Flea combs might not seem like a very important tool. They are small, inexpensive, and seemingly not terribly useful, right? Think again! These wee combs can come in handy if you let them. Here are four ways these little fine-toothed combs can be used by both groomers and pet lovers alike.
1. The obvious way to use flea combs is to catch fleas so they can be disposed of (often in a container of sudsy water.) They work by literally trapping fleas between their fine-set teeth. This is especially handy when trying to catch the little vermin on a pet’s face. The teeth will also snag flea debris (a nice way to describe poop!) and even eggs. If you are working on a puppy or kitten that is flea infested, you will be so glad to have a flea comb.
2. Googie removal. What is a “Googie,” you might ask? It’s a term widely used by pet groomers to describe the build-up of secretions in the corners of a dog’s eyes. This is an area that many dogs are quite resistant to having cleaned. If a dog with a googie problem comes in for grooming, rinse the area well with warm water and let it soak while you wash the rest of the dog. Once it has had a chance to soften, try sliding a flea comb under the built-up mass and see if it will gently slide off. Often those snug little comb teeth are just what you need to remove that stubborn googie.
3. Clean up around claws. Some dogs and cats will present with an odd, waxy build-up around the base of their nails. It may appear on all four paws or just on random claws. If you allow the paws to soak while bathing the pet, you can next work on the waxy area with a flea comb. You will find that the small comb handily removes all the gunk with minimal effort. In stubborn cases rubbing some degreasing shampoo into the area first may be helpful.
4. Finish work. The next time you work on a fine-coated dog (for example, a Yorkshire Terrier, Maltese, or an elderly poodle), try combing around its face and ears with a flea comb as your very last effort. Those tight little teeth work wonders separating the fine fur on these coats and helping the hair stand out in all its fluffy glory. It only takes a few seconds but can make a big difference in your final finish.
By Daryl Conner, MPS, MCG
Daryl Conner has been devoted to making dogs and cats more comfortable and beautiful for almost 40 years. You can find her happily working at FairWinds Grooming Studio with her daughter and infant granddaughter, or typing away at her latest grooming-related article. Daryl was awarded both a Cardinal Crystal Award and Barkleigh Honors Award for journalism. She shares her meadow-hugged antique Maine farmhouse with her practically perfect husband and too many animals.