There really is nothing quite like a spa day to make yourself feel fresh and ready to take on the next step of life. The same can be said for your pet! Every now and again, those little fur balls on our dog can start to make them look a little haggard and in need of a cleaning up, which is when you call up your favorite pet groomer and set the appointment.
A few hours (and couple bucks) later and Fluffy looks like a fresh puppy again!
But what about our more seasoned companions - The elderly dogs that are a showing their years. What is grooming like for them?
When animals start to age, their bodies start to break down and they gain some similar issues as humans. Things like arthritis and hip problems, which are a huge issue for the elderly, are just as common in dogs as they are in us, and there is always the worry that a grooming can be uncomfortable for them. Thankfully, there are a number of ways that groomers and veterinarians get around these issues.
Mary Talbot, formerly of the Jaffery/Rindge Veterinary Hospital and a current technician of Salem, NH’s Main Street Animal Hospital, had this to say about how elderly dogs are taken care of. “Arthritis can certainly make grooming appointments difficult for some dogs. Standing for long periods of time or on slippery surfaces like a grooming table, or the bottom of a grooming tub, can put strain on their joints and cause a lot of pain, which makes it difficult for the dog to balance.”
She went on to say there are a few things they can do to help relieve this physical strain. “Thankfully, there are some amazing mats that have been developed over the years. These are designed to help the dog maintain its grip and reduce stress on its body.” Talbot also mentioned that there are special harness’ and waist bands available for use. “There are even these neat grooming hammocks that actually suspend the dog in the air, so they don’t have to support themselves at all. Those and the waistbands are great for providing hip support and, if need be, help to restrain a particularly difficult client.”
When asked what would be the more difficult part of grooming, Talbot responded “Nail trims. At my clinic, we see a lot of arthritic dogs for nail trimmings, and they usually require extra support for the procedure. They often struggle to keep themselves steady, and that tends to translate into pain and potentially aggressive behavior.”
“The key to any grooming, or medical procedure really, is knowing your client.”
Talbot continued, “Being comfortable is the number one key.” She explained that some dogs like to lay on their side, some like to stand and some need to be held for that extra support. “The difficult part is, most dogs are resilient. They don’t often reveal how much pain they are in unless you know what to look for. Which is why we always take precautions and are ready to support elderly clients in any way possible.”
Closing out the interview, she showed off a few online photos of different stylings for the waistbands and pointed out a couple specialized trimming tools that groomers use to help with special grooming concerns, “Overall, grooming can go smoothly if you know what you’re doing, but there’s always a chance for someone to have a bad day.”
Summing things up, it appears that, while grooming elderly dogs is a bit more work than younger ones, It is every bit as rewarding and there should be no worries when placing your fur baby into the right hands.
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