Category Archives: grooming

First Impressions Of The 14-Piece Wahl Pro-Series Pet Clippers

I recently have thought about doing some more of my own pet grooming to save the money and time I spend bringing Dexter to the big box groomer. I figured I would give grooming a try to see if I could do it at home. I even built a grooming table!

With that, I needed clippers to complete the experience. Wow. Searching Amazon for clippers is overwhelming! There are so many brands and price ranges to choose from. I knew that the clippers would be an investment. I was going to spend over $50 or so to have him groomed, so I knew the clippers I purchased would start in that range. If I groom him once, I break even. If I groom him twice, I’m saving money. I also wanted clippers that would last, that were designed for animal fur, and had good reviews.

My Clipper Purchase “Must-Haves”:

  • Investment-grade
  • Reliable
  • Designed for animal fur
  • Good reviews

Clipper Purchase “Nice To Have”:

  • Made In The USA
  • Cordless

I spent several hours reading reviews on various clippers and had it narrowed down to a pair by ConAir or Wahl. I found a chart at the bottom of the page that showed Lhasa Apso/Shih Tzu under the column of the Wahl 9590-210 Corded/Cordless clippers. The model number of the unit shipped to me was 8552, but the picture and the specifications matched exactly to the listing.


At the $50 mark they were close to where I expected price-wise, from a very reputable company with a long track record making clippers, designed for animals, AND as a bonus, were Made in the USA. The fine print says they are made in the USA from domestic and imported parts. I’m inclined to think that most of the parts are imported and the kits and/or clippers are assembled here, though I don’t have confirmation either way about the parts origin.

The clippers have over 1200 reviews on Amazon, and four stars, so I think I found my clippers.

I liked the fact that they came as a kit. I had originally put a comb and scissors in my shopping cart but when I realized the kit came with both of those, I removed them. As it appears, I could start grooming right away when they arrived.

This set fit all the requirements, I bought them, and two days later they showed up. Amazon Prime shipping is great.

I made this video of the unboxing when the package arrived.

The Kit includes these pieces:

  • clippers
  • charging cord
  • hook and loop cord wrap
  • blade guard (attach the the blades while in storage)
  • #1 – 1/8″ (3mm) blade comb (red)
  • #2 – 1/4″ (6mm) blade comb (purple)
  • #3 – 3/8″ (10mm) blade comb (blue)
  • #4 – 1/2″ (13mm) blade comb (orange)
  • 5ml vial of blade oil
  • cleaning brush
  • 6″ scissors (total length – 2 3/4″ blade length)
  • 7″ plastic finishing comb
  • rigid storage case
  • instructional DVD
  • also included is an instructional manual
14-piece Wahl Pro-Series Pet Clipper Kit contents

14-piece Wahl Pro-Series Pet Clipper Kit contents

When I had the clippers in-hand I was able to get a better look at the quality of the product. The star in this kit is the clippers, and they stand out clearly. The construction is solid and they feel study. The body doesn’t feel ergonomically designed, but the clippers are comfortable to hold for the entire grooming session. The dimentions are approximately six inches tall, 1.5 inches deep, and two inches across. They weigh 8.3 ounces.

Preparation of the clippers was simple. They came fully assembled and the only two steps were to charge the clippers for 24 hours before use (by plugging in the included power adapter) and applying a few drops of the included clipper oil between the blades.

While charging, there is not a status light or progress indicator to tell you what state the clippers are in (charging or ready), or how fully charged the battery is. I put the clippers on to charge at 10am the morning before I used them, and unplugged the unit at 10am the following day. The clippers do not have a charging cradle to hold the clippers during charging (the cord goes directly from the wall into the unit). The manual says you will get a minimum of 30 minutes of full-speed clipping from a full charge. During my hour-long session using the clippers I did not notice the blades slowing down or becoming less powerful.

Cleaning the blades after clipping was equally simple. Simply hold the clippers with your thumb pushing the blades away from the top of the unit and press the blades into your other hand. The blades are held solidly onto the unit by a friction fit so no screws or tools are necessary to remove them. Using the included brush, sweep away the sticky fur bits. The small bristles do a great job getting into the tight nooks in the blades. Replace the blade guard and wipe the outside of the unit with a damp cloth.

Removing the blades for cleaning

Press thumb forward on the Wahl 8552 Pro-Series Pet Clipper blades to remove for cleaning

The clippers can be used either cordless or, if the battery drains, you can safely operate the unit by plugging it into the wall. Dexter weighs less than 30 pounds and the amount of time spent clipping him was short, so I can’t comment on the performance while plugged in. The manual does say “Should you need to use the clipper in corded mode when the battery is fully discharged, it is best to charge clipper in “OFF” position for several minutes before use. During use, you may notice a decrease in blade speed. This is perfectly normal. The clipper will still perform adequately in corded mode with a fully discharged battery”.

Speaking of batteries, the rechargeable battery in this unit is user-replaceable. Wahl provides instructions in the manual. The manual states that the battery should last between three to five years before replacement is necessary. The illustration in the manual shows two-AA sized batteries, but I haven’t opened the unit to see a model number or other specifics. There is a local battery dealer in the area and they are usually able to match whatever specifications I need; you may have one locally too.

Two of the other essential parts of the kit are the scissors and the finishing comb.

These pieces are adequate, at best. The scissors were sharp and felt good on my fingers but the quality felt very low. I would use them again but they will be one of the pieces I replace. There are so many scissors to choose from, including all-steel construction and specialty lengths and finishes that are both more durable and higher quality than these.

The next addition to my grooming supply chest are finishing scissors to give a softer edge to groomed fur than the harsh, straight edge that flat scissors use. Additionally, you can add curved scissors to help shape contours especially around the face.

Equally disappointing was the comb. Yes, it is required if you don’t have any grooming supplies at home already, but the included comb is very thin and didn’t stand up to mild fur resistance before bending. I didn’t end up using the comb at all, preferring to use one of my own instead.

The four blade guards are molded to help you cut to a defined length. They are very sturdy and fit solidly onto the blades. I tried to do some shaping around Dexter’s “armpit” and shoulder without the guards and accidentally sheared off patches of fur, leaving some bare spots. The guards are strongly recommended even for experienced groomers so you maintain a consistent length all around the coat, and in my case, the guards served to protect Dexter against unsightly and potentially dangerous cuts from my untrained hand.

The DVD is divided into six sections:

  • Introduction
  • Clipper Maintenance
  • Dog Preparation
  • Tips and Techniques
  • Pet Trims
  • Poodle Pet Trim

The Pet Trim section goes through the technique for all types of dogs, as well as techniques for grooming specific breeds including poodles, Schnauzer, Terriers (Airedale, Irish, Lakeland, Welsh and Wire Fox), and Spaniels (Cockers and Setters). The paper manual included also covers grooming other types of animals including beef cattle and horses.

The Pet Trims section of the DVD (and many more) are on the WahlHomeProducts YouTube channel in this playlist. The videos are somewhat dated, but the techniques are still applicable today. There are also several user-created videos on trimming specific breeds available on YouTube by doing a simple search.

Wahl Pet Trim DVD Screenshot - Grooming A ShihTzu

Wahl Pet Trim DVD Screenshot – Grooming A ShihTzu

In my opinion, the most valuable part of the manual is the section entitled “Wahl’s Guide to Foolproof Animal Clipping“. With any other product, I would have expected basic maintenance and care instructions in the manual, Wahl goes beyond the basics to give you the knowledge how to use your new clippers right away.

The basic steps in Foolproof Animal Clipping are:

  1. Brush the dogs coat.
  2. Bathe the dog. Brush and hair dry after bath to remove tangles.
  3. Acclimate your dog to the clippers.
  4. Follow the illustrated instructions to clip the various regions of the dog.
  5. Blend the short and long sections of dog fur.
  6. Final Clipping. Apply desired cosmetics and finishes (bow, bandanna, etc…)
  7. Clean the clippers.

Wahl has a mail-in service where they will sharpen your blades. There is a voucher printed in the manual for you to complete and return with the blades. They charge a nominal fee (as of Aug 6, 17 that is $6.95 and includes return shipping) and you can order different sets of blades on the same voucher.

This a link to the A4 sized manual, but it is not identical to the one included in the kit.

Overall, I am a huge fan of these clippers. They feel great, the kit included everything I needed to get started grooming my dog. The ancillary products (the scissors, comb, and case) are of decent quality and they serve their purpose, but I will be upgrading them in the future. I was pleasantly surprised by the completeness of the manual. I believe that Wahl has set me up for success with this product and this kit.

Dog grooming table header

I Built A DIY Grooming Table For Small Dogs, And You Can Too! Here’s How

This month I have been looking back and how much it costs to maintain Dexter. He is a great dog, and there is nothing I wouldn’t do for him.

Being a Shih Tzu/Terrier, he requires regular grooming which ends up being the most expensive part of his upkeep. Approximately every six weeks I take him to the big box store for his appointment. This routine there include: a bath, brushing, a cut, nails clipped, teeth brushed, and ears cleaned and plucked. Its quite a process for him, and for me. The people who work there are great, and they always ensure he comes back looking wonderful, but it takes a toll on him. He is in an unfamiliar environment, there are strange dogs coming and going. His breed is ‘alert dog’, so he is constantly on point listening and watching; which makes him come home stressed.

To solve two concerns at once, I though I would try home grooming, first, to save some money, but secondly, to keep him in his own environment, with his pack.

I don’t really have a good place in my house to groom him. Neither the dining room table, the living room coffee table, nor ‘the floor’, seemed like an appropriate place to take scissors to him.

I wasn’t sure where to start, so I did some searching for pre-built tables on Amazon. There are a lot out there! So many features including shelves, non-slip pads, height adjustments, folding or not, the size of the table portion, and how heavy-duty the parts are. It was overwhelming. Also, I don’t need more things in my house. Having a table sitting in the garage or the basement that I will use once every six weeks is a waste of space. Plus, they started around $80.00. At that rate, adding about $50.00 for the cost of clippers, I would need to groom him four times to recoup the cost. I haven’t groomed him once, so I don’t know if I want to commit to four (or more) times!

Then I looked online to see if there are instructions for building your own table. Yes! There are a few good sites with materials required and instructions, but I didn’t want to invest a ton of money into the table. I have never groomed a dog before. Based on the videos I watched, it doesn’t seem too hard, but those could be famous last words. Since I didn’t know if I am going to make this an ongoing thing, I wanted to build a sturdy but inexpensive grooming table that wouldn’t take up much room.

Dexter is about 28 pounds. He is a relatively small dog. He usually fits in the “Medium” category for a walking harness, leash, size of toys, etc… so I knew the table didn’t have to be overly large. Looking at the sizes available on Amazon, and the size of the anti-slip pad I was planning on using, I knew the table would have to be about 24″x36″. I plotted the size of the dog and the table on graphing paper and the fit looked about right.

I realized I had a small, portable workbench in the basement, it is a Black & Decker Workmate “Project Center”. That got my mind going, it has a solid 24″ x 24″ foot print, holes in the surface on the top (I could bolt a larger board to the top as a tabletop), and figure out something for the grooming arm. Using the board bolted to the top would allow me to remove the grooming surface between projects, and re-attach it when necessary. I also wouldn’t need to buy legs, saving on the expense. Voila! A plan was in place!

I needed to come up with the material list of what I would need from the hardware store. I’m a huge fan of Lowe’s. I know whatever I could dream up, they could help me make.

Tools I used to build my small dog grooming table

Tools I used to build my small dog grooming table

Materials I used:

Tools required:

  • saw (I chose a reciprocating saw)
  • drill with 1/4″ bit
  • utility knife
  • crescent wrench for the nuts
  • pen or pencil

Other purchases:

All told, my shopping trip to Lowe’s cost about $30.00 (wood, bolts, and rubber). The rest of the supplies I had at home.

The grooming arm from Amazon cost about $19.00 for a grand out-of-pocket total of $49.00.

One note about the grooming arm. I found instructions here (Youtube video) which I would have eagerly attempted, but when the author started demonstrating drilling holes in the conduit, and using a vice, I knew I didn’t have the setup to do this at my home. Any cost savings of building the arm myself would be lost in purchasing the necessary equipment. While I can understand the value of having a well-stocked shop, it wasn’t what I was trying to accomplish with this.

A note about the plywood. There were several types of wood to choose from. I obviously wanted something sturdy so I went with 1/2 inch oak. It was about $5.00 more expensive than the pine, but it felt much stronger, and I wanted to ensure

The actual construction took less than an hour.

Step One: Cut one foot off the length of the board.

Step Two: Drill the holes used to attach the board to the work bench.

Mark the holes where the tabletop will be joined to the work bench

Mark the holes where the tabletop will be joined to the work bench

Turn over the board and the work bench. Center the workbench on the board and use the pencil to trace around four of the pre-drilled holes in the work bench, marking where the holes will be drilled in the work surface. Drill the holes.

I made sure the board was centered to keep the weight over the legs; improving stability.


Centering the work bench on the inverted tabletop

Step Three: Set everything right side up, and cut the truck box mat to fit the grooming surface. The square feet of the mat were enough, but the dimensions didn’t match nicely with the board, so I had to cut two large pieces, and configure two smaller pieces to go at the end. After all the pieces dry fit nicely, apply the spray adhesive to the board and press the mat onto the board within 15 seconds for a solid bond.

Dry fit the anti-slip pieces before gluing them down

Dry fit the anti-slip pieces before gluing them down

My goal was to keep true to the 36″ length. If my grooming goes well, I may upgrade to a real mat designed for grooming; they are designed for 36″ or 48″ lengths. You could opt to cut off the last few inches so you don’t have mis-matched pieces at the end.

Step Four: Feed the bolts up through the bottom of the board and use the utility knife to score the mat; allowing the bolt to pass through. Remove the bolt and insert it from the top (through the mat, the board, the workbench), then add the washer and tighten the nut. Repeat for the remaining holes.

Make sure the bolts are fastened securely

Make sure the bolts are fastened securely

Step Five: Attach the grooming arm. This one bolts on nicely. You can extend the top section to give more height, or remove it and insert the short end into the vertical part to get more coverage across the table. I have done so in this example.

Clamp the grooming arm securely to the work surface. The knob allows you to remove the pole or adjust the height

Clamp the grooming arm securely to the work surface. The knob allows you to remove the pole or adjust the height

Step Six: Add some weight. I put Dexter up on the table and it was sturdy, he wasn’t going to tip it over; but I decided to add some weight across the base to lower the center of gravity, and add some stability. Using the scrap material from Step One, I placed it across the horizontal braces and added the landscaping brick. Another option would be to add something heavier – I had a 40 bag of soil that I could have placed in stead but based on my situation I feel the brick is more than enough.


In summary, this table meets my objectives:

  • It doesn’t take up too much room; I can remove the surface and use the workbench between grooming sessions.
  • It was inexpensive. As I mentioned earlier the supplies and arm came in around $49.00. I will also need to buy some clippers, but more on that in another post. Your final cost will depend on what supplies you have at home. The biggest supply expense was the board (which may be readily available to you), and the grooming arm can be built for about $10.00 in conduit (if you have the tools necessary to assemble it).
  • It is safe; the work surface is solid, the base is sturdy and reinforced with the landscaping brick.

Virbac Enzymatic Toothpaste From

Small dog breeds are more likely to develop periodontal disease than large dogs because the teeth of small dogs are often too large for their mouths, according to veterinary dentistry experts.

After a recent visit to the vet, Dexter was warned about the potential for requiring dental surgery to clean his teeth. This should involve sedation, x-rays, baby teeth extraction, scraping of plaque.

In an effort to prevent him from going through all that, I added this Virbac Enzymatic Toothpaste to am order from

Dexter Virbac Ensymatic Toothpaste and Toothbrush

It has a great Vanilla Mint flavor that keeps his breath fresh. The consistency is a bit like mustard; all it takes is a little squeeze. I use less than a pea-sized amount on the small end of the brush. This tube will last a long time! I had a toothbrush from a visit to the vet and started a nightly brushing.

It took a few times of him tasting the toothpaste, and smelling the toothbrush and feeling it on his gums before he would let me spend time brushing with the paste. Now, he sits on the couch next to me and let’s me brush for a few minutes every night.

Even in the few weeks that we have been brushing, there has been a noticeable improvement in the plaque on this teeth, and the freshness of his breath.

We tried before with some toothpaste from the store, but he didn’t like the bacon or peanut butter flavor. I can’t blame him, however. It did taste like medicated bacon. Thankfully, Dexter took to the Virbac quickly and looks forward to his nightly cleaning.

* I paid full price for this product at and was not compensated for writing this review.
* The Featured Image of this post is HUMUNGA BLING Funny Teeth Rubber Pet Dog Toy Fetch Ball from

Dog on a futon in the sun

Tracking In More Than Love; Keeping A Clean House With Dogs

Today, I was reading through a few articles on cleanliness with dogliness. Aside from the dirty paws that need to, seemingly constantly, be cleaned every time they come in from the outside, what things do dogs bring in with them? Do they bring dangerous things in from outside? Is it safe to let my dog sleep in bed with me?

This article from Popular Science “Dirty Dog: Do Pets Track Bacteria In Your Home” was a great eye opener about what kinds of dirt and bacteria our four legged friends bring with them. Another article: “Sleeping With The Enemy: What You Get From Your Pet“, this one from, tells of the danger of the bacteria your dogs spreads when they sleep with you, and lick your delicious face and feet.

While the article above stopped short of saying “don’t let your dog sleep with you”, they did lay out some precautions, and warned against letting dogs lick you.

What kinds of things can I do to prevent dogs bringing these into my home? Sadly, due to the very nature of bacteria and viruses, it is impossible to sterilize your dog each time they come in, but you can limit the amount of bacteria from entering your home by taking some simple steps; wash your dogs feet, and wipe their coat after a trip outside.

Not only will cleaning them help keep them safe and looking pretty, but it reduces the amount of matter on them for them to leave through the house.

  1. Keep a roll of paper towels close to the most frequently used dog entrances. I prefer Bounty Select-A-Size as it reduces the amount we consume each month. Usually one section will do for each trip.
  2. Wipe your doggy with a cleansing wipe. These disposable wipes have a cleanser in them, like a baby wipe, to help remove dirt and soil but are formulated to keep pads healthy and coats shiny. I keep these Earth Bound Grooming Wipes next to the back door. They come in a resealable container, and 100 to a package so they are always handy.
  3. Partially fill a small plastic container with warm water and wash dirty paws just outside the door. Dry with a cloth or paper towel. Like a mini-spa treatment, this is the most effective way as it completely removes dirt from between toes and tight-knit fur.

Along the lines of #3 above, there are a few more elegant solutions than a container. Products such as The Paw Wash For Dogs, The Paw Plunger, and the Paw Boss are less messy, and have soft filaments inside the help gently remove dirt.

The Paw Wash For Dogs The Paw Plunger The Paw Boss


Kickstarter is a great place to find emerging inventions, and this clever mat (with a concealed treat) encourages your pup to “dig” the treat out, at the same time cleaning their paws. Check out the link to their page below: 


While vastly more expensive, those with the resources and space are building a dedicated dog washing sink inside a laundry area, or outside as part of landscaping. Check out the images below for some inspiration.

15 Good Tips For A Pet Washing Station

Littleton MegaRemodel

I Tried And This Is What Happened

This post was not sponsored by and I received no form of compensation to write this.

I recently received this mailer and thought three things: 1) I’m glad that someone finally has an online store targeted specifically for pet owners with a wide variety of products, 2) I like the idea of saving money on my first order, 3) they advertise fast, free shipping (over $49) – how is that possible. mailer

The problem with pet food is that it comes in very large bags which are inherently expensive to ship. I wanted to see if the prices on the site were going to be higher to compensate for the extra shipping expense. As an FYI, the shipping cost is $4.49 for orders under $49.00, so even if you don’t qualify for free shipping, it is still incredibly reasonable.

I went to their site,, and was surprised at the number of brands of food available! When you select your pet (dog/cat) you get a list on the left to sort by brand, and there are 118 listed, all with multiple varieties! Clearly they have a focus on ensuring you find what you are looking for on their site.

Other categories aren’t as deep, but but have a well curated selection. Even with dog ear cleaners there are several brands to choose from, several sizes, and natural to traditional solutions. Cages, crates, hundreds of treats, bones, toys, dental  products, prescription food, flea collars, brushes and combs, hip supplements; this is a full-line site. I was quickly able to reach the $49 to qualify for free shipping!

That being said, the prices were right in line with Amazon. Curiously, the price for the Vet’s Best Ear Relief  (for itchy and moist ears) was $4.19, exactly the same price as on Amazon. The price for the food was the same price as Amazon and the grocery store, the Kong rope toy was less expensive and the minty treats weren’t available.

I added an 11 pound bag of Rachel Ray’s Nutrish Zero Grain Beef, Potato & Bison dry food to my order. I had looked for this size at the grocery store but they were sold out. On my last grocery trip, I had to get the smaller (more expensive per pound) bag because there was only enough at home for one more meal. had it in stock and I didn’t have to pay a horrendous shipping charge to get this item.


Now comes the incredible part; how quickly I received it. I placed my order at 6:23pm on March 24, received the confirmation email from and a second email from FedEx. I received an email at 2:42 on Friday morning that  my order had shipped, and at 11:17 on Saturday morning the package had arrived!

Just over 40 hours after placing my order, the package was on my doorstep!

box from has arrived

Dexter making sure the package is fit for consumption.


The glorious moment when you open the package to see all the fun things inside!


Rachael Ray Nutrish, toohpaste, new Kong toy, minty treats, and ear cleaner.


Love sitting in the boxes

According to an article in Florida’s Sun-Sentinel, the company has distribution centers in Nevada, Indiana, and Pennsylvania to ensure orders arrive quickly. This was proven in my case!

Of course, when the box arrived Dexter was all about sniffing it out and seeing what was inside. He makes a cameo in the pictures and even enjoyed smelling and sitting in the empty box.

Would I shop again at Yes. Great selection of products, seriously fast shipping, competitive prices, and 24/7 customer service by phone for questions.


This post is part of the blog hop hosted by Sugar and Oz.

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Which Flea & Tick Collar Is Best For You And Your Dog

It was time to replace our dog’s flea and tick collars and I was looking to see if there was anything new in the market. They have been wearing Seresto Flea and Tick Collars for a few years now, and was wondering if there was any new cutting edge innovations these days. I saw an advertisement for the Absorbine Ultra Shield Flea and Tick Collar and set out on a quest to find one.

I like the Seresto Collar for several reasons. First, I can never remember to feed one treat, once a month to my dogs. I would rather do something once and forget about it until the next time, rather than continuously remember to feed treats. Second, I like the friction fit of the collars. They don’t have a buckle (like the Scalibor Flea Collar), snap, or other device that keeps the collar in a fixed position. This is a huge safety concern. While my dogs don’t go unattended, it is peaceful knowing that if they do get trapped by something, the collar will release, freeing them. The PetLock and Absorbine collars both have a similar design.

ultrashield-flea-and-tick-collar-600 IMG_20160320_125400






I visited both of the large “big box” pet stores in the area and both had very prominent displays of the Seresto products, no other collars were available! I asked for assistance, and after some searching, an associate brought me the PetLock Flea and Tick Collar which I purchased. The Seresto collar was priced at $72.99. With the store rewards club membership discount of $10.95, the price paid was $62.94. For the PetLock collar, the price was $54.99. Had I done some research online, there is a $3.00 off coupon on the PetLock website.

The Product Locator on the Absorbine website says they are available at a few smaller (and some independent) pet stores in my area. They are listed on for approximately $19.99.

At first glance, the most notable difference is the effective length of the collars. Seresto is effective up to eight months, and PetLock and Absorbine are both listed as effective for six months.

They are both packaged in a recyclable aluminum tin and when I opened them up, this is what was inside:

Seresto Flea and Tick Collar and PetLock Flea and Tick Collar package contents

Seresto Flea and Tick Collar and PetLock Flea and Tick Collar package contents

The Seresto package includes: the collar, three snap-on reflectors, two reminder stickers to place on your calendar, and the product information brochure.

The PetLock package includes: the collar, and the product information brochure.

Pictured below are the two brochures side by side:

After thoroughly reading both of them, the Seresto brochure is mostly marketing and have several full-color pictures while the PetLock brochure focuses on the basics but both contain the requisite details. How to put on the collar, that they can be used in water (bathing, swimming), the active ingredients, company contact information.

The reflectors in the Seresto package were a nice addition. I haven’t used them on the last two collar applications because I didn’t experience much of a benefit. The only dog regularly walked is a ShihTzu and his fur is too long to make the reflectors useful. Perhaps on a short-haired dog they would be more beneficial.

Similarly, the calendar reminder stickers would be great for those who use paper calendars, but I use whiteboards and simply told my smartphone to set a reminder in 8 months to replace the collar.

The collars are approximately 27 1/2 inches long. They are designed longer so they will wrap around and loop through the friction grips. The instructions tell you to apply the collar so that it will fit over the dogs head and can fit two fingers between the collar and the dogs neck. The remaining collar length can be snipped off with scissors. The PetLock instructions tell you to wrap the unused length in newspaper before discarding it.

The Seresto collar (image below, right) is approximately twice as wide as the PetLock collar (image below, left). Both collars were designated by the manufacturer for Large Dogs.

Both collars are coated in a white powder which is, presumably, a release agent from the mold the collars were cast in. It could also be a preservative to keep the collar flexible while in storage. The instructions say to wipe it away with a damp paper towel.

The premise of the collars are that they contain a pesticide which is slowly released and moves over the coat, protecting against fleas and ticks.

Both collars have different active ingredients, although both are two of the most widely used pesticides:

Brand Active Ingredient
Seresto Imidacloprid, Flumethrin
PetLock Deltamethrin
Absorbine Deltamethrin

A Google search about the safety of these pesticides did not return any concerning study results. Both product brochures recommended thorough hand washing after applying the collars. Although, curiously, the European Seresto brochure said that pets wearing the collar should not sleep in the same bed as their owner, especially children, although that same message is not in the North American brochure.

To wrap this review up, I like the sturdiness of the Seresto collar, the price of the Absorbine collar, the 8-month efficacy of the Seresto collars, and the peace of mind they all give me knowing that my dogs are safe from ticks and fleas for the summer.


Photo credit: anankkml from

Time for a New Dog Groomer?

I’ve set my efforts on finding the best dog groomer for Dexter. He was anxious at his last appointment with all the other dogs around so I’m looking bringing him to a neighbor who has a small grooming operation.

This list was especially helpful from Alissia Wolf. On her blog, she goes into much more detail each of her points:

  • Research groomers in your area.
  • Groomers years and training
  • Groomers shop and attitude

The most important for me is the groomers shop. A well maintained and clean shop means the groomer has passion for what they do, and they pay attention to details.

I have been going to a big box groomer for a long time and have noticed that they don’t pay attention to some details. On our way to the grooming section, quite often dogs have marked at the end of the aisles, there is lots of hair in the corners of the salon waiting area, and spot sweeping is minimal throughout the day.

The store is also full of foreign smells. Dog food, cat food, bird food, fish food, frog food, wet food, dry food, catnip, brands and brands and brands of all of the above, dog toys, lights, barking, children running, adults talking, music, announcements, constant motion. I think it might be overwhelming. A smaller groomer will have a much more relaxing environment.

Also, because they do a large volume, there are constantly other dogs around, and during peak times, there are LOTS of other dogs around. Dexter is friendly and wants attention from everyone so he wiggles and squirms making for extra work for the groomers, and it also increases the stress that he experiences.

After Dexter was house trained he never had a single problem. This past trip to the groomers, he needed relief in the waiting area, in the grooming area, and in the parking lot. He was also going through either extreme stress or excitement while we were going there (constant yawning and looking around at high alert).

i think its time to mix it up and see if he has a more enjoyable experience with a smaller groomer.