It depends on the breed of your dog, his lifestyle and on how you want him to look and smell. While it’s true that a clean animal is a healthier one, excessive bathing can dry out the skin and strip it of its natural oils. Generally speaking, short-coated dogs with no skin conditions can go six to eight weeks between baths unless they have gotten into something dirty or smelly. Longer-coated dogs should be groomed every four to six weeks to ensure their hair doesn’t get matted and isn’t harboring insects or hidden skin conditions. Of course, certain haircut dogs should be groomed more often than others to maintain their appearance.
Most likely, he’s attempting to express his anal glands. It’s time to see your groomer or your veterinarian to have the waste fluid squeezed out. This could also be the manifestation of worms and should be checked by your veterinarian.
Anal glands are sacks located just below a dog’s tail that collect a fluid from the animal’s body. Historically, the excretion of bulky feces pressed against the anal sack during defecation and resulted in a natural squeezing out of the waste liquid during elimination. However with more complete absorption of modern pet foods and correspondingly smaller stools, the anal sack is often not pressed during bowel movements and so periodically needs assistance from humans to “express” or squeeze the over-full sack to remove this fluid. This is an especially putrid liquid so we recommend leaving this task to the groomer, or in severe cases, to your veterinarian.
As part of the grooming process we clean the ears and pluck hair from the ear opening to allow air to flow more freely into the ear to keep it dry. After cleaning and removal of the ear hair, the dog sometimes has a tickling sensation and shaking his head is the dog’s way of responding to the tickle.
Water in a dog’s ear canal can predispose it to infection. However, most ear infections in dogs are caused from issues having nothing to do with water exposure during grooming. Floppy-eared dogs tend to have more ear problems than upright-eared dogs because air exchange is restricted by their ear flaps and an unhealthy amount of humidity will result which can create an environment for infection.
We treat dandruff on dogs with a shampoo developed for that purpose so we can reduce the symptoms. However, there’s an underlying cause for dandruff such as diet or a skin disorder for which you should see your veterinarian for a course of treatment.
We remove individual ticks with tweezers. If fleas are suspected, we examine the body for “flea dirt” (dry blood that looks like sand grains) with a flea comb. If either is found, we apply a flea/tick shampoo that kills the insects. You’ll then have to “fog” and vacuum your home, car, weekend place, bedding, carpets etc. to eradicate and remove any insects or their eggs lying in wait for your dog to come home to start the cycle all over again. We strongly recommend keeping your dog treated with monthly flea preventative to prevent infestations.
Mats and tangles occur naturally, more so in some breeds with longer, finer hair. Regular (sometimes daily) brushing is required to prevent their build-up. Unfortunately, bathing without removing tangles first, results in a snowballing effect whereby the tangles turn to mats and get increasingly larger and tighter over time. Sometimes we can “de-mat” your dog to save the coat, but if the mats are too established they have to be shaved or cut out. De-matting is uncomfortable for your dog and is inherently dangerous because the de-matting process requires the use of razor-sharp tools. Try to avoid allowing your pet from becoming matted with regular brushing.
We wouldn’t accept a puppy for grooming prior to completion of initial vaccinations (usually about 15-16 weeks old). Initially we’d suggest the grooming be brief, trimming the hair around the eyes, paws and anus only. The objective is to have the experience be a positive one at the outset so your dog looks forward to each future grooming experience for a lifetime. Be unemotional when you drop him off and give him a lot of praise when you pick him so you don’t telegraph anxiety at the outset and show pleasure at the end of the experience.
We wish we could give such a guarantee but we cannot. Dogs are living creatures that may have unknown or undetectable, underlying conditions that can manifest themselves during the course of, or following grooming. Also, dogs may move unexpectedly, and of course, grooming tools are of necessity, sharp instruments that can inadvertently cause an injury. However, we can assure you that we will take every measure possible to prevent injury or illness while your dog is in our care.