About Me:

I am a professional Pet Groomer. I have been grooming for 28 years. This Blog is a kind of diary of my work. I wish I had started years ago, writing some of the experiences I have had while grooming. Most days are fun, some can be sad, some can be just down right crazy. If you are a pet owner and come across this blog, I hope it helps you understand how your pet is groomed. If you are a Pet Groomer, I hope you can relate to some of the stories. Maybe even learn a grooming tip or can leave a friendly grooming tip for me. There is always something to learn, no matter how long you have been grooming.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Always Learning

I am coming up on an Anniversary this month.
It will be 30 years since I graduated form Grooming School.
I will admit that once I finished grooming school I thought that I had learned all that there was to learn about grooming.
After all I spent a lot of money for the school to teach me everything about grooming.

Boy, did I learn very quickly that I was wrong.
Over the next few years I learned more about how to deal with the customers, how to deal with difficult dogs, how to become very good at de-matting (mainly because I didn't know how to say 'no' when customers asked me not to shave their matted dogs), different ways of drying, clipping, and scissoring.

Then for the next few years I got into a routine of grooming and was then pretty sure that there was not much more to learn.
Thankfully I discovered once again that I was wrong, and this time I learned one more thing....that as long as I was grooming, there would always be new things to learn.
From educational Expos, grooming books, magazines, grooming forums, and fellow groomers.

Over the years I have become very open minded about learning new things about grooming.
New grooming techniques.
New grooming equipment to help make grooming easier.
New shampoos and products.

With all of this said, I had a visitor to my blog leave a comment on a post from 3 years ago.
He/she, in know uncertain terms, wanted to let me know that the information in that particular post was wrong!!

So, what was the post?
The post was about removing ticks.

Now, I can't even begin to count the amount of ticks I have removed off of dogs over the years.
I have always removed ticks the same way, the way I was taught 30 years ago.
With my fingers, or with a pair of tweezers.
If they have a loose hold of the skin, I get my nails as close to the head and mouth and give a quick pull.
If the tick has been feeding for awhile and is pretty strongly attached, I will get the tweezers and again get as close to the head and mouth and give a quick pull.
I have never had a problem removing a tick this way.
What I described above is what I wrote on my post 3 years ago.

I think the best thing to do is share the blog visitors comment before I write more:


If you squeeze ANY SPECIES of tick which has has been attached to ANY ANIMAL OR PERSON, even if only attached for a few HOURS, you have a much greater livelihood of forcing disease-infected germs out into the host animal or person, thereby CAUSING infection, particularly if the tick has only just started attaching its mouth parts to begin the feeding process and has therefore not been attached long enough to have transmitted the germs over a long term feeding. However, even when partially or fully engorged, it is still NEVER recommended that you grasp the body instead of the mouth parts because you're more likely to squeeze the contents of the tick's stomach back into the host, thereby increasing the risk of additional forms of infection and also this "body grasping" approach is more likely to result in breaking off mouth parts, as is the "twisting" method also discussed herein. PLEASE consult other websites for verification of this information and NOT perform tick removal as described within THIS website. And to the owner of this website, PLEASE, correct your very incorrect and dangerous information and correct your removal practices, for everyone's benefit, but especially the poor animals whom you've used your previous methods on! This is incredibly alarming misinformation distribution and will be reported if not corrected. 


I got this comment in an e-mail notification and was not able to respond to it right away.
I have to admit that I was a little surprised at the information in this comment.
I was really surprised at the hostility of the comment.
Anyway, I have to honestly say that I have never heard, been told, or read the information about squeezing a tick.

I called my Vet to verify this information.
Now, my Vet has been practicing for over 40 years, so he must have heard of this also, right?
They had not ever heard anything about squeezing a tick causing the tick to regurgitate back into the dog.

Okay....well, my Vet has been practicing for a long time, maybe this was some new information, like the new beliefs about anal glands, and plucking ears.
Some Vets say yes do ears and glands, some say no don't do ears and glands.

So, as soon as I got access to the internet I started to research removing ticks, and sure enough I found many sites that warned against squeezing ticks while attempting to remove them.
I admit, I was very surprised.
I was mostly surprised that with as much reading as I do, and do a ton of reading, that I had never come across this information before.
Even the Holistic Vet that I follow and really like had a little warning about squeezing ticks.
I also came across some sites that never mentioned any squeezing warning.
Maybe the commenter above has not found and threatened them yet.  :/

Did I change the information on that 3 year old post?
Yes I did.
I have absolutely no desire to give bad or wrong information.
I'll be honest, I am not totally sure that I agree with this information, but I also know that I am very careful when I remove a tick.
I have also always been careful not to squeeze a ticks body for a few reasons.
I main reason is because I am concentrating all my pressure on the head and mouth.
I also have no wish to squeeze a female tick and have her body pop and spew blood all over my hand or me.

As for the 'twisting' a tick to remove it.
I found conflicting information on that.
The Holistic Vet that I follow does believe in the 'twisting' method to help remove a tick.
She believes that 'twisting' the tick as you remove it with a tick removal tool helps to loosen the spikes on the tick mouth.
I have used the 'twisting' method to remove ricks that are really latched on with success.

As for the 'poor' animals that I have removed ticks from all of these years...I can honestly say that I have never had a call back from a customer about any tick that I removed.
I have removed many ticks from my own pets with absolutely no problems.
If I find a questionable tick on the dog, I tape it to an index card, send it home with the owner and tell them to take it to their Vet.
If I find that the area with the tick looks infected, I direct the owner to take their dog to their Vet.
If I can not remove a tick safely, the dog gets sent to the Vet.

Are you wondering if I replied to the commenter?
Yes, I did.
Here is my reply:
Dear Anonymous,

Thank you for your information. My blog is written to help groomers learn and share. After almost 30 years of grooming you have taught me something new in your comment. I can honestly say that I had never been told about the possible dangers of squeezing a tick while removing it. I admit that it did make sense once I read your comment.
I was so surprised that I had not heard this before, that I called my Vet today to confirm your comment. I was unable to speak directly to my Vet, but found that the Vet Techs had also not heard this information. So, I did as you suggested and went to the web. I went straight to a Vet's website that I follow and trust the information given. She confirmed the information in your comment about NEVER squeezing a tick.
She is not in agreement with the 'no twisting'. As a matter of fact, she recommended the 'twisting' action to help the spikes of the ticks mouth to bend and release.
I have edited my post. I am very happy to learn. I feel that a person can never stop learning no matter how long they have been doing something.
My posts are only written with good intentions. The information given was given in good faith. The way that I removed ticks is the way that I was taught. (now I know better) I care very much for the furry customers that I groom and would never intentionally do them harm, or intentionally give out misinformation. Some of those 'poor' animals that you mentioned in your comment where my own that I had removed ticks from. I am happy to say that they are just fine.
Again I thank you for opening my eyes to this mistake. I am only sorry that you felt the need to be mean about it and to threaten me.
Lisa, MFF


My reason for writing about the comment left for me on a 3 year old post is this; as groomers we never stop learning.
There is always new information out there.
We need to keep up with that knew information.
Check it out.
Find out if it is good or bad information.
See if it is something that should be shared.

I decided to share.
Just in case I am not the only groomer, or pet owner out there that has never heard, or read this information before.  :)


  1. Wow! I didn't know anything new about tick removal either. Thanks for the research and new thoughts on this...you learn something new every day I guess...:)

  2. {hugs} You handled that beautifully. I love the internet. I really do. But it seems that the more distant or anonymous the form of communication, the more vicious people become. I'll take this opportunity to tell you how much I've enjoyed your blog over the years. I've learned a lot. At one point I wanted to be a groomer. (One of my favorite jobs was as a vet assistant at Bide a Wee animal shelter on Long Island. I was able to deal with the dogs and cats and not have to deal with many humans at all.) Now, I don't think I'd go the grooming route. Extra hugs to you for doing it. I'm sure that the animals lives are much enriched by your loving care. :)

  3. Who is that commenter going to report you to and how does she recommend you remove a tick? Why bother commenting on a 3yo post?! Nowhere in your post did you say you squeeze (or twist) the tick. Sheesh! You said you pull it out at the head. How else does that commenter remove the nasty parasite?

    This is a recent topic on Pet Groomers Forum where someone posted the Center for Disease Control's removal recommendation. Sounds a lot like yours! One difference is the CDC recommends slowly pulling, instead of a quick pull.

    1. Hi Morgan,
      I have absolutely no idea who this person thought he/she would report my post to. I was not really worried about the threat, but I did want to make sure that I was giving the right information in my post.
      As for the CDC recommendations....that was one of the sites I found when doing my research. I am pretty confident in the way I remove ticks. :)
      Lisa, MFF

  4. Hey, I see where Anonymous is coming from. In Australia we have paralysis tick which can be quiet fatal to pets if attached even for a couple of days. They would probably advise not to squeeze this particular tick because it will release more of the toxin from the tick to the pet that could potentially be dangerous and life threatening to the pet. If the mouth of a tick breaks off in the removal its not the end of the world yeah they may be at risk of infection but regardless the owner should take their pet straight to the vets for further advice and treatment if required.

  5. Great post! Been reading a lot about pet grooming. Thanks for sharing your thoughts here!

  6. Lisa,
    I read this very post a few months ago after stumbling onto your blog. A few weeks later I removed my very first yucky tick at the Humane Society where I vounteer. I used the information I have gathered, including your post, to safety remove the tick. It went swimmingly, but still left me a little queazy :/
    Your response was the best, humble with backbone :)
    -Elizabeth, UT

  7. Congratulations on making it 30 years! You are my hero...I am almost four years in and I don't think I will make it that long;) I think it's pretty ridiculous that the anonymous commenter felt the need to be that hostile in their post.

  8. Be careful Lisa, the internet police are serious business... lol.