Dena, owner and operator of K-9 Grooming, has co-written four articles published in the nationally syndicated Dog Fancy Magazine! She looks forward to writing even more. Below are the first three published. Enjoy!
When to toss your tools
The life expectancy of a grooming tool depends on many factors, including how frequently it’s used, cared for and accidentally left outside in the elements.
“When owners use a worn-out tool, grooming becomes ineffective if not detrimental,” says Dena Christensen, a certified groomer and owner of K-9 Grooming in Springvale, Maine. “Using an old, dull shedding blade, for example, wastes the owner’s time and effort and also may cause abrasions in sensitive skin areas.” A shedding blade needs to be cleaned of residual hair, carefully wiped with a low-lint paper towel, and kept free of rust. “If the blade is used almost daily, owners may need to replace it once or twice a year,” Christensen says. “Replacing too early is better than too late.”
On another grooming tool, the undercoat rake, missing teeth is a sure sign owners should toss it. “A well-maintained rake may last many years, but if teeth have broken off, the remaining teeth may catch on skin tags or moles,” Christensen says.
Additionally, you may want to replace slicker brushes every few months, depending on frequency of use. “Check to see if bristles remain uniformly stationed in the brush,” Christensen advises. “If the rubber backing holding the bristles breaks down, it’s time to toss.” –L.M.H
For more of the Nov. 2012 issue click here.
Owners busy with housetraining, socializing, and training a puppy may put grooming on the back burner. “By the time owners take the dog to the groomers or start grooming at home, they’ve missed the early window for accustoming a pup to handling, brushing, or trimming,” says Dena Christensen, certified groomer and owner of K-9 Grooming in Springvale, Maine. “Especially with higher-maintenance breeds such as Poodles, owners can smooth the entire lifetime grooming experience out for the dog by starting early.”
Some breeds may require grooming at an earlier age than owners realize. “Breeds such as Bichons and Shih Tzu may start out with an easy-care topcoat, but then anywhere between 6 months old to a year, develop a cottony, fine undercoat that requires regular brushing to avoid matting,” Christensen says. “Bathing, walking in rain or even in wet grass can set the mats, allowing then to tighten right up to the puppy’s skin.” – L.M.H.
For more of the April 2013 issue click here.
“An out-of-sight toothbrush is rarely used,” says Christensen, certified groomer and owner of K-9 Grooming in Springvale, Maine. Consider buying an attractive toothbrush holder sold for human toothbrushes, and keep your dog’s brush in the holder on the kitchen or bathroom counter.
To keep a toothbrush clean, Christensen suggests boiling the brush gently once a week in hot water, keeping the toothbrush holder washed, and running the brush through the dishwasher every few days to disinfect it. Alternatively, she suggests a different method, if owners desire to speed up the process. “Mix half part hydrogen peroxide to half part water, and then brush two brushes against each other to clean,” Christensen suggests. “Rinse thoroughly, and discard the solution after use.”
If brush bristles are showing wear, toss and replace the bush. “Soft, plastic fingertip brushes are another good option,” Christensen says. “Most dogs tolerate this form of brushing well; the owners finger is really the brush.” –L.M.H.