I don’t want to vaccinate my dog

Through the years, I’ve met many people who have chose  not to vaccinate their dog from illness to never going outside.  Whatever the reason is know that there are options out there if you plan to use boarding, grooming or put your pet in a populated area.

There are many reasons why many people are staying away from vaccines these days with lots of theories available on the internet.  It’s debated greatly.

The truth is that any reputable place will accept either vaccination paperwork or a titer test.   A “titer” is a measurement of how much antibody to a certain virus (or other antigen) is circulating in the blood at that moment. Titers are usually expressed in a ratio, which is how many times they could dilute the blood until they couldn’t find antibodies anymore.  You may need to call different vet’s to see who offers them.

Keep in mind that a Bordetella (Kennel Cough) vaccine may not cover  many strains and mutations of the virus which may be why your pet may have gotten KC regardless of  being vaccinated.  It happened to us.  I did all the protocols  and he still got KC when he had a 3 day stay at his vet for a stomach issue.  After lots of searching, I realized there was nothing I could have done differently since the variety of strains were not phased by the vaccine.

In the end, decide with your vet which is the best option for your pet and know that if you chose not to vaccinate that the option of a titer is available for those that use daycare, boarding, grooming among other pet related issues.

The dangers of cage drying

Cage drying has gotten negative attention in the news about pets being heated to death.  What a horrible thought, I cannot imagine my little Beet being in a heated cage to the point of death.

The truth is that not all cage dryers are bad, some use the air in the room and directs it into the cage, never using any heating elements.  It’s similar to a  fan in front of the kennel to help the drying process to get your pet dry and back in your arms as soon as possible, all with room temperature air.  These are helpful with dogs that have seizures, elderly pets, or puppies scared of loud noises like the fluff or force dryer.

Have you ever put your head out of a car window on the freeway and find it difficult to breathe.  This is similar to the  process of  cage dryers in front of a narrowed nostril pet who are also sensitive to these type of dryers.

Heating Element Cage Dryers

The other cage dryers that have heating elements are to be watched under strict supervision and some even have timers that go off after 15 minutes.  These are not to be used with any short nosed or trachea problematic breeds.  Leaving a pet unattended for long amounts of time can cause death.  In the circles of groomer’s message boards I participate in, I’ve noticed many groomers are definitely not using these like in the past, now that non-heating cage dryers are available.

Dogs that are sensitive to cage dryers are brachphalic breeds and or stenotic nares ( narrowed nostrils):

Affenpincher, Brussels Griffon, Bostons, Chichuahua, Yorkie, Frenchies, Bulldogs, Boxers, Shih Tzu’s,  Toy and Mini Poodles, Cavaliers, Pugs, Persian Cats and other breathing challenged pets.

HEAT STRESS – Because of all these upper respiratory obstructions, the brachycephalic dog is an inefficient panter. A dog with a more conventional face and throat is able to pass air quickly over the tongue through panting. Saliva evaporates from the tongue as air is passed across and the blood circulating through the tongue is efficiently cooled and circulated back to the rest of the body.

In the brachycephalic dog, so much extra work is required to move the same amount of air that the airways become inflamed and swollen. This leads to a more severe obstruction, distress, and further over-heating.

For myself,  I use a fluff or force dryer after the bath then proceed with the haircut.    I have met many responsible groomers who use non heating cage dryers with the strict safety standards with close monitoring and continue to be incident free.

If its not safe, I’m not using it, period.  When I work on any person’s beloved pet, this is who I am reminded of.  My own dog.


Can I use people toothpaste on my dog?

The answer is NO.

Human toothpaste can cause illness or deadly if swallowed in quantity especially for pets.  I never knew this until one of my instructors told me to read the label.  People have the ability to spit out while brushing teeth.  Dogs cannot and the reason for dog enzyme toothpaste that doesn’t have to be rinsed out.

I always thought that kibble  was better than wet food for teeth.  After 15 years of my cats eating kibble, I have found that hereditary plays more of a factor.  I had two cats that I rescued in 1998 only a few years apart from different litters.  They have always been on kibble.  One always had bad teeth with yearly cleanings while the other was fine.  When I asked the vet, they confirmed hereditary is a factor.  A vet once told me, imagine eating crackers or kibble all your life and never brushing your teeth or flossing.  How much caked up food will be on your teeth?

This made total sense.  Once I got Beetle, I started teeth brushing.  In order to have any impact you should brush 3 times a week.  You are probably thinking, oh my!  Sometimes I’m good and then I forget, I’m human.  For us its easier to do it before we all go to bed.   Bad teeth can cause kidney failure as well as other health problems.


Beetle is an avid chewer with his Nylabones and Deer Antlerz for hours, you would think his teeth are plaque free but we are not so lucky.

I really like the vet toothpaste, C.E.T enzymatic vanilla mint.


Its definitely is a bad breath killer.  I used to buy beef or poultry flavored toothpaste and realized that dog breath already smells like this.  A friend of mine who also is a groomer informed me about the effectiveness of it and I love it.   In Oakland, its available off the shelf at PetVet for under $7 on Broadway/Pleasant Valley or at your local vet.

Another product that has some praise is a spray found in ModernDog magazine called LebaIII.


With its $60 price tag, I haven’t tried it out but have seen a few before and after pictures.  I really like the results without having to put my dog through anesthesia granted I have to follow their instructions.

There are a variety of things like dental chews, water additives, and oral rinses.  Any one of these is a step in the right direction especially with teeth brushing added into the mix.  I know this is easier said than done for a lot of us.

Bath Robes for Dogs??

I would like to say my first impression was shock that something like this was neccessary and that someone would even buy this.  Well as a gift from our friend Katie, she sent one in the mail for Beetle.  After using it,   I could not have been more pleased about how fast he dried.   The robe soaked most the water and in 10 minutes he was dry. He wasn’t shivering  running  all over the house dragging himself on the rugs to dry himself off.  He doesn’t like to wear the robe however when he runs along the floor, he is rubbing water into the robe instead of the rugs.  I definitely would recommend them out of practicality.  The Microfiber ones soak more water.  I found a good selection on Ebay.

bathrobe modeled by Beetle

bathrobe modeled by Tough GuyTough Guy as model

Shampoos & Conditioners

There are so many types of dog shampoos out there,its hard to keep track.  Can people shampoos be used on dogs?

I have read that we have a different ph level than dogs but I don’t have hard facts to prove.  The only thing I have is my own experiences of clients coming in and explaining skin reactions to human shampoos.  For this, I don’t use them on Beetle or clients.

I tend to make my choices by scent, ingredients, and results.  If the label has a huge paragraph of ingredients with words I can’t pronounce or understand,  I usually shy away from the product.  I also take notice where its manufactured.  With all the scares of oversea facilities going the cheaper route instead of safety, I tend to go with products made in the USA.  England and Germany also have an excellent reputation  being involved with grooming supplies.   Be sure to read  the label,  leave on recommended time, age requirements, etc. This is especially important for vet recommended shampoos,  follow the instructions to get optimum results.

So far I really like these brands.

http://www.naturesspecialtiesmfg.com/ —I use these in the salon, they are scented nicely and a quarter size of shampoo goes a long way.  Made in California

http://www.earthbath.com/products.html –also used in the salon, they also make soap bars which go a long way on  short coated breeds (found at some stores including Pet Food Express).  I have only bought two bars in 12 months for bathing Beetle every 10- 14 days.   Made in San Francisco, CA

Wags shampoo & conditioner

wagsshampoo1Found at Petsmart or other boutiques,  excellent smell and benefits. Unfortunately this is the only size bottle available. Made in USA


They are optional and can help with dry or easily tangled coats.  If your dog gets bathed often then conditoner would be helpful to replenish the moisture.  Beet gets a bath with conditioner every two weeks otherwise he itches himself into a dandruff mess.   I usually do not use conditioner on oily coats.