This is the time of year when many pet parents think about scheduling their dog and sometimes cat for a spring "do" at their groomers, and this post is all about the do's and please do not's, before the appointment.
First, long before you make an appointment, learn as much as you can about the breed and coat of your dog. In between groomings, it is very important to take care of their coat so that the grooming appointment is not a difficult day for them. We want them to be happy at their spa appointment!
In other words, please gently brush your dog at least twice a week, this not only helps with shedding but also keeps tangles and mats to a minimum.
If your dog has tight tangles or mats in their fur there are often ways to release them, but if you are uncomfortable doing so, give your groomer a call for advice as they know your dog, or even schedule an in between appointment to remove the mats so they do not get worse. All groomers I know, are more than happy to do this service for you and with just a small charge for their time.
If you decide to brush your dog at home, and I hope you do, please get a brush that is made for their coat. I use a metal bristle small brush and tip it at an angle that follows the dog's body. One like this.
Ask your groomer if they can order the best one for your dog or let you know where to purchase the right brush.
Now do you know one of the big no no's when it comes to grooming your dog? It is something that we groomers want to share with all pet parents.....
Here it is, please, please, please, do not give your dog a bath if they have mats. We know it's not your fault their fur has tangled due to static, length or texture. We know dogs like to go out and roll, jump in the puddles and have fun, but you need to know that the bath water will get inside and has the potential to make the mats actually much worse. Not only will the mats get tighter, but the skin under the mats will not be able to get enough air to dry, so your dog can experience skin irritations and other dermatitis.
It is best to first try to brush the tangles free or use your fingers and gently pull the hairs apart without pulling at the root near the skin. Again, call your groomer if you need a bit of help.
Then there is the dreaded toenail clippings. Oh, yes......the time of the appointment where the dog looks at their groomer like they are crazy! I swear dogs plan and practice the dance they will do, and do quite well, every time we try to hold their paw and clip their nails. This is also for cats too. Yes, they do need their nails clipped for the same reason as your dogs.....
Some will pull and twist and turn as if they have been taking tango dance lessons when you, the owner are not home to watch. Some will get quite upset, and go right into a bad mood, I mean a really bad mood. The energy in the room changes and the groomer knows all eyes are focused on them.
I know for a fact, when dogs and cats get their pedicure, it does not hurt. It is only when a nail is clipped too short and the quick is tipped that the bleeding begins and then there is pain. A lot of dogs will never ever forget, should this happen to them.
I mean, they will never...ever...forget. So, if you are uncomfortable trimming your dogs and cats nails at home, please reach out to your groomer to schedule nail trims and ask your veterinarian to trim them at your pets visits.
If the nails have grown out enough to curl under towards or into their pad, call your veterinarian immediately! This is extremely painful for your pet and can cause infection and damage to their pads.
One thing you the pet parent can do that often makes a huge difference? Ask your pets to give you their paws and hold and rub their feet gently. Ask them to give high fives and help them to understand that when the human touches their ticklish toes, it is ok. We are only trying to help them feel their best. I believe every dog understands.
Please do not let anyone, tickle your pets and laugh. Do not let others pull on their legs or feet and I ask with all respect to not let children sit or lay on them.
Dogs love their human children and will usually tolerate a lot, but we do not want injury to occur that makes it difficult for your dogs, cats, you and your groomer.
And lastly, (for today) please let your groomer know if there are any problems. Do not hold back information. Everything is important. Groomers will not judge you, we want to help you and your pets because we are animal loving people too. The groomer needs to know everything there is to know about your dog or cat, their personality, injuries, things they like and things they hate. We need to know if they have skin tags, bumps and lumps, fleas, rashes, allergies or even hearing problems, lack of vision, arthritis or just prefer to skip the bath.
Oh and one more thing, I know I already said that but.....this is the last one, I promise....
Here it is, do not let anyone tease or chase your dog or cat with the vacuum. EVER.
When we all work together and respect each other completely, a full circle of trust is formed and it is a beautiful, wonderful, happy place.
If you have grooming questions, please reach out to me. I will do my absolute best to answer them for you and give you the best information I know.
Until next time, hand to paw,