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 December, 2007

The Tough Side of Nature

Wednesday, December 19th, 2007 by Mike Cronk

In the nature vs. nurture debate, I often wonder if dogs can be born with some of the same “special needs” that humans are. We all know from experience that they are born with certain personality traits; shy, over-friendly, dominant, lazy, etc. These traits taken to the extreme require more intense training to overcome or at least control. I have seen dogs that are lazy – just as soon sit around and get fat as anything else. Here in the shop we call them “sit down dogs.” During the grooming process they are constantly trying to sit down, making brushing and clipping almost impossible. And wouldn’t you know it, along with being lazy, they are fat. Some are so fat it’s no wonder they want to sit down. Which came first, a dog that had a voracious appetite that due to lack of exercise became fat or slow metabolism and laziness that led to being fat? You know, that vicious cycle. Then there’s the hyper dog that won’t sit still – and forget about leash training. He is the one that’s prone to nonstop barking as well. And at what? Nothing in particular, just for attention.

When I was growing up, I never imagined we would label a behavior on the part of dogs as “separation anxiety.” Yet I think these personality traits can usually be dealt with by spending a lot more time in training and controlling the environment than would be normally required. But what I really want to know is if dogs can be handicapped as my son Carl is – with cerebral palsy or mental retardation. The kind of “special need” that can’t be overcome regardless of the amount of time, training, or love spent.

You see, Carl operates on a 3-5 year old level, and we organize his world and ours around that. The range of mental retardation can range from faintly detectable to something far more serious and dramatic.

For the past two years, we have had a Cardinal at our window feeder that bangs his beak on the window – loud and hard. He works himself into a frenzy and actually stares in wildly and pants. Now understand, we have lots of birds of all stripes and colors use that feeder — to include many other Cardinals — and it is only this bird that behaves that way. We think he looks and behaves a bit deranged.

I wonder if we see more frequent “special needs” behavior in dogs and humans because we take care of them. They aren’t left to “survival of the fittest” as in the early stages of their evolution.

Oral Health

Wednesday, December 19th, 2007 by Jenna

We don’t usually think about our pets needing a visit to the dentist, but maybe we should. By age 3 about 80% of dogs and 70% of cats show signs of dental disease. It is more common in older pets and small dogs who have overcrowded or misaligned teeth which are more difficult to keep clean. The symptoms of dental disease include bad breath, sore mouth, dribbling, yellow or brown tartar, bleeding gums, pawing the mouth, loose teeth, tooth loss, and difficulty eating.

Usually the cause of these symptoms is a buildup of hardened plaque which can lead to gingivitis (inflamed gums) and further progress to periodontal disease. Oral health is not just about teeth—poor oral health actually can affect organs in the body. The toxins are transferred through the blood stream to cause infections in the liver, kidneys and brain.

Talk to your veterinarian about preventive care for your pet’s teeth. Care may include specially designed toys, large kibble (wet foods build plaque more rapidly), and even tooth brushing!  Some grooming shops are now offering some sort of dental care as part of the grooming visit, but cleaning every 6 to 8 weeks really isn’t the answer. ….can you imagine brushing your teeth at that frequency? Doubt most dogs would put up with it. Oral hygiene should be done several times a week by the owner starting as a puppy so they can learn to accept this just as they would a grooming session. We carry tooth brushes and paste, in addition to dental wipes, here at the salon.

Click here for more details about oral health for dogs as well as a chart including pictures of dog teeth with varying degrees of dental disease.

Also keep an eye out for the Veterinary Oral Health Council seal of acceptance for products that have met their standards.

The Christmas Puppy

Wednesday, December 19th, 2007 by Mike Cronk

I remember one Christmas when a friend of mine asked me to keep his new Bernese Mountain Dog puppy for a few days – he would pick up late on the 24th as a surprise for his children. It was fun to do, and she turned out to be the perfect pet. However, don’t get caught up in the gift-giving excitement—a dog is a large responsibility. Below are several points to keep in mind before you get that cute puppy:
1) Never buy a dog just for the children. While they may show interest at first, more often than not that interest will wane. Feeding, cleaning the backyard, exercising, and grooming are more like work – petting and playing are the fun part and guess who the work will fall to when the kids get bored?

2) If you’re single or a couple that works, training and housebreaking can be very difficult – maybe impossible. Once a dog is an adult and can stay in a nice backyard that’s fenced in with shelter to stay warm in the winter and cool in the summer, you might get by 9 to 5. But a puppy needs socializing, training, and frequent outings for housebreaking.

3) While the upfront cost of the purchase is easily known, the costs of food, shelter, and veterinary care need to be budgeted for as well.

If you’ve got the time and money, I can’t think of a better present for the whole family than a brand new puppy – red ribbon and all!