Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Doggie Spa

My birthday was on Sunday.  As a birthday gift, my friends, Les and Janie, gave me a Doggie Spa Day and on Sunday they arrived with their grooming table and supplies.  I am not convinced they realized how many dogs we have, when they made the offer!  Like clowns from a car at a Shriner parade, dogs continued to emerge through the kennel doors until we had a carpet of hair outside.  I'm sure the local birds were pleased, and what colorful nests they must have now!

Everyone was brushed-- furminated-- nails trimmed and ears cleaned.  Some enjoyed the process more than others, appreciating the massage of the brush along the back and legs.  We did not bathe each dog, as I prefer not to bathe them too often and dry the coat, and to brush it after being wet would damage the hair, so we just brushed and cleaned.  Still, after four hours of grooming those dogs were bee-ooo-ti-ful!

This is Grandma Aryan.  She is the only remaining pup from her litter and gets half a tablet of Rimadyl daily now, as she is feeling her age in her hips, but most days has the spunk of a youngster.  You can see the impishness in her eyes yet, and she loves attention.

This is Aunt Confetti, Arec's half sister.  They share the same momma, Aryan, but different fathers.

And this is Daddy Arec.



And this is my wonderful Spa Crew, Janie and Les.

The last of the marathon session involved trimming nails on all the Pupsters.  Really, this is not a difficult process.  At this age and size I am able to lay them on their backs in my arms and trim nails in that position.  One thing that they learn is that struggling gets you nothing but more time on your back!  D'jango was the most vocal in protest, and you might think you are killing them to hear it, but all that occurs is that they experiment with their ability to control their environment and ultimately learn that the human is in control, not the Pupster.  I gently but firmly remain holding the paw until they stop struggling and then proceed to trim the nails.  Once they decide to be still, it is a simple procedure.  Two things to remember in nail trimming:  1) If you surrender to the puppy protest and stop, it will be more difficult and loud the next time (think Extinction Burst) and 2) no puppy ever died from nicking a nail.  If a nail bleeds, don't baby the pup.  It will not die.  If necessary you can put some styptic on it, but just walking around on the grass will take clot it just fine.  White carpeting might be another matter entirely....

Once a pup is old enough to understand a sit and stay, you can trim the nails in this position and simply reinforce the "sit" if they design to wiggle.  I've seen people straddle dogs, trim them like horses, and every manner in between.  Do whatever works for you and your dog but make sure that you practice it regularly.  The job is more simple if you don't let the nails get too long between trimming.  Some dogs will wear their nails short if kept on concrete. Carpet doggies need more frequent attention.  If nails get too long the "quick", or blood vessel, will extend farther and you will need to trim off the ends little by little, allowing the "quick" to receed between trimmings.  An overly long nail will also put pressure on the hocks and therefore the tendons because the dog is unable to stand/walk properly.

Dogs with "drop" ears are more prone to ear infections because there is not the air circulation that you have with an erect ear and moisture finds haven there.  A sniff test is an easy method to determine whether you have a problem.  A healthy ear smells that way and if you do this from the start of your ownership, you will recognize the off smell of an infection.  A dog may start to shake its head, as well.  Regular cleaning and examination can prevent an infection.  A cleanser such as Otomax can be applied (do not stick anything small into the ear canal, same as with your own ears) and at times Panalog may be needed to treat infection. 

This may sound like a crazy way to spend a birthday, but can you honestlythink of better company to keep than that of your dogs and friends on a special day?

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