How to Safely remove Pet Odors

What causes Odor?

The scent of an object is caused by molecules floating into your nose and attach to hair-like fibers called cilia. When an odor molecule attaches to the cilia, neurons trigger, and you perceive smell. This can be enticing scents like freshly baked bread or a vanilla candle; it can also come from bacteria and urine on your pet.

cute puppy

This little nose is the cutest!

How can I get rid of it?

It goes without saying that a good old fashioned bathe is always great solution for solving the smelly dog issue. However, if you’re like most people, you may find that a few more days go by in between batches than intended. A great interim, is to give your dog mini-baths to help keep him or her smelling clean.

One way to do this is with no-rinse products that contain odor eliminating properties often called deodorizers.

How do deodorizers work?

Deodorizers are different and more effective that simply bathing with a shampoo or spritzing a perfume. The secret lies in the science.

Deodorizers use (molecules?) which actually encapsulate and eliminate odor molecules. This is why they are great to use not just in between batches but also, as pre-shampoo before your regular shampoo, and conditioner regimen––additionally helping to remove that “doggy odor.”

What products help with this?

The Pure Paws No Rinse Express is formulated with deodorizers and a lovely plumeria fragrance. If you are using the Pure Paws Bio-Enzymatic Spray to whiten your dog, we recommend spraying the yellow/orange-ish areas with the No Rinse first, following with a damp cloth, and then applying the Bio-Enzymatic Spray. This is because salts from urine can kill the live enzymes in the Bio-Enzyme spray, thus lessening its effect.

Steps to deodorizing and stain removal

So, if you are looking to whiten dingy areas on your dog’s coat white removing odor, follow these steps.

  1. Spray pet with area Pure Paws No Rinse Express, applying liberally to discolored areas (availabel in concentrate and 8oz
  2. With a damp cloth, remove excess spray.
  3. Spray discolored areas with Pure Paws Bio-Enzyme Spray and allow to sit for 5-10 minutes
  4. Remove excess spray with damp cloth.
  5. Blow dry on medium heat

How to remove tear, saliva and urine stains with bio-enzymes!

What is an enzyme?

According to encyclopedia.com, enzymes are biological catalysts, or chemicals that speed up the rate of reaction between substances without themselves being consumed in the reaction. As such, they are vital to such bodily functions as digestion, and they make possible processes that normally could not occur.

So, a catalyst is simply anything that speeds up the process of something else. In our bodies enzymes help with all sorts of things like copying out DNA, energy production and extracting nutrients from food through. Pepsin and trypsin are particularly helpful in digesting dietary proteins.

Why do tears, saliva and urine stain?

Commonly stained areas include close to the eyes, also knowing as tear staining, around the mouth and feet from saliva and of course, urine staining.

One possible cause of this staining is from naturally occurring molecules called Porphyrins. Thee molecules contain iron which is a waste products from the breakdown of red blood cells. They are mostly removed from the body in the usual way (in poop). However, in dogs and cats, porphyrin can also be excreted through tears, saliva, and urine.

Another possible reason for staining is the oxidation of proteins left behind from the saliva.

Finally, for urine particularly, uric crystals, stay behind once urine has dried. These crystals lead to both staining and odor.

So what can you do to remove these stains? 

poodle

Tokeya Standard Poodle

How enzymes help to remove stains.

For tear, saliva and urine staining, Biological Enzymes help to speed up the process of breaking down the proteins that cause discoloration and odor. While washing the affected area could remove the staining over time, bio-enzymes help to speed up the process dramatically. They do this by reacting to specific substances, and only those substances – like fitting  of a puzzle together. 

enzymes

Photo Credits: chem4kids.com

What product can you use to remove your pets tear, saliva and urine staining? 

At Pure Paws, our Star Line contains our Bio-Enzymatic Pretreatment Spray. This spray has been formulated using a mixture of various enzymes to treat the various stains that are products of tears, saliva, and urine. So if you’re wanting a whiter, healthier looking coat, try our Bio-Enzymatic Pretreatment Spray. You’ll love t he results! 

 

bio-enzyme-image

 

For any questions on the products, please feel free to email us at info@purepaws.net

Thank you,

The Pure Paws Family

Sources

http://www.encyclopedia.com/science-and-technology/chemistry/chemistry-general/enzymes

http://healthypets.mercola.com/sites/healthypets/archive/2014/11/12/pet-tear-staining.aspx


Coconut Oil On Skin and Hair – Does it Really Work?

If you’ve gone shopping for any personal care products within the past 5 years, you’ve undoubtedly seen a surge in products containing coconut oil. Being a skeptic, I wanted to see if this coconutty goodness was scientifically proven or just marketing gone nutty. This short article is by no means exhaustive but in it, I hope to provide some useful information, and resources when looking for legitimate skin and hair claims for this tropical fruit. For more detailed information of the facts, I invite you to follow the links listed in the sources below the article.

coconut oil, coconut shampoo, coconut water

1. What is Coconut oil

According to Encyclopedia.com, coconut oil is normally a semi‐solid oil extracted from copra (dried coconut) that contains 90% saturated fats. But why then isn’t your shampoo solid at room temperature? The difference is the absence of linoleic acid. The coconut oil found in skin care products has gone through an extra step in order to remove the saturated fats from the coconut. This industry term is “Fractionated coconut oil”, and is said to absorb more readily into the skin as a liquid. (Source 2)

2. Why is coconut important?

According to current scientific literature there are significant  benefits of consuming coconut oil particularly for lowering bad cholesterol. (Source 3)  But what about topical application? Are there proven, evidence based benefits for that?

3.Does topical application of coconut make a difference?

Let’s look at the evidence for both skin and coat. We’ll start with the skin. 

Coconut skin care products

 

According to an article published in Karger, Medical and Scientific Publishers, coconut oil helped to heal wounds of rats faster that those that were not treated. (Source 1)

The main skin benefits were the following: (Source 1)

  • Higher collagen turnover – This can also be called “protein turnover” or “protein synthesis”, which is important for replacing damaged proteins within the body.
  • Antioxidant Enzyme activity – According to Cell BioLabs, Inc., “These form the body’s endogenous defense mechanisms to help guard against free radical-induced cell damage.”
  • Fibroblast proliferation – This is important for wound healing, and the process of tissue repair. It produces structural proteins such as collagen, and stimulate both angiogenesis (development of new blood vessels)  and epithelialisation (growth of surface skin tissue known as epithelium).
  • Neovascularization This is the formation of new blood vessel in abnormal tissue.

All of these processes aid in the healing of damaged skin tissues. For the full abstract, visit the following link: Effect of Topical Application of Virgin Coconut Oil on Skin Components and Antioxidant Status during Dermal Wound Healing in Young Rats – Nevin K.G. · Rajamohan T.

Now let’s look at some evidence on topical effects of coconut oil for hair.  

coconut products for hair

According to “Effect of mineral oil, sunflower oil, and coconut oil on prevention of hair damage” published in Europe PMC,

“The findings clearly indicate the strong impact that coconut oil application has to hair as compared to application of both sunflower and mineral oils. Among three oils, coconut oil was the only oil found to reduce the protein loss remarkably for both undamaged and damaged hair when used as a pre-wash and post-wash grooming product.” (Source 5)

In another study, “Effect of coconut oil on prevention of hair damage” published in Society of Cosmetic Chemists, coconut oil was also seen to “prevent the lifting of surface cuticle, and its breaking by the force exerted by the comb.” In short, coconut oil was shown to prevent hair breakage and damage.

3. What products should I use?

What products do we recommend for you use to get the benefits of coconutty goodness? The Pure Paws H20 Line is filled with coconut oil, and is specially formulated to hydrate the coat and repair the skin. For extra healing power, the H20 line also contains aloe vera to compliment the coconut oil, and as one of our best-selling lines, we guarantee you’ll love it! 

h20 coconut shampoo

 

 

 

 

 

For any questions on the products, please feel free to email us at info@purepaws.net

Thank you,

The Pure Paws Family

Sources

  1. http://www.karger.com/Article/Abstract/313516
  2. http://healthimpactnews.com/2013/is-liquid-coconut-oil-that-stays-liquid-in-your-refrigerator-real-coconut-oil/
  3. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0009912004001201
  4. http://www.cellbiolabs.com/antioxidant-enzyme-activity-assays
  5. http://europepmc.org/abstract/med/12715094
  6. http://cat.inist.fr/?aModele=afficheN&cpsidt=1437172
  7. http://www.purepaws.net/products/lines/h20/

Top 5 questions you have about Keratins

1. What is Keratin?

Keratin is a ”highly durable protein that provides structure to several types of living tissues.” Keratin is also a major protein found in mammalian hair and hooves along with nails, horns, fish scales, bid feathers and beaks, and skin.

2. Why is Keratin Important?

Keratin as an invaluable protein which has been found to “regulate key cellular activities, such as cell growth and protein synthesis.” Another important quality is “..its ability to flex in multiple directions without tearing.” This is why healthy keratin presence is so important in preventing damage to skin and coat.

Scanning electron micrograph showing strands of keratin in a feather, magnified 186X. Janice Carr/Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) (Image Number: 8673)

Scanning electron micrograph showing strands of keratin in a feather, magnified 186X.
Janice Carr/Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) (Image Number: 8673)

3. Does topical application of Keratin make difference?

Natural production of Keratin is essential for strong skin and coat. However, some question weather topical application has any effect. According to current scientific studies, the answer appear to be yes! A peer reviewed article from the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) published the following findings: 

STUDY: Cosmetic effectiveness of topically applied hydrolysed keratin peptides and lipids derived from wool.

BACKGROUND/PURPOSE:

Skin moisturisation, elasticity, feel and appearance can all be improved through the topical application of protein hydrolysates. Recent studies suggest that supplementing intercellular lipids of the stratum corneum can enhance the functioning of the skin.

RESULTS:

Significant differences were found between the control and treated sites, with the treated areas showing an increase in hydration and elasticity as a result of keratin peptide application. Measurements also indicated that the keratin formulations reinforce the skin barrier integrity, improving its water-holding capacity.

4. Is “Hydrolyzed” Keratin better?

Keratin’s can range in quality, and can differ from where they are sourced. Some keratins are made from plants and some animal by-products. A common animal by-product is bovine blood plasma. At Pure Paws, we choose not to use this common source, and instead use Hydrolyzed Keratin derived sheep’s wool. In this way, we get closer to the molecular makeup of an animal keratin without causing them harm

Sheep's Wool

Sheep’s Wool

5. Are Keratin Products safe?

According to the Environmental Working Group (EWG), Hydrolyzed Keratins are safe and non-carcinogenic. The current concern over keratin product comes from some keratin “smoothing products” used in hair straightening processes like “Brazilian Blowouts”. These salon products can sometimes contain methylene glycol, which releases formaldehyde, a known carcinogen To help consumers stay safe, OSHA has listed other names that formaldehyde are sometimes disguised as in “formaldehyde-free” products. This includes, methylene glycol, formalin, methylene oxide, paraform, formic aldehyde, methanal, oxomethane, oxymethylene, or CAS Number 50-00-0. At Pure Paws, non of our products contain methylene glycol.

So those were your top 5 questions. So what lines do we recommend for you to strengthen your dog’s skin and coat? The name says is all – The Pure Paws Forte line. The word forte is derived from the French word fort, meaning “strong.” The Forte line is packed with Hydrolyzed Keratins to help increase moisture and elasticity, while strengthening each strand of hair to prevent breakage while brushing. It also provides added moisture with panthenol, aloe vera, and jojoba oil! 

forte-line

 

 

 

 

 

For any questions on the products, please feel free to email us at info@purepaws.net

Thank you, 

The Pure Paws Family 

Sources: 

https://www.britannica.com/science/keratin

http://www.encyclopedia.com/topic/keratin.aspx

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18412569

http://www.cir-safety.org/sites/default/files/hprtns052012slr.pdf

https://www.osha.gov/SLTC/formaldehyde/hazard_alert.html


Are Parabens Safe? 3 studies that challenge the idea of safe doses.

Parabens are a widely used made made preservative, popularly Butylparaben (BP) . They are also a xenoestrogen, which is a synthetic compound that behaves like estrogen by binding to and activating estrogen receptors. Exposure to estrogens and xenoestrogens has been linked to breast cancer.

However, the current stance held by the FDA is that previous studies have concluded that the low doses of parabens exposure in today’s products is safe enough. Over the decades parabens have been a focus of scrutiny. In the 1990s studies like that conducted began detecting the estrogenic ability of parabens. They labeled parabens a form of xenoestrogen, which is a type of hormone that mimics estrogen which can lead to reproductive disorders and certain types of cancer.

Later, in 2004  Philippa Darbre, Ph.D found parabens present in malignant breast tumors. The counter to this study was that Darbe failed to examine if parabens were present in non-cancerous breast tissues. Also, the presence of parabens in breast tissue doesn’t necessarily prove that parabens caused the cancer. From this study, the prevailing paradigm remained that parabens proved only to have weak estrogenic effects, which in small enough doses are deemed to be safe.

However, later studies proved that parabens had the ability to bioaccumulate. This would make parabens more dangerous if they are able to compound? Secondly, a new study found that chemicals or compounds in the human body that are not present in the isolated petri dish experiments that could enhance or speed up the effects of parabens.

In this article we will take a look new studies that are challenging the notion that parabens are safe to use in small doses.

First – One of the original studies that linked parabens to mimicking estrogen.  

Some alkyl hydroxy benzoate preservatives (parabens) are estrogenic, from the journal of Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology – (Routledge, 1998)

 

This study wanted to see if parabens could actually imitate estrogen. In the abstract of this study, Routledge confirms “that a range of alkyl hydroxy benzoate preservatives (parabens) are weakly estrogenic.” Butylparaben was seen to be 1-5 orders of magnitude less effective than naturally occurring estrogen.

However, there was an interesting difference was found in rats that were administered parabens either orally or subcutaneously (under the skin). Parabens administered orally led to inactive parabens while subcutaneous administration produce a “positive uterotrophic response in vivo, although it was approximately 100,000 times less potent than 17β-estradiol.” So, though parabens given under the skin were more effective than those given orally, they were still 100,000 times less potent than the body’s naturally occurring estrogen, 17β-estradiol.

The Routledge study leaves us with this ultimate caution –

“Given their use in a wide range of commercially available topical preparations, it is suggested that the safety in use of these chemicals should be reassessed, with particular attention being paid to estimation of the actual levels of systemic exposure of humans exposed to these chemicals.”

What are the implications of this study/Remaining questions?

Important implications from the subcutaneous effect of parabens suggest that parabens found in cosmetics or other topical applications could be more harmful than those found in food.  After this study, the prevailing paradigm was that parabens could be used in safe quantities. But the question of quantity of exposure and effect still remained.

The following studies present challenges to the idea that parabens in small doses in products are safe.

#1 Concentrations of Parabens in Human Breast Tumors. – The Journal of Applied Toxicology, 13 May 2004 (Darbe)

This study wanted to see whether parabens could actually “accumulate in fatty components of body tissues in a similar manner to that of other lipophilic pollutants that are known to bioaccumulate”.

Previous studies have shown oestrogenic activity caused by paraben usage to have several side effects including:

  • Increase in the growth of MCF7 human breast cancer cells which could however be mediated or blocked by the the antioestrogen drug  ICI 182 780 .(Okubo et al., 2001; Byford et al., 2002; Darbre et al., 2002, 2003) Basically cancer cells could be reduced by a drug but what happens when this drug is not naturally occurring in your body while subjecting yourself to parabens?
  • Oestrogenic activity in animal models in vivo in fish (Pedersen et al., 2000)
  • Increase in uterine weight in immature rats (Routledge et al., 1998) and immature mice (Darbre et al., 2002, 2003)
  • Alterations in reproductive function in male rats, including reduction in sperm counts (Oishi, 2001).

This study understood that “the presence of oestrogenic chemicals in the breast area could potentially influence both the incidence and treatment of breast cancer” and given the wide usage of parabens as a preservative in underarm cosmetics (deodorant/antiperspirant), it has been suggested that “regular application of such oestrogenic chemicals could influence breast cancer development” (Darbre, 2001, 2003; Harvey, 2003).

“However, the outstanding question remains as to whether parabens can enter and accumulate in the human breast.”

To test this, the scientists took extraction of parabens from human breast material and analyzed them by thin-layer chromatography, which is a method used to separate mixtures.

After experimentation, they found that “the total mean paraben level was found to be of the order of 20 ng g−1 tissue” which means that this “adds parabens to the list of environmental oestrogenic chemicals that can be found to accumulate in the human breast”

They also found that “paraben concentrations measured in tumours were unequivocally of the esters themselves which” which demonstrates that “at least a proportion of the parabens present in cosmetic, food and pharmaceutical products can be absorbed and retained in human body tissues…”

With regards to topical or oral consumption, oestrogenic responses in immature only occurred when parabens were administered subcutaneously or topically but not orally. This “suggests that skin penetration may be an important route for entry to the body.”  

According to Scientific American, “What worries public health advocates is that while individual products may contain limited amounts of parabens within safe limits set by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA), cumulative exposure to the chemicals from several different products could be overloading our bodies and contributing to a wide range of health problems.”

In conclusion this study asks the scientific community to take into consideration the ability of “weakly oestrogenic parabens” to bioaccumulate. If Parabens are capable of accumulating and then the the safety low doses in permitted individual cosmetics, foods and pharmaceuticals may be called into question.

What are the implications of this study/Remaining questions?

This study found parabens in breast tissue. However, because darbe failed to test healthy breast tissue, we wouldn’t know whether the parabens found in the cancerous breast tissue is any different from those of healthy breast tissue. Also, existing parabens in cancerous breast tissue does not prove that parabens caused the cancer.

This does however, leave the unanswered question of what are the potential effects of Parabens if they are able to accumulate in the body?

# 2. Urinary Concentrations of 4 Parabens in the US Population: NHANES 2006 – 2006, from The Journal of Environmental Perspectives (Calafat 2010)

This study compared amounts of parabens found in different ethnicities and sexes. This study assessed the exposure to methyl, ethyl, propyl, and butyl parabens among people above or equal to six years of age and across varying ethnicities and sex between the years 2005-2006.

After analyzing 2,548 urine samples, they found “methylparaben (MP) and propyl paraben (PP) in 99.1% and 92.7% of the samples.”

Interestingly concentrations of “MP was significantly higher (p <or= 0.01) among non-Hispanic blacks than among non-Hispanic whites except at older ages (>or= 60 years).” Also “Adolescent and adult females had significantly higher (p < 0.01) LSGM concentrations of MP and PP than did adolescent and adult males.”

Simply put, ethnic minorities were more likely than their white counterparts and and females more likely than males to have parabens in their urine. According to the conclusion of this study, “Differences in the urinary concentrations of MP and PP by sex and race/ethnicity [is] likely reflect the use of personal care products containing these compounds.

The reason for this could be due to socioeconomic reasons and overall product usage. Ethnic minorities are statistically more likely of being in lower socioeconomic rungs leaving many with limited options in their product choices. As parabens are are among the cheapest preservatives, they are widely used in more cost effective products. Exposure to cheaper products means exposure to more parabens.

With regards to female versus male, According to The Environmental Working Group, the average woman uses approximately 12 products every morning while men use about 6. This is again a link to overall exposure.

So, if parabens could bioaccumulate we would see that, consumers exposed to more products containing parabens would have more parabens in their bodies….and that is exactly what we see.  

#3 Parabens and Human Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor Ligands Cross-Talk in Breast Cancer Cells – Environmental Health Perspectives Journal, 27 October 2015 – Shawn Pan

This study wanted to see if chemicals not used in the petri dish experiments, that naturally occur in the human body could enhance or make worse the effects of parabens.

This study argues that previous studies did not take into account parabens coming into contact with other compounds in the body causing an increase in the effects of parabens, more specifically, Herugulin.

Heruglin, is a “ligand” or molecule that is a type of “human epidermal growth factor receptor” (HER). In this study, researchers wanted to see if HER’s like Heruglin would affect the “cell proliferation” or increase in cell production which is directly linked to cancer growth.

The results showed that HER ligands worked with Butylparaben to increase c-Myc mRNA, which is a type of mRNA that helps to create MYC Protein which is known to cause rapid growth of cancer cells. The combination also caused an increase in BY-474 which is a type of breast cancer cell line.

The conclusion states that “HER Ligands enhance the potency of BP” which suggests that “parabens might be active at exposure levels not previously considered” from studies in which the parabens were tested in isolation from other bodily compounds.

This study raises new questions about the behavior of Parabens in the human body rather than experimented in an isolated vacuum. If HER is able to produce an increased effect, what about smoking, alcohol consumption, environmental factors and other factors these experiments have failed to take into account ?

_____

The studies in the 90’s conducted by Routledge and others, first made the link between parabens and estrogenic activity. Darbe in 2004, showed concentrations of parabens in cancerous breast tissue, but failed to test healthy breast tissue, rendering his study unusable for practical product changes.

Later in 2010, Calafat tested the paraben amount in urine samples across ethnicity and sex. Th results showed that increase in paraben use led to increase in paraben presence in urine. This helps to back up the findings in the Darbe study and the idea that parabens can bioaccumulate. Finally, the study in 2015 showed that the naturally occurring human growth hormone HER could enhance the oestrogenic effects of parabens, raising the question of the danger of other factors not previously considered.

Parabens are still deemed as safe to use by the FDA and so are still widely used as preservative in booth food and cosmetics. The treatment of chemicals seems to be one of innocent until proven guilty. This is a harmful and potentially detrimental way to treat  chemical regulation. We believe to alway err on the side of safety and caution. Though considered safe in small doses, we have shown you studies that are beginning to suggest otherwise. It took decades before certain governments began to require a truthful depiction of the effects of cigarette smoke. We believe it is  the responsibility of individuals and independent companies to provide the safest products possible while the government grapples with the conflict of interests public health and large corporations.

We believe that a chemical is not fit for mass production or human or animal consumption until it has been proven safe. Until governmental regulation has caught up with morality, for the good of all animals, we will continue to treat chemicals guilty until proven innocent.


Groom Wars – Animal Adoption & Pet Industry Education

Groom Wars Logo

Welcome to Groom Wars, a grooming competition in which groomers use their talents to promote animal adoption and to bring awareness to educational organizations that are helping to regulate the largely unregulated pet services and pet products industry. We do this by altering the adoption environment to become more positive, hopeful and fun.

The 3 categories in which groomers compete, serve to increase cooperation between various sectors of animal welfare.

  1. Marvelous MakeoversRescue
  2. Breed PerfectBreed Standard
  3. En VogueProfessional Groomers

Groom Wars Helping Animal Rescue

Groom Wars aims to bring more positive attention to animal rescue and thus increase adoption rates.

In the rescue category – Marvelous Makeovers, professional groomers will aesthetically transform10 rescue animals, improving how they are perceived, giving  them positive attention and hopefully a new home. 

This round also serves to increase the visibility of the rescue organizations that are partnered with us for that event.

rescue dogs

To support the rescue initiative outside of Groom Wars, the Pure Paws Angels Program, helps increase animal adoption by partnering volunteer groomers with animal shelters. Once a month winners are chosen from the Pure Paws Angels facebook group, and supplied with crucial resources (products, money, social media support) to continue their mission of finding these animals a home.  

For more information on how Pure Paws is working with Groom Wars to promote animal rescue, check out our blog post, Increase Adoption Rates with Positivity and Fun!

Groom Wars Promoting More Ethical Breeding

The breed standard category – Breed Perfect helps educate the public on recognized “breed standards” and on the organizations that promote more ethical breeding programs by testing for genetic and physiological health. Some programs include the American Kennel Club (AKC) and certifying programs like the Canine Health Information Center (CHIC) and the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA)

AKC, CHIC, OFA

For more information on this please visit the Breed Standard page on the Pure Paws website.

Groom Wars Promoting Educated Pet Professionals

The creative grooming category – En Vogue brings attention to highly skilled groomers who have often attended independent educational programs which serve to regulate the unregulated grooming industry. Since most programs require adherence to strict safety and handling guidelines, this helps to increase the safety standards of the pet professional industry.

Groom Wars and the Public

Most of the general public is unaware of this overwhelming lack of pet product and pet professional regulation.

crowd of peopleThis means that no licensing is needed for someone in to become a groomer, breeder, boarding kennel etc.

Groom Wars wants to reach out, raise awareness and inform the general public of this issue of the lack of regulation and to bring visibility to the programs like the Pure Paws Educator Program, that are working to fix it.

Without a demand for educated pet professionals, the supply will not come. We are inching ahead but in order to see big change, the public needs made aware of the issues enabling them to be more vocal in demanding regulation of Pet Professionals and Pet Products.

If you are interested in becoming a Groom Wars sponsor, vendor or partner, please visit your Groom Wars website. Or you can contact our Groom Wars General Manager Renee Bartis. 

Renee Bartis  

groomwars@purepaws.net

(336)-266-9830

Thank you. 

 


Increase Adoption Rates with Positivity and Fun!

Many people say they don’t go to animal shelters because the experience causes them grief and sadness. This is normal and understandable. Also understandable is the frustration and pain felt by rescue organizations and the people that work within them experiencing the suffering of other animals on a daily basis.

cat high five

 

These negative feelings have fueled the promotion of commercials and ads that have often led to “guilt-tripping” people into donating or finally going to shelters and adopting. Though this method can move some to take action, for the most part, people want to avoid negative imagery and messaging that makes them feel bad. Campaigns that evoke feelings of depression or sadness are much less likely to gain traction on social media, the place where ideas spread. According to the Harvard Business review, “Negative emotions were less commonly found in highly viral content than positive emotions” (HBR, 2013). This lack of response from the public leads to greater frustration felt by rescuers, leading to more gut wrenching photos further alienating the very people who the rescue organizations need. Though well-intentioned, this marketing method has quickly become a race to the bottom.

While it is important to provide an accurate portrayal of the realities of animal rescue, we believe that the an accompanying uplifting and positive message of hope can combine to create an even stronger motivator.

We know that all humans are capable of empathy and that every human wants to do what they believe is right and good. Following this notion, we also understand the limiting effects of empathy and how when bombarded with sad and disturbing images of animal abuse, we feel a very real and visceral response, we want to look away.

However, this same feeling of empathy that causes us to close our eyes, that prevents someone from going to the shelter, is the same feeling that once in front of injustice, causes us to take action. This is where there is hope.

 

Bring awareness to the truth, promote empathy and give hope through pragmatic efforts.

Truth

The truth is that there are still millions of animals being euthanized and abused every year.

Here are some statistics from the Humane Society.

  • 6-8 million dogs and cats entering shelters each year (down from 13 million in 1973)
  • Of the 3 million cats and dogs euthanized in shelters each year, about 2.4 million (80%) are healthy and treatable and could have been adopted into new homes
  • Percentage of purebred dogs in shelters: 25%
  • Percentage of cats euthanized in shelters: 70%

However, there is also another truth.

  • Number cats and dogs adopted from shelters each year: 4 million. That’s half.

While the first numbers are upsetting, it’s incredible to know that efforts have practically cut the amount of shelter animals in half and that of those, half are being adopted. With that, we still have much to do.

Empathy

Humans are moral agents. Not only do we have the capacity to recognize suffering in another, but we have a moral obligation stop it from happening. These “rescue animals” are sentient beings that share similar interests with humans and so are deserving of similar treatment. Neither want to experience pain and suffering and so neither should be subject such treatment.

Pragmatic Change

We want to propose a different method for achieving the same goal of increasing adoption rates and ending animal abuse.

First, we want to bring awareness to these staggering numbers with large, sensational events in order to reach as many people as possible. Next, we want to offer a welcoming and positive atmosphere that will appeal to more animals lovers. Finally, we want to provide an effective platform from which to carry out these goals.

Introducing Pure Paws Angels and Groom Wars.

Pure Paws Angels is a rescue organization whose primary aim is to increase adoption rates by providing necessary resources and by increasing the visibility of our rescuers or as we call them, Angels.

 

The Angels “Before and After” awards on our Facebook page

Pure Paws Angels Logo

Pure Paws Angels Logo

One platform that we use to increase visibility and to give resources where they are needed most is by monthly awarding “before and after” rescue stories shared on the Pure Paws Angels Facebook page. www.facebook.com/purepawsangels.

Here, Angels share before and after photos and write a short story of either the animals they have rescued themselves or shelter animals they have groomed free of charge. This can be done by both individuals and organizations. The awards include $100 worth of the Pure Paws products of their choice, a $50.00 check for no-kill 501 C’s., a Groom Wars Competitors’ Necklace and a Pure Paws Angels Pin from The Animal Rescue Site where free daily “clicks” on their website help to generate funds to provide food to animal shelters. Pure Paws, in partnership with this organization has already helped to supply 650 bowls of dog food! Support them, give them a “click”, it’s totally free!

We are always looking for partners who also wish to help us in giving to these wonderful volunteers. If you would like to help please email us at info@purepaws.net.

Or you can contact the lovely Angel that helps to run our Angels Facebook page, Valerie Poly. 🙂 

Angel, Valerie Poly

Angel, Valerie Poly

 

 

Showcasing the positive work Angels do, provides hope that things will get better. We want to show that these animals can improve physically, emotionally and mentally with the right love, care and attention. 

 

Angels, Rescue, dog rescue, animal rescue

Pure Paws Angels

Here’s what one of our our Angel’s has said about the rescue process…

Pure Paws Angels, Animal Rescue

Angel, Robyn Slusky and Deuce

 

We all have to keep in mind that kennel behavior doesn’t predict behavior outside of that environment. It’s so stressful there that even the most gentle, and docile dog, can appear “aggressive” in the kennel because of the built up stress. I know all of mine would. But outside of that environment, they are totally different dogs and I wish more people could have the opportunity to see that. Rescue is my life passion, it’s what got me into dog training in the first place.” – Robyn Slusky

We love you Robyn. <3

 

 

The Angels Facebook group also serves as a great network for local rescue organizations. 

  • Reach out to group members if in need of volunteers
  • Request that an Angel show up at an event
  • Work with Angels to create a rescue event

Speaking of events…

Groom Wars – Changing the adoption “game” with positivity and hope

Groom Wars Logo

Welcome to Groom Wars, a grooming competition in which groomers can showcase their talents to bring professionalism and pride to the grooming industry while helping to increase animal adoption rates by altering the adoption environment to become more positive, hopeful and fun.

Gamification is increasingly being used in education and the workplace in order to make learning and productivity more effective and rewarding. Through games we compete but we also work together in greater numbers to accomplish great things. Previously isolated and individual tasks and missions are now shared by teams and a community rivaling in good nature.  

By combining the tenants of gamification with a positive environment and a shared goal, we believe that we can help to bring greater awareness to rescue efforts and ultimately increase adoption rates.

Here’s a quick cheat sheet of how Groom Wars works

During a Groom Wars event, groomers will compete in the following categories

  1. Rescue
  2. Breed Standard
  3. Creative

Round 1 – Marvelous Makeovers – rescue grooming 

During round one, the Rescue round, 10 groomers will groom 10 healthy animals from the participating rescue organization. After all the dogs have been professionally groomed, they will be judged for various qualifiers like quality, creativity, overall beauty and crowd favorite. From this first round, three groomers will be eliminated. Regardless of who is eliminated from this round, all 10 participating rescue animals will be up for adoption and donations made to their associated rescue organization. 🙂

Round 2 – Breed Perfect –  breed standard

For round two, the 7 groomers that moved on from round one, will compete for the Breed Standard groom. Here groomers showcase their talents in grooming to the AKC (American Kennel Club) breed standard. Pure Paws got its start in the show industry and has learned so much over the years from the compassionate and talented handlers and ethical breeders.

Breed standards have helped breeders to aim towards a healthier breeding programs especially when working with regulatory organizations like CHIC (Canine Health Information Center), where “breeders can analyze the pedigrees of a proposed breeding for health strengths and weaknesses as well the traditional analysis of conformation, type, and performance strengths and weaknesses.” (CHIC) 

Breed Standard Scottish Terrier

Breed Standard Scottish Terrier from Anne Juliette

Round 3 – En Vogue – creative grooming designs 

Finally, for the last round, the final 4 advancing groomers will compete in the Creative Grooming section with one groomer as the victor. Creative grooming is an artistically expressive method that many groomers are beginning to employ in their work. With this style, groomers perform above and beyond a simple shampoo and dry, and transform their dogs and cats into works of art. Competitors in Groom wars can use advanced scissoring techniques like sculpting, carving, and other forms of creative clipping, such as vintage poodle patterns and asian inspired trims, safe and cute accessories like feathers and crystalsThis helps to transforms animal grooming into a high-end salon experience and brings high fashion to the animal grooming industry. 

Adding Creative Grooming to a groomer’s repertoire helps to bring artistry into the grooming space, increasing the pride, dignity and prestige of the profession. For the animals involved, they receive extra care and attention from the groomer and inevitably from their Pet Parents. It’s not out of the norm to see pet parents squeal with excitement, laugh and hug their beloved companions as if they are falling in love all over again.

 

Creative Groom by Justine Cosley

Creative Groom by Groom Wars Judge, Justine Cosley

PetTalk Airbrush Poodle by Pure Paws Educator Rebekah Sparks

PetTalk Airbrush Poodle by Pure Paws Educator, Rebekah Sparks

To take part in Groom Wars either as a groomer, sponsor, vendor, or to simply come and enjoy the event, you can buy tickets at the store below! 🙂

Follow the link!  

http://store.purepaws.net/GROOM-WARS_c_104.html

There are millions of rescue animals that need us to take action. A simple way to start is by engaging with the rescue community in any way you can. Maybe you’re not in a place to adopt but there is always a way to help. Take a look at your profession or passions. Can you take a few hours out of your week to help raise awareness?

We are looking for volunteers who would like to give some of their time to help with awareness raising on social media.

Volunteers we are looking for

  • Photographer
  • Film maker
  • Journalist  
  • Blogger
  • Youtuber
  • News Anchor
  • Events Coordinator

If you want to get involved with Pure Paws Angels or Groom Wars, you can chat with the community on our Facebook pages or reach out to us directly via e-mail at info@purepaws.net

In our efforts to make change we need both motivation and an actionable method. We can start change in the world and in ourselves by raising our level of conscientiousness and awareness over the issues we are facing. We can persevere by practicing and internalizing feelings of connectedness and empathy. This is at the core of the “why we do what we do.” Finally, we can truly make a difference by approaching problem solving with pragmatism, transparency and bravery. 

Thank you to all of those who have helped us with our journey so far and to all of those who support making the our industry a more ethical one. 

Thank you,

Jordan Muzquiz  

Me and Deek

Author, Jordan Muzquiz 

 

 

 

 

 

References

  1. https://hbr.org/2013/10/research-the-emotions-that-make-marketing-campaigns-go-viral/
  2. http://m.theanimalrescuesite.greatergood.com/clickToGive/ars/home
  3. http://www.caninehealthinfo.org/brdreqs.html?breed=SD

Top 6 ways to Reduce Shedding | Wampas, Wookies and Ewoks alike

 

Star Wars Collage

Wampa, Wookie, Ewok in real life. <3

#1. Understand that The Force of shedding cannot be stopped only reduced. 

Why do dogs shed anyway?  

Similar to humans, canines and felines shed their coats on a regular basis. At any given point in time, a random set of hairs will be in one of the following 4 stages of growth: anagen (active growth), catagen (transitional), telogen (resting phase) and exogen (exit and return to anagen). Once the hair sheds, this makes room for a new strand to begin its’ growth cycle. This is normal and keeps hair strong and healthy.

The main relation between dogs that shed excessively and those that don’t is whether or not they are seasonal shedders. Though not always the case, a general correlation can be drawn between the seasonality of the shedding and whether or not there is an existing “undercoat”.

Princess Hair Vs Wookie Fur  

Fur vs Hair

Fur v Hair

Hair and the Undercoat – Free Variety

Dogs that shed moderately and year round tend to have coats that feel more like “hair” rather than fur. When the term “hair” is used, this is usually referring to dogs with single coats meaning they have little to no “undercoat”. Some sources may refer to these “hair” growing breeds as “Hypoallergenic”. This is usually a terminology shrouded in ambiguity, and a way  for marketers to portray pets or relating products as being “allergen free” though the definition is limited to defining the allergic reactions as being “unlikely”. Unfortunately many people are unaware that this term requires no regulation and so is free for interpretation by the claim makers.

Also surprising to many, avoiding the allergen inducing perpetrator is not so simple. While single coats do tend to shed less, it is not so much the hair that causes the allergic reactions but rather the dander.

With the hypoallergenic disclaimer addressed, this term, when used responsibly can serve to appropriately group animals and products that contain less allergy inducing attributes. The key is to distinguish the Jedi from from the deceptive Separatists.

“Hypoallergenic” Breeds

The breeds that usually fit within this ”Hypoallergenic” profile, are those with skin and coat that produce minimal dander which usually coincides with little to no shedding. The main coat categories include the following AKC breeds.

  1. Drop coated or soft silky coated breeds like the Yorkie, Maltese, Silky Terrier, and Shih Tzu, and Afghan, Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier,
  2. Curly coated breeds like the Poodle, Portuguese Water Dog and Bichon Frise, Bedlington Terrier, Coton de Tulear, Spanish Water Dog, Kerry Blue Terrier, Lagotto Romagnolo
  3. Wiry Coated breeds like the Giant Schnauzer, Standard Schnauzer, Miniature Schnauzer, Irish Water Spaniel,
  4. Hairless breeds like the Chinese Cresteds (lovingly referred to as Cresties), American Hairless terriers, Peruvian Inca Orchid, or maybe the Xoloitzcuintli that hails it’s name from famed Aztec god Xolotl, god of lightning, perhaps explaining its lack of coverage in the first place.

While less hair upending itself in your nostrils can feel less irritating, and some dogs can indeed leave you breathing easier, remember that hypoallergenic is a relative term. One human’s relief could be another’s Zyrtec nightmare.

Bring Forth the Wookies

As for seasonal shedders, things start to get a little furry. Opposite to the hair-bearing breeds these are dogs labeled as having “fur”. These will have the crucial undercoat, seen as soft, lighter colored tufts of hair hidden under the exterior coat. These double coats or fur-bearing breeds tend to grow thicker coats in the winter and shed or sometimes even “blow their coat” in the spring to ready themselves for the summer heat. This seasonal shedding is necessary for the thermoregulation and protection of the dog’s body but, can be suffocating. To look for this undercoat, spread the coat with your fingers and look for the softer hairs, usually shorter in length and normally can be removed with the slightest tug.  

If you have yet to choose your companion and shedding is something you’ve got a bad feeling about…do some homework on the breeds that will fit your lifestyle the best. 🙂

#2. Take a look at your dog’s food

Excessive shedding can sometimes be a symptom of an internal imbalance of your dog’s health (a disruption in the force). While irritating products can absolutely cause allergic reactions or could simply be drying out the skin, it’s important to not skimp on the nourishing vitamins and basic nutrients found in proper diet in order to maintain skin and coat health.

Healthy Food

Where is your food coming from?

The Republic’s Watchlist: Low quality fillers, lack of oils, allergies

When choosing the best food for your dog or cat, there are some keywords to look out for. Here is a quick bulleted list of these words, what they mean and whether or not they pose a danger to your friend.

Key terms: Light Side or Dark Side

  1. By-products – This term usually refers to products or parts of an animal that are not intended for human consumption. However, this does not make the product dangerous. By-products can actually be very nutritionally dense and include “lungs, spleen, kidneys, brain, livers, blood, bone, stomachs, and intestines of meat animals, and the necks, feet, undeveloped eggs, and intestines from poultry. By-products do not include hair, horns, teeth, or hooves.” Overall Score = Light Side
  2. Fillers – This term can pose issues depending on the quality as the species. Cats are particularly susceptible to fillers as they are predominantly meat eaters. Conversely, many experts agree that dogs function best on a varied diet that includes vegetables, grains and fruits. Like anything else, the nutritional value of the “fillers” will be based on the quality. Also, if present, look for food that lists fillers low on the ingredients list, which should ensure a less relative amount compared nutritionally dense meat. Overall Score = Anakin Skywalker – (Can be light or dark depending on quality).
  3. Splitting – This refers to the practice of “when the same ingredient are listed in several guises within the first five ingredients so you’ll believe you’re getting more (or less) of that ingredient than you really believe you are.” Overall Score = Dark Side
  4. Allergy Inducing Foods – Consider common (or uncommon) allergy inducing foods. Some of the most common foods allergies come from unexpectedly common sources like beef, dairy, chicken, lamb, fish, corn, wheat, soy and yeast. Overall Score = Han Solo (Great when it’s great, frozen in carbonite when it’s not)
  5. Fish Oil – Increasing your dog’s oil intake of omega-3 fatty acids through salmon, tuna, fish skins and supplements has long been touted as a route to healthy skin, shiny hair as well as a reduced in inflammation by improving the often times imbalanced ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 oils. However, like most things, the prescription is proposed with moderation. According to pet.md, excessive amounts of omega-3’s anti-inflammatory properties can have a negative effect on platelet formation which enables blood to coagulate after injury. Overall Score = Light Side

Fish oil as recommended by Pedmd 

“The National Research Council has established a safe upper limit of EPA and DHA for dogs. It has yet to establish one for cats. In light of that, it is probably safe to use the guidelines for dogs for both species. Translating the data suggests that a dose between 20-55mg combined EPA and DHA per pound of body weight is safe for dogs and cats. This dose is far less than those used to treat serious conditions where the risk of side effects is less important than the benefits of treatment. Consult with your veterinarian when treating conditions requiring higher dosages.

*EPA and DHA are the long-chains amino acids found in omega-3 fish oils and are considered more potent and beneficial for health than short chain ALA.

#3. Understand how Sebum is affecting your specific breed

Brushing your dog on a regular basis, especially smooth or short coat breeds, will help to remove excess sebum and thus help to reduce bacteria collection and odor.

What is sebum?

The definition I find to be the most encompassing is the following,

sebum[se´bum]

The oily secretion of the sebaceous glands, whose ducts open into the hair follicles. It is composed of fat and epithelial debris from the cells of the malpighian layer, and it lubricates the skin.

This oily secretion made by both humans and canines alike and really all hair-bearing creatures, aids in protecting against exterior infections. It also helps to push or slide hair to skin’s surface so that it can exit or shed naturally, much like oiling a machine.

However, too much sebum can lead to some unpleasant side effects. As you may imagine, oily residue built overtime can become a magnet for dirt and residue. The sebum itself is naturally odorless but its’ bacterial breakdown, like the occurrences in the pits of your arms, can release a foul aroma. An unfortunate accompaniment to this this potpourri can be acne. This is caused by clogging the hair follicle with this sebum & dead skin cells thus leading to bacteria build up, end result – unwanted bumps.   

Similarly to humans, our canine companions do not have a one size fits all solution. How can they with their different skin and coat types and different living environments? Let us view these issues as we would for ourselves, by acknowledging and appreciating the differences in variation of skin and coat in order to find a solution.

Sebum Smooth Coats Vs Double Coats

Usually the coat type to experience excessive amounts of sebum production are understandably, those which produce the most amount of shedding. Remember the oiled machine.

These are generally categorized as Smooth Coats and Double Coats.

You will most likely not find undercoat or the soft down like fluff on a Smooth Coat which is why they often fall into the category of Single Coats. Their hair is short, often times a bit wiry in texture and looks more like skin itself rather than separate hair. Some examples of this are Boxers, Dobermans, and Weimaraners.  

While smooth coats do shed less than their double-coated counterparts, they still produce more sebum than a breed with a coat containing more of a human “hair-like” texture like a yorkie. But this brings up an interesting question. Why would a coat lacking the fly-away, dandelion-like undergrowth require as much oil?   

One thought could be that coat relation is incidental. However, one possible connection could be found in the skin’s purpose of the breed type. If we take a look at most smooth coated varieties, they tend to be sporting dogs. As such, they would require greater protection from the elements – snow, water, brush, sun etc. One of the functions of sebum is to help hair in it’s exogen phase to make it’s way and the other to protect the skin from external damage.

So if you have a shedder, either in the form of a Smooth Coat or Double Coat, look to the next few steps for some the varied approaches you can take to reducing their parting gifts.

#4. Using the right equipment and products to brush your pet

As you might have come to expect from this article, the right products for your pet will differ depending on the skin and coat type we are tending to.  

Smooth Coats 

For Smooth Coats, a high quality boar bristle brush will be your next best friend. At Pure Paws, we recommend the Pure Paws Indian Boar Hair  Bristle Brush. The hairs on this brush are designed to essentially scrub the excess sebum and shedding hair off of you dog. This will help to alleviate some of the eau de doggi while saving you some money on lint roller purchases.

Indian Boar Hair specifically, helps to absorb excess oils, stimulate and exfoliate the scalp, distribute natural oils along the hair shaft, condition seal and polish the hair, and lift dead skin cells and loose hairs by trapping them in the bristles.

To keep your brush clean and effective, we recommend that you wash it with warm water and a mild shampoo. Any cleanser with limited additives will do. We use the Pure Paws Factor Zero Shampoo. This is the shampoo we recommend to use as a base shampoo, regardless of the line you choose for your companion. This is because, with limited additives, this shampoo removes impurities while depositing as little as possible and so readies the coat to absorb the nutrients of any following line

Double coats

Now, for these adorable Wookies, a boar bristle brush won’t be enough to permeate the thick outer coat and the plush underlayer. For this, we will need something with more…force. For coats that are under regular care and unmatted, a pin brush is perfect for maintenance. However if you find yourself in Wampa territory, you may need to reach for your trusty slicker brush. This is a great tool if the coat is easy to matt, requiring a little extra love.

#5. Bathing your companion with the right frequency

A common question asked by both Padawans and Jedi of dog ownership is how often to bathe their companions. The answer will depend on the quality of products being used, the sebum/coat type, and the owners tolerance for smell.

This debate of canine washing frequency is not so different from that of humans. We are constantly feeling and smelling and adjusting based on health, texture and smell. Our recommendation ranges between once a week to once every 6 weeks.

Health

Let’s start with a baseline exam. How healthy is your dog’s skin right now? Does he have any surface symptoms that are outside the norm. If so, make sure you consult with a vet before delving to quickly into home remedies. While solo missions can work, consulting the republic is never a bad idea.

Texture

Again, if your dog is a heavy shedder, they most likely fall into the category of Smooth or Double Coat.

For a healthy Smooth Coat, if you are using high quality, nutrient depositing products, you can bathe as often as every other week and if the smell doesn’t bother you, up to six weeks. Daily brushing with the appropriate brush and sprays can also lengthen the duration of perceived freshness.

Here is an example of a basic Smooth Coat Regimen, as recommended by us here at Pure Paws. 🙂

  1. First, shampoo with the Pure Paws Factor Zero Shampoo. This will help remove the majority of the excess dirt, oil and loose hairs without depositing too much of anything anything else.
  2. Next, wash with the Pure Paws Forte Shampoo  or the Pure Paws Shed Ease (for the sulfate free option)  (Also available in gallons). Chamomile and Aloe Vera work together to soothe the skin. The Hydrolyzed Keratin &  Panthenol work to protect and build a healthy coat.
  3. Finally,condition with the Pure Paws Forte Conditioner.
  4. For daily maintenance, spray with a light hydrating spray while brushing with the Pure Paws Boar Bristle Brush. You can brush with the accompanying Pure Paws Forte Strengthening Spray, or for lighter weight spray, try the  Pure Paws Finishing Show Spray.  
  5. For a spot treatment bathe or to help remove odors in between baths, apply the Pure Paws No Rinse Express and wipe off with a damp cloth.

For Double Coats you can follow the same steps as recommended in 1-4, except for the the brush. The boar bristle will not be enough to permeate the thick undercoat. The Pure Paws Pin Brush is great for general maintenance, while the Pure Paws Slicker Brush will help with occasional matts.

Brush Collage

#6. Understand Shaving – What are the dangers? How to minimize the damage when used as a last resort. 

As humans, we do our best to take care of ourselves, our friends and family but sometimes we fall behind. We forget birthdays, we neglect the gym and fall through on habits on which we promised to follow through.

Similarly we have reached down to pet our sleeping creatures, and instead of smooth hide under your fingertips, you find clumps of wooly fibers instead. You meant to brush Chewie last weekend but your best friend from Naboo was in town. Now Chewie is riddled with matts. To many, this would mean time for a trip to a professional groomer in order to shave away these transgressions. But, before you make such a request please pause, and for the health and safety of your little or big wookie, carefully read the following.

To Shave or Not to Shave?

This has been a hotly contested debate with reasonably concerned parties on both ends. Should you find yourself in a position where you are left with little choice but to remove the precious down, here is a practical list of questions to ask, concerns to consider and widely held adages or beliefs to differentiate from scientific truths.

The Naturalistic fallacy of the Double Coat.

Speaking about the evolution of canines and more specifically of the double coat and its’ necessity is a bit difficult given the forced hand of humans in proactively creating different breeds in order to fit our particular functions (hunting, working, racing) or beauty ideals (color variation, coat texture, “baby-doll faces”, brachiocephalic noses). And even as faulty as this form of evolution is, even in the best case of breeding, of what we think would be ideal for an environment (a huskies in Alaska), we uproot and ship these creatures to climates that are completely foreign to their intended function (a husky in Texas).

The co-evolution of domesticated dog and man is believed to have diverged from the single species, the gray wolf (Canis lupus) about 2 -40,000 years ago. Current research points to our modern dog (Canis lupus familiaris or Canis familiaris) as first diverging from the gray wolf, or at least early fossil evidence of “dog-like canid” found in the  “Razboinichya Cave (Altai Mountains of southern Siberia)…33,000 cal BP [calibrated years before the present]” or 33,000 years ago. (plos.org).

One theory for this early domestication is that hunter gatherers selected wolf puppies and raised them as their own. Another, and in my opinion, more plausible theory is that of “flight-distance”. In this theory, the wolves that were less afraid of humans and willing to hover close to camp or those with “short flight distance”, would be the ones to obtain the scraps and so would favored by and  eventually adopted by humans.

Through the millennia, as humans became more discerning, so did our tastes for beauty, form and function and so to the best of our abilities, we tried our hand at manipulating evolution.

In this artificially produced environment, evolution’s natural “survival of the fittest” was and is still to this day unable to take full affect. Those that might not have been naturally selected through survival or sexually selected through female choice can now possibly be artificially bred by human selection. We have created drones to do our bidding and built into the nature of these creations are human error. This manipulated breeding has led to the extremes in canine diversity we see today and coincidentally, a host of issues that evolution didn’t have a chance to pluck out.

The reason I diverge into the brief history of the modern dog is to acknowledge that many of the attributes of this creature, were hand selected and perpetuated by human desire, thus left more susceptible to fallibility in function. And it is because of our responsibility of creation, our hand in making these creatures so dependent on us, that we owe them the time to understand them better so that we can better serve the animals that have served our needs for so long.

Put into more practical use, when deciding what is “healthy” or “good” for our dogs, we must take into account both the internal and external stimuli caused by both nature and nurture, that could be having an effect on the shedding cycles.

  • Internal – physical illness, emotional state, stress levels, allergy causing foods
  • External – temperature of environment, allergens, invasive pests

So now the question, should you shave your dog?

To answer this question in terms of a simple yes or no answer would require that we ignore the necessary supplementary questions surrounding it. Before you decide if shaving is the right call, please take note of the following considerations.

  1. What do you mean by shave? – There are different blade numbers sizes that a groomer can use to trim or shave? There is also a difference between clipping, hand stripping and shaving. To prevent shaving burns, we would ideally recommend leaving about 1 inch of hair and at the very least ¾ of an inch. This will help to prevent skin irritation and burns.
  2. Is your dog healthy enough to shave? – If your pet is in distress sometimes shaving can exacerbate issues. Check with your vet to see if your pet has any possible symptoms of ringworm, yeast infections or any other skin infection that can spread through shaving.
  3. How does your dog’s personality change when shaved? This is a side effect that unfortunately has no black and white diagnosis but is left to the owner’s discretion. Though perhaps not as vain as humans, animals still seem to have emotional responses to being shaved, some positive and some depressive. Pay close attention to any mood or personality changes in your dog when shved and adjust your treatment accordingly. 
  4. What do you do if you absolutely have to shave? If the coat is matted down to the skin, shaving may be the only option. If this is the case, there are some precautionary steps you can take to decrease injury or negative side effects.
    1. Minimize time outside. Since the coat acts as a thermoregulator and protector from the elements, minimizing exposure to harsh sunrays, extreme temperatures and rough terrain will help prevent harm from sunburn, frostbite and normal nicks and cuts.
    2. Use dog clothing and sunscreen. If you do take your pet outside, cover them with weather appropriate clothing and apply sunscreen if necessary. Rather than a hotdog try a dog in a blanket.
Dog in a blanket

Dog in a blanket

If you have read through this article thoroughly, I want to thank you for taking the time to learn more about how to care for your companion. In their coevolution with humans, canines have come to require similar, human-like individualistic treatment. To take great care for these creatures is not a luxury but a responsibility. The more we cultivate empathy and choose to see the likeness between ourselves and the other sentient beings with whom we share the planet, the greater chance we will have at fostering understanding and peace.

May The Force be with you. 🙂

References

http://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/hair-loss/science-hair

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hypoallergenic

http://www.fda.gov/Cosmetics/Labeling/Claims/ucm2005203.htm

http://www.webmd.com/allergies/guide/dog-allergies

http://www.akc.org/about/faq-allergies/

http://www.petmd.com/dog/nutrition/evr_multi_pet_food_labels

http://www.petmd.com/dog/nutrition/evr_multi_pet_food_labels

Miller-Keane Encyclopedia and Dictionary of Medicine, Nursing, and Allied Health, Seventh Edition. © 2003 by Saunders, an imprint of Elsevier, Inc. All rights reserved.

Ovodov ND, Crockford SJ, Kuzmin YV, Higham TFG, Hodgins GWL, van der Plicht J (2011) A 33,000-Year-Old Incipient Dog from the Altai Mountains of Siberia: Evidence of the Earliest Domestication Disrupted by the Last Glacial Maximum. PLoS ONE 6(7): e22821. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0022821

http://www.pbs.org/wnet/nature/dogs-that-changed-the-world-what-caused-the-domestication-of-wolves/1276/