Okay, I am done ranting.
I don't like ranting.
I feel like I have been a whinny groomer for the past few days.
So I am going to tell this story without ranting.
Well, at least I am going to try.
Plucking Ears and expressing Anal Glands.
I have been doing this service for customers since my first of day of grooming school.
The very first time I ever emptied anal glands, I emptied them out of the dog right into my hair and face.
You better believe that I learned really quickly how to cup my hand and keep from shooting those things across the tub and onto me.
I understand from reading groomer forums that a lot of groomers no longer provide this service.
I don't have any problem with providing this service, but lately I have been thinking of only offering this service as a 'by request service'.
Veterinarians can not seem to make up their minds whether they want groomers providing this service or not.
My personal Vet does not think that I should be emptying anal glands, yet I have customers coming in all of the time telling me that their Vet told them to 'make sure your groomer empties the anal glands'.
Of course, I also have customers coming in telling me that their Vet told them to tell me not to empty the anal glands.
Then there are the phone calls from customers telling me that they had to take their dog to the Vet because their dog was scooting and the Vet told them that I (the groomer) must not be emptying the anal glands.
Earlier this week I had a regular customer come in and tell me that one day they found their dog straining to go to the bathroom.
They took her to the Vet.
Their Vet told them that the anal glands were blocked, and the reason was because I (the groomer) was not emptying the anal glands.
Why am I the scapegoat when a dog goes to the Vet for impacted or blocked anal glands.
This is not the first, second, or even third time that I have heard this over the years.
Last year my husband spent half an hour on the phone with an irate, long time, regular customer that had to take his dog to the Vet because the dogs anal glands had gotten impacted.
Again, the Vet had told the owner that the cause was because 'the groomer' had not been expressing them.
This particular customer had to be reminded that they had been told by us, awhile back, that we could not do their dogs anal glands, because the dog was too obese to find them.
He of course did not remember this and was very upset that he had a Vet bill.
We only express anal glands from the outside, with light pressure.
If I can not empty the glands using light pressure, but I can feel that the glands are full, I send the dog to the Vet.
My question is...even as a groomer, and not having spent years becoming a Vet, I know that every dogs anal glands are different.
Some dogs glands are always empty, because the dog is able to empty them themselves.
Others fill slowly.
Still others fill very fast.
I once groomed a little Maltese whose glands had to be emptied everyday, and eventually had to have the glands removed.
So how is it that a groomer can be blamed for a dog having problems with their anal glands?
I don't charge extra for this service, it is added to the grooming as a courtesy service.
I am tired of being blamed for anal gland problems.
Now, on to ears.
I have also been plucking and cleaning out ears since I started grooming.
I have always been very particular about getting all of the hair out and getting the ears whistle clean.
A couple of years ago I had a booth at the Pet Expo in town.
One day a Holistic Vet from another booth stopped by to talk to me.
While talking to me, she was petting my Standard.
She was also openly examining her.
She lifted her ears and immediately started giving me a hard time bout the fact that I plucked my Standards ears.
She told me that I was causing infections in my dogs ears by plucking them.
I have three Standard Poodles.
Two of them get their ears plucked, maybe every couple of months.
Their ears are fine.
My white Standard must have her ears plucked regularly or she starts having trouble with them.
As long as I keep them plucked and clean she has no problems with them.
I do not believe that plucking ears causes infections.
The same dog, whose owners told me about the anal glands this week, also told me that their Vet said, that because I plucked the dogs ears, she got an ear infection.
I am the one that found the infection when I plucked the ears the last time the dog was in.
I am the one that told them to take the dog to the Vet for her ear.
But yet, I am the one to get blamed for the ear infection because I plucked the ears.
I had to remind the owners that I was the one who found the ear infection, and that the infection was there before I plucked the ears.
This is another thing that Vets don't seem to be able to agree on lately.
Over the last year or two I have been having more and more customers come in telling me that their Vet said not to pluck the ears.
I also have many more customers coming in telling me that their Vet said to make sure that I pluck the ears well.
And, I can't tell you how many times Vets have sent dogs to me to pluck and clean out infected ears so that the customer can put medicine in the ears.
Needless to say, when this customer came in earlier this week and told me that their Vet had blamed me for both the anal gland problem and the ear infection, I was not a happy camper.
I NEVER put down a Vet to a customer.
Even Vets that I know are not the greatest.I will tell a customer to get a second opinion, but I will not blame a Vet for anything.
Why can't they give groomers the same courtesy?
It happens too often.
I once had a customer take their dog into the Vet for a Hot Spot.
You guessed it.
The Vet saw that the dog had just been groomed and blamed it on me.
Not only that, but the Vet had also told my customer that I must have used dirty, hot blades.
What the Vet didn't know was, that I found the Hot Spot on the dog in my lobby before I took him back for grooming.
Oh, and the dog also got a clip comb and scissor cut.
Thankfully, that customer took up for me.
If you asked me a couple of days ago, I would have told you that I was no longer going to offer ear plucking and anal glands as a regular service, but I have calmed down.
I really think that plucking ears is important.
So many of my customers don't take their dogs to the Vet for ears like I tell them to, and the only time the dogs ears get taken care of is by me.
So, I will keep cleaning ears, and I will keep telling customers when they need to take their dog to the Vet for bad ears.
As for the anal glands....
I am still playing around with the idea of making that a 'by request service'.
Don't get me wrong.
There are a lot of good Vets around me.
I know of at least three that recommend me, and I have a few Vets that I recommend.
I want to work together with the Veterinarians, because as far as I am concerned, they don't no a thing about grooming, and I am not a Veterinarian, but we need each other to help keep the dogs healthy out there.
Grooming a dog is just as important to a dogs health as Veterinarian medicine is.
There are bad Vets out there and there are bad groomers out there, but if you get a good Vet and a good groomer working together it would be great.
Okay, I am done.
That wasn't a rant, was it? :)
Happy Grooming, MFF