Archive for the ‘Grooming’ Category

5 Easy Steps to Home-Grooming Your First Dog

Posted on December 19th, 2012

Being a first time dog owner can be both exciting and stressful at the same time. Adopting a puppy or dog is a great way to experience the joys of owning a pet. There is nothing that can compare to the trips to the park, swimming in a lake or at the beach, and those cozy moments lying on the couch or your outside lounge chair with your dog. T

hese are great moments; however, to keep your dog healthy and happy, it also needs hygienic care.

Professional grooming is a great option, especially if you have a long-haired dog breed, but as a first time dog owner, nothing beats getting to know your dog personally than by doing its hygiene by yourself.

It’s not about saving money — it’s about bonding. This is a special time for you to connect with your new dog and introduce hygiene to it before it with a busy and loud dog grooming salon.

Dog Baths

This is obvious, but is also important. There is a misconception that dogs need to be bathed weekly – this is not true. In fact, frequent baths can actually irritate your dog’s skin. When you first introduce your dog to the bath, you may either wash it in your bathtub or outside in a large steel bucket. Whatever method you choose, the importance is to slowly introduce your dog to the water.

Start by dipping your dog’s feet slowly into the water. Don’t fill the tub or bucket too deep. It should just cover your dog’s paws. Start washing from the upper body, to the legs, then the top and underneath the head. You don’t need fancy shampoo. What works great, although a bit pricey, is the natural food store’s organic shampoo for humans. It is made of natural ingredients that will not irritate your dog’s skin and will keep your dog smelling fresh for a longer period of time.


Most dogs love to be brushed. Dogs can be brushed daily to help release and distribute their natural skin oils throughout their fur. If you have a short-haired dog, a brush with soft bristles is perfect. You don’t want to use a wire comb or stiff metal-like bristles, as this can scratch the skin of your dog, bringing on another problem.

If you have a long-haired dog, daily brushing with a large comb is recommended. Long hair tends to get tangled easily, so sitting next to your dog or placing your dog on your lap and combing its fur slowly can be very soothing to your dog. (It can calm you down, too!) If you notice a matted portion of hair, take some baby oil and rub it into the matted area and slowly comb through. This way you can ensure you are not hurting your dog.


Often neglected are a dog’s teeth. Really, how often would you think of brushing your dog’s teeth? Unfortunately, not being attentive to dental care for your dog is the leading cause of plaque buildup, infected gums and gingivitis in dogs. It doesn’t take much here, and with repeated cleaning, your dog will be so used to the routine, that it will not try to squirm or bite you.

All you need is a regular human toothbrush, preferably a hard bristle type, a cup with some baking soda and water. You may also use hydrogen peroxide instead of water if your dog needs an extra good cleaning. It is also great for removing bacteria that can cause disease. Dip the toothbrush in the mixture and slowly brush each tooth of your dog. No rinsing is needed, but it is nice to offer your dog water after this routine. You can repeat this everyday if you choose, or at least once a week at the minimum. You may also use doggie toothpaste if you prefer.


Dogs get allergies and dried mucous in their eyes from time to time. Don’t let this go unattended, as it can cause your dog to develop itchy eyes or even an eye infection. On the days that you wash your dog, you can also take a clean, unused small cloth dipped in warm clear water, and gently wipe your dog’s eyes from the inside out. Never wipe from the inside in, as you will be bringing debris and germs into your dog’s eyes. Ensure that you wash the cloth before its next use.

If you don’t have a clean cloth available, you may also use a cotton swab dipped in clean water to gently clear mucous and dirt from your dog’s eyes. This procedure is better for small dogs or dogs with small eyes.


If your dog spends a lot of time outdoors, you definitely want to inspect and clean your dog’s paws daily if possible. It is so easy for your dog to step on something sharp outside, whether it’s thorny flowers or weeds, sharp rocks, or tree branches. If you begin checking your dog’s paws when he is young, you should have no problems. Dogs are sensitive in their feet, and some do not like their paws being probed.

Have your dog lay next to you, maybe even giving it a little treat. Pet and hug your dog until it is comfortable. Slowly inspect each paw, closely examining between each toe. Many times there will be something lodged in the paw, such as a splinter, that you can easily remove with sterilized tweezers. After removal, clean your dog’s paws with rubbing alcohol and rub an antibiotic lotion on the spot to ensure no infection develops.

Grooming is a great time for you and your dog to bond. Your dog may not even realize that it is getting the full cleaning treatment. It may just think that this is its special time with you. Proper grooming also shows your dog that you have genuine love for it. You may even want to show this love of your dog to others through purchasing doggie checks. Everyone will then know you are serious about being a responsible dog owner!

Kim is a freelance writer who has worked with dogs for years. She has cared for and trained numerous mix-breed and pure-breed dogs. Every dog she has owned was part of the family. Kim enjoys sharing this love for dogs with others through her personal dog checks from

Photo credit: Shehan365

Cleansing Pawtizer™ Pet Wipes: Perfectly Pleasant if Your Pooch Needs a Pat-Down

Posted on July 7th, 2012

Did you know that there are as many germs on paws that there are on hands? Yeah, gross.

Plus, when you walk or run your dog, he walks through God-only-knows-what on the grass. Yeah, gross times ten.

All American Pet Brands’ Pawtizer™ Antibacterial Wipes are the perfect solution – as we recently discovered on multiple occasions.

I guess I never really started to think about just how dirty Benson’s feet were until we got the Pawtizer Wipes. There are three things I really like about them.

First – these alcohol-free topical sanitizers are much easier than the standard wet rag that we had been using to wipe mud off Benny’s feet when he went potty in the rain (or after the rain).

Second – they kill germs and bacteria and are considered a 99% alcohol-free hypoallergenic that’s recommended by vets. We have no guarantee that our standard wet rags (which we used as a pet grooming product) did or were any of those things!

Third – they reduce our need to keep re-using rags, which reduces the need to launder them, which saves on detergent and water!

Pawtizer Wipes are fantastic for wiping your dogs’ feet when he comes in from potty, after he goes for a walk, if you have children around the house, and more.

We also try to use them on the cats feet at least once a day – particularly if we catch one coming out of the litter box or coming in from carousing around on the icky garage floor.

You can read all kinds of information about the Pawtizer Wipes and the science behind them here.

We give the Pawtizer Wipes four paws up for cleaning Benson’s feet and the kittehs’ tootsies and for keeping them clean. We even noticed that Benson had less of a need to clean his own feet when we were using these – he seemed less concerned with it… That’s gotta’ count for something, too, right?

Pawtizer Wipes are available on, so they are very reasonably priced (about $10 for a 100-count container). Visit them to find out more at . You can also find them on Twitter at @Pawtizer.

Gerrard Larriett Pet Care Line: Check Out Their Amazing Aromatherapy Pet Grooming Products!

Posted on July 1st, 2012

Recently, we were sent the exceptional “Gerrard Larriett Aromatherapy Treatment Experience for Pets Gift Set” by Gerrard Larriett Aromatherapy Pet Care (GLAPC) for review. We tested these products on Benson the Golden Retriever and the two Basset Hounds, Ramsey and Franklin.

Let me tell you – every single pet grooming item was used in full…. We fully enjoyed the gift set of rose-scented pet goodies and pet grooming products, which contained:

Gift Set

–          Balancing Rose Aromatherapy Shampoo & Conditioner for Pets

–          Balancing Rose Aromatherapy Freshening & Shining Spray for Pets

–          Balancing Rose Aromatherapy Deodorizing Soy Candle for Pets

This new and unique aromatherapy product line is simply remarkable.

First, some background.

The folks at GLPC say they created this product line – there’s a Wildwoods shampoo and a Jasmine spray, too – to solve the “biggest challenge of pets and pet parents:” offensive odors, stinky smells, and unwanted scents – whatever you want to call your malodorous mutt or foul-smelling feline…!

Most of you know that animals are as finicky about their ‘outgoing’ “odors” as we humans are! They are constantly bathing and grooming to ensure the ‘proper pheromones are given off’ and that they smell pleasant (to themselves and other pets at least!).

Deodorizing Candle

With the goal of helping owners remove unwanted pet odors in mind, GLAPC began “a journey to discover the most therapeutic essential oils of nature’s flowers, plants and trees that could be incorporated into a natural, therapeutic and effective pet care regimen,” according to their press materials.

Through consultation and non-invasive testing with cosmetic and pet care labs in the US (ALL GLAPC products are Made in the USA, YAY!), “each product in the line was formulated for the sensitive skin of pets and manufactured under the strictest quality control systems,” it continues.

Now – the fact that these are aromatherapy products was very important to me and weighed heavily on my decision to use. These are NOT your typical dog shampoos and conditioners or pet grooming sprays. These are high-end, reliable, brand name pet grooming products that are an incredible value and that keep on working well past the time of use.

Freshening Spray

I’m a big believer in holistic healing and ramification of any health issue, too, in pets or humans (I know, you never knew that, right?).

On the GLPC website, it says that, “Aromatherapy is the practice of using the natural oils extracted from flowers, bark, stems, leaves, roots or other parts of a plant to enhance psychological and physical well-being. The inhaled aroma from these “essential” oils is widely believed to stimulate brain function. Essential oils can also be absorbed through the skin where they travel through the bloodstream and can promote whole-body healing.”

I personally, from experience, whole-heartedly agree with that last statement.

Over the last two months or so we used up the entire product line on Benny and the Bassets. (Please note it will last you a bit longer as we had three dogs using it.) The product did amazingly well with Benson’s foot and skin allergies.

It took us only four weeks to burn the lovely-rose-smelling, generously sized 8.5-ounce soy candle…. We did this mostly when we didn’t have time to bathe him or after a bath to avoid wet dog smell in the house.

It worked like a charm.

It totally got rid of wet dog scent, it didn’t just cover it up so you got some mix of flower and dripping dog – it eradicated the smell entirely. I mean, this candle smells better than those from Bath & Body Works or that other candle company that I can’t remember the name of right now (lol- you know what I’m talking about!).

The other products we used more sparingly as we right out of the gate realized how much we loved them and didn’t want them to run out! We used every last dropof the 8-fluid-ounce shampoo/conditioner (in one bottle) and the equally liberally sized 4-fluid-ounce freshening spray.

GLAPC Shampoo & Conditioner

It was such a cinch to just spray a bit of the aromatherapy wonder spray on Benson when he was itching and scratching – he loved it too! His coat was so shiny and soft from the Balancing Rose Freshening and Shining Spray and the consistent use of the shampoo and conditioner.

Any time Benson started to smell, which was often because of the lymphangiectasia that he suffered from and his various skin allergies and other conditions (bumps, lumps, ear infections, etc.), we would spray the freshening spray on him and he didn’t mind it at all. The Bassets liked it and reveled in it just as much. They couldn’t stop smelling each other – it was quite hilarious!

Benson’s butt literally ended up smelling like roses from this wonderful shampoo!

And they all were noticeably “fluffier,” sleeker-looking and fresher-smelling after being dried – and the scent lasted for weeks – WAY longer than your run-of-the-mill pet store shampoo.

And I gotta say we noticed a big difference in Benson bathing himself. He was, for a while there, absolutely obsessed with licking at his scars and allergies, but with the Gerrard Larriett products, he wasn’t as concerned. They were helping to heal him it seemed. It was like they made his allergies and skin feel better to him, too, not just to us on the outside. So in turn, we used less water bathing him less frequently, AND less product.

As someone with experience in both smelly pets and pets with skin conditions, I would highly recommend you try the full line of Gerrard Larriett Aromatherapy Treatment pet grooming products. They really are cool cat products and cool dog products: I know we are repeat customers now…

Here are the retail prices (not including shipping). Remember – for what these products do and how long they last (how little you have to use), these are very reasonably priced – a drop in the bucket.

–          Balancing Rose Aromatherapy Experience Treatment Experience for Pets ($54)

–          Balancing Rose Aromatherapy Deodorizing Soy Candle for Pets ($28)

–          Relaxing Wildwoods Aromatherapy Shampoo & Conditioner for Pets ($16)

–          Happy Jasmine Aromatherapy Freshening & Shining Spray for Pets ($16)

 Check them out on Facebook, too!


Soggy Doggy Super Shammy &Thundershirt Pet Product Reviews… Get These Awesome Dog Products!

Posted on June 30th, 2012

The Super-Duper Soggy Doggy Super-Shammy Pet Product

“Every dog owner knows the drill… The dog begs to go out in the pouring rain and then prances back inside, depositing water, mud, dirt and those annoying paw prints all over… Mounds of towels by the door and the world’s biggest doormat are no match for the wet dog…But the SOGGY DOGGY DOORMAT is!”

So it says on the website of the Soggy Doggy Doormat and Super Shammy, and SO IT IS TRUE!!

And we were pleasantly and perceptibly surprised to see that the Soggy Doggy Shammy took almost ALL the water off Benson after his last bath in life just days ago.  (We did not try the doormat to be clear, but just loved the quote.)

Soggy Doggy Doormat and Shammy

Like a dog bath towel, the amazing Soggy Doggy Shammy is ideal for pet grooming – it absorbs an astounding seven times its weight in water, which makes a 98-pound Golden a walk in the park to dry. You simply put your arms through the shammy pockets and hug and pat the dog down all over, kind of squeezing as you go. This thing really works wonders and we couldn’t believe it!

This saves us in untold ways… first on towels, second on water to do the laundry, third on laundry detergent to clean the towels, and finally on time! Benson the fuzzy-butt used to practically require his own army of handlers post-bath, but no longer with the Soggy Doggy Super Shammy!

According to the website, this cozy and soft material (that I love so much I want to dry myself off with it) is a microfiber chenille blend; it allows the Soggy Doggy Super Shammy to soak up water and dirt like a literal sponge!

“The material is exceptionally hard-working and goes right in the washer and dryer! But the chenille also makes it velvety-soft and gentle under delicate paws and bellies,” it says on-site.

How pawfect is that?

The Soothing and Therapeutic Thundershirt Pet Product

Thankfully we also got one thunderstorm in here (we’re prone to them living along Lake Erie) before Benson crossed the Bridge so we got to try his new Thundershirt out, too.  The slogan of the second remarkable pet product is “Takes the ‘Pet’ Out of “Petrified,” which I think is terribly clever and totally apropos.

Thundershirt uses gentle, constant pressure to calm the dog, effectively aiding anxiety, fearfulness and more.

Benson was not afraid in the least when he had this thing on. It was UNBELIEVABLE because he DESPISES thunder and firecrackers, bottle rockets or any other sort of loud boom, bang or firework. He usually shakes like a leaf and whines like a baby and follows everyone around until everyone is centered around him, sitting and petting him… but he did none of that with the Thundershirt on.

The Thundershirt is PERFECT for you and your dog if you have a similar situation – a dog that fears loud thunder booms or fireworks of any sort. With July 4th coming up, you still have time to order one!

**The product is also great for separation or travel anxiety, hyperactivity and problem barking, so it lauds on the site.

We didn’t try it for those things but it does say that it has an 80% success rate. With NO MEDS NECESSARY.

That’s amazing in its own right! After all, all these dog owners can’t be wrong…!

The Thundershirt company even has a guarantee! It says on the website: “We stand behind our product. Thundershirt is a terrific solution for most dogs suffering from anxiety, fearfulness, or over-excitement. And Thundershirt is an excellent training tool for bringing calm and focus back to your dog while on the leash or while otherwise training. For most dogs, improvement is achieved with the very first usage. For some, two or three usages are needed before the desired results are achieved.”

Now this is a pet product we can get behind, too.

We are so grateful we had the chance to review these two wonderful pet products! Thank you Kerry!


* received the Soggy Doggy Shammy and Thundershirt at a courtesy for these reviews.

Household Flea and Tick Control in Pets

Posted on June 11th, 2012

By Augie Bering, Bering’s Hardware

Fleas are pernicious little insects that hitch a ride on a pants leg or a foraging pet and take up residence in your life. Even though they prefer not to feed on humans, it is impossible to ignore an itchy pet’s distress in the middle of a flea infestation.

Fleas have several stages in their lifecycle and each must be considered when you are trying to rid your household of this pest. Adult fleas live most of their lives on a cat or dogs body. They cling to the fur and jump back onto the animal as soon as possible when they fall off. They draw blood from you or your pet and produce “flea dirt,” which is the reddish-brown residue from a blood meal. This refuse and any flea eggs drop off your pet and work their way down into the carpet or bedding material. The eggs hatch and the first larval form emerges. The immature fleas try to avoid light and burrow farther down into the carpet, eating random organic material and flea dirt in particular. Eventually, they pupate and hatch as adults when they sense the vibrations of a potential host in the vicinity, completing the cycle once they begin laying eggs.

To break the infestation and remove fleas from your pet’s life entirely, fleas need to be attacked both on the animal and also in your carpet and the pet’s bedding. The most effective treatment for adult fleas is a chemical pesticide that is classified as an insect growth regulator, or IGR. This family of pesticides have very little or no effect on mammals but are quite effective in killing or destroying the reproductive capabilities of adult fleas. Some products additionally provide protection against some internal parasites or ticks. These are the products that are applied in a dot on the pet’s neck or in a line running down its backbone. The dog or cat’s normal activity spreads the pesticide around its body. Popular examples of IGRs are PetArmor and Revolution.

**Due to the timing of the flea’s lifecycle, these products must be applied repeatedly on a schedule to kill stragglers as they hatch.**

Additionally, some are available in prescription and over-the-counter varieties, so you should consult a veterinarian before using them.

Flea dips and shampoos, as well as natural/homemade remedies such as sticky pads and diatomaceous earth (DE) show some effectiveness, but generally cannot fully break the lifecycle to provide permanent peace in your house. At the same time you are trying to rid your pet’s body of adult fleas, you must strive to kill or remove all the eggs and larvae in the areas your pet frequents, indoors and out. Outdoor areas your pet likes to spend time in should be treated with an outdoor pesticide, usually a garden hose-end spray that includes pyrethrins.

In the house, the single most effective thing you can do is to use a vacuum cleaner thoroughly and often. The vibration from the vacuum triggers the immature fleas to emerge, so re-vacuuming a second time a few hours later is also a good idea. Once vacuumed up the young fleas are still a problem and they must be immediately disposed of outside, away from human and pet traffic.

Recently, products have entered the market to kill the immature fleas inside the vacuum cleaner bag or canister, such as Flea Vac pellets. Any bedding or other cloth material that your pet lays on daily should be washed in hot water. This overall cleaning of your household will also have to be repeated every two weeks or so until the fleas are gone. With diligence and a little work, any flea infestation can be brought under control and eliminated as long as you understand the flea lifecycle and take steps to eliminate every stage.

About the Author

August Bering V, “Augie” to his friends, is President of Bering’s Hardware in Houston, TX. Bering’s is well-known for a broad range of carefully selected home goods such as outdoor living products to pet products, and red carpet service that has delighted customers for generations since 1940. From your bridal registry, decorating your first home, to your first baby registry, Bering’s has special gifts for special occasions and the right tools for the right job. Augie enjoys spending time with his family and friends, grilling and cooking, playing hard outside, traveling, design, art, live music, and spending as much time as he can with his family.