Sunday, June 28, 2009

Fixing Matted Dogs

"Truffle" - before and after!

Matting is a problem with long haired dogs like the Shih Tzu, Truffle, above. Some are even worse!

Although the show dogs may be left with the hair long, most owners opt for a "Puppy Clip/Cut" for ease of care. The long hair requires daily combing to avoid the matting.

I have to shave them with a #10 blade if heavily matted. This sweet girl had some body hair that I saved with a #3 3/4 blade for the 1/2" look. But the belly and legs needed the #10.
I also had to shave the head and beard of Truffle due to the old food stuck to it! Most owners of this breed like a short beard with the ears the same length or a little longer. The top of the head may be 1/2" or longer, usually longer than the body.
Truffle's tail just needed a little trim and a combing with some tangle free rinse. The nails were long and curled, but she was very good about clipping them. Some Shih Tzus have dew claws and one of my regular customer's dog had ones on the hind feet too. So be careful when clipping that you don't hit the dew claws!
Speaking of paws, on the top I used the #10 and also underneath. Then, after most of the hair was off, I shampooed, rinsed & dried the dog. Then I go over with the clippers again since the clean hair makes it easier to even up, and I use the #40 blade under the paws.
The whole process takes 90 minutes or more, so be patient. Some dogs are behaved, but others may be nervous or scared, and be fidgety. I give lots of TLC and cuddling!
FMI on this breed, visit

Monday, June 22, 2009

Nail Care for Dogs & Cats

I'll start with trimming nails because it is the subject that I receive the most questions.

Yes, dogs and cats need their nails trimmed - just like humans and horses. All toenails grow and if left untrimmed they can have problems such as curling as in the photo above. This can make it difficult for animals to walk.
I suggest calling a professional - called a blacksmith or farrier - for a horse, but owners can do their cat or dog as long as they have the proper equipment and knowledge. And as long as the dog/cat is agreeable!
Pedicure devices sand down the nail or you can find nail clippers for pets. It really depends on what your pet prefers. I've found that small pets are often scared of my noisy electric sander called a drummel. So a small clipper works best and I'll file the rough edges with an emory board. Larger dogs seem fine with the drummel, but if they are worried about feel or noise, I'll use a larger clipper.
BEWARE OF THEIR BLOOD LINE! If the nails are light colored, it is easy to see the blood line and just file or cut above it. Nothing makes a dog hate to have its nails done if the blood line is hit and the dog feels pain. If the nails are dark, go slowly just taking off a little nail at a time. Just because the nail has curled doesn't mean that is where you should cut.
One way to tell the correct length is to have the dog stand on a flat, hard surface. The nails should be just above, or barely touching, the surface.
For cats, just clip the pointy tips.
How often? Some dogs require clipping every month, while others are fine for two to three months.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009


Stay tuned for grooming tips for your pet! I'll share secrets of the trade while keeping your dog, cat or horse looking their best.

I've been a professional horsewoman for 40 years, a groom for international equine competitors for 20 years and now a groomer with Aussie Pet Mobile since last November. I travel around St. Petersburg, Florida and the Gulf Coast resorts as well as south Tampa in my mobile pet van and loving it!

Above is a client named Tucker - before & after!