Dog grooming is an art that goes from basic pet care to almost spa-like pampering.

Long hair dogs that shed need more frequent grooming than short hair dogs or those who only shed seasonally. Dogs with curly or frizzy hair need daily care to detangle the hair and remove debris or foliage that gets caught in the coat while the dog is outdoors.

Sending your dog to a groomer each week gets time consuming but these days you can e hire mobile dog groomers who have a full grooming station in their vans.

The groomer parks in your driveway and does the complete grooming onsite. This is a great convenience and avoids the “wet dog” smell lingering in your bathroom.

To save even more money, you can also learn to do many of the basic grooming techniques yourself.

Dog grooming isn’t just a luxury – it’s a necessity. A dog that doesn’t get proper grooming in a timely manner is at risk for illness, gingivitis, parasites and damage to both their fur and skin.

Your dog may not be thrilled about getting a bath, but it’s something that has to be done. Bathing is a health issue for dogs just as it is for people.

If you aren’t sure about the right techniques for bathing, brushing and detangling your dog’s fur, find a good online resource or ask if you can watch the dog groomer work.

You might also be able to take class from a pet store or vet’s office to learn the correct procedures along with some expert tips on how to deal with your dog’s anxiety or fears during grooming.

The skin under the dog’s fur can be highly sensitive. Avoid aggressive scrubbing while bathing your dog or you can remove too much of the natural oils that protect both skin and hair follicles.

Adding powder or scents that aren’t formulated for use with dogs adds the potential for skin irritation or infection. If a product isn’t made for dogs or the type of fur on your dog breed, then make it a rule never to use it.

Be patient when grooming. It’s a good time to talk gently to your pet, rub his head or tummy and lend a playful quality to the grooming session. If you’re rushed or impatient, then don’t even start the grooming. Your dog will pick up on your attitude and be fearful or difficult to manage.

Even if your dog spends most of his time outdoors, you still need to do basic grooming. Without regular bathing, your dog is at the mercy of fleas and parasites that thrive on his lack of cleanliness.

Use the right tools. Don’t use your old hairbrush on your dog. Get special brushes and combs that are made for your dog’s fur.

You might save some money by bringing the dog to a groomer monthly or alternate weeks, while you handle the bath and simple hair brushing on the other weeks. Dog grooming is an essential part of maintaining your dog’s health – as well as his good lo

Have you ever thought of natural remedies for your pets? Just like human medicine, we want to minimize the side effects while they recover from an illness. One way to do that is to opt for natural remedies and here are some guidelines but please check with your veterinarian first before using any non-medicinal treatment.

* Skunk smell – Pets like cats and dogs can get into a lot of trouble while exploring in the woods. When your pet gets sprayed they will be stinky. One way to help get rid of the smell is vinegar and water. Combine vinegar and water together and rub it all over your pet. Continue to pour it on and rub in until the odor is gone. Wear gloves to keep the skunk smell off of you.

* Ear mites – It is important to keep the ears of pets clean. If you do notice mites in their ears, apply a mixture of Vitamin E and almond oil. Squeeze a few drops into their ear and massage it in. To be sure you have covered the entire ear, use cotton tip applicators to clean all areas of mites. Applying mineral oil can help keep mites away.

* Bad breath – Yes, pets can have bad breath. To stop the odor, brush their teeth. Also feed them carrots (if carrots are part of their normal diet) to help clean their teeth.

* Itchy skin – Stop the urge to itch by giving your pet a bath in cool water. Add Epsom salt to the water to further help your pet find relief.

* Insect bites – Pet skin can become red and inflamed from insect bites. To stop them from scratching, make a paste of baking soda and water. Apply that to the affected areas.

* Urinary infection – Any infection like this is caused by bacteria. One way to kill off some of the bacteria is to increase the acidity in the urine. Feed your pet citrus juices like orange and cranberry (good for humans too) to help reduce their discomfort and the infection.

* Car sickness – Don’t feed your pet before travel. Food in the belly and motion can make them sick. Also, try putting your pet in the front seat. When they can see where they are going they can orient better. Crack the window to let in fresh air as well.

After using your remedies, always visit the veterinarian for follow up to see if your methods are working.

Most people can remember their first pet from childhood. Kids who get pets during their childhood learn to socialize with others at an early age while others wait until they’re adults before they venture into pet parenthood. Either way, there are certain pets that are better suited to your age and maturity level.

First Pets for Kids

When buying pets for children, consider that some children might like the idea of a pet but not the pet itself – especially if it is big. It could seem threatening to them. For any child, choose a baby pet if you can. Then, the pet can grow up with the child.

Fish – Even small kids can learn to feed, clean and care for their pet. Fish don’t need much attention beyond feeding. Choose fish for kids who are at least school age who have learned not to grab at things like fish swimming in an aquarium.

Gerbils – They are more amenable than guinea pigs. Kids can watch them play and learn to feed them. Again, they are best for children who are at least school age who can learn to handle them with care and also feed them properly.

Puppies – Introducing kids to new pets when the pet is a baby is helpful to them both. Kids learn to touch them with gentle hands, walk them and learn how they interact.

Frogs – Little kids often like these a lot. They can watch them hop around and listen to them croak. Frogs often eat live bugs so kids can spend time catching some and watching their slimy pet eat.

First Pets for Adults

With adults, pet choice can be a little more flexible because of the maturity level. One thing to consider though: How much time do you have to devote to a pet?

Cats – Cats make great pets for homes where the owners have to be out for at least part of the day. Some like to cuddle and others can do without it. Either way, cats are generally self-sufficient and don’t mind being left alone for longer periods of time as long as they have food and water.

Dogs – The type of dog you choose will depend on your activity level. If you don’t have time to housebreak them, choose an older dog. For busy people, a dog that doesn’t need much exercise is ideal. If you are active, choose a dog that can keep up with you.

Choosing a pet takes research and planning, especially for your first pet. Consider age, time commitment and activity level of the soon-to-be owner.

Welcome Laura Benko to LLAPets. Laura’s a Feng Shui consultant who’s written a book called The Holistic Dog…

Live, Love, Adopt Pets (LLAP)-Could you tell us about yourself and what you do?
Laura Benko (LB)-I’m a modern Feng Shui consultant and after I wrote The Holistic Home: Feng Shui for Mind, Body, Spirit, Space, photographer Susan Fischer and I decided to do a book about a dog in their Space. She shot them in their favorite Space and I interviewed the dogs family and delved into the canines Mind (their behavior, quirks, personality) and their Body (breed, nutrition, health, wellness, physical attributes) and their Spirit (karmic connection of how the dog came into their owners life, lessons they were taught by their dogs presence, and the deep, unspoken bond between humans and their dogs.

LLAP-Are you a pet owner, and if so, could you tell us about them?
LB-My little love is Yogi. He’s a 9 year old Irish Terrier and he’s loyal, psychic, tenacious, playful, curious and constantly trying to tune into me – looking at my facial expressions, discerning my tones, picking up cues. He’s my loving companion – besides my husband!
Yogi was the inspiration for the book, as well as line of holistic dog products that my company makes. http://www.theholistichomecompany.com/Dogs-s/1931.htm

LLAP-Tell us more about the book and how it can help us get a better understanding of our canine friends?
LB-The first half of the book has beautiful dog portraits and their stories. Each dog story ranges from a paragraph to a page or two. And each story kind of has a theme. Whether it is perseverance, unconditional love, life lessons, getting more exercise, becoming more social, learning patience or the responsibility of caregiving – every dog story has an overriding dog-to-human lesson or two that inadvertently unfolded in the interview process.
The second half of the book are interviews with canine practitioners in mind, body, and spirit. The canine mind experts cover behaviorists, scientists, trainers and a dog toy inventor. The canine body experts cover a canine nutritionist, holistic vets, canine chiropractor, and more. The experts in the spirit section cover dog psychics, canine reiki practitioners and a canine bereavement specialist.

I found that by delving into the canine mind, body and spirit it enriches the relationship between human and dog.

LLAP-You’re a Feng Shui consultant, so do you feel pets are essential to a home?
LB-Of course! (The only exception to this would be a completely unruly dog that is destroying the home and violent and aggressive to the occupants!) Dogs are sentient beings that raise the chi by adding their unconditional love and presence to a space. Their energy can set the tone for the atmosphere in your home. They are pure love.

LLAP-Finally, if you could offer readers one tip about making our homes more pet friendly what would it be?
LB-Creating both active and passive spaces for your dog are important. If you create an area just for them that is situated by a window, that is ideal. It makes them happy to see the world around them, see whose coming and going and feel like they are “protecting their land”. Also, having one or two quiet spaces for them – preferably putting their bed in one of them- is crucial for a dogs wellbeing.

About Laura-
Laura has been featured in Real Simple, Vogue, House Beautiful, Architectural Digest, Cosmopolitan, Brides, More Magazine, METRO News, Montage, Newsday, Entrepreneur, New Jersey Life, Elements, Decorating Solutions, AM New York, New York Magazine, Thrive Market, Elle Decor, HGTV.com, Martha Stewart Whole Living Sirius Radio, The Nate Berkus Show and as a television segment host for Live It Up! (WLNY).

Laura teaches AIA credited seminars for architects about Feng Shui and Architecture as well as a seminar based on her book, The Holistic Home at Pratt in New York City. She currently consults for several developers, was named The City’s Best Feng Shui Expert by New York Magazine, was chosen as the new Feng Shui Expert for About.com (see videos here), has written the bestselling book, The Holistic Home: Feng Shui for Mind Body Spirit Space which (May 2018) won the Gold for the Independent Publishers Book Awards. She recently wrote her second book, The Holistic Dog: Inside The Canine Mind, Body, Spirit, Space (both Helios/Skyhorse). She is the founder and owner of the luxury goods enterprise, TheHolisticHomeCompany.com and will be launching her own school, The Holistic Home School of Feng Shui July 2019. http://www.laurabenko.com/

You can purchase an autographed copy of the Holistic Dog by using the following link-
http://www.theholistichomecompany.com/The-Holistic-Dog-Book-p/dogbook.htm

Laura’s Dog Yogi