Pantops Pet Salon
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Pantops Pet Salon & Spa
Charlottesville's Professional Dog Grooming

It's what we do -- it's all we do.

(434) 293-2424
Fax: (434) 293-8231
504 Pantops Center
Charlottesville, VA 22911

Archive for October, 2007

De-Skunking

Friday, October 26th, 2007 by Mike Cronk

Archived from “The Paw Report:”  Issue #16.

If you’ve ever experienced skunk spray up close, you know it is powerful to the point of being nauseating. Skunks are omnivores, eating both plant and animals, but mostly animals — insects, worms, rodents, snakes, frogs, etc. They burrow and live in dens, often in wood or junk piles. Skunks have extremely poor vision — 50% of their deaths are due to cars and hunting. They have earned the respect of most wildlife and are not bothered by predatory animals. Leave it to dogs’ curiosity to get them in trouble. Skunks can spray between 7 and 15 feet, causing burning of the eyes and a runny nose. Since a dog’s face is usually toward the skunk, that’s the area that gets hit worst.

There are a number of home remedies for de-skunking your dog. The following is one that claims to really work:

1 quart hydrogen peroxide
¼ cup baking soda
1-2 teaspoons dish soap
(add warm water if it is a large dog)
Sponge on this solution and let it sit.

I’ve never tried this in the shop, so we have no recommendations or comments on its effectiveness.

The Salon Process

First, we let you know ahead of time that we don’t guarantee 100% removal of the smell. We can make your dog hospitable and mostly odor free, but if you put your nose to his face, you’ll still smell a faint skunk odor.  Also, water will bring out the smell so if it starts raining you will get a whiff.

Since dogs go at skunks face first, that’s usually where they get hit the worst.  Of course, we can’t get any soap or chemicals in their eyes, so we have to be very cautious in that area. We start by washing with Dawn detergent first.  This will remove a lot of the spray by stripping oils from the coat. We then bathe the dog again using Triclosan deodorizing shampoo.  Before we rinse the dog, we let this shampoo soak in for 5 minutes.  Our final step consists of spraying on “Odor Destroyer.” It is made by Davis Manufacturing and their description of their product is that it is an “exothermic reaction synthesis” that “attacks the molecular structure of offensive odors and completely removes them.” It does seem to do a great job, but I’m no so sure about the “completely removes” part. I think fresh air, sunshine, and time have to get that last little bit of odor.

When we have a skunked dog in the Salon, everybody knows it. The smell will linger for hours after the dog has gone home, despite our cleaning and airing out. We’re usually good to go the next day.

Keep a severely skunked dog out of your house and car until he has been treated. Car seats, carpet, and couches will absorb the odor. Often dogs will try to wipe their muzzles clean, getting the skunk’s spray on whatever they use. You’ll need to borrow a crate for transport and this should clean up easily.

One last request. Wash your dog’s collar or have us do it ($5) — it stinks too!

Backyard Breeders

Friday, October 26th, 2007 by Mike Cronk

Archived from “The Paw Report:”  Issue #16.

We’ve used this term before–backyard breeders.  It is estimated that 2/3s of the 50 million dogs in the US have come from backyard breeders.  It is a term that is typically derogatory because it denotes careless breeding.  A professional breeder will put quite a bit of money into the prevention and detection of genetic diseases.   Dogs with physical or emotional health issues will not be bred.  A backyard breeder will breed their dog with any other dog of the same breed (or even of different breeds) without researching the health and temperament issues that the breed is susceptible to.

Typically it is recommended that a puppy buyer look for a show dog breeder and buy one of the puppies that isn’t quite show quality.  AKC registration alone does not mean that a breeder is reputable because AKC staff do not visit breeders–the registration is done through mail and all puppies in an AKC litter—regardless of faults—are eligible for AKC registration.  There are certainly some disreputable show and working breeders.  In this case, their breeding focuses on augmenting one aspect of the breed (usually physical) without regard to maintaining temperament.  Careless breeding also involves inbreeding that produces genetically weak animals that may have debilitating physical deformities.

A breeder who breeds massive amounts of dogs, usually in poor health and social conditions, is the owner of a puppy mill (called a puppy farm in the UK).  These commercial operations are typically where pet shops get their puppies.  Aside from poor breeding practices, puppies from puppy mills do not get the individualized social attention that they need.  They also typically live in unhealthy conditions and when they are shipped from the puppy mill to a pet shop, the stress of heavy travel at a young age makes them susceptible to disease, infections, and parasites from other puppies at the pet shop.  Pet shop puppies are particularly prone to distemper and parvovirus.  Parvovirus symptoms may be dormant for several weeks–enough time for a puppy to look healthy and be taken to a new home.  Pet shops do not typically offer the fresh air, exercise, play, and socialization for a puppy to become well-adjusted.

Calories in, Calories out

Friday, October 26th, 2007 by Mike Cronk

I had a customer pick up his Cocker after we gave him a short hair cut all over. The customer remarked to his dog, “Boy, you really are getting fat, just like the vet said.” He then asked me what I suggested. I asked him what he fed his dog. He said “Iams.” I asked how much – he said he didn’t know, that he just keeps the bowl full and the dog free feeds. No comment.

I don’t imagine when dogs were wild that they were different from any other animal – it’s all about survival and that means food and water 24-7. They gorged themselves not knowing when the next meal would come. My Great Dane, Molly, never stopped eating. I remember that when she was a 9 month old pup I thought I could feed her all she would eat – after all, she was a growing giant breed. Wrong! She ate so much she started to get fat, and there is nothing more pathetic than a fat giant breed dog. I cut back on her groceries quick.

Just because a food is fat free doesn’t mean that it is okay to gorge on it. And it’s not all about carbs either. We need to eat balanced meals and our portions should allow us a trade for the calories which we burn that day. If you have to eat 1800 calories a day based on your activity load and metabolism, then consuming 1900 is 100 too much. It’s that simple and we know it. If you exercise, you burn more calories — you can eat a little more. If you have a big piece of chocolate cake, then you just took a big hunk out of your calories for that day. The same is true for your dog. Calories in, calories out. You need to find out what the recommended portion of food is for your dog’s age and breed and stick to it on top of an exercise schedule. Lizzie is at two cups of Purina One in the morning and 2 cups at night. Period. If you insist on giving your dog treats for training or pleasure, make sure they are healthy and make sure to count the calories and then subtract that from dinner to prevent overfeeding. One vet I know recommends baby carrots for a dog treat — dogs usually love them. 

If your dog is losing or gaining weight over time, adjust your portions accordingly. Obviously age and activity level are a factor. But make no mistake; barring a medical reason, obesity in dogs is a reflection of the owner’s care.