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Paw Balm Recipe

25Jan10

As we discussed before winter can be especially harsh on your dog’s paws. I wanted to share with you a recipe for all natural paw balm, along with a great foot soak for your pet prior to applying the balm (this also works great for people too!).

Natural Paw Balm
1 part beeswax
1 part olive oil or avocado oil
1 pinch borax
Purchase cosmetic grade beeswax and follow the manufacturer’s instructions for melting (this is often sold at craft stores for making homemade lip balm). Once the wax is melted, slowly add the olive oil or other edible oil, mix this until it is of a whipped consistency and add the pinch of borax. Remember that the dog will lick its feet after the balm is applied, so all of the ingredients must be edible and of current non-spoilage date. Store the balm in an airtight container to avoid spoilage or discoloration. Just a few smudges of this on each pad will go a long way. Rub it is well, and be sure not to make a mess of the hair around the pads.

Soak your pet’s paws in Epsom salt with purified water (1-2 tbs pet gallon of water) for 5-10 minutes before applying the paw balm for best results.

Thanks to Chris Sertzel for this great recipe!


One of the most important things you can do in caring for your dog’s grooming needs is choosing a good groomer for both you and your dog. You need to be able to trust your groomer to not only do their job well and with compassion, but let you know when they notice things out of the norm with your dog.  So how do you pick a groomer that’s great for both of you? There are some easy steps to follow to make your search a bit easier.

Listen to your friends that have dogs. If they have a groomer that they love, go check them out! Referrals are the easiest way to find a groomer that you know if trustworthy and going to value you and your pet first. But what if you don’t have any friends who get their dogs groomed?

Look online, in the yellow pages, and at FindAGroomer.com to find local groomers. Call them up and ask to visit their shop, and if they have time to meet your dog. Many people try to choose salons based on how their pet first reacts when entering them. This is not always the best way to judge because pets often become uncomfortable in new places, especially those with a lot of activity. Here are some key things to look at and discuss when meeting a perspective groomer:

1. Is the salon clean?

This doesn’t mean that the salon has no hair on the floor etc, but does it look well-maintained and with minimal amounts of hair on the floor.

2. Do dogs existing the salon smell and look clean?

3. Does the groomer take time to get to know you and your dog?

4. Do they discuss your dog’s potential grooming needs and are they upfront with the price?

5. How long is the wait to get an appointment with the groomer?

6. Are you comfortable with the groomer? Do they seem inviting and knowledgable?

Kim Walker of Poochie’s Parlor also wrote a great article on the subject. If you have any questions feel free to write comments below, or if you feel there are other important things to look for when choosing a groomer, add them in the comments!


Dry skin is a common problem for most dogs during these cold dry winter months which can lead to hair loss if not cared for properly, but what can you do at home to help your baby’s skin stay healthy? We will outline some basic things you can do at home and with your groomer to make sure your dog stays comfy all winter long.

Just like in people, dogs benefit greatly from Omega-3 fatty acids, especially those found in fish oil. You can add this to your dog’s food over winter to keep dry flakey skin at bay.

Oatmeal works like Aloe on dogs’ skin and there are hundreds of shampoos that offer this soothing natural way to moisterize your dog’s skin. Make sure not to buy a brand that is too cheap! Many of these shampoos contain sodium and other ingredients that dry out your dog’s skin, negating all the good oatmeal can do! You can bathe your pet weekly with oatmeal shampoo that is of a high quality, and make sure to use a complimentary conditioner to lock in the moister in your dog’s coat. If you’re unsure about what type of shampoo to buy, go to your local pet store and ask an associate, most are very knowledgable.

If an all natural solution sounds right for you, you can also bathe your dog in yogurt (plain and sugar free) with honey. These ingredients have done wonders on my friend’s hairless Chinese Crested, and with their incredibly sensitive skin you know its gentle. This is also completely safe for your dog to eat, making bath time a bit more fun!  Simply take 1/2 cup of plain yogurt and mix it in with 1 tablespoon of honey (keep the same ratio for larger amounts), scrub onto your dog going all the way down to the skin and let sit like a mask for 10 minutes. You will probably have to reapply as most dogs love to eat this mix and happily like away at whatever they can reach!

Hopefully these tips will help keep your pet’s skin smooth and moist all winter long. If you have an questions or would like to share your own techniques and tips comment below!


This time of year many people let their pets’ hair grow long “for winter”. While the idea is to keep your pet warm, if it is not maintained properly you can be doing more harm than good for your pet. Longer coats can take hours to dry naturally so they need to be blow dried and brushed thoroughly. If the long coat remains unbrushed it will very quickly form mats, which in turn trap moisture and dirt and

A severely matted dog.

can cause infection and harbor parasites. A matted coat is a nightmare for a pet, as he/she will be unable to clean properly, will be itchy and sore, and suffer restricted movement . Worse still, a matted coat can hide injuries that need treatment. This is not the warm fluffy winter’s coat which the owner envisaged.

If you still would like to keep your dog in a longer coat over winter there are several things you need to know to maintain it properly. First of all, dry your dog’s coat every time they come in from outside. You can do this with either a towel or a blow dryer, but remember that heat damages dog hair (just like us) so only use a cold air human hair dryer, or one made especially for pets. Second is to brush your dog’s coat regularly to remove any mats or tangles. This is a subject quite a few owners have issues doing properly, and I will go in depth on this subject of my next post. For now, make sure that you can run a comb completely through all your pup’s hair without a snag, that’s the easiest way to know you’ve done it properly.  Last but not least is to make sure your dog is still regularly bathed, and that the long hair is removed from their eyes, mouth, and especially in between their toes.


This time of year we rarely think about what the salt and dry conditions can do to our dog’s paws. They can become chapped and even get infected if not cared for properly. Thankfully there is a simple and easy way to protect your dog’s paws without making them wear doggy shoes: paw balm.

Paw balm (or “wax”) works just like lip balm for humans, but is made lick-safe for your pet. They are relatively inexpensive, and last quite a long time. Simply apply a thin layer of paw balm as needed. Another tip is to wipe your pet’s paws down with a wet cloth or baby wipe before apply the balm to remove any salt residue that may still be present. My friend and founder of the Wisconsin Association of Professional Pet Stylist, Chris, makes her own natural paw balm that can be purchased on here website.


 Lately a lot of attention has been fous on the proper care and maintenance of dog’s nails. This is with good reason, overgrown nails can cause joint issues and even deform your dog’s feet. Proper care is essential to maintaining your dog’s health and well-being. There are two main ways to care for your dog’s nails: clipping, and filing.

Clipping Your Dog’s Nails 

There is some basic dog anatomy to cover when discussing nail care. The most important to know is the Quick. This is the blood vessel and nerve bundle inside each nail. Most owners dread hitting the quick and cause their dog’s nail to bleed, but this can be avoided quite easily if you follow the proper steps.

Above is a diagram of the nail and the angle to cut the quick at. The biggest mistake most people make is taking off too much at once. This is easily remedied by just taking off a bit at a time. If your dog has clear nails this is very easy to do because you can clearly see the quick, so you don’t cut it. The dreaded black nail is a different story. The trick to the black nails is taking a bit off at a time and looking at the center of the nail after each cut. When you start to get close to the quick you will see a little black dot in the center of the nail. This is the quick so you can stop cutting as soon as you see it. Taking these steps it is quite easy to clip you dog’s nails (assuming of course that they let you). But accidents do happen from time to time, and there are several ways to stop the bleeding if you do quick your dog. The first is to use Kwik Stop or another commercially available styptic powder. If you don’t have this on hand, you can also use powdered sugar or cornstarch. Powder sugar stops the bleeding while drawing out any possible contaminants from the area and helps it to help faster while cornstarch only stops the bleeding. Either way, you’re able to stop any bleeding and your dog will only feel uncomfortable for a moment. The main problem with clipping nails is that is leaves the nail sharp and jagged, ready to scratch up your skin or hard wood floors. This is where filing or dremeling comes in.

Filing Your Dog’s Nails

 

This has become a popular option for many people when maintaining their dogs nails. I do not recommend this as the sole method to doing your dogs nails as it usually will not take enough off, but it is a great way to finish them. Whether you have a PediPaws or a Rotary dremel, the way you use it remains the same. Place the tools gently on top of the nail, slowly rock the tool up and down moving across the nail. Do this 2 or 3 times, t hem check the nail, if you’ve pre-clipped the nail this should be enough to smooth it down and it will already be short enough. If you are doing this as the sole way of shortening your dog’s nails you will need to do this several times, checking the nail often for the black (or pink for light-colored nails) dot in the center.

 

If you have any questions feel free to e-mail me. Good luck and have fun!