Having worked in a pet grooming salon, I see a variety of dogs in various unkempt conditions, which I feel the need to address. Generally, when it comes to the grooming needs of dogs, many people will have their dogs groomed on a regular basis either to maintain a certain look of the breed or to clear up skin conditions.
Some people only bring their dogs in to be groomed once or twice a year for a shave down regardless of the breed. What I see a lot, are people who own a certain breed that should be groomed on a regular basis, like every 4-6 weeks, and instead of keeping appointments or maintaining the grooming at home, they wait months between visits and let their dogs condition go so far out of hand before bringing them in. Dogs come in matted to the skin, nails painfully over grown and ear infections.
First I have to say, don’t own a high maintenance dog if you are not willing or able to provide the necessary grooming. There are many different low maintenance breeds of dogs that make great pets with minimal grooming needs. Even if you have a high maintenance dog that you have groomed on a regular basis, you should also care for the dogs grooming needs at home in between visits instead of bringing in a mess for the groomer to fix up.
My most major complaint that I see in 4 out of 10 dogs, is dirty ears, infections and overgrown nails. Dogs with floppy ears are more prone to ear infections than those with perky ears, because the closed ear is blocking in moisture and dirt. Dirty ears can easily lead to infection and ear infections are very painful.
Dog owners need to examine their pets ears. The ear should be nice and pink, not red, crusty, bloody, or lined with brown or black goo. The ears are not going to clean themselves and bringing the dog to the groomer every 4-6 weeks is no remedy. The dogs owner must check the ears and if necessary, clean them out at home on a regular basis to prevent infection.
There is a variety of ear cleanser available at PetSmart and PetCo that can be used safely with the use of some cotton balls and Q-Tips. If the ear is red, inflamed or crusty, these are signs of infection, then you would need to see your vet for medication.
My second biggest complaint is the overgrown nails. There is no reason any dogs nails should be overgrown by an inch past the blood vessel. Overgrown nails are painful to walk on and they can get snagged and broken or ripped off. If the nails are overgrown for an extended amount of time, the toes can become deformed. Some people aren’t comfortable clipping their dogs nails and that’s fine, any groom shop will clip the nails for you with minimal to no waiting. Grooming isn’t just about the dogs hair and style, it’s about the overall health of the dog.
The bottom line is, maintain your dogs health and appearance at home and in between grooming appointments. Pay close attention to the ears and nails and the dogs overall condition. The goal is to prevent pain, discomfort and unnecessary vet bills by assuming responsibility for your own dog.