We cover Oundle and it's surrounding villages in East Northamptonshire and provide a collection and delivery service.
A typical appointment covers the following treatments:
❖ Examination for lumps, bumps and any abnormalities
❖ Shampoo bath
❖ Cleaning of eyes and ears
❖ Brushing out
❖ Clipping (or hand stripping) and styling
❖ Nail cutting
The Health & Wellbeing Benefits of Dog Grooming
As a responsible dog owner, it is important to take steps to look after the health and well-being of your pet and to keep an eye out for any potential issues. It is also means making sure that your pet looks good and feels comfortable, too. This is why grooming your dog is such an important step for pet owners. All dogs will benefit from regular grooming, whether it is a short haired breed or one with a long or fluffy coat. Some breeds of dog may require professional grooming. Most coated breeds will require full grooming about once every four to six weeks but even short coated breeds can benefit from a ‘wash and brush’ up more regularly to remove dust and dirt. Under the Animal Welfare Act all dog owners have a duty of care to prevent unnecessary suffering to their pet. It is therefore essential to brush your dog’s coat on a regular basis paying particular attention to the areas where mats may start (in the arm pits, behind the ears, on the insides of the legs, the genital/sanitary areas, around the chest and around the neck where a collar would usually sit). The frequency and time spent brushing your dog will depend on its coat type.
What Are the Health Benefits of Grooming Your Dog?
One of the main advantages of grooming your dog's coat is that it helps you, or a professional groomer, notice if anything is wrong with your dog's health. Several conditions and illnesses, such as poor nutrition, parasites, allergies, or cancer, can worsen the state of your dog's coat. It's often the case that internal problems can result in poor external looks. Moreover, grooming your dog helps you spot any skin problems, warts, cuts, external parasites or any lumps and bumps. When you are washing or brushing your pet, you are more likely to pick up on these problems. You can then get them addressed sooner rather than later. Regular grooming and the massage during washing increase the blood flow to your dog’s hair follicles. This stimulates his lymphatic system which provides additional overall health benefits for your dog.
What Additional Benefits Arise From Grooming Your Dog?
Grooming will benefit your pet in many other ways, which adds to its importance. It is a great way for you to keep your pet looking well-kept. However, it is also important in terms of improving comfort for your pet. For example, a matted coat can be a frustration for your pet, but you can get this washed and brushed to get it looking and feeling silky-soft again. If your dog's coat is dirty, smelly and tangled, it will not be a pleasant experience for you and people around, no matter how lovely the dog is. Keeping your dog’s coat clean by removing dirt and dead hair helps encourage new hair growth and reduces the amount of hair deposited on household furniture.
Grooming is also part of your dog’s socialisation activities. Regular grooming helps create a bond between you and your dog, and accustoms the dog to being handled. When you groom your dog this strengthens the bond between you and confirms its place in the hierarchy, the groomer being the pack leader. In the wild, dogs lower in the pack order submit to grooming by a more dominant member. Start the grooming experience at an early age and keep the sessions short to start off with – just a couple of minutes, gradually increasing the time spent. Always make the experience positive, rewarding with praise and treats. Any struggling should be dealt with firmly but kindly as your puppy may be frustrated, mischievous or even afraid. Build up the experience and your puppy will come to accept his grooming routine which will help for other activities such as visiting your professional groomer and vet.
How to Carry Out a Visual Health Check on Your Dog
In addition to grooming it is good practice to have your dog regularly undergo health checks. You can do this yourself using the following guidelines;
1) Gums & Teeth. Gums should be pink (or slightly yellow in older dogs) - press them with your finger. They should return to the normal colour after 2 seconds. Check for inflamed, red or sore gums. Dark pink indicates gum disease. Teeth should be white and clean. Check for build up of plaque, rotten or loose teeth and smelly breath. Smell indicates infection.
2) Eyes should be bright and clear with no discharge or redness. Check for cloudiness.
3) Nose should be moist. Check for dryness and cracking. There should not be any discharge.
4) Ears should be clear from wax/hair. Check for build up of hair and any debris. Smell the ears. Any unpleasant odour is a sign of problems. Do you see any parasites (such as ticks and mites) or does your dog shake his head, perhaps also holding his head at an angle? When your dog has smelly ears or you notice the presence of pus, consult your vet.
5) Coat should be clear of dandruff. Coat should not be excessively greasy or dry or have flakiness. You may need to change your shampoo choice or consider a more natural diet.
6) Paws & Pads should be clear and should not appear cracked or sore. Check for excess hair between the pads where matting can occur. Look and feel between the toes and between the pads for any soreness, grass seeds, cysts, ticks, or excessive hair. Over-long nails can cause problems so they should be kept trimmed as short as possible.
7) Genital Area /Anal Glands, check for discharge, inflammation, blood and growths. The anal glands are two scent-producing sacs that scent the faeces as they are passed. Sometimes they do not empty properly and can cause irritation of the bottom, which makes your pet lick this area a lot or “scoot” his bottom along the ground. The glands do not need routine attention but if there is irritation, see your vet. The schematic shows the position of the anal glands.
8) Skin should have no lumps, growths or foreign bodies eg; warts, lesions and parasites. A medicated shampoo may be required. These pictures show a lump, fleas and a tick.
9) Defecation and urination. Observing your dog’s toilet habits may not be among the top 10 spectator sports, but it can provide valuable insight into the health of your dog. The number of bowel movements per day varies considerably from dog to dog. The important thing is that the evacuations are regular and of consistent appearance. Bear in mind that certain foods may change the colour of the faeces. Any chronic or acute diarrhoea or constipation requires veterinary attention, as does the presence of blood or mucus. If the urine appears dark, cloudy, or blood tinged, or the dog is urinating excessively or has difficulty in passing urine, again, consult your vet.
How to Recognise Ecto Parasites
Here we will describe and show you the most common types of parasites you may find on your dogs coat along with guidance on preventative care and where to obtain solutions.
Fleas Small brownish black, extremely agile creatures. Even if no fleas are seen, the presence of shiny black specks like coal dust (flea excreta) is a sure indication of the presence of fleas (dab the specks with a damp piece of cotton wool and if it goes pink it confirms the presence of fleas; these are the remains of a digested blood meal from the host).
Symptoms: Excessive scratching. Can cause allergic skin reaction.
Treatment: Use Frontline or similar applied to the neck as a preventative treatment. Available from your vet or pet shop. Use an insecticide on dog bedding and the surrounding environment. Better still, burn and replace dog bedding.
Small flightless insects which infest and live on the hair of the dog. There are two types of lice, i.e. biting or chewing lice and blood sucking lice. Both can infest dogs and cause discomfort and skin irritation. These are host specific, i.e. cannot be transmitted to animals other than dogs, and are not harmful to people. Symptoms: Dog lice cause the coat to feel scruffy and dry, and cause symptoms such as hair loss and severe itching. Treatment: Parasitic preparation from your vet or pet shop.
Loosely referred to as mange and the name for the skin disease caused by infection with the scabies mite. Mites are not insects; instead they are more closely related to spiders. They are microscopic and cannot be seen with the naked eye. Symptoms: Red, scaly itchy skin particularly on hairless skin. Treatment: Consult your vet. Very contagious. Isolate dog and replace all bedding. Your vet will supply a parasitic wash.
Cheyletiella Mites Sometimes referred to as walking dandruff, this mite feeds on the outer layer of the skin. Symptoms: Causes excess dandruff formation on the back of the neck and along the back. Treatment: Use a parasitic wash from your vet.
Harvest Mites The larvae of harvest mites can cause seasonal skin problems in dogs, particularly during late summer and autumn. The larvae can be recognized as clusters of small red-orange coloured “dust” attached to hairs on the body. Symptoms: Itching and scratching of feet, belly and legs. Treatment: Use a parasitic wash from your vet.
Demodectic Mange This occurs primarily in puppies and in adult dogs with lowered immunity. Symptoms: Thick greasy smelly skin. Dogs with the generalized disease develop patches of hair loss on the head, legs, and trunk. These patches coalesce to form large areas of hair loss. The hair follicles become plugged with mites and skin scales. The skin breaks down to form sores, crusts, and draining tracts, presenting a most disabling problem. Treatment: Use a parasitic lotion and antibiotics for secondary infection prescribed by your vet.
External parasites that feed on the blood of your dog. Quite visible to the naked eye and different in colour depending on type. Symptoms: Scratching, discomfort, but quite easy to detect. Treatment: Pluck the tick with a tick picker or pair of tweezers making sure to remove the tick head. Beware, can carry and transfer Lymes disease to humans. Apply spot on tick treatments like Frontline available from your vet or pet shop.
Ringworm is a fungal infection that invades the hair and hair follicles. Symptoms: Effects face, forelegs. Purulent sores. Skin looks like cigarette ash. Treatment: Use a fungicidal wash and clip the hair. Antibiotics may also be prescribed by your vet.
Emergency Situations Guidance Heatstroke - gasping, collapse, blue tongue and gums. Put your dog in a cool, quiet and well ventilated area. Cool it down slowly with water or ice cubes and supply it with dilute salty water: 1tsp salt / ½ ltr water.
Bee Sting - remove sting and bathe with alkaline = baking soda. If your dog seems distressed go to a vet for possible anti-histamine injection. Wasp Sting - bathe in acid = vinegar/lemon juice.
Unconsciousness - lay your dog on it’s side. Position it’s head to clear the airway and pull out the tongue. Check for breathing and call a vet. Start artificial respiration if appropriate through the nose, keeping your dog’s mouth closed.
Convulsions - Make space around your dog so it can not injure itself and do not crowd it. Keep it in a comfortable / quiet environment, reduce the light, remain calm and reassure it when convulsions finish. Call a vet.
Vomiting/Diarrhea - call vet immediately. This could be an indication of a more serious underlying problem. Clean and disinfect contaminated areas as the problem could be infectious. Wear gloves.
Abrasions & Cuts - apply pressure for small cuts to stem blood flow. If bleeding is profuse or wound is deep apply a tight bandage and ice pack or pack of frozen peas and call a vet as stitching may be required. Wash your hands.
Splinters & Thorns - if these can not be easily squeezed out take your dog to a vet as an anesthetic injection may be required.
Poison - try to make your dog sick with washing soda or 1 tsp salt. Give acid (vinegar) if an alkaline has been swallowed. Give alkaline (baking soda) if acid has been swallowed. Do neither if you are uncertain. Call and take your dog together with the poison information, to a vet immediately.
Road accident- beware of other cars and approach the dog slowly, an injured dog may bite so an emergency muzzle may be necessary to ensure your own safety. If your dog can't walk a blanket or coat may be used as an improvised stretcher - seek immediate veterinary attention even if your dog shows no external injuries as there may be internal bleeding.
The Animal Welfare Act 2006 and You
Section 9 of the Animal Welfare Act places a duty of care on you to ensure that you take reasonable steps in all the circumstances to meet the welfare needs of your animals to the extent required by good practice. In short it means you must take positive steps to ensure that you care for your animals properly and in particular must provide for the five basic welfare needs, which are:
• need for a suitable environment • need for a suitable diet • need to be able to exhibit normal behaviour patterns • need to be housed with, or apart, from other animals • need to be protected from pain, suffering, injury and disease.
Professional Dog Grooming The City & Guilds qualifications in dog grooming are the preferred qualification for dog groomers. To achieve these qualifications a groomer will have passed a number of practical and theory examinations. All groomers belonging to the British Dog Grooming Association sign up to the Association’s Code of Practice and work in accordance with the “Animal Welfare Act 2006”. Dogsbodies are totally dedicated in providing the best possible grooming service whilst ensuring your pet's happiness and welfare at all times.
References and useful websites: “Grooming Manual For The Dog And Cat” by Sue Dallas, Diana North and Joanne Angus. Published by Blackwell. “Health of your dog” by John Bomer & David Young, Published by Crowood “Grooming your dog” by Suzanne Ruiz, Published by Interpet
Dogsbodies, 5 Kings Arms Lane, Polebrook, Peterborough PE85LW. Tel: 01832 275520