If your dog has hair, this blog is for you!
Professional pet grooming; what is it all about?
Here at OVH we groom about 17 dogs a day, and our two groomers Eve and Kristen have been with OVH for a combined 24 years, so it is fair to say they have handled many (understatement) dogs, and learned some valuable lessons; and that is what gave us the idea for this blog.
One of the elements involved in the grooming experience can be anxiety for the pet, which of course (and rightly so) often translates to anxiety for you. Some examples of anxiety for dogs include; trembling, barking, or trying to follow as you leave. For dogs, their people and sibling dogs are their pack, and being abandoned by your pack can cause some dramatic responses. The good news is that once you leave, most dogs relax significantly and will happily follow the groomer into the salon. Dogs adapt quickly to their surroundings and our groomers give them time to adjust, relax and become familiar with the experience. Having your dog on a regular grooming schedule will significantly increase their comfort level, and many of our “regulars” can’t wait to visit Auntie Eve and Kristen!
What is the right grooming style?
There are several variables in finding the right style for your dog;
- The condition of the coat.
- The breed of the dog.
- What you want the end result to be.
Communication with the groomer is critical. What a “puppy cut” means to us and what it means to you can be surprisingly different.
It isn’t uncommon for a dog to come to us that has a very matted coat, especially in the undercoat, or the layer of hair closest to the skin. Dogs can sometimes look silky on the top, but be very matted underneath, and those mats are often discovered by the groomer. In these scenarios we will call you and discuss options. Sometimes our talented groomers can slowly and gently “de-mat” the coat, which is essentially combing and brushing very small patches at a time. Often times, the de-matting won’t be an option and in these situations, we will recommend a complete shave down. The good news is the hair will usually grow back healthy and beautiful, although if your pet has any underlying health conditions, some hair coats will grow back with a different texture or in uneven patches; but it will always be more comfortable and healthier to remove the matted coat. On occasion, under the mats our groomers find skin issues, lesions from the matting, or even a wound. We will always notify you immediately and together with you, our groomers and our doctors will implement a plan that will allow your pet to feel their best again.
If we do shave down your pet, when it grows back we can start to work on finding the perfect style. Once we have found a haircut and style you like, and that can be easily manageable at home we have accomplished our goal for you and the pet.
Even smaller mats and knots can cause discomfort during grooming. Brushing out your pet can even cause some irritation in the form of “brush burns”. Brush burn causes irritation to the pet’s skin due to continual brushing over the same area to loosen the tangle. Consider what it feels like to brush out your own hair when there is a tangle or gum. Now imagine the size of your pets tangle, sometimes across the chest or the around the knee. It can be uncomfortable to say the least. This is one reason why regular grooming is so important, and we are here to help teach you exactly what you can do at home to keep them in great shape between grooms.
What can you expect after grooming? Usually just a clean, fluffy, happy and sweet smelling dog! There are some post groom conditions to watch out for;
- Head shaking after grooming is common since we clean your pet’s ears and in some cases we pluck the hair inside of their ears. Check your pet’s ears the next day for wax or debris or inflammation. It is unlikely you will find any issues, but if you have any concerns we are always here for you. If there was severe matting removed from their ears they may shake their head quite a bit, and if this happens you’ll want to give us a call so we can discuss a course of action to bring your pet relief.
- Itching or scratching after grooming. Multiple reasons exist for this condition including;
- Preexisting allergies.
- Flea bites
- Tiny hairs left behind after a haircut can irritate your dog like it irritates us after a haircut. A gentle going over with baby wipes usually resolves this quickly.
- On very rare occasions a pet will have a reaction to the shampoo, conditioner or cologne. In this situation, if the pet is distressed, we can re-bath with a soothing product and make sure we do not use the previous product on your pet again.
Don’t forget the nail care – an important part of grooming for all pets. At OVH we use the dremel tool almost exclusively because we can get a shorter, smoother nail trim with less worries for the pet than with the old fashioned nail clippers. The clippers can pinch the nail and can be very uncomfortable. Although it happens much less often when using a dremel tool; on occasion we will have a bleeding nail, and it is usually much more dramatic than it looks. We will stop the bleeding before you leave, but if it happens to reopen, using flour, baking powder or direct pressure for a minute or two will help it to stop leaking
A pet new to grooming has a lot to experience at first; bathing, dryers, other dogs nearby, dremels and clippers, can all cause some pets to feel a bit over stimulated. At OVH we speak soothingly to the pets, give them the time they need to investigate and adjust to these new experiences. On occasion the more stressed pets can have some gastrointestinal upset or just be very tired from their day. As always, call us with any concerns or questions.
Over time most pets look forward to their grooming day, and we even have a few geriatric dogs who receive soothing salt soaks, and they become so relaxed during the soak that they fall asleep in the tub.♥ As your pet adjusts to the routine of regular grooming, they become more cooperative and the groomer can perform some of the finer finishing touches that really set your pet apart.
Make grooming a regular part of your pet’s health care, we think you AND your pet will be glad you did!