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.)

The art of nail trimming!

Garima Singhal with Bruno Boo

Garima Singhal with Bruno Boo

Unless your dog runs around on hard surfaces which act like a natural nail file, or is a regular outdoor working dog, both of which help to keep the toenails short, it is very likely that you will need to trim your dog’s toenails. But, nail trimming is an art and you need to have the proper knowledge and right tools.


As a pet parent, we often face the problem of overgrown toenails of our pets. Sometimes, we even get scratched with them. Overgrown toenails not only rub against your tile floors and snag your upholstery, but they are incredibly painful for the animal.


Nail trimming is essential to avoid serious health consequences
untitled-12When the dog’s toenail makes contact with hard ground, the hard surface pushes the nail back into the nail bed. This either puts pressure on all the toe joints, or pushes the toe to the side. The toe becomes progressively arthritic and even the slightest touch is painful for your dog.The other, even more serious consequence, of having long toenails is that animals rely on the input from the nerves in their feet to move through the world and feel gravity accurately. The only time the toenail touched the ground was while climbing a hill. A dog’s brain is evolutionarily hardwired to associate toenail contact as being on a hill, and he shifts his body posture accordingly, to maintain center of gravity. Since this is an imaginary hill, the secondary compensation with the hind limbs is essential to avoid falling flat on the face.


Anatomy of a nail (claw)
A dog’s nail is made of the nail itself, and the QUICK, the pink (when it is visible in light colored nails) part of your dog’s toenails that provide the blood supply to the nail. On a black claw, the interface between the nail and QUICK is usually chalky and white, very easy to make out. On an uncut nail, the tip of the QUICK will appear like a notch. It is safe to initiate your cut a little before the notch towards the end of the nail. In the figure below, on the right is a cross section of the inside of a nail. The QUICK will appear translucent and glossy, like flesh. Cutting the QUICK will cause excruciating pain to the dog and cause a lot of bleeding. Styptic powder will help stem the bleeding, so make sure you have that on hand. Also, the dog will remember QUICKING for a long time afterwards, and will be reluctant to get a nail trim. So make sure that if this unfortunate incident occurs, distract the dog immediately by treating them with something yummy. This has to be something that the dog absolutely adores, like cheese or wet chicken liver.


Frequency of trimming
For an inactive animal, this trimming can be anywhere from once a week to once a month activity. Nail trimming and grooming are activities that are usually feared by dogs. Sometimes, due to the dog’s reaction in the past, even the pet parent start to fear this regimen, and yet it need not be a stressful activity for either.


How to prevent and avoid stressful nail clipping
The best thing to do is to get your veterinarian or groomer to clip the toenails for you. They understand the anatomy and physiology of the nail; they have been trained in this process and can maintain a calm demeanor during the activity. The dog is going to take cues off their calm visage and the whole process will be much simpler. The second best thing is to get your veterinarian or groomer to train you in the process. Once you know how to do this expertly, you can go about being calm and assertive, and keeping the anxiety off your dog.


untitled-13Keeping a dog calm during handling
The best way to calm your dog’s fears is to train them from a young age to be comfortable with the process. Dogs that go for walks often and are active often do not need to get their nails trimmed. Some breeds however such as Basset Hounds and Dachshunds might need your help in keeping the toenails reasonably short. Once in a while, you might make a mistake and cause a painful cut, and it is important to have clotting powder (styptic  powder) and an antiseptic powder handy to stem the bleeding.


Choosing the right tools
untitled-14Make sure that you have a clipper that is appropriate for the size and breed of dog you have. There are many types in the market that are used by veterinarians and groomers. They should be concave at the cutting edge or the nail will be crushed (avoid the guillotine type clippers as they crush the nail). Smaller, scissor type clippers give better control. Only if you have a giant breed dog, do you need a larger sized clipper. Blunt or poor quality trimmers can split the nail and cause bleeding. If your dog gets enough exercise that they are able to wear their nails down so that the nails aren’t long enough to warrant a trim, perhaps a filing, grinding, burring or dremeling is a more appropriate course of action to take. Nail files, orange sticks and pumice stones are handy tools to take off the tips of the nails. Finish off your trim and take off the sharp and jagged edges with one of these. File only the insensitive nail around the quick. Dremeling or burring is the safest alternative as the process is slow and gradual (as opposed to the sharp trim), and there is a lot more control. However, some animals don’t take too well to the sound and vibration of the dremel, so it is very important to desensitize them to it, and most importantly, to understand your animal’s psyche and requirements.
(Garima Singhal is KCAI accredited Canine behaviorist, neurobiologist, school teacher long term Dobie mommy.)


Tips to clip your dog’s nails

  • Make sure you have plenty of yummy treats handy.
  • Have styptic powder, Neosporin powder and your tools at hand.
  • Make the experience positive by treating and cajoling your dog and using a lot of reward and praise for calmness.
  • Stay calm yourself, because if you are anxious, your dog will soak up that anxiety too.
  • Start with one nail, and come back later if your pet is nervous.
  • One trick is to hold the trimmer flat against the toe pad, and cut straight across the nail. This will ensure that the nail sits just above the ground. This means that you still have some more nail to go before you QUICK the dog, and it will also ensure that there is no injury.
  • Keep the clipper blades almost parallel to the nail, never cut across the finger.
  • Use a vertical cut. A horizontal clip will split the nail.
  • Don’t squeeze the toes. That hurts. Use your fingers to separate the toes and hold the paw gently.
  • Use a pair of blunt scissors to remove the excess hair between the toes.
  • To get a shorter cut, as demonstrated in the second image above, cut along the first line from the right, at a 45o angle, AFTER visualizing the quick.
  • If you do happen to quick your dog, give them a yummy treat right away and that will effectively distract them from the pain and keep it off their mind for the next time too.

Do i need to shave my dog?

Garima Singhal with Bruno Boo

Garima Singhal with Bruno Boo

Living in the tropics and the global warming induced rising temperatures mean that we need to make our pets as comfortable as possible in this blazing heat. The first thing that immediately comes to mind is to shave them to decrease heating. But is that the absolute right thing to do for our pets?




Unfortunately, I see a lot of shaved pets in the summer. But shaving an animal to keep them cool is not a good idea.
Fur for insulation…
An animal’s fur serves as insulation, protecting them against both heat and cold. Shaving off their fur actually interferes with their ability to regulate their body temperatures. According to Dr Louise Murray, VP of the American Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animal (ASPCA), coat of a dog or a cat serves similarly like the insulation of our house, which prevents us from extreme heat or cold.


Health issues…
Shaving also makes your animal more susceptible to sunburn, skin cancer and parasites such as fleas and ticks. This is particularly serious in those with white or light-coloured coats, as they can get burned even with their fur unshaven. To protect your animals from sunburn, limit outdoor time to mornings and evenings, and apply a pet specific sunscreen to their noses, ears and bellies, the areas with the least fur on them.


What’s recommended?
dogDr Ajitesh Kumar, consultant, Cessna Lifeline, Bengaluru, says, “Only a summer cut is recommended for dogs and cats. Cutting or shaving off any more hair and one risks losing the natural insulation provided by the fur.” Ashita Mathew, founder, Wags and Wiggles Pet Salon & Spa at Bengaluru concurs, “Shaving a dog to beat the heat is a definite ‘No’. One can trim the dog to an inch length, but that’s it. They need their fur to regulate their body temperatures. The fur acts like a coolant by trapping air and maintains even temperature all over.” Dogs do best with their natural coats, as long as the pet parents are responsible with upkeep and grooming and the coat is maintained in a good condition.” Ashita further says, “When shaven, the body of a pet heats up faster as it is directly exposed to the sun. The best way to keep the dog cooler in the hot weather is to make sure the dog’s coat is clean and free from dust, dirt, dander and mats. This will maintain an even air flow and keep the animal uniformly cool.” A well-maintained coat that is not matted is much more effective in protecting from heat. Your pet should be brushed regularly to make sure that the loose hair from the undercoat doesn’t get trapped under the outer coat. This is the cause for matting and can cause serious heating up of the animal.



Care for double-coated breeds…

Double-coated breeds of dogs have an undercoat and a topcoat. The undercoat is short and rough, and the topcoat varies from short to long to bushy, depending on the breed. The long coat is an excellent insulator as it traps air and helps a dog stay cooler. Ashita adds that shaving a double-coated dog like St Bernard or Golden Retriever also hampers with the hair regrowth. The top coat, which has the properties to repel water and to maintain temperature will never grow back after a shave. Only the fuzzy undercoat will grow back, which makes the coat even more difficult to manage, becomes extremely rough, and causes overheating of the animal as it does not trap air as efficiently.


Sometimes, under veterinary guidance, exceptions can be made to this rule. For example, dogs with acral lick dermatitis, or hot spots might be shaved locally by your veterinarian, to make cleaning and maintenance of the wound easier. Also, dogs who have long hair on the rear end might need a trim perianally to keep the private parts clean.


If cut is unavoidable…
Get a cut only and only if you are a responsible pet parent and your dog is an indoor only dog. This means that you control their exposure to the heat outside and are on hand to take them inside in the slightest case of over exposure. If however, your dog is an outdoor, or predominantly outdoor dog, where he or she is left alone in a front yard, terrace, porch, etc., not only is this practice inhumane and negligent from the emotional point of view of your dog, it will also cause your dog serious harm in the hot and cold months.


On a concluding note…
During summer, make sure the dog has shade, a fan, plenty of supply of fresh, cool drinking water and cooling pool in which to wade into. Keeping them untrimmed and unshaven, but regularly brushed and bathed and mat free is an absolute must for the health of such an animal.
(Garima Singhal is KCAI accredited canine behaviourist, neurobiologist, school teacher and a long-term pet parent).

Rise and Shine… It’s Sunday morning

A loved pet is a happy pet. Kids today get so busy with exams, test and activity classes that they hardly get any time to just relax. So, let’s get together with our pets on a SUNDAY to make it a FUNDAY.


Sunday morning has a special meaning in everyone’s lives from the young to the old. Glossy paper supplements, waking up late, late breakfast, no rush hour mornings, basically just lolling around…kids watch their Sunday morning cartoons on TV, parents wanting the kids to clean up cupboards and the list is endless. In the middle of all this, your pet doesn’t quite get this. Why is it that his walks are half an hour later than usual, why is nobody rushing around, and why isn’t he served his hurried morning meal. He sees everyone around, but then why is nobody playing with him. Let’s look at making it special for the one loving four-legged in our lives.

A bit of grooming, brushing, bathing and loads of play make your pooch a Happy Pooch!! Read on to find out ways to spend your Sunday morning while your kids and pets are at play.
All these activities not only help your kids bond with your pet but also teach them responsible pet parenting. So get down to work and see your kids enjoy their Sundays with your pet.


Making grooming fun: It may come to you as a surprise, but grooming forms your pet’s physiologicalUntitled-11 and psychological health. A dog’s physical state does, to a certain extent, affects the way he feels and acts. Grooming as an activity also helps build an affectionate bond with the pet parents. Long coat or short coat, dogs need to be groomed regularly. A rub here, a rub there, a tickle here always goes a long way. Brushing, scratching, moving your hands over his body are just few ways you can groom. Grooming also helps in identifying any rough patches, ticks, any lumps or bumps or scratches that might have gone unnoticed.


Shower time: Get your hose pipes, shampoos and loofahs out or just take your pet to the washroom.Untitled-12 Make sure you close the door behind you or else you are going to have a wet dog running around. Get your pooch wet and shampoo all the way down to his tail and paws. Don’t wet his face as water might enter his ears. After shampooing, wipe his face, nose, mouth areas with a wet sponge or cloth. Wipe his ears gently as they can be very sensitive. Wash out the shampoo and you have a squeaky clean pet all waiting to be groomed. Wait till he shrugs off all the water before you start wiping him. This activity will surely fire up the energies and what a way to beat the rising heat.


Post-bathing fun: After a shower, towel dry your pet. If you have a long coated pet, you can use the Untitled-13hair dryer on low heat to get a nice fluffy looking coat. Be sure not to use the dryer near his head region. Take a suitable brush and start brushing him section by section- tail, back, legs, mane and finally the head.  If he is not ready to sit quietly while you groom him, give his favourite chewstick. With this, he will be busy with his chewstick leaving you to groom him peacefully. Wipe the ears with a clean cotton cloth from the inside as well as outside. You might need your parent’s help to do this.  End the session with a good tummy rub and his favourite treat.


Brush the pearls:  Nobody wants to be near a stinky pet. Unfortunately, teeth brushing for dogs is notUntitled-14 taken so seriously. But it is as necessary as bathing and grooming. Your pet can also has plaque and tartar problems. Surprised? But, 80 percent of dogs show dental problems by the age of four. So begin early and get your pet to also enjoy the session. Pick up a doggy toothbrush, some doggy toothpaste from your local pet store. Now sit with a glassful of water and get down to some teeth brushing. It might help if you do this when your pet is a bit tired, say, after a session of play as he will be more willing to sit in one place and allow you to do whatever you want to. Make sure you don’t use human toothpaste, as it is not good for them.  Again, TREAT loads after the session, so your pooch looks forward to more such brushing sessions.

(Shalaka Mundada runs PetSitters, a premium dog boarding facility in Pune.)

Regular grooming essentials

Picture perfect dog is not a dream…regular grooming can make your pooch smart, good-looking and pleasure to be around. Here are the needs and essentials of regular grooming.


All breeds of dog needs regular grooming. It makes the coat clean, shining and sweet smelling. Grooming stimulates the flow of oil in the skin. It also stimulates the sebaceous gland and blood circulation, due to which dog feels warm and comfortable. Start the grooming at early age. As dog becomes accustomed to grooming, he enjoys it and loves this daily attention.
Regular grooming removes hidden dirt, dust and dead hair, and apart from this, it provides opportunity to look for fleas, lice and other ectoparasites which are attached to the dog’s skin


Breed-specific grooming needs…Untitled-16

Grooming should be done with dog brush or metal comb or hand glove. Generally use double-sided brush having one side hard and one side soft nylon tufts.
Long-coated dogs such as Lhasa Apso, English Sheep Dog and Afghan Hound need more frequent grooming from puppy age. Initially use a little stiff bristled brush, but after few months, you can start using a wide toothed comb. If there is mats and tangles in the coat, the comb will cause severe pulling and discomfort to dog. If matting does occurs, it may just be possible to tease the hairs apart. In bad cases, the hair will have to be cut off and allowed to regrow.


Ear care…Untitled-17
While grooming, ears should be examined every time. Ear should be cleaned regularly. Excess hair inside the ear should be clipped every month. If your dog is constantly scratching his ear or shaking his head or if there’s any foul smelling discharge, pus or swelling in the ear, consult your vet immediately. Never forcefully clean the ear as it may rupture the ear drum. Consult your vet or groomer.


Eyes are windows to healthUntitled-18
The eyes of healthy dogs are clean and bright. Daily examination of eyes is necessary. If there is discharge or mucus from the eyes, it should be gently cleaned with cotton wool soaked in water. If the eyes are sore and inflamed or if there is profuse watery discharge, weeping or heavy lidded eyes, it may show signs of infection. Consult the vet immediately.


Know the noseUntitled-15
The nose of healthy dog is moist, clean and free of mucus. Dry nose is a sign of fever. If there is watery discharge or mucopurulant discharge from nose, it indicates infection of respiratory tract or viral infection.


Tooth troubles…
To avoid any dental problem, it is advisable to clean the dog’s teeth periodically. A puppy is born without teeth but by three to eight weeks, he will have temporary Untitled-1928 teeth (milk teeth). At the age of 4 to 6 months, the milk teeth will be replaced by a permanent set of 42 teeth. Puppies should be handled/trained to become accustomed to have their mouth open for cleaning. Use dog tooth paste and tooth brush to brush his teeth.


The food debris accumulates between the teeth and in between tooth and gum margin. It causes discolouration of teeth and decay of tooth develops. The debris hardens and bacterial infection occurs, causing inflamed and red gums. The bacteria enter the root of the tooth, causing painful abscess and loosening of the tooth. First symptoms include bad breath, dribbling of saliva and difficulty in eating. First the damaged teeth should be removed.

Tartar deposits may be scrapped by dental scaler with the help of veterinarian. Anaesthesia is must.
In some dogs, the carnassial teeth cause a problem. This tooth is situated on the either side of the upper jaw having triple roots. Infection may cause swelling in the cheek, beneath the eyes. If the tooth is not removed, it will be inflamed.
For prevention of tartar, give your pooch chewing bones or dog chew, which not only cleans the teeth, but also makes the jaw powerful.


Nails cuttingUntitled-20
Trim the nails of dogs every two months. If not cut, the nails may grow long and make walking uncomfortable and sometimes nails of dewclaws cause abscess. The nails of forelimb (front legs) must be cut more frequently than the hind legs. Don’t forget to cut the dew claws (fifth nails). Cut only the white portion of nail. You can also take the help of your vet or a groomer.


Bathing needs… Untitled-21
Bathing of dog is required to keep the skin and coat clean. Frequency of bathing should be determined on the basis of breed and his exposure to the outer environment and season. Too frequent bathing should be avoided because it removes the beneficial oil from dog’s coat, leading to dull coat. Also, do not bath the pups below three months of age.
Before bathing, both the ears of dog must be plugged with absorbent cotton. Only use dog shampoo. If the dog is infested with ectoparasites, use dog tick shampoo or pH balance shampoo. Consult your vet.
The temperature of bathing water should be according to the environmental temperature. Apply the shampoo to the wet dog coat, lather it properly so that it penetrates into the skin where the real dust and ectoparasite is. Keep it for few minutes and then thoroughly rinse with ample clean water and wipe dry with clean towel. Once the hair is dry, comb it with a brush. Don’t allow your dog to roll on the ground after bathing.

Now, your pooch is ready to be a showstopper all the time!


(Dr Hemant Jain, MVSc (Surgery), FISAP, is a veterinary surgeon. He is dog, cat & bird practitioner based in Nagpur).

5 Must’ve Grooming Tools

5 Grooming Must Have Tools consist of Large Double Sided Brush, Curved Nail Clipper, Slicker Brush XL, Undercoat Rake & a Detangling Comb. Here’s how to use these tools:


1. Brush & detangle with Large Double Sided Brush Untitled-35
Designed to remove light tangles, this brush smoothens the coat and moves oils from the skin down to the hair shaft. Safe for everyday use, this brush is recommended for short, medium and long coats.
Directions to use: Brush with the grain, starting near the skin and brushing out. Begin with the pin side of the brush; finish with the bristle side.  Avoid putting too much pressure on dog’s skin.  Brushing often keeps the coat manageable and mat free.


2. Make nail clipping easy
with Curved Nail Clipper
Designed to trim nails effectively, this Nail Clipper with stainless steel blades also features a safety lock. The Soft Grip Handle gives additional comfort while clipping the nails and this is recommended for both large and small breeds.Untitled-36
Directions to use: Stand next to the dog and curl the paw under so you can see the pads of the foot. Firmly grasp the paw and locate the end of ‘the quick’ by finding where the dark pigment ends and the lighter creamy colour begins. Trim a small amount of the nail at a time, avoid cutting off the tip of ‘the quick’.


3. Brush, deshed, detangle with Slicker Brush XL
Designed to untangle mats and remove loose hair, this brush also aids in removing tangles keeping the coat manageable.  Recommended for medium and long coats, this brush comes with a soft grip handle providing extra comfort when brushing.
Directions to use: Start at the rear of the dog and work your way to the head. Brush with the grain, starting near the skin and brushing out. Avoid putting too much pressure on dog’s skin. Brushing often keeps the coat manageable and
mat free.


4. Deshed and detangle with Undercoat Rake Untitled-37
Designed to untangle mats and remove loose undercoat hair, this tool promotes a healthy and lustrous coat. It is recommended for medium and long double coated pets.
Directions to use: Gently pull rake through pet’s coat, working from skin outwards. Regular use will promote a healthy and lustrous coat.


Untitled-385. Deshed and detangle with Detangling Comb
A must have tool at home, the detangling comb untangles light mats and is recommended for medium and long double coated pets. It removes loose under coats and promotes a healthy & lustrous coat.
Directions to use: Before using, thoroughly brush your pet’s coat. Comb with the grain, starting near the skin and combing out. Work slowly and gently to separate hair.  Avoid putting too much pressure on dog’s skin.


(Now in its 96th year, WAHL Clipper Corporation is an international industry leader in the manufacturing of products for the professional beauty and barber salon trade, consumer personal care and animal grooming.  For more information about WAHL,visit:

Pet Grooming is Fun


Smell Nice!

All dogs occasionally develop a stench, but some dogs have  chronic odour problem. Let’s see how to manage dog odour.


Before you decide how to deal with your pet’s odour, determine where it is coming from. Did your dog roll on something foul or play extra hard outdoors? Has he smelled bad for a while or is he emitting a different odour than usual? Dogs with certain skin types and activity levels can emit more consistently pungent odour. Taking the time to learn a little about your dog’s coat type and determining if he has sensitive or oily skin can go a long way toward managing more frequent stinks. It will also help you determine when a bad odour is something to worry about or if it is simply time for a bath.


Odour management

To eliminate or manage day-to-day odours, it’s wise to use gentle, all-natural products made just for dogs. Never attempt to spray dogs with Febreze or human perfumes that can be abrasive to their skin or even toxic. All-natural odour eliminators and doggie deodorants are gentle enough to use on even the most sensitive of dog skin – skin that’s usually more likely to retain odours.
Spraying your dog’s coat with a doggie deodorant when you’re brushing him is an easy way to manage odours without changing your grooming routine. Doggie deodorant can refresh your dog’s skin and coat and help him smell better immediately. After particularly smell-inducing incidents, neutralising the odour is an effective way to stop the stink. Odour neutralisers remove odours by eliminating the scent. Sometimes, adding sweet potatoes into your dog’s regular diet can help improve the way he smells.


Odour reduction
If you detect a new or different odour or if odour management isn’t controlling the problem, a bath is the best place to start. If your dog has oily or sensitive skin, or if you find yourself bathing your dog frequently, a gentle oatmeal shampoo will keep his skin from getting irritated or overly dry. Bathe your dog carefully with gentle shampoo while checking his skin and coat for any irregularities. Don’t forget to check his ears and clean them gently. Strange scents can be caused by dirty ears or even ear infections.
Make sure to dry the coat as soon as possible to prevent it from developing a musty odour. You can also turn to some common household fresheners to air out your dog’s coat. Sprinkling baby powder on the coat helps absorb excess oils in the fur and skin. Rubbing baking soda throughout the coat after a bath, before brushing, will also help soak up odour and oil.


Get professional help
If your dog has persistent odour problems that just won’t go away and are resistant to bathing, it’s not a bad idea to visit the vet. You might be dealing with a chronic skin condition or an underlying medical problem that even good grooming can’t solve.

(Contributed by WAHL India Grooming Products Pvt Ltd, Mumbai).

Get, Set, Groom at home!

Grooming is an art and science of keeping your pet healthy. It is a visible expression of your love for your pet. Grooming routines started at a young age will help you a lot in bonding with your pet. Let’s see how.


  • Start grooming your pet as early as possible.

    Chitkala Arun

    Chitkala Arun

  • Practice grooming in small sessions at home.
  • Place the puppy on a table, hold him still and comb gently.
  • Brushing your dog’s coat everyday keeps the coat shiny and dust free
  • Ear cleaning has to be practiced early safely and not to probe inside.
  • Dogs do not need frequent baths. Once in 2-4 weeks bathing is sufficient.
  • Always use dog shampoos only for bathing them. These are pH tuned for pets’ skin.
  • Walking the dogs on rough surface will help the nails to wear out. If needed, they have to be clipped.
  • During grooming, teach your puppy good manners through positive reinforcement.
  • Train the puppy to trust you and not to bite during these sessions.
  • Alternatively, you may take your puppy to a professional groomer. Again, start this early. Introduce him to the spa environment like going to a pleasant trip and give him positive inputs like “You will enjoy the spa”, “My boy will look great”, etc.
  • Avoid telling him “I am sorry baby, you have to get this done” in a sad tone.
  • Believe in your groomer. She will definitely be a pet lover who will treat your dog as her own.
  • Follow the groomer’s instructions about maintenance of your pet’s health.

(Chitkala Arun runs PETZPAW pet spa in Mysore. She had her grooming training from International Grooming Academy, Singapore and Veterinary Assistant training from Worldwide Veterinary Services International Training Centre, Ooty).