shepherds. So, if you are looking for a running buddy, or someone to play fetch with on a daily basis, these may be the breeds for you. However, if you enjoy watching TV marathons, or live a less active lifestyle, Bulldogs, Basset Hounds, and the Bullmastiff may fit better in your family. Age and health is also a factor in the activity level of a dog. Older dogs (which need just as much love!) are more suited for a calmer, less-active lifestyle. On the other hand, puppies and young adults, given they don’t have any health restrictions, need ample exercise and play time. To see a more detailed list of the activity levels of certain breeds, visit Happy Healthy Puppy.

(Photo Via: Dogster.com)

(Photo Via: Dogster.com)


 

While this may seem like a lot of information, this is just the tip of the iceberg. Factoring in all of the above, and adding requirements of your own, is important when deciding which dog is best for you and your family. Make sure to do your research. Adopting a dog should not happen on a whim, and “love at first sight” doesn’t always determine a healthy, happy relationship.

Knowing what you want and need in your life, and meeting many different dogs, is key in choosing “the one”. So get out there a mingle! There are many adoptable dogs searching for you as well!


*Sources: Cesarsway.com, Americanhumane.org, Dogbreedinfo.com, Mabbr.org, Happyhealthypuppy.com*
*Note: The above article was written by ©Kalie Lyn, 2014*

Money & Time: Can I Give Both?

Adopting a pet is a decision that should not be taken lightly. Pets, whether it be a dog, cat, fish, gerbil, etc., are lifelong commitments – “lifelong” in terms of your pet’s life – and is a commitment that needs to be completely thought out beforehand.

A pet needs food, water, training, shelter, medical, and lots and lots of love. Basically, a pet is a four-legged child, and when it comes to your child’s well being, nothing can stand in the way. So, before deciding whether or not you are ready for that grande commitment, there are two important factors you must consider.

Money: Most importantly, are you financially able to support another living, breathing life? The amount you would spend on vet bills alone can determine that. Be prepared to pay a few (a few meaning 3) hundred a year, and this amount usually only factors in the annual physical exam vet visit, including vaccines and tests. Add spaying and neutering, minor – (diarrhea, vomiting, infections) or major (broken bones, injuries needing surgery) complications, and that $300 can tripple in the blink of an eye. Granted, this information mainly concerns dog parenting; cats, rodents, fish, etc. are much less expensive in terms of medical expenses, though it is important to keep up-to-date on all pet types’ vaccines. Aside from the medical bills, potential pet parents must also add in adoption fees, food, bedding, grooming, toys, hygienic tools (kitty litter and boxes, pee pads), etc., and you can rack up an estimated $700-$3,000 a year.

Time: Kennels and doggie daycare were created for the busy pet parent. But, with the amount you spend on a pet, why have one in the first place if you will not be able to enjoy its company? If you travel or work a lot, it may be the wrong choice to adopt a dog. Cats or rodents though, since they are less maintenance and can be left alone for longer periods of time (with sufficient food and water of course), may be the perfect companion for you. However, cats and rodents need care and love too, so if you are sure you would not be able to provide that on the schedule you have, stick with fish.

Of course there is much more to consider when deciding whether to be a pet parent or not, but money and time are the two most important.

Do I have the money to give a pet everything it needs and wants?

Do I have the time to give a pet everything it needs and wants?

If you answered “yes” to both of these questions, then maybe you should consider looking at your local shelters for an animal who needs a home.

However, if you answered “no” to one, or especially both, of those questions, maybe it is best if you just stick with a Tamagotchi.

(Photo Via: Facebook.com)

(Photo Via: Facebook.com)

And remember, ALWAYS ADOPT!

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*Sources: Dog.answers.com, Dogs.about.com, Facebook.com*