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.