Petting away grooming anxiety

Ear Essentials for your darlings

Groom to Shine this winter

Making bath time fun for your dog

Know your grooming brushes

Guiding pet parents who are not aware of breeds and their brushes, Red Paws has compiled a collection of brushes designed in accordance to variations in coat types.


Slicker Brush: This brush is appropriately designed for long-haired dogs such as Poodles, Shih Tzu and other mixed Terrier breeds. Available in various sizes, Slicker Brush looks sort of like needles.


Wide Tooth Comb: This looks like a human comb, but the only difference is that the teeth are closer together so that it can comb out silky hair of long-haired breeds. This brush needs to be used from the roots outwards to remove knots and undercoats properly.


Flea Comb: The name says it all! The teeth of this brush are very close together to remove fleas that keep hounding your pooch. This is good to use after a flea and tick bath.



Rake: This brush is great for dogs like St Bernard, Golden Retriever, German Shepherd, etc, who tend to have a lot of undercoat and need regular brushing to help remove excess hair.


Bristle Brush: Generally used in combination with other brushes, Bristle Brush is good to use on most breeds.


Rubber Curry Brushes & Kong Zoom Groom: Rubber Curry Brushes are great for short-haired breeds and they attract hair like magnet. Similarly, Kong Zoom Groom works on the same principle like the Rubber Curry Brushes, but it is made of material that lasts longer.


Red Paws Day Out
There’s a reason to celebrate for Delhittes…Red Paws Day Out is organising on 5th February 2017 at Zorba, MG Road, New Delhi. At the event, visitors can enjoy various activities while their furry friends can benefit from Q&A sessions with doggie nutritionists and vet.To shop the Red Paw brushes online, log on to: and for more information, visit the blog:

Guidelines to groom your puppy

Pallavi Bhattacharya

bringing home an adorable puppy is an experience of joy. And you may surely want to make your young furry buddy spic and span at the earliest. But grooming your puppy may be a bit challenging task. Here are some guidelines on grooming your puppy.–by Pallavi Bhattacharya


Judith Paul, head groomer at Tailwaggers Pet Salon in Mumbai, says puppies need to be fully vaccinated before they get bathed. “After all, they have to be strong enough to withstand the process of bath in a tub. The puppy should be around three months of age when he gets his first bath,” she adds.


Dr D G Dighe, a vet based in Maharashtra, is of the opinion, “After the puppy is given two vaccinations, he can be given a bath in lukewarm water. The puppy is likely to be around three months of age at that time.” Grooming is undoubtedly important for puppies. Elaborating on the need for grooming a pup, Dr Dighe explains, “Grooming takes care of the puppy’s skin and coat. It increases blood circulation, improves the coat colour and its shine. It also helps in detangling the puppy’s fur and removes ticks and fleas.” Dr Dighe cautions that puppy shouldn’t be bathed daily, but once a month. What if the puppy gets very dirty before the vaccinations are completed? Judith replies, “In such a scenario, a sponge bath is advisable only when the puppy attains the age of one and a half month. You just need to simply wipe the dog and dry him.” Judith suggests another precaution to be taken while bathing a puppy. She says, “The dog should be bathed in a closed area, not in the open.” When you bathe a reluctant human child, you try to make it fun for him. One of the ways to make bath time jovial is to introduce toys, whether your child is human or a puppy. Judith elaborates, “Bath time shouldn’t be like a mundane chore. You need to make it into a game. Entice the pup to the bath tub with squeaky toys and keep him entertained throughout the session.”


Popularity of herbal dog shampoos is rising. Both Dr Dighe and Judith suggest to go for herbal dog shampoos, instead of chemical shampoos, to bathe your puppy. Dr Dighe explains, “The puppy’s skin contains plenty of micro flora, which is required to maintain the good health of the skin. Frequent shampooing, especially with chemical shampoos, may lead to skin problems. Regular use of chemical shampoos strip the puppy’s skin of micro flora, which in turn makes it susceptible to bacterial and fungal infections. Regarding the application of shampoo on the puppy, Judith says, “Opt for a very gentle and mild shampoo. Dilute the herbal shampoo with water. After all the puppy’s skin is very sensitive. Lather up and with your finger tips, gently massage the shampoo in. Never use shampoo on the pet’s face. Wash off the shampoo properly, else skin infections may be likely.” Like in adult dogs, pouring water should only be used neck down in the puppy too. In this, Judith says, “If the bath isn’t below the neck, the puppy will get frightened. Water should never be poured on the face, else it may enter the eyes and ears of the puppy.”


A puppy needs to be dried properly. The natural instinct of the puppy may be to shake off the droplets of water from his fur after the bath. Give him the freedom to do so. Put an absorbent bath towel meant for the puppy over his back. Let the towel soak the water, rub it gently over his coat. For a puppy, a big towel is not needed. Nevertheless if the towel you are using still gets wet, replace it with a dry one. Be extra gentle while wiping the puppy’s neck, chest, paws and ears with the towel.
Explaining the proper way to dry a puppy with a hair dryer, Judith says, “Don’t use a hair dryer in full force. You may get a tinier hair dryer for a puppy.” She further suggests to play with the puppy in between the grooming sessions.


After a bath, we always brush our hair. Similarly, dogs of all ages, including puppies, need to be brushed after a bath. For human babies, you use a baby brush. For a puppy, a tinier brush may be used. Judith says, “Different kinds of brushes are found for different dog breeds. You may use a soft brush for a puppy. There is a two-sided brush which may be used as a comb on one side and as a brush on the other.”


Teeth cleaning
You cannot use a brush meant for adult humans to brush a puppy’s teeth, instead use a toothbrush made specially for puppies, generally found at pet shops. Finger toothbrushes for dogs suit puppies as well. You must not use a toothpaste for human for puppies. Not only will they abhor the taste but human toothpaste may cause stomach upset and induce vomiting. Squeeze a pea size amount of toothpaste onto the brush. Place the puppy on your lap. With one hand, tenderly pull back your puppy’s upper lip at the front of his muzzle. With the other hand, gently brush his teeth.


Nail cutting
Judith suggests that pet parents generally don’t attempt nail cutting of puppies at home. This is because they may not have the skill to do so efficiently. If nail cutting isn’t done properly, the consequence may be disastrous. Judith elaborates, “You may rupture a blood vessel if you try to snip nails without proper experience. You need to take your puppy to a vet or a pet groomer for nail cutting.”
Enjoyable grooming sessions strengthen your bond with the puppy. If done bathing in a correct way, it can transform a puppy who is water phobic into someone always looking forward to get soaked in a tub, followed by a comfy drying session.

Finding pawfect groomer for your pooch

Rohini Sankar

Rohini Sankar

Selecting a groomer requires a lot of care, patience and home work. After all, you are going to leave your best friend in their capable hands to be cleaned, groomed and made to look presentable and healthy. Here’s how to find the right groomer for your pooch.


Choosing a groomer for your pet needs a lot of thought – you want someone who is kind, knowledgeable, trustworthy and easy to communicate with, besides having the skill to make your pet look gorgeous. Regular brushing, combing and running your hands through your dog coat build a close bond between you and your pet. It also keeps you informed about the condition of his fur, skin, teeth, nails and ears. In fact, it is not uncommon to discover lumps, infections, and other problems during a thorough grooming routine of your pet. Since grooming is much more than just bathing and brushing your dog’s hair, you need a professionally trained groomer to groom your pet once a month or more frequently depending on the breed.


Does your best friend need a professional?
untitled-10The grooming experience involves bathing, combing, brushing, cutting or shaving mats (the knotted hair in your pet’s coat), cleaning the ears, clipping nails, anal sac expression, teeth cleaning and also controlling external parasites with professional products that may not be readily available at home. It is not just a bath. Major benefits of using a professional groomer include:


An experienced eye for detail: Experienced groomers are trained to spot potential health issues before they become problematic. This could be anything from as minor as fleas to as worrisome as a lump which could be a tumour that may have otherwise gone undetected.


Expert removal of matted fur: Matted fur is a big problem both in short-coat as well as long-coat breeds. This should be kept in check for your dog’s comfort, and regular brushing helps remove any matted fur which can cause discomfort and lead to scratching and soreness. There are always problem prone mat areas such as under the legs or behind the ears or near the tail. These are very difficult to notice as well as remove, and the professional groomer is trained to remove them with the least discomfort and disfigurement to your loved pet.


Enhanced coat appearance: A professional groomer has access to hi-tech grooming tools and products, resulting in a sleeker professional-looking appearance for your dog.


Tailored cuts: Professional groomers have been trained as well as have the experience in grooming a variety of different breeds; so they will be able to cut according to the specific breed standard, as opposed to doing one uniform cut for all dogs.


Social interaction: One of the greatest benefits with visits to a professional for your best furry friend is the chance to meet other dogs. Regular visits to the groomer are a great opportunity for your canine companion to interact with other dogs and learn valuable socialisation skills. A dog who knows how to mix in a group is a great pal to have.
Once you have decided that your best friend needs a professional groomer, here are few simple steps to follow.


Find a groomer: Ask other pet parents to recommend a pet groomer to whom they take their best friends. You can also ask your veterinarian, boarding kennel, dog trainer and pet supply store whether they would recommend someone. After narrowing your search, call the groomer to ask about services, costs and hours of operation. Check for reviews about the salon online in websites, Facebook and pet-related forums. Visit the grooming facility personally before booking an appointment. It’s important to visit any salon in which you are interested, says an internationally recognized stylist, “Drop by the shop, without your dog, during normal business hours. You should not need an appointment to do this. A quality grooming shop will be happy to have you watch the groomers in action.”


Understand what grooming will cost: If you like what you see, now is the time to discuss the salon’s services and fees in detail. Do not expect to be quoted a firm price until your pet is seen by the groomer. Without seeing the pet, the groomer will be giving a quote based upon a typical specimen in good condition. Things like tangled hair, fleas, or uncooperative behaviour may lead to extra charges. Grooming costs will depend on where you live, the size of your dog, temperament of the dog, condition of the dog, if the dog has a lot of mats or fleas or skin conditions. It will depend on whether the service requested for is a basic grooming package or show grooming.


Ease your pet’s fears: It’s important for your pet to tolerate being groomed, regardless of how often you take her to a professional. To train your pet, groom her briefly when you’re both relaxed and in a familiar place. For example, begin by gently massaging her coat each morning as you feed her. Gradually introduce a brush or comb. Teach your best friend to show his paws everyday for inspection, play with his ears and clean his ears often. Get used to the noise of the hair dryer and the vacuum cleaner. The number one reason why pets fear being groomed is the because of the sound of the hair dryer. Increase the grooming time and work on different areas. Reward your pet for cooperating; use positive reinforcement such as ‘good dog’ to encourage your pet. The more comfortable your pet feels with home grooming, the better she’ll tolerate professional grooming. (This is also true for strangers: The more comfortable your pet is around strangers, the easier it will be for her to relax at the groomer.)


Prepare for the first visit: For your pet’s first appointment with a new groomer, schedule your drop off for an hour when the groomer can spend time  with you discussing your pet’s needs, temperament, habits, any pre-existing health issues and your preferences.
Keep in mind that you and the groomer may have different perceptions of what certain styling words mean. For example, how short is short? It’s important to be specific; if possible, show the groomer photos of what you have in mind. For the health and safety of both your pet and the groomer, make sure your pet is up to date on veterinary treatments, including vaccines and deworming.


Tell the groomer about your pet’s needs
When making the appointment, share all essential information about your pet’s health and temperament. The groomer must know in advance whether your pet is geriatric or has a chronic health condition, or needs special handling. Also warn the groomer about any habits of your pet that could interfere with safe and successful grooming.


Keep goodbyes short and sweet
Finally, when you drop your pet off at the groomer, bid your pet ‘goodbye’ quickly and the emotional departures will increase your pet’s stress level. When you pick up your pet, both of you will enjoy that clean, mat-free coat that makes pets—and their people—more comfortable.


Picking him up from the salon
When you pick up your pet, inquire about how your pet responded. Don’t be offended if the groomer confides that your pet was less than angelic. Some pets can be difficult about some parts of the process, especially if they are not used to grooming. However, you need to know what problems arose. For example, if your pet is sensitive about brushing, you will want to consider a style that is easy to maintain. Or if you pet is phobic about his feet, you need to know that he may nip at someone trying to clip his nails.


Start a relationship
Once you’ve found a groomer that you like, it’s a good idea to set up a standing appointment at regular time intervals. This will keep your pet in tip-top condition, and you and your pet will become ‘preferred customers’ with the professional groomer of your choice. A good groomer will keep notes and add comments to the file each time your pet visits. With time and good communication you can develop a relationship with the groomer that will benefit your pet. If you like the results, schedule a second visit. A good groomer will keep notes and add comments to the file each time your pet visits. With time and good communication you can develop a relationship with the groomer that will benefit your pet.
Once you’ve found a groomer that you like, it’s a good idea to set up a standing  ppointment at regular time intervals. This will keep your pet in tip-top condition, and you and your pet will become ‘preferred customers’ with the professional groomer of your choice.


(Rohini Sankar has done Diploma in Canine Behavior Counselling, Therapy and Training from The Association of Companion Animal Behavior Counselors (ACABC), USA; she has more than nine years of professional experience as a canine behaviour counsellor, trainer and therapist.)


Following are some tips from Penstone Veterinary Group (UK) on accessing the salon.

  • Groomers and assistants: Observe how groomers and assistants handle the dogs. Do they handle the pets gently, confidently and interactively?
  • Check the surroundings: It’s important to check whether the salon’s surrounding is well lit and grooming tables are sturdily set. Also check whether the groomers and dogs look happy and relaxed or frazzled!
  • Appropriate equipments: Various salons do fluff dry the coats of pets manually by hand. Though compartment drying is acceptable, pet parents are advisable to check whether your pet is willing to relax in a gentle flow of room temperature air. In case of salons using heat dryers, be aware about some specific breeds like short-nosed and aged ones who are at risk to heat prostration or collapse.
  • Health checks: Different salons have different health policies. Most of the established salons allow only pets who are free from any disease or ailment. At quality salons, it’s essential for pet parents to show vaccination records of their pets.
  • Internal guidebooks: Leading grooming salons maintain ‘guidebooks’ that show the works and proficiency of the groomers. Varieties of styles and lengths that the groomers have done for their customers can be seen in these books.
  • Easy contact: It’s always a good idea to ask the groomers for client referrals. Get their contact numbers so that you can call them or enquire them anytime you require.

Help! My dog freaks out at the groomer’s!

Rohini Sankar

Rohini Sankar

Many pets freak out at the grooming salon. The good news is that it’s possible to prevent, manage and, in some cases, reverse these unhappy feelings with some time and effort. Let’s see how.




Dogs aren’t born hating particular people or places. Usually two things need to happen before your pet decides that their groomers are the incarnation of everything scary. The first is unfamiliarity, and the second is unpleasant experiences. Just as people do, pets cling to the familiar and reject the unknown. An unfamiliar place with strange noises and smells can make pets nervous and defensive; add to that an unpleasant experience and, sure enough, you will have an unhappy dog. Accustoming your pet to being handled and to the sights, sounds and smells of the grooming salon will greatly reduce your pet’s stress when she actually goes into these places for an appointment.


52Teach your pet to be handled: In order to deal with your pet’s fear of groomers, the first thing you need to do is accustom your dog to being handled. Help your dog to associate handling with pleasant experiences, like – food or toys or anything that your pet thinks is grade-A ‘awesome’. You want those good feelings to be triggered when your pet is touched or controlled by a human’s hands. Handling isn’t just petting. Pets should be accustomed to having the following touched, manipulated, and so on:

  • Mouth (show teeth, open)
  • Ears (look inside)
  • Eyes (clean the eye lids with cotton or gauze)
  • Nose (accustom your dog to being touched on the nose; be gentle, as the nose is very sensitive)
  • Feet (check paws, clip nails)
  • Tail (brush the tail, check for parasites)
  • Unmentionables (her private parts)


Start at home: If your pet gets used to you checking her paws just before her dinner, she will soon begin to view paw handling as a matter of course. Then, when the groomer goes for the nail clippers, your pet’s first impulse will be to look for her reward. Gradually introducing each grooming tool and situation is the number one rule to remember and follow. It lays the foundation for everything else.


Make grooming experience fun! Associate the groomer with positive experiences. If you take Buddy to the vet groomer five or ten times and only one of those results in a bath or a clipper session, chances are that he will be much less apprehensive about visiting. Break out the liver or the cheese or the ball or the chew toy. Whatever it takes to get your pet happily distracted – use it.


Talk to the groomer: Obviously, making your pet feel reassured at the salon requires some cooperation from your groomer. Talk to them. Tell them that you want your pet to associate their business with positive experiences and you will take up minimal time. If you are positive and friendly, many animal professionals will go out of their way to try and accommodate you.


58Remember to act confident: If you seem nervous or afraid, your dog will most likely pick up on it and display the same behaviour.



Warning! Yelling at or hitting your pup will not make him calmer. He might appear calmer, but he’ll be much more nervous and fearful. The key is to do everything gradually and gently. The goal is to teach the dog to enjoy being touched everywhere, not just to tolerate handling. If you can achieve that, you’ll have a relaxed dog with good associations to the presence of the handler, the act of being handled, and the use of grooming tools.


5 Steps to make grooming a pleasurable experience…first at home!

Grooming can be a pleasurable activity for both your pet and yourself. Start early, be consistent and, be patient.
Step 1:Go slow and steady Few dogs will tolerate you whipping out a pair of nail clippers 5and shaving down their nails without warning. Instead of getting right to business, gradually condition your pup to accept each grooming tool and situation. If you grind his nails, for example, let him see the grinder and give him treats when he sniffs it, then touch it to his paws while it’s switched off and give him treats. Once he becomes comfortable with the current step, increase the exposure, at all times rewarding him for cooperating with you. Pets respond very well to vocal praise and will learn to associate the grooming tools with rewards.


untitled-55Step 2: Groom him in a neutral location If you groom your little guy in the same room every time and he freaks out every time, he’s going to think that bad things happen in that room, and will become nervous if he’s shuffled in there. Choosing a neutral location may be impossible when you give him a bath, but clipping his nails or giving him a haircut or a good brushing should be done in an area of the house he’s not afraid of, nor particularly attached to. He probably won’t associate his new grooming location with something bad, as long as you use positive reinforcement and gradually introduce each tool.


untitled-65Step 3: Give treats throughout the process and talk to him Make sure that the fun and rewards don’t end when he’s used to getting all jazzed up. Give him a treat or two as you clip a few nails and talk to him as you brush him. It’s easy to focus on grooming your little guy as a job; but making sure it’s a reward for him as well, from the beginning to the end, will lead to more positive grooming sessions.


untitled-79Step 4: Keep the situation comfortable for your dog Forget about any advice you hear that tells you to hold your dog down or secure him to something with his leash. Anytime you force your pup to do something or to remain somewhere he really doesn’t want to be, you’re going to make him freak out and panic. Instead, ask him to lie down and keep him calm. Don’t force him to the ground or force him to stick around. A little “Ah, wait” should be enough to keep him from bolting off, as long as he’s been conditioned to enjoy the grooming process.


untitled-85Step 5: Tire your pup out beforehand This usually isn’t required, but it can help make certain dogs calmer, especially those who are hyper and full of energy. Take your little guy for a walk or play fetch for 20 minutes. Make sure you allow him to rest for 10 or 15 minutes between exercise and grooming. You don’t want to make him too worked up that he makes himself sick.


(Rohini Sankar has done Diploma in Canine Behavior Counselling, Therapy and Training from The Association of Companion Animal Behavior Counselors (ACABC), USA; she has more than nine years of professional experience as a canine behaviour counsellor, trainer and therapist.)