Downeast Dog News
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Preparing for Spring!

By What you can do to keep your pet safe, smelling fresh, and pest free as things warm up | Feb 19, 2013

Find me on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/AsktheGroomer.PhoebeMendes — Here in Maine we know spring by its other name - Mud Season! After going through Mother Nature's merry-go-round of weather this winter you may have noticed your dogs itching and scratching. Make sure to take a closer look! With the snow keeping coats damp for days your dog's skin is prime real estate for hot spots. They may appear to be a reddish area or a full blown oozing gooey yellow area. Regular bathing and brushing can help prevent the bacteria that causes hot spots. If you have a large double coated fur-beast and bathing is a challenge then I recommend waterless bath spray. One of my favorites is made by Nature's Miracle. Simply spray liberally on the coat and brush thoroughly. This also helps remove dead coat which holds moisture close to the skin. If your dog does develop a hot spot, no worries. There are a plethora of treatments out there, one of my favorites is Zymox. They make a spray as well as a cream and it makes a great all purpose antimicrobial treatment for wounds and skin irritations. Also (if I haven't mentioned it enough) COCONUT OIL. In the food or on the irritated area. It's loaded with omegas and is a natural anti-yeast, anti-fungal, and antibacterial. It's magic, I promise.

Many of you have been waging the Flea War throughout the cold weather. Please don't feel like you are bad pet owners. Vanquishing fleas from your house can be an epic battle particularly when you have wall-to-wall carpeting. Keep on vacuuming, bathing, and combing. With consistency and vigilance you CAN beat them! For those of you lucky enough to not know the suffering caused by the Flea Menace, NOW is the time to build up your defenses. My favorite preventative regime involves internal and external treatments. Earth Animal makes a powder that you add into your dog's food that makes their blood taste bad to pests. It smells mostly of garlic and my dog Nate thinks he is getting a special treat. Sentry Natural Defense makes an external all natural spot application that has the benefit of making your pet smell great. The fleas, ticks, mosquitos, and flies however will disagree. The strong clove and cinnamon scent will keep them at bay.

With the temperatures rising to bearable levels your dog, like mine, may be channeling their inner puppy. Running around the yard and investigating smells. However have caution! Spring means an end to many creatures hibernations and our friends the skunks are hungry and looking for food. Trust me, the last thing you want to have barreling into your house at 10pm is your dog fresh from an encounter of the black and white variety. If you have an outside faucet do an initial rinse. If you don't have a bathroom that allows bathing then you can use a washcloth and vinegar (any variety) to help staunch the stench. I don't suggest letting Fido spend the night in any room with carpeting or furniture, the smell will spread everywhere. After years of trying everything I find nothing beats the old solution of: Blue Dawn dish soap, baking soda, and peroxide (always avoid the face!). I like to cut the mixture with a little deodorizing shampoo to help it suds up and spread through the coat. The longer you let it set and the dryer you can get your dog afterwards then the more stink you will remove. The smell may resurface whenever your dog gets wet for awhile. Apply some vinegar to those stinky areas when this happens. You can avoid this situation and much more dangerous encounters with other critters like porcupines and fishers by always keeping your dogs on-leash after dark. I'm a big fan of motion activated lights in the yard as well. There is nothing that makes you feel more helpless than seeing your dog with a head full of quills or locked in combat with a critter they have no chance of winning against. As a groomer and an owner of a dog who thinks everything is his friend I cannot express to you how much I value having taken a Pet First Aid course. I feel confident knowing that I'm prepared to tend to my dog's injuries until I can get him to a vet. A fantastic organization called The Maine POM Project offers this course in many locations with all proceeds going to providing Emergency Services across the state with pet oxygen masks! A class is being held at The Animal House in Damariscotta on March 24th from 3:30 - 7:30, call The Animal House to pre-register as class size is limited. Learn more by finding The Maine POM Project on Facebook!