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Common Grooming Questions


What is included with a bath?

Our basic bath is the Bath and Biscuit Package. This includes shampoo, conditioning, cleaning of their ears, expression of the anal glands as needed, and clipping and/or filing their nails. Your dog also receives an organic peanut butter bone treat to take home with him.

What is an ear pluck?

Some curly and longer haired dogs get hair in their ear canals. This hair has to be removed to prevent wax build-up and infections.

Does it hurt to have their ears plucked?

It may be somewhat uncomfortable for the dogs but our groomers use a powder that makes the hair brittle and break off rather than pulling it out at the root. Some groomers just pull it out without using ear powder, which may be a little more uncomfortable but it would still be akin to pulling out a hair on your head. Problems can arise if you do not remove this hair in the ears so it is better to risk a little discomfort in the short term rather than create bigger problems later.

What is a "puppy cut"?

A puppy cut is a term that was originally derived from grooming poodles but that is now used for all breeds of dogs. It simply means that you want their hair to be the same length all over. You still get to determine the length of the hair. As a result, two dogs of the same breed with a puppy cut may look different depending on how long the hair is left all over. The majority of our customers like to keep their dogs in such a cut but we will still need you to let us know your preferences in order to try to meet your specific needs. Simply telling the groomer that you want a "puppy cut" is not specific.

Can you groom my dog "the same as last time"?

We do maintain records for each dog that we groom where we note the length of the blades used and other technical information that will enable a cut to be repeated. Additionally, our groomers are experienced enough where they can often look at the cut and see how it was done previously, even though it has grown out. That said, we may not record every detail of a groom so if you have specific requirements, please let us know. Also, each groomer has their own personal style and may have slight differences in their approach. Some err towards keeping a dog shorter, whereas others err on the longer side. We tend to err on the longer side because you can always take more off - but you cannot glue it back on! We also typically do not cut the length of hair on the ears unless you specifically ask for it, and we do not "shave" the potty area because it can cause irritation. If ever you come to pick up your dog and want a little more taken off in any area, please do not hesitate to ask the groomer to do so. We do not mind. Additionally, if you come back within 24 hours we are always happy to "tweak" a haircut without any additional charges. You just may have a different groomer here when you come back the next day.

You are not going to "shave" my dog are you?

"Shave" is the most mis-used term in the dog grooming world. A "shave" is akin to a surgical prep that would be undertaken prior to any type of invasive veterinary procedure. We have never had the need to use this close of a "shave" on a dog that came in for grooming at our spa. If a dog does present with severe matting or tangles, the only humane option available - and the only option that we allow our groomers to do - is to cut the dog's hair very short. Most people refer to this as a "shave" even though they would still have one eighth to one quarter inch of hair on the body. If one of our groomers decides that this is the best course of action for your dog, either on the entire body or in specific areas, we will still call you and give you the opportunity to pick your dog up and seek a second opinion rather than having him "shaved".

In our experience, most people get the same response elsewhere if they choose to get a second opinion. In fact, if you don't get this feedback, you should beware because any groomer willing to dematt a severely matted dog is willing to put it through a long, painful and dangerous process. Your dog's skin can be cut or even pulled to the point where it breaks the skin, and there will be significant redness and irritation to the skin - both during and after the groom. But more importantly, it will hurt your dog. Our policy will not allow us to sacrifice a dog's comfort in order for an owner to have an aesthetically pleasing haircut.

Even "shaving" a dog that is severely matted creates more of an opportunity for minor injuries such as razor burn or nicks from the clippers, and it may also cause some discomfort for the dog. As a result, we may need to allow additional time to go slowly and be more careful. If this occurs, you will be charged for the additional time required - and may be asked to reschedule to a date when we have more time to devote to your dog. In severe cases, we may also recommend that you take your dog to a veterinary clinic that has the ability to provide sedatives, or even use general anesthesia so that the dog is calm and still and less likely to be injured.

Is the shampoo that you use in the spa tear-free?

There is a facial scrub that is a component of the line that we use in our spa. This is not only a good product for use in removing tear stains, it also is tearless and can be used for general cleansing on the face. Whenever we bathe a dog, we use this facial scrub on their faces and the other shampoo on the rest of their bodies. Our groomers have tried the facial scrub in their own eyes to confirm that it does not burn their eyes.

Do you express the anal glands?

Our bathers/groomers are all capable of expressing anal glands and check glands for any dog that is bathed at our spa. This is included in all of our bathing and grooming packages with no additional charge. If the glands need expression, the groomers will take care of them using an external approach unless you SPECIFICALLY ask them not to because your dog has had issues with the glands in the past. We try to alert you if the glands were extremely full so that you can have them expressed more often, or if it appears that they may be impacted. In these cases, you may need to take your dog to have a vet perform an internal expression or address any problems.

Do you cut the dog's nails?

All dogs that are bathed or groomed at our spa have their nails checked. This is included in all of our bathing and grooming packages with no additional charge. If they are too long, we will typically cut them, and then file them to smooth out any ragged edges. In some cases, a dog hates having their nails cut but tolerates the file, or vice versa, so we may only use one of these techniques. We take every precaution not to cut the nail too short, causing it to bleed, but occasionally, this does happen with dogs that have very long "quicks", or the living part of the nail that is filled with blood. If this applies to your dog, you can attempt to train the quick back by cutting or filing the nails a very small amount on a more frequent schedule, or walking them on concrete surfaces, which act as a natural nail file. Our policy does not allow us to cut a dog's nails to the point where it bleeds just because they still seem too long to the dog's owner.

Can I bring my dog in just for a nail clip without getting a whole bath?

Yes. We do offer pawdicures "a la carte". We do not schedule appointments for this service but you can stop by and ask to be worked in for a nail clip. You may have to wait until the groomer reaches a stopping point with their current client.

Can I bring my dog in to be groomed without having a bath?

As a rule, we do not groom a dog without accompanying it with a bath. This is because the hair doesn't lay the same dirty as clean and often a bath is required to fully assess the condition of the hair and skin, and identify any matting. Additionally, our groomers take pride in making sure that every dog that walks out of our door is a reflection of their talents. We will address situations with special circumstances - such as where the health of the dog is at risk - on a case by case basis. If we do decide to accommodate your request, the cost of the grooming will not reflect and decrease as a result of eliminating the bath.

Can I bring my own shampoo for you to use when you bathe my dog?

We are happy to use any product that you provide as long as it is formulated for dogs and does not include soap. The most common request is for us to use special shampoo for dogs with skin issues. We are happy to use your product but we do have a high quality, soap free option that includes Oatmeal and Lavender for dogs with itchy or dry skin. We also have a product formulated for dogs needing additional moisture, a special de-shedding shampoo for use with the Furminator Treatment and even a whitening shampoo for white dogs. In fact, our products are so popular that many of our customers choose to purchase the same items for use at home between professional baths/grooms.

My dog has food allergies and cannot have treats when he is in for grooming. Is that a problem?

Because we give each dog personalized, undivided attention when they are here, we are happy to adjust our usual approach when needed for reasons such as allergies. We have some customers who choose to bring their own treats for us to use while the dogs are here, and others who simply tell us not to give their dogs any treats. We note these preferences on their client card and review it with you each time you come in. Please be assured though that we use the same high quality treats with dogs that visit as spa as those we sell in our store. We NEVER sell or give out a treat unless it is free of artificial colors, preservatives and additives. We also have a preference for human grade and organic ingredients. Since the most common culprits for allergies in dogs are wheat, corn and soy, we try to use treats in our spa that are free of these ingredients and have been known to use single ingredient treats whenever possible.

How often should I have my dog groomed?

Every dog is different so this really depends on the kind of dog that you have and nature of its coat. Also, your preferences regarding how long or how tidy you want to keep your dog play a role. Most dogs that require grooming come in for grooming every 4 - 6 weeks. Long-haired breeds come in more frequently due to the fact that their hair is more likely to tangle, and become soiled from eating, using the bathroom and other aspects of everyday life. We also find that some dogs grow faster in the warmer months. Short haired dogs can go longer between baths but many still keep to a 4-6 week schedule to keep them smelling fresh and to reduce shedding. For dogs that shed profusely, we recommend a bath and Furminator treatment each season at minimum but some may need more frequent attention. We do not recommend bathing - either at home or with us - any more frequently than once a week because it can be drying for their skin and coat. Your groomer can help you determine the best schedule for your dog based upon your specific needs.

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