As groomers one of our biggest jobs is to educate and help our clients maintain a happy and healthy pet at home. We often times notice skin issues, abnormal growths etc on the pets we groom, more than vets or families purely because we see them so often and work so closely with them.
While brushing our dogs at home, the most common areas that we miss out are the tail, the ears, the neck and the armpits. We need to remember that just like human hair, dog’s hair also grows in stages. In some dogs, the hair/fur does not shed like in other commonly known breeds. The hair just keeps growing until it dies. Although, this might seem like a blessing when the hair doesn’t shed as much :), but ultimately this hair gets tangled up if not brushed out. Some of the common breeds that run into this matted miss are maltese, shihtzu, havanese, lhasa-apso, Coton-de-Tulear etc. Mats in the areas like the ear or armpits, can get very lumpy and painful for your pet. The longer you go without brushing it out the worse it gets to manage when you do finally get your dog to the groomer.
In order to remove these tight mats, groomers often have to use very fine blades and a very slow grooming process to be able to do the job without hurting the dog. Razor burns can be common, skin irritations or just a higher risk of accidentally cutting the dog, especially in areas like the ear or the tail.
Sometimes when there is sever matting, it cuts of blood circulation for regions where matting has occurred. Then for instance, if the ear is shaved close there will be a sudden rush of bloody to the ears where circulation has been cut off and this can cause sudden bleeding. Also, after shaving a mat that has been there a long time, or excessive pulling of dog hair from their internal canal, it may cause your dog to excessively shake their head. This excessive shaking may cause what is known as “ear hematoma” , which is the swelling of the ear flap due to excessive flow of blood. In order to minimize this, a groomer will often time put a vet-wrap around the dog head or anything tight that will hold the ear in place and prevent excessive shaking.
In the end, maintenance at home in between grooming appointments and hiring a groomer who is well educated in different skin conditions/ailments etc is beneficial for your pet.
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