On this page I will provide you with information on different thing associated with your dog and grooming. This will range from matting to fleas to ear cleaning and everything in between. I will update and add to this often and if there is anything you'd like info on let me know! Though do remember that if your pet is having a medical issue it is always best to contact your vet clinic to make an appointment.

How often should my dog be groomed?

This is a very common question and the answer varies for a few reasons, it is always easiest for me to accurately answer this question once i have met your dog and we've decided on a hair style and length but here are some ranges.

Hair cut wise non shedding breeds can go anywhere from 4-12 weeks in between grooms depending on the length at which you'd like to keep their hair as well as how often you are (truthfully) combing and brushing at home. The longer you'd like to keep their coat and the less you are brushing and combing at home the more often they need to come. Its really that simple, if you are keeping their hair nice and short and are keeping up with brushing them at home you can easily go 12 weeks in between grooms with no problems.

Shedding dogs such as retrievers, boxers, pugs, hounds etc can usually go 3-4 months between grooms (i recommend doing a groom at each season change) but you will notice more of a difference with things like shedding if you have them done more often (around every 2 months).

Heavy double coated breeds such as huskies and malamutes should also be done every 2-3 months, but you should also be brushing at home to prevent any matting.

Again the best way to determine a grooming schedule for your dog is to talk to me in person so we can figure out what will work best for you and your schedule.

Why is it so important to have my dog's nails trimmed regularly?

There are many reasons why it is important to regularly trim and care for your dog's nails. Not only does improper care cause health problems for the dog, it also causes problems for you and your belongings. Proper dog nail care helps to prevent a number of potential problems, which include:

• Ingrown toenails – causing redness, swelling, and discharge having a potent odour

• Sore feet and legs

• Joint pain, can alter gait, and cause tendon and ligament damage

• Discomfort when walking

• Scratches to you, your furniture, and floors

• Punctures to soft floor coverings such as linoleum and vinyl

• Picking and tearing of furniture fabric, carpet, and rugs

I recommend that your dog's nails be trimmed once a month. Nail trimmings are included in all the spaw packages at Sarah's Doggie Day Spaw.

My dog is matted, but I don't want his hair shaved...what now? 

Matting in dogs is far more common than any groomer (or dog professional) would like it to be, and a lot of times owners don't realize the dangers it can cause and and just how uncomfortable it can be for their dog, so here is a bit of info for you. The need to remove matted hair is a necessity. When a coat becomes tangled beyond the ability to brush or comb through it, the most humane method to deal with it is to shave off the matted hair. Shaving may seem severe, but it is the fastest and least stressful/painful way to groom a matted pet.

Matted coats can cause the following problems:

*Skin irritation caused by dirt, dander, mold and parasites trapped under matted hair.

*Sores and hair loss: As mats get tighter, they eventually limit motion and pull out of the skin, causing bald spots and sore skin. In severe cases, maggots can infest skin sores. The matting is constantly pulling on the skin as the dog moves making it very painful and uncomfortable eventually limiting blood circulation to the skin.

It is not uncommon to find pre-existing conditions such as hot spots, sores, and other skin issues once the matted coat is removed. There is also a chance that your pet's skin may become irritated from being clipped so close. When a pet is matted in order to shave it off effectively and painlessly you have to shave under the matted coat which often means the dog's hair will be left very short.  

I am often asked (or pleaded with) to not shave their dog's hair off. Sometimes people become very upset about having to have their dog's hair shaved off, but i am telling you that sometimes this is the ONLY option. In a severely matted dog even if i were to brush out the matts what I would effectively be doing it ripping the matts out, resulting in a lot of bald spots and skin that is far worse off as well as a dog who may never enjoy being groomed again, and may actually be fearful of it from then on. So here at Sarah's Doggie Day Spaw "brushing out" a matted dog is simply not an option. The hair will grow back and your dog will feel a million times better with all that matting gone.

Just to give you an idea of what matting looks like as it is being shaved off here is a picture (found on the web, not from a dog I was grooming).

I have heard you mention anal glands, but what does that mean?

Groomers Process

After shaving and trimming the hair around the dogs rectum I assess whether or not the anal glands need expressing. The anal gland sacs just inside the dog's rectum are the size and shape of a medium-sized grape. The glands release stinky fluid upon defecation or when an animal is terrified or stressed, though some dogs have trouble doing this on their own and therefor need some help. I then perform the expression by palpating the glands from the outside while the dog is in the tub, with a water source ready to flush the contents down the drain. If the problem is not too severe, the fluid comes out. It takes a lot of trial and error and expertise to get the glands fully expressed. One word of caution: A groomer should never attempt to express anal glands in the presence of infection or serious impaction. This is not a service offered by all groomers.

The Vet's Process

If impacted anal glands become a chronic problem for your dog, you may elect to take your pooch to the vet every time the glands become inflamed. When the glands are infected or inflamed or when the dog is especially fractious or fearful, the vet or tech expresses the anal glands with a slightly different and more invasive technique. He inserts a lubricated, gloved finger into the anus about one-half inch. After locating the anal glands on each side, he depresses one gland at a time and draws his finger forward, emptying the contents into a paper towel pressed against the dog’s rear end.

This quickly clears out the room along with the anal gland since it is so effective and the fluid isn't flushed away immediately. The scent of the product of anal glands is unmistakable and lingering. Groomers have not been fully trained to perform invasive procedures and will not undertake such a dangerous feat.

My dog's ears are dirty, how do i clean them?

Your dog’s ear is more L-shaped than ours, and debris loves to collect at the corner of the L.

To remove this debris, squirt a good quality ear cleaner into your dog’s ear canal. (**I recommend "UBA VET" brand ear cleaner which can be purchased at the local vet clinics**)

Ear cleaners should NOT contain alcohol and should NOT sting.

Massage the base of the ear for 20-30 seconds to soften and release the debris. Wipe out the loose debris and excess fluid with a cotton ball or pad.

Repeat this procedure until you see no more debris.

Depending on your dog’s ear condition, you may have to start out doing this twice a day.

Cotton applicator swabs can be used to clean the inside of the ear flap and the part of the ear canal you can see, ONLY don’t shove the Qtip down the canal.

They should NOT be used farther down in the ear canal since that tends to pack debris in the ear canal, rather than removing it.

Some ear problems are so painful; the dog must be anaesthetized to do a good job of cleaning the ears.

You may find your dog does not like to have his ears cleaned because it is uncomfortable.

Talking to him during the process, stopping momentarily to give him a treat if he is doing well (we do not want to reward fussiness!) and doing something fun afterwards may all help.

After the ear is clean, let the dog shake his head and allow some time for the ears to dry.

Then you can apply any ear medication that was prescribed.

Preventing ear disease

The key to healthy ears is to keep them clean. Check your dog’s ears weekly. A

Slight amount of waxy buildup may be present in normal ears. If your dog swims a lot, has pendulous ears, or a history of ear disease, routine cleaning (often once to three times per week) is recommended.

Use the same procedure as described above.

Excess hair around the ear can be clipped/plucked to allow more air flow. Treat any underlying condition that predisposes your dog to ear problems.

Remember, if your dog is showing severe discomfort, the ears have a bad smell, or the ear canals look very abnormal; do not delay in contacting your veterinarian.

Ear cleaning is included in any of the spaw packages here at Sarah's Doggie Day Spaw and I will inform you if i think your dog has any ear trouble that should be seen by your veterinarian.

I'm thinking of shaving my shedding breed dog, is this a good idea?

While I will shave shedding breeds if that is what the owner wants or your vet recommends, here are some things to consider and be educated on before choosing to go this route.  

Shaving won't really cool the dog, in fact it may make things worse and it WON'T stop the Dog from shedding.

1. No top coat (guard hair), means NO PROTECTION from ultra violet rays. (Sunburn, heat stroke)

2. No undercoat (less dense during summer months) means NO INSULATION

from heat. (Would you remove the insulation in your house come summer time?)

3. Naked dog = easy target for Ticks, Flies, Mosquitoes, Wasps, Hornets, etc.

4. A shaved coat may not always grow back in the way it should, and could conceivably take YEARS to grow back properly. In "some" cases, it NEVER grows back.

5. Every time a double-coated dog is shaved, the new coat can come in thicker than the time before.

6. They shed for a reason, that's one of the ways they regulate their body temperature.

Canines cool themselves through the groin, pads of their feet, and by panting – they DON'T sweat like humans do.

To help a dog stay cool, make sure the dog has plenty of shade, water, a kiddies wading pool filled with fresh cool water works very well too!

There are cases when the dog is so matted that this is the only option (see info above re: matted dogs).

Ask me for a grooming style that can help you maintain ease of care for your fur kid, I can help!