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Tips and Tricks

How to Deal with Your Dog’s Separation Anxiety

dog torn apart couch due to separation anxiety

It’s always a great feeling to come home at the end of the day and have your dog rush up to you. Sometimes, it seems like no matter how long you’re away from home – be it five minutes or five hours – your dog is just as thrilled to see you and always ready to hang out!

If you’ve been working from home lately, a major perk you may have found is that you get to spend all day, every day with your furry best friend. What could possibly be better than taking breaks from your job to spend time with your pup? Plus, you get those sweet dog cuddles on demand!

But with more people working from home this year, some owners have noticed a change in their dogs’ behavior. A dog that used to barely look up from his spot on the couch when you leave is now whining, crying, and making a scene when you so much as glance at your front door.

So, what gives?

If this sounds familiar to you, your dog may be suffering from what’s known as “separation anxiety”. Thankfully, not all hope is lost! You can easily help her gain confidence and overcome separation anxiety with a bit of extra training – for the both of you!

dog staring out the window

What is Separation Anxiety?

Separation anxiety is the result of a panic response in your dog when you leave them for a period of time. Some dogs experience this mildly. For example, think about that time you went out for the whole day and came back to discover your dog had destroyed a pillow.

Other dogs, however, experience it in a much more extreme capacity. Dogs with severe separation anxiety will see you leaving the room and react as if you’ve just left the country.

To put it simply: they aren’t happy when you aren’t around.

While it’s great that your dog loves spending time with you so much, it’s easy to see how separation anxiety can quickly become a problem. At some point, you do have to leave the house (even in 2020!). Helping your dog become more comfortable with that is important.

If you aren’t sure whether your dog may be suffering from separation anxiety, think about their behavior. Here’s a good question to ask yourself… When you’re away from them, does your pooch do any of the following:

  • Have accidents in the house?
  • Pace back and forth endlessly?
  • Behave destructively (i.e. chewing furniture or clothing)?
  • Bark, whine, or howl excessively?

If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, then this is likely how your dog’s separation anxiety is manifesting itself.

dog staring out window

What Causes Separation Anxiety in Dogs?

Any dog can experience separation anxiety, but some breeds do seem to be more predisposed to the condition. For example, labs, shepherds, collies, spaniels, and pointers are working breeds. They’re “people-oriented” by nature, due to how they’ve been bred.

Historically, these dogs are used to always having someone around to tell them what to do. In that same breath, they’re also used to someone always being around to provide love and attention. This can make them especially prone to separation anxiety.

Dogs can be more delicate than we think! Many people believe that rescue dogs, or dogs with a history of abandonment and neglect, can suffer more strongly from separation anxiety. Your dog’s daily routine plays a role in it, too. If your dog is used to you being constantly around, he’ll be more anxious when you aren’t. Routines are important for dogs, so any big changes risk increasing separation anxiety.

You’ve probably been nervous when you go somewhere new and you don’t know what to expect. Well, dogs experience this too! Whether you’re taking them to the vet, doggy daycare, or to the groomer, your dog will almost definitely react to new situations. It’s not uncommon for dog owners to discover that their usually well-behaved dog starts to bark or act defensively at the grooming salon, for example.

Strategies for Separation Anxiety

Your dog will feel calmer if they have a safe space to hang out while you’re gone. If you’ve noticed that your dog’s separation anxiety spikes when you leave the house (and not, for example, when you leave them at the groomer’s or daycare), you can specifically try to make spaces in your house where they feel more comfortable.

The Humane Society of the United States recommends creating a special phrase or action that tells your dog that you’ll be back. Once your dog is used to hearing that phrase, they’ll better understand that you will return soon. This will hopefully help them to feel less anxious.

Some things, as you’ll quickly discover, won’t always work. For instance, crating a dog who isn’t used to being crated is a bad strategy for dealing with separation anxiety. That would just be another big routine change that’ll stress them out more!

Note: That being said, if you’re worried that your dog will wreak havoc upon your home in your absence, consider leaving them in a secure room. If possible, this room should have a window in it. Giving them safe toys and an item of clothing that smells like you can also provide comfort.

Training Yourself to Train Your Dog

Dogs love to follow the leader. So, you should always try to be the best leader you can be for your dog! An unexpected way to help a dog with separation anxiety is to enroll in a dog grooming course. When you practice your new skills on your dog, they’ll become used to the sensations they would experience while visiting the groomer. The sounds and experiences won’t be so different and scary. It can wind up making the appointment much easier!

Training as a dog groomer will also allow you to connect with your dog and be able to identify when they’re feeling anxious or overwhelmed. Once you understand how your dog is feeling, you’ll be able to more quickly and easily help them deal with that feeling in a positive way!

While separation anxiety can be stressful for everyone involved, it’s important to remember that your dog will follow your lead. Staying calm, cool, and collected while helping her learn the ins and outs of being by herself will go a long way toward lessening separation anxiety. Whether you’re heading out to run errands, or your dog has a date with the groomer – working on separation anxiety will mean that your dog will spend more time happy, confident, and content.

Enroll in QC Pet Studies’ Dog Grooming Course and get our First Aid for Groomers Course absolutely free! 

Dog Grooming Training – Part Two: The Importance of Brushing Before Styling

In Part One of our two-part series, we introduced the concept of prep work prior to styling. Specifically, we broke down the typical types of prep work you’ll perform (and why), as well as how it benefits you, your client, and their dog.

Today, let’s focus on a specific example of common prep work involved during the grooming process: brushing a dog. While there are many kinds of prep work, this one if of particular importance! After all, as we discussed in Part One, a lot of the prep work you do will be required regardless of whether a dog is getting trimmed or styled.

The Benefits of Brushing

Brushing a dog’s hair is vital to its overall well-being. In addition to removing dead, excess fur, it also:

  • Stimulates blood flow
  • Removes dirt and debris
  • Promotes relaxation
  • Reduces shedding and the risk of mats
  • Allows for a shinier, healthy coat

How Often Should a Dog be Brushed?

That really depends on the breed. Most dog breeds should be brushed at least 2 times per week. More specifically:

  • Minimal to no hair should be brushed every other week
  • Hair that’s short and smooth should be brushed once a week
  • Hair that’s short and wiry, curly, or short and double should be brushed 2 times per week
  • Hair that’s long and silky, long and coarse, or long and double-coated should be brushed 3-4 times per week

Obviously, it’s not realistic to expect your client to bring their pooch to you on a weekly basis (although some are more than happy to). But by knowing this useful information, you can better advise your client so they can perform maintenance while at home.

When to Brush a Dog During a Grooming Appointment

If you intend to give your client’s dog a bath, make sure to brush him before and after he gets washed. Brushing him before a bath will remove a ton of excess hair and dirt, which can save you time. In the same breath, if the dog has mats and tangles when they come to you, you’ll want to deal with those before bath time. Otherwise, the tangles risk getting even worse!

Once you’ve finished bathing and drying him, perform the second brush. Because you already prepped the dog with an initial brushing, followed by a proper bath, this second brushing will be a much quicker process. The goal here is simply to remove any loosened hair, smooth out the fur and ensure there are no lingering knots.

If you intend to clip the dog’s hair and style it later on, brushing first is essential! Matted hair can clog your clippers, not to mention put the dog at risk!

Different Ways to Brush

The type of brush you use will be dependent on the dog’s coat and individual needs. Your professional training will get you well-versed in all the different types of brushes within your dog grooming kit, along with which are best suited for certain breeds.

Here are a few examples, though, of brushing methods you’ll regularly use:

1. Pat and Pull

This is optimal for detangling a dog’s coat without injuring the skin. For this method, you’ll rely on a slicker brush. If your client’s dog has a longer coat, your slicker brush may need to have extra-long bristles.

Using a good amount of pressure, pat the brush into the dog’s hair until it reaches his skin. This will allow the brush to access the dog’s undercoat. Then pull the brush out.

For optimal results, use the line method when brushing a dog. This is done by lifting pieces of the dog’s fur, so you can work through it in smaller, more precise sections.

Pro Tip: Make sure that you don’t use too much pressure when brushing a dog. You don’t want to aggravate the dog’s skin by giving him brush burn! The more hands-on experience you get, the better you’ll become at knowing the best pressure to use.

2. Combing

After you’ve finished brushing Fluffy, it’s time to grab a comb from your dog grooming kit. Go back in and pass it through the fur, to make sure you did a thorough job with the brushing.

Start with a wide-toothed comb, and if it easily passes through the hair without resistance, switch to a narrow comb with finer teeth. The goal is to be able to comb all of the fur, down to the skin, without hitting any tangles.

If you’re able to do that, you’ve done a mighty fine job!

3. Deshedding

Deshedding is an important step before you bust out your clippers, and especially before you attempt to style the fur. That being said, you’ll find that many clients will come to you solely for deshedding services. This is particularly common in the spring and fall, the two major shedding seasons.

There are a number of tools you can use in your dog grooming kit to help deshed your client’s pup. Most often, you’ll find that undercoat rakes and deshedding blades will best do the trick.

That being said, this is where it’s once again important to know your dog breeds! Certain deshedding tools shouldn’t be used on specific breeds. For example, you should NOT use a deshedding blade on breeds with long, curly coats, such as:

  • Pumis
  • Poodles
  • American or Irish Water Spaniels
  • Spanish or Portuguese Water Dogs
  • Curly-coated Retrievers
  • Etc.

Want to Learn More?

The single best way to learn all there is to know about grooming prep work and techniques is to enroll in dog grooming school and receive professional training from certified experts! After all, to be the best, you need to learn from the best!

So, what are you waiting for? Get started today in QC’s internationally-leading online Dog Grooming Course, and get certified in as little as 3-6 months!

8 Tricks to Acing Your Dog Grooming Interview

So, you’ve just graduated from your dog grooming course and earned your professional certification… Congratulations! You’re now armed with all the knowledge, passion, and drive you’ll need to become an amazing dog groomer.

Now all you have to do now is get started! But this might sound easier said than done. The real question is: how do you become a dog groomer from here?

While many groomers choose to start their own businesses, others prefer the added security of working at an existing salon. Both are excellent options! That being said, working in a salon is especially great when you’re first starting out. A good dog grooming salon offers a more practical way to get your foot in the door.

Of course, that brings us to the scary part: you’ll first have to impress future bosses at an interview!

Preparing for a dog grooming interview is similar to interviewing for any other job, but there are a few key tips and tricks that will set you apart from the other groomers. Read on to discover what they are!

Dress to Impress

You probably already know that it’s always a good idea to show up to a job interview looking professional and put-together. However, there are some different guidelines you can use if you’re interviewing for a dog grooming position!

Keep in mind that, as a dog groomer, you’ll need to dress comfortably. There’s no reason to shell out hundreds of dollars for clothes that are going to be covered in dog hair! For a dog grooming interview, you should wear something that feels comfortable, without being too casual. For instance, unripped jeans are usually fine!

As a general rule, you should aim to be slightly dressier than the employees.

Show Your Passion

What’s the difference between a good dog groomer and a great one? Passion for the job!

Learning how to become a dog groomer will teach you what to do – but a genuine love of the craft can only come from within. When you love what you do, clients (and managers) will take notice.

A good dog groomer knows all the terms, handles the equipment well, and is good with clients. A great groomer knows the dogs by name, understands breed standards, and brings genuine happiness to their job!

During your interview, feel free to speak about your experience with dogs – even your family pets – and about how working as a groomer would make you feel.

Demonstrate Knowledge

With so many breeds and so many different kinds of clients, groomers need to know a LOT! When it comes to learning how to become a dog groomer, reputable grooming courses are the perfect first step to gaining that know-how.

Once you pair that with real-world experience, you’ve got a winning combination that any interviewer will appreciate!

Think about a few examples of dogs you’ve groomed, or classes you’ve taken, that you can share with your interviewer. Having stories like these are especially great if they demonstrate that you are flexible, caring, and hard-working.

After all, these are all traits perfectly suited to groomers!

Get Technical

One of the best ways to show off all that know-how you’ve gathered from your dog grooming course is by using industry terms to describe your work. For example, you may be asked:

  • Whether you have experience with nervous or aggressive dogs
  • If you know how to avoid clipper rash
  • The types of products or tools you would use in a certain situation, etc.

These are all ways for your interviewer to make sure you know your stuff. So, if you have the chance to go into detail, take full advantage of it. The more you discuss, and the more groomer terminology you properly use, the more the interviewer will see both your experience and expertise!

Come Prepared

Nearly every interview ends with the same question: Do you have any questions for ME?

Your answer should always, always be yes! Come to your interview with your inquiries on-hand. For instance, you can ask about:

  • The salon’s clients
  • The work environment
  • The day-to-day operation of the salon
  • Or anything else you’d like to know about

Remember: a job interview is a two-way street. You’re trying to decide whether you’d like to work there, just as much as they’re trying to see if you’d be a good fit!

It’s also a good idea to do some research on websites such as Glassdoor or Indeed beforehand. Often, previous applicants (and sometimes even current employees) will write about their interview experience.

This is especially great if you’re feeling nervous about the interview. You’ll be able to get a feel for what the experience will be like, and what you can expect to get out of it.

What Will They Ask?

It’s natural that before any job interview, you may have some nervousness about the kinds of questions you’ll be asked. Don’t worry, we’ve got your back!

Here are a few of the most common question, along with a few tips to put your best answers forward:

  1. How do you avoid being bitten or scratched?
  • This question is really asking you to tell the interviewer about your manner with dogs. Have you been in situations with aggressive and/or nervous dogs before? Do you panic when the pressure is on, or calmly reassess the situation?
  1. What made you decide to be a dog groomer?
  • Here, the interviewer is looking to see your passion. Tell them all about how much you love animals, and the dog grooming industry in particular!
  1. How do you avoid injury to the dogs while grooming?”
  • The interviewer will need to know – for everyone’s sake – that you understand how to properly operate grooming tools. They’ll also want to see that you understand the best practices involved with them.

Stake it Out!

If you have a dog yourself, maybe you’re familiar with the salon because it’s your best friend’s salon of choice! If that’s the case, you already have an advantage: you’ve seen this specific environment before.

You may even have a general idea about how it works, and who the employees are there. While you shouldn’t expect special treatment, and should always keep things professional, this is often a great jumping-off point for your interview.

What to Avoid

Of course, no matter what the position is, there are a few things you should always avoid during an interview, too!

Interviewers will be on the lookout for people who:

  • Lack communication skills
  • Lack the dedication needed to become a dog groomer
  • Seem jittery around dogs
  • Don’t have a solid grasp of grooming terms, practices, tools, and general knowledge
  • Don’t demonstrate an understanding of animal behavior

This means no complaining about how badly behaved your dog is, or flinching away from the toy poodle being groomed during your interview!

As long as you can show the interviewer that you’re comfortable around dogs, know how to keep them (and yourself) safe, and understand the technical side of dog grooming, nailing your interview should be a piece of cake.

No matter how much schooling and training you get in your journey to become a dog groomer, it’ll always seem scary to jump into a new career! Trust us, we get it.

After all, dog grooming is all about people placing their trust in you to look after their best friends! No pressure or anything.

Thankfully, a little preparation can go a LONG way! When you combine the skills and knowledge you’ve learned through a dog grooming certification, with your own passion and professionalism, there’s no limit to what you can achieve in your grooming career!

If you’re ready to take the first step and become a dog groomer, click here to find out more about QC’s leading online grooming certification!

Prepare Your Dog for Spring with These 6 Tips!

Spring is here! While many people tend to think of spring cleaning at this time of the year, another thing that’s just as important is preparing your dog for the change in weather. Chances are, in light of everything currently happening with the COVID-19 crisis, you’re spending a lot more time at home these days.

This means you have even more time with your favorite pup(s)! You can maximize this time by utilizing the following tips. That way, you and your dog will be fully prepared for the spring season ahead!

Get ready to brush… a LOT!

Most dogs are about to say goodbye to their winter coats, which means shedding time is upon us. Not only do you want to remove all this excess fur from your pooch, so that he doesn’t overheat with the rising temperatures – you also want to avoid your home turning into a hairy mess!

In general, brushing your dog on a regular basis produces positive results and plenty of health benefits! For starters, it keeps the coat smooth and shiny, and also helps stimulate your dog’s blood flow. Not to mentions, grooming a dog creates a special bonding experience between you two.

There is quite literally no downside to brushing your dog!

De-shedding him can sometimes require certain tools, such as blades and rakes. Depending on the breed, you might need to hand strip. No matter how you’re brushing and de-shedding your dog, just make sure to watch out for matts and other tangles!

Make sure you understand which tool(s) to use, and how to apply proper technique. This article is very helpful in walking you through the basics of brushing.

Make sure your yard is safe

After a long and arduous winter, it’s also important to check that your backyard is completely safe for your pooch to go play in. For instance, you’ll want to make sure that there are no holes in your fence that he can potentially escape from.

You should also check around the grass for any unexpected holes. The last thing you want is for your dog to accidentally twist anything and/or injure its leg.

If plants have a tendency to grow in your backyard, or you have a green thumb, there are also specific types of greenery that you absolutely need to avoid. Certain plants are toxic to dogs, such as:

  • Lilies
  • Tulips
  • Ivy
  • Daffodils
  • And more!

The same goes for specific types of herbs and vegetables. If you’re growing your own garden, things like onions, rhubarb, and tomatoes either need to be sealed off from your dog, or avoided altogether.

For a more comprehensive list, here’s an article detailing 50 dangerous garden plants for dogs!

Pro tip: Should your dog manage to chew or eat any of these poisonous plants, seek veterinary assistance immediately.

Take lots of walks together!

For most dogs, a walk is one of their absolutely favorite things. Now that the weather is getting better, they should absolutely be taken outside and able to enjoy it more! Just like with humans, fresh air is extremely beneficial for a dog’s overall health.

Fresh air not only helps purify the body and boost the immune system, it also helps stimulate a healthy appetite! Not to mention, a dog’s daily walk can often be the main source of exercise.

Exercise for any pup is vital to their health. In addition to giving them a chance to stretch their legs and get the blood flowing, walking outdoors can also provide soothing relief to any nerve pain they may be experiencing.

Plus, going on a walk allows a dog to be, well, a dog. There’s a whole world out there of new and exciting smells, tastes, and sights – and your dog wants to experience them ALL.

While a walk may sometimes be the last thing you feel like doing after a long day, it can often be one of the highlights of your dog’s day.

That alone makes it more than worth it.

Note: This being said, if your dog is old, overweight, or has any sort of medical condition, make sure you keep the walks low-intensity at first. While it may be tempting during the first beautiful weekend of the season to take Santa’s Little Helper on a 5-mile hike, it could also lead to injuries if your dog is not in the proper shape. Tailor his walks to what will best suit HIS needs and capabilities.

Get ready for pest season

One downside to the arrival of nicer weather is that it also means the arrival of all those pesky bugs that disappeared during the winter. When it comes to your dog, the most common bugs to watch out for are fleas, ticks, and heartworms.

If Cujo isn’t currently up-to-date on his vaccinations, that’s a critical place to start. Beyond that, there are other preventative measures you can take. Some steps you can take include:

  • Preventative medication
    • Note: Make sure to consult your veterinarian to find out which medication would be best!
  • Bathe your dog on a regular basis
  • Clean your home often – such as by vacuuming the floors, shaking out your cushions and pillows, and washing all bedding (including your dog’s)
  • And much more!

Should your dog fall victim to a flea or tick infestation, this article has some ready good advice about how to handle it.

Schedule an appointment with the vet

It’s recommended that you take your dog to the vet at least once a year. Springtime is the perfect opportunity to do this! During this appointment, you can make sure your dog’s vaccines are all current, as well as ensure he gets a full checkup.

That being said, we also fully understand that there’s currently a pandemic going on. Some hard-hit areas may have strict stay-at-home policies. You may also not be in such a place, but simply don’t want to risk exposing yourself to any unwanted germs by going out if you don’t absolutely need to.

If so, we totally get it, and that’s okay! Should you not be able to go out right now, or don’t feel comfortable in doing so, it’s totally okay to wait until things go back to normal to take Fluffy to see his vet.

So long as he’s in good health, his legally-mandated vaccines are up-to-date, and he isn’t displaying any alarming symptoms or health concerns, this routine checkup doesn’t have to happen right now.

Don’t do a 180 on your pet

The thing about this COVID-19 crisis is that so many of us have no choice but to be at home right now. While this is a huge change for us, it’s also a big change for your dog.

He’s likely not used to having you home so much, and he can’t exactly comprehend WHY his best friend is suddenly around all the time for endless snuggles and attention.

All he knows is that he loves it.

In a dog’s world, his owner is not just his best friend – his owner is his everything. The longer this situation continues, the more your pup will get used to having you around all the time.

Of course, while this is happening, you should definitely be taking full advantage of it. Cuddle, play, and interact with your dog as much as you can. It’s good for you and him, both physically and mentally.

But with that in mind, remember the impact it can have once life inevitably returns back to normal. Because it WILL; there’s no doubt about that. When that time comes, you’ll understandably be excited to get out of the house, socialize with friends, and get back to work.

But remember: your dog won’t understand why just as suddenly, you went from always being there, to not being home for long periods at a time.

While this shouldn’t necessarily stop you from living your life, be mindful of the fact that your abrupt absence can also have its own affect on your dog’s mental health.

So, when the day arrives that it’s safe to go back outside, and the world goes back to normal, just make sure you don’t do a complete 180 on your pooch. Even if it requires a little bit of effort, always ensure to make time for him.

Even just one minute with you is his favorite time in the world.

Can you think of other helpful ways to help prepare your dog for spring? Let us know in the comments!

Want to become an expert at grooming a dog? Enroll today in QC’s leading online Dog Grooming Course, and turn it into a professional career!

Improve Your Dog Grooming Speed with These 10 Tips

As a professional dog groomer, there’s a LOT involved in your day-to-day responsibilities. With so many things to do, it can become all too easy to lose valuable time during a groom. What can you do to shave off a few precious minutes here and there, so you can devote that time to the things that really matter?

We’ve got you covered! Here are 10 tips to help you increase your grooming speed and efficiency, without sacrificing quality!

1. Know your grooming tools

This sounds like common knowledge, but let’s be fair: a groomer needs a lot of different tools to do their job. As a newbie, remembering what each one does and how to use them properly can be a bit tricky. This is why dog grooming classes are so essential! Not only does proper education thoroughly teach you what everything is, but you get hands-on training, too!

On top of dog grooming classes, another way to help your speed when unsure about your tools is to simply ask a colleague. If you work in a salon or with a team, remember: these people are always there to help!

2. Maintain your grooming tools

Once you know your tools inside and out, the next order of business is making sure you always take the best proper care of them. The greatest clippers in the world will still be useless if they’re unsanitary, rusted, or broken in any way. Ensure to clean your tools regularly, and inspect them often so you always know whenever something needs to be replaced.

3. Establish a routine for yourself

It’s all about repetition! Yes, not all grooming jobs will be the same, because not all dogs or breeds will require the same work. But it’s a proven fact that the more often you do something, the better you’ll become at it. Dog grooming classes will lay down the foundation of your knowledge in grooming techniques and different dog breeds.

Then, once you start getting hands-on experience in the professional world, you’ll begin picking up on what different things are required when working with a particular type of dog. Once you find an effective grooming routine that works for you, stick with it – maintaining that routine will only improve your skills AND your grooming speed!

4. Stay focused

On even a well-maintained dog, there can be a lot to do. But let’s just say you’re dealing with a client whose pooch really needs a proper cleaning and makeover. Your to-do list just got longer! Now you may find yourself getting flustered and losing track of what you’re doing.

The result is that you’ll find yourself ‘dancing’ around the grooming table; jumping from one thing to another in a disorderly fashion. If you find yourself in this position, you need to stop and take a breath. Center yourself and regain focus.

Work on one thing at a time, without becoming distracted and moving to something else before you’ve finished. The more organized your grooming process is, the less time it’ll eat up.

5. Be more systematic with your tools

Sometimes, when giving Fluffy a haircut, you may notice you have a tendency to switch around your blades. Like, a lot. The time it takes to constantly do this will add up fast! Instead, you can make the process much quicker if you stick to one blade, cover all the needed areas with it, and then move to a different blade once you’re all finished.

This practice obviously can’t be done in every area of the grooming process, but for the ones where it can, you’ll be amazed at how much faster it makes you!

6. When possible, bathe first

If you have a dog with really long hair that’s just going to be chopped off anyways, it may be faster to give him a bath before you do any pre-working. Another instance where you can bathe the dog first is if it’s already a short-haired breed.

Not to mention, clean fur is easier to work with in general. It’s less harsh on your grooming equipment, and much more sanitary. Using your blades on dirty hair can increase the dog’s chances of irritation, or worse, even infection. Nobody wants that!

7. Don’t be afraid to ask for help

If you work at a grooming salon, or have a team employed within your own business, don’t hesitate to ask for an extra body when necessary. Some dogs experience high anxiety at the groomers. Others may show signs of aggression.

Trying to groom a difficult dog will understandably take more time than working with one that’s laid back. Doing the job alone might make things more challenging – and definitely slower. Having another professional there to help keep the dog feeling safe, and perhaps to assist with the groom, is an excellent alternative.

8. Try not to be your own worst critic

When it comes to passing judgement, we’re always toughest on ourselves. One very common place where dog groomers lose time is hyper-focusing on every single detail and losing the ability to see the results objectively. You may find you have a common habit of finishing something, critiquing it too much, and then going back and trying to make it better.

To some degree, this type of self-discipline is great to have as a groomer. There will be times when you should go back in and touch things up. But in reality, there are probably things that are perfectly fine as is, and don’t need any more time or attention. Being too obsessive over being perfect 100% of the time is a habit that can really hurt your grooming speed overall.

9. Help teach your clients

Dog grooming classes help make you a certified expert in your field. You can use that knowledge to help educate your clients. No, we’re not expecting you to go overboard and run your own tutoring sessions. (Though, hey, if you want to, have at it!) But you’d be amazed how much easier – and quicker – your job can be when dogs come to you already in pretty good condition.

There’s a level of responsibility every owner has when it comes to maintaining their pup’s health. Based on the dog’s breed and needs, taking a few minutes to help their owner understand what they can (and should) be doing at home will mean that you don’t always have to start from ground zero every time they come back.

10. Always clean up at the end of the day

If you don’t, you’ll have no choice but to do it first thing the next day, which will set you back in your daily schedule. Not to mention, NOT cleaning up each day is highly unsanitary. But a tidy, sanitized work station and set of grooming tools at the end of each day will mean that your next day can get started right away!

Do you have any other tips for increasing your grooming speed? Let us know in the comments!

Interested in dog grooming classes? Enroll in QC’s leading Dog Grooming course today and become a certified professional in 2020!

Popular Movie Dog Breeds and How to Groom Them

With the 2020 Academy Awards behind us, we thought it would be fun to take a look at our favorite big screen dogs, and of course, how to keep them well-groomed!

1 – Golden Retriever

golden retriever portrait photo out in grass

Whether it’s Buddy from Air Bud, Shadow from Homeward Bound, or the Full House/Fuller House dogs, a golden retriever is a naturally great choice for a movie dog. They’re typically aloof and eager to please, which makes them a pleasure to train and work with.

Even more convenient, a golden retriever’s shape and coloring is pretty standard. This means that it’s relatively easy to have 4 to 5 similar-looking dogs on set to play one single role.

How to Groom:

Goldens love water, not to mention mud! Their thick and long double-coat makes them the kings (or queens) of shedding. Because of this, regular baths and brushing are an absolute must. De-shedding tools will also be your best friend. However, beyond regular maintenance, golden retrievers don’t require much in the ways of grooming. Some light clipping/shaping of their fur for the movies certainly won’t hurt them. Just don’t shave them down!

2 – Chihuahua

Bruiser from Legally Blonde is one of my favorite movie dogs of all time. From Bruiser to the three Beverley Hills Chihuahua movies, the chihuahua has become a reliable Hollywood dog. Their small size and biting personality (heh) make them a great choice to complement a quirky lead character in any movie. Despite popular opinion, the Chihuahua is a highly intelligent and trainable dog. Just lay a blanket on the ground for sits and downs – the floor is cold and dirty!

How to Groom:

Chihuahuas are an easy groom. Their short, soft coats don’t require tons of maintenance. Just a quick bath/dry, a nail trim, and an ear cleaning should be all that’s needed. They are known, however, to have particularly delicate skin and are prone to allergies. That’s why it’s important to pick a mild or hypoallergenic shampoo for these sensitive pups.

3 – Labrador Retriever

labrador retriever dog walking in park

Honestly, there are too many labs that have starred in cinema history to list them all here. Marley & Me and Old Yeller are probably the most popular ones, both played by yellow labs. Labs are faithful, happy-go-lucky pups who are always ready for a party. They’re another breed that makes it easy to have several animals playing the same character, since so many can tend to look strikingly alike.

How to Groom:

We’re starting to see another pattern here: Hollywood picking dogs that are easy to groom! Like Goldens and Chihuahuas, a lab’s grooming routine is pretty straight-forward. No clipping or shears are required; just a bath/brush to get all that extra fur out, as well as regular nail trims, and you’re good to go!

4 – Belgian Malinois (Belgian Shepherd)

The Malinois was not a very well-known breed to the masses until the past decade or so. They became fairly popular when the 2015 Hollywood hit, Max, hit the big screen. While they’re amazingly intelligent dogs, they’re admittedly NOT a great family pet in a lot of cases.

Malinois are bred to work. If you’ve ever seen one of those internet videos where dogs are scaling walls or walking tightropes while blindfolded, odds are that was a Malinois. In most homes, they get bored and are highly destructive. They can become neurotic and aggressive if not properly trained or stimulated, and that’s a lot of work with this headstrong breed!

The sad truth is, an alarming amount of Malinois who are adopted as family pets are put down or rehomed for behavioral issues before they’re two years old. This has become such a problem that most Malinois breeders don’t sell their dogs as pets at all.

As actors, however, Malinois are a dream to work with! They’re fearless and eager to do any job, whether that’s pretending to be an attack dog, or performing complex dog stunts for a big scene. Name a trick, and you can teach a Malinois to execute it!

How to Groom:

A Malinois’s grooming requirements is similar to that of a German Shepherd’s. That is to say, they shed like the devil and can get fairly stinky. This being the case, regular bathing, blowing, and brushing is crucial. But like all other dogs on this list so far, they don’t require tons of grooming beyond the basics.

5 – Cairn Terrier

carin terrier dog sitting in grass

Not many people know what a Cairn Terrier is these days. That is, until you reference Toto from The Wizard of Oz. Then EVERYONE knows this breed! Cairn terriers are spirited little things that can be a joy to work with. Sadly, they haven’t been featured in many Hollywood hits since the 1939 classic, but Toto will always hold a special place in our hearts. ❤️️

How to Groom:

This is the first Hollywood dog on our list that has a fair amount of grooming involved. (Hey, maybe that’s why they haven’t been used much in more recent movies!) As a wire-coated breed, the Cairn Terrier requires regular stripping to keep their coat healthy and their skin happy. A maintenance trim every month or two is also recommended, to keep the classic haircut in check!

6 – Saint Bernard

It’s Beethoven!

That movie was a staple in every millennial’s VHS collection growing up. Admit it, you’ve seen, too. To this day, at least once per week when I’m walking my Saint Bernard, a car slows down and the driver will shout at us, “Hi Beethoven!”

(Not even kidding. It’s weird.)

Saint Bernards are amazing dogs. They’re loyal and protective of their owner(s) and family. But at the same time, they love everyone, and just want to sit on your feet and cuddle. If that knocks you over? Well, that’s an invitation for more kisses! Our point is, they’re sweethearts.

You don’t see them much in Hollywood anymore though, and that’s probably because of the size (bigger dog = bigger pains) and their relatively short life-span in comparison to their smaller doggy cousins.

How to Groom:

There are long and short-coated Saint Bernards. Either variation requires about the same type of grooming. Thorough, regular brushing is a must – especially for the long-haired Saints, since they’re more prone to matting. This big, floppy-eared beast is prone to ear infections, so regular ear cleanings are advised. Finally, and importantly, this is not a dog that you should leave to “air dry”. There is a lot of very thick fur on this dog, so you want to blow dry them after a bath. This will ensure healthy skin under that coat!

Do YOU have a favorite Hollywood dog or breed that we didn’t cover today? Let us know in the comments!

Want to take grooming courses so you can learn how to groom professionally? Enroll in QC’s leading dog grooming course today, and become certified in 2020!

5 Little Known Factors That Can Help Your Dog Grooming Business

female groomer hugging scared collie

Dog grooming businesses are booming just about everywhere, but ensuring that your business prospers for the long run is a lengthy and challenging process. You’ll always need to be on the lookout for more dog grooming clients and ways to expand your business, and the reality is, not all of these things can be learned in dog grooming school. Some things will require a bit of “real world” experience.

Luckily, we’ve got 5 easy ways for you to up your game and book more clients. Great news: most of these take little to no effort and WILL have lasting results!

female dog groomer grooming a small, curly breed

1: A Website

Okay, so this one might not exactly be a secret, but it’s seriously surprising how many dog groomers don’t bother to have a website. Frankly, a Facebook Business Page is not a substitute for a professional, independent website!

We’re living in a world where every person has the Internet in their pocket. 1 in 4 homes have at least one smart speaker! Our point is, like it or not, your online presence matters. Your website, your branding, your portfolio, and your social media channels – they all matter.  If you don’t have these, there’s a huge market out there that you’re just not reaching.

But if you don’t at least have a website, you’re making this entrepreneurial thing WAY harder on yourself than is necessary…and being a business owner is tough enough!

Most people assume that setting up a website is complicated, but it actually doesn’t have to be hard at all! You can create a simple site using tools like Squarespace or Wix in just a day or two – no graphic designers or web developers needed! These services are very inexpensive, too, which is a nice bonus!

2: Online Scheduling

So you have a website. Now what?

Well, people are going to use your website to see your services and prices, as well as find your contact information. But ask yourself this: What if clients didn’t have to call you to book a grooming appointment in the first place? What if appointments could be made directly from your website?

Just think about how many people you know who absolutely loathe making phone calls. These people are more likely to opt for text or email instead, if available to them. Plus, online booking can often be done much faster than over the phone.

Think about it: what if your grooming business were to be the only local business that spares people the anxiety of making that dreaded phone call?

On your website, you could have a simple “appointment request” form, where people can request appointment slots with your company. You can then follow-up with the client directly to confirm the appointment. This takes very little effort to set up with most website builders, and can add immense value to your business.

female groomer bathing dog

Just be sure that you stay on top of the requests and keep yourself organized. The last thing you want to do is forget about them! Also, make sure to set realistic expectations with the client as to what will happen when they click “submit” on that online form. How long will it typically take for you to read and respond to their form? You can let them know an approximate wait time for a reply, either on the form itself, or as a disclaimer once it’s been submitted.

Pro tip: If you want to get REALLY fancy, you can set up online scheduling software and integrate it with your website. This way, clients can actually see your schedule and book specific appointment slots that are most convenient for them. There are tons of apps and different software out there that do this, though keep in mind the good ones aren’t free.

3: Listing Your Specialties

Think about the types of dog owners who might be skeptical about going to a dog groomer. It could be a good idea to dedicate a few pages on your website addressing their concerns before they even mention them!

REMEMBER: A lot of clients won’t bother calling your business to ask about their concerns. The more questions you can preemptively answer on your website itself, the more impressive you and your business will be. Therefore, the more clients you’ll secure!

Here are a few examples that come to mind:

  • First-time dog owners might be worried about booking their first appointment. Explain exactly what they can expect when they book a grooming appointment (and what their pooch can expect, too).
  • Puppy visits are often scary for dog owners! This is especially the case with experienced dog owners who understand how crucial it is to make every experience a positive one! A page on your website explaining how you introduce puppies to the grooming experience can lead to more bookings and life-long customers!
  • Owners of reactive dogs are always worried about environments such as grooming salons. A web-page dedicated to reactive dog owners will do loads to assuage their concerns. You can explain how you care specifically for reactive dogs, what special techniques/tools you use, and more.
  • Something bad might happen to their dog while in your care. While First Aid Training for groomers isn’t mandatory, we feel it should be. It’s incredibly useful, and is one of the top things that will make your clients feel at ease when trusting you with the safety of a member of their family!

Animal Shelters and Foster groups also need groomers. This is often an under-served, but important section of the dog community. Think about offering special prices or unique services for shelter dogs and foster dogs. Display it proudly on your website! Not only will this give your business some serious karma points, but rescues and shelters are extremely likely to recommend services they use themselves.

skiddish young dog next to owner

4: Register your Business with Google

Have you ever used Google to search for a business or service near you? If you haven’t, you’re in the minority (and frankly, you should try it – it’s a great tool!). When you want to compete and make your business stand out, you can’t ignore Google’s importance in terms of reaching customers.

Creating a Google Business Profile is free and helps customers find you. Using your address, business hours, etc., Google can quickly serve up your business information if potential customers search for things like, “Dog grooming near me”, or “how much does dog grooming cost?”, etc.

You can also customize your Google business listing to allow customers to call you directly from your listing, visit your website, and even book appointments (see point #2 above)!

To get started, just go to Google and search for: “Google My Business”.

5: Show customers you care!

People are suckers for heartfelt stories about animals. Just think about the last Internet video that made you cry. Odds are it had something to do with a neglected dog finding a new home, or a cat being reunited with its owner. Maybe a dog happily tippy-tapping with his new favorite toy!

You work with animals every day, which gives you amazing opportunities to have a seriously WICKED Social Media strategy. Most groomers don’t bother to use this to their advantage. But the fact is, it’s the perfect place for you to excel and get your name out there!

Share ‘before and after’ photos of all your furry clients on social media. Make a ‘photo release’ part of your client onboarding process. Most customers will be happy for you to post photos of their babies! (But of course, some customers will ask you not to, so make sure you always respect those requests for privacy purposes.)

female groomer giving dog teddy bear cut

If you offer special services to shelter animals or rescue dogs, for example, take some time to make a little video montage of that dog’s journey. Think about how you’d react to seeing a video of a scared shelter dog going into a salon so it can get pampered up. Imagine how touching and absolutely heart-warming it would be to see the dog feeling so much better afterward.

Not only will your business benefit from the publicity, odds are your video will help that dog get adopted, too. Win-Win!

There are lots of creative ways you can boost your business. Don’t be afraid to try out new things and see what works!

Interested in launching a dog grooming business, but not sure where to start? QC’s Online Dog Grooming Course comes with full business training that will set you up for success!

QC Pet Studies’ Top 10 Dog Grooming Articles of the Last Decade

happy girl cuddling Pomeranian in grass

Happy New Year, everyone!

As we embark on a brand new decade, let’s first take a look back at your favorite Sniffin’ Around blog articles from the past 10 years.

girl high-fiving golden lab puppy

There are tons of clippers out there, and a bunch of custom blades to accompany them. As a professional groomer, it’s important to know your way around your clippers. The wrong blades can cause uneven cuts (at best) or seriously injure the dog (at worst)!

Should you go for steel or ceramic blades? What size is best for your dog?  Are 5-in-1 blades any good?  How should you maintain your blades?  We have the answers to all these questions and more in this highly informative article.

Ask any professional groomer, and they’ll tell you that the teddy bear cut is a groomer’s bread and butter. It’s definitely a style you’ll have to practice and master before you can launch your dog grooming business. QC’s online dog grooming course has an extensive breakdown of this very important cut. In this popular post, you can get a sneak peek into the course video where QC tutor, Lisa Day, takes you on a step-by-step overview of the teddy bear cut!

Becoming a professional dog groomer takes patience and dedication. But it doesn’t have to be a complicated process! Back in 2017, we outlined the 6 simple steps that anyone can follow in order to achieve their goal of becoming a dog groomer. These steps are just as relevant today! So why not work these 6 steps into your New Year’s resolution, and become a dog groomer in 2020!

As a professional dog groomer, keeping a dog’s coat healthy is the responsibility at the very core of your job description. Different coat types have very different needs. For example, double coated dogs shouldn’t be shaved. Wire coated dogs need to be stripped. Smooth coated dogs have more sensitive skin. Using the wrong technique or tool on a dog can cause a lot of damage to their coat!

But it’s not always easy to identify a dog’s coat type, especially if you’re dealing with a mixed breed. So use these four tricks to properly identify your furry client’s coat, so you can give him the groom he deserves.

pomeranian with teddy bear hair cut

Now there’s an important question if you’re looking to start a career as a dog groomer! Unfortunately, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, because any state/province can set its own regulations. But this post will guide you through finding out the basics: from what exactly a dog grooming license is, to how to find out if you need one where you work.

I guess licenses are just on your minds a lot!

Lots of people use the terms “certification” and “license” interchangeably. But they are, in fact, two completely different items. Whether it’s required or not, a certification is always a good idea for any serious dog groomer. It’s a proof of competency that you can show to potential clients. If you’re “certified”, then you’ve been trained to groom dogs safely.

Read the full article for more information on the differences between licenses and certifications, how to find out what you need, and how to obtain them.

Frankly, I was surprised this article wasn’t number one on this list. “How much money will I make as a dog groomer?” is one of the most important questions people ask before deciding whether they want to launch their grooming career!

Of course, your actual salary will vary based on your location. But this article does a great job of breaking down the criteria that will affect your grooming salary, including the types of services you offer and your years of experience. Keep in mind that you may need to adjust the numbers a little for inflation (the article was published in 2017, after all), but the overall information is still highly relevant today!

happy golden retriever in bath with bath products

Let’s face it: there are perfectly valid reasons why someone might not be suited to being a dog groomer.  It’s a wonderful career for the right person. But it can also be your own personal hell if you start a grooming career without thinking through the down sides of the job.

If you’re on the fence about whether you want to become a professional dog groomer, consider these 8 reasons why the profession might not be the best fit for you.

Okay, so maybe this is why #4 wasn’t closer to the bottom of the list. Here’s another article that’s a must-read before you decide to become a professional dog groomer! This article outlines additional start-up costs for your dog grooming business. It also gives you a ballpark range that you can expect for your salary, once your business is up and running. Want some tips to increase that base salary? We’ve got you covered there, too.

Cheers to the #1 most popular dog grooming article of the past decade (WOW)!

As a professional groomer, there are a few haircuts you’ll encounter over and over again. Yes, the teddy bear cut is going to be number one by far – but there’s also the poodle cut, the lamb cut, the kennel cut, and more. This article demonstrates 7 dog haircuts you’ll encounter countless times over the course of your grooming career.

happy dog portrait with yellow background

Are there any articles you’d like to see covered in 2020? Let us know in the comments!

Ready to turn your dreams into reality, and start your dog grooming career? Enroll in QC’s leading online Dog Grooming course today!

QC Pet Studies’ Top 10 Dog Grooming Articles of 2019

corgi puppy in owner's arms

Wow, 2019 felt like it went by in the blink of an eye! Let’s welcome 2020 by first taking a look back at your top 10 favorite articles over this past year.

It’s pretty impressive that this article made this year’s list, given that it was only published a couple weeks ago! But when you look at what it’s about, it’s easy to see why. Though entertainingly filled with satire, this article succeeds in driving home a very important message: it can be all too easy to destroy a good reputation. Avoid the 7 prime examples listed here, and you’ll ensure that your clients will only ever have the best things to say about you and your business!

female groomer trimming dog's hair

QC graduate and professional dog groomer, Casey Bechard, was on fire this year! Despite the fact that she only just received her grooming certification at the beginning of 2019, her career has quickly taken off and only gotten better ever since. Here, she lists some really fantastic goals that would – and did – strengthen her grooming career. Check them out, and don’t be shy to use some of those goals for yourself in 2020!

Let’s face it: big doggos are precious, but they can also be a little intimidating. Add to that the fact that a lot of your work as a groomer will be with small to medium-size breeds, and you might wind up feeling a little out of your element when a Saint Bernard or Rottweiler comes in for an appointment.

But it doesn’t need to be overwhelming! Just like with smaller dogs, grooming larger breeds can become second-nature – you just need to know what to do! This article will equip you with 3 of the best tips to get you started!

No dog groomer can hope to be successful without sturdy and reliable equipment under their belt. However, even the best grooming kits can eventually become useless if not properly taken care of. If you’re guilty of committing any of these 6 mistakes, your grooming tools may be at risk! Keep your equipment pristine – and your reputation, solid – by avoiding these bad habits!

dog getting hair trimmed

QC Pet Studies loves to show off our talented students and graduates! After all, what’s more inspiring than to see someone who was in your very shoes go on to become successful in the field? Located all the way in New Zealand, Katie was first a graduate of QC Makeup Academy, having started her very own hair and makeup business.

Since then, she’s found a passion for grooming and turned to online dog grooming school. She’s taken both QC’s Dog Grooming Course and the First Aid for Groomers class. Driven by her love of animals, Katie’s dog grooming business now takes up the majority of her time – even being regularly booked up to 3 weeks in advance! Learn more about Katie’s journey, and remember: it can happen for you, too!

Casey’s back, with even more professional knowledge to share! This time, it’s her insight on what it’s really like to work in a dog grooming salon. While there are many pros, there are also challenges that you’ll have to adjust to and overcome. Here, Casey shares 3 of these obstacles. This article is definitely a helpful and insightful read, especially for anyone interested in working professionally within a salon setting!

Any person with basic canine education and a pair of trimmers can call themselves a dog groomer, but it takes a lot more than that to truly be a great one. From knowing your breeds, to proper handling and sanitation of equipment, this article provides you with 7 key tips to make yourself truly stand out from the competition in the dog grooming world.

golden lab getting bath

Let’s be real: dog odors are a nuisance. But aside from making sure that your pooch gets a regular bath, what can be done about the smells already living in your home? You’ll find the answer to that very question – and so much more – here in this article. Save your nose, and start reading!

Dogs are adorable. But dog hair? Not so much – especially when it seems permanently glued to all of your furniture and clothes! Sure, you can make sure to brush your pup regularly, but that isn’t enough! If you really want to get rid of all that pesky dog hair, your best bet is to check out (and then follow) these 6 invaluable tips.

On top of being a fountain of knowledge, we’ve already covered that Casey Bechard manages her very own grooming salon. Needless to say, she knows what she’s talking about! She also knows better than anyone how tricky it can be when first starting out as a groomer; particularly, the most common mistakes that can happen while you’re still learning the ropes.

Luckily, she’s compiled this list of the top 6 errors you may find yourself likely to make, so you’ll be able to avoid them! Definitely worth the read, and no surprise at all that this is 2019’s most popular Sniffin’ Around article!

groomer holding puppy

Who knows what articles will become most popular next year, but we’re excited to find out! Are there any topics you’d like to read in 2020? Let us know in the comments!

Ready to become a professional groomer in 2020? Enroll in QC’s leading Dog Grooming course and start your journey today!

6 Ways to Keep Your Dog Safe during the Holidays

adorable dog photobombing family christmas photo
two golden retrievers and a chihuahua wearing reindeer antlers

The holidays are upon us; a special time of year for the whole family, including our four-legged family members. It’s also a time of year when many dogs end up at the emergency vet or in animal shelters! Here are some ways you can help keep Fido safe this holiday season.

1: Dogs are for life, NOT just for Christmas

Let’s start with the most common mistake many owners make: getting a new puppy as a Christmas present. Too often, these puppies end up abandoned before they’ve even reached their first birthday. Never buy an animal unless you’re prepared and willing to be in it for the long-haul. Please ensure you’ve thought hard on it and weighed all the pros and cons before adopting a puppy/dog as a Christmas gift, especially for a young child. Some things to consider are:

  • A child will be excited at first, but will likely not keep up with a dog’s care and training. This isn’t the dog’s fault! He can’t learn if you don’t teach him.
  • Puppies will grow! Plenty of people seem to only want the novelty of having a tiny, cute pup that everyone will swoon over. But the moment he gets bigger, and maybe doesn’t look quite as adorable anymore, the shine is gone and now he’s no longer wanted. On top of that, the number of people who adopt large breed dogs and then give them up as soon as they “grow too big” is astounding.
  • Dogs need constant care! A dog without adequate mental and physical exercise will become destructive. Again, that’s the owner’s fault. You’d become restless, too, if you were always bored out of your mind, with nothing to do. Your pooch is no different!
  • Giving up a dog is almost certainly a death sentence. If you adopt a dog with even the slightest thought that “if it doesn’t work out, you can get rid of it”, please don’t adopt him. Turn around, and go invest in a goldfish. The sad truth is, giving up an adopted dog may sentence him to a place that could spell the end for him if he doesn’t immediately get adopted again. Not to mention that the older a dog get, the worse his chances are at getting a second chance.

Remember: dogs are not commodities! If you’re not 1,000% committed to caring for him for the next 10+ years, get a stuffed animal instead. At least they won’t pee on the carpet.

2: Watch for open doors

The holidays are filled with comings and goings. If your pooch is known for bolting out the door as soon as it opens, pay special attention to your dog when family and friends are visiting! It only takes a split second for a pooch to sprint for an exit. It’s easy for this to happen while everyone’s saying “hi” and hugging at the front door.

small dog running in snow

If you’re worried about this happening, keep Rover behind another barrier while the front door is open. This could be a baby gate, a crate, or just in a separate room.

3: Be careful with food!

Holiday feasts can be a treat for Fluffy, too. There’s nothing wrong with giving her a little piece of turkey meat or some mashed potatoes as a special Christmas treat. But many holiday favorites can be dangerous to dogs, specifically:

  • Turkey bones – they can splinter and cause severe internal damage or intestinal blockage. Meat is okay, bones are not.
  • Onions, garlic, grapes and raisins, most seeds, etc. – these can be very toxic to dogs. Be sure you know what kind of food is safe for your dogs to eat.
  • Anything sweetened with artificial sweetenersthese can be lethal to dogs. Be very careful with the desserts, and make sure Fluffy doesn’t sneak a bite!

Keep in mind that guests often don’t know what’s safe for a dog to eat and what isn’t. A lot of the time, they’ll want to spoil your dog. If you can’t trust your guests not to accidentally poison your dog, it’s probably safer to her (or your guests, if you’d prefer) in a separate room while the food is out.

4: Be careful with the not-food!

Dogs aren’t exactly as discerning as we are when it comes to putting stuff in their mouths. Scented Christmas decorations like candles and other knick-knacks can be just tempting as a juicy turkey leg. I once had a golden retriever eat a bag of beeswax tealight candles. That was a fun trip to the emergency vet…

brown dog about to eat christmas tree ball ornament

Similarly, tree ornaments can be tempting toys for dogs. For larger dogs, the tree itself can make for an alluring target. Interactive Christmas toys, like your singing and dancing snowman, should probably be kept on a high shelf.

Christmas presents also probably shouldn’t be kept under a tree, i.e. at nose-level. Dogs will be eager to play with boxes and/or eat them. At best, you’ll end up with slobbery presents. At worst, you’ll end up with a hefty vet bill for emergency surgery to remove little Timmy’s legos from your dog’s tummy.

Note: If your dog does make a buffet out of your tree, decorations, or presents, call the vet or emergency vet immediately. Don’t risk your dog’s life by using a ‘wait-and-see’ approach!

5: Plan for office closures

Many pet care professionals are closed, or have reduced hours, between Christmas and New Years. Be sure these closures won’t affect your pet’s care by taking the following precautions:

  • Book your regular grooming appointment several weeks ahead of time
  • Buy extra dog food so you don’t run out on Christmas day
  • Consult with your veterinarian if your dog is under regular care for chronic conditions. Ensure you have enough medication to get you through the holidays, if your vet’s office will be closed.

6: Be mindful of stressed-out doggos

While the holidays can be a great time for us to visit family and friends, or have large groups of people over, this can be extremely stressful for many dogs.  A dog under stress can be unpredictable. Even the most gentle soul can become reactive, and hurt themselves (or someone else) if they’re put under enough stress.

scared small pup in owner's arms

Here are a few tips to give you and your pooch the best chances at an incident-free holiday season:

  • If entertaining at home, pay close attention to your dog’s body language, and look for signs of stress. Provide them a safe space to escape the noise and crowds if they need to. This is especially important if there are children present!
  • If visiting someone else’s house with your dog, the same rules apply. Bring a crate with you so you can put your dog somewhere safe, if needed. If you know your dog doesn’t do well with large gatherings, other dogs, or children, it might be safer to leave him at home.
  • If travelling without your dog, use a reputable kennel or pet sitter while you’re gone. If a friend is watching your dog during the holidays, be sure she’s well aware of your dog’s needs and how to best provide them – especially if she’s having people over for Christmas, too.
  • Keep in mind that holidays are the busiest dog park days. People bring their pooches out to “tire them out” before larger gatherings. This means that parks are crowded with dogs who are over-stimulated, and very likely don’t have too good of manners. At this time of the year, it might not be the best space for your furry friend.
  • Give your dog some TLC in an environment that’s comfortable for them. We totally get it: things are crazy during the holidays, and everyone already wants all of your time as it is. But with all the hustle and bustle, your best boy is going to miss you, too! Don’t forget to make some time for him when you can – even if it’s just for a few minutes to give him a cuddle, throw around his favorite toy, or brush his fur to keep him looking his best. Grooming a dog helps to stimulate his blood flow, which keeps him healthy, both in body and spirit!
man walking his happy dog in the snow

All these points are particularly important for puppies and senior dogs alike. Remember that puppies go through several fear-imprint periods while they’re growing up. A traumatic experience can cause life-long anxiety issues. Senior dogs, on the other hand, become much less tolerant as they age. So even if old Rex used to be fine with kids pulling his tail back in his youth, it doesn’t mean you should let your 1-year-old niece do that this Christmas.

(But also as a side note, don’t let kids pull on a dog’s tail in the first place. This hurts the dog and can cause them to reflexively react with aggression, which could put the child in danger. It’s basically a lose-lose situation for everyone involved!)

All in all, the holidays are a wonderful opportunity to take time off work and spend it with your loved ones. With the right precautions, your pupper will enjoy this time as much as you do!

How else can grooming a dog be beneficial to you? By making it your career in 2020! Enroll in QC’s leading online dog grooming course today!