March 22, 2023 Responsible Pet Ownership

The Dangers of Grooming Your Dog or Cat

Dog grooming

The Dangers of Grooming Your Dog or Cat

My phone rang a few days ago. One of my favorite patients was calling. Piggie Pie is fluffy, beautiful and smells really nice when she comes to see me. That is because she often has just been to the groomer before her appointment. While my mind looked forward to a soft, fragrant dog, her owner was calling because when Piggie Pie came home from the groomer, she was squinting her right eye and the owner was concerned. So was I.

A Splash of Shampoo

Shampoo is essential in a bath, but not in the eyes. When I examined Piggie Pie, her right eye was red and I could barely get her to open the lid. We managed to slip a drop of fluoresceine stain in between the lids and sure enough, we were able to identify a corneal ulcer. A week of eye drops will resolve this painful injury which is most likely a result of shampoo that splashed into her eye. Careful use of shampoo would have prevented the injury.

Really Sick After Grooming

One of my Corgi patients came to the animal ER here at the Schwarzman Animal Medical Center. She had been groomed a couple of days before and was extremely lethargic. The ER determined she had a very high fever and she was hospitalized. On closer examination, the skin on her tummy showed red, oozy lesions typical of a deep skin infection called furunculosis. Post grooming furunculosis is the result of shampoo contaminated with a bacteria called Pseudomonas. In the photo below, you can see how antibiotic therapy resolved this serious infection. Purchasing small bottles of shampoo and providing the groomer with your own bottle of shampoo may mitigate the risk of post grooming furunculosis.

Image shows skin post grooming furunculosis, and image of the recovered skin

Avoid Hot Dryers

Tragically, dogs have died when left unattended in hot air-drying cages. I recommend you either ask the groomer to let your dog air dry at room temperature or have her blow dried with a handheld blow dryer to prevent overheating in a hot air dryer cage. Avoiding the hot dryer cage is especially critical in short nosed or brachycephalic dogs who more easily overheat than long nosed dogs.

Proper Grooming Prevents Injuries

In some dogs and cats, their nails grow rapidly and can curve around and into their paw pads as can be seen in the photo below. This is especially common in cats with hairy feet because it is hard to see the nails getting longer and poking into the paw pads. Make it a point to check your pet’s feet frequently and trim their nails if necessary to avoid ingrown toenails.

Overgrown nail

Home Grooming Accidents

Home mat removal is fraught with danger. Last week one of my clients decided to de-mat her cat using scissor and ended up in the animal ER getting 12 stitches to close the laceration caused by the scissors.  Better to have a groomer or your veterinarian remove any mats with a clipper. If you pet is prone to mats, you might want to purchase your own clipper.

If you decide home grooming is better for you and your pet, I have some tips for you in a prior blogpost.

Tags: dog grooming, dogs, grooming, pet shampoo, pets,

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