You may think the responsibility of grooming your dog is as simple as dropping them off at the groomer every few weeks for a couple of hours. That is simply not true. An unprepared pet not only makes the groomer’s job more difficult, but can also be traumatic for the pet and cause anxiety. And you want your pet to feel as calm and happy as possible.
Grooming is a team effort, and there are many things you could do at home to make the experience a positive (and safe!) one for all. Here are some things your groomer wishes you knew:
You Can Start Simple Grooming Early
Bringing your pup to the groomer right away, or even performing some simple grooming at home gets them familiar with the grooming experience. The earlier you start, the less resistant they are to the process, as puppies are more adaptable than older dogs.
If you decide to start at home, begin by brushing the fur and teeth regularly, and cleaning ears. Use treats as a reward for good behavior.
A Meet & Greet Is Helpful
We allow and encourage a couple visits to meet your pet and acclimate them to the groomers and the salon. This goes a long way in preventing future anxiety. Call ahead to schedule a few introductory appointments and discuss with the groomer what you do at home to calm your pet. Every bit of insightful information helps!
Brush, Brush, Brush!
The brushing done at a grooming appointment is not enough on its own to prevent matting. Matting pulls the skin and is painful to remove with a brush. This is why it typically requires a shave
If you would like to keep your dog’s beautiful fur in top shape, brush every couple of days. It is important to make sure you are brushing the coat completely, from the roots to the end of the fur. As a bonus, it also reduces shedding which means less vacuuming for you!
Play with Your Pup’s Paws
Nail cutting is especially difficult when your dog does not like the bottoms of its paws touched. Take the opportunity to hold and rub the bottoms of paws, play with their nails, throughout the day, especially if the dog is relaxing, to get them used to the feeling. In addition to making it a more positive experience for both dog and groomer, regular touching and checking of paws helps you keep up on any problems such as ticks or abrasions.
Bathing Your Pet
Pets do not need to be washed as often as we do. Getting a bath every other month when they visit the groomer is enough. If you want to bathe your pet, it is extremely important to make sure they are completely brushed out before and after the bath. Be sure to use a shampoo appropriate for your pet. When rinsing after shampooing, rinse again and again and again to make sure you wash out all of the shampoo.
Your dog can pick up on your anxiety and it will make him nervous. Try to drop-off in a stress-free manner with a light-hearted attitude.
If your dog seems agitated, there is no need for you to stay. Being in sight where your dog cannot get to you will actually make it worse. Know that as soon as you go, your pet will calm down and you will be contacted if there is an issue.
For the same reason, try not to show up early. Call ahead to see if your groomer is running on time or behind before coming for pick-up, so they can successfully complete the job.
Be Clear about What You Want
Requesting “just a trim” or “a puppy cut” leaves so much up to interpretation, and you may not like the results. When requesting a cut, use specific length measurements. If you are going for a specific style, bring some picture examples.
If you are not sure what style or cut will be best for your pet, ask your groomer for suggestions. They are very experienced in what works best for certain breeds.
Trust Your Groomer
Qualified groomers have completed years of training and experience working with a variety of breeds and temperaments. They are very familiar with what cuts and care work best for different dogs. You may not agree with what your groomer suggests, but listen and take their experience into consideration when making decisions
Your groomer is also familiar with every inch of your dog. They can be your front line in identifying problems early. If your groomer notices something “off” and suggests a vet visit, it would be wise to schedule one.
Keep Up on Grooming Visits
A dog needs a full groom every 4-8 weeks to look their best. Grooming this often will help prevent matting and nail overgrowth, and will keep your pup used to the groomers and the grooming process.
Professional Dog Grooming in Potomac, MD
At Falls Road Veterinary Hospital, our trained grooming professionals will have your dog looking its best! Every dog grooming appointment includes a thorough bath, brush out, and nail clipping. Ear plucking, nail dremel, anal gland expression and teeth brushing are available upon request. You will have direct communication with your specific groomer to better serve you and your pet. Schedule your next grooming appointment!