What Your Groomer Sees

Have you ever gone a month or two without seeing someone and then — when you do see them — you can immediately see that they have gained/loss weight, look tired, or look much more buoyant and refreshed compared to last time? Well, it’s the same with your groomer and your dog. When you see someone (including your dog) every day it can be easy to miss any changes.

Your groomer has the perfect visit interval to pick up on all sorts of new developments. The groomer is right there in very close proximity, paying 100% of their attention to your dog for 1-2 hours. During all the washing, rinsing, and swabbing, your groomer is likely to notice changes in your pet that might have slipped you by. This article highlights some of the things your groomer might pick up on that you yourself might not.

Changes in Attitude & Brightness

Dogs have a personality and definite traits. If your dog has lost their normal level of attentiveness or even alertness, this may have happened so slowly that it has escaped your attention. Dogs recognize and remember people just like we do. If your dog doesn’t recognize and respond to the groomer in the usual way, your groomer will notice it.

groomer grooming poodle's paw pads

Changes in Walking

A groomer will instantly know if a dog is favoring a paw or a leg while they walk.  As the dog gets into position for grooming, the groomer will also be able to see if the dog is not able to jump or lift themselves like they used to. This could point to some underlying condition that you and your vet should know about.

Changes in Resting & Standing Endurance

Your groomer will especially notice if your dog can’t stand on three legs as requested. This impairment will become evident very quickly as the groomer tries working on each paw, requiring the dog to rest their weight in all different combinations. Here again could be a joint or bone issue that might not be obvious to the owner who does not normally request these contortions.

Maybe your dog can stand… but it has escaped your notice that they can’t stand for very long. And maybe this inability is changing over time. During a grooming appointment, a dog is requested to stand for about 90 minutes. This is a long time for a dog with a joint, paw, or bone issue—even a mild one that might have scraped your notice.

Changes in Weight

You know how you can instantly see when someone has… put on the pounds? Your groomer can see this on your dog. What was once a healthy layer of fat around the rib cage has grown into puppy love handles.

Changes in Coat & Skin

Has your dog developed anything weird in the coat such as patchiness, oiliness, or flakiness? As the various combs and brushes work their way through the coat, your groomer is instantly aware when she hits a change in the skin or hair. It’s like when you’re wiping your counter and you feel
a dirty spot under the sponge — it just feels wrong. From your many hours of practice, you’ve developed a feel for what a clean counter feels like and what a dirty one feels like. It’s the same with your groomer and her brush. She knows what the coat should feel like.

What does the skin (meaning the areas without hair) look like? The groomer will feel for thick patches or sores, and may notice redness or even “tenting” that might indicate dehydration. During the bath, the groomer has a good opportunity to find areas of swelling, lumps, or bumps that weren’t present at the last grooming. While the nails are being clipped, they have an opportunity to examine the paws or raw areas for irritation, a sign the dog has been chewing on his feet.

Changes in Eyes, Ears & Teeth

Is there a buildup in the ears that is not normal for this dog? On many occasions, groomers will be the first to see an ear infection that’s been building up. It may have even evolved into a full-fledged and puss-filled mess. Particularly when your dog is older and less active, a condition like this can develop stealthily without obvious pointers like scratching and flipping.

How are the eyes doing? It’s said that the eyes are the window to the soul but they’re also a good indicator of overall health. Your groomer will notice changes in eye discharge (quality or amount) compared to the last grooming, or even cloudiness that wasn’t there previously.

How often do you look at your dog’s gums? Groomers do! And they’re likely to notice ulcers or lumps that have developed along the gum line. A groomer may also notice possible gum infections that are developing.

Changes in Breathing

Are there changes in breathing compared to last time? Your groomer and your pet are in close proximity for a long time. The groomer will note if there is shallow breathing, raspy breathing or loud breathing that is new.

By the time the grooming is complete, your groomer knows your dog from end to end. Even more importantly, when you stick with the same groomer, they know your dog over time. In the same way that the relationship between dog and groomer builds over the months, the trust and familiarity build also. In summary, frequent grooming by the same groomer each time is a win for the dog, a win for the groomer, and a win for you, the pet owner. We believe in this relationship and encourage you to do your best to support and cultivate it.