Why is dog and cat grooming so important? No one can deny that a well groomed animal looks wonderful and is a pleasure to touch.  That's just a fact.  There are, however, other facts more important than your pet's cosmetic appearance.  Domestic pets differ from their wild counterparts in several ways.  They are often somewhat to extremely overweight.  They generally don't have access to lakes and rivers to swim in.  If they did their coats would remain clean. And they certainly don't get the kind of exercise a wild animal does simply to survive.

Consider some of the phenomena that occur when an animal goes un-groomed for long periods of time:

NAILS: like your own, your pet's nails will continue to grow longer until clipped short.  And like your own, they will begin to turn downwards as they grow. As a rule, if you hear a “click-click” noise when your dog walks across the floor, it means his nails are too long. Allowing them to grow any longer will eventually cause the dog’s foot to splay or spread. Left unclipped, long nails will curve around and under, and back into the dog’s skin or pads, which is obviously extremely painful, and forces the dog to walk back on its foot. To get a sense of how a dog feels with outgrown nails, try walking across a room on only the heels of your feet, with the front of your feet raised off the floor.

Further, as an animal's nail grows longer, so does the quick of the nail.  Eventually the quick will be too close to the end of the nail itself and the animal will have to be sedated at the vets in order to cut the nail (and the quick) back to a healthy length.

Cat grooming, of course, is a little bit different. Cats will frequently scratch at surfaces to keep their nails "manicured" and anyone who has ever dangled a string or toy in an untrimmed cat's face can tell you that losing their eyesight just wasn't worth the "pleasure" of interacting with the cat's needle-imbedded paws.  While the cat doesn't like it much, it is a great deal safer and more pleasant for the cat's personal assistant if his pet's nails are kept on the blunt side. It is also much safer for other animals, children, plants, and all living things in the house, not to mention nonliving things like your furniture and curtains, etc.

(Please see the "Cats" link on this site for further reflections
on feline behavior.)

Dirty Hairy just wants to ask your pet one question:

Do you feel fluffy?
A severely matted dog. It's what you can't see under all the curly locks that hurts.
A severely matted dog
It was a long and painful trip from the left image to the right one, for both the dog and the groomer.  Please be kind to your pet.  Don't let his fur get into this condition.  You would not believe what came off of this dog and the condition his ears, eyes, skin, and privates were in.  He was very sad and so was his groomer. She hated to send him home.
The matted dog after our grooming service
FYI:  Dirty Hairy will not de-mat (comb out, de-tangle) a severely matted animal.  This procedure is extremely painful for the pet and requires many hours of work for the groomer.  It is simply inhumane.  A severely matted pet must be shaved down, which is itself not entirely pain free. But trust me - your pet will thank you for it..
Matted fur
A mat:  This is when the animal's fur becomes an impassable ball of hair that cannot be detangled.  Dirt, dander, oil, moisture and dead hair contribute to creating such mats and prevent air circulation to the skin, causing terrible itching, pain and skin diseases. Further, insects and parasites find these conditions ideal for housing and breeding and are often found living under these mats when the animal is shaved down.  Can you imagine what torture this must be for the animal, who cannot bypass the mat even just to scratch itself?

Ultimately, as the mat becomes more tangled, it starts to grow up and into the skin which is very painful.  In many cases two (or more) mats, say one on the stomach and one on the top inside of the leg, will grow into each other, making it very difficult and painful for the animal to move without pulling and stretching its skin. Imagine if someone tried to comb this out of your hair, or if you had a beard that was tangled up with hair in your armpit!

Clean fur = very good!  Dirty,matted fur = very bad!
EARS:  Many dogs, and especially those with dropped ears which hang over the ear opening, are prone to chronic ear infections.  This is a topic for discussion with your veterinarian.  Very often a simple change in diet or the introduction of proper medication can eliminate the problem. 

In the interim, your groomer will clean your dog's ears well into the canal using an astringent solution and cotton pads to rid the ears of old waxy buildup and dirt.  Numerous breeds, especially in the Poodle/Poodle mix, Shih Tsu, Bijon-type category, suffer from ear infections resulting from hair growth deep inside the ear canal which collects wax and dirt, holds moisture deep in the ear, and prevents the circulation of air.  The groomer will pluck the hair from inside the ears of those breeds which require this procedure  (click on image to right).  You should notice an immediate improvement in your dog's overall ear health, as well as the absence of odor caused by buildup in the ears. Because plucking is preceded by the application of astringent, the ear lining remains quite numb for several minutes, resulting in an overall pain-free plucking.  Further, great care is always taken to insure against water getting into the ear canal during bathing.
EYES:  Many dogs, in particular the "pop-eyed" breeds, such as Toy Spaniels, Shih Tzus, Pugs, etc, are prone to watery, "gooey" eyes.  Again, this is a topic for you to talk over with your vet.  The groomer uses only tear-free products for washing your pet's head, always avoiding direct contact with the eyes.  The groomer will also remove the hardened eye "goo", and stained fur during the course of the groom.  A good trim around the eyes of longer haired breeds greatly reduces the buildup of this goo and resulting stains.  It is especially important to remove any blockage on or around the tear ducts, which prevents the eye from being able to rid itself of dust, dirt and other foreign matter, leading to discomfort and infections.
MOUTH:  Primarily a healthy mouth means good dental health.  When your dog or cat reaches adulthood it is important to heed your vet's reminders about dental cleaning.  Poor teeth lead to poor overall health as your pets finds it increasingly difficult and/or painful to properly chew food, leading to digestive disorders and other issues, as well as "dragon breath", a very unpleasant phenomenon.  Your groomer can brush your pet's teeth, but this is frankly ineffective on a once-every-six-to-eight-weeks basis. 
Bi- or tri-annual cleaning, good chew toys, and proper diet (plus primarily hard kibble) are far more effective.
FEET:  Good paw health is crucial to your pet's comfort and well being.  You have learned in the "Nails" portion of this page how critical proper nail maintenance is.  It is also important to maintain good paw pad health.  A healthy paw pad is not dry or cracked, but supple and leathery. (The same applies to the nose.) Hair between the pads should not be excessive as this interferes with the dog's traction on smooth surfaces, collects debris, dirt and ice, holds moisture, and can become matted between the pads, causing pain and hindering mobility - much the same as if you had a stone in your shoe.  Trimming out this hair and checking the condition of the pad leather is a standard part of a proper grooming session.
PRIVATES:    It is vitally important to maintain cleanliness around the pet's genital and rectal areas.  Very often, due to excessive hair growth around these areas, the animal's ability to rid the body of waste can be hindered by the hardening of fur around these so-called "sanitary areas".  Further, fecal matter tends to get stuck in the fur around the rectum, the bottom of the tail and top rear of the hind legs, where it dries and remains.  This not only makes it more difficult and unpleasant for your pet to clean himself, but obviously creates an unsanitary and odorous situation in your home. A well groomed animal is returned to his home with the fur in these areas clipped to a manageable length,smelling clean and fresh with no trace of old waste or any unpleasant odor on his body.

A dog paw
Healthy paw pads
  Well do ya?
A good, thorough, professional groomer understands the importance of all the above as they pertain to your pet's health and well-being, and knows how to approach each of these vitally important areas to insure you and your pet are getting the best dpg and cat grooming possible. 

We are proud to say that Dirty Hairy is just that kind of groomer.  Why?   Because Hairy deeply cares about the health of his wards.  Their safety, happiness, and cleanliness are top priority. And because we offer the services of mobile pet grooming, CT pet owners have the ultimate in convenient pet care.
Coming soon!.....Skin! (You'll be on the edge of your seat!)

"Cleanliness is next to Dogliness"and with Dirty Hairy's mobile pet grooming, CT pet owners have never had an easier option to keep their dogs and cats in great shape.
Click on images above to view what's really lurking inside some dogs' ears..  yuch.  Needs to be removed for good ear health.
 Outside of a dog ear
What you see outside
The ugly truth inside
Sparkling clean and odorless, inside and out
Some dogs will not allow for this procedure and may suffer chronic ear infections for numerous reasons.  In these cases, veterinary attention is absolutely required.
Copyright 2010 Dirty Hairy Mobile Pet Grooming: Cat Grooming. All Rights Reserved