Q. How frequently should I have
my dog groomed?
A. It depends on the breed of your dog, his lifestyle
and on how you want him to look and smell. While it’s true
that a clean animal is a healthier one, excessive bathing can dry
out the skin and strip it of its natural oils. Generally speaking,
short-coated dogs with no skin conditions can go six to eight weeks
between baths unless they have gotten into something dirty or smelly.
Longer-coated dogs should be groomed every four to six weeks to
ensure their hair doesn’t get matted and isn’t harboring
insects or hidding skin conditions. Of course, certain haircut dogs
should be groomed more often than others to maintain their appearance.
Q. Should I have my dog groomed
less in the winter?
A. Actually, because of the affects of salt and
snow on the animal’s body, in general more frequent groomings
are called for in the winter.
Q. Why does my dog sometimes
“scoot” his rear on the floor?
A. Most likely, he’s attempting to express
his anal glands. It’s time to see your groomer or your veterinarian
to have the waste fluid squeezed out. This could also be the manifestation
of worms and should be checked by your veterinarian.
Q. What are anal glands and
why do you “express” them?
A. Anal glands are sacks located just below a dog’s
tail that collect a fluid from the animal’s body. Historically,
the excretion of bulky feces pressed against the anal sack during
defecation and resulted in a natural squeezing out of the waste
liquid during elimination. However with more complete absorption
of modern pet foods and correspondingly smaller stools, the anal
sack is often not pressed during bowel movements and so periodically
needs assistance from humans to “express” or squeeze
the over-full sack to remove this fluid. This is an especially putrid
liquid so we recommend leaving this task to the groomer, or in severe
cases, to your veterinarian.
Q. Why does my dog shake his
head after grooming?
A. As part of the grooming process we clean the
ears and pluck hair from the ear opening (unless the owner asks
us not to do so) to allow air to flow more freely into the ear to
keep it dry. After cleaning and removal of the ear hair, the dog
sometimes has a tickling sensation and shaking his head is the dog’s
way of responding to the tickle.
Q. Is it true that dogs can
get ear infections from water entering their ear canals during bathing?
A. Water in a dog’s ear canal can predispose
it to infection. This is why we place cotton balls in the ear openings
prior to bathing to block water from entering the ear, and then
remove the cotton and clean the ears following the bath. However,
most ear infections in dogs are caused from issues having nothing
to do with water exposure during grooming. Floppy-eared dogs tend
to have more ear problems than upright-eared dogs because air exchange
is restricted by their ear flaps and an unhealthy amount of humidity
will result which can create an environment for infection.
Q. Is there any reason I should I have my cat groomed?
A. In general, cats do a good job at grooming themselves,
but there’re a number of reasons for grooming a cat. Some
longer-haired cats tend to get matted and require professional brushing
or dematting to prevent it from worsening. In more severe cases,
brushing alone is too little too late and the cat has to be stripped
down for comfort. Some cats get fleas or soil themselves so need
professional cleaning. Some long-haired cats are prone to hair build
up in their stomachs (“hairballs”) from self-grooming
and professional brushing can remove “dead hair” to
minimize these hairballs. And some cats are given “lion cuts”
in the summer to keep them feeling and looking cool.
Q. Can you do anything about
what appears to be dandruff on my pet?
A. We treat dandruff on pets with a shampoo developed
for that purpose so we can reduce the symptoms. However, there’s
an underlying cause for dandruff such as diet or a skin disorder
for which you should see your veterinarian for a course of treatment.
Q. How do you get rid of fleas
or ticks from my pet?
A. We remove individual ticks with tweezers. If
fleas are suspected, we examine the body for “flea dirt”
(dry blood that looks like sand grains) with a flea comb. If either
is found, we then apply an organic flea/tick shampoo derived from
chrysanthemum flower heads that paralyzes the insects, then shampoo
thoroughly to remove any remaining, stunned/deceased fleas or ticks.
You’ll then have to “fog” and vacuum your home,
car, weekend place, bedding, carpets etc. to eradicate and remove
any insects or their eggs lying in wait for your pet to come home
to start the cycle all over again.
Q. My pet has tangled, matted
hair and the more I bath him, the worse it gets. Why is this and
what can A Cut Above do about it?
A. Mats and tangles occur naturally, more so in
some breeds with longer, finer hair. Regular (sometimes daily) brushing
is required to prevent their build-up. Unfortunately, bathing without
removing tangles first, results in a snowballing effect whereby
the tangles turn to mats and get increasingly larger and tighter
over time. Sometimes we can “de-mat” your pet to save
the coat, but often the mats are so established they have to be
shaved or cut out. De-matting is uncomfortable for your pet and
is inherently dangerous because the de-matting process requires
the use of razor-sharp tools. Take advantage of our free brush-outs
to avoid matting in the first place.
Q. When should I first have
my puppy groomed?
A. We wouldn’t accept a puppy for grooming
prior to completion of initial vaccinations (usually about 15-16
weeks old). Initially we’d suggest the grooming be brief,
trimming the hair around the eyes, paws and anus only. The objective
is to have the experience be a positive one at the outset so your
pet looks forward to each future grooming experience for a lifetime.
Be unemotional when you drop him off and give him a lot of praise
when you pick him so you don’t telegraph anxiety at the outset
and show pleasure at the end of the experience.
Q. If I bring you a perfectly
healthy pet will you guarantee he will not be injured or become
ill during or after grooming?
A. We wish we could give such a guarantee but we
cannot. Pets are living creatures that may have unknown or undetectable,
underlying conditions that can manifest themselves during the course
of, or following grooming. Also, pets may move unexpectedly, and
of course, grooming tools are of necessity, sharp instruments that
can inadvertently cause an injury.