Grooming is an essential part of any dog’s regular health care regimen. Whether it’s a simple bath and brush on a lab mix, or a neat and tidy terrier trim, dogs look and feel better after their groom.

And let’s face it… they smell better too!

Some people prefer to take care of the important necessities, like bathing and nail trims, at home. Some people can’t. And some people just don’t want to. Bathing a dog can be hard, messy work. So can trimming the nails of a stubborn, fussy pooch. Having the proper tools makes things easier. For example, here at Dog Day Afternoon we have raised tubs, tables with hydraulic lifts, hydro-surge bathing, forced air dryers, and a professional grade shedding treatment called FURminator. Plus, pets are like children–they often behave better with strangers than they do with their parents, so the little ‘tricks’ that they do to get out of having their nails clipped at home won’t work here. It’s no wonder so many pet owners opt for the convenience and expertise of their local groomers!

Dogs that require haircuts, especially breed specific trims, are the most likely to need professional attention. Even a simple shave down can be dangerous when the clippers are in the hands of a well-meaning but amateur owner-gone-stylist; blades can overheat and burn your dog, or errant folds of skin, invisible to the untrained eye, can get nicked. Not to mention, your dog may come out of the ordeal unharmed, but the end result might not be pretty. Nobody wants their beloved pet looking like it got into a fierce battle with a hedge trimmer, blindfolded!

Here are a few tips to make your trip to the groomer easier for everyone:

  • If your dog has a long coat, keeping it brushed at home is ideal to prevent matting. When the mats are too severe to comfortably remove, the groomer may have no choice but to shave your dog.
  • Likewise, unless you regularly take your dog to the groomer every four to six weeks, where their nails will be trimmed as part of their grooming routine, it is best to keep up with nail trims at home. Because the quick (the blood supply inside the nail) grows with the nail, it takes a long time for overgrown nails to be cut back to a comfortable length. Cutting the quick in a dog’s nails in uncomfortable and it bleeds excessively. Proper nail maintenance is especially important in older dogs, whose lower activity levels allow for quicker nail growth. Nails that are too long can cause problems with joints and impede proper movement.
  • FYI: At Dog Day Afternoon we are happy to do nail trims even without an appointment!
  • First time to a pet salon, or trying out a new groomer? Make sure the facilities are clean and well lit, the kennels are adequately sized, and the groomers are both compassionate and knowledgable. A typical groom will take approximately three or four hours, but depending on the line-up of breeds and temperaments a groomer has scheduled on a given day, this may vary from time to time.
  • Carry your dog, or keep him leashed, upon arriving to his appointment. Even if your dog is sweet and obedient, there may be other dogs inside who may be less than friendly. When going to the groomer or to the vet, it is best to use a standard leash, not a retractable lead–which limits your control over your pooch and can easily become tangled with other dogs, peoples’ ankles, and any other number of things.
  • Let your groomer know of any recent health issues or injuries. Likewise, a good groomer will let you know at pick up time if your dog was behaving uncharacteristically or if an unfamiliar growth, infection, or any other such abnormality was detected during grooming. This is one of many reasons to have a regular groomer, someone who will become familiar with your dog and someone who your dog will recognize and trust.
  • Know that is it natural for some dogs to act nervous or afraid at the groomer, especially if they are simply nervous or afraid by nature. Some dogs just aren’t as fond of their beauty regimen as others!
  • If your dog is a nervous nelly when you are checking them in for their appointment, keep in mind that a long, sympathetic goodbye will only make things worse. A quick, confident, happy departure sends a message to your dog that there is nothing to be afraid of. Usually, once the front door closes and the owner is out of sight, dogs stop protesting and trot right to their kennels. Like we said, just like children!