“I would like a puppy cut please,” says Bella’s mom the owner of an adorable Maltese. Quick – look at the cringe form along the groomers face as they are thinking, “What does that mean???” There is no ‘standard term’ in the grooming industry for a puppy cut. Each groomer interprets it differently and this is where the confusion lies. To Bella’s mom, it sounds simple enough but to the groomer, this can lead to a bad haircut, an unhappy client and a misunderstanding that can make the groomer look incompetent. So now the series of questions begin:
Let’s face it, professional grooming can be expensive. It’s one of those things in life that are both a necessity and a luxury. With the proper tools, education, and time…you can groom your dog at home and still maintain a cute clip.
Tools of the Trade
You will need the following items for a positive grooming experience.
An elevated surface. Grooming on the ground is both back breaking and tricky. Putting your dog on a picnic table or even the washer and dryer is more desirable. You will need to purchase a grooming arm and grooming loop to hold your pet in one place. For smaller breeds, there are miniature grooming tables that you can put on top of your kitchen table. For the larger pets, attaching a canine hitch to a stud in your garage is recommended for a faster and safer grooming experience.
Dremel. Every groomer I know resorts to using a Dremel that you can buy at your local hardware store. They are safer and easier to use than any dog nail clipper.
Comb and a brush. Buying professional grade brushes and combs is highly recommended because they are the most effective in removing dirt, debris, and those nasty tangles, known as mats.
Pet shampoo customized to your dog’s skin conditions and needs.
Clippers. Pet groomers debate the best clippers on the market constantly! For the pet owner who will groom their pet occasionally, invest in a mid-range professional pet grooming clipper. Stay away from a man’s grooming clipper because they are not strong enough to go through a pet’s hair and they will also give an undesirable length!
Grooming Blades. There are various lengths to choose from and here is a guide to help…
Only select blades that contain an “F” (for finishing) after a number. Any blades that contain an “S” is known as a skip-tooth and should only be used by professionals as this type of blades increases the risk of cutting your pet’s skin.
The higher the blade number, the shorter the hair cut will be. For instance, #40 is a surgical blade that vets use to prep for surgery. A #3F blade will leave your pet with a half inch of hair.
A #10 blade is always used for sanitary trim, pads of the feet, and in between the eyes. This is a must have blade.
If you prefer your pet to have more than an inch of hair, then you will need a #10 blade and clipper combs.
Scissors, preferably with a blunt tip (please note, I have never used these scissors before because professionals use scissors that cost upwards of $300.00. I would never recommend that investment to a pet owner.)
Ticks. Just the word alone makes me think of old B-Rated horror films that portray these nasty blood suckers. And with good reason. Just the thought of something as disgusting as a bug, resembling a spider, attached to your skin, sucking your blood like a vampire can give even the bravest of people the heebie-jeebies.
Ticks, like fleas (Covered in Part 1), are resilient and crafty. They live in the deep woods, suburbia and urban neighborhoods. Besides being miniature Dracula’s, ticks can carry very serious and debilitating diseases – the most common is Lyme’s Disease. A fantastic resource regarding ticks and how they affect your pooch is on the amazing website Dogs and Ticks
If you don’t have the time or the subject makes you all-together queasy, I’ll cover the basics and avoid the gore!
Yay!! We can finally feel that warm weather coming back. The sun is shining, the trees and flowers are blooming. Everyone feels great with all the vitamin D we are getting. But there is something in the shadows…lurking and waiting.
With spring in the air, the armies of tiny predators that come to feast on your fur babies are back and are mounting a nearly invisible attack on those you love.