About Me:

I am a professional Pet Groomer. I have been grooming for 28 years. This Blog is a kind of diary of my work. I wish I had started years ago, writing some of the experiences I have had while grooming. Most days are fun, some can be sad, some can be just down right crazy. If you are a pet owner and come across this blog, I hope it helps you understand how your pet is groomed. If you are a Pet Groomer, I hope you can relate to some of the stories. Maybe even learn a grooming tip or can leave a friendly grooming tip for me. There is always something to learn, no matter how long you have been grooming.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

The Old Timers

Grooming the old dogs.
Boy, have I groomed some old dogs.

One of the oldest dogs I ever groomed was a Shepard mix that someone had brought in for a bath.
The dog was 20 years old, and she looked it.
I was still new to grooming when she came into my shop.
I had only been grooming 3 years, and had just opened my shop.
Back then most dogs stayed all day.
That was the way I had been taught at grooming school.

I made an exception when this women walked in.
The owner had not told me that the dog was 20 years old when she made the appointment.
Now, you must understand, since I opened my shop around the time the Stone Age started, that I used stand dryers and cage dryers.
HV dryer....what's that?

New groomer or not, at least I had the common sense to tell this owner that I would call her the minute her dog was finished and ready to go home.
You better believe that I got that dog in the tub first thing.
I had that old girl bathed, dried and ready to go home in 2 hours time.
That was unheard of back then.
The dog did great and went right to sleep to wait for her owner to pick her up.

The owner came right away to pick her up....NOT.
We called that woman every hour on the hour and left her a message to come get her dog because it was too old to stay.
That sweet dog slept all day, except for the times that we would wake her up by touching her because we could not tell if she was still breathing, she was sleeping so deeply.
This was a new customer, she did not know us from Adam.
She had know way of knowing if I was taking good care of her dog.
The owner had dropped her dog off at 8am and did not pick her up till 5pm.
I was so angry with her.
I could not believe that she left her very old dog all day and never called to check on her.
I was very happy that the dog lived through the day!

I still groom old dogs, but you better be available to pick them up when I call, unless you make other arrangements with me.

Today I groomed 'Molly'.
I have been grooming 'Molly' for a long time.
She is a Wheaten.
The older she gets, the more moody she gets.
Her mood got so bad at one point that I almost told her owners we would not be able to do her anymore.

She is 14 years old.
"Molly' bites and screams if she thinks you touched her the wrong way.
She has really bad skin and allergys.
She is now on medication for serious seizures.
She can no longer stand very well.
Her back legs vibrate.
Her owner is also allergic to everything.

'Molly' has her own shampoo from the Vet.

I hate most Vet shampoos.

'Molly' is always very dirty and the Vet shampoo just does not clean.

I use my Hypo shampoo on 'Molly' first.

I always make the water a little warmer then usual for the older dogs.
I feel that it relaxes them more and helps keep them calm.
They really enjoy the extra warm water.

'Molly' has bad crusty skin.

I let her soak a little in the bath, then I comb out the chunky loose skin.

Let me change that.
With most dogs I comb out the crusty skin while the dog is still soapy.

Then I soap them up again to finish removing all of the gooeyness the skin left behind.

I use a comb with teeth that are close together so that the teeth will grab hold of the chunky, dead skin.

'Molly' is always matted, so I use my comb to bring the dead, chuncky skin up away from the skin, since I can't comb it all of the way out.

I do this hoping that the blade will glide under the dead skin and through her hair easier.

 Then I give 'Molly' a Baking Soda Rinse and bathe her in her Vet shampoo.

I like to put some of the Vet shampoo into another bottle and add just a little water to help spread it over the dog.

I have found that most Vet shampoos are awful to spread, and do not sud up enough for me.

Tip: I have found that if I do shampoo first with my Hypo, and use the Vets shampoo as a second bath, it does sud up better.

Because 'Molly' is always matted, I do put a little Hypo Creme Rinse on her.

I finish up with another Baking Soda Rinse.

I keep old dogs covered with a towel while drying them to keep them extra warm.

I hold the towel on with a hair clip.

Sometimes I have to dry 'Molly' with a hand dryer because she gets upset with the HV dryer.

You just don't know what you are missing if you haven't ever experienced a dog have what I call a HV nervous breakdown.
It seems to happen mostly to elderly, white dogs.
They start with a slow whine that progressively gets louder, then they start to stiffen.
If you haven't turned the dryer off by now, you are in trouble.
What happens next?
They start to scream uncontrollably.

If this ever happens to you, quickly turn the dryer off, pick up the dog and start walking around and calmly talking to the dog to calm it down.
It will still be screaming!
Carrying the dog outside into fresh air almost always brings them out of their nervous breakdown.

I have not had this happen to me in a while because I always watch for the signs.
If I even think they are going to freak out on me, they get dried with the hand dryer.

Today 'Molly' let me use the HV dryer on her.

I packed her ears with cotton to muffle the sound of the dryer for her.

My dryer also has a veritable speed switch that I only turned up half way to dry 'Molly'.

The towel also kept the air from shooting up to her face and upsetting her.

I was able to get a 5/8th blade through her coat.

It was a little choppy in the places that she has the bad chunky skin and matting.

After I had clipped the mats off of her, I was able to run a fine comb through her and get the rest of the chunky, dead skin out of her hair.

This is the lovely, chunky, dead skin I was talking about.

Just thought you might like to see it.

You did want to see it didn't you?
Oh, sorry.

After some scissoring, I smoothed out most of the choppy areas.

'Molly' did so good today.
She has such a hard time standing now, her back legs are very shaky.

I have found that if I put 'Molly' straight into the tub when her owner drops her off, that she stays in a good mood.

'Molly's' owners picked her up shortly after they were called.
That is the way I like it.
The faster we can get an old dog back home the better.

I have had owners of old dogs tell me not to worry, that they won't blame me if something happens.
I always tell them...
"Bite your tongue! Not on my watch thank you!"

I have had one dog have a Heart Attack in the tub, and I don't ever want to go through that again!

Happy Grooming, MFF


  1. Eww- the chunky-skinned ones are the worst! ;P

    Well, either that or the really dandruff-y ones lol! My pooch falls into that second category. We've tried everything on his skin- even extra-strength Head & Shoulders and coal-tar shampoos.

    In the dry season when he's clipped down, he's gray and so flaky- when he's walking in tall grass people mistake him for a pig! His ear tips are horrible- I spend 15 minutes plucking the dandruff out of them each time he's clipped.

    Any advice? The vet doesn't see anything wrong with him, other than his skin being as dry as a desert lizard.

    1. Hi,
      Try Selsun Blue Shampoo for people. Just about any drug store carries it. I get it from Wal-mart. It is a little pricey. Make sure that you get the Medicated, I think that it had a red cap. I used it on my DauchX. I washed him with it once a week leaving it on for 5 minutes. Not crazy about the smell of the shampoo, but after a few weeks I saw improvement in his skin. The shampoo did a good job. I now use it on him once a month. I have even had a couple of Vets send this shampoo in with customers dogs.
      I hope this helps. :)
      Lisa, MFF