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Pet Grooming Tips

Ask the Experts

Pet Health Q&A

Ask the Pet Health Expert!

Dr. Mark Verdino

Grooming Tips from Jorge Bendersky

Everybody wants what's best for their pets, but not everyone thinks of grooming when it comes to good pet health. Pet owners can easily improve and maintain their pet's health by keeping up with some basic maintenance.

Recently, Animal League friend and Celebrity Dog Stylist, Jorge Bendersky donated his time, expertise as well as much-needed supplies for an Animal League mill dog rescue. Here he has addressed some common pet grooming questions and concerns. You may be surprised at how one hand washes the other when it comes to grooming and good pet health.

What is the essential importance of grooming and the relationship to good pet health?

Like we do self exams to find any abnormalities on our bodies, grooming our pets helps us become aware of their bodies. Regular brushing, when properly done, is the best way to examine your pet from nose to tail. Grooming increases the blood flow on the surface of the skin, helping to reduce shedding, and helps us notice any changes on the skin or tissues like irritations, rashes, minor cuts, etc. That awareness allows us to take care of these findings before they become bigger health issues. Just as we wash our faces and brush our hair everyday, we should get our pets on the same routine.

What should a pet owner look for in seeking a groomer?

Word of mouth is the best first step to finding a good groomer. When you walk your dog in your neighborhood and encounter someone with a well-groomed dog, you should enquire about their grooming services. That can narrow the list.

Grooming a dog is like a dance; it is a team effort where the groomer is going to lead the dog, so chemistry between the two is important. You need to be comfortable with asking questions. A good groomer isn't someone who just physically grooms well. A good groomer will also take the time to educate the pet owner on how to properly maintain the pet between grooming appointments, so a friendly, informative groomer is a good sign.

Some people choose to work with animals because they don't work well around people. I recommend that those people work with CARS, and not with animals.

Asking a lot of questions and getting the answers is a good way to learn about the groomer's experience, his certifications etc. I do, however, prioritize experience over certifications.

What maintenance or grooming tips can you offer pet owners that they can do themselves?

  • Brushing your dog every day or two is the best way to keep the hair from matting. That is the basic rule of healthy, beautiful hair and fur. If you have a long-haired dog, lightly spray the coat with a pet leave-in conditioner, or make your own leave-in conditioner by mixing water with a few drops of conditioner. Spray lightly onto your pet before brushing. The hair is elastic and when misted, it is much easier to brush.
  • Cleaning your pet's' face every day is the best way to keep the tear ducts free of dust. This will prevent tear staining – especially in small dogs.
  • TIP: It's vital to remember that the worst pet shampoo is better than the best human shampoo when it comes to bathing pets. Dogs and humans have different PH levels. Both shampoos are designed to clean the hair in different ways.

How often should you bathe your dog?

When your dog is no longer huggable, it's time for a bath! There is a huge selection of shampoos in the pet industry. If you like to bathe your dog frequently, use one for frequent use, as it is milder. Different skin and coats can benefit from different products. Discussing your shampoo options with your groomer is a smart idea.

What were your feelings about working with the puppy mill dogs from the Animal League's Mill Dog Rescue?

Working with the puppy mill dogs was one of the greatest experiences of my career as a groomer, and my life as a pet lover. I was so scared before the truck carrying the mill dogs opened the door, but once we saw their faces, love took over and the fear was gone. Knowing that those dogs were always "handled" but never "hugged" made all of us spend some time with each dog - making sure they all got a good ol' hug. Participating in this mill dog rescue made me feel part of the solution. I'm so happy to literally be able to help these dogs get a clean start.

To learn more about Jorge Bendersky and his grooming techniques, visit:


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