Professional Grooming – Not Just for Puffy Pooches

Some more information about grooming.

Professional Grooming – Not Just for Puffy Pooches

By Janice Biniok

(This article was published on, Jan. 2003)

When you think of professional dog grooming, do you think of bouffant Poodles, silky Shih Tzus or dapper Schnauzers? If you think professional dog grooming applies only to certain breeds, here’s good news for you: any dog can benefit from a professional grooming, even dogs with low-maintenance coats! And there are plenty of advantages for their owners as well.
Consider the problem of trying to fit your Boxer in the kitchen sink for a bath, or worse yet, moving him to the bathroom tub just to have him scratch up the fiberglass or chip the porcelain! Afterwards, you discover you’re wetter than the dog. And when you take him outside to dry, he immediately rolls in the dirt to dry himself off (sigh).

No Mess, No Fuss
One of the main reasons people consider professional grooming for their low-maintenance breed dogs is because they don’t want the mess in the house, according to Veronica Foster, veteran groomer and instructor for the Wisconsin School of Professional Pet Grooming in Pewaukee, WI.

“We do get quite a few low-maintenance breeds to groom,” says Foster. “Shepherd mixes and Lab mixes are the most common.”

The benefits of professional grooming are clear to Becky Bauer and Bill Krause of West Allis, WI, owners of Shadow, a Labrador, and Magnum, a Shepherd-Doberman mix. “Less back strain,” Bauer says. “And you don’t have to fight with them. When Bill clips Magnum’s nails, Magnum will jerk his foot. We don’t have to deal with any of that.”

Professional Results
It’s also difficult to duplicate the results of a professional grooming at home. With the huge selection of grooming products and tools available, professional groomers are more familiar with which products to use for different coat types to achieve the best results.

“People say they try to bathe at home and it just doesn’t come out the same,” says Foster. “We have better control of the dog because they’re tied with a noose in the tub, which enables us to get more shampoo on them. If they need to be washed twice, they can be washed twice.

“We have a wind machine that blows the dead coat out as well as dries the dog and stimulates the skin. Average customers would never have a dryer that costs $600. And if you wash the dog twice and blow the coat out, it looks different and feels different.”

The drying and brushing process is especially effective during shedding season, as professional groomers can remove more dead hair than is possible by brushing alone. A groomer will also clean your dog’s ears, clip his nails, and finish the job off by trimming any scraggly hairs to give your dog a more attractive appearance.

Benefits for Hunting Breeds
Hunting dog owners need not worry that bathing will remove the waterproof qualities in their dogs’ coats. “That’s a fallacy,” says Foster. “The way the shampoos are made, that’s really not a concern.

“Actually, if you have a hunting breed, you would be more likely to bring him in to have him washed professionally because dogs get into water that is rancid or stagnant and then fungus starts to grow.

“I really encourage the people with hunting breeds to come in and have their dogs done,” says Foster, who owns a Labrador Retriever herself. “It doesn’t upset the Ph balance in their coats in the least.”

Health Benefits
Professional grooming can provide an excellent form of preventative health care. During the course of their work, groomers go over every inch of a dog, which helps them notice any problems of which they can inform the dog’s owner, such as cracked or sore feet, ear infections and parasites. Since dogs often do not show obvious symptoms of a problem until it has already become critical, an inspection by an observant groomer is a valuable benefit.

“It’s not that we diagnose,” Foster says, “because we do not do that. We go over their bodies and notice if there’s a lump or bump that doesn’t belong on the dog. We’ve caught things like joints that are not quite correct. When we see abnormal things, we refer the owners to a veterinarian.”

Regular ear inspection and cleaning can reduce the chance of ear infections and regular nail trimming can avoid problems with the feet and legs. Flea and tick control not only eliminates the discomforts associated with these pests, but helps avoid bacterial infections caused by them or diseases transmitted by them.

Tailored Services
In addition to these benefits, grooming shops are often willing to tailor their services to meet your or your dog’s needs. A flea dip can be applied during flea season, conditioner can be applied to tame unmanageable hair, and special effects like hair coloring can be applied for special occasions. You don’t have to opt for the nail polish and hair bows if they don’t suit your (or your dog’s) image.

“If Shadow’s allergies are kicking up, she’ll get a medicated bath,” says Bauer of her Labrador who suffers from pyaderma, a skin condition. “The groomer will give her a dip and let her soak.”

Not all groomers attend the same grooming school or offer the same services, so you will need to check around for available services and pursue the ones that interest you.

It Makes Dogs Feel Good!
The most obvious benefit of professional grooming is reflected in the attitude of the dogs. A professional grooming for dogs often has the same effect as a day at the salon for people; dogs seem to feel absolutely wonderful afterward! Perhaps they realize how great they look, or maybe a couple hours of primping is a stimulating experience. Regardless, it’s obvious that a professional grooming makes dogs feel good.

“They strut when they come home,” says Bauer. “They think they’re the prettiest things on the planet.”

“I think they feel better and I think they appreciate the attention the groomers give them,” says Foster. “People are more likely to hold and pet them when they’re clean, whereas I think people have a tendency to push them away when they’re dirty. It’s a natural thing for a human to be more receptive to their pet when it’s clean, and the dog knows it.”

So if find yourself reluctant to let your dog on the couch or bed, or if you’ve been avoiding petting your dog because you end up with a wads of hair in your hand, maybe now is the time to consider a trip to the professional groomer. You and your dog will both feel better for it.


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