What Do We Offer?
We offer a wide range of different services to suit your needs. Everyone is welcome from the newest pup to the senior dog, big & small and everything in between. We understand that it can be difficult navigating through the crazy pet industry. We have heard it all! Our groomers will give you practical real world tips and practices that you can feel comfortable implementing at home. We develope a close relationship with our clients and good communication is key. We take the time to get to know each one of our clients to fully understand their needs. We look at ALL aspects of the dog (and client) at check in, it is not one size fits all! This is very important.
Example: An older client may have a brand new, very active Shih Tzu puppy. At check in, we go over what the client would like her puppy to look like after the groom. She indicates that she loves the long fluffy puppy look, but the pup doesn't like to sit and bites whenever the brush comes out. After asking a couple questions, we find out that she is using the wrong type of brush. This will pull on sensitive, thin puppy skin and cause rashes to occur. We notice the client has a hard time grasping the pen to sign our client agreement. We devise a plan for her. We suggest a length that will minimize the amount of brushing she will have to do (this motion can be extremely hard on your hands). During the groom we will use tea tree shampoo to soothe the skin to get the rashes under control. We put her on a 6 week maintenance plan so that she is able to keep some of the length while giving the dog much needed structure.
We See Things That Even Your Vet Won't Catch!
We see things that even your vet doesn't catch. Throughout the process of grooming, we see every inch of your dog right down to the skin. Our hands are constantly touching your pet. We look into their eyes, mouth, ears, paws, skin, taking notice of everything. We often find ticks attached to your dog’s forehead that you had no idea about or a hotspot under his tail that he won’t stop licking “back there”. Why is he so itchy? Maybe a family of fleas moved in. We also catch many mysterious lumps, most of which are nothing to worry about but a few, unfortunately have turned out to be cancerous. Regular grooming appointments will give your dog the once over, to catch things early and to give your vet crucial information on when something occurred.
So What Happens When I Drop My Dog Off At The Groomer??
It all starts with the nails. Not only do we trim/grind the nails, but we look at the nail beds, pads and the whole paw in general. Is there any irritation or inflammation occurring? How do the nails themselves look? Are they soft and crumbly? Do they shatter and crack when they are clipped? Are any of the nails growing into the pad causing pain when walking? Are the quicks particularly long? Is the dog sensitive about touching their paws? Does your dog constantly lick their paws? We can identify many problematic issues on the paw alone. Our goal is to catch these problems or prevent them before they get worse and require more invasive treatment.
This is a picture of a dog's nail that need to be cut. You can see the pink quick which should be avoided when trimming the nails.
This shows how we do nail grinding on a dog.
Dogs can have clear or black nails. It is common to have both even on the same paw!
Ear cleaning is next. We use cotton balls and ear cleaner solution. Unlike in humans, the ear canal is L shaped, so there is little chance of damaging the eardrum. It is very important to keep your dog's ears clean. Some dogs are more prone to ear infections than others. Golden Retrievers and Labs who love to swim often have chronic ear problems. Dogs with floppy ears or narrow openings have trouble getting airflow creating the perfect environment for yeast & bacteria to grow. Some of the things we look out for while cleaning are a strong "yeasty" odor, dark colored or heavy build up of wax, redness, or sores. If your dog is excessively pawing, scratching or rubbing his ears, it might be time to go see a vet who can prescribe ear drops or a medication. We see good results from people using their prescribed medication and being very diligent about thoroughly cleaning the ear.
This is a picture of a dog's ear that has chronic ear infections. As you can see it is very inflamed causing scarring.
This is a picture of a dog's ear that has "ear hair". Her ear is very healthy and has no issues. You can choose to leave the hair alone or have it "plucked" out.
This is what a healthy dog ear should look like. It is free from wax, dirt & debris. It should have no odor and is not sensitive to the touch.
Bathing is important not only to keep your dog free from dirt and parasites but, let's face it, they can really stink! After taking into consideration your dogs coat type (short haired, drop coat, silky coat etc…), coat condition (oily, matted, dry, excessive shedding etc…) and any skin concerns from the pet parent, we pick out the perfect shampoos and conditioners that will aide in the grooming process. The bath is where we discover skin issues, many not yet known to the owner. Our hose nozzles are designed to push back the hair, separating it so that you can see directly onto the skin. We uncover everthing from dry skin to sores, hotspots, fleas, ticks, wounds, lumps and parasites. Bathtime is where we can help remedy some of these issues with our specialty shampoos and conditioners.
Time To Dry
Last but not least...we get them as dry as possible! Every dog is different and the method we use to dry them depends on what they will tolerate. Drying with a high velocity hand dryer is ideal, but not every pet can handle it emotionally or physically. For short haired dogs like Beagles, Labs and Pointers, the more thoroughly we can dry them, the more hair we can pull out when it comes time to brush them with our specialty tools (link). If the coat is still wet, the fur tends to “stick” together and stays attached to the coat/body. For long haired dogs, we need to get the coat completely dry to get an even, straight haircut. We do use kennel dryers (with no heating element) on occasion, but only in special circumstances, and only when it is safe to do so.
Each Groom Is Unique
Each groom is unique. The amount of time it takes to complete the process and what type of haircut we can do depends on many factors. When we recommend our plan of action for your particular groom at check in, it is based on many components. How long has it been since the last groom? Do you prefer a shave down or to leave the coat long? How does your dog tolerate the process? Does she happily cooperate or try to bite the groomer the whole time? Is he an older gentleman that just needs extra time to sit and relax? Maybe a puppy, brand new to the experience. We will try to do our very best to meet your expectations while putting the health and safety of your dogs and our groomers first and foremost!
Every situation is carefully considered at each appointment. When we recommend a plan of action for your particular groom at check in, it is based on many components. If we feel at any time that what you would like will aggravate old or current injuries, put elderly dogs at risk, cause harm by attempting a risky groom or anything else we deem inappropriate, we will communicate our concerns and help you make a better decision.
We will try to do our very best to meet your expectations while putting the health and safety of your dogs and our groomers first and foremost! On rare occasions, we will be required to send your dog home before completing the groom. If we feel that it is unsafe to continue a groom for either your pet or the groomer, we will ask you to pick up your dog. At this point we will talk to you about the specific situation and go from there.
What Do We Expect From Our Clients?
We work on set appointments. Being on time for both drop off and pick up is imperative. Tardiness for drop off or pick up, even 10 - 15 minutes, causes the whole day to run behind and groomers and pets become stressed. Excessive tardiness is not tolerated and is unfair to our staff and clients that arrive on time. Please remember to be respectful of this, as we try our hardest to respect your time as well.
At Bark Avenue Dog, it is our goal to become lifelong partners with you!