FAQs that will help you better understand what goes on in a grooming studio.

Q: Why should I groom my dog?

A:There are many benefits to grooming your dog. As well as aerating the coat and ensuring healthy growth, brushing promotes good blood circulation. Grooming helps to keep grease levels down — a build-up of grease in a dog’s coat can block pores and cause sebaceous cysts. Most dogs live indoors and so moult quicker and more often than their wild counterparts, causing the loose hairs to become matted. If not brushed out regularly, they form into heavy wads which can drag the skin down, causing soreness and skin complaints. Grooming is also the perfect opportunity for you to check your dog over to ensure he’s healthy.

Giving him a once-over also enables you to check for any balls of matted fur between his paw pads, which can sometimes become hard with dirt and grease, causing discomfort. On an emotional level, grooming reduces stress in both parties, helping dog and owner to relax and build up a close bond. When you groom your dog regularly — start when he’s a pup to get him used to the procedure — you’ll get to know him better, both physically and mentally.

Q: At what age is it best to start grooming a puppy?

A: Many puppy parents make the mistake of waiting until their pups are 6 months of age or older before taking them for grooming. But the general rule of thumb is that they should be no more than 16 weeks old, as younger pups are easier to train and get accustomed to the grooming table and procedures. 

Q: Why do times vary for the collection of pets?

A: Grooming times vary from breed to breed. Smaller dogs can be groomer quicker than larger dogs

Although an appointment schedule is applied, grooming can take longer with new puppies, older dogs and also aggressive, therefore we have to calm and relax the dog. 

Q: My dog’s nails were not cut very short?

A: Dogs have a sensitive blood vessel in their nail called quicks. in their nails, If cut too short this can cause profuse bleeding and pain. Nails are trimmed as short as they can naturally go so none of the above happens! Dogs can also get extremely stressed or become aggressive during this procedure, therefore we have to stop for the safety of both  your dog and the groomer, should this become too stressful we will stop and you will be advised to contact your vet.

Q: Can I get my dog groomed whilst she is in heat?

A: Generally, she will experience her first heat between six months and a year in age, and thereafter about every six months. 

Menses (the bleeding during heat) lasts about three weeks. Grooming your dog during this time is really no different than grooming at any other time. However we will take extra care during this time.

Q: Will there be other dogs at the studio?

A: As we operate a 1 on 1 service, your pet will be the only dog here at one time (unless you have 2 dogs needing grooming), this will allow us to give them our full attention and care and minimise stress [we do NOT crate dogs unless it is necessary for safety]

Q: Aggressive dogs... will you still groom them?

A: Unfortunately No we won't, however please if your dog has some extra care requirements, is a little more nervous than usual yes we will. Sometimes it will be necessary to muzzle a dog for its own safety and the safety of the groomer, this technique will not in any way harm your pet, however if the dog becomes extremely stressed the groom will be terminated and you will be contacted immediately. Normally there is an extra charge for handling aggressive pets on top of the usual charge.

Q: Anal glands/Anal sacks - The consequence of trying to fix something that isn’t broken… [we do NOT offer this service]

A: Your dog has two little sacs (the anal glands) that sit at about 4 o’clock and 8 o’clock under the skin to the side of the anus. The sacs are each connected to the anal passage by a tiny duct. These delicate sebaceous glands contain pheromones suspended in a very smelly liquid. Although not at all pleasant to you and me this liquid contains a lot of biochemical information that dogs use to effectively communicate with one another. We all give our dogs the same disgruntled look when we catch them having a good sniff at another dog’s poop on our walks but your dog is catching up on his or her version of canine social media, checking out ‘who’s who’. As your dog poops, the faeces expand the colon and gives the anal glands a gentle squeeze and a little bit of stinky secretion is deposited onto their poo awaiting the arrival of another dog who takes an inquisitive sniff to catch up on all the latest news regarding your dog. 

So, this exchange of biochemical information has been going on for thousands of years without the need for veterinary or a dog 

groomers assisting hand, but health issues regarding these little glands are often the biggest subject in the grooming salon, why? In the early, old school days, of dog grooming and as dogs became ‘family members’, it was considered routine to express the anal glands to empty them of that offensively smelly liquid that nobody wanted to notice in and around the home. But when you try to fix something that isn’t broken there are consequences. In the case of anal gland expression, the consequence’s are unnecessary trauma to the delicate tissues of the glands and the muscle surrounding them. The routine expression or squeezing of the anal glands, that would normally be working just fine, become swollen, irritated and inflamed causing the ducts to close. This is where the problem becomes a major issue for you and your dog. With the anal glands producing more biochemical fluid and no way of releasing it into the anal passage the glands may become painfully impacted and infected. Regular expression of the anal glands when completely unnecessary also causes the loss of muscle tone impacting on the normal function of the anal glands.

We at DSGS hope that this explains why your dog groomer should not be routinely expressing anal glands. A professionally qualified dog groomer should be well aware of this. It is the responsibility of your veterinarian to determine what may have gone wrong with this usually natural process. There may be underlying inflammatory issues or gastrointestinal conditions that your veterinarian can identify and is capable of recognising. Only they may help alleviate the issue with medically trained expertise applying the correct amount of pressure that will not cause further trauma and in the event that your vet determines that the anal glands are working normally and not too full, they should be left alone.

As we mentioned earlier the natural process of releasing a tiny bit of fluid from the anal glands is assisted by faeces expanding the colon and giving the anal glands a gentle squeeze. For this to happen the faeces needs to be firm. If you are feeding your dog a biologically appropriate diet and your dog is fit and well they should be producing a firm poo, one that is easy to pick up and clean away. If they are not, there may be underlying issues you may need to discuss with your vets such as food allergies, parasites or colitis. Medication and antibiotics may result in a soft stool if your dog has been unwell. Change of diet, human food and inconsistent feeding may also result in soft stools which will also impact on the natural function of the digestive system the anal glands. We highly recommend that you feed your dog a complete, balanced, veterinary approved biologically appropriate raw food diet to maintain a healthy digestive function to support a holistic approach to your dogs’ overall health and well-being.