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  • Writer's pictureElissa Bazley

My Old Groomer Shaved my Dog Bare!

If I had a pound for the number of times I’ve read this sentence on the cockapoo UK Owners Facebook page I would be living in the south of France on a beautiful vineyard with stunning views and a lovely cooling swimming pool to dip my toes.

The problem here isn’t that the dog got shaved, it’s that the dog groomer didn’t explain why it was necessary. Compounding that is the issue that the dog wasn’t being brushed “effectively” and that the owner’s expectations were far too high.

So…why did this happen?

There’s a big difference between a tangle and a mat. Small tangles can easily be brushed out of a coat, but mats are solid felted areas that require a huge amount of brushing, going over and over the same spot repeatedly. The risk of brushing mats is something called brush burn, where the blood vessels break and red patches form in the skin. The repeated brushing also damages the fur, which will become like Velcro and will make quicker next time.

As groomers we’re taught that 15 minutes is the maximum amount of time we should de-mat a dog. Any more is considered to be inhumane. 15 minutes is not a sufficiently long time to de-mat an entire dog, in fact you may only get the chest and a leg finished in that time.. More often than not, dogs that do get “shaved-off” come in with perfectly brushed backs, but their bottoms, legs, tummy, chest, neck, ears and tail are solid…..and this is what I mean by “the dog wasn’t brushed effectively”.

I sometimes get asked if I can leave the mats in and just trim the dog into shape. Well that’s a categorical NO!

Mats can hide a multitude of skin complaints. They’re breeding ground for bacterial, often have grass seeds embedded that are scratching the dog’s skin and they are tying the dog’s fur together. Remember how your hair feels if it’s in a pony tail and one strand is caught in the wrong position…it hurts! Now, imagine that all over your body and the pain you’d be in with every step.

When you hand your dog to a groomer, they take legal responsibility for its welfare according to the Animal Welfare Act 2006. We will NOT allow a dog to be in pain and if we can’t brush it out within 15 mins, we have no other option. The clippers can’t cut through the solid mats, they can only go under them….hence the very short cut.

A groomer will always have time to teach you how to brush your dog effectively. So just ask, because shaving off like this is unbelievably stressful. Not only is there greater chance that we’ll nip the dog, it blunts our equipment and we also run the risk that you’ll write a terrible review on google, or facebook and that can decimate our business. So, it certainly isn’t because we’re lazy, or because we only have one length of blade, or because the dog was naughty…it was because we care about the health and well-being of your dog.

The best you can hope for in this situation is a neat finish, a head and tail that are in proportion with the body and that the groomer will work with you to keep your dog’s coat in tip top condition in the future.

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