Sometimes I am amazed at how clever a dog can be, but this one is a first for me. Bessie is a very sensual dog, always ready a belly rub. She even goes into public places and throws herself on her back so people can give her what she wants. It doesn’t matter where..big box store, nursing home, business offices. Over the past 2 weeks we have been more diligent about daily brushing, and now when I put the brush down on the couch, she turns it bristles up, and then rubs her cheeks on it. After she is finished with that phase of her grooming, she moves on to her back areas, and, while lying on her back, uses her hind legs to slide herself over the brush. Usually by that time I am finding her so darn cute I will go back to helping her out, since it is hard for her to do her back herself. Imagine what she could do with opposable thumbs!
Ahhh, the signs of spring. Robins , buds on the trees.. Grass greening..LOTS of shedding… how do you manage it?
While, you could try spinning it up to knit (yes, this is done) but most of us are looking for a more simple solution.
If you do nothing else, you must brush, brush ,brush…but be sure to use the RIGHT brush and techniques. Choose a brush that is designed for your dog‘s type of coat, and use a very soft brush for your cat.
Use deep, firm strokes that penetrate the coat-don’t just brush the surface.
Brush head to tail, then reverse direction to loosen any hairs you may have missed. Finish off by going head to tail again.
Use a static free brush if brushing against the grain turns into a “shocking” experience.
After brushing thoroughly, switch to a comb or a “rake”. A rake is a big comb with a handle. This makes it easier to grasp than a comb and makes the grooming experience more comfortable for you.
Use a rubber curry comb (go in the direction of the hair with the curry comb).
Use a shedding blade
Use a “grooming glove” if your pet isn’t keen on standing still for a brushing-maybe he’ll think he is just getting petted..
Comb your dog after bathing in warm water. This helps loosen the hair.
If the hair is seriously matted, mats are easier to remove when the hair is wet. Don’t let matted hair dry though-it will get even tougher to get the mats out.
Apply a hair conditioner or “creme rinse”. This makes the hair smoother and easier to brush.
Use a spray on/leave in conditioner between baths.
Regular care can make your dog’s life and yours much more comfortable, and when you are complaining about the cold weather next winter? Be glad your dog is not shedding!
Almost every mammal has them….so what are they?
Anal glands (also called anal sacs) are located on either side of the anus (where stool leaves the body), and are usually paired off between the muscles that control the passage of feces from the body. They have a purpose, as a calling card if you will, as they are usually emptied by the stool as it passes out of the body, leaving a scent that allows the animal to identify other members of it’s species. They can also be emptied suddenly with stress, although this is not the norm.
If the glands fail to empty, they can become impacted and swollen. WIth continued blockage they can become infected, which requires veterinary care.
Signs of discomfort are usually “scooting”, when the dog drags it’s hindquarters around the floor (or your furniture), may attempt to lick its bottom, or “chase his tail”. They may also be uncomfortable when the dog is sitting….my dog had an infected anal sac, and she was restless and kept shifting her weight when she sat down).
When the glands are impacted, they can be expressed by a handler or groomer. The easiest method is externally. If you place your thumb and index finger at 5 and 7 o’clock in relation to the anus, you will feel the swollen glands.
To express them, place a paper towel, a tissue, or a cleansing wipe over the anus. Have someone restrain the dog in a standing position. Lift the base of the tail firmly, and press inward or upward towards the rectum, using your index finger and thumb. The discharge may be pale colored, whitish, tan or yellow in coloration, and it may be thick or thin. It may also “ooze” out in small amounts, or “gush” so be prepared. No matte what, it is not a pleasant substance and the odor is strong, so you don’t want to wear it! When I have had to do it, I did it in the tub so it was easy to clean up).
If the discharge is brown, gray, bloody, has pus in it, or there is a hole in the skin over the gland (this is a ruptured abscess) a vet must treat the dog, as antibiotics and possibly “lancing” an abscess may be needed.
If the do has recurrent infections, there is a surgical treatment that may be recommended by your vet, but like any other procedure, it can carry risks..including fecal incontinence, scarring and may cause blockage of the rectum, or a “fistula” in which continuous draining may occur, so the decision to go this route is not a decision to be made lightly (like another other procedures).
What can be done to prevent impactions? There is no simple answer. You can try increasing the amount of fiber in your dogs diet with commercally made products such as “Scoot Bars” or vegetables to increase the size of your dog’s stool (to increase the pressure on the gland as the dog moves his bowels, or change to a dog food with a higher fiber content, but there is no “magic bullet”. Probably the best thing you can do is routinely checking the dog’s glands (it can be a routine part o f grooming) and managing them on a timely basis. Routinely expressing the glands is not recommended if they are not impacted, and could lead to other problems.