Pet pampering – where to go to get that much needed hair cut

31 Jan

Depending on what breed of dog you have, there will probably come a time where you consider taking it to a groomer, but, how to you chose where to go?

You might think it would be as simple as popping down the road and into the nearest groomers to your house, but you should probably dig a little deeper and do your research.

Story time with Solomon the Shih Tzu:

A few days ago i had a text from my friend who was panicking and angry at the same time. After picking Shih Tzu puppy Solomon up from the groomers, she found an injury on her leg. After being taken to the vets, the poor little boy was given three staples to help close the wound. How did this accident happen? We don’t know. What we do know, is that the groomer should have admitted to having an accident (whether they were in the wrong or it was a simple mistake as a result of a wriggly puppy) and explained that he should be popped to the vets to be checked over. What happened was that the groomer neither mentioned it, nor would admit to having caused the injury.

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I would also like to point out, that this groomer was recommended to my friend by family and friends, that they were qualified and experienced.I wish i could name and shame this groomer, but it isn’t really my place to do so, instead i will just give you some pointers on what to look out for. Needless to say, Solomon wont be taken back there, and they are also going to be losing other clients.

This being said, you will be happy to know that little Solomon is healing nicely and is on the mend!

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Story 2: Cocker Spaniel “burnt to death”

This was a recent story that was in the news last year. The Cocker Spaniel was bathed and then left to dry inside a home made drying cage for twenty minutes. This cage was steel, fixed to a heater and then covered in tarpaulin. This is the perfect example of the need for correct equipment but also supervision. The poor dog suffered from serious burns and internal injuries, and later had to be put to sleep.

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The research/what you need to look out for:

Qualifications and experience: Yes, you should check that the groomer has qualifications and experience. A groomer that is able to prove that they are qualified and has a fair amount of experience is a good start. However, just because they have some certificates hanging on the wall doesn’t necessarily mean that they are all that great of a groomer. Having a certificate doesn’t mean that you are patient and dedicated to the well-being of an animal, does it?

Reputation: The majority of groomers will gain most of their clients through recommendations. Ask around through family and friends if they know of a reputable and trustworthy groomer who they know does a good job. You can even check on social media networks such as Facebook or forums. Look out for reviews online, it is often here that you will find out if the groomer isn’t all they are cracked up to be.

Customer service: A good groomer will want you to be happy. This means giving a good service from beginning to end. They should be willing to show you a portfolio, talk you through their procedure and the different types of cut that are suitable for different breeds. From my research, i have noticed the odd groomer to appear to give the same sort of cut no matter what the breed. A Golden retriever having a similar hair do to a Shih Tzu… that’s a little odd, don’t you think? As i mentioned with Solomon’s story, it is important that if a mistake, no matter how small is made, that they inform you about it.

Your groomer should also be more than happy to show you the correct way of brushing your dog. This would not only be for the dogs own well-being, but also because ultimately it makes their job easier. It isn’t easy to groom a dog that is well and truly matted and can result in problems during the grooming process.

Equipment: Ask the groomer to show you what shampoos and any other treatments they use. Have a look at the ingredients label. A good groomer will use good quality products, nothing that is likely to cause any allergies or irritations.

Ask how the dog is restrained during the grooming procedure. From what i have researched it shouldn’t really take any more than a lead. However at this particular groomers they seem to use one lead around the neck and another restraint looped beneath the dogs hips and tied to a pole from the ceiling. I’m no expert, but my research suggests that a groomer should (most of the time) be able to control and groom the dog with very little restraint. Whilst i understand that it might sometimes be necessary to use extra restraint, some of these pictures looked to be too tight and the dogs were in what looked to be uncomfortable/unnatural positions.

The example of the Spaniel that burnt to death really shows how important it is to check up on what equipment and methods are used. Is a hair dryer used? Are the dogs put in a crate? If they are, will they be supervised?

Questions to ask:

1. How many years experience does the groomer have, and how long have they been in business?

2. Do they have a particular breed that they are more experienced with?

3. What types of services are available and at what price?

4.What happens in the case of a medical emergency?

For more information you can check out these links:

http://intellidogs.com/blog/good-grooming/

http://petcareclub.com/articles/grooming_care/choosing_dog_groomer.php

http://www.raisingspot.com/health-care/choosing-dog-groomer

http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/04/17/cocker-spaniel-burned-to-death-after-dog-groomer-left-her-in-drying-cage-pictures_n_1431473.html

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