5 Simple Dog Grooming Tips

Dog bath
Dog bath
Bath Time at Home


You should NOT have to live with a matted, smelly dog… so I want to give you 5 SIMPLE GROOMING TIPS to help you maintain your pet’s appearance at home.

The cost of professional dog grooming is climbing.  Taking your dog to a groomer can be inconvenient and very expensive.

Here are 5 steps YOU can take to groom your dog without feeling anxious about the process.  You can BREAK FREE of the high cost and inconvenience of professional grooming!

The problem – pet owners feel that they lack time, money and skills to groom their dog

There are 3 common reasons why you are not grooming your dogs more often.

  1. You may feel that you don’t have time to brush your dog everyday.
  2. Not having the skills to do any scissoring or clipping.
  3. Perhaps not having the discretionary income necessary to spend with a professional dog groomer.

How much time are you wasting feeling like you are neglecting your dog?

How many fun times are you missing out on because you don’t want to take your dog out in public looking like he is dirty and matted?

Do you feel people are judging you because of the way your dog looks?  Are hiding in the house with your dog or only going out with him at night?

The pain and struggle ends today… YES you can have a dog that looks like a pampered show pet…

1. Brush the Coat

The purpose of brushing the coat consistently is to untangle matted hair and remove dirt and debris. This does not have to be done everyday. However, it needs to be done often enough to discover ticks, fleas and other pests during this process.  The proper brush or massage tool will help stimulate oil glands to bring out the shine in the hair coat.

Ask your groomer or breeder which tools are best to use on your dog’s coat.  I first brush Gusto’s double coat with a pin brush and then take a comb through it to remove any loose fur after the bath and blow dry.

Pin Brush to Remove Loose Fur

Removing dead fur alone makes a dramatic difference in the appearance of the coat and eliminates the need for frequent baths. You may find that your dog will not cooperate with you when you try to brush the belly, behind the ears and the rump.  If so, put your pet on a grooming table or a surface. Then you will better be able to control his body position and see the mats or extra fur that needs to be removed.

Loose Fur

By making a habit of wiping the paws and underbelly every time you come in from a walk, you will be conditioning your dog to automatically offer up these areas when he sees the towel.  Gusto has a habit of going to his treat cupboard after this routine and you may find small treat rewards will make your dog happy too.

2. Bath Time is Inevitable So Make It Fun

The most comical videos on social media are showing dogs doing everything they can to hide at bath time. They hide under the bed or run outside or pretend that they don’t hear you calling them or go totally limp when you try to pick them up.

If you want to have the freshest smelling dog with the least amount of struggle, make bath time a fun time.

You can start by rewarding your dog every time you approach the bath area.  Continue to spend time in this area either playing with a toy or rewarding with treats as you teach him to stand so that you can pick him up.  It is next to impossible to pick up a dog that struggles with resistance…lol.

Prepare Your Pet and Place

Put cotton in your dog’s ears to keep excess water out. This is also a good time to check for infections near the surface so that you can eliminate them early.  After bathing, use an alcohol-free, herbal formula that does not sting your dog but soothes and dries the ear canal as you remove dirt, odor and waxy build ups.  This is especially important if your dog has floppy ears  such as Labradors and Cocker Spaniels that hold moisture inside the ear flap and canal.

Dog and cat bath

If you don’t want to use your personal tub or shower, there are now portable tubs available that can be set up inside your own shower stall or can stand alone. If you don’t want to deal with clean up, then there may be a coin-operated self-wash dog laundramutt in your area that you can use.

Prepare the bath area by making sure the surface of the tub is not slippery. Have enough towels on hand to soak up the water from the coat once you are done with the bathing process.

Where to Start

You will want to use warm water so that your dog is less resistant to having water sprayed on him.

There is a difference of opinion about where to start spraying water on your pet.  I heard a veterinarian instruct a technician to start spraying the dog’s head first to drive any fleas back away from the face.

As a groomer, I was taught to start at the rear end to make the pet comfortable with the spray.  This also enabled me to soak the rear end under the tail with extra shampoo to remove stains and smelly odors while I moved forward on the body.

Use a Shampoo Formulated for Pets

Coin-Operated Pet Wash

It is important to select a shampoo that removes odors and leaves coats silky soft and shiny.

Canine skin is ph neutral so shampoo should be for dogs and not humans whose skin is more acidic. Although blue shampoo is sold for white coats, be careful that the blueing does not soak into your dog’s white coat.  This has happened with the wiry West Highland Terrier coat, much to the dismay of the bather who thought they were doing the right thing for the coat.

Trim Excess Fur

This is also a good time to take a round tipped scissor to trim any fur away from the corner of your dog’s eyes that is irritating the eyeball and causing it to tear.  If you have a Schnauzer or Bichon or other bearded breed, any stained fur around the muzzle can be carefully trimmed away at this time also unless you prefer to do this after the coat is dry.

Feel Your Pet’s Body

It is easier to see and feel your dog’s body to check for growths, pests, burrs, etc., when the coat is wet.

So now you have shampooed and rinsed your dog twice.  You may want to add conditioner to help with the final brushing.

Dry Carefully and Thoroughly

How you dry your dog depends on the length of the coat and the weather… Short coats can be dried with towels.  Longer coats will need towels and possibly a blow dryer which will blow out any loose fur and give the coat a beautiful finish as you brush. Commercial dryers are more efficient and are available for the home groomer at a reasonable price.

If you don’t want to have to clean up the flying fur at home, look for a coin-operated self-wash dog bath in your area.  They supply the water, the tub, the shampoo and conditioner and the blow dryer. You do the bathing, drying and quick clean up of the facility.

3. Soothe That Skin

You may have noticed your dog scratching or licking his skin. He may be scratching because he picked up a hitchhiker along the trail that needs to be removed…or he may be releasing fur during the Spring and Fall shedding season and just needs combed out again.

However, if your dog is licking a sore spot or hot spot you can apply a soothing mist that will help calm the skin with a combination of aloe vera gel, marigold, lavender and chamomile and zinc for healthier skin.

Check your dog’s paws for any cuts or abrasions.  There are paw emollients to keep the pads moist for better traction on slippery surfaces.

4. Dental Hygiene

Bully Sticks

No one likes to be kissed by a dog with bad breath. You may not want to have your dog’s teeth cleaned by a veterinarian because you don’t want him to be anesthetized…you’ve heard the horror stories and are fearful of tragic consequences.

So the best thing for you to do is practice prevention…just as you do when you brush your teeth everyday.

A few natural things that you can do include adding a spice such as cinnamon to your dog’s food.

I prefer to use a knobby finger brush over a long-handled toothbrush to gently massage the gums with a gel that I got from Gusto’s  holistic veterinarian.  Some people apply coconut oil or grapefruit seed extract along the teeth and gum line.

My veterinarian also gave me a liquid supplement that I can add to Gusto’s water.

Choose Your Pet’s Chews

Raw bones help abrade any tartar from the teeth.  These must be refrigerated when the dog is not chewing on them and the dog must be supervised while chewing on them so that they do not break their teeth or swallow a large chunk of bone. Hooves were once popular but were very difficult to chew.  Antlers do not need refrigeration. Your vet may sell enzymatic chews.  Avoid rawhide chews since dogs tend to swallow them whole and they create obstructions in the intestinal tract.

Contrary to marketing hype, dry food and treats do not provide the type of abrasion necessary to clean the teeth.

I do give Gusto a soft dental treat that contains probiotics.  He also loves his porky puffs, buffalo lungs and buffalo bully sticks.

If your dog has a short nose or teeth that do not meet properly then chewing bones may not help.


5. How to Have Happy, Healthy Paws

Check Your Dogs Paws

In order for your dog to have a better feel for the surface he is walking on that will result in better balance, be sure trim any fur from the bottom of the paws. You can use round nose scissors for this so that you don’t accidentally stab your dog in case he squirms. You will be able to prevent tar and debris from collecting between the toes by keeping this fur short.

Long Nails Can Cause Discomfort

Pet parents often struggle with trimming their dog’s nails out of fear of nipping the quick and causing the nail to bleed.  Don’t despair, even professionals can nip a black nail or a nail on a dog that is uncomfortable with the process. Styptic powder will quickly stop the bleeding…and if you don’t swoon with emotional pain, your dog will just jerk his paw away or squeal…but neither of you will likely die from a little blood.

I prefer to use an Oster dremel every week on Gusto’s nails to keep them shorter.  There are dremels with covers on them so when you insert the nail, the fur doesn’t wind around the sander also.

Before Bath and Brushing

Bonus Tip

Your dog has been brushed and bathed and smells great until the aroma of onions cooking on the stove adheres to his

After Bath and Brushing


Now, you can provide your dog with a relaxing massage with this Stainless Steel Odor Remover that fits comfortably in the palm of your hand.  while also instantly neutralizing stubborn stinkiness. You can even use it to remove the lingering scents of onion, garlic and fish from your own hands, too.

I am happy to share with you where I purchase the products that I use.

I hope you found these tips useful.

Come back for more Miracle Living With Gusto!




Spaying and Neutering Your Dog – The Untold Secrets

American Eskimo

Spaying and neutering your dog causes surprising behavior changes.  These changes are not something that you hear about unless you delve into animal behavior.  Instead you are being told about why you should spay and neuter your dog. Let’s review some of those reasons first…

Responsible Owners Spay and Neuter Their Dogs

  • Makes pets more affectionate companions…greater attachment to their owners
  • Sex hormones lead to unnecessary stress and aggression among dogs
  • Unsterilized animals often show more behavior and temperament problems
  • Early neutering may avert many aggression problems
  • Intact female dogs have an increased risk of aggression
  • Intact male dogs display aggression towards each other.



As a pet sitter for 18 years, I knew of spayed females that lived together who also fought ferociously with one another to the extent that they needed extensive veterinary care. Of course, mother dogs are more likely to be protective of their litter and may display aggression towards strangers. During my career, I cared for two intact male Schnauzers that were the best of friends despite being spunky terriers.

Veterinarians and Shelter staff are more likely to stress spaying and neutering to prevent unwanted litters rather than aggression unless the dog is already displaying aggression.

In Psychology Today, posted on February 22, 2017,  Stanley Coren PhD., DSc, FRSC reveals the secrets he learned about the behavior changes that occur when dogs are spayed or neutered.

Dr. Coren’s European friends pointed out that North America has a unique notion that by spaying and neutering a dog, you can control certain behavior tendencies.

European Studies Reveal:

  • Swedish Study – 99% of the dogs in their sample were not neutered
  • Hungarian Study – 57% of dogs were intact
  • British Survey – 46% of dogs were intact
  • Norway – it is against the law to neuter dogs unless there is a specific medical reason

Medical Reasons for Spaying and Neutering

Veterinarians urge us to spay and neuter our pets to cut the chances of certain cancers and hormone-related diseases as well as population control.  However, Dr. Karen Becker, once a fierce advocate of spaying and neutering, is now singing a different tune.  Only a very small percentage of diseases occur in intact animals. Dr. Becker now recommends the importance of hormones for your dog’s health and seeking an alternative method of desexing.  You can view her Facebook Live here.

Spaying and Neutering
Dr. Karen Becker

Behavior Studies

  1. Veterinary Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania reported by Deborah Duffy and James Serpell
  2. Hunter College in New York – Master’s thesis submitted by Parvene Farhoody

The Canine Behavioral Assessment and Research Questionnaire (C-BARQ) was used by both studies. Owners were asked to answer 101 questions about canine aggression, fear and anxiety, attachment, excitability, energy level and other factors. 

Untold Behavior Secrets Revealed

  • Spayed and neutered dogs actually show considerably more aggression either towards their owner or a stranger varying at a low of around 20% and increasing to more than double.
  • Effects were similar for both males and females
  • The age at which males are neutered makes no difference in the increase in aggression compared to intact dogs
  • Early spaying of females (before one year of age) causes a considerably larger increase in aggression relative to later spaying.

Non Surgical Contraceptive Methods for Pet Population Control

Since the incidence of disease is so small in intact dogs and it is now proven by the studies that removing hormones by spaying and neutering actually increases aggression in dogs, you may want to find a veterinarian who is skilled in desexing your pet using alternative methods such as Ovary Sparing Spay or Vasectomy.

Breeds such as Golden Retrievers, Labrador Retrievers, Rottweilers, German Shepherd Dogs and Vizslas  benefit by having their hormones remain intact since they are reportedly prone to diseases and conditions that may occur more often when sex hormones are removed.

It’s All About Choices

Now that you know the untold secrets about the behavior of dogs that are spayed or neutered, what choice will you make for your next puppy? There are very few veterinarians embracing the ovary sparing spay and vasectomy procedures since those are not taught in veterinary school. Hopefully, we will have more options for our pets soon so that they can live a healthier life.

Or will you choose to leave your dog intact? Those of us that show dogs like I do with my American Eskimo “Gusto” have learned the benefits of leaving the hormones intact as the dog is developing physically.

P. S. If you are feeling like you have been neutered because you may be feeling some of the same feelings listed here for dogs, such as aggression, fear, anxiety, excitability and low energy, feel free to reach out to me by direct messaging me on my Facebook profile.  I will be happy to add you to a group of people that believe in healthy aging.

With love, compassion and empowerment,








5 Facebook Fixes to Increase Your Engagement

Facebook Engagement

Have you noticed that Facebook is Constantly Changing? I am grateful to be connected with people that keep up on what is working now in the world of Facebook and I want to share these tips with you…

Here are 5 Fixes to increase your engagement on Facebook Lives

Fix #1

Be sure to comment on at least 20 posts before ever going live.  Facebook sees that you are active and is more likely to seek viewers for your Live when you hit that Start button.

Fix #2

Remove inactive friends.  There was a time when having a lot of friends on your profile made you look more credible. However, if these friends no longer have active profiles, their presence on your list of friends actually hurts your algorithm.

Facebook Friends
Facebook Friends

Remove inactive friends manually rather than using a Facebook Friend Remover app.  Facebook does not like anything done in large chunks, including deleting a large number of friends at the same time.

An easy way to remove friends is to make sure they are still active when you get a notification for their birthday. Remove them if they are no longer having birthdays (my deceased father will no longer be my friend ;-( ).

Fix #3

Position your phone in the vertical mode.  Yes, I know you were told to go to landscape mode after you had been doing it in vertical mode.  However, this news is just out…

Facebook revealed to a small group of business owners at a Facebook Gather in the UK that most phone users hold their phone in the vertical position while watching Facebook lives.  As a result of this finding, Facebook is now going to give the vertical views on Facebook Lives more engagement.

Fix #4


Before bringing a guest on a Facebook Live with you, be sure they are wearing either Airpods or a headset.  It seems that the your own voice will start to echo now…but not always…if your guest is not prepared beforehand.  Once the Live starts, there is no way to fix the echo and no one will stay on to listen to an annoying echo.

Fix #5

Cater to your comments.  Once your Facebook Live is over, don’t just set your phone down and walk away.  Be sure to hang around and reply to your viewer’s comments.   Facebook will once again see that you care and give your Facebook Live more engagement.

I hope that you found these Fixes valuable. Be sure to leave your own comment.

Reach out to me for more social media tips.

With love, compassion and empowerment,