Foxtails are here, your pet’s enemy!

Foxtails, I hate them.  It’s that time again and weekly, I picked out 4 infected foxtails out of the armpits of a dog being groomed with mats making the matters worse.  This will be a part of my daily work until end of October so here it goes….

They are a weed that looks like a bushy tail and when dry or brittle can enter your pet’s body like a fish hook that can cause a world of problems on short and long hair breeds.  It goes into the skin, spines can break.  In fact, there are barbs on the barbs.
Once these things get started in, they can embed firmly and don’t come out very easily.

If you have a medium to long hair dog, combing and brushing after EVERY outing at dog parks, hikes, yards, etc is helpful.   Check in and around pets ears, eyes, between toes and pads, underarms, everywhere.  Early detection can help you prevent an infection or abcess.
Unfortunately this is a problem until Fall.




Last year,  about 5 dogs a week in the my grooming world had foxtails, only to return with the same scenario on the next visit with explanations of how they went on hikes or  dog parks yet didn’t remove them.  This is routine for a groomer and we’re there to help.

The barbs can initially be caught on the fur or hair then later that night when you pet is rolling in its bed cause the barb to get closer to its body or enter the skin.  They can travel within the body and in severe cases have been known to hit vital organs or even death in very extreme cases.

Last year, I personally know of three short haired dogs who had to go to Berkeley ER in the same week

One up the nostril with symptoms of constant sneezing and pawing at nose.  Simply from sniffing near a cluster of them caused this $$$ vet bill.

One in the eye, hidden in the eyelid with symptoms pawing at eyes

One in the ear straight heading near the eardrum  with constant head shaking like getting water out of the ear.

Beetle had swallowed some last year and a trip to the vet with anesthesia, probed down the throat and no trace of evidence.  $300 bill.   The symptoms were wretching, hacking, can’t swallow, and vomiting.  I also have to pull them out of my indoor/outdoor cat’s fur, thank god he’s black for easy detection.

I am so not looking forward to this for my pets after a horrible time last year.

Like a cactus, keep them away as much as possible or be informed how to keep your pet be safe and pain free.

Why a french bulldog for me?

I’m often told  that I must have the most well groomed dog around and the answer is yes cause I picked a breed that has very minimal grooming needs.  I knew that after 40 hours a week grooming the last thing I want is to groom on my personal time which is why I chose a Frenchie.

A happy-go-lucky attitude and clowning behavior.

Like many other companion dog breeds they require close contact with humans.

They have fairly minimal exercise needs, but do require at least daily walks.

Their calm nature makes them excellent choices for apartment dwellers, as does their usually sensible attitude towards barking.

No hair to comb


Clipper Alopecia

I worked on a dog two days ago who had clipper alopecia.  A border collie mix who got shaved  by their old groomer for the heat and now the hair isn’t growing back.  The owner was shocked that the no one told her about the possibility of it not growing back nor the fact that it had exposed her dog to more heat being bald with no protection from the sun.  Now her dog’s black hair is growing back grey and in patches.


This does happen when a dog with a double coat gets shaved such as pomeranians, huskies, border collies, australian shepards, chows, among other breeds or mixes that have top and undercoats .   It may never grow back the same in texture, thickness,  in patches and peach fuzz like.  I plan to get some before and after pictures and for now I will post a helpful link to explain more in detail.

Here is a Pomeranian that gets shaved constantly.  The top coat is no longer growing just patches of the undercoat. Original black color is changing to a brown color.

Below: Chow mix after being shaved for years

Important for Puppy owners

Socializing your puppy is a must, it will get your dog ready for new experiences.  I have seen very good dogs have lots of problems when they are not socialized some eventually ending up in shelters due to the owner’s neglect during the first important part of their lives.  They don’t do well to new experiences, being alone, attacking house guests or family members,  among an lacking of confidence which is needed to have a healthy life.

In the old days, dogs that were kept away from socializing were done in order to be untrustworthy to strangers and to protect their new owner.  A very social dog can also be protective when they since fear or danger without neglecting socialization in their life.

Socialization will help:

  • How your puppy should play
  • Recognize when your puppy is being frightened, overwhelmed or being inappropriate
  • Learn about important puppy development stages
  • Learn basic behaviors that your puppy should know to be a welcomed member of any social event

Tear stains & mouth stains? What can I do?

Unfortunately there are many many factors that cause tear stains.  Everything from minerals in water, excessive tearing, genetics, health, diet, fleas, allergies, blocked tear ducts and the list goes on.  Most people can try to get a professional opinion from their vet or try different things to rule out.  A premium food with no fillers, corn, dyes including treats is an option.  Most recently I have seen great results with Angel Eyes, a supplement used with food.   Two maltese I groomed had the worst stains and after this product, no more stains with their next visit.   The other product is Eye Envy, the only downfall is applying a solution then apply a paste two or three times a day which most owners  do really well for the first week and then cut back over due to busy schedules.  Through the years, groomers have tried many over the counter topical eye stain removers with little to no results.  On the Angel Eyes Website, there are over 23 pages of success stories.  You can get this product at most pet stores  but keep in mind it may work for some not for others.

Always check with your vet before using Angel Eyes due to an antibiotic in the ingredients.   Prolong use of antibiotics could cause a resistance to antibiotics in need of a medical issue.

A newer non-antibiotic eye stain remover formula is called Tear Stain Supplement by Vet Classics.  It’s also a powder supplement given as needed or until stains are gone.   I found this widely on the web on different sites as well as Ebay and was referred this product by one of my clients given to them by their vet with good results.  Another similar product can be found at PetFoodExpress called Naturvet Tear Stain which has mix reviews working for some and not for others.