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 November, 2008

Grooming and the Economy

Thursday, November 27th, 2008 by Mike Cronk

I’ve been in business since 1975–that’s 33 years of dog grooming and consequently I’ve seen lots of ups and downs in the economy, but nothing like this. While business has been slower for most of this year (around a 5% decrease), August was especially bad. While it is generally slower due to last minute vacations and kids going back to school, it seemed like instead of a gradual leak, someone took the plug out of the tub…..and it was a big plug! Down about 25%! The reality of the market has really come home to roost, and I’m told it’ll be perching for another 1.5-2 years. OUCH!
I started to get concerned a couple of years ago when credit card purchases became the norm and home values experienced annual double digit increases. I dropped my Jeep Grand Cherokee like a hot potato and bought a Toyota Yaris (40 miles to the gallon). Now you can’t give away an SUV. Glad I saw that one coming! We’ve known for years that false increases in real estate appraisals couldn’t be sustained, and we were right. Now we are in a banking crisis that is being financed by loans from China and oil cartels, to go along with a near doubling of energy costs. And where is the money coming from for relief after hurricanes Gustof and Ike? How is California paying to fight all those wild fires?
When I tell people that grooming is taking a hit as well, they seem shocked. After all, “everyone just loves their dog!” Right. You should see the condition of some of the dogs that come in–the horror stories I could tell. Anyway, professional grooming is a luxury item that many of us need to budget for and it doesn’t quite measure up to buying groceries, paying the rent, or buying the gas to get to work. Notice I said “professional” grooming, the quality you get from paying a skilled artist. Just because you may not be able to afford our services doesn’t take you off the hook to take care of your dog. While I obviously can’t sustain my business unless most of you find us within your budget, reality says some of you may do more at home and others take more time between visits. Now is a good time to consider a shorter haircut that’ll last a bit longer. Please take a moment to read our article on Matting so you can understand what we need from you if you do wait longer between visits. Also read our Brushout articlewhich thoroughly describes our process and should give you some tips for maintaining your dog’s coat (and thus health and comfort) between visits.
So, imagine our customers who used to come in 4 times a year are now stretching it to 3, that’s still an annual loss of 25% in gross sales for us-without losing the customer. What are we doing about it? A couple of months ago I gave my employees a $2.00/hour raise to help cover the increase in gas prices so they could get to work – three of them live in Greene County. This resulted in a grooming price increase of between $2 and $4 on most services. Having done that, my next objective was to streamline the business without sacrificing quality. I lost a groomer to pregnancy and she won’t be replaced. Jenna, who was my full time office manager, now lives in Savannah, Georgia. While she still works online for me, it’s only for 5 hours per week. Her receptionist and office duties have reverted back to me. I also had a part-time person close in the afternoons who I let go so I’ve taken on that job as well. I had my windows cleaned and floor waxed twice a month by outside help–a great service that adds real shine to the shop but not a necessity. I’m now taking on that cleaning too. You’ll notice that bandanas, which have increased in price by 30%, are no longer free. While not essential to grooming, they are a nice touch for some and will be available at cost – $1.00. What won’t be changed is our effort to provide quality service and professionalism.
My son Michael, owner of The Pet Motel and Salon, questioned whether we should lower prices to see if we could increase business, but I’m not convinced that we can. My employees and I are just like everyone else. We find ourselves needing more money to meet expenses, not less. And you can bet that the business needs it too–just like bandanas, our supplies are getting more expensive across the board and there are some we just can’t do without.
So there you have it. The economy is in crisis, predicted to get worse and we are all going to have to adjust to stretching our dollars to cover higher costs. Keep in mind, while grooming certainly makes your dog look good, it’s more importantly about cleanliness, comfort and health. Try to keep us in your budget, but if you can’t don’t let your dog suffer. Frequent brushing and an occasional bath can go a long way.

Gift Certificates

Thursday, November 27th, 2008 by Mike Cronk

Dorothy Thomas has been a great customer of ours for years. Last spring, her children got together and gave her a unique and much appreciated gift certificate that she could share with her Toy Poodle, Rene. They pooled their money and bought her a certificate for $200–the equivalent of four haircuts.

If you have a special someone with a dog and can’t quite figure out what to get them, keep us in mind. You don’t even need to come in, simply give us a call and we can have the gift certificate mailed to you or your recipient.

Watch those Paws

Thursday, November 27th, 2008 by Mike Cronk

I woke up this morning and was greeted by the first snow dusting of the season. I do a three mile walk most mornings with Lizzie, my Golden Retriever and Salon receptionist. The snow this morning got me to thinking about her paws. Poor girl was barefoot! The way she runs through the woods, on gravel roads and asphalt parking lots leaves me amazed at the toughness of her pads. But as with everything, there are limits. Pavement can be way too hot, rocks too sharp, and ice too cold. This summer when we left the salon and crossed the parking lot on our way to the river for our mid-day walk, I made it a point to avoid as much pavement as possible. Yes, it could fry an egg.

This winter, we need to avoid walking where rock salt and chemical de-icers have been used. If your dog does walk across this material, make sure to wash her paws afterward. Not only will the chemicals burn open sores or cracks in the pads, it is toxic if ingested–and you know dogs will lick their feet. The best bet for your own home use is a bag of play sand or cat litter for the driveway.

The other safety measure for paws is to keep them well-trimmed. Hair between the pads collects burrs, mud, and small rocks in summer. In winter–ice and snow. Imagine walking with icicles stuck to your bare feet! I keep the hair between Lizzie’s pads short. At the salon, when we are asked to trim the feet of most breeds, the bottom of the pads is included as well.

I guess the bottom line with paw care is fairly simple-responsible pet ownership. Happy hiking!

Cancer Awareness

Thursday, November 27th, 2008 by Jenna

From cervical cancer vaccines to potential treatments, cancer research has been progressing at a hopeful rate lately. Our dogs are also susceptible to this condition of abnormal cell growth. It’s a more frequent occurrence in older dogs–nearly half of all dogs over 10 years old will develop cancer. Some breeds are more susceptible to certain forms of cancer than others. Boxers may develop skin tumors, German shepherds may develop spleen tumors and bone cancer is common in giant breeds. Some pesticides, herbicides and radiation can also increase the risk for cancer.

When dogs come in for grooming, we examine their skin and fur throughout the process. If we find anything unusual, we will let the owner know. When it comes to cancer, this means abnormal swelling, sores that don’t heal, lumps, etc. Some symptoms you may see at home include bleeding or discharge from any body orifice, difficulty eating, swallowing or breathing, and difficulty urinating or defecating among other more generic symptoms like weight loss.

If your dog develops cancer, a veterinary recommendation is to maintain your dog’s usual routine whenever possible. Frequent exercise (as able) keeps your dog healthy physically and in a positive state of mind. Like humans, dogs can undergo chemotherapy and if so they usually have increased protein and energy demands.

Click here for a thorough article on mast cell tumors, one of the most common cancers in dogs.

Nail Grinding

Thursday, November 27th, 2008 by Mike Cronk

We offer a nail grinding or “buffing” service for an additional cost. This method sands the nail to shape and allows us to smooth out the edges so they aren’t as sharp as nails that are clipped. This service is recommended if your dog is allowed to sit in your lap and her nails may come in contact with your arms–especially encouraged for our senior citizens with sensitive skin. If you allow your dog  jump on you, buffing the front nails is encouraged.



Bandanas, Bows, Accessories

Thursday, November 6th, 2008 by Mike Cronk
Accessories are available on request
Accessories are available on request


Top-knot and pigtail bows are available for free
Top-knot and pigtail bows are available for free


See our shop display for bandana costs
See our shop display for bandana costs


Monogrammed bandanas are even available
We can even monogram your pet’s name!

Our Shampoo Selection

Thursday, November 6th, 2008 by Mike Cronk

                                                                                 Our Shampoos

PROTEIN, ALOE, LANOLIN:    This is our default shampoo that contains the richest conditioning ingredients available for producing abundantly beautiful coats. Strengthening Protein builds body and revives damaged hair.Lanolin moisturizes, leaving a natural shine, while Aloe soothes itchy or irritated skin. Contains a fresh herbal fragrance.

MELALEUCA:   Helps combat seborrhea dermatitis, skin bacteria, and fungi. This shampoo relieves itching,scaling and dry skin using all natural ingredients from soothing tea tree oil. The synergistic combination of vitamin E , wheat germ, rosemary and coconut oils, plus proteins and mild organic cleansers, provides rapid relief and deep skin penetration resulting in healthy, shiny coats.

HYPOALLERGENIC:  Contains no fragrances, dyes, soaps or other allergy-producing ingredients. Made especially for pets with persistently sensitive, dry and allergic skin, this extra mild, tearless shampoo is so gentle that it wont irritate while it cleans. Pure and emollient rich, it also helps to repair dry, brittle coats.

TRICLOSAN DEODERIZING:  Our fresh scented deodorizing shampoo contains  Triclosan which helps attack  he bacteria that causes “doggie odor”. Its deep cleansing, luxurious formula contains natural moisturizing agents that nourish the skin and coat. This special shampoo is especially effective in helping to eliminate the odor caused by skunk encounters.

OATMEAL ALOE:  Soothing and soap free formula made with 2% colloidal oatmeal. Designed especially to benefit sensitive, dry or irritated skin and is highly regarded for its superior moisturizing and anti-itch properties. The hypoallergenic and soap free formula is recommended for pets with allergies and seborrhea dermatitis.

FLEA AND TICK:  Kills fleas and ticks with natural, organic Pyrethrins. Special conditioners protect skin and hair from outdoor elements while providing manageability, luster, and sheen.


Grooming Videos

Thursday, November 6th, 2008 by Mike Cronk

A Welcome Tour of our Salon

Brushing out a Dog

The Bath Process

Shaving a Matted Dog