A place for me to share my experiences as a Groomer - both good and bad. I will also give advice to anyone who needs help with dogs and cats with grooming questions.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Cooler weather

I haven't updated in quite some time - a little busy with a toddler and all - but I thought I'd come on to give you some tips for the cooler weather.  I'll start with our most popular "victims", dogs.

Depending on what kind of dog you have, it may not be the best time to get your dog groomed.  Huskies, Golden Retrievers, German Shepards, and any other double-coated, thick-furred breeds tend to grow their hair very slowly.  So if you live up North, you may want to keep your pooches furry.  The smaller breeds - Yorkies, Shih Tzu, the Terriers... their hair grows rather fast, so you can probably squeeze one more grooming in, as long as you don't go too short.  Nix any short shaves.  For those of you thinking, "I can just stick a sweater on my dog," that's a bad idea.  You see, those little shirts, coats, and sweaters are cute, sure.  But they're more of a hassle.  Firstly, they make your dog smell.  Dogs have their own odor - some more than others - and they don't sweat through their skin like we do, so the oils on their body distribute this smell.  With a sweater on, not only will it harbor the smell, but it'll simmer it; make it more potent.  You'll want to bathe your dog every other day (which is a bad, unhealthy idea in of itself).  Also, for those longer-haired breeds: you might not notice it, but those cute little coats are causing your dog to knot up.  They hold the fur close to the skin, and as the dog moves, so does the jacket.  So it basically jumbles the hair around.  Eventually, it'll turn into a mat.  So if your dog's hair seems worse in the winter and you keep a sweater on him, you know why.

So unless you live in Manhattan and own a short-haired Chihuahua, stay away from sweaters.  The one exception?  If you're the type of person that takes the sweater off as soon as you get back in the house.  Amongst the reasons you shouldn't keep a coat on a dog is pests.  Sure, the buggies tend to stay hidden in cold weather, but what would be a better living area than a warm doggie with a warm sweater on, protecting you from the cold?!  One last note for dogs - if you live down South - as I do, waaaaaay down South - it's really not necessary to keep a sweater on your dog unless you A) have a chihuahua, B) have a puppy (they have less body fat and their circulatory system isn't as mature), C) have a shaved - and I mean SHAVED - dog, or D) plan on being outside for quite some time.  I have a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, and his hair is neither thick nor long (even his feathers are sort of short), and on half-hour walks, he's not the least bit cold.  Try to remember that they have fur for a reason!  :)

Now for the kitties: one word. Don't. If your cat has mats, have JUST the mats removed. Unless it's a medical necessity - including infestations - don't shave your kitty during this time of year. Their fur takes three to four times as long to grow back, and a simple sweater usually won't keep them warm. They're much more delicate than dogs, with thinner skin and less body fat (even if you have a pudgy kitty, their fat is not as distributed as a dogs'. Ever notice how cats have flabby tummies, while dogs are usually fat all around?) so that the cold is much more deadly to them. If you're absolutely sure your cat will NOT go outside, you can get away with it. But if your cat spends any time outside, it could seriously be harmed by the cold weather.

Again, if you ever have any questions, feel free to ask.  I'm always here to help.