A mat is a tangle of hair or fur, which can be small or large, and can be found anywhere on a pet that has not been brushed and combed regularly (see "how often should I brush my pet" FAQ for prevention). When a mat is left on the pet, it collects more hair, dirt, skin oil, dander, static, etc. and grows and tightens, pulls at the skin, making the pet very uncomfortable, and will eventually be ripped away from the skin, sometimes taking the skin with it, if the pet gets the mat caught on something. The skin underneath the mat cannot breathe and will retain moisture and bacteria. Raw spots (hot spots) can form under mats. Abscessed wounds, mold, and maggots can also be hidden under mats....as can thorns and fishing hooks as I, myself, have found in pet hair. The matting process speeds up rapidly when the pet gets wet from a bath (see "can I bathe my pet between grooming" FAQ) or from being out in the rain and is left to "air dry" without being brushed and combed. A pet should be fully brushed AND combed over every inch of its body before it is allowed to get wet, and it needs to be hand-dried and brushed AND combed as it dries, to prevent mats from forming.
No pet should EVER have to live like this.
Generally speaking, most dogs and cats should have their nails trimmed monthly to keep them at whatever length they currently are. If they are too long and continually touch the ground (which they should not, at all), then shrinking the nail back will be required until they no longer touch the ground. If the nails grow too long, they will begin to twist the toes making walking uncomfortable, even painful. It can eventually lead to early arthritis in your pet's feet because of how the position of the toes change from the nails being too long. Consider it like wearing shoes two sizes too small.
Curlier nails like the dewclaws and nails on pugs and cats will curl back around and stick themselves into the pads of the toes causing bleeding and infection. Long nails are especially difficult to maintain because the quick, or blood vessel and nerves, will grow with the nail and make the groomer unable to clip the nails as short as they need to be. When a nail is trimmed, the quick recedes to protect itself from exposure. Short term weekly or every other week nail trimming will be needed shrink the nail to a more healthy length. If your groomer is unable to trim your pet's nails due to your pet's difficult behavior, you may need to have your pet sedated by a vet to have its nails done.
Cats require nail trimming every 4-6 weeks, depending on how fast they grow and how fast the older nail sheath breaks off. Older cats need careful attention because they don't claw at scratching posts as often, so the older nail sheaths don't break off and can cause the cats discomfort as they continue to get thicker and thicker. Overgrown nails in cats are especially prone to curling back into their toe pads, for this reason. Scratching posts do NOT file their nails down, as many believe. They simply help to break off the old sheaths, leaving a VERY sharp nail underneath.
De-clawing cats is an incredibly inhumane option. It is not merely taking the nails off of the cats; it is cutting off the entire first digit of their toes, which is precisely the part of the feet they walk on. Doing so causes them not only physical trauma, but emotional trauma, as well, since they now have to learn to walk on a different part of their bodies. As a result, they develop terrible arthritis in their feet. Imagine losing the first digits of all of your toes and having to deal with the resulting pain and difficulty of learning how to walk without them. Your balance and way of walking has now completely changed.
If your dog is frequently walked on cement sidewalks or run a lot on grass, nail trimming may not even be a requirement. Cement does a great job at filing the nails for you, but be sure to check them weekly so you know if the nails are being kept adequately short. Be aware that neither cement nor dirt will file down the dew claws or "thumbs" of any dog. They do not touch the ground to be filed.
Quicking a nail is when a nail is trimmed to the point of making it bleed. Inside of a pet's nail are blood vessels and nerves. For dogs (or cats) with clear nails, the blood vessel is more easily seen and avoided, though not entirely. The vessel comes to a point where the nail has become opaque, so the tip of it cannot be accurately identified. For dogs with black nails, the blood vessel is completely hidden from view and quicking can happen more easily; even with the most experienced groomers and vet staff. Quicking a nail is comparable to receiving a paper cut, both of which can be minor or severe. Some dogs react highly, while others don't even notice that it happened. If a nail is slightly quicked, the bleeding can easily be stopped by using a styptic powder. If none is available, flour can be used, or scraping a bar of soap against the nail. If the nail is severely quicked, the a visit to the vet will be needed to pad it and stop the bleeding.
Highly excitable dogs can actually quick their own nails by scratching them down to the blood vessel. Dogs can also break their nails and expose the quick.
It depends on the type of hair involved. Regular brushing helps to de-shed, as well as bring out the natural oils of the skin to keep the skin and coat shiny and healthy. Brushing also promotes the regrowth of new hair. A very short-haired dog may only need brushing once a week with a rubber curry comb, but a short-haired dog with a thick undercoat may need brushing several times a week to keep the loose hair from taking over your house. A dog with hair that requires continual trimming will need to be brushed AND combed every single day to prevent painful mats from forming all over its body. Not just lightly brushing the top of the body, but every single inch of the body, from top to bottom, front to back, inside to outside.
Only using a slicker or pin brush for a long haired dog will only get the small amount of hair on the top layer of the coat. It may not catch the hair that lies closer to the skin. A comb will get all the way down to the skin level where most mats form, unseen. You could brush your dog all day and never find a single mat that lies undetected, continually growing. A comb will tell you instantly where the mats are; both because they catch the mats and stick, and because your dog is likely to react to having its skin pulled from the mat.
Mats form the quickest wherever there is friction...all around the ears and face, in the armpits, all around the belly and chest, the inner thighs, the back of the thighs around the feet where it walks in wet grass...pretty much everywhere that is not the top of the back. Those are the areas that pets least like to be brushed, but they are the most important areas to keep behind.
Long-haired dogs are high maintenance and they require a lot of time and training to tolerate grooming to maintain their health.
***If you cannot run a comb through every inch of your pet's body, you are not done brushing it.
You don't leave your hair untouched for your stylist to fix, so why should your groomer have to deal with the painful process (painful yanking on the skin for the dog, repetitive motion injury to the groomer, as well as increased risk of being bitten) of de-matting your dog?
Dog owners will frequently stop brushing if their dog shows any sign of discomfort or dislike of the brushing. The dog will quickly connect their wiggling or screaming or biting to their parents stopping the brushing attempt. It becomes a worsening bad habit of the dog, so the owners will stop brushing it, altogether. That makes it difficult for your groomer to work with the dog if it has already made a strong opinion of not wanting to be groomed.
***Allowing your dogs to make their own decisions on what they like or dislike leads to behavior problems that negatively affect, not only you and your family members, but also the wider community: neighbors walking their own dogs, other dogs at dog parks, veterinarians and their staff, and groomers.
Dogs that behave poorly on the grooming table are more likely to be passed from groomer to groomer due to safety concerns on the groomer's part, with the pet's behavior worsening over time, and may ultimately be so aggressive or anxiety-filled that they will need to be sedated completely by a vet in order to be groomed. It is a very expensive process, and frequent anesthesia is hard and unsafe for the pet's body.
The best way to prevent behavior problems with your pets, regarding grooming, is to train them well and early to be tolerant of grooming sessions. They have to learn that they don't always get what they want. It is a required part of their life and YOUR life. It's not the dog's fault that it was born with long hair, but it is the one that has to deal with being yanked on and de-matted when not taken care of properly. And the groomers are the ones at risk of being bitten because the dogs were never taught to be patient with the grooming process.
It is not the vet or groomer's job to train your dog. It is yours.
If your dog starts fighting while being brushed, quietly talk to it and KEEP gently brushing the hair (not the skin) until it stands quietly. The moment it does, stop immediately and praise it for standing quietly. Go back to brushing and keep brushing until it shows a second of quietness and stop again and praise.
Most dogs can eventually learn that giving the people what they want first gives them what they want faster.
NEVER tell your dog "be a good boy or girl" while they are showing bad behavior. They are not humans; they don't comprehend "be a" or bribery. They only hear the "good boy/girl", which means you are actually REINFORCING their bad behavior. ONLY praise for GOOD behavior.
It depends on several factors:
-All pets need frequent nail trimming to prevent early arthritis in their feet.
-How often do you like to vacuum?
-How often do you like smelling a stinky dog?
-How quickly does your long-haired dog or cat get matted?
Short-haired dogs may only need a full grooming a few times a year to keep you happy (except for the nails, which need frequent care), but a medium to long-haired dog with hair that needs frequent trimming will need grooming every 4-6 weeks, depending on your own coat maintenance abilities at home. For dogs that continually shed, frequent grooming helps to keep the forever shedding coats from filling your house and choking your vacuums.
The service is provided straight through, one pet at a time. With this method, grooming services for smaller dogs are usually 75-120 min., each.
"Nail trimming only" services are 5 min. or less.
That is left to owner discretion, but over-bathing can led to drying of the skin and coat, depending on the shampoo used. Typically, the pet may only need one bath in between its 4-6 week grooming cycles. Be sure to brush AND comb your long-haired pets before the bath to remove any mats, and after the bath while you are actively drying your pet. Existing mats will tighten like a wool sweater and will grow much faster, leading to more pain for your dog down the road.
DO NOT let them "air dry" after the bath. They need to be hand-dried with a dryer and brushed AND combed while they are drying to prevent matting. As soon as they roll around, mats will quickly re-form in the wet hair.
Grooming appointments are only available to pets under 35 lbs.
"Nail trimming only" appointments are available for large and small.
Anal sacs or glands are two small internal glands that sit on either side of a dog's anus. They generally empty on their own when a dog defecates, but some dogs are unable to empty their glands on their own, so need to have them emptied for them. Signs that your dog needs to have its anal glands emptied are scooting their butts on the floor frequently or constantly licking at their anus. Anal gland expression is not available with every groomer. Some do not prefer to offer the service and advise a visit to the vet's to have it done. The vet's internal method of expression is more thorough and generally safer than a groomer's external method, though both are successful options. I, personally, consider it to be a veterinary procedure so do not offer the service.
I do not offer teeth brushing or cleaning as a service because, like with us, their teeth need to be brushed daily for it to be effective. Cleaning them once every month or 2 will not prevent tarter buildup.
A single pregnant flea can silently cause a massive infestation within just a couple of months, so to prevent fleas from quietly populating the grooming van and affecting all of my clients, I require flea infested pets be treated before their grooming appointment.
If you put a metal box in the sun, it becomes an oven. If you put a metal box with clear windows in the sun, it becomes an oven much faster. Like with all vehicles, the windows are tinted to keep a lot of the sun's heat from coming into the truck and overheating it. There is a powerful AC unit in the truck, but it works more efficiently with less heat coming through the tinted windows.