Pantops Pet Salon
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Pantops Pet Salon & Spa
Charlottesville's Professional Dog Grooming

It's what we do -- it's all we do.

(434) 293-2424
Fax: (434) 293-8231
504 Pantops Center
Charlottesville, VA 22911

Archive for August, 2007

Some Fun Statistics

Friday, August 10th, 2007 by Jenna

Archived from “The Paw Report:” Issue #14, August

These statistics are valid as of 8/10/07.

We have 1304 active customers.
576 of them live in Charlottesville—we get quite a lot of out-of-towners!

434 of our dogs get the shortest haircut—about a quarter of an inch all over.
39 of them have had a hand-scissored puppy cut—one of our most difficult grooms.
85 of our dogs have gotten a flea bath and 117 need hypoallergenic shampoo.

AKC’s top 10 dog breeds are below.
Compare that to our top 10 breeds to
the right.

1. Labrador Retriever
2. Yorkshire Terrier
3. German Shepherd
4. Golden Retriever
5. Beagle
6. Dachshund
7. Boxer
8. Poodle
9. Shih Tzu
10. Miniature Schnauzer

The chart below compares the most common names of our customers with the most common names from a Pet Tag company which serves thousands of dogs. Casey, Maggie, Charlie, and Lucy tied for our 10th place spot. We have 12 of each.

Our top name and their top name is Max. We have 23 dogs named Max and one named Maxine. Other top names include Bear (we have 7 for Bear and 2 for Bearly) and variations on Sam (5 for Sam, 5 for Samantha, and 9 for Sammy). We also have one Summer, one Sundance, two Sunnys, one Sunshine, and one Soliel!

Click here for a chart of dog names.

The Pain Threshold

Friday, August 10th, 2007 by Mike Cronk

In general, dogs are fairly stoic animals when it comes to pain—much like the rest of the animal kingdom.  Human beings are the exception.  For dogs, it is all about survival of the fittest and concealing any signs of weakness.  Nursing mothers will not feed a pup if it can’t make its way to a teat and other pups will push it out of the way.  From the very beginning, dogs must not show signs of weakness or the pack will turn on them—there is no room for stragglers in the hunt. 

This is evident to us in grooming—we see some health situations in our dogs that would drive a human crazy, but the dogs show very few signs of pain.  That survival instinct is still prevalent in many of our breeds and showing pain is just not fashionable!  Think about flea and tick infestation—could you imagine living with 30+ fleas biting all over you?  Some of the chronic ear infections we see surely cause excruciating pain and headaches.  When our older pets become arthritic and lose muscle tone in their back legs that’s got to hurt.  I know at 61, my joints aren’t what they used to be and an occasional Tylenol is helpful.  Keep in mind that when dogs are healing from surgery or a broken bone the use of painkillers may not be wise.  The associated pain will keep your dog inactive while the healing takes place—otherwise he may re-injure himself. 

On the other hand, breeding has certainly minimized this instinct in many of our companion dogs—especially the Toys.  If you heard and saw some of our pups getting their first haircut you would think we were really being mean—their fear of pain certainly isn’t held back.  Once we show them through patience and firmness that we are not trying to hurt them, they generally settle down.  As dogs are bred for companionship more than work, many traits, instincts and sense abilities are being altered like this.

What’s the deal with anal glands?

Friday, August 10th, 2007 by Jenna

Often we get customers in who ask us to express their dog’s anal glands or sacs.  Many grooming shops perform this service and “The All Breed Grooming Guide” even lists anal expression as one of the steps for each groom.  At the Pet Salon, we do NOT express anal glands—and not just because the task is as gross as it sounds!

Anal glands are two small sacs just inside your pet’s anus.  The strong scent of the glands is used to mark territory and sometimes for self-defense.  A thick, oily, foul-smelling liquid fills these glands and is typically secreted during defecation.  There is some research that indicts that a diet rich in fiber (producing firmer stool) will aid in emptying the sacs. 

Large breeds rarely have a problem voluntarily emptying their anal glands and only about 12% of dogs in general have a problem with them.  However, breeds that are more likely to need their anal glands manually emptied (expressed) are:  Toy and Miniature Poodles, Chihuahuas, Lhasa Apsos, Cocker Spaniels, Basset Hounds, and Beagles.

Several anal gland issues can develop but anal gland expression only benefits dogs whose glands are impacted.  If the glands are not naturally emptied the liquid may thicken to the point of blocking (impacting) the glands.  Impacted glands are uncomfortable for the dog and can become infected.  Dogs with impacted anal glands will scoot their rears across the floor (or lick/bite or chase their tail) in an effort to empty the glands themselves.  If they continue without success to scoot across the floor, they need to be taken to an experienced veterinarian who can empty the glands and check for any infections.  Some dogs may have chronic issues with their anal glands and need them to be emptied frequently.  If so, the anal glands can be permanently removed.

If somewhere around 88% of dogs never have a problem with their anal glands, why is anal glad expression so common at grooming shops?  We don’t know.  Especially since the process of expression—if not done correctly—can damage a very sensitive area of the dog.  We are happy to leave this smelly process to veterinarians who can express the glands carefully and diagnose (as well as treat) any problems that they discover.

Nature and Nurture

Tuesday, August 7th, 2007 by Mike Cronk

There is an on-going debate on whether animals and humans are born with “what you see is what you get” or if they can be developed through environmental factors.  Which is more important?  Let the scientists argue.  I think we can agree that both the nature and nurture sides of the debate play an important role.

Those of us with children know that each is born into the world with a certain personality and it is up to us to shape it.  My son Michel owns the Pet Motel and Salon—an apple that didn’t fall far from the tree.  My daughter Laura is a mother of three and helps in the business—she said she could care less about attending college.  My daughter Rebecca was a gifted swimmer and as parents we encouraged that through college—and it paid off.  Our son Carl on the other hand was born with cerebral palsy and no amount of love or education was going to change that.

When you select a puppy, be aware of the traits that that puppy is born with.  It has been established that selective breeding over generations increases the likelihood of offspring that resemble their parents.  Proven race horses can demand top dollar to become part of a breeding pair because their offspring are likely to have the same racing ability.  The science of animal husbandry is mandatory education for farmers who deal in livestock as well as for breeders of dogs.

While not guaranteed, your chances of getting a dog that closely resembles the traits of the breed are much higher with a conscientious breeder who only breeds the best.  In a litter of 8 pups, a breeder may determine that 1 or 2 have a fault they don’t wish to be passed on.  It may be as minor as some white on a dog that must be totally black to something more serious.  These pups are usually sold as “pet quality” (rather than show quality) for substantially less money than the others.  My second Dane, Belle, was from such a breeder.  Belle was extremely shy.  She was by far show quality in appearance but required special care from me in unfamiliar situations or with strangers.

After selecting your pup, you must rely on nurturing the traits.  What we bring to the table to form, change, and reinforce the behavior, appearance, and health we desire of our dog.  We have several articles that go into detail in these areas.  Where nature claims that “what you see is what you get,” nurture says that with emphasis on the environment, we can shape the behavior and well being of our pet.  I think we have to make a concerted effort in both areas—pay close attention to breeding when selecting a pup but realize that your dog won’t meet its full potential without regard to how we train and care for it.

Furry Therapy Goes a Long Way

Tuesday, August 7th, 2007 by Mike Cronk

Our fourth child was born with cerebral palsy and is now 27 years old.  He recently became a resident of the Wiseman house here in Charlottesville which is owned and operated by the ARC of the Piedmont.   We make an effort to visit him at least once a week—I like to leave work in the early afternoon and take him home to play with Lizzie in the backyard.  I don’t have any scientific proof, but I’ve always felt that all of our dogs, past and present, had a particular relationship with Carl.  It’s almost as if they could sense his innocence—they seemed calmer in his presence and formed a unique bond with him.  I know Lizzie is good therapy for me and I can see that same effect in Carl.  He laughs and enjoys hugging her, throwing her sticks and watching her play.  Sometimes, just being in the presence of a good loving dog is all that we need to make this hectic world an OK place.

Jenna adds:
When I worked at The Virginian, a retirement community in Fairfax, there was a regularly scheduled visit from a group of therapy dogs.  That day was always the most cheerful for our residents.  At Cedars-Sinai, a hospital in California, there is a similar program called POOCH.  The creator, licensed social worker Barbara Cowen, notes that after the therapy dog visits, the patients have slower heart rates and require less pain medication.  The July issue of “Journal of Gerontology:  Medical Sciences” describes a recent test using the UCLA Loneliness Scale.  After half an hour a week with a therapy dog for six weeks, 45 patients reported that they were significantly less lonely compared to a control group.  I’m sure that research will continue to prove the benefits of therapy dogs.

Roberta Taylor, LPN compares the use of therapy dogs to the use of medication including recommended dosage and potential side effects!   Click here to read what she has to say.

Using Dog Radar

Tuesday, August 7th, 2007 by Mike Cronk

One of our customers, Karen Waters, owns a Jack Russell/Beagle mix named Mark.  She arranged for her friend Cyndi Richardson, to care for Mark while she was away.  Karen lives close to Martha Jefferson Hospital.  Cyndi lives south of town, close to Tonsler Park.  Mark had never been to Cyndi’s house before.  He rode there in the car and was dropped off at Cyndi’s house as planned.  But once Karen left, Mark escaped out the door.  Cyndi called Karen to report him missing.  Two hours later, Mark showed up at home!  Think you could find your way home from a place you’ve never been before?  We’ve written about each of the senses—what helped Mark find his way home?  Smell, sight?  The mysterious dog radar!