Category Archives: Articles

Why We Don’t Advertise “Free to Good Home”

The links on these pages will open a new window and take you to articles that are important for any pet caretaker to read or if you are considering purchasing a pet.

Gypsy – heartbreaking

“Letter” from Gypsy

If you buy a pet from a pet store or from any other puppy/cat mill breeder and you cannot stomach clicking these links below, then you are part of the problem not part of the solution. Just because you have bought a pet from a “known breeder” does not mean they are “responsible” because it’s proven that they can be the biggest offenders. A perfect example is Gypsy.

Prisoners of Greed
The Puppy Mill Project
Stop Puppy Mills
Wisconsin Puppy Mills
Puppy Mill Tip Line

If Gypsy is not enough to make the point, please read this: Why you SHOULD NOT advertise FREE TO GOOD HOME!

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Essential Oils and Pets

Aromatherapy for Pets

Veterinarians, rescue groups and clients all ask me how I manage to work with nut-case rescue dogs and aggressive dogs. For almost 30 years I have been working with essential oils which is NOT to be confused with what I call “smell pretty” junk. Luckily, in the past decade or so, true essential oils became available in the United States, which meant that I did not have to travel out of the country to get them. One first has to understand the difference between the types of oils and not the trendy versions that started in the late 1990s and have escalated to untold and untrue proportions.

There are three types of oils and only ONE defined essential oil in the true sense.

  1. Perfume grade
  2. Smell-pretty grade
  3. Therapeutic grade

Perfume grade is obviously your perfume. Smell-pretty grade is the stuff you plug into your walls or use for your laundry, like dryer sheets.

Most oils are cut with the same ingredients they use in dry cleaning chemicals. Not only are they dangerous but smell nothing like real essential oils and offer no therapeutic benefits and they feel greasy. When I do classes I ask people to bring whatever oils they have, almost the entire class brings in their lavender oil. Whether you purchase them from the grocery store or health food stores here is the 99.9% reality. They are fake oils cut with commercial chemicals. Every bottle of lavender oil I have ever seen in my classes says the same thing. Not for internal use or do not ingest. True 100% therapeutic grade essential oils are good enough to ingest (with certain oils excluded). People do not, please do not be sucked in by the ads on television!

Because of their protein-like and lipid-soluble structure our body’s cells and blood can immediately absorb them, since they are so much alike. The three things both therapeutic grade essential oils have in common with the human and animal body are carbon, hydrogen and oxygen. The average single oil, as opposed to a blend which has more, have anywhere between 75 and 400 chemical constituents. There are many types of oil properties such as anti-fungal, anti-parasitic, anti-viral and so on.

Having run Denver Afghan Hound Rescue for almost 30 years, you rarely get in normal dogs. They have been poorly bred in breeder puppy mills, abused, neglected and any other thing you can imagine. Most of the dogs I have taken in were not dogs that could be placed, a rescue cannot keep them all and killing all the ones that had issues was really not a great option. Consequently, that sent me on the path of how can I try to “fix” these kids. The same is true with grooming and training dogs. Whether they were never properly groomed trained or the pet caretakers always let the dog get away with being aggressive the outcome would be the same. The vet always said the dog had to be drugged. Not only is that really dangerous but that also teaches the pets to be fearful and never teaches them anything else.

Pure therapeutic grade essential oils have properties that the fake ones do not. They can alter the DNA structure and brain wave patterns. Combined with flower essences, it is an unbeatable combination. Now, by law, I have to state the following. Not intended to treat, cure or diagnose any physical or mental issue. Not approved by the FDA. Not being approved by the FDA makes me give a great sigh of relief considering that many of the pharmaceutical drugs they approve start killing people and the FDA pulls it off the market. But Hey! I thought you all tested and approved it!

Pure essential oils have been known to work on not only emotional issues but physical issues as well. People are now realizing that everything from aggression, (not brain damage induced) to fear of thunder and separation anxiety can be treated without the use of toxic and damaging drugs. You can use lavender to help stop bleeding, Deep Relief or Panaway for bone injuries, Peace and Calming for doggie nerves and hundreds of others. Deciding what oils matched with what flower essences can sometimes be time consuming at the very least you know you are using healthy, non-toxic methods. One of the best parts is that essential oils and flower essences can cause no harm. The only possible danger is using them incorrectly such as essential oils on your hands then touching your eyes so you should always consult a trained professional as well as always keep your veterinarian informed on what you are doing.

In people, therapeutic grade essential oils have been known to assist in fighting off bacterial and viral infections, lung infections, skin conditions, blood conditions, mild depression, anxiety and even has kept many cancers in remission. If there is a physical or emotion issue, there is a therapeutic grade essential oil. For example, if you are getting the cold or flu the first thing to take is Thieves and oregano internally. If you cannot sleep you can take a capsule of lavender or vetiver. In the kitchen, if you are cooking and do not happen to have the fresh lemon in your fridge, you grab your therapeutic grade lemon essential oil and keep on cooking. I, as well as my kids, and now many of my patients, take therapeutic grade essential oils daily.

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Pet Medical Issues and Terms

Commonly Heard Medical Terms for Pets

Every day clients hand me pieces of paper from their vet and say, “Mimi, can you put this in English?” When I was in veterinarian practice, one of the most entertaining things was when people would come in spouting medical terms. For some reason, if they looked it up on the internet or read it in a book, they new as much as someone who spent years in school. Nine times out of ten they had absolutely no idea what they were saying let alone what it meant. They also had no idea how or what parts were connected to what and what each part played upon the other. However, they could parrot just about anything.

Truly, vets spend years in school and many of them, during the first few years, walk around mumbling to themselves. The next few links will highlight some of the common verbiage you will run into — only this time in English.

I will continue to add more medical issues periodically. So, time to crack the e-book and mystify your vet the next time these things come up leaving him or her wondering how you knew what exactly did what.

 

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Auto-Immune Disease in Pets

Common Auto-Immune Diseases for Pets

Back in the early 1980s, very little was known about the below issues in animals. By the early to mid 1990s, whenever a veterinarian was baffled, almost every dog had an auto-immune issue. I had the misfortune in 1981 of my Afghan Hound, Baby Kaseme, of being diagnosed with Lupus. By 1982 a fellow veterinarian and I knew more about these issues than most vets in the country. Working closely with veterinarians in Europe we were lucky to come up with a very effect treatment program without the necessity of medications using the holistic approach. What our research also showed was that many lab tests were inaccurate as well as many symptoms mimicked those of auto-immune illness. Please research on your own if you hear any of these in relation to your pets. Also, always get a second opinion and look into other treatment options. More and more allopathic veterinarians are warming to the holistic approach and working together it is possible to keep the animals in remission since none of these can be “cured”.

Addison’s Disease

This is an adrenal gland issue of which is located just forward of the kidney. It is made up of two main parts the medulla and the cortex both of which produce hormones. The cortex hormone maker is the one concerned in Addison’s since it produces what is called corticosteroids. In Addison’s there is a deficiency of the corticosteroids hormone. Left untreated animals can die of shock. Blood sugar plummets, potassium soars upward, the heart rate slows causing arrhythmia. Caught early, this can be treated well with medication if you opt for the allopathic route.

Von Willebrand

There are three classified types but what is more important with the pet caretaker to understand and simply put it is a blood clotting disease. It is a very complex issue but one if you are a breeder and have a bred that is predisposed, DO NOT BREED YOUR DOGS! These dogs will hemorrhage easily, sometimes the platelets (we learned this word in the lab test results area) will drop drastically. Allopathic treatment is medication.

Lupus

There are two types of Lupus, systemic lupus erythematosus and discoid. Discoid effects the skin while systemic affects the entire body.

Discoid is usually seen with pigment lose on the nose and can effect the face. Just because you see your pet with a pink spot on the nose do not run and call your vet’s office hysterically screaming I KNOW MY DOG HAS LUPUS. Many dogs pigment on the nose change as they age. As with people, direct sunlight can make it worse but it can usually be treated topically.

Systemic Erythematosus is rather rare, as I unfortunately found out and affects the entire body. It is an auto immune disorder in it’s simplest terms means that the good cells can no longer tell what is good or what is bad so they kill everything in sight even the healthy cells. This results in arthritis kidney disease, skin disease and blood disorders. Let untreated it can be deadly since once an attack happens it will cause damage to a specific organ. Generally every time there is an episode, that same organ goes under attack again. Allopathic treatment is medication.

Cushing’s

This is another adrenal gland issue caused by an excess production of hormones. Although the adrenal glands produce a number of hormones the culprit in this one is called cortisol. Cortisol can only be produced when the adrenal and pituitary gland are functioning normally. The two type of Cushing’s is when either the pituitary gland is producing too much of a hormone and the other when the adrenal gland is diseased. Left untreated it can lead to diabetes, congestive heart failure, liver or kidney failure. Allopathic treatment is medication

(Note on author: The advantage of opinions is they cannot be wrong and they cannot be right. Consequently all written material is strictly my opinion based on over 30 years working with animals. I do not believe in “experts” for one finds out quickly that there is always someone who is smarter, better educated and a wider life experience. If I was an expert and knew everything I would opt to be dictator of the world, not working with animals. I do not believe in statistics since for every con argument there are equal pro arguments to challenge those statistics. Consequently rarely, if ever do I use them.
All information is copyright by Mimi Davis d.b.a. Curbside Clippers. (Copyright 2002. All Rights Reserved) Any use must have prior permission.
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Pet Cancer Types

Commonly Heard Pet Cancer Names

The cancers below are words you never want to hear either from a human doctor or a veterinarian. Unfortunately I have encountered all of these in my own “kids” over the years as I am certain some of you have encountered in your personal lives. There are more available treatments than there were 25 years ago but not by much. There are medications that can help reduce the pain but all in all I just refer to them as the kiss of death. The important thing is to make sure you ask your veterinarian exactly what the best guess is on treatment. Do what you feel is right for your pet not what is right for you. (more…)

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Joint Problems with Dogs

There are many joint issues with dogs which people can spew out the acronyms but have no idea what part is injured, how it connects to other parts and half the time where that body part is. Here is a English version.

Osteochondrosis

This is simply an abnormality in the normal development of bones. Bones grow by initially forming a cartilage template, onto which calcium is deposited to form bone. This can affect the elbow, shoulder, stifle (folks that is a knee) and hock (folks this is the ankle). (more…)

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Pet Blood Work Terminology

Blood Tests – What Did You Just Say?

The overall lab test for animals is like blood work for humans. It will tell you just about any info you want on organs and how well they are functioning. The blood test acronyms are rather mystifying when you just see letter abbreviations.

CBC – (Complete Blood Count) The most common blood test. It analyzes the three major types of cells in blood: red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets. The CBC counts these cells, measures hemoglobin (the oxygen-carrying molecule in red blood cells), estimates the red cells’ volume, and sorts the white blood cells into subtypes. AKA, are you healthy

RBC – (Red Blood Cells) Responsible for carrying oxygen and carbon dioxide throughout the body. In a low count, it could indicate hemorrhage, parasites, bone marrow disease, folic acid deficiency.

WBC – (White blood cells) Everyone’s main defense of fighting infection. Low levels can suggest high infections or chemical poisoning. Low levels can suggest bacterial infection, blood disorders or a whole slew of other stuff which you then hav to go back to the other blood work to narrow down.

HCT – Hematocrit or PCV (Packed Cell Volume) — not to be confused and transposed to PVC the plastic pipe. Provides information on the amount of red blood cells present in the blood. Low levels can indicate anemia from hemorrhage, parasites, nutritional deficiencies or liver disease.

Hb – (Hemoglobin) Carries oxygen to the blood. Low levels might indicate hemorrhage, anemia, and iron deficiency.

Reticulocytes – Red blood cells stuck in adolescence, i.e. not growing up. Decreased count can sometimes be associated with anemia. Increased count could be associated with hemorrhage or hemolytic anemia.

PLT – (Platelets) The major players in blood clotting. Decreased numbers can indicate bone marrow depression, autoimmune hemolytic anemia, systemic lupus, severe hemorrhage or intravascular coagulation. Increased numbers may be associated with fracture or blood vessel injury.

MCV – Measures the average size of the RBC.

L/M – (Lymphocytes) These white cell babies grow like wildfire when there is a chronic infection.

CA – (Calcium) Blood calcium levels can be associated by diet, hormone levels and blood protein levels. Decreased levels can be associated with pancreatic disorder. Increased levels can be suggestive of tumors or possibly kidney disease.

PHOS – (Phosphorus) As with humans, this level can be caused by kidney issues, diet and others. Decreased levels can be issues with malnutrition, the body not able to absorb foods correctly or certain malignancies. A high count can indicate kidney failure.

Electrolytes – Necessary minerals needed and consist of chloride, sodium and potassium Gatorade is what athletes chug down and people should take with the flue if there is vomiting or diarrhea . Can also indicate a cardiovascular issue.

CHOL- (Cholesterol) Too low usually indicates an overactive thyroid gland, intestinal issues. High levels can have many possibilities including under active thyroid, liver disease, and kidney disease.

ALT – (Alanine aminotransferase) An enzyme that is found primarily in the liver and is released into the bloodstream when there is liver damage

ALKP – (Alkaline Phosphatase) An enzyme made in the liver and bone. High levels indicate bone disease, liver disease and low levels can be seen in bone deformities.

TBIL – (Total Bilirubin) Bilirubin is produced when the liver breaks down hemoglobin, remember from above the red blood cells that carry oxygen.

TP – (Total Protein) This is the amount of protein in the blood. There are two major types of proteins in the blood: albumin and globulin. It helps take a look at liver and kidney function.

GLOB – (Globulins) – Decreased levels indicate problems with antibodies, immunodeficiency viruses or risk of infectious disease. Increased levels may indicate stress, dehydration or blood cancer, allergies, liver disease, heart disease, arthritis, diabetes.

ALB – (Albumin) This is a protein synthesized in the liver a commonly known as any protein that is soluble in water. It has many functions but simply maintains the pressure that causes fluid to remain in the blood stream instead of leaking out into the tissues.

BUN – (Blood Urea Nitrogen) This is produced by the liver and excreted by the kidneys. Another liver and kidney profile to see if both are working correctly.

CREA – (Creatinine) This is a protein produced by muscle and released into the blood and a major kidney tester.

GLU – (Blood Glucose) This is the sugar fix of the blood. The blood makes this from foods, proteins and fats but mostly from carbohydrates. It is carried to each cell through the bloodstream. This is where you would find diabetes, hyperglycemia or HYPOglycemia.

AMYL – (Amylase) An enzyme produced in the pancreas and salivary glands that helps in the digestion of starches. Elevation of blood amylase is common in pancreatitis. Elevated blood levels can indicate pancreatic and/or kidney disease.

UA – (Urinalysis) Because urine removes toxins and excess liquids from the body it can be helpful in finding many problems including metabolic disorders or kidney disease

(Note on author: The advantage of opinions is they cannot be wrong and they cannot be right. Consequently all written material is strictly my opinion based on over 30 years working with animals. I do not believe in “experts” for one finds out quickly that there is always someone who is smarter, better educated and a wider life experience. If I was an expert and knew everything I would opt to be dictator of the world, not working with animals. I do not believe in statistics since for every con argument there are equal pro arguments to challenge those statistics. Consequently rarely, if ever do I use them.)
All information is copyright by Mimi Davis d.b.a. Curbside Clippers. (Copyright 2002. All Rights Reserved) Any use must have prior permission.
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Picking a Dog Grooming Facility

As in every profession, there are people who should not be employed doing what they do. The pet care profession is no different. Generally people take recommendations from friends and neighbors or veterinarians. When most people look for grooming places for their pets they think of those pets as their kids. They are concerned about how that family member will be treated, will they be injured, how will they look when they are done, will they return home having caught something from another animal. Using the “kid” theory, that is the best way to interview prospective grooming places. Since they will be there most of the day, I suggest people scrutinize it as day care for their human child.

Animals do not take to grooming as fish do to water. Actually, grooming is right up with the vet visit in least favorite things to do. Something about swimming in the Platte River, the pool or jumping in your bathtub with you in it is fine. However, when you add shampoo to most water loving animals, not only is it a heinous act but the water seems to become toxic. Keep this in mind when looking for a place to have your pet groomed. The average life span of a groomer is 3-5 years, then the novelty wears off.

What Does Your Pet Tell You

There is a fine line between I am a brat, I do not want to do this and complete fear. Notice your pet’s reaction when you take them to a grooming place. If they put on the brakes, fight you every step of the way, shake like a leaf in a windstorm, they might be trying to tell you something.

If they are a nervous wreck when you pick them up, trying to fly out the door whether you are connected to the leash or not, injured in any way or extremely ill, (vomiting or diarrhea), that is a fairly good sign that something may be amiss.

Store Fronts – What To Look For/What To Ask

The first thing is to notice how the groomers/owner react to your pet. Are they happy to see them, do they interact well with them or are they just looking at your pet as another animal to get done. There are things you can excuse. Getting bitten is just one of those normal things so if the person has a bloody bandage on an appendage, maybe overlook the not so pleasant mood.

  • Ask to see the grooming area. Is the facility clean, is there hair ankle high on the floor, does the place look dirty.
  • Notice how the other pets are acting be it in cages or on the grooming table.
  • How do the people handle the pets, do they jerk them around, yell, threaten them.
  • Ask how long the groomer has been grooming and what their training is. Did they go to grooming school? (Note here, grooming schools can be the worst place to get experience).
  • Are they familiar with the breed they are working on, how many have they groomed like your little “Fluffy”. There seems to be a great deal of misinformation about grooming haircut names. Not only from owners but also from people doing the grooming. ALWAYS explain EXACTLY what type of haircut you want and NEVER tell a groomer how much hair you want off! Tell them how much hair you want left ON. Bring a picture if you have one.
  • How do they correct animals with behavioural problems such as biting.
  • Ask about contagious disease. There are over 50 strains of kennel cough, the vaccine only covers about 2% of those. Vaccination records to me are useless since most grooming shop illness diseases have nothing to do with vaccinations. What about skin contagions, air born diseases, flea’s. How do they handle those situations? What happens if there is an injury to your pet, do they have a vet on call, do they have any arrangements with a nearby vet, do they take them to yours.

Mobile – What To Look For/Ask

Many of the same thoughts should be used in a mobile service as a storefront. However, there biggest difference is how clean you can keep a van. Due to the extremely small area and the hiding places for hair, it is not as easy to keep dog hair out of the van. As soon as the air conditioning is turned on or windows are open, hair appears out of places you never knew existed. It is not practical to take the dashboard off a van and vacuum under it so be somewhat realistic.

From the very onset, I always allowed people in the van. Other mobile companies realized the folly of not allowing people in and now almost all of them will let adults in the vehicle during the grooming process. The common reason given for not wanting people in the vans while the pet is being groomed is the animal behaves worse with the owner in the van. If you have the experience and know how to handle animals, it makes no difference how they behave when the owner is present. Yes it can make the groomers life more difficult and always takes longer.

  • Does it have “central” heat? Meaning is it just a space heater or is it run on propane heating the entire truck?
  • Is there warm and hot water available?
    It gets very cold in these vans in the winter, if in doubt as for someone to prove it to you, it is your pet, your money and you want to make sure they are comfortable and you are getting what you pay for.

In either place, never let the groomer give your pet treats that you do not approve first. It can be common practice to give your little buddy a treat for being good before they leave. If your pet has diet restrictions, as in pancreatitis, giving your pet a treat not designed for that situation can be deadly.

What Does Your “Gut” Tell You?

This is the most important factor. We all have great instincts or sixth sense but often ignore them. What type of feeling do you get when you walk into a place. Are you comfortable leaving your pet for hours? Or, do you sense that something does not “feel” right to you.

But Something Still Went Wrong?

So you have tried every means possible to assure that your pet is not only well groomed but well taken care of. Despite all your efforts they have come back with an injury or illness and least important in the big picture in lieu of the first two is, does the haircut look good. The above are only guidelines and there is no guarantee that something will not happen. If it does there are a few steps you can and should take.

Injury: If your pet returns either cut requiring sutures, nicked, or a broken or injured leg I would suggest the following. Ascertain as much information as possible. Where was the animal when it happened, bathtub, grooming table, floor, etc? Was it a clipper cut, scissor cut, brush burn, clipper burn, etc. Most places have either the owner or manager who handles issues such as the above. If they were not present at the time of the injury, do we care what they have to say? No. The only person who can tell you exactly what happened is the person who was working on the pet at the time of the injury. The groomer told the owner who is no telling you, generally something gets “lost” on the way.

If it is a serious emergency, most grooming facilities have veterinarians they work with and will have already taken the pet to the hospital. If it is not an emergency and you still feel the need to take the pet to your veterinarian, go equipped with as much information as possible.

Illness: Some people feel it is acceptable to bring their pet to a groomer even if that pet is sick. Many times, either not knowing or in some cases not caring that other animals could contract something and those owners might incur a medical bill. Ask the grooming facility what animals were present the day yours was. Inquire if any of them seemed ill or acting “odd”. If you can decipher what had happened it can give your veterinarian more information as opposed to guesswork.

Taking Action: You can yell, scream, wage a lawsuit, and complain to your friends and neighbors. However, it will not alter the outcome of what has already happened. Your goal should be to file charges with the appropriate agency. In order to stop the problem, people need to know there is one

A few years ago “big brother” put their hands in any facility that has anything to do with animals. The Department of Agriculture has stepped in and licensed everyone, writing standards for every animal profession. They are also responsible for inspections and injury reports. You can phone them at the Animal Care Division and get a report on anyone who works with animals

(Note on author: The advantage of opinions is they cannot be wrong and they cannot be right. Consequently all written material is strictly my opinion based on over 30 years working with animals. I do not believe in “experts” for one finds out quickly that there is always someone who is smarter, more experienced, better educated and a wider life experience. I do not believe in statistics since for every con argument there are equal pro arguments to challenge those statistics. Consequently rarely, if ever do I use them.)
All information is owned by Mimi Davis d.b.a. Curbside Clippers. (Copyright 2002. All Rights Reserved) Any use must have prior permission.
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Two Types of Mobile Pet Groomers

Which Is For You?

Things have changed a great deal since I and the two other mobile grooming companies started 25 years ago! For an idea that was never going to work, mobile pet grooming is in every state. There is now an additional type of mobile service along with those that do grooming so how do you decide which type of company you want and what questions to ask prior to booking an appointment?

In Colorado there is one franchise company, the balance are those of us who are owner operated non-franchise companies, the ones that were here prior to the franchises. Some are the good old 25 year standards, such as Curbside Clippers naturally, and some have been around for about 10-15 years but just changed their company names.

What are the two types of companies and why the price difference? One is the van type the other are the ones you see pulling trailers behind a vehicle.

The Two Types of Grooming Vehicles

  1. Mobile Pet Grooming Vans:The other companies who have vans are all Groomers. We not only do brushing and bathing but we also know how to do specific haircuts for all breeds. Whether that is the breed specific hair cut or short all over. All the vans have central heating systems, hot water and most have central air conditioning. The first two are VERY important in the winter and hot water is essential all year around since animals are not like laundry… cold wash.Additionally, you do not invest mega dollars in a van and not have some extra medical knowledge to inform people of potential issues or current ones when we are grooming the pets as well as the experience in all breed grooming.
  2. The Grooming Trailers: There are now two types of grooming trailers.  It is rather deceiving to call both “mobile groomers” since only a few of them actually know how to groom.  One group are only bathers as in a grooming shop. All they do is basic brush and baths and cut nails trim here and about. Some of those trailers are not heated in the winter nor have air conditioning in the summer.  When I mentioned that grooming any dog in the middle of winter without heat is not only really flipping cold but VERY dangerous if they bath puppies, older dogs or dogs with certain medical issues.  The response was from both people, we don’t groom when it is in the 20’s. I said, so when it is 35 degrees out what do you do? Well, that is fine and we have space heaters or open propane heaters. Well, you can’t have the space heater on at the same time you have the blow dryer on since it will trip the breaker and having an open propane flame near water, not a very smart idea. Oh, well, it does get a bit cold. YIKES!      The other type of mobile trailer is somewhat newer with improvements.   Most are actually groomers, they do have heat and AC for year around grooming.
  3. The “Hydrobath”: This is a much-hyped pile of crap! It is sold to (sorry) idiots by great sales people who have convinced not only the trailer-puller bathers but also some van groomers that it not only saves water but also is more powerful. How does this idiocy work? Use a measuring cup for ease of understanding but not capacity accuracy as an example. Put the stopper in the sink. Fill the sink with one cup of water and put a pump in the water. Now wash all your dirty dishes and pots and pans. Empty out ½ cup of water and refill with ½ cup of clean water to bring it back up to the original 1 cup of water. Now rinse your dishes with that same water. What have you done? You have just rinsed your dishes with half clean water and half dirty water! That is exactly what a hydrobath for a dog is. Now why for the love of GOD are you going to rinse a clean dog with half-dirty water? According to the groomers and the maker of the Hydrobath, there is a filter that makes it all better. Nope, not everyone was born yesterday!

Why The Price Difference?

Grooming Vans:
Not all the reasons but ones that are on the top of the list. The self contained grooming vans cost anywhere between $60,000 and upwards to $100,000. Obviously, there are not many on the high end since having the option of a bathroom and DVD system is really stupid. Is it done? Yep. On top of which is the excessive operating cost and special insurances and all the other ditty’s that add up. I have watched 17 companies over the past 25 years go out of business since they have tried to financially compete with places like Petco/Petsmart. That cannot be done and obviously stay in business.

The Trailers:
The average cost of these trailers is under $10,000. The cost of the area they buy varies but the average out of pocket investment is around $15,000-$20,000 total. The people have their own vehicle that pulls it, the insurance is nominal and they are not required to have additional malpractice insurance or any other insurance. Again, since they have no heat, they have eliminated the approximate $5,000 heating design. The only additional cost is the percentage that is paid to the franchise owner and if they wish to do any other advertising over and beyond what the franchise owner does.

So Which One Do You Pick?

The trailer puller bathers are ALWAYS going to cost you less than someone in either a van or the one or two people who have properly built trailers, i.e. heated. Mobile van groomers due to the state of the art self contained vans will ALWAYS cost more than the trailer bathers.

  • Do you want a hair cut or just have your pet given a bath?
  • Do you need someone experienced in grooming, health issues and animals in general?
  • Do you care if it is cold out that the trailer puller bathers have to cancel at the last minute?
  • Are you concerned in the dead of summer when dogs can over heat that there is no air conditioning?

If you want to save money, by all means use the trailers for bathing and brushing but as you can see there are draw backs. The bottom line is that only you can decide what you feel is in the best interest for your pet.

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Master Dog Groomer or Pet Groomer?

What is the Difference?

The difference is a lot and not much. There is an organization called the National Dog Groomers Association. It simply means you know the show dog standard of how to cut a dog’s hair or aka breed standard. It also says you know anatomy, identify breeds, dog terms. They cover ever so lightly what most of us already knew before we entered pre-med for vet school. For master groomer there are practical as well as written exams. Also if you belong to the group they have a number of services you are entitled to. Most liked is the liability insurance the members get or the, “if you sue me over injury or death I’m covered.” For people who started grooming in the 1970s most apprenticed with those people who groomed show dogs which is a very strict standard of “cutting” hair.

Does being a master groomer insure your pet will look better than just a pet groomer? Yes and no. If you compare a master groomer to most groomer’s in a pet grooming store, most assuredly the master groomer dog will “look like the book”. Most groomer’s in pet shops are not taught by people who know the “by the book” look. What some know is what the pet look is. There in lies the big difference.

The “pet look” is what most people want their dogs to look like. They do not care about the fluffy, foo-foo show dog look. They want a dog that smells nice, is not dirty and has hair that is easy to take care of. Most pet people do not really want the big fluffy face on their pet Bichon or all the long fluffy hair.

The “show dog look” is not that often asked for in basic pet grooming. Equally show dogs are bred for a number of qualities one of which is coat (hair). When someone hands me a pet-quality dog and then shows me a book with a champion show dog and says, I want my dog to look like that! I always tell them, give a champion show and your dog can look like that.

A master groomer does not insure that your dog will not be abused, injured, get an infectious disease any more than it would from a pet groomer. If your dog was groomed by a master groomer and someone who is not certified (and that person was either trained by a show dog groomer or had groomed show dogs in the past), you would not be able to tell the difference between the hair cuts.

Unfortunately the average life span of a groomer in the industry is less than three years. Most of them do not know how to groom a dog properly let alone how to handle one. That is why some people are very cautious about finding a groomer. You cannot learn how to groom a dog by videos or reading a book. Some of us who trained the old fashion way had to learn how to cut a ball on Afro wigs! If we could make a perfect circle after the head groomer chopped it up we were allowed to have scissors near a dog.

Most excellent pet groomer’s are not certified for many reasons. However that does not mean they do not know how to cut a dog’s hair. Whether a master groomer or pet groomer there are two things to know. If the person wants the “show look” by all means if you are experienced enough do so. If they are the average person who just wants a nice, clean and easy to maintain haircut, do what they want but explain the differences between the two types of cuts and show them pictures.

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