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Twizzler Falls In Puppy Love

Cavapoo Puppy

It's a snowy Saturday evening in Ohio and I'm thinking about how our puppies find their way to their forever homes.  We had a visit this afternoon, a sweet couple from Columbus had brought their little girl Berkley to pick a puppy.  She was over the moon with excitement, her mom said that Berkley had been pleading for a puppy for years and they'd promised she could have one for her 8th birthday.  I love visits like this one.  Berkley was starry-eyed and quietly exuberant about finally getting to have a puppy of her own. 

Twizzler and Viola were the puppies that were available and as the family came into the kitchen and looked oohing and aahing into the puppy playpen, I could tell immediately that Viola and Berkley were meant for each other.  Twizzler could tell too but still began an earnest campaign to convince everyone that he was the puppy they should go home with.  Read More...

Should You Get A Second Dog?

Agatha's Apothecary article should you get a second dog?

Is your dog spending a lot of time on her own? Does work keep you away from home more hours than you'd like and do you find yourself seized with guilt because your dog seems lonely and you feel bad that she's on her own so many hours of the day?

I get asked questions like that a lot and I tell people that our dogs have great lives, in spite of our busy schedules, almost all of the time. Dogs have never been better cared for or loved by their families.  They spend billions on treats and toys (and supplements I hope!) but sometimes giving our dogs the company they need to thrive just isn't possible.

Perhaps it's time to get your dog a dog?

We forget, dogs are pack animals and as such, they are simply happiest when part of a pack.  They love people foremost and that's the pack most dog's prefer, but when you must be gone long hours at a time, having two dogs can be a really great way to give your dog some company.  I truly believe two dogs keep each other healthier (they play and exercise, keep away boredom and stress) and happier when they must be "home alone".

How To Help Reduce Your Dog's Shedding

How To Reduce Shedding In Your Dog

Dog hair got you down?  As a former groomer, that was one the the most frustrating problems about life with dogs and it nearly drove our poor clients up the wall.  How to deal with dog hair and excess shedding?

From Cavaliers to Corgis, breeds that are not hypoallergenic have their poor owners working overtime with the Oreck, trying to prevent those clumps of dog hair from colonizing under the couch.  Is there any hope for living with a shedding dog short of having him shaved and looking like a plucked chicken you ask?

Simple ways to reduce shedding in your dog

There are many reasons dogs shed excessively.  The wrong dog food, food allergies, a lowered immune system, even stress can cause your dog to shed.  Summer arrives and as the temperatures rise, heavy coated breeds like Malamutes and Shetland Sheepdogs will undergo their annual spring "molt" an event that can drive pet owners distracted trying to cope with an avalanche of fur. 

Shedding dog and brush

Nevertheless, there are steps you can take that over time could greatly reduce your dog's shedding and coat loss.  Here's a short list of the basics:

Feeding dry kibble???  Increase the Omega 3's with coconut oil!


Many dogs have dry skin and coat (it's no wonder, many of them exist on just dry kibble which can be very dehydrating and not just hard on coat but kidneys too!  Adding a teaspoon of coconut oil to that kibble can over time make a huge difference in your dog's coat.  It's also reported to help with dental health and even reduce plaque, another good reason to use this tasty oil dogs relish.  

Agatha loves the one by CoCo Therapy but you can use your own favorite brand  if you have one on hand (good for people & pets!).

If you have a brush like this one, unless you own a Beagle please toss it out and get a proper slicker.

Brushes that lack closely spaced pins won't help you remove that undercoat that's just waiting to waft off onto the carpet.  This might be OK for dogs that don't have a problem shedding, but are of little use for a truly effective grooming session.

Brush your dog thoroughly at least once a week.

  1. There's no way around it, you’ve got to commit to brushing your dog regularly, and by that, I mean all the way to the skin, at least once a week. This is where most dog owners meet shipwreck so let’s discuss the problems with brushing your dog and how to overcome them.  

Using the wrong brush

The right brush will make grooming your pet so much easier.  Trust a professional on this, if you use the wrong brush, your grooming efforts are doomed to failure and you might as well go ahead and call and make that appointment to have your dog shaved.

Miracle Coat Slicker Dog Brush, Small
MiracleCorp Products
  • A slicker brush used properly (try it on your forearm to acquaint yourself with the proper pressure and angle to use) is the groomers go to tool for removing loose hair.  
  • Practice on yourself FIRST, it will help you be sensitive and gentle, but still firm when working through the coat.
  • A slicker has short pins that will go through each layer of coat slowly, removing tangles and the close teeth will grab loose fur and help you remove it before it drifts off your dog and onto your hardwood floors.
  • Keep the brush free of hair, you'll need the full length of those little pins to work down through the fur.
  • Go easy on tender skin.  Around the face, the tummy, under the tail, go easy to keep your dog cooperative.  Don't try to brush too much at one time.  If you find a mat, start at the edges and gently tease the coat free a 1/4" at a time. 
  • The size of your brush is important, for small breeds use a small or extra small brush.  Large breeds with lots of coat will need larger size grooming tools.  I use the Miracle Coat Small for Agatha and it's perfect for her. Toy breeds would do better with the Lil Pals Extra Small, if you've got a St Bernard, get the Miracle Coat Large.

For breeds with serious undercoat like Huskies or Golden Retrievers, try a rake or a deshedding "tool"

These will require a bit more caution but many people absolutely love these deshedding rakes and tools.

I say tread carefully, these can damage coat and the FURminator, while wildly popular, uses blades to cut through excess coat like a hot knife through butter.  Purists like myself prefer not to be this heavy handed in removing coat, but for desperate owners of Aussies or other shedding machines, sometime you have to get out the big tools to maintain any semblance of victory over the huge coats these dogs carry.


There are online videos and tutorials on how to use these products effectively, spend the time educating yourself before you dive into your big coated dog with these.  They'll remove loads of coat so wear something you don't mind getting fur covered and by all means take this project outside if weather permits! Find a nice shady spot and prepare to be amazed at the amount of coat you get off that shaggy dog!



Remember to keep grooming time fun for both you and your dog.

Grooming your dog cute watercolor puppy


  • Lots of treats and plenty of firmness will help the process along.
  • Go slowly, take your time and break grooming time into short sessions.
  • Get a helper if you're a novice.
  • If your dog is already matted, it’s time to take him to the grooming shop where he’ll probably come home looking like a plucked chicken, remember Mrs Maybanks story, don’t worry, her hair WILL grow back, eventually...

Use the right grooming products and ALWAYS use coat conditioner

I'm totally in love with our grooming products of course, but if I could convince owners of shedding dogs to do just one thing to improve their plight? 

The best grooming advice you'll ever receive?  

Use coat conditioner every time you bathe your dog.  I promise it will help moisturize, reduce static and brushing your dog will be soooo much easier you just won't believe it.

PLEASE don't use dish detergent, on bended knee I beg you not to do that to your dog.  Pinterest DIY's aside, dish detergent is the quickest way to ruin your good dog's coat, make it mat, make it hard to brush, dry out her skin and coat, the list is long.  Luxury Lather & Healthy Coat were years in the making and this groomer knows her stuff, give them a try, your dog will thank you!

Agatha's Apothecary Luxury Lather Shampoo & Healthy Coat Conditioner

Are Flea & Tick Control Products Toxic To Pets And People?

Dog Flea Control Products Toxic Effects On Children Article Image Header

Are you worried about the flea control products you’ve been using on your pets?  

If you’re not, for the sake of your children who are exposed to pesticides every time they play with that new puppy, maybe it’s time you were. 

Page after page on Google shares dire warnings about the level of toxins contained in popular flea drops, chewables and collars.  Here’s a quote from a veterinarian about the dangers of the very products that literally millions of unsuspecting owners are using on their pets.

Natural Flea Control Article Puppy Children Safe Flea Control

"I hesitate to recommend any insecticide product that is intended to remain on the surface of the pet’s fur. I do not want any personal exposure to these products. I would never apply flea powder or use a flea collar containing propoxur or tetrachlorvinphos on my pets for fear that not only could it be carcinogenic or toxic to my pet but also to anyone exposed to it.

Reported by the National Resources Defense Council, when an adult plays with a cat or dog wearing one of these insecticide collars they could be potentially exposed to up to 500 times the safe levels of the pesticide set by the EPA.

This number is substantially higher for children. Their exposure to the toxin is up to 1,000 times the safe level."

- Donna Solomon, DVM, Veterinarian, Animal Medical Center of Chicago  

Please read the above quote through a couple of times and let it sink in parents.  I find it really scary when one of the top veterinarians in the country is afraid to use the very flea control products that millions of unsuspecting dog and cat owners apply to their pets every single month!

It's been years since those heedless days when I believed everything the pharmaceutical salesmen with his shiny flea control samples told me.  The journey with too many of our clients dogs through illness and early death, the cancers in my own dogs.  Agatha and her illness were the springboard to finding natural ways to care for my pets and help my clients care for their pets too.

I've become an ardent spokesperson and my passion is to warn pet owners of the dangers of common misconceptions about pet health.  Every day, via Agatha's Pet Wellness, I work to show pet owners safer ways to live life with their dogs, to show them great products that will help every area of life with pets.

Natural Flea Control
Little Girl with fake dog

The Love Of Our Dogs

Agatha of Agatha's Apothecary

I have owned so many really great dogs in my time, they have come into my life in a dozen different ways.  Jessica “the dog of a lifetime” the gentlest of Dobie’s, sweet Jessie who walked the streets of Atlanta off lead, proud and beautiful at my side.
She learned with dazzling ease, passerby’s on that Southern city’s streets opening a path as we came, the stately slim creature at my side completely without malice though she looked exceeding fierce.

Bumble Bee, a rather chubby and endearingly round Pembroke Welsh Corgi, the most entertaining yet exasperating of canine companions, unlike Jessie who thrilled to obey even my silent commands, Bumble had quite a mind of her own, she,d thoughtfully weigh the benefits of obeying or disobeying each command, with a maddening disregard for any request she deemed inconvenient or requiring too much effort.

I could not neglect to mention Joey, the smallest of dachshunds, with his satiny brindled coat and heart shining from his eyes.

All of these are gone, years and years before what anyone could say was a fair span of life, all gone long years before they should have left me, taken by disease and illness, shockingly swift were those small ones taken from me. So I of all people should have known better than to give my heart so blissfully to a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel puppy born on my birthday over 10 years ago. I of all people should have been able to resist, I didn't want a puppy at the time, my husband was utterly and adamantly against the idea, but one look at that tumble of Cavalier babies with their silken ears flying and dark eyes pleading “pick me! oh pick ME,,, ”

I was suddenly smitten with a tiny Tri-Color girl puppy, already distractingly pretty, she waved snowy paws at me imploring.

With a nay-saying husband scowling as he headed toward the car, I scooped up the little morsel with her pink flannel tongue already kissing me adoringly.

That’s been the goal of her life, to worship me, with the utter abandon only a spaniel can show. A creature so totally without malice that I’ve been humbled at the lessons she has taught me about faithfulness and about gentleness and love, and perhaps most of all about forgiveness. She has made me a better person, a better dog owner, even a better trainer and as I watch the grey begin to sprinkle its frost over her lovely face, I realize that she too will someday soon, (oh Lord not too terribly soon I pray) make my heart ache with the sad progression that all my much loved four-footed ones have led me through.

Agatha the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel CEO of Agatha's Apothecary

I’m determined to help pets live longer healthier lives, I tell my beautiful Agatha's story elsewhere here on these pages, I suppose one of the most important lessons she’s teaching me now is that we must take care of the things we love. We must go that extra mile and make the effort while they are young if we want them to still be with us when they are old…