Being beautiful is a vain trait of humans alone, especially since animals don’t worry about such trivial matters. However, being and feeling clean is something that is shared by both people and animals.
For today’s “Random Musing”, Animal Culture‘s author, Kalie Lyn, shares with us the world of pet grooming, and how it truly benefits our pets.
Working in the pet grooming industry as a bather and groomer for the past year, I have seen my fair share of bad hair days (and I’m not talking about my own, which is usually an everyday occurrence). I have worked with breeds from tiny little Yorkshire Terriers to gigantic Newfoundlands, all with different attitudes, hair types, and problems. Needless to say, I have seen it all, and it usually goes something like this.
The Heaven Sent:
This is the dog who feels like it was literally sent from heaven to give you some much-needed relief in an otherwise hectic job. Aside from short-haired dogs – such as Labs, Boxers, Beagles, etc., which are automatically heaven sent since they require little work – these are the long-haired dogs that have been well brushed at home, so much so that the comb slides right through their coat like butter. Of course, however, these lovelies come through as often as Hailey’s Comet. But you better believe that when they do, they and their parents get a huge round of applause from us groomers.
These are the dogs that have the groomer on their monthly calendar. They enter in good shape, with maybe a few knots here and there, but nothing that can’t be easily brushed out without yanking on their skin. Their pet parents usually bring them in every few weeks, and brush them at least once a week at home between grooming visits. Just like a bartender, groomers know the names and personalities of all their regulars.
The liar isn’t the dog, it’s the parent. “I brush Tootsie every day at home,” they’ll say. LIAR! You can spot a “Heaven Sent” the second that dog walks into the salon, but the “Liar” takes some feeling. The liar’s dog will look brushed at first glance, but once the groomer starts to feel the dog the lies start to unravel. There are no knots or tangles because they have evolved into full-blown mats. This type of matting is usually tight, thick, and to the skin, and occurs in places that the pet parent doesn’t think to brush – the legs, stomach, chest, and behind the ears, all places that are prone to matting. Usually, in cases like this, the matting is too bad to get out without hurting the dog, especially in the sensitive areas listed above. A call to the pet parent must be made letting them know that their dog will probably have to be shaved. And most likely, that pet parent will stick to their lie, stating again they brush their dog on a daily basis. The pet parents are important to groomers, as they are the ones who pay the bills, but the dog is the number one priority. When a dog is badly matted, a groomer will insist on shaving until the pet parent finally lets up and agrees. However, in some cases, a dog must go home as it came in because putting the dog through hours of intense de-matting, in sensitive areas, is painful and stressful. Eventually though, the liar usually confesses, and the clippers come out.
It’s no joke when I say this is the dog who looks like it literally survived the apocalypse. I have seen this only a couple of times in my career, and thank god. There is no questioning the pet parent – trust me, they know – and there is no calling them. The clippers come out immediately and start shaving. In cases like this, the hair doesn’t fall off in pieces. It falls off in one giant matted clump, looking like an already knitted scarf or sweater. And, it’s no laughing matter for either the dog or the groomer. Shaving out mats that are that deep, mats that are pressed on the skin, can become very dangerous. Besides paying close attention as to not cut the skin, nicking sores that have formed from the moisture trapped in the matted fur is also something to watch out for. When seeing a dog like this, many thoughts go through your mind: Were they homeless? Are they abused? What is wrong with the people? There will never be a good explanation for a dog that has to suffer like that, with fur that is so matted they can’t walk, see out of their eyes, or use the bathroom properly. And though the dog may not be being hit or kicked, neglecting a dog to that level is still abuse.
So, how important is grooming for your dog? Very important!
Grooming isn’t just brushing or giving a dog a hair cut, grooming also consists of flea and tick checks during the bath, cutting the nails so they aren’t overgrown, and plucking ear hair that can cause ear infections.
It also helps socialize your dog with other people and pets, and the more your dog goes the groomer, the less they will hate it. Never give the excuse, “Oh, but my dog is scared of the groomers.” No, he’s scared because you’re scared. Once a dog leaves the arms of their pet parents, they enter an environment where dogs come first. Groomers are there to love, care for, and create a relaxed experience for your beloved pooch. We are trained to work with different breeds and personalities, and know what to do to keep pets calm and happy.
Another thing to keep in mind is, just like ours, hair grows back! If your groomer tells you your dog needs to be shaved, let them. Trust me, we’re not all shave-happy. Shaving takes time, patience, and focus, but the reason we suggest it is usually because of severe matting. It benefits your dog and you.
So, take a trip to your local groomer and treat your beloved family pet to some beautifying TLC. And remember, just like you tip your own hairdresser, tip your dog’s hairdresser too!
*Note: The article above was written by © Kalie Lyn, 2014*