My dog is hot, what should I do?

This happens very often every summer, dogs come in for their summer shaves.   Some clients give feed back that their dog acted so happy like a puppy and others tell stories of how they hid under the bed for a week.  I also noticed that your pet will react to how you treat them after they are shaved, if you hate it they can sense it but know that it will all come back in a matter of weeks.  Stay positive.

In my best opinion, I feel it is something that is you may want to research or think about if you aren’t totally sure.  I once was told by a vet in Dallas that the hair will protect them from the sun and rays, keeping them cool where Texas summers hit 100 degrees plus until September.  His words were,” A bald guy on the golf course will get hotter faster than the guy with a head full of hair so they need their fur for protection”. It made total sense and I never forgot it.  Keep in mind dogs cool off by panting and sweating through their foot pads which sometimes is pressed against hot pavement.  Cooling off also includes a belly against the dirt, grass or cold floor.

Even the longest-coated dog can be comfortable in hot climates. The hair on a well-groomed dog will actually keep him cool – because it acts as insulation against the heat. As long as the pet is healthy, even  heavy-coated breeds can be comfortable all summer because after the undercoat has been shed, the outer coat provides insulation from the heat and protection from the sun.

The best thing to do is keep the undercoat brushed out, don’t let it cake up.  Matted coats  will trap heat and moisture, causing redness, irritation and odors. Always provide shade and fresh water.

If you have done everything or have a short haired dog and your dog is STILL hot almost all year you may want to consider buying a cooling vest.  Frenchies are at high risk of heat stroke so this was a must for us.  I have tried a few options but this is the best vest without the  polymer crystals that add weight to the spine. The vest  is simple to use, put it under running water and thats it and it keeps your pet dry and cool with vinyl lining.  It covers the vital organs not like bandanna collar that only cool the neck area.  It is made by Cool Vest


For inside the house, a cooling bed can be found at many pets stores and online.

Be safe this summer!

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.


Pet stores I recommend in the East Bay

The stores I frequent are a few, everyone has something that the other doesn’t.  I like to support small businesses but its also good for me to offer a client in the right direction if they need to get something.

In the East Bay we often go to

Wags & Whiskers ,  1528 Locust Street
Walnut Creek, CA 94596

They have high quality food including raw, Orijen, Acana, Evangers, among others but best of all they have one of the best selection of unique collars I’ve seen.  I’m a fan or Lucky Pup and Hot Dogs all Dressed.  If you have a dog or cat that is a rockstar or princess, this place is sure to have something and if you want to create your own, they can help you.   Beetle has a few collars from there and I had to stop my addiction for now. Their Walnut Creek store is much bigger and has a get together called Yappy Hour so you can hang out with people, food, drinks, dogs among guest speakers at some events.

Paws on Piedmont,3974 Piedmont Ave, Oakland

A small pet store with cute beds, nice toys, food and treats.  They offer dog walking and have a personable sense about their place.  We usually go here when I walk Tank (Beetle’s best friend).  It’s one of the closest places to us that carries Deer Antlerz, the mineral rich chews that don’t splinter and last long.    They have a strong neighborhood following and have fun events from time to time.  I loathe parking in the area but thats anywhere in Piedmont.

Holistic Hound, 1510 Walnut Street, Berkeley, CA

Great place not only for the store but a few stores into the square there is a cupcake store.  Amazing cupcakes displayed in cases and the taste, AMAZING.  OK back to Holistic Hound, the owner and staff are very knowledgeable about holistic anything.  If you are looking for natural flea products or natural remedies for ailments, they can help you.  They too carry Orijen, Raw, Evangers, Tripett, among other great products.  Lots of natural pet remedy books too.  I’ve gotten a dog immune booster called Transfer Factor, its pricey but I rather pay that than to have my dog getting sick with his low immune system.

Dog Bone Alley, 1342 Park St, Alameda

When I used to work in Alameda, Morgan (the westie mascot), was one of the dog’s I used to groom.  He was super sweet and I thought to give his place,  Dog Bone Alley, a try.  They too carry Deer Antlerz but best of all they carry a chew that I found at the San Ramon dog show called Himalayan Dog Chew.  My dog wouldn’t let it go and it lasted for a while.  It comes from an ancient recipe of the people of the Himalayas. In the mountains at more than 15,000 feet, it is made using traditional methods with Yak or Cow Milk, all natural products and no chemicals or preservatives.   It has the same texture of hard candle wax and totally digestable.  A few of my friend’s dogs are fans of them too.  I also like their selection of collars especially the Dublin Dog collars.  They don’t absorb odor and come in trendy styles.  They carry a big selection of Puppia harnesses as well.

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.