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Madison Dog Blog

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Learn more about our pet services by reading our weekly articles.

By Doghaus University, Aug 2 2017 07:43PM

How to Groom Matted Pet Hair

If you have a pet that, even the day after their pet grooming ritual, manifests matted clumps of hair, it can be frustrating. Some dogs are more prone to mats in their fur than others, and if you have a breed like a Poodle, Cocker Spaniel, or any other dog with long fur and heavy shedding, they will need to be groomed frequently or you will end up with a matted ball of fur. However, is there a way to prevent mats?

Causes of Matted Dog Hair

Most commonly, mats occur in areas of heavy friction including by the tail or collar area as well behind the ears and in the armpits where the legs and body rub together. Sometimes if they have long hair on the feet, mats can occur just from the act of walking. Of course, if you let a dog go ungroomed for long periods of time, even if they aren't prone to mats, they can occur.

How to Prevent Mats

You know what they say, the key to dealing with mats is to not let them occur in the first place. If you are trying to prevent matted dog fur, then you need the right tools for the job. Preventing mats is all about regular brushing, but you need to do it with the right brush. What you need is a wire brush as well as a spray bottle of water. By gently wetting the fur beforehand, it allows your brush to better detangle and reduce friction on the dog hair without hurting your dog.

However, brushing technique is also important. Most groomers will use the gentle line brushing technique. This process involves brushing small sections at a time by pulling up an area of the fur away from the skin and brushing it so that it pulls away from the dog's body. By going through the process of lifting, brushing, and then smoothing down it allows you to find and deal with any tangles that are hidden under the top of the coat. If you just do the top layer, you are likely missing a number of small tangles that are turning into mats quickly after each session of brushing. Depending on the dog breed, you may need to do this every couple of weeks or even every could of days.

If your dog is prone to matted hair, it may also be beneficial to consider trimming away the extra long hair in easily matted areas. This is the reason that you see so many shaved Poodles since they look fine with a short coat and it dramatically cuts down the mats that they have. However, you don't need to shave the whole dog, but merely trim down the hair around their haunches or in their armpits. If your dog isn't one of the breeds you typically see shaved, like a Cocker Spaniel, you will definitely want the help of a professional dog groomer when trimming them so that their coat still looks natural and not like a completely chopped up mess.

Dealing with Mats

While there are shampoos and sprays to help untangle mats, there is sadly no magic potion out there. If your dog has developed a mat, only good old-fashioned elbow grease can get it out. You need to untangle the mat using your fingers, gentle tugging until it comes loose. Of course, snipping it off with a pair of scissors is easier, but again, that can ruin the integrity of your dog's coat, depending on where the mat is located.

However, there is no question that the easiest way of dealing and preventing mats is to take your dog to a professional pet groomer. They have not only the skill, but all the tools to make sure that mats are a less common occurrence. If you are in the Madison area and need grooming for your matted dog, contact us today.

By Doghaus University, Aug 2 2017 07:41PM

What to Do When Your Puppy Hates Grooming

Whether you break out that brush at home and your otherwise happy, friendly puppy runs for the hills or you get to the groomer and they just straight up refuse to go in, if your puppy hates grooming, then this is an issue that needs to be addressed. Dogs need grooming to stay healthy and to maintain that luscious fur that we love to touch. Like all things, good grooming habits begin in puppyhood, and if your puppy already hates to be groomed, the struggle is only going to get harder as they grow.

Finding Out Why They Are Scared

When a puppy runs away once you get that brush out or doesn't want to go into the groomer's, there is a reason for it. This is a display of fear, anxiety, or stress. The first thing you should do is make sure that this is not because of a physical condition. When your puppy has an ear infection or inflamed joints, the act of brushing and washing may actually be hurting them. As you will note the one moment you clip too far on their toe nails, after they remember that something hurts, they never want to do it again. This is why they cower and run.

If your puppy checks out in good health, the next likely culprit is the equipment that you or your groomer is using. Wire brushes may be awesomely efficient at removing shedding hair, but they are also pretty good at pulling your dog's hair or scratching the fragile skin underneath their coat if they are brushed too vigorously. Typically, this is the real issue, since the brush and the way they are brushed can end up painful and they no longer want to do it.

However, one final suspect is the experience they get while grooming. If you or your groomer is constantly wrestling with them or yelling at your puppy, it isn't going to help an already stressful situation. This is why groomers have harnesses so they don't need to wrestle, but that still doesn't mean it is much fun.

What to Do If Your Puppy Hates Grooming?

If your puppy is having a hard time with grooming at home, then it may actually be worthwhile to go try a professional dog groomer. They are trained to care for dogs and the really good ones will make it a fun experience for them. However, this doesn't mean you should completely give up on grooming your puppy at home. Instead, you should focus on making it a less stressful experience. Switch to a softer brush or try brushing more gently. When it comes to bath time or the dreaded nail trimming, don't wrestle with them, but rather try to make it a fun experience for them. After the initial painful experience, it will take some time to earn back the trust of your puppy, but it can be done. You just have to be willing to put in the effort to train your puppy so that they love the way that you groom them. It is hard, but possible.

However, if your puppy already hates their groomer, it may be best to try another service. Many dog groomers just hire teens for extra help, and they don't know much about giving the dog a good grooming experience. However, there are many dog groomers that take a dog's needs very seriously. If you are in the Madison area, you've lucked out! Doghaus University not only provides dog daycare and pet sitting, but we specialize in caring dog grooming as well. Contact us today to learn more about how we care for all your pup's needs.

By Doghaus University, Jun 12 2017 08:13PM

Short Hairstyles for Your Pooch

Most busy dog owners choose short haircuts over long cuts for their furry friends. The reason for this is because long hair requires a good amount of brushing each day and is higher maintenance. Long hair can easily get tangled and matted, so everyday brushing is necessary. And as your dog rolls around and digs outside, it is easier for him to get his fur mangled in dirt, leaves or debris.

Shorter haircuts have its benefits, not only for you but your dog as well. If your dog suffers from a skin condition, short hair is better because air exposure to the skin is beneficial. This also helps with summertime or in hotter temperatures. Short hair allows your dog’s skin to breathe and helps for cooling off. Whereas long hair blocks airflow and can trap moisture, which is not good for certain areas of your dog’s body. Long hair can block the ears or eyes and can lead to build-up, and the hair can get matted with gunk.

If you have decided on a short haircut for your furry friend, here are four different hairstyles to choose from:


Also known as the puppy cut, the kennel cut is sometimes the lowest maintenance hairstyle of all because it provides fast cuts, easier brushing, and less upkeep between trims. This hairstyle keeps your dog's hair the same length all over, and the cut is no more than two inches chopped off. Not only is this hairstyle practical, but it keeps a unified look when the hair grows out. If you go a bit longer without a trim, it is not as noticeable as other cuts.

Teddy Bear

The teddy bear cut is trending at the moment because this cute hairstyle makes your dog look cuddly and irresistible like a stuffed teddy bear. This teddy hairstyle, worn by more dogs these days, are popular with breeds like Pomeranians, Shih Tzus, and Yorkies. For this hairstyle, the cut keeps the body fur to your desired length, so you determine the shortness of the hair around the body. However, the legs and face are kept round and full, creating a cuddly plumpness like a stuffed bear. This cute hairstyle will give your pooch a lot of attention in public, but keep in mind it also requires more touch-ups.


For a similar cut to the teddy bear trim, the lamb cut provides that but goes shorter. This do is perfect for summertime because the cut around the body goes even shorter than the teddy bear cut. The legs and face are still kept a little fuller like the teddy bear trim as well, but the overall purpose of this cut is having the hair short. The benefits of this hairstyle over the teddy bear is that there is less upkeep, which is better for busy owners.

Very Short

Very-short cuts are the ultimate do for summertime. The trimmed fur takes off a lot of the weight from the dog's whole body, removing his blanket-of-hair off for better handling of the heat. If you prefer that your dog's head is kept fuller, you can mix this very short do with a different head style. For instance, take a kennel or teddy bear head trim and keep the whole body super short. The point of this hairstyle is providing your furry friend comfort in hot weather, allowing his skin to breathe.

Short haircuts have its benefits and are more sanitary for a busy lifestyle, but it's also important to pick a hairdo that works for you and your dog. For more information on the best haircut for your furry friend, contact us. We'll give your pooch the perfect treatment, providing a great makeover that will have your dog looking and feeling great.

By Doghaus University, May 22 2017 03:05PM

Dog Grooming For Pets That Hate Brushing, Petting

Is your home covered in pet hair because your cat or dog refuses to let you brush them outside? If your pets are biting the brush when you get it out and do not allow you to remove shedding hair, there is some hope. Part of getting to the bottom of the issue is also understanding what experts say about pets that hate grooming. To learn more about the next step beyond trying mitts, scrubbers, curry combs and other deshedding gloves for pets by yourself, keep reading.

Why pets do not like to get groomed

Children with long hair that were groomed by a parent know all too well that if someone else brushes your hair, they inevitably pull too hard. The same is true with pets, and they learn early on that we can make them feel uncomfortable when we groom them with the wrong tools. Pets are intelligent, and they soon start to identify the brush as their enemy. For this reason, if they start to attack the brush before you even start grooming them, consider a few tips to get the pets relaxed.

Getting pets in the right state of mind for grooming

When a pet is irritated or bored, they are less likely to want to be annoyed by a brush. For example, choosing to groom your pet in the hours before they usually go to the bathroom will be less effective. Hungry pets will also be less likely to want to be brushed because their minds are focused on the time you feed them every day. After they go to the bathroom and have a full belly, the next step is to tire them out a little bit. To burn off extra energy with a dog, take a long walk. For cats, having fun with a laser pointer for 30 minutes usually gets them feeling sleepy. As animal whisperer Cesar Milan says, a tired pet is usually a well-behaved pet.

Consequences of not removing excess hair from pets

Unfortunately, not removing excess hair from a pet does more than cause your clothes, furniture and floors to be filled with fur balls. Sadly, in some situations, excess hair can end up being consumed by the pet through their own grooming. These hairballs can end up in the intestinal tract and require surgery to remove. One other major issue is the matted hair causing skin issues because the area under the mat cannot be cleaned. This can also cause unsavory parasites to hatch and the maggots can cause severe damage to the skin of the animal.

Solutions for the pet that bites the brush

Using brushes and other combs might not work for your pet, and they will tell you that this is not the grooming option they prefer. If you feel like you are running out of choices, consider a new take on several old ideas. For example, it is understood that to remove loose hair, a device with bristles needs to be used. In order to keep pets from identifying the object as a potentially threatening brush, gloves are a good disguise. Another objective is to have a grooming tool that does not rip out matted hair when it is encountered. Despite combining all three of these objectives, there will still be some pets that need help from pros.

Do not worry if your pet simply hates being petted or groomed

Although it can seem impossible to believe, there are several scientific studies that have confirmed that some pets feel very stressed out when their owners want to pet or hug them. In cats, not wanting to be petted in certain areas is a sign of poor health. Dogs, on the other hand, can often feel threatened if they feel like they are trapped. This was exemplified in a study published in 2016 that proved most dogs do not like to get hugged. For these reasons, as long as the animal is not in poor health, they could simply be miserable any time they are groomed and need a pro groomer to help with the situation.

Let us help your pet get over their fear of grooming

Are you ready to turn your pet’s grooming experience into something that is enjoyable for everyone? Our number one priority is to help you have the best experience with your pet. We use techniques that are safe to help you assist your pet with being groomed. To get some help grooming your pet, give us a call at Doghaus University today!

By Doghaus University, Apr 11 2017 09:28PM

Treating Tear Stains on Light-Colored Dogs

If you have a light or white-colored dog, then it would not have been long before you noticed the otherwise pristine fur on their face stained by their natural tears. However, it is not their own tears that often stain the fur, but something else. The moisture produced by a dog’s tears make the area around the eye a perfect breeding ground for bacteria and yeast. As a result, the hair under their eyes appears stained. So how do you deal with tears stains when it comes to grooming your dog?

Dealing with the Cause

The easiest way of removing tear stains on your dog and preventing them from coming back is to identify the cause. Typically the cause is excessive tears which can be caused by a number of different reasons including environmental, medical, and even genetic factors.

When searching for environmental causes, the drinking water, food quality, and allergens are often to blame. It is believed that a high mineral content in the dog’s drinking water can contribute to staining. If you dog also presents staining by the mouth, this should be a good indicator. As for food quality, food dyes and preservatives can have the same effect as high mineral drinking water. Finally, allergens will increase a dog’s tears, thus making the growth of bacteria easier and more frequent.

As for medical causes of tear stains, there are many minor medical maladies that can present in dogs that may be the cause. This includes ingrown eye lashes, abnormally large tear glands, stress, medication, and ear infections. If you have ruled out environmental factors, a veterinarian can help diagnose any potential medical factors that may cause the stains.

Finally, there are some breeds that are sadly predisposed to tear stains. These include Shih Tzu, Maltese, Bichon, and Pekinese breeds. These dogs are prone to producing more tears than others, and thus may have some staining. While there is little you can do about genetics, you do know that you will need to combat tear stains for a lifetime rather just clear up one cause.

Removing the Tear Stains

Once you have found the reason behind the tear stains, be it a treatable condition or unfortunate genetics, it is time to learn how to clear them away. There are two courses of action to go about.

The first is to visit your veterinarian in order to get medication that will either cure a bacterial infection or change the pH of the tears themselves to prevent bacterial growth. This will typically stop tears stains.

The other method is to treat the actual external stains themselves. It is important to know that there are a number of miracle substances marketed out there that claim to do just that. Some may work, others may just be snake oil, and a spare few may actually be dangerous. However, there are a number of holistic solutions you can try at home.

The most effective solution includes mixing a little lemon juice with contact cleaning solution (the kind that includes boric acid). This will serve to both kill the bacteria and whiten the fur underneath it. However, because of the lemon juice, naturally you will want to be very careful to not get any of the solution in the dog’s eyes.

Cleaning a dog’s face, much less that area around their eyes is a daunting and occasionally impossible task (depending on the dog), but you don’t have to do it yourself. If you live in the Madison, WI area, contact us today and let up clean your dog’s tear stains away for you. Of course, that doesn’t mean that you should neglect trying to find and treat the source if it is not a genetic trait of your dog breed.

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