Basic Grooming Techniques

Grooming is more than a bath and haircut. Pets have other maintenance needs which can vary based on their breed, coat type or age. Through a grooming consultation your pet’s grooming needs can be assessed. Typically the groomer will get to know your dog and his or her lifestyle. They will discuss any sensitivities and assess the condition of your pet looking for matting, shedding, tartar on teeth, condition of their coat and skin, and evaluating any crust on eyes and build up on their ears. A thorough consultation will help you, as the pet parent, and the groomer determine the best services to keep your pet healthy.

There are many options for a pet beyond a haircut – anal gland expression, Shedicures, nail trimming or grinding, teeth brushing, hand stripping, facial scrubs, and a handful of different shampoos to help specific conditions. If you are unfamiliar with the options and what they can do for your pet, we’ve put together this helpful list.

Anal Gland Expression

What are the anal glands in dogs and cats?

Animals, like dogs and cats, have two small pouches, located on either side of the anus, at approximately four o’clock and eight o’clock positions. The walls of the sac are lined with a large number of sweat glands that produce a foul smelling liquid.

What happens when they expresses their glands?

The purpose of a dog of cat expressing their glands is to create this liquid that has a unique smell as a way for the animal to “mark its territory”. Some can involuntarily express when they are fearful or become stressed.

Why would a dog or cat need to have their anal glands expressed manually?

Some pets need help expressing these glands as they can become impacted, painful, or uncomfortable. Signs of this include:

Signs of Impacted Anal Glands and when to Express Anal Glands for Professional Grooming

Do all dogs and cats need this?

Many pets can go their lifetime without any anal gland issues. Not all need an expression and it can vary dog to dog. It is more common in small dogs need it as their gland area is much smaller.

Can my groomer help with anal gland expression?

Groomers are recommended to only do external gland expression. Some anal gland issues may need to be expressed internally if severely impacted. In those instances, a vet would be recommended.

 

Shedicure

What is a Shedicure?

Most dog breeds have different types of hair on their bodies: 1) the topcoat or primary hair, 2) the undercoat or secondary hair, and whiskers. The undercoat, as the name indicates, is the part of a dog’s coat that is closest to their skin and under the topcoat. The main function of the undercoat is for insulation to keep your dog warm in the winter and cool in the summer. Throughout the seasons, a dog will shed to accommodate the weather and new hair growth. It is important to address the removal of both the undercoat and topcoat. The Shedicure is a de-shedding process that helps remove a dog’s undercoat.

Double Coated Dog Breeds, shedding and how to de-shed.

How is a Shedicure different from brushing?

A Shedicure helps any impacted hair loosen and come off the dog especially in the undercoat. Brushing will only remove a minimal amount of the top layer of undercoat. By removing shedding hair in the undercoat you are preventing matting and other issues from creeping up.

When do you recommend getting a Shedicure?

A Shedicure is great for any dog experiencing a lot of shedding that may be noticeable if there are clumps of fur stuck in the coat. It is also recommended for those double coated dog breeds.

Are there particular breeds that are good candidates for a Shedicure?

Yes! Akitas, Huskies, German Shepherds, Pomeranians, or any of the double coated dogs both large and small. Here is a link to the double coated breeds by the AKC.

Is this beneficial to non-double coated breeds?

While the Shedicure is primarily for the double coated dogs, it can also benefit single coats as it helps remove the dead coat that may be stuck in the dog’s fur.

 

Nail Trim & Nail Grind

What are the parts of a dog or cat’s nail?

Cat and dog toenails are made of keratin, just like human nails. They are oval; wider at the toe and narrower as they grow out. Inside each nail is the quick, a highly sensitive bundle of nerves and blood vessels. If the quick is cut or injured then it will bleed

Parts of a Dog or Cat's nail

Why should I trim or grind my pet’s nails?

If nails are long enough to touch the floor they will eventually push back against a dog’s toes. This puts pressure against the other structures of the paws. As the nail grows longer it can cause the toes to push apart and deform the feet. This is painful for your pet and may prevent them from being able to play, run or even walk.

What is the difference between the nail trimming and nail grinding?

Both options are effective ways of keeping your pet’s nails short. Nail trimming with leave the nails sharp and pointed on the sides, but is a less noisy option. Nail grinding will make the nails smooth and blunt, but may not be suitable to a dog who is afraid of noises.

 When do you recommend one versus the other?

Nail grinding is usually recommended as the nail gets shorter to the quick as there is a bit more accuracy and control to it.

 How often should I shorten my pet’s nails?

The frequency of nail clipping or grinding depends on how long the dog’s nails are. In an ideal condition every 3-4 weeks would be best or when you start hearing the “tick” of your dogs nails on the floor.

 What else should I know about this?

Nail grinding is ideal for older customers and those with small children as it helps soften the pet’s nail and prevents injury if the pet is prone to jumping.

 

Teeth Brushing

Cat and Dog Teeth Brushing. How to brush a pet's teeth

Why should you brush your pet’s teeth?

When a pet’s teeth gets coated in plaque and tartar their gums will get inflamed. This can lead to tooth loss. Receding gums, caused by periodontal disease, can permit bacteria access to the bloodstream which can lead to infections. Teeth brushing is the most effective tool in decreasing plaque buildup before it becomes tartar.

When is teeth brushing recommended?

You should brush your pet’s teeth on an on-going basis as part of general maintenance. It is extremely important for a pet that has minor tartar build up on their teeth or just had a dental cleaning done.

Should this be done in a grooming salon versus at home?

Ideally teeth brushing should be done both at home and in a grooming salon. For those who may not be comfortable with brushing their pet’s teeth, a groomer is a great resource to provide guidance.

How often should you brush your pet’s teeth?

Ideally you should brush your pet’s teeth at least once per week.

Anything else?

Teeth brushing is ideal when a home schedule is followed as well. It can help with freshen up a pet’s breath when done frequently.

 

Hand Stripping

What is hand stripping?

Hand stripping is the process of excess dead topcoat, without clipping. It leaves room for the new coat to grow and gives a more natural look. The process keeps the dog’s coat tidy and healthy, leaving it strong and shiny.

When would this be recommended?

Hand stripping is the correct way to groom a wired coat breed. Hand stripping mimics how a dog’s coat would be maintained in the wild and will keep the proper breed look.

Are there types of breeds that benefit from this?

Hand stripping is more about the coat type then the breed. Dogs with wire coats like terriers as well as hound and toy breeds that are hand stripped for the show ring.

What else do I need to know about hand stripping?

Hand stripping is a long process and can take multiple visits to achieve the desired look. Some breeds require hand stripping as a breed standard over clipping the back for show.

 

 

Shampoos 

Does it matter what type of shampoo I use on my dog?

Like humans, a pet’s skin and coat can differ based on many factors. There are many types of shampoos available to meet your pet’s needs. These shampoos can cleanse your dog’s coat of germs and insects, and add nutrients and vitamins to keep it healthy. The type of shampoo, used on your pup, depends on his needs. Here are some of the differences among these different products and what they can do for your dog:

 Dog and Cat Shampoo Types and When to Use Them

Are there specific issues that a dog can have that would require a specific type of shampoo?

Each shampoo is formulated to aid a specific condition. Your groomer will assess your pet’s coat and skin, prior to a groom, to determine the best shampoo for your pet.

Is there anything else I need to know about choosing the right shampoo for my pup?

Each dog is unique along with their coat and skin needs. Finding the proper shampoo, designed to meet your pup’s needs, will make him feel his best and contribute to a healthier pup. Sometimes it may require a combination of shampoos to get the best overall outcome for your dog.

Facial Scrub

What is a facial scrub and what does it do?

This gentle scrub is pH balanced to exfoliate and remove dirt, tear, and food stains. It is made with plant derived ingredients that are safe to use on your dog’s face and chin. And it smells great!

When is this recommended for a pup?

Usually this is recommended for dogs that “cry” excessively or to in order to give a dog a pamper session. The blueberry facial is a key player in helping clean a pup’s face.

Anything else I need to know about facial scrubs?

If used frequently the blueberry facial can help reduce the tear staining commonly seen in breeds like the Shih-Tzus and Poodles.

Are there any other grooming add-on services that should be highlighted?

Paw pad and nose creams are great to know about – especially for the winter season. These help to soften and hydrate the paw pads and noses for pups. It is beneficial especially if you notice cracking or roughness on your dog’s paws.

Conclusion on Grooming Services

Grooming your pet means that you are maintaining your pet’s health. It is more than just a bath and a haircut and can tend to your pet’s teeth, coat, skin, nail and many more needs. Each pet is different and certain breeds may require other services more than others. Your professional groomer will assess your pet’s needs as part of your pet’s FREE initial consultation at Best Friends Pet Hotel.

Contributing Author:
Bobbi-Jo Bouchard has worked in the pet industry for over 15 years. She started out as a pet bather and moved onto grooming. She currently leads the Springdale Best Friends Doggy Daycare & Spa as the Center Manager. She has had a least one dog in her life at a time. Currently she has 4 (Roxas – Siberian Husky/German Shepherd, Axel – Cocker Spaniel, Shiva – Chihuahua mix, and Lexy – Whippet). Her heart and passion will always be with animals!

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