January 16, 2014

Everyone, whether two-legged or four-legged, enjoys a day at the spa, but pet grooming is also about health, prevention and education, says the staff at Ruby & Jacks Doggy Shack.

While the ASPCA advises pet owners to give their animals a daily once-over, it’s easy to miss potential problems. A visit to the groomer adds another layer of protection.

“Many times a groomer can spot skin conditions, infections, and other health conditions, and then advise the owner to go to the vet,” said Michael Friedenberg, proprietor.

“During the grooming process, we sometimes find some health issues we would bring up to the owners right away, such as skin infections, lumps or any type of fatty tissue we feel on the body. When bathing the animal, we have to keep touching the skin. And also our hair dryers blow the fur around so that we can look more closely,” said Ruby & Jack’s groomer Jesenia Santiago.

She continues, “Allergies are a big issue. Many times the owner will suspect one, but has no idea as to the severity. I can recommend a special shampoo or a trip to the vet.”

At Ruby & Jack’s, grooming includes bathing, brushing, ear cleaning, nail trim, teeth brushing, and anal gland expression. Only the best products will do, so Ruby & Jack’s uses special blends, including oatmeal, hypoallergenic and medicated shampoos.

Dogs should be bathed at least once a month for routine maintenance, advises Jesenia. After being bathed, the hair should be properly dried and brushed out. Matting is a particular problem. Uncomfortable and unsightly, matted hair also traps bugs, retains moisture, and prevents owners from observing their dog’s skin.

It’s not only about the fur, though. “Long nails curl, and that creates pain for animals in their paw pads. Ears become waxy, full of hair, and can get infected and smell. Teeth need to be brushed, and I tell owners to do it at least once daily, just like for a person,” said Jesenia.

Grooming makes some animals anxious, so much so that they sometimes become aggressive. You can prevent that by making your pet associate grooming with something pleasant. The ASPCA says, “If your dog learns that brushing, bathing, ear cleaning and nail trimming reliably predict wonderful stuff for her, such as special treats, brand-new chew toys, the start of a favorite game, a walk in the park or dinnertime, your dog will soon learn to love ‘spa-time’.”

Sometimes despite all efforts, the animal will still be fearful or restless and, in that case, Ruby & Jack’s proceeds slowly and gives your dog a little “down time.”  “We stop, let the dog rest and recoup, and then go back to it,” said Michael.
Jesenia also commented, “Not many animals enjoy grooming, but we want to work with your pet to make them feel as comfortable as possible during his/her visit. We prefer to help ease the anxiety he/she might have when it comes to grooming. Everything takes time, but with patience and persistence, we know that we can help your pet enjoy spa day at Ruby & Jack’s.”