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5 Grooming Tools You Can't Live Without
Keeping your pets groomed regularly is important for their health and happiness. You can do most grooming at home as long as you have the right kinds of supplies. The following are pet grooming supplies that you should have in your home.


Brush and Comb:
Brushing and combing your pet helps remove dead hair and prevent mats from forming. Brushing also helps keep your pet’s coat and skin in good condition. Choose the right brush depending on your dog’s coat. Common types include bristle brush, slicker brush, wire-pin brush, rubber curry brush and wide-toothed comb.


Dog Shampoo:
Bathing your pets on a regular basis is also important for keeping their skin and coat clean. Keep in mind that your pet grooming supplies for baths should always include dog shampoo. Never use human shampoo on pets, since it can hurt their skin. Choose a dog shampoo that will moisturize their skin if needed, and consider special ones, such as whitening shampoos or medicated ones, for dogs with certain coats or skin problems.


Ear Cleaning:
Keeping your pets’ ears clean helps lower the risk of infections. When choosing ear cleaning supplies, pick a cleaning solution that you can squirt inside the ears to reach deeper areas. You should also have cleaning pads that can help get rid of dirt and debris just inside the ears, but don’t use these in the ear canal or deeper parts of the ears.


Dental Supplies:
Clean teeth and gums help protect your pets’ health. For cleaning their teeth, you’ll need a toothpaste made for dogs rather than human toothpaste, which can hurt their stomach. You’ll also need a toothbrush with gentle bristles on it in order to clean their teeth thoroughly.


Nail Trimmers:
Keeping nails trimmed helps ensure that your pets can walk around comfortably. Choose nail trimmers based on the size and thickness of your pets’ nails. Common types include scissor nail trimmers, guillotine clippers and grinder tools. Trim your pets’ nails when they’re long enough to reach the floor while they walk, so they won't catch on anything and tear.
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Good Dog Grooming During The Winter Months
Although dogs usually don’t spend as much time outdoors getting into dirt and mud during winter as they do in summer, regular grooming is still important. Taking care of their coat, skin and nails in winter helps them stay healthy all season long. Keep the following good dog grooming tips in mind this winter.


Give Moisturizing Baths:
Even if dogs don’t seem to get as dirty in winter as they do in summer, you should still give them baths on a regular basis. Depending on the length and type of coat they have, they might need a bath every other week or only once a month. Since heated air inside homes during winter can dry out your dog’s skin, use a dog shampoo that’s moisturizing. Make sure that your dog is fully dry if you plan on going for a walk afterwards. Damp or wet skin can put your dog at risk of getting hypothermia.


Brush Regularly:
Some dogs end up with thick winter coats that can get matted or tangled easily. Brushing your dog on a regular basis, such as once a day or a few times a week, is another good dog grooming tip. Brushing helps spread natural oils through your dog’s skin and coat, which keeps them healthy.


Trim Your Dog’s Nails:
Dog nails tend to grow longer in a shorter amount of time during the winter months, since they’re not out running around on sidewalks or other hard surfaces as much. Check your dog’s nail length more often in winter. Trim the nails down if they make a clicking sound while your dog walks around.


Check Your Dog’s Paws:
The pads on your dog’s paws can become sore and irritated from walking around on salt, ice and snow during daily walks. Wipe your dog’s paws off with a towel as soon as you come inside, and examine the pads for any signs of irritation or sores. Keeping longer hair trimmed on the bottom of your dog’s paws stops ice and snow from accumulating on the pads.
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What You Should Know About Pet Grooming Costs
When you take your dogs to a dog grooming facility, the price you end up paying can vary widely. Although more basic services cost less than specialty ones, the average pet grooming cost differs based on certain factors. If you’re trying to estimate how much it might cost you to have your dogs professionally groomed, take the following factors into consideration.


Size
One of the main reasons why grooming costs vary is the size of the dog being groomed. The average pet grooming cost for larger dogs is typically more than the average cost for smaller dogs, especially toy breeds. This is due to the fact that larger dogs require greater amounts of grooming supplies, such as shampoo, and the longer length of time it takes to bathe, brush and cut or style their coat. If you have a larger dog, you can expect to pay more for pet grooming.


Coat
The type of coat dogs have also determines how much their pet grooming cost will be. Dogs who have coats that are more difficult to work with or coats that are more prone to tangles, mats and other problems, such as with wiry coats, typically need more care at the groomer’s than dogs with smoother or shorter coats that are easy to work with.


Breed
The breed of dog you have can also affect the price of dog grooming depending on the type of style or cut you get. Certain breeds have more complex styles, based on breed standards, than others. This means more time in the pet grooming facility, which can increase the cost. You’ll also need to find a groomer who is skilled in providing your dog with breed-standard haircuts or styles, which could also cost more.


Additional Services
Basic services for grooming, such as brushing, bathing and nail trimmings, generally have low prices. When you get into more specialized services, such as medicated shampoos, manicures or massages, this can also drive up the final price. These services typically cost more than basic ones.
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How to Find a Good Dog Grooming Place
Bringing dogs to a professional groomer helps ensure that they look their best and stay healthy. Professional dog groomers know how to trim nails, give haircuts, bathe and brush dogs while keeping them calm. Before you make an appointment, keep in mind that it’s important to find a good dog grooming place for your dogs, so they’ll be handled safely. Keep the following tips in mind as you look for a professional dog grooming place.


Visit in Person
Don’t just call a dog grooming facility and schedule an appointment. Visiting in person gives you a chance to check out the place and make sure that it’s clean and in excellent condition. When you visit, keep an eye out for red flags that should steer you away from bringing your dogs there, such as messes that aren’t cleaned up, or a grimy or dirty appearance in general.


Meet the Staff
Going to a dog grooming place in person also lets you chat with the staff. Meeting them gives you an opportunity to find out more about them and see whether or not they have a calm and friendly demeanor. You might also be able to see how they handle pets in general, so you can tell if they do so safely and gently. Keep in mind that staff should also be skilled at grooming dogs of all sizes and temperaments.


Check the Requirements
Good dog grooming places that are reputable will have certain requirements that all dogs must meet in order to be groomed there. This usually includes showing proof of an updated rabies shot and other vaccines. Stay away from dog groomers who don’t enforce these requirements or let you know about them. The safest facilities make sure that all dogs have up-to-date vaccinations in order to reduce the risk of spreading illnesses among pets.


Ask About Special Services
Some dog grooming places offer special services in addition to basic baths, haircuts, nail trims and ear cleaning. You might find a place that offers spa services or special shampoo to help dogs look as clean and shiny as possible.
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What You Should Know About Puppy Grooming
Puppies need regular grooming as part of helping them stay healthy and happy. However, grooming isn’t something that pet owners should rush into. Puppies need to get used to being handled for bathing, brushing and other grooming tasks, so that they won’t become fearful or aggressive. Keep the following tips in mind to help your pets get used to puppy grooming.


Start Early
Don’t wait too long to introduce puppies to grooming. You can give puppies baths, brush them and clip their nails at home when they’re still young. This helps them learn not to be afraid of being handled. If you plan on having puppies professionally groomed, you’ll need to wait until they’ve had their shots. Most places that offer pet grooming require this in order to help protect puppies from getting sick or spreading germs to other puppies and dogs.


Make Grooming Rewarding
Puppies respond well to being groomed when they receive something positive out of the experience. Offer puppies treats as a reward for getting into the tub for bathing, for staying calm while having their nails clipped or being brushed. You can gradually ease up on the rewards and stop giving them to puppies when they’ve learned to stay calm during grooming. Avoid yelling or punishing puppies if they don’t behave while being groomed. This type of reaction makes grooming a negative experience for them and teaches them to be fearful.


Go Slowly
It takes time to get puppies used to being handled for grooming. Give puppies a chance to explore the bathtub before filling it with water and bathing them. Once you have water in the tub, you can gently put them in it and let them explore some more. For nail trimming, gently handle their paws so they get used to having them touched. Before brushing, let puppies sniff the brush so that it won’t be an unfamiliar item to them.


Above all else, make sure you stay calm while grooming puppies. This is an important part of helping puppies feel at ease while being bathed, brushed or having their nails trimmed.
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Benefits of Dog Boarding

Although you love your pets, you can’t always bring them with you when you travel. If you’ll be going on a business trip or vacation, dog boarding provides a good solution for pet care while you’re away. Boarding facilities offer a number of important benefits for dog owners who need to travel without their pets.


Safe and Secure Environment
As long as you find a high-quality boarding facility for your dogs, you can count on them being cared for in a safe and secure environment. Look for facilities that have secure fencing around outdoor play areas, so your dogs won’t run off and get lost or injured. The inside of the place should be clean and have fresh water available for your dogs.


Skilled and Caring Staff
Dog boarding facilities that offer exceptional care have staff members who know how to handle dogs of all sizes and temperaments. These staff members have the right training and skills, as well as good rapport with dogs, to ensure that your pets will be happy and safe. This can provide you with peace of mind when your dogs are under someone else’s care.


Plenty of Playtime
Some boarding facilities offer playtime sessions for dogs, which gives them a great way to stay busy, burn off energy and meet other pups. If your dogs stay at one of these facilities, you can count on them having plenty of playtime while you’re gone. This will keep them stimulated and happy while also preventing boredom or anxiety.


Luxury Amenities
Some dog boarding places also offer luxury amenities, such as spa services. Check into the amenities offered at the facility you’re planning on having your dogs stay at. You might find that the facility offers special shampoos, manicures and similar services. Your dogs might also be able to get one-on-one playtime or snuggle time at night, as well as gourmet treats or meals at certain times.
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Chicago Boarding Requirements for Dogs

When you plan on boarding your dog, it’s important to make sure you can meet all of the requirements for it. Before making your arrangements, learn more about Chicago boarding requirements so you can be prepared.


State and City Law Requirements
State and city laws require you to show proof that your dog has all of the following:
Current vaccines for rabies, bordetella (kennel cough), distemper and parvovirus
Fecal exam that shows no proof of parasites within the past year
Microchip number
Valid dog license for the city of Chicago if you live there


You’ll need to provide paperwork with all of this information to prove that you’ve met these requirements. Keep in mind that these legal requirements help protect your dog during boarding. Vaccine requirements reduce the risk of having your dog become ill at a boarding facility, while the fecal exam helps prevent your dog from getting a parasitic infestation from other dogs. Microchip numbers offer a convenient way to make sure that dogs who are lost can get back to their owners, while the license requirement ensures that your dog has the necessary dog license that all Chicago dogs must have.


Boarding Facility Requirements
Each facility has its own Chicago boarding requirements, so you’ll need to check these before making arrangements for your dog. These requirements generally cover spaying and neutering, as well as behavior. For example, your dog might need to be a certain age in order to board and you might have to show proof of spaying or neutering. Some facilities also have dogs undergo a temperament assessment before they’re allowed to board. This helps prevent aggressive dogs or dogs with other behavioral problems from potentially harming other dogs.


Make sure you give yourself time to gather any paperwork or proof you’ll need in order to meet legal and boarding facility requirements before arranging your dog’s stay. This helps make the entire process easier and less stressful for you and prevents last minute problems.
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What You Should Know About Dog Boarding Over the Holidays

If you’ll be away for the holidays and have dogs, putting them in a boarding facility helps you make sure they’re cared for. However, dog boarding over the holidays requires a bit more planning than at other times throughout the year. Keep the following tips in mind, so you can have a stress-free experience preparing for holiday boarding.


Book Early
Boarding facilities tend to fill up quickly during the holiday season in Chicago. To make sure that you’re able to book the facility you want for your dogs, make your arrangements as early as possible. This helps prevent you from having to scramble at the last minute to find a good dog boarding facility, and you won’t feel as though you need to put your dogs in just any facility that still has room. It’s important to make sure that your dogs are boarding in a high-quality place that will keep them safe and happy while you’re gone.


Meet the Requirements
You’ll need to provide proof that your dogs are up-to-date on rabies vaccines and certain other vaccinations in order to board them. If your dogs need current vaccines, make sure you get them ahead of time, so you’ll be able to show this proof to the boarding facility. Your dogs will also need to have valid licenses if you live in Chicago, and they’ll need microchip numbers. They’ll also need fecal exams showing that they haven’t had parasites in the past year. Keep in mind that dog boarding facilities also have their own rules and requirements. Check on these, and gather any proof you need before making reservations.


Ask Questions
You can make your dog boarding over the holidays go more smoothly during the holidays by asking the facility any questions you have. If your dogs eat certain food, ask if you’re allowed to bring their own food. If your dogs have special needs, make sure the facility has staff available to handle these. Also, leave your contact information with the boarding facility, so they’ll be able to reach you in case of an emergency.
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Important Tips on Preventing Dog Flu
Canine influenza virus, more commonly known as dog flu, can cause unpleasant symptoms that make dogs miserable. In rare cases, dogs can develop life-threatening complications from this contagious illness. Keep the following tips on preventing dog flu in mind to reduce your dog’s risk of becoming ill.



Avoid Other Dogs
Your dog can easily get canine influenza from other dogs when they bark, cough or sneeze. Touching contaminated surfaces that infected dogs have been in contact with also puts your dog at risk. To reduce the risk of dog flu, keep your dog away from other dogs if there’s been a flu outbreak in your area. Keep in mind that your dog’s risk of getting sick is higher in dog daycare and boarding facilities and other places that a lot of dogs go to.


Vaccinate Your Dog
One of the most effective ways of preventing dog flu is having your dog vaccinated against it. Just remember that your dog is at risk of getting sick when you go to the vet’s office if there’s an outbreak in your area. If you have more than one dog or if your dog will be going to a boarding kennel or similar place that has a lot of dogs, being vaccinated might be worth this risk.


Wash Your Hands
You can do your part in preventing dog flu by washing your hands after you’ve been petting or touching other dogs. Since you might not know if those dogs are infected, it’s important to take this precaution to lower your dog’s risk of becoming ill. You should also change your clothes to reduce this risk even more.


Clean Surfaces
Canine influenza lives on surfaces for a couple of days, which puts your dog at risk of getting sick. You can lower the risk of dog flu by disinfecting hard surfaces throughout your home, especially ones that your dog uses, such as dog toys and food dishes.


If your dog ends up showing signs of dog flu, even when you’ve taken precautions, make sure you see your vet. This lowers the risk of complications and ensures proper treatment.
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What You Should Know About Flu Season for Dogs
Flu season for humans begins in fall and ends in spring, but dogs are having their own flu season this summer. Flu season for dogs has brought outbreaks in several states, including Illinois, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida and Texas. Learn more about this illness, so you can keep your dog safe especially when boarding or sending your dog to daycare!


The Spread of Dog Flu
Dog flu started in Chicago, then spread to other states in the Midwest and Southeast. Experts state that the current strain that’s causing so many problems is more contagious than earlier strains that were around in 2004. Where did the flu come from? Some experts blame well-meaning rescuers who are bringing potentially infected dogs in from Asia, which appears to be the cause of dog flu cases that hit the Los Angeles area in March. Although dog flu can’t affect humans, it’s highly contagious and can be life-threatening for dogs. In fact, there have been two fatalities in North Carolina so far.


High-Risk Environments
During flu season for dogs, it’s important for dog owners to avoid having their dog in certain environments, especially if their dogs haven’t been vaccinated or if they have weakened immune systems due to medical conditions. High-risk places include dog parks, kennels and even the vet’s office, since several dogs are in these areas on a regular basis. Dogs spread flu germs when they sneeze, cough and bark, making it easier for other dogs to become infected.


Dog Flu Vaccinations
Dog owners can reduce the risk of having their dogs get the flu by having them vaccinated. These vaccinations are roughly 60 to 80 percent successful at preventing dog flu. If dogs do get sick from this virus, their symptoms are usually much milder. If you’re in an area that has an outbreak, especially if your dog will be in any high-risk environments, ask your vet about dog flu vaccinations. Keep in mind that your vet might warn you about the risk of your dog getting sick by being at the vet’s office. If possible, wait outdoors or in your car rather than the waiting room at the office.
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