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 the 'General Grooming' Category

The “Poop Shoot”

Tuesday, March 10th, 2009 by Mike Cronk

Fido eats something you’re unaware of and later that day develops a bad case of diarrhea–oh boy, “make my day!” If your dog has a thick coat on his hind quarters, more often than not you end up with quite a mess. For Collie, Sheltie and and Golden types we can blend some of that hair away when they are here for grooming, making it a cleaner process. While we do cut back on hair length, we only remove what is necessary….leaving as much as 2 -3 inches of coat. If your pet tends to have loose stool anyway, give this a thought. Simply say, “Poop shoot please.”

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!


Friday, October 26th, 2007 by Mike Cronk

Archived from “The Paw Report:”  Issue #16.

If you’ve ever experienced skunk spray up close, you know it is powerful to the point of being nauseating. Skunks are omnivores, eating both plant and animals, but mostly animals — insects, worms, rodents, snakes, frogs, etc. They burrow and live in dens, often in wood or junk piles. Skunks have extremely poor vision — 50% of their deaths are due to cars and hunting. They have earned the respect of most wildlife and are not bothered by predatory animals. Leave it to dogs’ curiosity to get them in trouble. Skunks can spray between 7 and 15 feet, causing burning of the eyes and a runny nose. Since a dog’s face is usually toward the skunk, that’s the area that gets hit worst.

There are a number of home remedies for de-skunking your dog. The following is one that claims to really work:

1 quart hydrogen peroxide
¼ cup baking soda
1-2 teaspoons dish soap
(add warm water if it is a large dog)
Sponge on this solution and let it sit.

I’ve never tried this in the shop, so we have no recommendations or comments on its effectiveness.

The Salon Process

First, we let you know ahead of time that we don’t guarantee 100% removal of the smell. We can make your dog hospitable and mostly odor free, but if you put your nose to his face, you’ll still smell a faint skunk odor.  Also, water will bring out the smell so if it starts raining you will get a whiff.

Since dogs go at skunks face first, that’s usually where they get hit the worst.  Of course, we can’t get any soap or chemicals in their eyes, so we have to be very cautious in that area. We start by washing with Dawn detergent first.  This will remove a lot of the spray by stripping oils from the coat. We then bathe the dog again using Triclosan deodorizing shampoo.  Before we rinse the dog, we let this shampoo soak in for 5 minutes.  Our final step consists of spraying on “Odor Destroyer.” It is made by Davis Manufacturing and their description of their product is that it is an “exothermic reaction synthesis” that “attacks the molecular structure of offensive odors and completely removes them.” It does seem to do a great job, but I’m no so sure about the “completely removes” part. I think fresh air, sunshine, and time have to get that last little bit of odor.

When we have a skunked dog in the Salon, everybody knows it. The smell will linger for hours after the dog has gone home, despite our cleaning and airing out. We’re usually good to go the next day.

Keep a severely skunked dog out of your house and car until he has been treated. Car seats, carpet, and couches will absorb the odor. Often dogs will try to wipe their muzzles clean, getting the skunk’s spray on whatever they use. You’ll need to borrow a crate for transport and this should clean up easily.

One last request. Wash your dog’s collar or have us do it ($5) — it stinks too!

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.

The Bath

Tuesday, June 19th, 2007 by Mike Cronk

Our bath process is set up to accomplish three primary functions.  We consider bathing your pet and doing a good job our top priority.

1. Thorough cleansing of the coat and skin -  We wet your pet thoroughly, exercising caution around the eyes and in the ears.  Appropriate shampoo is applied to the coat and is spread evenly over the dog using a soft bristle brush.  We then apply more water and scrub through the coat.  Additionally, we use a universal grooming brush to remove any left over dirt, grime, and loose hair.  The coat is rinsed through to the skin and, if necessary, conditioner is applied.  Your pet is then ready to be hand dried.

2. Skin and Coat Treatment Shampoo – Our default shampoo is a protein, aloe, lanolin solution for medium to short coated breeds.  For long-coated dogs we use the Davis Deluxe Luxury shampoo.  These are both moisturizing shampoos which enhance the coat’s shine and texture.  We also carry several treatment shampoos such as hypoallergenic, oatmeal aloe, deodorizing, medicinal and tearless for puppies.  Visit the shampoo section of our website for a brief description of each.
3. Pesticide Control – Our flea and tick shampoo will kill what is on your pet and is safe for use on dogs over 12 weeks old.  Since it is a shampoo and is rinsed off, there is no residual affect and re-infestation is something for the owner to consider.  We are reluctant to use any dips or flea control products due to the possible reactions they may cause.  Explore the use and safety of these products carefully before applying.

Everything you Need to Know about Matting

Tuesday, May 15th, 2007 by Jenna

What are matts?
Matts are tangles in a dog’s coat which can solidify into a felt-like substance. They are caused by petting, playing, shedding hair, laying down while wet, etc. Matting even occurs in short-haired dogs whose dead hair is trapped in the coat. Matting tends to develop deep in the undercoat, close to the skin.

Problems that arise from Matting:
-Reduced life cycle of hair
-Moisture trapped in a matted coat aids bacterial growth
-Skin infections (yeast, etc)
-Skin irritation, itching
-Dull coat
-Hot spots
-Higher possibility of nicks because it is harder to separate the skin and the hair, clippers can snag

Options once Matts have Formed:
-Some matts can be split with professional grooming tools
–Groomers will NOT brush out matts if the dog is poorly behaved for brushing OR if the brushing required would be painful to the dog or the time and cost ($100++!) would be unreasonably high
-A small number of matts may be clippered out and the holes can be blended
-Due to how close matts develop next to the skin, IT IS DANGEROUS TO CUT MATTS WITH SCISSORS
-Severe matting will require a dog to be shaved because the clippers must go between the matts and the skin in order safely remove the matts. The hair will come off like a second skin!

Preventing Matts:
-For most breeds, set-up professional grooming appointments every 6-8 weeks (4-6 for curly-coated breeds)
-Thoroughly brush your dog weekly—more often if your dog has a long and/or thick coat
-Brush after vigorous play, swimming, and other tangling activities
-When brushing, divide the hair into layers and brush each layer separately
-Use a comb to check through the hair after brushing—make sure that there are no tangles developing close to the skin

Benefits to Matt Prevention
-You can leave your dog’s hair as long as you like and he won’t need to be shaved
-Cheaper cost per grooming
-Grooming is safer
-Coat oils are spread through brushing to promote a shiny, healthy coat
-Stimulation of the coat promotes healthy skin
-Allows heating/cooling air circulation in the coat, the coat “can breathe”
-Brushing removes loose dirt, keeps your dog cleaner and smelling nicer
-A thinned coat makes health problems (lumps, irritations, fleas, etc) easier to identify and treat
-Healthier immune system and waste system (brushing stimulates the lymphs!)
-Soothes skin problems
-Comfortable coat for your dog
-Reduced shedding!

Brush Out, Short Cut or Something in Between?

Monday, April 9th, 2007 by Mike Cronk

Many dog owners who normally don’t get short hair cuts for their dogs (i.e. 1/4-1/2 inch all over) may wonder if shaving the hair off, brushing it out, or trimming it will keep their pets cooler in the summer.  To demonstrate these options, we are using the Golden Retriever as a model.

Click on the link below to find out the advantages to each of these grooms and pictures to match!

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Tear Stains

Wednesday, March 28th, 2007 by Jenna

The January 2007 issue of “Dog Fancy” addresses the question of tear stains.  These red marks are most easily seen on white dogs like the Maltese and often owners hope that we can clean the red away.  While we can clip away some of it there is little chance of it washing out.  This intense stain is caused by watering eyes which attract bacteria and yeast.  The discoloration is unfortunately not as easily removed as mud!  In fact, keeping a dog’s face white is a daily process.  “Dog Fancy” recommends scheduling a check-up with your veterinarian to first make sure that the staining is not caused by allergies or irritation.  Second, they suggest limiting your dog’s diet to foods which are free from additives and preservatives.  Finally, they recommend that daily grooming include the use of a tear stain removal product.  All of this is much more than we are able to offer during a single haircut.

Meimei “Boothe’s” owner highly recommends Angels Eyes as a method of tear stain removal.  See their website for more information.

Archived from “The Paw Report:”  Issue #9, March.

A Variety of Coats

Wednesday, March 28th, 2007 by Mike Cronk

It is very difficult to discuss the coat of dogs in generalities.  Not all breeds have a coat that responds to brushing, bathing, or clipping in the same manner.  The primary coat (long outer hair) of the Springer Spaniel is dense therefore is very difficult for clipper blades to cut through.  The coat of a Yorkie is soft and silky, so the clippers can cut through it much more smoothly. 

Most dogs have a dense, short, soft secondary coat (undercoat) which varies in amount and width from breed to breed and even between differently bred dogs of the same breed.  Dalmatians, Boxers, Greyhounds and the Yorkie can almost always be considered single coated dogs. 

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Winter Grooming

Thursday, January 4th, 2007 by Mike Cronk

Adjusting to winter is a little more complicated than just letting the hair grow.  Dogs, especially those who stay outside like your hunting dogs (fox hounds), need to have their houses prepared for winter with more blankets, straw or cedar chips.  Water bowls need to be attended to regularly to avoid freezing.  The body of an outdoor dog will acclimate to the weather as well by producing a thicker coat.  However, dogs who only go out for exercise and to relieve themselves aren’t exposed to the cold long enough for their bodies to start developing thicker coats.  There is a theory that the frequent switching between a cold outdoors and warm house actually confuses the coat and our pets continue to shed through the winter.

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