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Nail Trimming and Grinding

Your dog's nails are very important

It is very common for dogs to dislike getting their nails trimmed and subsequently hard for pet parents to subject their dogs to the routine. Unfortunately, that often escalates the issue. When your dog's nails are not maintained regularly, the blood vessel (the quick) on the inside of the nail grows. As a result, the nail can no longer be trimmed to the length it was previously. This causes the nails to grow and grow until they push into the floor. This causes an upward pressure when dogs stand, walk or run and causes discomfort or pain. A new issue is in turn created as well as an increased sensitivity to the original issue of clipping nails. Not to mention, this can turn into bigger issues like:

  • split/torn nails 
  • ingrown nails
  • punctures
  • joint and bone problems 
  • splayed toes and deformed feet
  • hip and back problems 


All in all, a routine is a must in order to prevent the nail quick from growing and causing issues. 

How Often?

Every dog is different but most require nail clippings ever 3 to 8 weeks. For dogs that already have long quicks, a more frequent routine is necessary to get back to normal. Nail grinding has a big impact on results as it smooths the edges and further exposes the nail's quick. 

HOW OFTEN DO YOU BRUSH YOUR HAIR VS YOUR DOG'S HAIR?

This has a big impact on the difference between a dog haircut vs a human haircut. Dogs don't get their hair washed multiple times a week and brush it all out daily like their human counterparts. Salon visits therefore require much more for the haircutting process. As well, your hairdresser's price likely doesn't include a full body haircut, sanitary trim, manicure/pedicure, ear cleaning, tick removal, and dematting. 

It really can be a messy job

Grooming is a very physical and often messy job. Unlike hairdressing, where it is generally frowned upon to resist, fight, poop/pee on, and bite your hairdresser. Every groom comes with those risks (think stress pooping...) as well as unexpected surprises! Ask any groomer and they will proudly share their messy horror stories. 

Don't forget about your groomer's expenses

Experienced and quality groomers bring confidence and comfort to the dogs they groom but they had to start somewhere and that was likely a large expense from training, to marketing, to building a client base. The beginning of a groomer's career requires a large investment. 


Once going, just like any other professional, your groomer must regularly maintain and replacing expensive equipment, keep up with regular training, as well as  maintain the regular expenses involved in running a business. Not to mention a physical injury to your groomer could mean a loss of income for extended amounts of time. 


Factor in the wear and tear on your groomer's body and it's clear the job can be quite costly for your groomer. 


Most groomers are underpaid and have chosen their profession out of a love for dogs, not the money. 

Trusted Grooming

Finding a groomer you trust

In my experience in dog grooming salons, I see new dogs too often. Clients bring their dog to various groomers and are unaware they are inviting behavioural issues into their dog's grooming routine. 


Dogs thrive on routine and the grooming process can be a lot for a dog let alone regularly mixing it up with different groomers. I encourage all pet parents to ask questions and do some research on your chosen dog groomer. Once a trusted groomer is found, regular grooming can allow your dog to know what to expect and settle into the routine comfortably. 


Things to look for in a groomer: 

  • online reviews (good indicator of what type of groomer you can expect)
  • open communication before groom and thorough feedback after groom (topics discussed should include your dog's age, health history, previous grooming history, behaviour, and things to work on if needed)
  • thorough knowledge of the products being used on your dog (a groomer looking out for your dog's long term needs will advocate for healthy, natural products)
  • ask your groomer what their policy is for accidents (your groomer should always inform you of any issues during groom)
  • clean and sanitary equipment and space (should be cleaned between dogs) 
  • a good groomer will put your dog's interests first 

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Shaving Double Coated Breeds

THE DO'S AND DON'TS OF HAIRCUTTING

A common misconception amoung pet parents is that if their double coated dog is shaved, the shedding will be more manageable. This is incorrect. The best solution for dogs that shed is regular grooming including a proper bath and dry and regular brushing with the correct brush and comb. In fact, shaving your double coated dog is not only more costly (more expensive than simply a bath and brush) and ineffective (worse results for shedding and coat regrowth) but it is also damaging to your dog's health!


A double coated coat will have two types of hairs: a coarse top coat and a soft undercoat. If not regularly brushed, the soft undercoat sits between the coarse hairs and the skin and eventually will shed out or intertwine together into tangles. Not to mention it can cause debris and moisture to build up between the coat and skin. It is important to regularly brush this hair out in order to allow the air flow around your dog's skin to maintain body temperature and skin health. Maintained properly, the coat will keep your dog warm in the winter and cool in the summer. Additionally, if the outer layer is cut too short,  it no longer serves it's purpose of protecting the skin from harmful UV rays. This is particularly important as dog's skin is much thinner than human skin. 


Shaving your dog's coat often comes with the following complications: 

  • shaving does not decrease shedding, rather it produces short hairs that are blunt and stick to everything
  • shaving is not a cheaper option as it is more expensive up front and it does not extend the time between grooms. In effect it usually causes more issues and therefore more grooming and/or veterinary costs
  • improper regrowth after shaving can cause debris and moisture to build up between your dog's coat and skin causing further health issues 
  • shaving hinders your dog's ability to maintain body temperature (dogs need both coat layers to keep cool and warm): in cold temperatures a shaved coat increases the risk of hypothermia and frostbite, in warm temperatures it increases the risk of overheating 
  • a short outer coat increases risk of sunburn and cancer 
  • a short outer coat reduces protection against biting insects
  • a shaved coat does not help with allergies as they stem from the hair, dander, saliva and urine (regular baths are much more effective for allergies) 
  • may permanently damage your dog's coat (often will grow back patchy or various textures) 


What tools should i be using?

For double coated dogs i usually recommend shampoo and conditioner tailored to your dog's coat and skin. For brushing, it should be done daily to weekly with a slicker brush and greyhound comb. A deshedding tool such as the furminator can also be used to help pull out the undercoat when needed, however use caution as this tool can be easily misused. 


Healthy, maintained coats shed dramatically less, look and feel healthy, prevent many health issues, and is much more comfortable for your dog.  


*Love at First Bark does not shave double coated dogs and will refer you to a vet if it is required for medical purposes. 

Deshedding

you'd be surprised how much loose, dead undercoat can be removed by a good brush out

30 minutes of brushing pulled out all the hair in this photo leaving a healthy, shiny coat.

A good brush out should leave your dog's coat healthy, smooth, and shiny

Most dogs love the brushing out process as it feels great for them to have the hair removed. 

a standard brush out is included in all grooms and baths with optional additional brushing available

Just look at all the hair that was prevented from scattering itself around the house