I’ve limited this to the things I use over and over again – if not on a daily basis, at least with some regularity. Feel free to add your own in the comments section.
1. Rubber Curry
This thing is just about the best item I’ve ever used for getting rid of loose hair and pet dander. I use it in between furminator-ing the dogs, when their coats just need a regular brushing. I also use it in the tub, while I’m bathing them, to spread shampoo and conditioner through their coats. I personally like the Zoom Groom, but almost any basic rubber curry will do.
Yes, I’m a convert to the holy church of Furminator, amen. This is the best thing since sliced bread for removing dead hair from the sleek coat of a Frenchie (and if you didn’t know Frenchies shed, you obviously don’t own one yet). A caveat – use it gently, because over vigorous use can scrape skin and break coat.
3. Blunt tipped scissors
This is all I use for trimming ear hairs, whiskers and stray hairs on the tail. It can’t cut them, and it doesn’t freak them out like the sound and vibration of clippers.
4. Guillotine Nail Trimmers
The basic old stand by – for when I’m too lazy to pull out the dremel. No matter how many fancy shmancy new nail trimmers come on the market, this is the one I come back to.
5. Dremel Nail Grinder
For show ring short nails, you really need a Dremel. Nothing else can get a French Bulldog’s nails short enough, without bleeding. I suggest that novices get either a groomer or their breeder to show them how to use this, and that you introduce your dog to it as young as possible. Peronsally, I use the corded model – as much as the cord free design is convenient, the dead battery part is a pain in the neck, and a distinct possibility when doing nails on multiple dogs. However, a single dog household would likely prefer to get the cordless model.
6. Styptic Powder
Unfortunately, there will almost always be nail trimming incidents from time to time, and that means bleeding. I like the Sure Clot powder from Bio Groom, but in a pinch good old ‘Kwik Stop’ will also do the trick. I’ve never had much luck with the pens, gels or liquids.
7. Baby Wipes
I use unscented, thick baby wipes for loads of things – wiping down faces, getting loose hair and dander off of coats, wiping down muddy paws, shining up coat just before entering the ring, the dreaded butt danglies wipe off, and general ‘eww, what the heck did you get into?’ maintenance. You can get fancy ones made just for pets, but anything gentle enough for a baby’s bum is probably fine for your Frenchie’s skin and coat.
8. Zinc Ointment
Another product made for human babies, but useful on Frenchies. I use zinc ointment on those Frenchies who are prone to skin fold irritations. Skin fold irritations, just like diaper rash, are usually caused by moisture being trapped in creases in the skin. Zinc ointment protects skin and hair from moisture. I clean the folds with witch hazel, then slather on zinc ointment in the folds, resulting in a dog that seems to be wearing camo face paint. Added bonus – the other dogs get to try to lick it off. I prefer Desitin’s formula, which has as pleasant scent.
9. Witch Hazel
This gentle liquid is what I dab on cotton balls and use to clean skin folds on faces. I use the Organic formula made by Humphrey’s Organic. Whichever brand you use, make SURE it’s rubbing alcohol free.
10. Diamond Eyes
The big guns for getting rid of tear stains. For severe cases, I clip and then apply twice daily. It’s the only thing I’ve ever found that actually works. I use it in conjunction with daily wipe downs, and in between using zinc ointment. Oh, and yes – I’ve used Angel Eye powdered food additive, and no – it didn’t work for me.
11 & 12. Bumble & Bumble Shampoo and Conditioner
OK, maybe it seems excessive to use anything this luxurious on your pet, but hello? These are French Bulldogs we’re talking about here, so don’t they deserve a little luxe in their lives? Besides, Bumble and Bumble’s Gentle shampoo is baby safe, smells great, and leaves coats shining like silk. Their super rich conditioner leaves coats smooth, soft and dander free, and is great for winter. I also have used half strength body wash – any gentle brand, although I prefer Lush. For showing, I use the John Frieda line for colored hair – their Blonde Shampoo and color glaze leave creams positively glistening. I don’t think it’s gentle enough for regular use, however.
13. Pet grooming table
This might seem excessive, but even single pet owners will find that once they’ve groomed on a proper table, there’s no going back to flimsy substitutes. The surface is non slip, the height on a good table is adjustable, and you can reach your dog from all angles. Prices on folding models tend to be reasonable, and a decent quality table will last for a lifetime, so it’s a good investment.