The unheralded perks of pampering your pooch

Published on Wed, Apr 17, 2013 by Ian Ferguson

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Regular pet grooming is about more than just looks it can help prevent a range of health problems, especially for dogs that spend time outdoors.

While the outer coat of a dog’s fur might look shiny and healthy, the undercoat can trap debris such as dirt, sticks and leaves close to the skin in mats of fur. Over time, that debris can lead to skin irritation that is uncomfortable and unhealthy for your pet.

Brushing your dog once a week is an easy and inexpensive way to maintain a healthy coat, according to John Ellis, owner of Pooch Palace and Kitty Kastle in Birch Bay.

“It’s one of the best things you can do for your dog,” he said. “They love it. It keeps their coat looking nice and keeps debris from getting caught in mats.”

When it’s time to head to the groomer, choose a facility that won’t stress out your dog. Groomers at big box stores often groom up to 20 dogs per day, cage drying the dogs when they’re done, and don’t have time to ease the dog into the unfamiliar situation of grooming.

With no cage drying and one-on-one attention given to each dog, boutique dog-grooming businesses like Pooch Palace aim to keep the stress level down.

“Anytime a dog leaves its owner, it’s going to feel a little nervous,” Ellis said. “The difference here is that we want the dog to enjoy the experience. We take the time to play with the dog, talk to the dog and make sure it’s relaxed before the grooming begins.”

Pooch Palace also offers a customized grooming experience tailored to the needs of your pet.

“You really have to get to know what the coat is like before you can decide which shampoo and conditioner to use,” Ellis said. Pooch Palace uses 12 different shampoos along with a variety of conditioners and detanglers.

“I’ve learned that every dog’s coat is different,” Ellis said. “You can’t just peg them to their breed and decide which shampoo to use based on that alone.”

The groomers at Pooch Palace use two baths per dog – one to clean and condition the fur and a second to rinse, massage and relax the dog.

After washing, the dogs are hand dried and allowed to hang out in the playroom or lounge around on chairs and couches while they wait for their owner to pick them up. Ellis said the process takes about two hours depending on the dog.

Pooch Palace also offers a spa package combining daycare with grooming. Canines can spend the day at the Pooch Palace, socializing with other dogs and enjoying themselves before and after a leisurely grooming.

“Our happiest dogs are the ones that stay and play awhile,” Ellis said.