As of tomorrow I will be changing some of the grooming services that I offer at my shop.
Well, changing probably is not the right word to use.
Lets see...I will be changing how I offer some of my grooming services.
There, that sounds better.
How am I changing things?
I am glad that you asked.
Over the last few years I have run into conflicts with owners over plucking ears and expressing anal glands. I have always included these extra grooming services in my full grooms. Many, many times Veterinarians have sent dogs with infected ears and full anal glands to me and told the owner to make sure that 'the groomer' plucks the ears and empties the anals.
Times are a changing.....
In recent years, Veterinarians have seemed to have a change of heart about plucking ears and expressing anal glands. There are now different beliefs out in the Veterinarian world.
The only problem with this?
All Veterinarians do not agree. They are split. They are saying and telling owners different things.
They are putting groomers in the middle.
They are making my life miserable.
They are driving me crazy!!!!!!
To pluck, or nor to pluck.
To squeeze, or not to squeeze.
I ran into both sides of this debate last week.
I had one customer come back with her dog (3 weeks later) because she did not think that we plucked her dogs ears. Her Vet is adamant that the ears be plucked whistle clean with each grooming. (If a dog only has a very small amount of hair in the ears, and the ears are nice, clean and healthy, we usually don't pluck them at that grooming session,(we do still clean them) but they may need to be plucked at the next grooming session.) This was the case with this particular dog. The ears were now due for a good plucking. The dog was due back in another week.
A day later I had a new customer in. Her dogs ears were packed with hair. They looked like they had two little cotton balls living in them. The hair came out really easy and the ears looked nice, clean and healthy.
When I told the owner about the amount of hair that I got out of the ears she freaked.
"My Vet said not to pluck the ears," she told me. "He said that the hair is a filter that keeps dirt and bacteria out of the ears canals," she informed me.
Hmmmmmm, let me think about this a minute, because this is a new one for me. I haven't heard this excuse for not plucking ears before. So, if all of that hair in the ears acts as a filter, what happens to all of those dogs out there that don't ever have any hair in their ears?
Okay, I have thought about it.......bullsh*t!!!
I am so tired of defending why I do and don't do something.
I am tired of worrying about whether I should, or shouldn't do something.
Something that I have been doing for years.
So, I have made a decision.
My shop will no longer be plucking ears, expressing anal glands, or filing nails unless specifically requested by the owner.
I have made a sign for my lobby counter.
I made a sign in Printshop®.
I also bought a standup sign holder at the local office supply store so that I could place the sign on my counter, right at eye view for all of my customers to see.
Because I know from experience, that many people do not take the time to read signs, I have also written up a handout to give my customers, that goes into more detail then the short, to the point counter sign does.
So, between my counter sign and handout, I am hoping that this change in my grooming services will go smoothly.
I think that the biggest problem that we will have, is being careful to not automatically preform these services without checking to make sure that the owner wants them.
It is so second nature to empty anal glands while bathing, and to pluck ears that are packed with hair.
This is what my handout says:
A Notice To Our Customers
For over 25 years, plucking ears and expressing anal glands have been included (at no extra charge) in all of our full service groomings. We had not ever had any problems offering this service until recently.
We have come to discover in the last few years that the Veterinary Community is now split on their views about these services. Some Veterinarians now feel that ears should no longer be plucked, and anal glands should be left alone. Still other Veterinarians feel strongly that a dogs ears should be plucked clean of all hair, and anal glands should be expressed with every grooming, or by Veterinary visit.
These clashing views have left groomers in a tough, and confusing position. Do we continue to pluck ears and express anal glands, or do we stop offering this service all together?
We here at My Furry Friends have decided to do something in the middle. We will continue to offer these services, but only at the express request of the pet owner at the time of the grooming.
We also reserve the right to make the decision (in the best interest of your pet) as to whether the ears need to be plucked, and the anal glands need to, or can be expressed.
These services will also only be provided (upon request) if your dog allows it. If we are unable to provide these services for you, and they do need to be done, we will recommend that you take your dog to see their Veterinarian.
I hope that this will end the debate over ears and anals.
I am leaving it totally up to the owner.
Some groomers may be wondering, and I am sure that I am going to be asked this question by some of my customers; 'will the grooming be cheaper if their dog does not get these services?'
My answer; 'no' the price is the same.
My full groom prices are not broken up into individual prices.
Nails, Anal Glands, and Ear Cleaning have always been included in a full groom at no extra cost.
If I totaled up a charge for each thing that I do during a full groom, my prices would be much, much higher.
Lets just use a Bichon for examples sake, and give a price if we were charging for each individual part of the grooming....(these are only example prices)
~Combing/Brushing/Demat: $10 an hour
~Bath/Blow dry: $30 to 35
~Sanitary trim: $10
~Full body hair cut: with clippers $20, with scissors $30
~Plucking and Cleaning Ears: $10
~Expressing Anal Glands: $10
~Clipping and filing Nails: $10
Total price of a groom on a Bichon if every part of the groom was individually priced... Bath and trim $70↑ , Full haircut $105↑.
This is why I do not give a price break if an owner asks not to do the nails, ears, or anals.
They are already getting a great deal.
I already do the nails, ears and anals at no extra cost when a customer is getting a full groom.
We will see how this goes.
I am sure that 90% of my customers will continue to want me to preform all of these services.
My goal is to protect myself from having owners get angry with me for doing something that I have always done as part of a regular grooming, just because their Vet is telling them something different.
✂Happy Grooming, MFF ✂