We are often skeptical about leaving our fur babies in the hands of a stranger, simply due to the fact that we want the best care for them-and let’s be honest, we don’t think anyone will care for our babies as well as we do! Holley-Paws in the City’s head groomer-is going to share a behind the scenes glimpse of what we often encounter on a day to day basis in the grooming area of Paws in the City.
Wisdom from Holley....
Often customers ask “why do I have to come so often” and “why does it cost so much to get my dog groomed?” The answer to these questions has three components: condition of dogs coat, often dogs don’t love baths and haircuts, and you get what you pay for. Let’s talk about each of these individually.
Condition of dogs coat:
Let’s talk about matting! What are mats? Matted hair is a painful condition most commonly seen in dogs (and cats) with long coats. The condition is caused by tangled knots, or "mats," which cause discomfort and lead to health risks. In addition to causing discomfort, these knots can become some serious problems for dogs. They can cause bacterial infections as they trap moisture and cause damage to the skin, and fleas and ticks love to hide under mats. Mats are heavy and blood doesn’t circulate properly when fur is matted. Matting can get so extreme and the affected area can become so infected that surgery is needed to remove dead skin cells. Even if your baby seems like mats don’t bother them, they are painful! Sounds miserable right?!
So what can you do to avoid putting your dog in this situation? Getting on a regular grooming schedule helps tremendously. A regular schedule ranges from visits between every 4 to 6 weeks depending on your dogs coat. Maintaining the coat of your fur baby is very important as it avoids matting, keeps the coat looking healthy and smelling good, and potential health problems can be caught early as well! (This includes skin problems such as ticks, fleas and dry patches, tumors/growths, or issues with their nails, teeth, ears, and eyes such as infection or inflammation) It isn’t always necessary to get a full hair cut at every visit, depending on the breed and how much coat maintenance is done at home. In between a full groom, a visit for a fur trim, bath, brush and nail trim can be very effective in maintaining your babies coat. However, if you were to go this route you should definitely schedule a full groom for the next appointment, so there’s a good balance between the two.
So what happens when you drop your dog off, and you come back to a dog that doesn’t look like you imagined? As your groomer, my goal is to make sure your fur baby is leaving the salon and my care happy, healthy, and smelling pretty, but that doesn’t always mean that you as a pet owner will be 100% satisfied with the way they look. Some examples of circumstances that a customer wasn’t completely satisfied when they came to pick up their dog: A customer says “I’d really like to keep Fluffy’s ears left long, so please don’t shave them.” After I begin the groom, Fluffy has mats that I am unable to brush out. Think of getting a big wad of bubble gum stuck in your hair and trying to brush it out. This is what Fluffy has in her ears. We cannot reason with Fluffy and tell her it will be better if she just sits still for an hour to get her ears brushed out. I wouldn’t do that for the gum in my own hair. I’d cut it out and go on with my day. Fluffy deserves the same kindness. So Fluffys ears get shaved because this is what’s best for her. As a groomer who cares very deeply for each one of your fur babies as if they were my own, I cannot let your dog leave knowing that they are in pain and will continue to be in pain due to mats. Mats are extremely painful to your dogs, even if they don’t always appear to be in distress. So if you come to pick up your pup and Fluffy doesn’t like look you imagined, it’s not that I don’t listen, trust me when I say I do whatever I can to make my clients happy, but sometimes it’s just not possible or in the best interest of your baby. Humanity over vanity is a groomers motto. Remember Fluffy doesn’t care what she looks like, she just wants to be feel good!
Dogs don’t always love bathtime!
Your babies aren’t always so happy to see me and that can make grooming very challenging! Fluffy cannot understand that bathtime will be over soon, and she just has to sit still for a few minutes. Often grooming takes extra helpers to make Fluffy comfortable, but more importantly, to make sure that everyone involved (human and fur baby) is as safe as we bathe and groom. I can’t speak for all groomers, but I know that I would not be able to live with myself if anything horrific happened to your babies under my care. We do everything within our power to make the grooming experience pleasant and even fun for your pup. This means breaks, going slow, using extra people to support the groomer.
You get what you pay for:
I’ve been grooming for several years and I cannot tell you how many times people have come from big box store groomers, or tried to groom their dog themselves, and asked me to fix their dogs haircut! Dogs have come in with cuts, bruises, razor burn, etc. all from groomers who were going to fast or tried to groom at home with no experience. These bad experiences lead to anxiety in your pup. We have helped many dogs overcome a bad grooming experience, but this takes a lot of time, patience, and many positive grooming experiences to overcome the bad.
Finally, from Pinterest, here are the top 10 reasons it costs more to get Fluffy groomed than get your haircut!
10. Your hairdresser doesn’t wash and clean your rear end or express your anal glands
9. You don’t go 8 weeks with out washing your hair
8. Your hairdresser doesn’t give you a sanitary trim
7. Your hairdresser doesn’t clean your ears
6. Your hairdresser doesn’t remove the boogies from your eyes
5. You sit still for your hairdresser
4. Your haircut doesn’t include a manicure or pedicure
3. Your hairdresser only cuts the hair on your head
2. You don’t bite or scratch your hairdresser
1. The likelihood of you pooping on your hairdresser is slim