Fleas, Ticks, and Bugs…OH MY! PART 1

Yay!!  We can finally feel that warm weather coming back.  The sun is shining, the trees and flowers are blooming.  Everyone feels great with all the vitamin D we are getting.  But there is something in the shadows…lurking and waiting.

With spring in the air, the armies of tiny predators that come to feast on your fur babies are back and are mounting a nearly invisible attack on those you love.

Continue reading “Fleas, Ticks, and Bugs…OH MY! PART 1”


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Importance of Regular Nail Trims

Picture this: You are typing on your computer with nails that are 3 inches long.  You have to contort your fingers, wrist, and hand to be able to effectively punch those keys.  Over time, your hands start to hurt and your wrists start to suffer from carpal tunnel.  Painful, huh?  Now look at your best friend’s feet.

Ouch!  Imagine what your pet feels like walking around with nails that are too long!

Long Nails

Dog toe nails grow at the same rate as our finger nails.  Regular walks on hard surfaces like pavement or cement can help file them down naturally, yet some dogs do not grind them away so easily.  Take my Greyhound Mix, Rocky. The way his foot was shaped and how he carried himself, they never seemed to shorten despite hours of running/walking.  Imagine that?  A Groomer that has to schedule regular nail trims for their own pet!

Long nails can cause additional stress on your dog’s feet and lead to long-term side effects such as hip and joint problems.  This is due to them walking differently, or unnaturally, to compensate for the length of their nails.  Remember the damage done to our own hands typing? We always want to make sure that our beloved pets are comfortable and safe.

Long nails not only affect joints, but they can also cause injuries in our fur-babies feet. The nails can grow so long that they get embedded into a pad which can cause pain and infection.  It’s nasty business removing these embedded nails and torture to both the pet and the loving groomer that has to pull it out.  Long nails can also get caught in carpets and break off.  When this happens it can expose the quick, aka the vein in the nail.  When this happens, your baby will bleed.  And speaking from experience, a bleeding nail will bleed and bleed and bleed…..getting all over the place and causing great stress on everyone involved.

Monitoring your pets nail growth is essential to creating a healthy, happy family member.  Technology today allows us to keep track of everything!  (Gotta love the tech, right?)  Put in your calendar every 4 weeks to look at your pup’s feet.  Rule of thumb: if there is a slight curve to the nail, it might be time to get them clipped.  If you look real close, you will see the pink quick inside the nail.  (It easier to see on clear or white nails but don’t be alarmed if your pooch has black nails – close examination may show the vein).  If there is ¼ of an inch of nail past the quick, your pet is overdue.  Check out our YouTube Video of a nail trim at Million Dollar Dog.

To do or not to do (on your own).  That is the question!  Nail trims are typically left to the professionals because most pets do not like their feet messed with and because if quicked, it will bleed.  Most pet owners do not want to be responsible for hurting their baby.  We get it!  Nail trims can be tricky and without the proper tools, can be stressful and messy.  When in doubt, call your local vet or groomer and set up an appointment.  It only takes 15 minutes to have shorter nails.  If you are really ambitious, ask the professionals to show you how you can do it at home.  We love to share our knowledge with pet owners to create a happier, healthier family member!


It’s true!  I have probably gotten over a million dog kisses in my life!  And with every sloppy wet kiss, I have learned more and more about this wonderful, amazing friend to mankind.

My name is Tara Pellegrino and I am the owner of Million Dollar Dog (est. 2005), a dog grooming, DIY dog washing, dog training, and doggy day care center located in Belmont, North Carolina.  As well as the owner of eMDD Envirogroom Professional Pet Products, Southeast Distributor (est. 2012).

Working with dogs, dog owners, and other pet professionals is what I do. It is my passion.  I feel I possess the unique ability to take the knowledge I have learned over the years and simplify it for the pet owner.

The purpose for my writing, some may call rambling, is to bridge the communication gap between the pet care industry and the dog lovers they serve.

So as the theme song to “Welcome Back Kotter” is playing through my head, welcome back to my new and improved blog that services you and your best friend to help make life more enjoyable for both!

Hope your days are filled with a million canine kisses!



A Note on Dog Training

We love our dogs and they love us so what could possibly make the relationship better?  Dog Training!  No, I’m not kidding.  It’s true.  Having a well-balanced, respectful pet can make things so much better!!!  (And your groomers and vets will thank you too!)  Look at your dog honestly and see if you can answer the following questions:
1) Does she come when I call her?

2) Is he quiet or does he bark a lot?

3) Does she jump on me when excited?

4) Does he climb on the bed and furniture without asking?

5) Does my dog own me or do I own her? Continue reading “A Note on Dog Training”

Technology and Dogs

I must admit that I am jealous of dogs when it comes to how simple their lives are.  They do not have to deal with technology and all of the headaches that go along with that beautiful convenience.  Take for instance the recent computer issues at Million Dollar Dog.  Some hacker who has nothing better to do with his or her time, created a computer virus that not only wiped out my 3 computers but also the backup drive. Everything is fine now after my computer guru Marc Burns from Carolinas Computer Solutions worked his magic…..

But getting back to the dogs.  How great is it that they do not have to check Facebook or email every 30 minutes.  Who needs to Blog??!?!?!!  They sit around in the sun.  Get their butts scratched and have food served to them at every meal.  Imagine that?

Ah, to be a dog…….

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The ‘S’ Word

First Session of the Shed-Free Program

The battle is probably raging in your home right now.  Wherever you look – it is there!  You can’t get away from in even in your car!  Your socks are fighting in the front line and you are ready to wave the white flag.  Who is the enemy?  Dog hair.

If your pooch is like mine, they are SHEDDING their coat and it is a never ending battle with the vacuum.  The more you clean it up, the more hair you find.  What is causing this seasonal madness, you ask?  Your pet is blowing its winter coat in preparation for cooler temperatures.  This can happen multiple times a year for some breeds.  You are not alone and there is help! Continue reading “The ‘S’ Word”

So Many Choices – How do I Select a Groomer

I have often asked my clients why they have chosen MDD for their pet care needs and I have gotten a variety of answers.  Mostly, it is the high-level of professionalism and customer service we provide but the overall haircut is the driving factor.  But how do you FIND that in a groomer?  How can you know if the place you are taking sweet Fluffy exhibits all of these features?  Sure, they may seem nice and caring and the place looks okay but how can you tell?  I have a variety of answers that will help put your mind at ease and I will provide simple questions for you when calling around.


What kind of owner are you? 

A realistic look into your wants, needs and expectations will determine the type of groomer that fits your lifestyle.  Do you mind your pet being in a crate or do you prefer kennel-free?  Do you like him to be there all day or would you rather get him as soon as he is finished?  How important is his haircut to you?  How knowledgeable do you want your groomer to be?  Do you want to be able to call on them for most pet care concerns or is she just a groomer that you see once a year?  Continue reading “So Many Choices – How do I Select a Groomer”

The Dreaded Nail Trim

Time for my Pawdicure

There – I said it.  Nail trims can be very challenging, even for the professionals!  Pet owners hate doing it because they are afraid to make their pet bleed.  Groomers don’t like doing it because 95% of the dogs hate it.  How can that be?  Why do dogs hate their nails being cut?  I asked my pooches but they’re not talking.  It think it is some sort of secret among our canine counterparts.

I have a few thoughts on it and I would like to share them with you:

1) A dog has strong, muscular legs and when someone is holding a paw, they can actually fight back with some pull…..literally!  They don’t have to sit back and let you do it.

2) The noise of the nail clippers can be loud and scare a few pups.

3) The bending of the nails as the sharp edge is cutting through it might feel weird (that’s why we use dremels!)

4) They had a bad experience OR their master had a bad experience doing them thus, transmitting their fear and anxiety on their companion.

All is not lost though and there are some things you can do at home to help desensitize Rover’s manicure madness.   Continue reading “The Dreaded Nail Trim”