Meet Heather, Professional groomer
Heather has been a professional dog groomer since 2002 and came to St. Boni Pet Hospital in Spring 2020. Her experience comes from working her family’s dog grooming salon in the Twin Cities. She also has experience in dog obedience training as well. Her love for animals has been lifelong and stems from her childhood. She grew up with standard poodles that her family bred, raised, groomed and showed. She has always had a passion for working with animals and has always been a poet of the dog world for much of her life.
Heather currently has one rescue dog, a cute litter terrier/poodle mix named Willy. She strives to make grooming as stress free as possible for an enjoyable grooming experience. She believes that it is a must to have a great deal of patience and trust, as well as the ability to read dogs’ body language. She takes great pride in her work and is very much for quality over quantity. Heather believes that there is always something new to learn in the grooming industry, and strives to learn new ways to keep your dogs happy, clean, and healthy.
Before and After pictures coming soon!
Frequently Asked Questions
How Often Should I Groom my Dog?
It doesn’t matter if your dog has a long, medium or short coat, all dogs need to be groomed regularly. Grooming doesn’t only make your dog look good, but it keeps your dog healthy and feeling well. If you find yourself asking how often or when to groom your dog, the answer is “frequently.” Your exact schedule will depend on your dog and the amount of time you have.
Once every 4-8 weeks you should consider taking your dog to a groomer for hair clipping and nail trim. But this time can vary depending on breed and the length of hair you prefer your dog to have. Brushing should happen daily, ear cleaning weekly, and bathing monthly. If you have difficulty keeping up with brushing and ear cleaning at home, then you should see a groomer more often.
While you may choose to have a professional groomer clip your dog’s coat once every month or so, there are tasks that you can easily complete at home.
Should I be brushing my dog between grooming appointments?
Brushing is a grooming ritual that can provide relaxation for both you and your pet. Brushing your dog’s fur keeps it free of mats and tangles that can pull tightly on the skin, causing discomfort. Long-haired breeds of dog should be brushed or combed daily with the proper tools. Medium- and short-coated dogs need brushed less often, but daily brushing is still welcomed by many dogs regardless of the length of their coat. Regular brushing will help reduce shedding, and will save your home from getting covered in loose hair.
Is bathing a dog frequently bad for their skin?
There’s an old rule of thumb that says dogs can’t be bathed often. This is no longer the case. With the pet-safe shampoos on the market today, you can bathe your dog as often as you like. Some pet owners choose to bathe their dog only when it is dirty. Other pet owners choose to bathe their dog on a regular basis, whether it is once a week or once each month.
To bathe your dog properly, first wet it down well with lukewarm water. Lather your dog with shampoo, and rinse your dog well. Repeating this process a second time and following with a conditioner is beneficial to the skin and coat when the correct products are used. Dry your dog with a towel and use a blow dryer on cool/low setting. Be careful not to blow directly into the ear canal or eyes.
Bathing your dog helps keep both its skin and coat clean. Bathing washes away potential allergens, and keeps your dog’s coat free of dirt and debris.
How are nail trims done?
Dog’s toenails grow at different rates. When your dog’s toenails are cut correctly and often enough, they will not click on the floor or pavement when the dog walks. Clipping toenails is not difficult, but it can take some practice. Dogs have a blood vessel in the toenail called the quick. The quick is easily seen in dogs that have light-colored nails, but it is very difficult to see in dog’s with black nails. Cutting into the quick is not the end of the world, but it is something that is avoided if possible.
Most dog’s tolerate a clipper-type cutter more readily than a guillotine-type cutter. If you can see the quick, cut to just in front of where it stops. For black-nailed dogs, cut to just where the nail begins to curve. Try to only take a tiny sliver of nail off at a time.
Keep a product like Kwik-Stop styptic powder handy when you are cutting toenails. This product will stop bleeding if you cut into the quick. Failing to keep your dog’s toenails trimmed can cause the nails to curve under and into your dog’s pads. This not only causes a painful condition, but can eventually affect your dogs foot and ankle joints due to an altered gate.
Should I clean my dogs ears frequently?
Cleaning your dog’s ears regularly helps to prevent ear infections. Cleaning your dog’s ears is a relatively easy task. You can purchase cleanser from your veterinarian or the pet store.
Fill your dog’s ears with cleanser, and massage the ears at the base. Allow your dog to shake its head. Repeat this process twice more. Wipe out your dog’s ears with a cotton ball or piece of gauze. Use a clean cotton ball or gauze pad on each ear to avoid cross-contamination.
Dogs that swim benefit from a product like Swimmer’s Ear. This product helps to keep the ear canals dry. Excessive moisture can rapidly lead to ear infections.
Benefits of a Regular Routine
There are many benefits of regular grooming for both you and your pet. The ritual itself is very calming for the both of you, reducing stress and anxiety. Regular grooming/brushing can also serve to deepen the bond between you and your dog.
Grooming involves several hands-on activities. By regularly touching and looking at your dog, you may notice spots, lumps and bumps more quickly, allowing you to seek treatment in their early stages.
Regular cleaning of your dog’s ears can help to prevent infection. It can also alert you to an infection when it starts, not several weeks after it has set in.
Grooming offers one of the best ways to get to know your dog’s body. When you know what your dog feels like and looks like on a normal basis, you are able to notice abnormalities quicker. If you don’t already have a grooming ritual, put one in place today for the health of your pet!
What is Matting?
"Matting" refers to densely tangled clumps of fur in a pet's coat. If a coat is not properly and/or frequently brushed, loose and live hair becomes embedded in large masses. Sometimes mats can be combed out, but if left too long, it is impossible without seriously hurting the animal.
Mats can form in both the outer coat as well as the deeper undercoat. Sometimes severe mats form in the undercoat and are unnoticeable because of a heavy outer coat. If left completely unattended, a pet's fur can become entirely matted to such an extent that the only recourse is to shave the entire coat. Many times owners will think their pet's coat is mat-free when only the very top layer is brushed. Some of the areas that are prone to matting are behind the ears, under the front legs (think armpit), the inside of the legs, sanitary area, and between the toes. Those areas are particularly sensitive to shave.
Matting is especially prevalent in long-hair dogs during seasonal shedding if the excessive hairs are not removed. Regular and frequent grooming—especially brushing—is absolutely necessary to not only prevent mats, but to keep your pet’s coat and skin healthy. In our area, many dogs enjoy life at the cabin and frequent swimming. Rinsing your pet thoroughly after swimming, blow drying and then brushing will help keep the mats to a minimum.
Severe matting can be extremely painful to your dog during brushing. Brushing only causes live hairs to be pulled out of the skin with excruciating pain. Even mild matting can cause your pet a great deal of pain. Severe matting can cut off blood supply to extremities, and deny regular air circulation. Skin denied fresh air and stimulation from regular brushing becomes quite unhealthy. It can turn dark pink to red, and open sores are apt to form emitting foul odors. Even organic matter, like weeds and stickers, can become embedded in the skin. Mats have been known to contain stool of the pet because matting around the anus can prevent easy elimination for your pet. Remember, sometimes these mats and their consequences can be completely hidden from view.
This is a very painful and uncomfortable process when the matting is extensive. A few mats can be removed with the proper tools and skill, with minimal discomfort. If the matting is severe, the best course of action is to shave it off. Shaving a matted coat is a delicate and slow process requiring experience and expertise. A dog’s skin is thin like tissue paper, and dense mats can cause it to become loose due to the weight of the matting. Clippers can easily cut loose skin if not done properly and safely. After removing the matted fur, your pet is gently bathed in warm water and a very mild shampoo. After drying will come the second shave to even up the coat.
After shaving, a pet may develop an itchy skin response. Owners should watch to ensure that constant scratching does not cause the skin to become irritated.
Dead, loose hairs should be removed through regular and thorough brushing. This is especially important for long-haired dogs, and when dogs shed seasonally. Brushing also aerates the fur and skin. Regular, professional grooming is essential, too, because your St. Boni Pet Hospital groomer thoroughly bathes and brushes with particular attention to areas where mats quickly form. Keeping your dog’s hair at a manageable length also helps to prevent matting.
Grooming should be done on a regular basis every 4 to 6 weeks; after 8 to 10 weeks, a coat may become too dirty and matted to maintain, depending upon breed and lifestyle of your dog.
We are always here to answer any questions you may have! We can help you out!
Our goal is to have a long and successful partnership with you and your pet.