Keeping a Regular Grooming ScheduleLike all good groomers, we recommend sticking to a regular grooming schedule. For most breeds, this would be every 6-8 weeks.
Many people wait as long as possible before getting their dog groomed, typically because they are trying to save money.
This can be problematic for a number of reasons:
MattingMany breeds tend to become matted very easily. This is especially true if they get wet, and even more true if they are not brushed regularly. Mats can be very uncomfortable even when the dog walks or moves around. Oftentimes, the owner is not even aware that the hair is matted, because they are only seeing and brushing the top coat - but it is the undercoat that is full of tangles. When they finally come in for their appointment, the refrain is very familiar: "Mats? What mats? Just take a little off. I don't want him to be too short."
The groomer faces two choices at this point, both of which are not very ideal:
- Demat the fur. This sounds logical, and if there are just a few small mats, this option may be OK. However, dematting involves pulling a comb through the tangled hair. For most dogs who are matted, this would be too painful - it is against our policy to cause undue or excessive pain to a dog. It is also very laborious and can easily double the time spent on the grooming appointment, leading to a higher fee. Even if it's possible, it can be a very uncomfortable experience for the dog, which we do not want.
- Shave or go very short. If the groomer determines that dematting would be too painful or not otherwise possible, her best and most realistic option is typically to cut the matted hair very short. Sometimes this even involves shaving the hair, if the mats are too close to the skin. It's not like we're alone in this assessment - take him to any good groomer, and they will probably tell you the same thing. Now the refrain changes to "Shave? What do you mean shave? But he'll look ridiculous! Plus, it's cold outside." Trust us, we don't disagree on these points (except the part about looking ridiculous), and take no pleasure in this option.
If the dog needs to be shaved, or even "spot-shaved," matting can also cause the following issues:
- Razor burn, if your dog's underlying skin is very sensitive (see the "Skin Conditions" section below)
- Minor cuts and abrasions, which are due to the electric clippers pulling at your dog's skin
- Unevenness. This could occur if an area needed to be spot-shaved, or because an area of fur is not fluffing up like the rest of the hair, and may be harder to judge how even it is during the groom.
Skin ConditionsSkin conditions can form under your dog's fur without you being aware of them, especially if she is matted, oxygen can't reach the skin very easily, and/or there is the buildup of bacteria. If you're on a regular schedule, these issues are much less likely to occur, and if they are present, she will likely detect them much earlier.
NailsIf you wait too long to trim your dog's nails, the vein inside each nail (also known as the 'quick') will grow out to the edge. If this occurs, the nails will bleed when trimmed and it can be somewhat painful for the dog. The customer might be tempted to blame the groomer for this bleeding, but this would be be quite unfair, especially because with black nails it is very difficult to tell where the quick is located. In order to avoid this problem, you need to trim your dog's nails regularly because each time you do, the veins will recede.
Dull CoatWhen a dog's coat is not washed, shampooed, dried, and brushed regularly, the coat can become dull and lifeless. When on a regular grooming schedule, it will be much shinier and healthier-looking. You will be amazed at the difference, and you are sure to receive compliments from others when going on walks.
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