The Role of a Professional Pet Groomer: Partner to our VeterinariansPublished March 12, 2010
In addition to regular veterinary care, exercise and excellent nutrition, grooming is just another part of essential pet care. Since we are owned by two amazing Oriental Shorthairs, Hubble and Hush Puppy, with their short, close lying coats, if we are not into the shedding season, our grooming sessions basically consist of a few strokes of the Furminator, followed by either running our hands over their coats, or a quick rub down with a dry washcloth to trap any loose hair. It is really a very simple procedure which in fact many pets tremendously enjoy. Some long hair breeds however may require the attention of a professional groomer from time to time. Mats can develop which can be difficult and painful for the pet caretaker to comb through. But are we aware of the full extent of the services that a professional groomer can offer? What I find most fascinating about professional groomers is that through their extensive training is they not only assist with the pet's coat care, and trimming their toenails, but their experienced eyes can detect changes in skin condition and the quality of the hair coat which may reflect an underlying medical problem. They also are alert to the pet's disposition and any behavioral changes and temperament issues which may need further attention. Therefore, professional groomers are really important partners with our veterinarians. There are several conditions which can affect the quality of the pet's hair coat. Poor nutrition, parasites, skin and other allergies, environmental impact and underlying illness can create a lack of a healthy luster and sheen. Often an experienced groomer can determine the causes for a coat that appears unthrifty and dry. In consultation with the pet owner, these possible causes are explored before any solutions are suggested. Additionally, an excellent groomer also knows when veterinary advice is warranted. Most professional groomers have close relationships with veterinarians who make themselves available to render advice when required. Groomers also pay close attention to the condition of the pet's ears. Canines, with their deep ear canals, can readily attract ticks and other parasites. Their ears are prone to becoming dirty and to develop earwax buildup. Although felines have smaller canals, they are equally vulnerable to similar problems. Yeast infestation can be common with cats, as well as ear-mites. Groomers not only thoroughly clean the pet's ears but also can teach owners how to keep their pet's ears free of problems in-between professional visits. Toe nail trimming is another service which groomers provide at the visit. They also can teach owners how to safely trim their pet's nails and how to avoid clipping too closely to the quick which causes pain and bleeding. Our cats actually enjoy nail trimming time, and purr loudly with pleasure while they receive their bi-weekly manicure. Rewarding them with treats following this simple procedure helps to cement our bonds, and also reinforces their excellent behavior. So a visit to a professional groomer is not just a luxurious time at a pet "beauty parlor". It affords the owner an opportunity to become aware of any medical problems and to prevent problems which may be overlooked. Have you used the services of a professional groomer? Share your experiences by leaving a comment.