The groomer shaved my dog!
A few hours after dropping off your pup for grooming you get a call that he is ready to be picked up. When you arrive you're taken aback by the creature in front of you; where did all of his fluff go?! Why does he look like a rat? I have had this scenario play out more than a few times in my career. Chances are your groomer did not shave your dog simply because they are lazy or dislike him. In most cases it is the most caring choice we make with your pets comfort in mind.
To understand why we shave dogs, we need to understand why it is the safest option. Tangled hair that is not combed through regularly can turn into matting. Matting is commonly found around the joints and behind the ears (known colloquially as 'love mats' from your caring ear rubs). They are essentially clumps of tightly tangled hair that can spread throughout their body. A dog with matting may chew, scratch or bite at themselves. Oil, dirt, debris and friction all contribute to matting. The longer matting is ignored the worse it gets. A small tangle on a leg can develop into a mat that can then encase the entire leg leading to sores and potentially cutting off circulation.
Why do we shave them?
Imagine neglecting to brush your own hair for 4 months. Next, think about trying to get a comb from your roots to your ends without getting stuck on one tangle. Have you ever had your hair stylist get snagged during a blowout? Ouch! The main reason we will shave your dog is because it is extremely painful to demat them. Our blade needs to fit in the space between the mat and his skin. If we try to salvage the coat using a longer blade we are essentially tearing the hair from your dogs skin and risk slicing them open. The safest and most humane option is to shave them and start over - we will not cause your dog any unnecessary pain while they in our care no matter how long you plead with us. If your kids don't like Baxter when he's shaved put them to work with a slicker brush and comb.
There are many ways to prevent or limit matting between grooms. Make sure to use a comb and pull it from their skin all the way through the coat. I speak with a lot of clients that slicker brush the top coat but leave a wooly, matted web of hair next to the skin. Trust me, I have heard it all. We went away for the weekend and left him with my sister and this is what happened! or He went out to the bathroom and came back in like this! There is no need to be embarrassed or use the same story as everyone else; any professional groomer will be more than happy to show you correct brushing techniques and recommend a schedule to maintain the hairstyle you prefer for your pup. Regular professional grooming is key if you don't want to comb at home. I see most of my fluffier clients every 4-6 weeks and they have little to no matting; it's very easy to achieve a cute teddy bear style on them.
Please remember that we love our furry clients and our career but we are not miracle workers. In some cases mat removal is possible but it is time consuming, expensive, and can cause damage to the skin and coat. Don't get upset and storm out of our salon, we really do want nothing but the best for your pet and would love to work with you to achieve the look you want.