Why does my dog need grooming?
The hairs in a dog’s coat grow to a certain length and then die off, loosen and fall out so that new hairs can grow in their place. Regardless of the type of coat your dog has, long or short, thick or thin, this basic process goes on all the time.
Certain factors trigger the coat to go through this cycle faster or slower—changes in the amount of daylight, for example, trigger a “winter” or “summer” shed– but it essentially continues all year round throughout the dog’s life. Even “non-shedding” breeds go through this, but they don’t have the soft, fine undercoat of other breeds and so the dead hairs are less noticeable.
If this dead hair is not removed, it causes problems for the dog: ·
- Dead hair clogs the coat so that its natural insulating properties can no longer work properly and the dog overheats.
- Air and oils cannot circulate around the skin, resulting in eczema, bacterial infections and other problems
- The dog becomes very itchy and apart from being uncomfortable can injure itself with excessive scratching
- Foreign matter like thorns and grass seeds can become trapped in the coat, causing injury.
- Mats form in the coat, becoming tighter and tighter so that the dog’s skin is pulled painfully.
- Faeces, urine, decaying material that the dog has rolled in, old food etc gets caught in the coat, attracting flies and bacteria.
But short coats don’t need to be groomed regularly…
Short coated dogs such as labradors, fox terriers, dalmations etc don't suffer mats and knots in their coat but they do still need attention. They can still suffer from the clogging effects of dead hair and anyone who owns a short coated breed knows just how much hair they shed! Short coat sare often deceptive—many of them have a thick undercoat which suffocates the skin and coat, affecting skin health and comfort. They often suffer from severe itchiness triggered by dead coat and worsened by scratching and increased skin sensitivity.Regular grooming of these breeds dramatically improves coat health and significantly reduces the amount of hair on your carpets, clothes and furniture
At what age should my dog be groomed?
You should start grooming your pup as soon as you get him, even if he has no hair to speak of. While dead hair and knots may not be a problem at this age, you are not only ensuring that such problems don’t arise, but also educating your pup about being groomed and handled. If you leave him until he is a matted 12 month old, he may well not be able to be groomed at all and will certainly find the experience upsetting.
How often should my dog be groomed?
Prevention is better than cure - the idea is to prevent mats from forming and dead hair from building up, not to try and deal with these problems once they are there.
If your dog is getting knots or clumps of dead hair in his coat then you have left it too long. How often your dog needs a professional groom depends on the type of coat he has, how tidy you like to keep him and how much grooming you do yourself.
Long coats, coats that fill up with dead hair and coats that mat easily need to be done frequently. Most dogs need to be groomed every two to six weeks to keep them in good condition - more often is always better.
Frequent grooming is much less traumatic for your dog, as he does not have to be dematted and will be done more quickly. Dogs that are left too long between grooms are also likely to have to be shaved right down short - the hair will grow back but this will take several months and the coat often doesn’t return to its original colour and texture.
Unless your dog is visiting a groomer every week, you do need to keep the coat combed out between visits. You need to do this at least once a week and you need to make sure you are combing every part of the dog, not just the easy bits. If you’re not sure how to comb your dog effectively, then feel free to ask for a demonstration.
Should elderly, sick or difficult dogs be done less often?
Many owners send their old, unwell or difficult dogs to the groomer less often than is ideal because they feel this will place less stress on them, but this is not necessarily the case. If you have a good, gentle groomer you are better to have the dog done more often, rather than less often. The stressful element for most sick or frail dogs is that they get very fatigued. More regular grooms mean that the coat will be in better condition and will require less work and so the groom will be much quicker and less tiring.
With difficult dogs, or dogs that find grooming particularly stressful, the more often they are done the better. Not only will frequent grooming be more comfortable and quicker, they are also being “flooded” with the experience and so become accustomed to it and realise that it’s not so terrible after all.
Will my dog liked being groomed?
Some dogs love the attention and the physical sensations of grooming and many of them enjoy the mental stimulation and pleasure of spending time in the company of other dogs or having a change of scenery. However many do not. Often there is a particular aspect of grooming that they object to: some dislike the bath, some hate being combed, some are not used to being handled, some find it traumatic being separated from their owner, some just find it boring having to sit still for so long! Whatever your dog’s objections, we try to make the experience as easy as possible. We are as gentle as we can be when removing knots and tangles and will clip a dog when we feel dematting will be too uncomfortable (or impossible). We restrain dogs as little as possible during grooming as they are often more relaxed when not tied tightly. We try to ease young pups or first-timers into the process and don’t expect too much of them and where possible we will use alternative ways of getting a particular step accomplished, or miss it out altogether. Most dogs learn to tolerate, if not actually enjoy, the grooming process and are not unduly ruffled by it
How can I make grooming more pleasant for my dog?
There are several things you can do to ensure your dog has a more pleasant time at the groomers:
- Educate your dog - A dog must be introduced to grooming and the behaviour expected of him right from baby-hood—he needs to be introduced to baths, blowdryers, brushing and combing, having every part of his body handled without fuss, and generally learning to stand still and put up with it until the groomer has decided he’s finished. Dogs who learn this know what to expect, know how to behave, are much more relaxed and have a much more positive experience than those who have to be pinned down, growled at and generally battled every step of the way. ·
- Keep your dog combed and knot free - most dogs who find grooming upsetting do so because they find brushing and combing uncomfortable, even painful. Unless you take your dog to the groomer every week, you must keep his coat free of knots in between visits, so that he does not have to undergo the misery of dematting. Groomers try very hard not to hurt dogs during dematting but it is not entirely possible to avoid discomfort altogether, as several weeks worth of knots will be very tight and hard. Not only is a mat-free dog going to find grooming more comfortable, but he will be groomed much more quickly. Maintaining your dog’s coat between visits requires you to comb him all over, not just the easy bits. Legs, tails and trousers are often neglected, as are armpits, behind the ears, the lower chest and stomach.
- Take your dog to the toilet - a surprising number of dogs poop or pee within half an hour of arriving at the shop. To make your dog more comfortable make a point of knowing he has eliminated completely before bringing him in. We do take dogs out to toilet, but not straight away as they are usually too focused on where mum or dad have gone to concentrate on the matter in hand. By the time they are thinking about it again, they are on the table and well into the groom, with quite some time to wait. If we realise that they need to go, then of course we take them, but we are not familiar with your dog and may miss the signs.
Don’t feed your dog too soon before the appointment If your dog usually has a meal during the day, try to ensure that he eats at least an hourbefore you leave for his appointment, so that he has digested the meal. Car travel, over-excitement and stress can all cause a dog to feel nauseas if he has eaten too recently and it’s not uncommon for excitable or anxious dogs to throw up soon after they arrive at the shop.
- Act cool - when you bring your dog in, don’t make a big fuss of leaving him—this distresses dogs a great deal. Come in happily and confidently, with your dog on lead and walking on his own feet, not being carried (many dogs, even small ones, dislike being carried). When you collect your dog, the same applies—don’t make a big fuss or baby your dog. If you make a big emotional deal out of the whole thing, your dog will too.
Will you be kind to my dog?
At no time should your dog suffer any injury, fright or trauma as a result of any groomer’s handling We have built our reputation on the fact that we treat all dogs with patience, gentleness and respect. The majority of dogs behave very well and rarely need anything more than the occasional quiet reminder about behaviour. Some dogs however do make things very difficult for the groomer. A certain level of co-operation is essential if a dog is to be groomed safely because we are often using very sharp objects around very delicate parts of his anatomy. If he struggles and leaps around the chances of serious injury to him are very high, so to protect the dog and to do what we need to do, we do sometimes need to take a firm line.
How long will it take?
This is always a difficult question to answer! The length of time it takes to groom a dog depends on the state of the coat, the length and thickness of the coat, the behaviour of the dog and the final look that you require.
Some things to take into account are:
- Small dogs often take longer than large dogs - small companion breeds often have long, easily tangled coats and complicated haircuts, whereas the bigger breeds tend to have shorter, more practical coats that don’t require shaping or fancy scissoring.
- Many breeds have deceptively time consuming coats - spaniels are a good example of this. They don’t appear to have a lot of hair but their coats tend to be incredibly thick and clogged with dead hair, they are often matted and they have very thick hair on their feet.
- The more often a dog is groomed, the less time he’ll take.
- Puppies and sick or elderly dogs require more rest time and more coaxing and so may take longer overall.
- Male dogs may take longer than female dogs because they are usually bigger and have more hair.
- Cutting a dog very short is much quicker than just taking a little bit of coat off.A dog that is shaved down short will dry quickly and will not require much combing or scissoring. A dog that is left with any length to its coat will take longer to bath and dry, requires dematting and combing and needs a degree of scissoring to tidy up what coat is left. Clippers have to go under the mats, they can’t go through them, so clipping close to the skin is faster than trying to get clippers through knots and dead hair in order to leave some length.
My dog won’t be knotty - I bath him all the time
One of the biggest myths that seems to circulate among dog owners is that bathing prevents or removes knots. Unfortunately this is not true at all. If you bath your dog while he has tangles in his coat, the combination of warm water, shampoo and rubbing will cause the hair to turn into felt (this is actually how felt is made - hot water, soap and friction!). The more you bath your dog in this condition the worse the felting becomes. At this point the dog will have to be shaved, as the hair can’t be combed out. To avoid this problem, comb your dog out before you bath him and then comb him out again once he is dry. This ensures that there are no tangles to get felted during the bath, and that the coat is freed up again afterwards. There is no easy solution to preventing knots in your dog’s coat - thorough and regular combing is the only option.
Can I leave my dog with you all day?
Yes you can as we also offer a daycare service as well. If you are working, need to do some messages and dont want your doggie left in the car or just want to get some housework done in peace and quite, you are more than welcome to leave your dog with us for the day. If you are bringing your dog into get groomed, we offer ½ price daycare service for the time required. We do require that dogs are de-sexed and are reasonably quiet and well behaved while they are here. Vaccination Cert a must. If your dog barks or whines excessively, is unusually aggressive towards other dogs or generally makes a nuisance of himself, then he will have to be picked up immediately following his groom, but this is rarely an issue. Most dogs seem to enjoy just chilling out and watching everyone else, especially if they don’t see many other dogs or usually spend most of the day on their own. Please note that after the groom, dogs will be crated to be kept clean and tidy until your return, this is usually for very limited time.
What is the difference between “trimming” and “clipping"?
Trimming refers to the use of scissors to shorten, neaten and shape a dog’s coat. Scissor trimming is time consuming and requires a high degree of skill. In a grooming shop it is used primarily to shorten and shape the long hair on a dog’s legs and stomach, to neaten the feet and to shape and tidy the head. It is not generally used on the main part of the body because of the time involved.
Clipping refers to the use of electric clippers to shorten the coat. Clipping is a very quick way to remove excess hair, especially if the final result is to be very short, and a smooth tidy finish can be achieved in a short time and with comparatively less skill. Clippers are generally used to remove matted coats as they can get very close to the skin minimising the risk of nicks and cuts. Clippers can be used all over the dog, depending on the type of result required, but often a combination of clipping and trimming is used, especially on complicated breeds such as bichons and poodles.
Should my dog be clipped?
You should have your dog clipped if:
- His coat is so matted that combing is impractical or impossible
- You like a short, smooth finish
- Your dog’s coat is very thick or long and you don’t wish to spend time combing it.
You should not have your dog clipped if:
- Coat texture and colour are important to you—clipping makes a coat get very thick, woolly, soft and curly and lightens the coat colour. This will happen to any breed other than those with poodle or bichon style coats.
- Your dog is destined to be a show dog—clipping ruins the coat of most breeds and will spoil your dog for the show ring.
- You are clipping your dog simply to keep him cool—clipping a long coat to keep a dog cool is certainly an option, but you should be aware that it is thickness, not length, that causes a dog to overheat. Even clipped coats will become clogged with dead hair, causing the dog to over-heat, so you must continue to comb regularly. You should consider, too, that a natural coat, kept well combed, will insulate the dog against heat as well as cold, so clipping is not necessary if the coat is maintained.