Trip to the groomers can make a big difference, but owners beware

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 28 June, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 28 June, 2009, 12:00am

If your pet is having a bad hair day then a trip to the groomers may be just the ticket. According to Gabbie Lam Chi-yan, the grooming supervisor at the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, grooming pets has become more popular over the past five years.

'There are more groomers now and, with the hot weather, owners like to have their dog's hair shaved and tidied up,' Ms Lam says.

She says the hottest look for dogs this season is the teddy bear cut - particularly for poodles. This cut results in an even cut around the body - like a teddy bear.

For owners who want their dogs to look and smell good too, Ms Lam says dogs should be taken every two to three months for treatment consisting of a bath, hair brushing, nail clipping and ear cleaning.

She says cats do not need a haircut or 'to be bathed at all'. However, cats with long matted hair should either have their hair cut or shaved off.

'If the hair is matted it can cause skin disease and the cat will feel uncomfortable, pulling at the skin as it walks. It's like a rock attached to its body and stops the cat from walking or jumping properly,' she says.

Ms Lam says some pet shops illegally sedate dogs and cats, without supervision from a registered veterinarian, before shaving their hair. And, in some unfortunate cases, the can pet die.

Ms Lam, who has been grooming animals since 1997, says another treatment owners need to be aware of is that of soaking dogs in a solution which is touted as a stress-relieving bath treatment. 'I think soaking in a solution is stressful for the dog. I don't think it's enjoyable. You don't know if the dog is sensitive to the solution. And for cats it is just dangerous. If they get scared, they could drown because cats don't like water. And I don't think [the solution] can help the skin at all.'

Ms Lam recommends nails on dogs and cats to be cut every three months. 'If a dog's nails grow too long they will grow into the pores of the paw. I have seen a lot of these cases and it looks like it really hurts.'

Before booking an appointment with a groomer, Ms Lam says check that the pet shop sterilises all of its equipment, or your pet may get a skin disease. 'A good shop will sterilise everything.'