What is involved in our health checks?
At the start of every dog groom, your dog will receive a comprehensive health check. Early detection of health problems helps reduce vet bills, helps keep dogs healthy and more comfortable and has in the past helped save dogs' lives through early detection of more serious conditions.
Expect comprehensive feedback from your dog's health check when you collect them, so allow for time during your collection.
The areas covered are as follows:
1. Eyes - they should be bright and clear, not cloudy, red, sore or weepy.
2. Ears - need to be clear of to much hair, clean, not red or flaky, blocked or sore.
3. Mouth - should be clear of tartar (varies and dependent on age) not too smelly, gums should be a nice pink colour (depending on pigment).
4. Nose - should be wet and cold, not dry, crusty, blocked or have discharge.
5. Nails - consideration to length, maintenance, condition, looking for how a dog wears down its nails can detect gait related problems.
6. Skin and coat - feeling over the body for lumps or abnormalities, look at condition of coat, signs of parasites such as fleas, mites, ticks or other infections, hair and skin condition, matting and knots.
7. Anus, genitailia and mammary glands - check if glands are blocked, infections, signs of disease, early detection of lumps, bumps and swellings. No anal gland expression.
Important Note Anal Glands:
Dog groomers are no longer recommended to express your dog's anal glands as repeated gland expression can create soft tissue trauma to your dog. Recurrent gland expression can create muscle tone loss in the anus, so we no longer offer this service on veterinary recommendation.
Recurrent anal gland problems could be inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract and not a problem with the gland itself. Inflammation of the bowel can be influenced by many things including allergies, parasites, medications, antibiotics and these can cascade to create problems with your dog's anal gland. You should seek veterinary care if your dog suffers with any anal gland or GI symptoms.
What a Plucking Nightmare!
There ear plucking procedure is no longer recommended and is no longer offered by The Dog Hut as part of a standard grooming procedure. This is because the action of plucking can irritate the ear causing micro inflammation of the hair follicles attracting more bacterial growth and associated inflammation. We do include ear cleaning as required, massaging of the ears to help remove wax and debris from the ear canal and can clip excess hair from around the ear entrance. This is a much kinder and welfare orientated approach to ear health management. We will usually recommend that you consult your vet if we discover any ear problems with your dog.
Feet, nails and handling.
It is sensible to teach your dog to have their feet and nails handled when they are young. This helps reduce anxiety and possible development of phobic behaviour when having their nails trimmed. The longer the nails grow the longer the quick. Little and often nail trimming helps to keep the quick short. The quick is made of keratin so contains nerves and blood vessels, when the quick is caught during nail trimming, it hurts. Many dogs don't like having their nails trimmed and if they have had their quick caught in the past this can cause behaviour problems on the grooming table. This learning takes time to undo and sometimes will never be overcome.
Caution you Mud & Puddle Lovers!
Some dogs are just swamp and puddle lovers, bless em. But there are dangers when letting your dog enjoy this bit of mucky fun. Leptospirosis is one. These organisms are a bacteria that can be carried by both wild and domestic animals. Carriers may seem fit and healthy but they shed leptospirosis organisms in their urine that enters water courses and puddles - the more water the more chance of leptospirosis! Not all dogs become sick if exposed to them but for those that do leptospirosis can be fatal causing severe kidney failure, symptoms include lethargy, diarrhoea, vomiting and lack of appetite. Take your dog to your vet immediately if your dog has been in water and shows any of these symptoms.
"The grooming process should be structured and methodical but also allow the dog to carry out normal canine behaviour, have access to water, be handled appropriately for its age, ability and emotional state and be free at all times from undue stress and anxiety where possible. Dogs on the grooming table should also be rewarded for showing signs of appropriate behaviour therefore helping to shape and encourage best behaviour. This helps achieve a stress free and more positive grooming experience for each dog"
Sara Hart LCGI AIFL Specialist Dog Groomer, Lecturer and National Examiner.
Joint owner of The Dog Hut.Biz
What makes The Dog Hut so different?
If you know a thing or two about dog grooming parlours then you will know some do not adhere to best practice but simply run a conveyor belt service. We don't.
Always ask your dog groomer about what they understand and have been trained in, they should know and be able to apply animal learning theories, recognise physiological signs of stress, recognise behavioural signs of stress and be up to date with their animal first aid training.
"Having worked within the dog industry for over 22 years, lectured at College and been a business mentor supporting animal related SMEs across the UK, I have met such lovely, caring and compassionate people but sadly I have also come across many that demonstrate an appalling lack of empathy, poor understanding and lack of care that I wonder why they would want to work with dogs in the first place? It is time for change within dog grooming and thankfully it is coming slowly"
Dean Hart MSc CFBA AABP, Clinic Behaviourist, Lecturer, Author
and joint owner of The Dog Hut.Biz
Watch this short video clip where Sara works with a little puppy during its very first visit to the dog grooming salon. It is allowed freedom of movement and is given time to habituate* to its environment. Sara is applying a mixture of operant and classical conditioning and as a result of this and her patient, calm handling this puppy became compliant to Sara's wishes within a very short period of time and has learnt that the grooming process is non stressful.
*What is habituation?
Habituation is one of the simplest forms of animal learning. Where after a period of exposure to a stimulus, an animal stops responding. It can occur at different levels in the nervous system. Sensory systems may stop sending signals to the brain after repeated presentations of a stimulus. Provided it is presented at low level and is therefore deemed as non threatening (or really nice - it is difficult to ignore the lovely smell of freshly cooked bread if you are hungry!) Habituation to complex stimuli may occur at the level of the brain; the stimulus is still perceived, but the animal has simply "decided" to no longer pay attention to it. All dogs, especially puppies should be habituated to the grooming environment and this will help when being on a table, being bathed, dried and clipped - don't forget smells too, they also need to be habituated - unless the puppy has already conditioned some of the smells at the groomers with some they have previously met at the vets!
This is another danger that contaminates water places on dog walks. These are microscopic protozoa that habitat intestinal tracts of domestic and wild animals and are shed in the animal's faeces into the water, yuck! If you walk where there are lots of other dogs then it is most likely going to be present. Symptoms include diarrhoea, lack of appetite and vomiting with greasy stools that tend to float, stomach cramps and possibly dehydration. Your dog will need to have a stool sample tested for Giardiasis and if positive will need medication.
Always consult your veterinary surgeon if you have any concerns about your dog's health or behaviour,