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.

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

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.

Grooming Truth for a Tibetian Terrier

This breed of dog is a smart family dog with a very high maintenance hair not fur. Just like people hair, its has to be combed daily from root to tip. Can you imagine what your hair would look like it you only combed the tips once a month–avoiding the roots?

Here is a pelt of Tibetan hair matted fused together at the roots with nice straight stands on the right side in photo where, owner was brushing without metal comb. The hair should never come off in one piece. It’s a haven for fleas, fungus, ticks and hotspots.

It seems to be a secret to prospective new owners not knowing what they are getting themselves into for the next 12-16yrs. Monthly I get stories from new clients in frustration not being told the TRUTH of coat care by their breeder. Unfortunately despite the benefits of low dander and low allergy does come at the cost of the the home grooming involved to keep your Tibetan’s hair unmatted over ½ inch long. Some say that the adult coat is easier than puppy coat to keep up but its lots of work regardless.

Here is the TRUTH:

Fine tooth metal comb, root to tip daily to three times a week depending if your dog mats in a day or a in couple of days. Using a brush alone will NOT keep mats away especially if using the wrong type of brush.

Most harnesses, clothing, flat collars, choke chains, burs, and outdoor activity will cause matting if hair is not dealt with daily.

Food and water need to be combed out of beard daily to prevent a sour mildew smell around the face area.

Grooming every 4-6 weeks will not avoid matting. Only daily home coat care will prevent this.

Common areas that I educate about matting are:


Ears flaps inside and out






Inside all legs

Base of tail

Backs of legs



I wanted to blog the truth of this type of hair and know that if you are having problems with this that there is a solution that involves LOTS of daily care and detail along with the right tools. This coat care is also needed for ANY low shedding/low allergy type dog with over 1/2 inch of hair.

Labradoodle “inventor” regrets decision

Man who ‘invented’ the labradoodle regrets decision to breed world’s first designer dog

BY Rosemary Black

Original article found on

Wednesday, May 5th 2010, 1:57 PM

Labradoodles, a cross between a Labrador retriever and a poodle,  have become a popular 'designer' breed for pet owners.

Labradoodles, a cross between a Labrador retriever and a poodle, have become a popular ‘designer’ breed for pet owners.

The creator of the popular labradoodle wonders if he was barking up the wrong tree when he came up with the idea for the world’s first designer dog.

The 81-year-old Australian man says he’s not sure he made the right decision to cross a poodle with a Labrador retriever back in the late 1980s. Since then, designer mixed-breed dogs have proliferated, giving pet owners the choice among groodles, snoodles and spoodles, among others.

”Today I am internationally credited as the first person to breed the labradoodle,” 81-year-old Australian resident Wally Conran told The Australian. “But I wonder, in my retirement, whether we bred a designer dog – or a disaster.”

While working for the Royal Guide Dog Association of Australia in the early 1980s, Conran was contacted by a vision-impaired woman in Hawaii. She needed an allergy-free guide dog since her husband had allergies to dogs. Though no breed is completely hypoallergenic, Conran decided to try crossing a poodle with a lab. Once he found a trainable poodle with a good temperament, he mated it to the lab and three puppies were born. The vision-impaired woman’s husband learned that just one puppy was allergy free.

The new crossbred dog was a good fit for allergy sufferers who were vision-impaired, but the world’s first designer dog didn’t really catch on until Conran came up with a great marketing idea.

“I decided to stop mentioning the word crossbreed and introduced the term ‘labradoodle’ instead to describe my new allergy-free guide-dog pups,” he wrote.

The name caught on and interest in the labradoodle soared, but he began to worry about “backyard breeders producing supposedly allergy-free dogs for profit,” Conran wrote. He felt that he had opened up a Pandora’s box.

“Were breeders bothering to check their sires and bitches for hereditary faults, or were they simply caught up in delivering to hungry customers the next status symbol?” he wrote.

And, Conran added, “It’s not something I’m proud of. I wish I could turn the clock back.”