Our Blog


Ticks

August 28,2017 

The life cycle of ticks. 


How ticks survive-

Most ticks go through four life stages: egg, six-legged larva, eight-legged nymph, and adult. After hatching from the eggs, ticks must eat blood at every stage to survive. Ticks that require this many hosts can take up to 3 years to complete their full life cycle, and most will die because they don’t find a host for their next feeding.


How ticks find their hosts-

Ticks find their hosts by detecting animals´ breath and body odors, or by sensing body heat, moisture, and vibrations. Some species can even recognize a shadow. In addition, ticks pick a place to wait by identifying well-used paths. Then they wait for a host, resting on the tips of grasses and shrubs. Ticks can't fly or jump, but many tick species wait in a position known as "questing".

While questing, ticks hold onto leaves and grass by their third and fourth pair of legs. They hold the first pair of legs outstretched, waiting to climb on to the host. When a host brushes the spot where a tick is waiting, it quickly climbs aboard. Some ticks will attach quickly and others will wander, looking for places like the ear, or other areas where the skin is thinner.


How ticks spread disease-

Ticks transmit pathogens that cause disease through the process of feeding.

Depending on the tick species and its stage of life, preparing to feed can take from 10 minutes to 2 hours. When the tick finds a feeding spot, it grasps the skin and cuts into the surface. The tick then inserts its feeding tube. Many species also secrete a cement-like substance that keeps them firmly attached during the meal. The feeding tube can have barbs which help keep the tick in place. Ticks also can secrete small amounts of saliva with anesthetic properties so that the animal or person can't feel that the tick has attached itself. If the tick is in a sheltered spot, it can go unnoticed. A tick will suck the blood slowly for several days. If the host animal has a bloodborne infection, the tick will ingest the pathogens with the blood. Small amounts of saliva from the tick may also enter the skin of the host animal during the feeding process. If the tick contains a pathogen, the organism may be transmitted to the host animal in this way.After feeding, most ticks will drop off and prepare for the next life stage. At its next feeding, it can then transmit an acquired disease to the new host.

Fleas

August 28,2017

Today is all about fleas. I'm going to explain the flea's life cycle so you understand why they are hard to get rid of plus different types or products and what they do. Hopefully this will help you keep a flea free pet and home!

First off the flea's life cycle is so complex that there is no single method or insecticide that will completely eradicate or control a flea population. Fleas like warm moist environments and climates. The main food for fleas is blood. They don't discriminate. They like blood from cats,dogs,humans and the like. Flea saliva contains an ingredient that allows for easier penetration in the host's skin for feeding. The saliva is irritating and allergic. This is what causes itching and scratching. Dogs with sensitivities may have Flea Bite Dermatitis. Only one bite will cause them to chew and scratch until they are raw.

Fleas have 4 stages of life: Egg,larva,pupa and adult. Fleas must feed on blood before they can reproduce. Adult female fleas can lay up to 50 eggs per day! The eggs can fall off the pet into carpet,bedding,furniture,soil,etc. The egg hatches in 2 days to a few weeks depending on environment. Then they are called larvae.

Larvae eat flea feces and other organic debris. The larval stage lasts usually between 5-18 days depending on amount of food present and environment. The larvae spins a cocoon and pupates.

The pupa is the last stage before adult. The adult hatches in 3-5 days or can stay much longer if the environment isn't ideal. Stimuli such as warm environment,humidity, an animal passing by,etc can cause the flea to emerge faster.

The adult flea's life cycle can be 2 weeks or up to 2 years! This is why it is so hard to get rid of fleas once you have them. It's not just a treat one time and they're gone type thing.

So let's talk about getting rid of fleas. First of, using more products is not always better when treating your pets for fleas. You need to have the right combination of products that will kill fleas in multiple stages of their life cycle. Most are geared to only killing adult fleas so you will end up with fleas again once the new life stage starts.

With any product you use, make sure to follow all directions carefully. Pick a product geared towards your pet. A lot of products are NOT safe for cats. Remember, you are putting a toxin on your pet. Even with following correct procedure, your pet could still have a severe reaction. Nothing is completely safe to use.

A first great defense is using a flea shampoo. I use that here in the shop. It will kill off the adult fleas that you can see but it is not a preventative. If you don't use another product to kill the other flea stages of life, you will have fleas again in a few days. This is why groomers will tell you that your dog had fleas, he/she was given a flea bath and that you need to treat your house,yard,car etc anywhere your dog has been. Also your pet needs to be on a flea preventative( pill and spot on which I'll discuss in a minute.) The pet will leave the shop free of ADULT fleas which leaves the other stages still. If not treated, your pet will have fleas again in a matter of days.

You could try a flea dip. These are very toxic and not recommended unless absolutely necessary. They will get rid of adult fleas,ticks and mites. It'll last about a week or so because you're leaving a lot of residual on the pet. Again though, this will kill only the adult fleas so you will have to use another product to kill the other life stages.

Flea collars emit a gas that's toxic to fleas and is only effective around the head and neck. With some flea collars, the gas is also absorbed into the animal's subcutaneous fat layer as well. These are more effective. Again these only kill adult fleas.

Spot on treatments are applied between the shoulder blades. They last about a month. Most only kill adult fleas but some contain ingredients that will inhibit larvae from emerging and some are active against larval development. Ask your vet which ones he/she recommends.

Flea pills work by stopping the larvae from emerging from the eggs. These do not kill adult fleas. When the female lays eggs, they will be unable to hatch. These medications are essential to break the flea life cycle and stop the flea problem when used in conjunction with other flea adulticide treatments.

Besides treating your pet, you need to treat your house and yard. Only about 10% of the flea population is on your pet so it's imperative you treat these areas as well. If you neglect to treat your home and yard, you will continue to have a flea problem. Your best bet is to call an exterminator. You can also do it yourself with foggers,flea bombs,sprays,powders,and diatomaceous earth. Just make sure you follow all directions carefully. You also need to vacuum daily. Placing a flea collar in the vacuum bag before you vacuum will kill the fleas you vacuum up. All bedding, clothing, furniture covers, pet bedding,etc needs to be washed weekly as well.

I hope that gave a little more insight about " just giving your dog a flea bath" or" only using a spot on" isn't curing your flea problem. They are complex little creatures and you really have to put in the effort if you and your pet want to remain flea free.

Advice on choosing a groomer

November 10, 2017



Here are some questions and things to keep in mind when selecting a groomer whether you choose us or another shop. First off do some research when choosing your groomer. Family, friends and your veterinarian are  great places to start for referrals. Keep in mind that you get what you pay for. A cheap groomer is most likely going to skimp on the quality of products used, probably lacks schooling and may not even be insured or legal.


When you enter the shop, is it clean? Noisy? Quiet? Well organized? Obviously if the groomers are working there is bound to be some hair on the floor or floating around. Does it look like the place is cleaned daily? Great! Then this minimizes chances of your dog picking up a skin infection or other diseases. We are safety and sanitation certified through the IGA. A noisy shop may not be a good choice if you have an anxious pet.  A quiet shop may mean they work one on one, such as we do. Organization? Does the groomer ask you to fill out info about your pet? Great! This ensures they have  contact numbers and vet info in case of an emergency. Do they ask for vaccination info? In the state of Missouri, dogs must be vaccinated by a veterinarian for rabies and owners must provide proof of such. Things such as these separate a professionals from the amateurs.


Ask the groomer about their grooming experience. How long have they been grooming? The owner has been grooming for 24 years.Did they attend a grooming school?  Yes the owner here graduated from Petropolis Grooming Academy (now called The Academy of Pet Careers) in 1997.  Were they self taught? Do they attend seminars to keep up with their schooling?  Yes all of our staff attend several seminars every year. Even ask basic grooming questions that any groomer should know such as- how often should nails be clipped? Advice on shedding dogs or how often should your breed of dog be groomed? 


Check to see what products they use. It should be professional grade high quality and as all natural as possible is ideal.


Don't be afraid to ask how long they've been in business.Find out if they're legal( you can check on the Missouri Secretary of State website.) We've been in business since 2016. Are they a member of any organization? Yes. We belong to several professional grooming associations and are in good standing. We are also a member of the chamber of commerce. Read reviews and talk to other clients. Word of mouth is the best referral. 


Your groomer should ask you about any health issues your pet may have at check in. This info is important. For instance, if your dog is prone to seizures, we have to dry them differently or use a different type of dryer altogether.  And do to some cases, the pet may be better off getting groomed at the vet's office because of health issues. This is important info for your groomer to know and ask. Also you are legally bound as the pet's owner, to disclose if your dog has bitten anyone before including another groomer.  


Is your dog anxious? He/she may do better in a quiet one on one setting like what we offer. Others may do better with a mobile groomer. Dogs like this usually do not do well in noisy shops with multiple dogs.


Research the shop's pricing structure. Some shops are all inclusive(like we are) and others charge extra for services such as: nail grinding, teeth brushing, specialty shampoos, etc. Ask about extra charges such as dogs with fleas, dematting or dogs with behavioral issues. Not all shops are going to charge the same prices.  You need to take into consideration the type of dog you have, what kind of shape your dog is in, the type of hair cut requested, and the credentials of the groomer. A matted dog is going to cost more than one that is groomed every 4-6 weeks. Big hairy dogs are, on the norm, about double the price of  a small dog. An experienced groomer is going to charge more for their expertise than someone just out of school or no schooling. All things to take into consideration. Cheap prices often reflect poor quality of work and cheap products. Generally, you get what you pay for.


Also are you comfortable talking to the groomer and asking questions? Do they seem knowledgeable? Or do they seem rushed and impatient? If you feel uneasy about the person, your dog will too.


I hope that gives you some food for thought. Not every groomer is a fit for every dog. It helps to do a little research to find the right one whether it be with us or another groomer.


Pet shampoo

June 21,2018

Skin has a thin layer called the acid mantle which protects the top layer of skin from contaminants. Also it helps keep the body hydrated. Dog's skin is more sensitive than ours.We have 10-15 layers of skin while a dog has 3-5. Dog's skin also has a different Ph than ours. Dog's skin has a more neutral Ph of 6.2 - 7.4 while ours is more acidic at 5.5 - 5.6.


When you bathe, you wash away the acid mantle leaving your skin exposed.That's why humans use lotion(and conditioner) and we use conditioner on dogs to replace that moisture while the mantle renews itself. Using human shampoo on a dog disrupts the acid mantle leaving your dog vulnerable to parasites, viruses and bacteria. It also causes the skin to become dry and flaky. That in turn, can cause the dog to repeatedly scratch causing abrasions making it easy for bacteria to enter. In extreme cases, I've also seen dogs with chemical burns because they had a bad reaction to human shampoo.


Once in awhile, for an emergency, it may be ok assuming your dog can handle it but using it long term is going to cause trauma to your dog's skin. Stick with products formulated specifically for a dog's sensitive skin. It's also good to follow up with a conditioner to replace the moisture that was lost from shampooing. It does make a difference. Lastly, make sure you rinse well! Even if you think you've rinsed good enough, rinse some more! Leaving any residue from shampoo or conditioner will make your dog itchy and flaky.




I am now a certified canine esthetician

July 23,2018

In July of 2018, I received my canine esthetician certification. I have taken several classes dealing with skin and coat over the years and very excited to now have another certification under my belt. Not many pet stylists further their education and not many nationwide have this certification. I believe I'm the only stylist in southern Missouri who has it.

 I'll tell you a little bit about what a canine esthetician does. Basically, I am able to recognize skin and coat issues and heal them topically. Even better if you have a diagnosis of a skin or coat condition from your vet, I can work with him or her on making your dog healthy again. Vets heal from the inside while estheticians heal from the outside. I see a lot of skin issues in this profession. A lot is just dry skin which is not to difficult to heal. I also see more extensive issues that really need both vet care and healing from special shampoos and conditoners to ease the symptoms. If you have any questions about how I can help your pet, please don't hesitate to ask. This is one of the reasons I entered into this profession.