I'd like to address an unpleasant & sometimes hotly debated topic today: anal glands. If your dog is healthy & doesn't have issues you may not even know what they are, A short explanation is that the glands are small sacs that reside just inside the rectum. They secrete a super stinky fluid each time your dog defecates. When functioning normally, a small amount of fluid is expressed each time as part of the natural process.
For decades anal gland expression was an automatic service provided by groomers but now not so much. Some groomers still do an automatic expression & some decline to express them at all. The problem is that manual expression causes trauma to the glands & can cause them not to function on their own. So now an issue has been created where one wasn't present before.
Do some dogs have anal gland issues that require manual expression? Absolutely! many underlying issues can cause your dog to not express their anal glands in a natural manner. However, this crosses the line into a medical concern which should be addressed by a veterinarian & not a groomer.
With few exceptions (recommended by a veterinarian or routinely performed by a previous groomer) I do not express anal glands. While it is an individual dog thing, the majority of dogs do not have an issue & I do not wish to create one. If your dog is having trouble (excessive licking, butt scooting or a really foul smell originating from their back end) make an appointment with your veterinarian for evaluation & treatment.
More info is provided in this article from a veterinarian & provides a more detailed explanation of anal gland function as well as potential underlying causes of an issue:
It's important to have a good relationship with your groomer. You're trusting them to care for a valued family member & to act in your pet's best interest but sometimes things just don't work out and you have to break up.
I've had clients come to me & state that their previous groomer fired their dog. In a sense that may be true but groomers are fired every day. Not everyone in the world gets along whether it be human, canine or any other creature.
There are many reasons you choose to seek out a new groomer: scheduling, don't like how your pet is trimmed, pricing, your pet doesn't like the person, etc. Whatever the reason, there is nothing wrong with seeking out another groomer if it's not a good fit. Keep in mind we all have different personalities as do our pets. .Sometimes things don't click.
Your groomer also has the option to no longer provide services to you. He/she may or may not offer an explanation. They may offer you information for other groomers that would work out better for you. We may also have a myriad of reasons why we would refer a client. Don't take it personally, we want what is best for your pet.
I have gained clients that other groomers have "fired." I have also referred clients to other groomers or declined to continue the grooming relationship. It doesn't mean the pet was bad but it could mean that my continuing to groom them was either not the best option for me or for the pet.
Safety is a huge concern for me. A dog may be too large or may fight for grooming. I've always been a solo groomer so I don't have a helper if my variety of restraints don't work & I need someone to hold the dog. Same thing applies as far as size. I have to consider how amicable your dog might me to being picked up or if I can even move them by myself should an emergency occur. I may feel like your dog is becoming overly stressed with me grooming them & suggest a groomer who works for a veterinarian or another colleague who might be willing to work with your pet. It doesn't mean I hate your dog, it means I'm acting in their best interest.
I'll leave you with this: should you decide to try out a new groomer & you have an appointment with your current groomer please let him/her know ASAP. Many of us are self employed & budget based on planned income. Given enough notice we can fill your spot.
Mobile & salon groomers are often questioned about why their services cost so much. When you look at what we do for your pets as a standard part of their grooming session vs the cost of these services for yourself you're actually getting a great value!
Haircut & Style
According to squareup.com the average price of a haircut for women is $45 & for men $34.
According to costhelper.com manicures at an average shop range from $10-15 & pedicures $15-25 not including special services like gel or acrylic nails
According to costhelper.com the average cost is $30-35
If we take just the low side of averages for these services & add them up (34+10+15+30), we get a service cost of $89 without adding in tips. As a standard part of a regular grooming session groomers bathe, blowdry, trim nails & trim sanitary areas of your pet (as needed.) Keep in mind we are also cleaning ears & scrubbing bottoms. Odds are your stylist or personal service provider isn't doing these things for you. You're probably not wiggling, kissing, barking or biting at the folks performing your services either.
When you lay out everything a groomer does for your pet, $89 seems like a pretty good deal. Of course many salon groomers aren't charging as much as $89 for a smaller dog or just a basic bath (including nails) but mobile groomers will be charging that or more. After all, it's a luxury service: one on one time with your pet from start to finish, no waiting in crates & no need to leave your home to drop off or pick up your pet according to someone else's schedule. Mobile is an excellent option for pets that get anxious or sick riding in a car, nervous around other dogs or loud noises, dislike hanging out in a crate, busy professionals that work throughout the week or busy parents shuttling kiddos back & forth from school or other activities.
Soggy Paws Salon Mobile
Did you know that your dog's nails have a direct impact on their comfort & well being? Overgrown nails actually change how your dog walks & stands. The foot structure of dogs is such that if the nails are overgrown the dog can end up bearing weight on the nail rather than on the pads as intended or they stand incorrectly to avoid standing directly on their nails. Over time, chronic compensation for overgrown nails causes physical changes to the foot structure which affects the entire body. Overgrown nails also mean a dog is more likely to slip on slick surfaces as the pad doesn't make correct contact for traction & even weight distribution. Further, some nails may hook & actually grow back into the paw pad. Think ingrown toenail from HELL! Keeping nails at an appropriate length reduces the risk of injury because your dog's body can function as intended, reduces risk of injury due to incorrect traction or compensation, reduces the risk of some arthritic conditions, saves your furniture & saves your floors.
Nail trimming isn't all that difficult but it can be intimidating. If you're not comfortable trimming your dog's nails yourself please seek help from a professional. Most groomers are happy to provide this as a stand alone service & it is included as a standard part of a full groom. Depending on your dog, nails may need to be trimmed as often as weekly but no less than once a month.
Dogs Naturally magazine published an article on nail health that you can find here http://www.dogsnaturallymagazine.com/trimming-your-dogs-toenails/
In conjunction with Dr. Natasha The Animal Chiro, nail trimming services are offered at Speedy Paws/Soggy Paws most Wednesdays from 11-1 PM for $10. I will either grind or clip your dog's nails for you depending on which they tolerate. I'm happy to schedule trims around other appointments as well so if you just need nails done give me a call at 864-351-8701 & I will work something out with you.
I've had German Shepherds my entire life and like many owners I often refer to them as German Shedders. Double coated breeds can be especially challenging in terms of keeping your house clean. Some people resort to shaving them in an effort to curb the hair. The issue is that it can ruin your dog's coat & in the long term make shedding worse.
Double coated breeds have a harsher coat on top. These are referred to as guard hairs. They do shed but the majority of the issue comes from the softer undercoat. This is the source of the "hair bunnies" you find floating around on the floor. What can happen when you shave a double coated breed is that as the hair follicles that normally would produce guard hairs begin to grow back as undercoat. Undercoat is shed more frequently as it has a shorter growth cycle. More undercoat=more hair around the house.
This illustration explains how a double coat functions:
I am completely opposed to shaving double coated dogs unless there is a medical need or the coat is severely matted. There is a better option, deshedding. Using special tools & techniques a groomer can remove more undercoat from your dog than you typically can at home. This makes your life much easier! Check out my slideshow for before & after pictures fo just a few clients.