Monday, December 9, 2013

Dog Ear Infections

Here is a good article about canine ear infections: symptoms, treatment and prevention.
"Floppy-eared breeds, such as Cocker Spaniels, and breeds with hairy ears, such as Miniature Schnauzers, Poodles and Bichon Frises, are prone to ear infections because moisture is easily trapped in their ear canals."

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Winter Horse Care


My article posted in Noble Equine:

During the winter, a domesticated horse needs assistance to be comfortable. Besides proper cold weather shelter and feed, provide clean, unfrozen water. If using a water heater make sure it is grounded and running properly.

Your horse will also require daily inspections especially if blanketed. This may include removing the blanket to check for weight loss, skin infections, rubs and even injuries or swellings. Also check the blanket itself for any damage that would make it unsafe for the horse. Even if the horse has long hair and is not blanketed, it should be checked daily by running your fingers through the coat to feel for scabs or other problems.

While the blanket is airing out in the sun, groom your horse to stimulate the natural oils and circulation for a healthy coat. Legs and other exposed areas may need to have the dried mud removed with a metal curry or shedding blade. When finished brushing, spraying a silicone-based product will help condition the horse’s coat, mane and tail and repel future tangles. Rubbing alcohol will aid in removing grass and manure stains, and hydrogen peroxide will wash off blood spots. Check the lower legs and pasterns for a skin inflammation called scratches. Keep the ankles clean and dry and remove fetlock hair. Finally, using an equine or other heavy-duty vacuum suck up all the loose hair quickly.

Don’t forget the hooves! Use an easy grip ergonomic handled hoof pick like Noble Equine’s Bud’s Hoof Pick to dig out frozen ice and mud clumps. Spraying cooking oil on the clean sole will prevent build up from reoccurring. If you ride very little during the winter consider removing the shoes so the horse has more traction and avoids walking with clumps of snow packed in the hooves. Talk to your farrier about snowball pads, screw-in studs or borium. The hooves should still be maintained every six to eight weeks even if barefoot.

Before turning your horse out, check to see if the paddock or pasture has any ice patches that could cause a fall and seriously injure your horse. Break up large areas of ice by driving over it with a tractor and spread manure behind you as you go. For small areas especially around the water trough, spread cat litter rather than rock salt on the ground. This, or another organic, all-natural salt free product, are environmentally friendly and will melt the ice and provide traction. A bag of cat litter should also be carried in the horse trailer in case of an emergency when traveling to provide traction if you find ice where you parked. Combat ankle deep mud by spreading gravel so the horse stands out of the muck.

Even when the weather is cold and snowy, your horse will need exercise. Riding and/or providing turn out time will work towards keeping your horse healthy and happy this winter.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

New Booklet for Pet Owners!

My latest book is now available! Pet Grooming 101 is a great resource for kids and adults who have a dog or cat and want to know how to (and how often) clean their ears with a homemade solution, clean their teeth and trim their nails. Chapters on brushing, bathing and eye care etc. are included.

If you are thinking about adopting a dog, learn what breeds require what grooming and how often they need professional haircuts!

Limited print versions for sale $6.00:

E-book version at Amazon for 99 cents:

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Halloween Pet Safety Tips

(From Pedigree - allowed to share)

Children milling about giggling happily, lots of sweets to eat, brightly lit jack-o-lanterns, and visitors stopping by all evening long—to people (and kids, especially) Halloween can be a fun time of year. But to your family's dog, those same conditions can create a very different atmosphere: one of anxiety and alienation. To your dog, this special night is clearly not normal, and how he reacts to these unusual circumstances may depend on how well you prep him.
Here are a few Halloween safety tips that can help assure a pleasant and incident-free night in which all the scary stuff is in the name of good fun for everyone, including your dog:
  • Exercise your dog before party guests and trick-or-treaters are expected to arrive. After 30 minutes of walking or playing, most dogs will be more relaxed or ready to take a nap. And, as every dog owner knows, a tired dog is a well-behaved dog.
  • Give him some space. If the arrival of party guests makes your dog excitable, give him a break in his crate or in a quiet room with a familiar doggie bed or blanket. Allow your pooch to join the festivities after the initial commotion has subsided.
  • Provide "door bell" training. Train your dog to sit quietly near the front door when the doorbell rings. Practice every day to reinforce the behavior. A dog that barks and jumps up on guests is usually not appreciated. And, because this is Halloween, you can expect the doorbell to be ringing quite a lot.
  • Distract your dog with new toys. Just before your party guests arrive and the skeletons, devils, pirates, and princesses start ringing your doorbell, give your dog some fun new toys to play with. Long-lasting chew toys are nearly indestructible and will keep him occupied for a long period.
  • Never leave your dog alone with small children. No matter how much you trust your dog, make sure an adult is always in the room when small children visit your home. And remember, even a child that your dog knows well can appear strange and threatening when dressed in a Halloween costume.
  • Be strict with holiday sweets. Avoid giving your dog Halloween candy, cookies, cakes, and chocolate. These sweets can trigger life-threatening illnesses in dogs. Don't overdo the dog treats either. There's nothing festive about a dog that has diarrhea.
  • Keep an eye on candles. Lighted candles may make jack-o-lanterns glow radiantly, but they should never be left unattended—especially if they're at your dog's eye level. A wagging tail or a swat of a paw, and candles and hot wax can quickly become disastrous.
By following these simple tips, the "boos" in your Halloween will lead to smiles and laughter rather than worries about your dog's safety, comfort, and anxiety.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Clipping Your Horse

When clipping a horse, the preparation is as important as the clipping itself. Make sure you have the proper clipper size for the job and that it is in good working order. Bathe the horse beforehand and use a spray on conditioner after the final rinse to create a sleek coat and reduce static. The horse should be completely dry before attempting to clip.
Supplies you should have handy:
  • Large clipper made for the body with a #10 blade attached- the wider the blade the less swipes will be needed, new blades are best or newly sharpened ones
  • Smaller clipper with higher numbered blades, such as #15 for the head and #30 for inside the ears and around the muzzle
  • Rubbing alcohol or blade spray- use to cool the blades
  • Clipper oil- for the designated spots on the clipper and to reduce friction of the blade
  • Soft brush
  • Towel
Prepare a safe, clutter-free area for the horse to be cross-tied or held, preferably where there is no wind. Make sure the extension cord will not be in the way of the horse during clipping. Have a broom, shovel and trash can available for the loose hair clipped. You may need an assistant with treats if you are unsure how the horse will react. A twitch may also be necessary.

There are several types of patterns such as Trace Clip, Blanket Clip or Hunter Clip. Choose one and use a chalk to outline the edges, or opt for a full body clip. Start at the least sensitive area such as the horse’s shoulder. Clip against the growth of the hair using consistent pressure. To avoid lines and for an even cut, clip in overlapping rows and make sure the skin is stretched. You may want to clip the outline of the pattern first and then clip the interior. Cool the blade about every ten minutes, or change the blade to avoid burning the horse. Use the oil at the same time to keep the clipper motor running smoothly.

Since clipping may take a couple hours or more depending on the size of the horse, the thickness of the coat and the behavior, plan to take a break about halfway through to allow the horse to stretch its legs or relieve itself. Hand walking is suggested rather than being placed in a stall to avoid the horse from rolling. Sweep up the loose hair and then continue.

Once the body is finished, change to a smaller clipper with the appropriate blade for the legs, face and ears. Brush the body and wipe down with a towel. Check for any touch-ups that may be needed by holding the horse in the sunlight.

Finally, clean the clippers and blades so they are prepared for the next clipping job. Blanket the horse according to the temperature even if it is stabled inside.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Clipping & Bathing Cats!

Cats may need bathing for a number of reasons: shedding, flea infestation, family allergies or poor coat with matted fur. The cat may need to be shaved down with a Lion Cut as well. I shave from behind the ears to the first joint on each leg and to the end of the tail leaving a small fluffy tip. If they are long haired then they'll have a lion mane and the paws will have fluffy boots.

If no Lion Cut is needed, I bath with a de-shedding shampoo.

Shaving and bathing will give the cat healthier skin and a chance to grow a fresh new coat. The fleas, matts and dead hair will be gone and the cat will be much happier.

If there are allergies to the cat dander in the family, this may need to be done monthly. Otherwise, the cat may need this grooming every 2-4 months with the owner brushing in between.

Before the bath, I clean the ears and clip the nails. I shave most of the hair using blades that can range from a #10 (close to the skin) to a #5 (leaves a little fuzz) with the most common being #7. Then I secure an E-collar for the bathing and drying to protect the cat's face. I wrap the cat's paws after clipping nails with vet wrap - the bundling effect helps calm them and if they try to scratch me, I'm protected. I try not to put the wraps and collar on before the bath unless I feel the cat needs it.

In my mobile van, the cat does not sit in water; the shampoo/water mix is squirted from a bottle and massaged into the skin. The cat is rinsed off with a small hose, using warm water even in the summer. If the cat panics and scrambles around while leashed in the tub, I talk soothingly, shut everything down and place a small towel over the E-collar. Being covered usually calms them. Then I'll finish the rinsing.

After towel drying, I use a blow dryer set on low leaving the towel over the head if it makes the cat calmer. Sometimes the cat will begin to purr while I'm drying him, and then I'll take off the booty wraps and collar. I'll finish with a final shave to even out the coat.

I love how they strut when I return them to their house!

Friday, July 19, 2013

Equine Heat Stress and Heat Stroke

From the CHA (Certified Horsemanship Association) July Newsletter

Equine Heat Stress and Heat Stroke
Summer time! And the heat is rising. In the winter we look forward to summer months of intense equine activity. But are we ready for the heat and humidity?

Prevention is the key to riding in the heat. Horses must be in condition and riders should know the signs of heat stress and heat stroke - and how to react. Water should be offered often, even during exercise. Horses are cooled by sweating and respiration. The evaporation of sweat cools the body. If the day is humid, regardless of the temperature, sweat will not evaporate. If the humidity is high there can be significant losses in water and electrolytes at a temperature of 72 degrees, resulting in dehydration. In extreme dry heat horses can quickly become dehydrated due to loss of fluids and electrolytes through sweat.

Respiration is commonly referred to as breathing. A puffing horse is under stress and trying to cool his body. Moisture is lost during the respiration process. The normal respiration rate of an adult horse at rest is 8-16 breaths per minute. Know what is normal for your horse.

Heat stress usually does not require veterinarian intervention, but the horse must be attended. The most commonly observed signs of heat stress are profuse sweating, rapid breathing and a rapid heart rate. When a horse is showing signs of heat stress, stop all work and begin the cooling procedure.

Airflow is important to lowering the body temperature, so refrain from returning him to his stall. Hand walking, preferably in the shade, is one option. If you have access to fans this will help cool his body. Rinse the horse off with cool, not cold, water. Small amounts of water should be given at frequent intervals. Hot horses can colic if allowed to drink a large quantity of water all at once.

Heat stress can quickly become heat stroke; a life threatening condition. A veterinarian needs to be called! The symptoms of heat stroke are dry, hot skin; high pulse (normal pulse rate is 36-42 beats per minute), high respiratory rate and a high temperature. A temperature of 104 degrees for any length of time is a life threatening condition. The average normal temperature of an adult horse at rest is 100 degrees Fahrenheit – 38 degrees Celsius.

While waiting for the veterinarian to arrive, move the horse to a shady area with ventilation, provided by wind or fans. Work on lowering the internal temperature of the horse. Begin applying repeated applications of water on the neck, chest, shoulders, and legs. The water must flow over these areas and run off in order to remove the built up heat. Walk the horse to help dissipate heat through airflow and keep good blood circulation to and from the muscle. Do not throw a wet towel over the head and neck, as it acts as insulation.
Offer the horse sips of water at frequent intervals. Once the veterinarian arrives she will start electrolyte and fluid replacement treatment. There is a condition that horses may develop called anhidrosis - the inability to produce sweat. The cause is still under research, but one theory is the gradual degeneration of the sweat glands due to continued stimulation by a hot humid climate. Many times when these horses are relocated to a cooler region their ability to sweat returns, but these horses are at a higher risk of heat stroke and must be monitored closely.

So, enjoy the summer with your horse, but be aware of your horse’s comfort level. Stop, take a break, and relish the quiet time with your companion.

For information about caring for and feeding horses take the online course “Nutrition for Performance Horses” taught by Eleanor Blazer. Go to for more information and earn CHA discounts on continuing education credit hours for your certification renewal. Visit Eleanor's web site at

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Summer Activities with Your Dog

Summer is a great time to take your dog hiking, swimming, fishing and even boating! But remember they need to stay hydrated, too. Our son, Josh, loves to hike the Appalachian Trail and recently took his German Shepherd, Mauser, The dog carried a pack as well and had the water bottles in it! Even though Mauser hikes often with Josh and Bre, after two days, the rocky terrain tore up his paws so he had to head home early.

If you own a pool, your dog will often join you for a cool splash. In fact, it's best to make sure your new dog or puppy is familiar with where the steps are located in case the pet falls in. He could doggy paddle to exhaustion if not aware where to exit the pool. If there is no large pool available, a small one will do!

Monday, April 29, 2013

Horse Grooming Tips


From her Newsletter:

30 Grooming Tips to Transform Your Horse
1. Ask Dr. Garfinkel about adding vegetable oil or an essential Omega-3 fatty acid supplement to your horse's well-balanced diet for added shine.

2. Sponging your horse's face clean after exercise helps prevent fungal hair loss.

3. Keep different sized sponges for different duties (face, body, dock) and remember which is used for each task.

4. Hoof picks are cheap. Always use a sharp one to remove rocks and debris, and replace the pick when it no longer does the job easily.

5. Use a tail bag to keep your horse's tail thick, long and protected. Make sure to wash, condition, detangle and rebraid once a week, securing the tail bag below the tailbone.

6. Spend two minutes every two weeks running your clippers over your horse's bridlepath and whiskers.

7. Hoof oils and dressings for health or show are available. If you have a particular concern in mind, such as hooves that crack easily, ask your farrier for product suggestions.

8. Use a detangler and a wide-toothed comb (or your fingers) to remove any large snarls from mane and tail.

9. Dark coats often fade or bleach in the sunlight, so provide plenty of shade and consider adding a sheet. Sweat in the coat accelerates the fade, so rinse a sweaty horse before allowing him to bask in the sunshine.

10. Bathe your horse but don't overdo it-frequent shampooing may actually dull his coat.

11. An equine squeegee, rather than a hard sweat scraper, makes removing water from equine legs and hips easier and kinder.

12. For extra shine on special occasions, spritz your horse's coat with a sheen product.

13. Regular use of coat polish sprays right after bathing has the added bonus of deterring dust-it slides right off.

14. Horses with pink skin need extra sun protection-use sunscreen on susceptible pink noses!

15. To help protect against skin infections, regularly disinfect grooming brushes and combs.

16. Keep brushes clean as you go: After every few strokes with your body brush, clean the bristles on a metal or rubber curry held in your other hand.

17. Brush from front to back, top to bottom, for the most efficient effort.

18. Curry first in a circular motion to loosen dirt and hair; then use your stiff dandy brush to remove it. A flick of the wrist at the end of your long flat brush stroke helps lift the dust off.

19. Multi-task: use a brush in each hand!

20. Show-ring veterans have long known that grooming wipes are ever so handy.

21. If you have a gray horse or one with a lot of chrome, keep some spray-on equine stain remover-created to deal with manure and grass stains-at the ready.

22. As you groom, inspect your horse for injuries, skin irritations or areas of sensitivity. Run your bare hands down his legs to check for heat or swelling.

23. Keep up with routine grooming chores, such as mane pulling, trimming fetlocks, et cetera. That way you're not overwhelmed with last minute clean-up before a show.

24. If your horse objects to having his mane pulled, try doing a little each day after exercise, while his pores are open.

25. Check your horse's stall or paddock fencing for protruding objects: Wounds lead to blemishes and worse.

26. Let sweat and mud dry before attempting to brush it out. Or, hose your horse off.

27. When braiding, banding, or even training a mane over to one side, use a mane mousse to help get wayward hairs under control.

28. Color enhancing shampoos accentuate your horse's natural tones and bring out the highlights of his coat.

29. Using oil specifically designed for your horse's face, rather than baby oil, will collect less dust at the show.

30. Let your horse roll-dirt isn't permanent.


Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Warm Weather Means Shaving Your Long Haired Dog!

For their comfort, dogs will enjoy a shave down and bath when warm weather arrives. Many breeds such as Aussies, Shelties and Alaskan types benefit from this grooming. The 1/2 inch Puppy Cut or a long blade works best. Also, with the coat shorter the skin can be viewed for its health: fleas, sores and dandruff can be treated with ease. See results below!

Lexi, a Shelty, before and after.

Shara, a Shelty


Foxy, an American Eskimo

Raven, a Chow

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Spring Shave Down Time!

Sam, a St. Bernard, proudly shows off his recent shave down!

It's Springtime! As warmer weather approaches, especially in the southern states, it's time to think about having your dog or cat shaved. Many breeds can benefit from this such as the St. Bernard above. Sam's hair was about six inches long before his haircut. He's cooler and cleaner now.

Some owners have their shedding dogs (Labs, Golden Retrievers, spaniels, etc) shaved during the warmer months, and furminated in the wintertime. Some want as short as possible (#7 blade) while others like a little fuzz with a longer blade (#5). Also, poodle crosses such a Labradoodles, benefit from being clipped.

Cats, especially with long hair, benefit from shave downs as well. No more tangles, matts or hairballs!
The Lion Cut has the cat shaved from the neck to the paws and the tail except for a fluffy tip. If long haired, the mane is left around the head.

A calico purrs after her Lion Cut!

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Groom & Kennel Expo

Groom & Kennel Expo

Check out the LIVE grooming being done at Groom & Kennel Expo from February 21 - 24, 2013 at
Pasadena Convention Center in Pasadena, CA!

Best in Show will be announced today.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Allergies in Dogs


What Are Allergies?

Just like people, dogs can show allergic symptoms when their immune systems begin to recognize certain everyday substances—or allergens— as dangerous. Even though these allergens are common in most environments and harmless to most animals, a dog with allergies will have an extreme reaction to them. Allergens can be problematic when inhaled, ingested or contact a dog’s skin. As his body tries to rid itself of these substances, a variety of skin, digestive and respiratory symptoms may appear.

What Are the General Symptoms of Allergies in Dogs?

  • Itchy, red, moist or scabbed skin
  • Increased scratching
  • Itchy, runny eyes
  • Itchy back or base of tail (most commonly flea allergy)
  • Itchy ears and ear infections
  • Sneezing
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Snoring caused by an inflamed throat
  • Paw chewing/swollen paws
  • Constant licking
Allergic dogs may also suffer from secondary bacterial or yeast skin infections, which may cause hair loss, scabs or crusts on the skin.

Which Dogs Are At Risk for Getting Allergies?

Any dog can develop allergies at any time during his life, but allergic reactions seem to be especially common in terriers, setters, retrievers, and flat-faced breeds such as pugs, bulldogs and Boston terriers.

What Substances Can Dogs Be Allergic To?

A few common allergens include:
  • Tree, grass and weed pollens
  • Mold spores
  • Dust and house dust mites
  • Dander
  • Feathers
  • Cigarette smoke
  • Food ingredients (e.g. beef, chicken, pork, corn, wheat or soy)
  • Prescription drugs
  • Fleas and flea-control products (The bite of a single flea can trigger intense itchiness for two to three weeks!)
  • Perfumes
  • Cleaning products
  • Fabrics
  • Insecticidal shampoo
  • Rubber and plastic materials

Can Dogs Be Allergic to Food?

Yes, but it often takes some detective work to find out what substance is causing the allergic reaction. Dogs with a food allergy will commonly have itchy skin, breathing difficulties or gastrointestinal problems like diarrhea and vomiting, and an elimination diet will most probably be used to determine what food he is allergic to. If your dog is specifically allergic to chicken, for example, you should avoid feeding him any products containing chicken protein or fat.
Please note that food allergies may show up in dogs at any age.

What Should I Do If I Think My Dog Has Allergies?

Visit your veterinarian. After taking a complete history and conducting a physical examination, he or she may be able to determine the source of your dog’s allergic reaction. If not, your vet will most probably recommend skin or blood tests, or a special elimination diet, to find out what's causing the allergic reaction.

How Are Dog Allergies Diagnosed?

If your dog’s itchy, red or irritated skin persists beyond initial treatment by a veterinarian, allergy testing, most often performed by a veterinary dermatologist, is likely warranted. The diagnostic test of choice is an intradermal skin test similar to the one performed on humans.
The only way to diagnose a food allergy is to feed your dog a prescription or hydrolyzed protein diet exclusively for 12 weeks. The importance of not feeding your dog anything but the diet cannot be emphasized enough—that means no treats, table food or flavored medication. This diet will be free of potential allergy-causing ingredients and will ideally have ingredients your dog has never been exposed to. He’ll remain on the diet until his symptoms go away, at which time you’ll begin to reintroduce old foods to see which ones might be causing the allergic reaction.
Please note, many dogs diagnosed with a food allergy will require home-cooked meals—but this must be done in conjunction with your veterinarian, as it requires careful food balancing.

How Can Dog Allergies Be Treated?

The best way to treat allergies is to remove the offending allergens from the environment.
  • Prevention is the best treatment for allergies caused by fleas. Start a flea control program for all of your pets before the season starts. Remember, outdoor pets can carry fleas inside to indoor pets. See your veterinarian for advice about the best flea control products for your dog and the environment.
  • If dust is the problem, clean your pet's bedding once a week and vacuum at least twice weekly—this includes rugs, curtains and any other materials that gather dust.
  • Weekly bathing may help relieve itching and remove environmental allergens and pollens from your dog’s skin. Discuss with your vet what prescription shampoos are best, as frequent bathing with the wrong product can dry out skin.
  • If you suspect your dog has a food allergy, she’ll need to be put on an exclusive prescription or hydrolyzed protein diet. Once the allergy is determined, your vet will recommend specific foods or a home-cooked diet.

Are There Allergy Medications for Dogs?

Since certain substances cannot be removed from the environment, your vet may recommend medications to control the allergic reaction:
  • In the case of airborne allergens, your dog may benefit from allergy injections. These will help your pet develop resistance to the offending agent, instead of just masking the itch.
  • Antihistamines such as Benadryl can be used, but may only benefit a small percentage of dogs with allergies. Ask your vet first.
  • Fatty acid supplements might help relieve your dog’s itchy skin. There are also shampoos that may help prevent skin infection, which occurs commonly in dogs with allergies. Sprays containing oatmeal, aloe and other natural products are also available.
  • An immune modulating drug may also be helpful.
  • There are several flea-prevention products that can be applied monthly to your dog’s skin.
  • If the problem is severe, you may have to resort to cortisone to control the allergy. However these drugs are strong and should be used with caution and only under the guidance of your veterinarian.

Are Allergies and Bronchitis Related?

Chronic exposure to inhaled irritants (including cigarette smoke) may be a cause of bronchitis in the dog. Bronchitis is characterized by a persistent cough due to inflammation of the airway and excessive mucus production. Treatment may include medication to open breathing passages, antibiotics and anti-inflammatory agents. Please remember, your pets should not be exposed to cigarette smoke.