Pests!

Pest prevention – how I protect my cats and dog

I won’t bore you with all the different types of fleas, worms and ticks, there is plenty of information and scary pictures on the internet!  I thought I might share with you what remedies I have used on my own animals to prevent problems and protect them from these dreaded pests.

Do speak to your Vet if you want recommendations as their products are, of course, very effective. I am not able to advise on treatments for your pets as I am not a vet, but I thought you might find it interesting if I shared with you what I do with my own pets.

Fleas

Fleas can be found anywhere, in grass, on other pets, commonly on cats and bedding, so dogs often come into contact with them on a daily basis being out and about. It’s practically impossible for your dog to not pick them up, and some dogs seem to be more attractive to fleas than others.  I had a dog years ago that never seem affected, but cats that always needed preventative action!  

In the past, when I have had a problem with fleas, it’s usually the cats that bring them in. I have 2 cats, and so as soon as they start scratching, I have no choice but to give them a spot-on treatment (which they hate of course), but one is allergic to flea bites and ends up in a terrible mess if she is bitten and scratches. 

Bill also had spot-on treatments, but we also tried the pill kind which was easier to administer and doesn’t leave product on the coat to be touched by humans. They both seemed to work.

There are collars that can be used – these types of collars can be left on for 6 months and can get wet if your dog likes a swim or goes out in the rain, although I always take them off when washing.  Do your research on these too.  They are chemical heavy, but I have used one in the past. 

At the moment I use CSJ Billy No Mates herbal additive that I put into Willow’s food. This needs a few weeks to start taking effect, so I started this last month in good time for the season.  This is available from all good pet stores, or online. 

Another great anti-flea remedy I use is raw garlic, but this must be crushed and left for at least 10 mins before it can be put in the food.  Again, please do your own research on this, but it seems to have other great benefits too. 

Worms

For worms, I don’t regularly treat my pets with chemicals, but I do add some Diatomaceous Earth (DE) to their food to kill any worms and I routinely check if Willow has any using a fantastic service called wormcount.com that checks all bugs in his poop. Yes, you have to send poop in the post to them, but it’s very easy! I have never seen a positive result for worms, but if I did, the DE would be adjusted to kill them, then I would retest.   Please be very careful with Diatomaceous Earth, as breathing it in is dangerous, but eating it is fine.  I buy human grade from imbaliridgebacks.co.uk it can also be used as a dust for killing fleas, but again you have to be very careful.

Ticks

For ticks, I use an herbal anti-tick spray that I spray on his legs if we are off walking in long grass that ticks don’t much like, and I have had very few instances of ticks.

I think using as much herbal and natural products as possible is definitely the way I like to go, I must admit, if there is a problem I will reach for more chemical products, but only as a last resort for me.  I prefer the greener and more naturalistic route where I can. 

Handling – How to help your dog

Getting your dog used to being handled

Helping to understand what a dog experiences when at the groomer will help you prepare your dog.

Picking up

I need to be able to be pick your dog up to be put into the bath and carried across to the table. Is your dog happy being picked up?  Look for stress signs and work on happy handling.

Jumping – It would also help if your dog is able to jump into the bath (baths can be lowered to around the height of a sofa or car footwell). Or, if they cannot jump, be able to pop their front legs into the bath and I can then lift their back legs in for them. 

Washing and drying

Being comfortable being washed with a shower, including being able to stand whilst being lathered with shampoo and being rinsed off, lifting up each paw and cleaning in-between the pads.

When on the table for drying and trimming, one of the trickiest parts is usually drying and brushing through.

Stand! 

We are very good at teaching our pups and dogs to sit.  This is a lovely exercise for you and your dog and it teaches control and good manners, but do take the time to also teach a Stand command.   It is one of the most time-consuming efforts for a groomer to keep gently encouraging a dog to keep standing, and must be tiring for a dog to continually sit, stand, sit, stand for half an hour or more!   

The stand command is also very useful for when you are at the vets and they need to be examined, and also have their temperature taken… can you imagine sitting down with a thermometer in a delicate place! ouch. 

You, your dog, your groomer and your vet will thank you for teaching a stand command. 

Brushing 

How much brushing your dog will need will depend on the type of coat and length of coat they have? Whether you have a pug or a husky, all breeds will benefit from a regular brush; it helps not just the coat, but also your dog’s skin and tightens the bond between you.  

In addition, brushing can help you identify potential problems, keep an eye on pests, and your dog will find their groom with me much easier. A happy dog equals a quick no-stress groom. 

It’s a win-win for you and your dog. If you are not sure about your dog’s brushing needs, please ask me.

Depending on your dog, you may like to watch my YouTube video about line brushing – brushing a long wool coat – eg poodles and poodle crosses. 

Puppies – Introduction 

  • The whole world is new to a puppy, so I always recommend letting puppies sniff, smell and look at all new equipment.
  • Introduce the brush early – don’t let it become a game where they try to get away from the brush or play fight it!  I suggest using treats or lickki mats or kongs to keep them occupied and to help them relate brushing to something ‘nice’.
  • Keep your handling sessions short – little and often.
  • Use it as training and bonding time
  • Teach a ‘stand!’ command.
  • Introduce noise gently, if you don’t have clippers, an electric toothbrush is a great realistic alternative to the noise of clippers.
  • If you don’t have hair dryers, think of other noisy machines they can get used to, eg hoovers, but do this all slowly and controlled. 

You can find my blog on introducing puppies to grooming here:

 A puppy’s first grooming experience – Stylish Fido,

For all dogs

  • Practice inspections of ears, eyes, mouth and nails at least weekly.
  • Lift up ear flaps, hold muzzle and lift up lips to see teeth regularly to get your dog used to it. 
  • Handle paws and handle gently each nail and pads. – there is also a YouTube video on nail clipping for small and big dogs, white and black nails.
  • Groomers and vets often need to hold a dog’s muzzle, and this is sometimes tricky for a dog to tolerate at start.  Imagine trying to trim around the delicate eyes on a moving target.

…and did I mention teaching a stand command?! 🙂

FAQs

Q: Why do I need my dog groomed?

A: for both your dog’s welfare and your benefit. All dogs are health checked and observed with records made of findings so that your dog can be monitored and hopefully problems found early and brought to your attention. Feedback sheets are given after every groom for your information if requested.

You should benefit from a healthier animal (with maybe fewer trips to the vets), not to mention a happier calmer and sweeter smelling best friend.

Q: Do you hand strip dogs?

A: Yes – if your dog has a coat that can be stripped and the hair is ready we will hand strip. There is an additional fee for this as it is very time-consuming – but it gives a beautiful finish and keeps the texture, colour and quality of the coat, which clipping destroys in strippable coats.

Q: How do you keep everything clean?

A: All equipment is sterilised between each dog and the tables and bath are cleaned with animal-safe disinfectant to kill any nasties that may have been left behind after a grooming session. All areas are washed down and disinfected at the end of each day.

Q: Why do I need to bring treats – I don’t want my dog getting fat.

A: It is really important that your dog associates the groom with something positive. We use treats to ensure all dogs find the grooming process a positive and rewarding experience, especially if they are nervous or anxious. You can bring in small treats, or even part of your dogs dried meal if you are concerned with weight issues.

Covid-19 – Lockdown procedure

Stylish Fido is currently only open to existing customers, and we are following the strict procedures set out by the Government during the Covid-19 lockdown.

I can continue to groom dogs for their own welfare; however, I must bathe all dogs and so can only offer full grooming services.

No teeth cleaning without a full groom

No puppy introductions (where there is no bath).  

No nail trims without a full groom.

Vulnerable? Shielding? Self-Isolating?

If you are vulnerable or shielding, I would suggest making an appointment for when the lockdown has eased. Similarly, if you are showing any symptoms or are self-isolating, I would be grateful if you re-arrange your booking. Please call me to discuss.

Appointment Procedures

At your appointment time, please enter the garden, and just inside the gate remove all collar and leads and let your dog off, (don’t forget to close the gate behind you first!).  I will be waiting. If your dog is small and likely to bolt as you leave, please put your dog on the table and I will collect from there, however please wear a mask whenever possible.

Please remember, I can see you at the gate on the CCTV so will know you are there. We can still talk across the garden. Please don’t try and enter the salon.

Try and use gloves or disinfect hands after using the gate handles.  I have left hand anti-bac on the outside of the gate for your use. 

I will pick up your dog from the garden and put straight in the bath. At the end of the groom, (and after I have sprayed your dog with an animal safe disinfectant), I will wait until you are safely inside the garden again before releasing your dog to you.

I would prefer direct payment via BACS whenever possible (contact me for details). If you have to pay cash, I can still take it, however, please let me know and leave it on the table.

Thank you for your continued custom at this time.

Stay safe everyone

Caroline and Willow

A puppy’s first grooming experience

I have been lucky enough at Stylish Fido here in Steyning to have quite a few new puppies in for their first groom.

Thought it might be interesting to share how I approach their first experiences in a salon.

Dogs use all their senses to understand and learn about their new world they are experiencing for the first time, so I work with them at all times.

When they sit/stand on the table (which is very similar to a vet’s table, so they are often ok with this kind of experience), I try and treat them with their favourite treat brought with them, or little pieces of cheese (often a big hit), I show them first the brush I might be using on them, and its very important for them to be able to sniff the brush/comb/clippers.  Puppies don’t like equipment being used on them they haven’t seen or sniffed.  Once they are sure it can’t (or shouldn’t) be eaten, I can start to brush out the dog.

If I am clipping the dog for the first time I always let them sniff and feel the clippers not switched on, then switched on, but sitting on the table.  The vibrations of the clippers is probably nothing like they have felt before.  I also use the clippers like a brush and move it (turned off) along the back of the dog and down the legs.  I have had very few dogs that have not allowed me to clip them first time after first preparing them in this way.

During the groom, I make sure there are lots of treats.

During the groom, I make sure there are lots of words of praise.

During the groom, I make sure there are lots of cuddles (if required), if the puppy needs assurance, then I will stop the groom and give them some time and space to assess the experience.  Sometimes just stopping for one minute, having a cuddle or a play in the garden can help them understand that a groom isn’t a traumatic experience and it will stop!

If the puppy is having problems coping with one aspect of the groom (say brushing out the legs), I just change and come back later to that area, lots of little changes can really make the difference.

The main objective I aim for is to stop when I am ahead and not seek utter perfection on a puppy’s first groom.  if this means the ears are left natural, but the puppy has been 100% happy and not bored for 1.5 hours then I will stop.  Puppies can’t concentrate for too long, and I would rather do most of a groom and have a happy puppy than a perfect looking one, but one that is in need of a break and upset and won’t come back through the door next time it is due for a wash.

I must say, all my puppies/young dogs are keen to come to the salon for a biscuit/cuddle and groom.  I think this says it all !

hope you enjoyed the little insight into what I do here.  hope to see more puppies soon, I love their cuddles!

Caroline