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back-to-back can easily leave you with an achy back,” Bryant observes. “I sit pets on a small, sturdy table in the shower so that I can do much less bending.”



by Morieka V. Johnson

time. Proper grooming can help dogs not only look good, but feel better, as well. “Extreme matting can cause a health risk to pets,” explains DeAndre Upton, a registered veterinary technician in Conyers, Georgia. “Dogs have a natural amount of yeast and


et’s face it, a smelly pet can put a serious damper on cuddle

A gentle

doggie massage helps end bath time on a

soothing note.

bacteria on their skin, and matting causes moisture to be trapped under the coat, leading to hot spots and ex- cessive itching, which increases the risk of staph infections.”

Perhaps that’s why pet owners to- day spend billions of dol- lars on grooming products, accord- ing to the Ameri- can Pet Products Associa-

tion. “People just look at pets differently today; they are members of the family now,” remarks Michael Bryant, owner of Snazzy- Pet Full Service Mobile Grooming, in Atlanta. “People realize that it’s important to do the right

thing for them.”

But how often should the family dog get a sudsy rubdown? That de- pends on the dog, Upton says. “Dogs that stay in the house don’t need baths as frequently as dogs that spend more time outside. Once a month is a good general rule of thumb; your nose will tell you when it’s time to take action.” Here are the professional tips Bryant follows to make bath time better for everybody: Comfort is key: Create a comfortable workspace. Place necessary items within reach, including shampoo, a rubber brush for massag- ing the animal and a towel. “Bathing two big dogs

34 Hudson County

He also suggests attaching a hose to the bathtub or shower faucet, making sure to monitor the water temperature. In warm months, bathing the dog outside means less mess and a shorter drying time. “I set the nozzle to mist and let the water fall onto the dog’s body,” he advises. “This helps his body more easily acclimate to the cooler water temperature.” Take your time: Some dogs just

don’t like bath time, no matter how much you coax or cajole or crank up your temper. To handle fussy dogs, ap- ply plenty of patience. It also helps to have a few of the animal’s favorite treats on hand. In working with bath-shy dogs, this professional groomer finds that gentle and slow is the way to go. Regardless of how messy the process gets, avoid getting excess water in the dog’s ear canal, because it can lead to ear infections. Bryant recommends drying the dog com- pletely before cleaning its ears. Use an ear cleaner with a drying solution to remove wax or debris. Don’t neglect the paws: Keep nails trimmed regularly. Bryant notes that many pet owners are anxious about clipping a pet’s nails and fear accidentally cutting off too much. He suggests seeking professional advice. Ask your groomer or vet assistant for a five-minute lesson on the finer points of using pet nail clippers to deliver a clean cut. It can save a lot of anxiety. Longhaired dogs also need the hair trimmed between their paw pads. “Most people have hardwood or tile floors,

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