Dog Grooming Tips – A Healthy Winter Coat

The cold from winter weather and the low humidity that follows it can cause your pet’s skin to become uncomfortable, dry, and flaky. The same as what can happen to you. With these five extra steps you can keep your pet healthy during the coming winter. In fact, many of the steps below you can use to help prevent skin problems for yourself as well.

Shampoo Less

While during the summer and spring your pet may require frequent baths, it is best to dial back the number of baths during the winter months.

Shampoos and other soaps get rid of the natural oils on your dog’s skin and can dry it out. This causes flaky, itchy skin. If not taken care of this can lead to dandruff, which can be uncomfortable for your pet.

If your dog must be bathed, try a sensitive skin or oatmeal shampoo.

Regular Grooming

Using a brush on your pet’s coat will help remove any dead skin cells, and help stimulate the natural release of oils. Daily brushing will also prevent any tangle and mats from forming.

For longer haired dogs, it is best to keep their hair trimmed to minimize the accumulation of any salt or deicing chemicals. It is also important to trim between their toes.

Schedule a dog grooming appointment with Nick before the holidays to keep your pet’s coat in its best condition!

Healthy Diet

A concern year-round, a health diet can help promote the release of natural oils on your pet’s skin. Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids are essential for healthy skin.

In a previous article we focused more on dietary concerns and how to read pet food labels.

Drink Water

Dogs burn more energy in the winter as they try to stay warm. This makes it very easy for them to become dehydrated. Make sure your pet’s water dish is always full. If they are outside use a plastic dish so that their tongue doesn’t stick to the dish in the freezing temperatures!

Comfortable Environment

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Warm and comfy through the winter!


A humidifier will help combat any dry air inside your home to keep you and your healthy all winter. Deodorizers and other scented chemical based products can cause irritation and should be avoided.

If these steps do not help your pet, or if their skin gets worse, contact your veterinarian.

PBGV (Petit Basset Griffon Vendeen) – Breed Highlight

The Petit Basset Griffon Vendeen, pronounced “Puh-TEE Bah-SAY Gree-FOHN VON-day-uhn”, (PBGV for short) is a French scent hound that was developed for the purpose of hunting small game over the rough and difficult terrain found in Vendeen, the region the PBGV gets its name from. To be a proper hunter they must be bold and lively in nature; their structure must be tough, compact, and vigorous. They have an alert and a bubbly outlook.

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PBGV Puppy

Typical PGBV Traits:
Energy level: High energy
Exercise needs: Medium
Playfullness: Very playful
Affection level: Very affectionate
Friendliness toward other dogs: Very friendly
Friendliness toward other pets: Friendly
Friendliness toward strangers: Very friendly
Ease of training: Easy to train
Watchdog ability: High
Protection ability: Not very protective
Grooming needs: Low maintenance
Cold tolerance: Medium tolerance
Heat tolerance: Medium tolerance

The PBGV is a comparative newcomer to the AKC world, but it is an ancient breed with roots in 16th-century Europe. The long French name provides an accurate description of the breed: petit (small), basset (low), griffon (rough-coated), Vendeen (for its area of origin in France). Vendie, on the west coast of France, is filled with thick brambles, underbrush and rocky terrain. Hunting in such terrain demanded a dog that had a coat that could withstand thorns and brambles, and short legs that could enable it to wind its way through the underbrush in pursuit of rabbits, but that was nimble enough to run over rocks and logs without tiring. Thus, the PBGV is more than a wire-coated basset hound, and more than a dwarf grand basset griffon Vendeen (a breed that resembles a slightly taller PBGV), even though it is closely related to both. In England in the mid-1800s, the PBGV was shown with the basset hound as a wire-coated variety, but the PBGV is a longer-legged, more nimble hound. In France, it was considered to be one breed with two sizes until the 1950s. The two sizes were still interbred until the 1970s. The AKC recognized the PBGV in 1990, and since then it has attracted many new admirers because of its merry disposition and tousled carefree appearance.


Despite its appearance, the PBGV is not a basset hound in a wire coat, but in many ways is more terrier-like in temperament. It is a merry, inquisitive, tough, busy dog, always on the lookout for excitement and fun. It loves to sniff, explore, trail and dig – a true hunter at heart. Amiable and playful, it is good with children, other dogs and pets, and it is friendly toward strangers. The PBGV is stubborn and independent.
The PBGV is not content to lie around. Its exercise requirements can be easily fulfilled, however, by a good walk on leash or a vigorous romp in the yard. It can sleep outdoors in temperate climates, given adequate shelter, but it is happiest when dividing its time between house and yard.

Nick Frost specializes in breeding award winning PBGVs here at Top Dog Kennel. For more information about PBGVs pups contact us at topdog@ashevillekennel.com.

Top Dog of the Month – November 2015

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Barbosa – Top Dog of the Month November 2015

November’s Top Dog of the Month is Barbosa! Barbosa is a sweet PBGV who found his way back to his siblings at Top Dog after spending some time with Brother Wolf in Asheville. He is full of energy, loves to meet new friends, and races around the yard during dog boarding playtime.

Interested in your pet being featured as the Top Dog of the Month? All pets who visit our facility during the month of November are eligible to be December’s Top Dog.

Asheville Dog Boarding Playtime With An Excited Barbosa

Due to the rain, we are taking a look back at some of the asheville dog boarding videos that didn’t make it to the blog over the summer this year. We start with a very excited Barbosa and his friends:

An early Asheville dog boarding playtime today here at Top Dog Kennel. The group is stretching their legs and sniffing all the good spots before they play. Barbosa really needed to stretch his legs with all of that speedy running around!

Barbosa Bella Barney Pet Boarding Playtime

Let’s set up your pet’s boarding or grooming with us today and join in on the fun!

Top Dog Kennel provides quality boarding and grooming at affordable prices. Continuous playtime in our large grassy paddock. Come and see why we are the largest kennel in the Asheville area! Like us on Facebook!

Simplifying Pet Food Labels

Reading nutrition labels on your pet’s food is important for selecting the right type. In this article we will show you how to better understand the sometimes complicated labels.

Just like with with packaged food for humans, all dog food comes with a nutrition label. This label is designed to help the consumer compare similar products and learn more about the item. However, these labels can often be hard to uncode. Below we break down some frequently asked questions.

1) How do I read the ingredient list for dog food?

Pet food, just like packaged food for people, must list their ingredients by weight, starting with the heaviest first. However, keep in mind that if the first ingredient is a type of meat it is made up of about seventy-five percent water, according to the FDA. Without the water weight, the meat ingredient would likely fall lower on the list.

Meat meals, such as bone meal or chicken meal are different; most of the water and fat has been removed which dehydrates and concentrates the animal protein.

2) Should I avoid byproducts and what are they?

Most Veterinarians say that giving your pet byproducts is a personal choice, and that any food listed as “complete and balanced” should meet your dog’s nutritional needs.

Meat byproducts include: blood, bone, brains, stomachs, udders, esophagus, tongue, diaphragm, and cleaned intestines, according to the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO). Hair, horns, teeth, and hooves are not allowed, but an exception exists when unavoidable during processing.

Most byproducts, while unsavory to people, are full of nutritional value and your pet would enjoy eating them.

3) Are the large scientific words towards the end of the list bad for my dog?

The FDA must approve any preservatives, artificial colors, and stabilizers in pet food as safe before allowing the product to be sold. Manufacturers must list these ingredients, but do not need to list the preservatives in the ingredients themselves. Such as chicken meal or fish that is processed elsewhere.

Some pet food manufacturers have gone away with using chemical preservatives, this however, shortens the shelf life of the food. Be sure to double check the “best by” date to prevent your dog from becoming sick from rancid fat.

4) Does my food meet all of my pet’s needs?

The best way to tell if your dog’s food is giving them enough nutritional value is to look for a statement of nutritional adequacy on the label.

Many manufacturers follow models set by the AAFCO that establish a baseline minimum amount of nutrition needed to provide a complete and balanced diet. The AAFCO label should also tell you what stage of your dog’s life the food is appropriate for. Due to the wide variety of nutritional needs for senior dogs, there is no set standard for their food.

5) What is the guaranteed analysis?

Every dog food label must list the minimum amount of protein and fat as well as the maximum percentage of fiber and moisture in the food. At least ten percent of the pet’s daily diet, by weight, should be protein. Five and a half percent should be fat.

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Guaranteed Food Analysis Example

6) What does “natural” or “holistic” mean on labels?

According to the law, not much. Food labeled as natural should contain fewer, if any, synthetic ingredients. ‘Holistic’, along with ‘premium’ and ‘super-premium’ are often marketing terms and there is no rule that controls how they are used.

7) What is organic pet food?

At this time there is no official definition for organic pet food. However, it is currently under review.

A dog who is getting proper nutrition through their food has already taken step one to having a healthy coat. With regular scheduled grooming your pet’s fur will be healthier than ever! Contact us today to schedule a dog grooming appointment.

For more information on pet nutrition check out our previous article on what not to feed your pet. And as always, follow us on Facebook for more picture, videos, and articles!