BowWag Kennels
    Your pets home away from home


                       Pet Grooming FAQ


1."When should my puppy have its first professional grooming?"


Grooming on your pup should start at 10-12 weeks of age (after second vaccination), to let the pup become acquainted with the sounds of the salon environment, noises such as dryers, and other dogs. The groomer will start teaching your pup to enjoy being handled, brushed, combed, and be on a grooming table. Many puppies need to learn to tolerate scissors and trimmers around their faces. These techniques started early, will imprint on your pup. The first 6 months of life for a dog is like the first 5 years for a human. It is very important to start them early. We recommend frequent grooming session for the first months. With both you and your groomer working hand in hand doing many of the same things at home as the groomer would in the salon. Your pup will take everything around him or her in stride, and make it a pleasant experience, not a traumatic one. This in turn makes grooming easy for your pup, you, and the groomer.


2. Do I need to schedule an appointment to have my pet groomed? How long will it take?


Appointments are required for grooming services.
Appointments allow us to give each pet the special attention and time they deserve.  A standard poodle will obviously take longer than a small yorkie.   Many times we need to allow extra time for puppies, senior pets, or pets with extra thick or matted hair.

To avoid stress on our dogs, we rarely do them from start to finish without a break.  First pets are bathed and fluffed. Then they go back in a crate for a rest, and to be dried the rest of the way with a fan. 

****We do NOT use any dryers with heating elements****

Your pet is dried only with fans and dryers that use room temperature air. While your pet is resting, we are continuing to bath and fluff the rest of the dogs .  Puppies often need potty breaks, and senior pets  appreciate the chance to relax for a bit. 

Then we begin the clipping, trimming, and scissoring.  Your dog  is feeling fussed over, pampered a bit, and is ready for bows, polish, cologne, or a bandana.  All of our dogs know that when the bows or bandana comes out, they know that they are "done".  Clients always tell us that their dog acts like he or she is "hot stuff" after grooming.  You can tell the pet feels better, and their attitude shows it!


3. How much does it cost?


Due to the nature of grooming, it is impossible to give an accurate assessment of the cost of grooming services without first seeing the dog. Therefore, all of our grooming rates are quoted as an estimate.
Prices are determined based on size of your pet, breed, style of cut, coat density and condition. Many factors as disposition of the pet, matting, affect the time required to groom your pet properly and therefore influence the price.
Due to the differences than can occur within a single breed, prices are also base on the individual pet’s size and coat condition. This allows for accurate pricing and prevents overcharging.
All price estimates are for pets that are reasonably well maintained. Pets that require more time because of their coat condition, temperament, or physical problems will be charged for the additional care. We will do our best to keep your cost as low and reasonable as we can. 

We can give you an exact cost when we actually see your dog but we can usually quote you a range of prices for your particular breed over the phone:

please contact us (410) 679-3333, and we will be happy to talk with you further.

4. How can shedding be reduced? (FURminator Shed-less treatment)

Hormones in a dog’s body control shedding. Most shedding seems to occur between winter and spring when the dog loses its thick winter coat. Shedding seems more prominent in breeds that originate from colder climates. Almost all dogs shed. A shed –less grooming procedure can tremendously reduce the amount of hair left around your house.
(Note: excessive shedding that does not respond to treatment can be a symptom of an underlying health problem. Please consult your veterinarian in this situation)
Shedding can be reduced by 60 – 80 % after 1 – 2 applications of a shed – less treatment. A shed – less treatment consists of a specially formulated de – shedding shampoo followed by the application of a de – shedding solution. A special tool is then used to remove the undercoat and loose hair.

5. How often should my dog be groomed?
Frequency of grooming can depend on breed, coat type and length, lifestyle and how much brushing and detangling you do at home between grooming appointments.
If your dog has a longer hair style or a coat that tends to get tangled he / she should be professionally groomed every 3 – 4 weeks. A dog with a short hair style or short coat can be groomed every 6 – 8 weeks.

6 Why does my pet shake so badly when we get to the groomers?
We notice some pets get very anxious in our office.  We find it's because they have learned to associate that area with being taken from their person. Some pets are so smart they have learned that nervous behavior results in extra hugs and kisses! Most of these pets settle down quickly after Mom or Dad leave and happily wait their turn for a warm bath.  One customer described it best by saying it was like dropping their child off at preschool, "as soon as I left the crying stopped and he has a great time."


7.  I brush my pet, why is he matted?


 Matting is caused by a number of things.

1. Improper brushing. There is a right way and a wrong way to brush certain types of coats, as well as the correct tools to use.

2. Bathing: If you bathe your pet at home, no matter what product you use, if the hair is not COMPLETELY COMBED OUT before and after bathing, any mats or tangles can be worsened by the wet/dry process.

3. Shedding: "Nonshedding" breeds such as Poodles and Shih-tzus really do shed, however, the dead hair gets tangled up with the live coat, and if not brushed out regularly, it will eventually form mats.



8 How come my dogs hair gets matted so quickly?

A: The truth is if you want a longer hair style you have to brush your dog’s hair at least once every day or every other day. Just imagine not brushing your own hair for 2 or 3 months- a dog’s hair is not different.



9 My pet has a lot of mats, is it necessary to shave them out?


It depends on the severity of the matting. Minor mats can sometimes be worked out, but many times shaving down or stripping is necessary. Your groomer will try to leave the coat as long as possible, but if the mats are very tight, shaving may be the only option. Remember, it grows back, and your pet will feel better


Severe mats can cause skin irritations and hide other conditions such as hot spots, dermatitis, seborrhea, cuts, scabs, sores and redness. It is not unusual to encounter these problems when the coat is stripped from a badly matted animal and it is definitely in your pet’s best interest to address them.

Letting too much time go by between grooming often results in matting.  

Severe dematting is a painful process.

We will only brush out or dematt small mats that can be removed painlessly. If the matting is more severe or causes the pet discomfort to brush, we may suggest a clip to shave the matts out, taking the rest of the coat to an appropriate length, this will help you start over with your dog’s coat. If the comfort and well being of the dog is ever in doubt, we will error on the side of the dog, and recommend removing the coat (shaving the dog down) and starting over.


10.  My dog's mats require a shavedown, what can I expect?


 Pets with matted coats need extra time and attention during grooming.    We use extreme care when removing a badly matted coat, but there are risks involved.  Some of those risks include nicks, cuts, or abrasions due to warts, moles, and skin trapped in the mats.  After effects of mat removal can include itchiness, skin redness, self-inflicted irritation and failure of the hair to re-grow.  Shaved pets are also more at risk of sunburn and should be protected from the sun until the hair has grown sufficiently to protect the skin.  In some cases, brief behavioral changes may be seen, but the vast majority of matted dogs show immense relief and happiness after removal of a matted coat.

Prevention is by far the best defense against matting by scheduling regular grooming appointments.  Brushing your dog at home is also very important.  If your dog's coat must be removed, we can set up a grooming schedule that works for you.


 11 When I pick my pet up from the groomer, his nails don't seem like they were cut short enough.
There is a vein inside the nail, sometimes known as a "quick" that will bleed and hurt the pet if cut. This vein grows along with your pets nails. We trim as close to the quick as we can without cutting it.  We recommend regular nail clipping to keep your pets nails at a proper length.  Long nails interfere with the dog's gait, making walking awkward or painful. They can also break easily. This usually happens at the base of the nail, where blood vessels and nerves are located, and precipitates a trip to the veterinarian.  

12.  Should I have my dog groomed in the winter or is it too cold?

Many pet owners neglect to have their dogs groomed in the winter months. It may be cold, but our pets still need proper grooming. They may not need to have a trim but they should be properly brushed out and bathed, ears cleaned and nails trimmed. If you choose not to have your dog trimmed and he/she gets matted, the dog’s natural insulation process cannot work. He must be kept free of matts to stay warm in the winter.  If you keep your pet's hair shorter in winter it will keep him warm by insulation and will dry quicker from his own body heat. Matted and longer coats will hold water longer



13 Do you sedate my dog?

The answer to this is NO. We do not sedate any dogs. If we are unable to groom your dog due to his/her temperament, behavioral or medical issues, severe matting, or any other reason, we will call you to pick up your dog. We will never endanger a pet or person.


 14. My dog is kind of cranky and not very well behaved. Will you be able to groom him?
We see all dogs as potential friends. Most dogs with behavioral issues are just scared and with care and compassion, and lots of positive experiences at the groomers, can be worked with to complete the grooming. If your dog’s issues are especially time consuming, there might be a "cranky friend" handling fee. We always try our best.



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