Senior Dogs Also Need Grooming

every dog needs grooming

 

senior dogs also need grooming

Not everyone has gotten the message – senior dogs also need grooming!!

Unfortunately, there are many dog guardians out there who seem to think that just because their dog is older and spending more time in bed than out of it, grooming can take a back seat. senior dogs also need to be groomedThey wait until the dog smells so bad they can’t stand it, or is unable to walk properly. Some arrive at the groomer so matted there’s no choice but to shave them, or with nails so long they end up needing veterinary care.

Yes there can be some stress involved

  • Your dog may have always been quite happy going to the groomer, but lately seems reluctant. Perfectly understandable!
  • Arthritis, back, or hip problems make it uncomfortable to stand.
  • Vision problems make them fearful – not knowing where they are, or what’s happening to them.

The importance of grooming

Every dog, no matter what age or size, needs a bath and a nail trim, and if they have hair that grows, then a cut as well. It’s one of the basics of proper dog care, no less important than good nutrition, exercise and mental stimulation. You may be surprised how many groomers have noticed something “suspicious” on a dog they’ve been grooming, that you may not have caught. .

My experience finding a groomer for my deaf and blind dog

 

A few years ago my husband and I adopted a deaf and mostly blind dog named Josephine. I lost count of how many groomers I called, asking if they would groom her. Every single one of them said no.

Am I ragging on groomers? No I’m not, so if you’re a groomer please don’t get offended. I’m talking strictly about my experience. It got to the point where we bought a dog shaver, and did it senior dogs need to be groomedourselves. Because her hair grew, we desperately needed to have the fur around her eyes done.

Our only option, and yes, it was our only option at the time, was to take her to the animal hospital, and have her very lightly sedated with a mask, while someone trimmed the hair around her eyes.

A very scary and traumatic experience for Josephine, and us, and one we did not plan on repeating. With some practice, and lots and lots of treats from my husband, I managed to trim around her eyes on my own.

Making the experience as stress free as possible

Finding a groomer

I assume you’ve been having your dog groomed on a regular basis, and again, I assume your groomer will continue to do so throughout your dog’s life. If, however, you’re looking for another one for whatever reason, here are things to consider in your search.

What I do

I always start by asking people I know with dogs – especially if they share their lives with seniors.

When I find a groomer that seems promising, I go and have a chat before the appointment, or at least a lengthy one on the phone. I’m extremely protective of my older dogs, and anyone can tell me anything on the phone. I want to get a sense of the person I’ll be dealing with.

Questions to ask, things you want to know

  • How much experience does she have with older dogs who may have vision or hearing problems, skin growths, trouble standing, snippy when handled…
  • Does she use a high powered nozzle to wash the dogs – which could scare some of them
  • How does she dry them? Towel or noisy powerful dryer?
  • Does she have a nonslip mat on the table? In the bathtub?
  • What about blind dogs – does she keep talking to reassure them?
  • How does she handle an overly stressed dog? Does she stop for a few minutes and try again? Break up an appointment into two sessions if necessary?
  • How about pee breaks?

If, for whatever reason, you’re dubious – say thank you and look for someone else.

Should I stay or should I go?

Some dogs are more anxious when their guardians hang around, others need that comfort. If you’re concerned because it’s someone new, tell the groomer you’re going to hang around the every dog needs groomingarea for a few minutes in case she calls. This way, you can get there quickly.

When we first brought our puppy mill rescue Saffy to the groomer, my husband and I stayed the entire time. Although we’ve always had confidence in our groomer, Saffy was such a wreck from being confined for 8 years breeding, we were the only comfort she ever knew, and I didn’t want to leave her. In her case, it was the right decision.

Appointment time

Getting the first appointment of the day means no chance of previous clients running late, delaying your dog’s appointment and adding to his stress levels.

Arriving early to pick up your dog means he doesn’t have to hang around waiting, possibly adding to his stress levels. 

Hairstyle

Perhaps when your dog was younger you were interested in fancy hairstyles, no matter how long it took. Now it’s less about winning beauty pageants (although I’m sure that would be the case no matter what!), and more about the safety and comfort of your dog. You want your groomer to do a great job, be careful, and be quick.

Mobile groomer

There are lots of groomers riding around in their “beauty parlour on wheels.” They pull up in your driveway, groom the dog in their van, and you’re done. It couldn’t get any handier than that! This might be the best option for your dog.

Senior dogs also need grooming – conclusion

I know you are diligent about keeping your dog well groomed, no matter what. If you know someone that isn’t, perhaps you can somehow have a casual chat about it. They might not realise how important it is for their dog, and may be grateful you’re trying to help.

I’d love to hear your experiences, just leave them in the comment section below.

 

Senior Dogs Also Need Grooming
Hindy Pearson
Helping people care for their senior dogs
I am a certified dog trainer and pet care consultant, specialising in working with rescue dogs and first time pet parents. I foster and adopt senior and special needs dogs, and advocate for shelter adoption of all animals, particularly older dogs and cats. I am currently working on a spay/neuter program in Spain.

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6 thoughts on “Senior Dogs Also Need Grooming

  1. Once again Hindy you provide great information. I think you will quickly become an authority for people caring for older dogs. Well done and all the best!

  2. Hi Hindy, I really enjoy reading your posts. You have great compassion for senior dogs and it is delightful seeing these lovely creatures getting the proper care and love they deserve. Keep creating wonderful and inspiring stories!

  3. hi Hindy!
    I have to say: your posts are so heartfelt! I can feel how much you care about your own older dogs and all other older dogs! It touches my heart. I can see now that there is a lot to consider when having your dog groomed especially if there are health issues. I would not have thought about what considerations need to be given when a dog is blind or deaf. But so true! Dogs can certainly be scared with all the machines used and the closeness of the task done by a stranger. I am glad you stayed with Saffy 🙂

    1. Hi Emily, thank you I’m glad you feel that way. I really do have a thing for the oldies! I must admit I really enjoy sharing my experience with others, in the hopes that it helps people realise that life with a senior dog may have challenges, but they are every bit as precious and deserving as younger ones. Believe me, it was a nightmare with Josephine, my blind and deaf dog. My husband and I ended up buying clippers, and we would sit on the floor together, one of us using the clippers, the other giving her treat after treat in the hopes of distracting her. Fun times indeed!!

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