The Groomers ‘secret’ – Brushing your Medium/Long haired Dog and Cat like a Professional

We get a lot of people ask us how we can brush their dog and cat so easily and remove some much dead coat and knots. It’s not really in the brushes themselves its all in the technique.  Most people have the tools needed, they just don’t know how to use them to their full ability.

First things first.  You need to get your dog on a high space such as the washing machine or a table and put something no slip under them.  Being up high they know that it is brushing time and not play time.  This is especially important in cats and puppies.  If help is needed to distract your pet then get a family member in front of them with treats and praise.  With a cat, wither you or your helper must put slight pressure on the cats shoulders so they stay still and relax for the groom.  Do not expect your pet to love this straight away. It needs to be a routine that eventually your pet will enjoy the attention.  Waiting until your pets is already knotted will make your pet hate grooming.

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I find a lot of dog owners own a slicker brush (with the sharp hard or soft pins), but no comb.  For the best results and with little coat damage it is best to use a soft slicker for the first part of the brushing.  You should not use a slicker brush on a cat unless it is very soft cat brush.  You must be careful the way you use these brushes, used incorrectly they can make your pet hate brushing as you are scratching their skin and pulling too much hair at a time.

The best technique is line brushing.  This is what we do before we clip your dog.  We need to separate the hairs in order for the blades to get through and you should be doing this at home to let the skin breathe and prevent matting.

To start brushing your dog you must start in one section of your dog, whatever is easiest for you.  I like to start from the back foot and work my way to the head, or for cats, from the base of the tail to the head, then underneath once they have settled.  Line brushing includes holding the fur down, holding the brush on an angle, using a flicking motion so your brush is brushing the coat and so that the pins are not scratching the skin, only just grabbing the fur..  This way you are getting all the way down to next to the skin.

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The correct way to hold a slicker so you may easily flick the brush.

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After using a slicker or pin brush you may go to your comb to check the coat for knots and tangles.  In double coated dogs or cats you would go for a shedding comb, other long haired dogs (over half a cm) you would go for a double sided comb.

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Double sided comb,  use the wider teeth to comb out small tangles, and the finer teeth to check areas such as the ears, tail and face.

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Shedding comb used on a 45 degree angle in a line technique to remove undercoat and small knots.

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To comb the ears and tail of long haired dogs (and tails on cats)  I fan out the tail and ears so I can separately comb each part so no spots are missed.

To comb your cats belly your cat may enjoy being combed on your lap

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Remember combing and brushing your pet is important for coat and skin health, removing dander and undercoat which will be in your carpet and house.

Here is a video from an American Groomer that shows the technique that all good soft groomers use.

For Short haired pets we recommend a furminator or rubber curry brush.

All of these tools are available for sale at our salon.
Ask us to show you how to do this in person.

I hope this helps you and your pet enjoy grooming time.

Happy Grooming!

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How to wash your cat (no not by the dog)

Ok ok I’m sure you thinking you must be crazy right?  No cats do need cleaning!  They touch their dirty kitty litter with urine and fecal matter (and collect half of it in their tail and paw hair) then lick themselves clean spreading dander and oils around.  This dander, undercoat and oils collect together in the stomach either causing hairballs or worse not being excreted (later to have to surgically remove!  Believe me I and a few clients have been there!) Washing your cat helps remove this dander (which is the allergen you are usually allergic to) and removing excess oils and undercoat that cause matting and hairballs.

This is the way I introduce bathing to new clients that have not been bathed before.  I bath a lot of cats that have never been bathed before or have had bad experiences with washing (5+ a week!)

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Have everything prepared BEFORE you grab your cat!  You will need 2 towels, a bucket of luke warm water or 2, a pump water bottle of shampoo mixed with luke warm water (use cat friendly shampoo only, make sure it says it on the bottle!) I like to use chubbs bars after the first wash.  Shampoo bottle, Nail clippers, and an extra person if you can help it.  Washing in the laundry sink or bath is best

1. Put a towel on your washing machine or bench,  Cut your cats nails before attempting if possible to decrease scratching!

2. Put cat in sink/bath facing away from you, put pressure on the shoulders of the cat reassuring the cat.  Use the water bottle wet the tail first slowly and make your way up to the head scrubbing as you go.  dont wet the face or head only with your hands or kitty will get grumpy.  scrub as much as you can with one hand on shoulders.  Apply as much pressure as needed, scruff only as last resort.

3.  Rinse using bucket of water and cup, as much as possible.

4.  Re-shampoo using your hands and shampoo.  Scrub as much as you can.

5.  Rinse again thoroughly. Do not use conditioner.

6.  Towel over cat and put cat on other towel and dry as much as possible.  If you are keen to blow-dry  (if cats not scared of vacuum or your hairdryer they may be fine), wrap cat up in towel and put other towel over head (so they can breathe but not hear) and put pressure on whole cat drying from tail up and combing at times.   Otherwise comb your cat as it air-dries.

I recommend bathing every 4-6 weeks for optimal cat health.  If you cant do it we can!

I hope this helps!

Lexie the Groomer,

Certified Master Cat Groomer (The Cat Grooming School, London)

http://www.happysgrooming.com

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Flea season!

We are hearing that a lot of pet owner are having flea infestations.   Fleas are around all year long in our environment but come out in force in spring and summer.

Please note, as I work from home, and do not want other clients getting fleas too,  we do not take pets for grooming with a flea infestation.  We understand that you may not notice one or two, and we can pop your pet straight in the bath most of the time if we notice at arrival, but your pet spreads the eggs just by walking into our parlour, so sight of fleas means we must spray our whole environment, give your pet extra washes and tell the owners that are booked in around your pet, so therefore charge a flea fee.

For treatment of fleas for dogs we recommend a monthly flea tablet, such as Comfortis, we have seen this tablet work much better than the spot ons on the market.  If you already have a spot on treatment, combine it with the use of capstar, a daily tablet, for a few days to help the spot on work, and repeat the spot on in 2 weeks.  Capstar can be purchased from most pet shops, vets, and even Excelpet make a Capstar that works just as well.  We do not recommend supermarket spots ons, flea powders, flea rinses, or flea collars, as they are not strong enough to work and are actually known to cause allergic reactions to you and your pet.

For flea treatment on cats we recommend as spot on such as Advocate or Frontline, use in conjunction with a Capstar tablet for a few days.  Make sure you use a CAT ONLY product as permethrin is highly toxic to cats and can kill them within an hour.

We do not recommend flea rinses/shampoos on cats as they are very sensitive to these chemicals in these products and can get very sick (or worse).  If you have a lot of fleas or flea dirt (flea poo) on a cat I would recommend a degreasing flea bath where you wash the cat at least 3 times with a cat shampoo such as chubbs bars that will kill the fleas (or most of them). ( I sell chubbs bars or http://www.chubbsbars.com.au)

Most of the fleas are in the environment living in the sand, carpet or bedding, so will jump back on your pet if you do not clean the environment and use flea prevention at the same time.

In the salon I use Excelpet household spray as it has the same ingredients as Frontline household spray and is much cheaper. (from big W)

Keeping up your monthly flea prevention is the best way to battle fleas.  One flea jumping on your pet while you walk your dog, or a neighbourhood cat jumping in your backyard can start a cycle in your environment so prevention is the key!

Fleas carry the tapeworm so remember to also tapeworm your pet every 3 months and when fleas are present.

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Please note these are my findings and have worked for me and my clients.  It is up to you how you use this information.  Talk to your vet before starting any treatments for your pet.

Brush-outs and De-sheds

I do a lot of bath, blow-dry and de-sheds. I add a de-shed fee to every cat bath that doesn’t come every 4- 8 weeks, as there will be coat and oil build up taking longer and excess brushing to do. 

To do a proper de-shed (brush-out or whatever you may call it), it all starts with the bath.  The cat must be washed thoroughly and if they have excess coat I will do extra washes until it is clean to my liking, failure to remove all oils will mean hair will stay in the coat and not move with drying, giving you more work and not lasting as long.  I prefer the Chubbs bars and Progroom Amber Cleansing Gel.  Brushing can start in the bath, depending on the amount of coat and cats behaviour I may use my gold les pooches (or your favourite slicker) to brush the coat once while sudsy and once while rinsing.

I then will towel dry the cat as much as possible and put a squeeze of Magic Tails Shine Serum on my hands, and rub all over the cat trying to get it to the roots of the hair (can also be used for de-matting).  I find this loosens up the undercoat, I was told this trick by a fellow groomer and love it!  Leaves a shine too.

I then will blow dry with a condenser nozzle for the dryer and once a patch is 80%-100% dry you can start combing with a cat comb, removing the undercoat while the dryer in on it.  In extra fluffy areas and the belly where the owner notices the cat sheds most I will use a furminator gently while the dryer in focusing on the area but do not overdo this! 

After the blow-dry I will then continue to comb the cat over and then brush with a slicker lightly and a zoom groom, so when the owner pats the cat little hair comes out, preventing complaints, as some think a de-shed will remove all undercoat (it will reduce by 70-80%)

I recommend baths for shedding reduction every 4-6 weeks.

any questions email me lexiethegroomer@hotmail.com

www.fancyfelineonlinegroomereducation.com

 

 

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Time Restraints

I have ready a lot of articles, studied vet nursing, watched webinars, read books, done modules and talked to a lot of groomers and they have all said the same  thing, I am going to forward this on to you for your and your clients.

I see it constantly on facebook, people grooming cats taking 2-4 hours

Cats have a time limit, some thirty minutes, some 1 hour, some 1 second, but they all get sick of grooming.  The average time limit (when they start scratching biting or getting stressed) is generally under an hour. 

I groom all cats from start to finish no matter how matted in an hour or less!  Yes that included bath, dry and two clips.  As with dogs speed comes with experience but with cats you need to set yourself a limit. 

A cat that is in a chronic state of anxiety can experience health problems as well as behavioural changes. One indication of stress is high concentrations of the corticosteroids (hormones secreted by the adrenal gland) in the blood and/or urine, particularly cortisol. If large amounts of the hormones persist in reaction to chronic stressors, the result can be illness or even death.

I stress this limit must not be passed and if the following occurs the groom must be stopped and continued another day

-panting that does not stop if you stop grooming

-panting in any cat with medical issues or over the age of 10

-weeing and defecating more than once

– a cat over 10 years old and its been an hour of grooming

– a cats eyes are dilated and do not return to normal when grooming stops

-high temperature

– rapid breathing

– you believe that cat is highly stressed

 

even if you believe the cat is not stressed, it is not at home in its bed asleep or relaxed, being out of its comfort zone it is stressed.  Did you know cats also PURR when they are stressed?

 

This can, and has on many occasions caused death or renal failure etc leading to death.

 

I have only had this happen twice in my grooming time, and I have groomed hundreds of cats.  My unfortunate circumstances were both elderly (19-22 years old) extremely matted, and did not show signs of stress.  They were not groomed for more than 30 mins, did not have a bath, and both got very sick leading to euthanasia within days.

I have heard stories of cats literally falling over and dying, young, no signs of stress or ill health, yet they must of had heart issues not detected by a vet.

 

Now I am trying not to scare you, this is a very rare occurrence, but you must do everything to prevent it such as studying cat behaviour and health such as I have. 

I drill it into all clients that grooming cats without sedation is both a risk to me and them and they sign a form stating this.

All I am asking is that you set yourself a time limit, even if you just bath or just clip until you get a little quicker.

Please believe me when I tell you to not do more than an hour of grooming on a cat.

 

Thanks for listening

 

Lexie