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Healthy Dogs

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Dog Grooming FAQ: What to Look for in a Dog Groomer

WebMD veterinary expert answers commonly asked questions about finding the right dog groomer.


And some fearful dogs are created by their owners. If you’re apprehensive about dropping your dog off, he’ll feel that and it will make him fearful. So try to make it a positive, upbeat experience when you come in with your dog.


Q: There have been reports of dogs dying in drying cages, where a hot dryer blows into a small cage. Are these dangerous to pets? Should I ask that my dog be hand-dried?

A: Drying cages are not dangerous, only untrained operators are dangerous. If used correctly, under close supervision, they’re fine. When you have problems is when people aren’t trained how to use the machines correctly. So they set them up for 85-90 degrees for 30 minutes and walk away. Well you can fry a dog in that amount of time at that temperature. When used, they should be set at 75-80 degrees, so it’s more like a warm, tropical breeze and not like a heat sauna.

And they should never be used with brachycephalic breeds [flat faced dogs, such as bulldogs and pugs]. That’s because most of them already have breathing problems. I wouldn’t use them with an elderly or a sick dog either. Normally the large drying cages are used for the bigger, heavy-coated breeds. But it all goes back to training. These people are just thrown into a grooming salon with no training and then dogs end up dying.


Q: Most groomers don’t want the owner to stay and watch. Why is that?

A: If momma is here the dog is going to act up. That puts the dog at risk of getting cut because they’re squirming around more, trying to get to their owner.

But it can be done. It just takes more time. It just depends on the groomer’s patience and what kind of shop it is.


Q: Most groomings include a bath and haircut, but what about other services? Is it OK for groomers to pluck ear hair or express anal glands, or is that better left to a veterinarian?

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