Frequently Asked Questions
Grooming is an extremely important, but much misunderstood art/science. Your professional groomer would like you to understand more about this service which can improve your dog's health, appearance and social acceptance. The following questions are the most frequently asked, and the answers should help clarify some of the more common misconceptions about grooming.
Why Does My Pet Sheds All Over
The shedding of hair is a normal and ongoing process for most domestic dogs. Excessive shedding generally occurs in the spring and fall with the changing of major seasons. Old hair is released so that new hair of the right consistency and insulation factor may grow in.
In the winter, hair fluffs up to provide insulation from the cold. For this reason, matted hair does not protect a dog or cat from cold. Some pets (especially the cold weather breeds like Elkhounds, Huskies, or Samoyeds) also have an undercoat of soft downy hair to protect them from extreme cold. This undercoat may come out in the spring and fall out by the handful as new undercoat grows in. In the summer, hair can also function to protect pets from overheating by insulating against heat from the sun.
Since most pets spend at least part of their time indoors, and are often exposed to both air conditioning and heating systems, their bodies may begin to start shedding hair year round.
Shedding is best controlled by regular grooming, either by brushing at home or with professional grooming services, or a combination of both. Keep in mind that regardless of how much hair might be removed at a grooming shop, even with special products, nothing will remove all the loose hair and give you back a non-shedding dog.
Hair is also shed whenever a pet is nervous or excited. You have probably noticed that your pet sheds more than normal during a visit to the vet. This is because the pet?s nervousness causes the skin to tighten, which forces out any loose hair. And when you pick him up from the groomer, the same thing occurs--his excitement loosens up hair that was not able to be removed (or ready to be shed) during the grooming process.
Some diseases can promote poor hair growth and shedding. If your pet experiences unexplained hair loss, or you suspect there may be a medical condition causing the excessive shedding, it is always wise to consult a veterinarian.
Good diet, regular brushing, and special attention during Spring and fall shedding seasons will help keep the extra hair off of your clothes and floors.
How old should a dog be before he has his first grooming appointment?
Even though a three-month-old puppy is not usually in need for grooming, he should be taken to your groomer to get him used to full grooming gradually. In this way, he will learn to accept grooming as a happy experience that he will enjoy.
Why should I have my dog groomed? I thought that only poodles needed grooming.
Most pet owners confuse "grooming" with "clipping." Clipping (which is commonly done to poodles, spaniels, terriers, as well as to mixed breed dogs), is only one procedure in the grooming process. Grooming also includes combing and brushing, clipping nails, plucking hair from ears, and parasite control. (Many groomers feel that teeth cleanings are best left to veterinarians, and in some states, groomers are not permitted to clean their customers' pets' teeth). Although the most obvious result of these procedures is an improved appearance, the major benefits to your pet are increased comfort and social acceptability, and perhaps even improved health.
Do all dogs need grooming?
All dogs need an occasional bath, but it is more important to keep your dog combed and brushed, especially if he has long hair. Matted hair can easily cause skin problems and unnecessary discomfort for your pet. If neglected for too long, it might eventually necessitate a lengthy grooming session, which could be uncomfortable for your pet, and expensive for you. Regular brushing, on the other hand, improves his skin tone and his circulation and makes his coat healthier and more attractive.
My dog has a very strong odor. Bathing doesn't seem to do any good. Why?
It's possible that his teeth, his ears, or his anal sacs are responsible for the problem. Your groomer will be able to help you to determine the nature of the problem, and refer you to your veterinarian, if necessary.
What are anal glands?
They are small sacs located on either side of the rectum. They sometimes need to be expressed or emptied. Groomers feel that, if and when necessary, this is best left to the veterinarian. The treatment is only necessary when the anal sacs are clogged and if they are incorrectly expressed it can result in an infection of the anal glands.
My dog doesn't smell bad, but I bathe him once a week. Is that enough?
More than enough. Most dogs do not need to be bathed more than once a month. Some do not need to be bathed more than once every six months, unless they get extremely dirty. However, longhaired dogs should be brushed out properly at least once a week, in lieu of a bath.
My dog scratches all the time, but I can't find any fleas on him. What's the problem?
Scratching is often caused by dry skin and not fleas. This could be the result of excessive bathing, dry climate, nutritional deficiency, or the wrong type of shampoo. Discuss this problem with your groomer.
Why do my dog's nails get so long?
Because he isn't on hard surfaces long enough to keep them worn down. You should have them checked at least once a month. Walking on pavement will help wear them down naturally.
My dog doesn't behave when I try to brush him. How do you get him to stand still?
Most dogs tend to be on their best behavior with groomers, especially when they sense the firm yet gentle touch which marks the experienced professional. It is rare for a groomer to encounter a dog with a drastic temperament problem. In these infrequent cases, the groomer might ask the owner to have his or her veterinarian administer a mild tranquilizer prior to grooming. This protects the pet from injuring himself and enables the groomer to complete the grooming quickly. (Shampooch groomers do not administer tranquilizers unless they are prescribed and provided by the animal's veterinarian, since undesirable side-effects sometimes occur.)
Many times, a dog which reacts badly to grooming at first, will learn to accept and appreciate the process as he becomes more at ease with the groomer, and as he realizes how much better he feels after grooming. Younger animals (puppies) learn to accept grooming faster and enjoy it more than a pet that is not groomed until adult age, and groomed infrequently.
Pet Services Journal January 2003