What to look for in a Groomer

(From the CPPS Website)
When looking for a Groomer here are some questions to ask, to know that you are making the right choice for your pampered Pooch!
1. Are you certified through CPPS (Formally CPG)?
2. What level are you certified to? CPPS has 4 levels (Stylist Technician, Intermediate Stylist Technician, Certified Groomer, Master Stylist)
3. Are they licensed with the city they work in?
4. Do they have business insurance?
5. Are they familiar with your breed?
6. How are they familiar with your breed?
7. Explain what length of hair you want for your dog and if this is something that they can handle?
8. Double coated breeds should NOT be shaved off unless a vet has recommended it. Examples of Double coated breeds: Husky, Malamute, Rottweiler, Lab, Golden Retriever, Chow Chow, Pomeranian, Chihuahua and many more!
9. How long do they need your dog for?
10. What are their plans in an emergency?

Doggie Daycare - Article as printed in the Edmonton Woman's Magazine - March 2005 Issue

Edmonton Woman's Magazine March 2005 issue

MATTING - The Anatomy of a Mat

All dogs require regular brushing and combing in order to keep their coats healthy and untangled. If you can imagine how your head would feel if you didn’t brush your own hair for a few days, you’d have a small idea of how important regular brushing is for your pets too.

For some breeds, daily brushing is recommended. Long haired breeds and double coated breeds obviously tangle and matt more than a short coated dog, and because of this, the very nature of the breed you have selected, their coats are more difficult to maintain and require much more brushing and combing.

Recommended brushing time is different for every breed but the rule of thumb is:

Long, straight haired breeds ( Shih-Tzu, Lhasa) 30-60 min/day
Curly coats (Poodles, Bichon) 30-40 min/day
Longhair double coats (Collie, Samoyed, Chow) 1-hour 2x/week
Flat coats (Setters, Cocker Spaniels) 30-60 min 3x/week

A mat is mass of entangled hair, which must be brushed, combed, or otherwise removed from a dog’s coat. There is no professional trick or magic potion that will make this process any easier or less painful to the dog.

When seen under a microscope, the interwoven hairs of a mat are also held together by numerous barbs and spurs, invisible to the naked eye. A single strand of hair seen through the microscope looks like a strand of barbed wire, only many times finer. The number of thorn-like barbs per centimeter of hair varies considerably from one breed to another, and even from one dog to another within the same breed. This may explain why, all other things being equal, some dogs mat up much more quickly than others do. These matted hairs are also bonded together by small particles of skin dander and other debris.

The average mat is comprised of numerous coarse guard hairs crisscrossing with each other, mixed with tightly bonded finer hairs, the undercoat. Sometimes this is dead hair, but in many cases it is not, which causes the redness, skin irritations and the considerable pain that dogs feel when they are ripped out.

As a rule, the guard hair has more spurs per centimeter than the finer undercoat hair. The guard hair from a scottish terrier, which does not mat as easily as most other breeds, has only a minimal number of hairs compared to that of a poodle. Single coated breeds are those that are totally devoid of guard hairs, and have only the finer hairs of the undercoat.

The felt mat consists of dense undercoat packed close to the skin, often with an assorted entanglement of guard hairs. The main reason these mats become so dense is that the undercoat tends to grow faster than the guard hairs, so that once the outer coat is matted, the undercoat, growing more rapidly, packs in very tightly and solidly.

NEVER bath a matted dog!

Water only tightens the tangles and dematting is then much more difficult. Not all mats can be brushed out humanely, however, and in these situations, there is no other choice than clipping down or “stripping” the dog.

A matted coat causes numerous problems for your dog. First, it’s terribly uncomfortable because as the hair matts tighter and tighter, it pulls on the surrounding skin. If matts are left for even a short period of time, the skin can actually split and get infected. A matted dog that gets wet in the rain or snow may develop mould on the skin or develop a fungus, kind of an athlete’s foot. These hurt both the dog and your wallet because these conditions require immediate and extended veterinary care. Flies like to lay their eggs on dogs, so a matted dog can actually get maggots on their skin that can literally eat the dog’s flesh under the matts….another costly problem for you to have treated, not to mention terribly painful to the dog.

Dematting is also expensive for the owner. Since it requires so much more additional time, dematting is charged separately from the regular grooming services. Dematting a dog is not pleasant for the groomer. Since it is not likely that the dog is used to grooming (otherwise he wouldn’t be matted in the first place), he is usually not cooperative to begin with. To dematt a dog, a groomer has to rip apart the matts with a comb or a seven bladed tool, and this means having to pull hair out by the roots in most cases. Uncooperative dogs do not tolerate this pulling very well. A dog that is stressed and in pain may wrestle, bite, scream, vomit and urinate or defecate on the table and or the groomer and their equipment. Chances of injuring the dog with bladed equipment and chances of the dog injuring the groomer by biting or scratching are very high under these horrible circumstances.

If your pet is matted when you arrive for the appointment, a trained professional would be more than happy to explain your options. Often, however, the best solution is a short utility clip. No matter what time of year it is or how cold it is outside, a matted coat is not a healthy coat and you are risking your pet’s health by letting it remain in a matted state. If you wish to grow out the coat after clipping, a groomer can help you.

Anal Glands


What Are The Anal Glands?

The anal glands (more properly termed the anal sacs) are two sac-like structures located just under the skin near the anus. These sacs periodically fill with a thick, foul smelling secretion known as anal gland secretion (or anal sac secretion). Under normal circumstances a small amount of this secretion (discharge) is expelled from the gland each time the pet defecates (meaning to "go to the bathroom" or "produce stool")

What Is The Difference Between The "Anal Glands" And The "Anal Sacs?"

Technically speaking, "anal sacs" is the proper term for the structures which house the anal gland secretion while the "anal glands'' are the microscopic glandular structures, lining the inside of the anal sac, which produce the secretion itself. In common usage, however, the terms "anal sacs" and "anal glands" are used interchangeably. Since most of our clients are accustomed to referring to these structures as "anal glands" this is the term we often use in the veterinary clinic.

Are The Anal Glands A Normal Part Of My Dog's Anatomy?


Does My Cat Have Anal Glands?


Do People Have Anal Glands?


What Is The Function Of The Anal Glands?

The anal glands have no known function in the modern world. They are "vestigial" organs like your appendix) meaning that they once had a function but as the dog and cat evolved, the anal glands lost that function. The best theory is that dogs once used the pungent smelling anal gland secretion to mark their territories in the wild. Wolves and other wild cousins of the dog are known to do this. Also, dogs will occasionally express (meaning to squeeze secretion out) their anal glands when they are frightened, so it is thought the secretion could be intended to have a defensive repellent function.

Can My Dog's Anal Glands Sometimes Become Diseased Or Have Other Problems?


What Are Some Of The Diseases Or Problems That The Anal Glands Can Have?

The main problems the anal glands can have are (1) impaction; (2) infection and abcess; (3) rupture; and (4) tumors.

What Is "Impaction" Of The Anal Glands?

This is "plugging-up" or "stopping-up" of the anal glands, with normal secretion. Sometimes the outlet (called the duct) of the anal gland becomes stopped-up and the gland fails to empty properly. This usually leads to discomfort (from the accumulating pressure) and will sometimes lead to infection.

How Can I Tell If My Dog Has Impaction Of The Anal Glands?

Though the signs will vary from case to case, common signs are: (1) scooting on the rear end; (2) licking the region around the anal glands; (3) reluctance (sometimes) in defecating (often resembling true constipation); and (4) discomfort (sometimes) when the area is touched. Occasionally, a dog can have an impaction and not show us any of these signs. Also, these symptoms (scooting, licking the rear area, etc.) can be signs of other problems on occasion too (such as worms, skin infection, stool. adhered to the fur, etc.) so it's important that we examine the patient to determine exactly what the problem is.

How Is Impaction Of The Anal Glands Treated?

In uncomplicated cases, treatment usually consists of digitally (meaning to use the fingers) squeezing the glands to help them express.

Briefly, How Do You Express The Anal Glands?

There are two common methods which can be referred to as the "external" and "internal" methods. With the external method we express the anal glands by placing a paper towel (or something similar) against the glands (which can be felt with the fingers - they feel like "grapes" under the skin) and gently pressing on them to get them to express. With the other method of expressing the anal glands, called the "internal" method, we first put a latex exam glove on and lubricate the index finger with KY jelly. Then the index finger is gently inserted in the anus and we isolate the gland between the index finger and thumb. Then we gently squeeze the gland from both sides (inside and outside) to express the secretion. I personally prefer this method because (for me at least) I can express more of the secretion from the gland than with the external method.

Can My Groomer Express My Dog's Anal Glands?

Yes. Of course this is up to the individual groomer, but many dog groomers do provide this service.

Briefly, Describe Infection, Abcess, And Rupture Of The Anal Glands.

Infection of the anal glands is not uncommon especially with chronic impaction.When one or both of the glands become(s) infected they often will rupture to the outside and drain, similar to any other abcess. This can be quite painful when it occurs, but fortunately most patient's anal glands will heal in a short time (several days).

Briefly, How Do You Treat Abscess And Rupture Of The Anal Glands?

In uncomplicated cases we treat this by cleaning out (flushing) the ruptured anal gland with antiseptic solution and placing the patient on antibiotics when indicated. After the ruptured gland has healed over we express it periodically to try to insure that it's not becoming impacted again.

Do Some Dogs Have Chronic Problems With Their Anal Glands?


What Can Be Done For The Patient Who Has Chronic Problems With The Anal Glands?

In chronic cases the treatment of choice is usually to remove the glands surgically in an operation called an anal sacculectomy. Since the anal glands are vestigial organs, the dog with chronic anal gland problems is better off without them.

What Factors Will Predispose One Patient To Have Problems With The Anal Glands More Than Other Patients?

The main factors which predispose patients to have problems are (1) small body size and (2) obesity. Dogs under 20 lbs. have a higher incidence of anal gland impaction and other anal gland problems than larger dogs. The smaller the dog is, the more chance of anal gland problems. Tea cup poodles, Chihuahuas, and Pomeranians have an unusually high incidence of impaction. As with all generalities, of course, we will see exceptions with many small dogs never having any anal gland problems and some large dogs occasionally having severe problems. Overweight dogs also occasionally have a mechanical problem with getting the glands to express well.

What Role Does Diet Play In The Health Of The Anal Glands?

This is controversial. There is some evidence indicating that a diet higher in fat will cause more anal gland secretion and thicker secretion and therefore more potential problems but this is not certain. Also, some have advocated a high fiber diet to increase the frequency and the bulk of the stools, thereby stimulating the glands to express more often. Here again, no studies as of yet have conclusively proven this to be of benefit, so dietary approaches are strictly on a "trial basis".

How Can I Lower The Chances Of My Dog Having Anal Gland Problems?

You should have your dog's anal glands expressed as often as needed. Some dogs never need the anal glands expressed while some need them expressed as frequently as every couple of weeks. On the average, dogs under 15 lbs need the anal glands expressed about every couple of months. It's a good idea to have your groomer express the anal glands along with routine grooming.