“Petiquette” from A to Z: You, Your Pet & The Grooming/Spa Experience
Grooming and spa treatments are not only important for your pet’s appearance, but they can significantly contribute to their long-term health and well being. Because you have chosen to give your dog or cat responsible care, Dog Day Afternoon Spa is committed to providing professional excellence in all our services as well as exceptional responsibility in our customer service.
Because your pet will be spending many hours with us throughout its lifetime, we all must do our best to make the experience as enjoyable as it can be for our four-legged friends. The purpose of this introduction is to give you—the person your pet depends upon for its entire livelihood—information and guidelines for making the grooming/spa experience not only something to enjoy, but also to look forward to!
Be Confident Your Pet is In The Best of Hands
Since we continually monitor and keep up with trends in the grooming/spa industry, we have compiled a list of the most significant considerations a consumer should keep in mind when choosing a groomer and/or spa. First, however, we present here a few paragraphs of the best advice we have seen:
How do you know whether a pet groomer is one where you can leave your pet with confidence or one you can be confident to avoid? Forget the cost; look first at quality. If you are convinced that your groomer is one of quality, only then consider the cost. For the safety of your pet, quality and trust should take precedence over the cost. Of course, do not patronize a salon with fees that you feel are unreasonable, even if it is one of quality. A salon of excellence will likely charge fair and reasonable fees that justify a good value.
Among service businesses, excellence generally stems from the underlying motivations why the owner got into the business in the first place. There are two reasons why someone starts a service business.
The first is a love of the skill and the pride one takes in doing what he or she does well. If a person’s passion and work are the same, customer satisfaction takes priority. Customer’ expectations are important, but more so is the desire to exceed those expectations. The result is a customer-centered business.
The second is to make money. Of course everyone needs to make a decent income, but if the prospects of making money takes precedence over the desire to become skilled and to fully serve customers, the business owner likely will lack adequate skills and cut corners that could jeopardize the health and safety of your pet.
So, how does a pet owner know which grooming salons they can trust? How do you know the difference between customer-centered and profit-centered grooming businesses? The answer often can be obviously visible; here’s what to look for:
Operating Credentials. Look for a valid business license prominently displayed.
Skill. You can judge skill primarily by the way your pet looks. A skilled groomer knows the styles and cuts for each breed—even mixed breeds. If you have particular ideas, does the groomer listen to you and really try to do as you requested? Ask how long the groomer has been in business, as well as background including training and experience.
Knowledge. It is easy to spot a lack of knowledge just by talking with your groomer. Listen carefully; is what is being said sound reasonable and logical? Does he or she appear to really know the craft? Though you may not know a great deal about the world of pet grooming and spa services, a true professional should treat you with respect while being informative.
Responsiveness. You should feel free to ask questions and express your concerns. Observe your groomer’s reactions to ensure that he or she welcomes your comments and responds to them to your satisfaction. A groomer who is thoroughly trained, experienced, and knowledgeable should exude confidence. Ask yourself, too, if your requests or special instructions are fulfilled or if they are ignored.
Safety. Safety will be a priority for customer-oriented businesses. Pets should not be able to escape the premises, and precautions should have been taken to ensure that your pet cannot injure itself. Drying cages can be a hazard. While room-temperature blowing air is recommended for the safety of the animal and to help reduce stress levels, a profit-oriented groomer will turn up the temperature in order to save time and increase turnover thereby jeopardizing your pet.
Vaccinations. For protection of all animals, no trustworthy groomer will allow pets on the premises if they are not properly vaccinated. If a groomer makes exceptions for you, then be sure that exceptions will be made for other customers, too. This should raise a red flag as to the healthful environment to which you are exposing your pet. See First-Time Customers section below for Dog Day’s vaccination requirements.
Cleanliness. Look at the salon’s overall appearance. Does it say and smell “clean?” Responsible owners will see that a clean, germ-free, and fresh environment welcomes your dog. If a salon is disorganized and dirty, then the people and procedures may follow suit. Look to see if equipment is well maintained and in good condition. If a groomer really cares about ensuring good facilities then he or she most likely really cares for your pet, too.
Products Used. A truly responsible, customer-oriented groomer selects only reputable, quality products that are safe for pets. If a groomer does not identify and professionally justify the products used, you should feel comfortable in asking questions to find out for yourself.
Thoroughness. While you cannot easily judge the quality time spent with your pet, a good customer-centered grooming business will see that the time spent with your pet is adequate and what is advertised. For example, at Dog Day Afternoon Spa, we know that certain baths require a minimum of ten minutes of shampoo massaging for maximum benefits. If we say we will do it, and our customers pay for it, our obligation is to ensure that it is done.
Friendliness. Is your groomer cheerful and appreciative of you as a customer? A genuine customer-oriented business will always be respectful of its customers while demonstrating a positive, courteous, and cooperative attitude and willingness to serve.
Pet Handling. Look to see how your groomer handles your dog or cat. Is the animal picked up and handled properly to ensure comfort and avoid injury? If your groomer is loving and gentle, he or she likely is enjoying a passion for animals. Monitor signs that say the groomer is sincere not only when you are around, but also when you are not.
Guarantee. If for any reason you are not happy with your groomer’s services or products, you should be offered an opportunity to make the situation right somehow, or cheerfully receive some type of a refund without question. A customer-oriented business knows that customers are the only reason they survive. The profit-oriented business will value the cost of the service or product more than the satisfaction of the customer—even at the risk of losing the customer! As a customer, however, you should be understanding, reasonable, and patient; perhaps the problem was an honest misunderstanding. If the groomer is willing to make amends in good faith, isn’t a second chance deserved?
Grooming Frequency How Often Should My Dog Be Groomed?
The answer to this question depends on the breed, your style preferences, whether your dog is an indoor or outdoor dog, and—of course—what your nose tells you! Some owners bring their pets in at the slightest hint of an odor; others bring in their pets only 2 or 3 times a year. Still others follow a strict 4-to-6-week schedule.
Most dogs greatly benefit for a 4-to-6-week grooming schedule; some breeds may be pushed to a 6-to-8 week schedule. Baths, particularly special-purpose baths, may be done weekly or twice monthly.
Regular grooming helps to ensure against matting and related health conditions, ear infections, and toenails that become too long and cannot be cut too short without pain and bleeding. Regular bathing, too, can prevent bacteria from building up in the hair particularly around the eyes, anal area, between toes, and groin where problems may occur.
An important advantage of regular grooming is the ability of the groomer to frequently become aware of situations or conditions that may become health problems for your pet. We see your dog more frequently than your vet, and we may bring medical problems to your attention before it becomes serious and costly.
Of course, too, everyone enjoys seeing and being around a well-groomed pet that is fresh, neat, and clean. Isn’t a pet a reflection in many ways of its owner?
2-4-6-8 Who Do We Appreciate? Save With Our Standing Appointment Program
Help ensure the quality of your pet’s health and tip-top appearance through regular care of the skin, the coat, the nails, the ears, and more with regular grooming at Dog Day Afternoon Spa. Register for our standing appointment program when you make your next appointment or when you are next in our salon. Our “2-4-6-8 Who Do We Appreciate” program allows a 10% discount on our full service groom for standing appointments every 2-to-8 weeks. Learn more in the Standing Appointment Program below, or on our Appointments page.
New Customers We welcome new customers, and we work very hard to make the spa experience a delightful and fun time for both the pet and its parents. Here’s a checklist of things to do before your first appointment:
Set out proof of vaccinations to take with you. We require pets to be current on the following three vaccinations: Rabies, Distemper/Parvo/Lepto, and Kennel Cough. If your pet needs vaccinations, we share a building with the offices of veterinarian Dr. Patrick Jarrett. For your convenience, you may want to make a vaccination appointment prior to dropping off your pet. (Call 817-596-0909 or check the clinic’s Web site: www.ParkerCountyVet.com.
Pet Profile. We will require some basic information about your best friend for our records that we call a Pet Profile. You can get started with the new customer appointment form on our Make An Appointment page, or we will get the information when you call or come into our salon.
“Pawlicies.” Please check our Policies…oops, we mean “Pawlicies” page with a link on our Home Page or click here.
Appointments: Making an Appointment
Dog Day Afternoon Spa, as most groomers, operates on an appointment-only basis. Please make appointments as far in advance as possible to help ensure your preferred date and time. If for some reason, you need immediate service, you can always call to see if a same-day appointment is possible.
The most important things to consider when making an appointment are your other obligations. A check of your calendar will ensure that other appointments and obligations won’t conflict with the time you have selected.
No-Shows: The Importance of Keeping an Appointment
The important thing to remember about any appointment you make with a professional is that valuable time has been set aside to exclusively serve you. As the date of your appointment draws near, we likely have turned down other business in order to accommodate your pet.
When making an appointment, please be sure that you will be able to keep the appointment if for no other reason, out of fairness. Please remember that groomers earn their livings by providing a service to their customers. Your appointment was made on good faith and out of a personal obligation to just you; a responsible customer should likewise respect the integrity of an agreed-upon appointment.
Did you know that some groomers lose up to $10,000 a year just because of “no-shows”—customers who do not show up for their appointments?
What is a No-Show?
A “no-show” is defined as not honoring an appointment by not showing up. Even if you call on the day of the appointment to reschedule this is considered a “no-show” unless we can accommodate you on that day at a different time.
As an example, ask yourself how you would feel if you took time off work or made extensive preparations to get your pet to a groomer, but the groomer forgot your appointment and was unable to serve you! Please make every effort to keep your appointment or cancel far enough in advance so that other customers can be served in your place. We ask for at least a 24-hour advance notice to cancel or reschedule an appointment. Your understanding is greatly appreciated.
Canceling an Appointment
While there are circumstances that necessitate canceling an appointment, the important thing is make sure the appointment is cancelled rather than to simply not just show up. Please try your best to cancel or reschedule an appointment as far in advance as possible instead of being a “no show.” We ask for at least a 24-hour advance notice to cancel or reschedule an appointment. Being considerate enables the groomer to accept other appointments in your place.
Preparing Your Pet Before You Arrive
1.Keep your normal, at-home routine. On appointment day, your home routine should be the same as much as possible. As time draws near give your pet water and food at the normal time. Encourage your pet to eliminate in its usual manner.
2.Foster your pet’s positive attitude. Encourage a good attitude with your pet by being enthusiastic and positive about going to Dog Day Afternoon Spa. A cheerful voice and smile saying something like, “We’re going to Dog Day! Isn’t that great, Fido?!” If you are excited about something, your pet may share your enthusiasm and eventually see Dog Day Afternoon as a fun event. Positive talk and encouragement can also reduce stress upon arrival.
Also, when you pick up your pet, too, by expressing joy and praise, perhaps your pet will think his experience has given you pleasure. Over time this could help in your dog’s attitude and cooperativeness. (Some of the wisest advice we have heard about bonding with your dog is to talk as if he understands what you are saying, because we humans would be surprised at how much they really do understand!
3.Leash, collar, and ID. Your pet should always be under your complete control; we recommend a leash. Please have your pet’s collar with id and rabies tags on.
Your “Pet’s Personal Profile”
It is important for us to serve our customers according to their individual preferences and special requests. To make sure that we do what our customers ask, we maintain what we call a Pet Profile for each of four-legged friends.
The profile is a record of your instructions so that we will always care for your pet according to your wishes. When you bring in your pet for the first time, please be sure you tell us any particular way you want your dog to look as well as any other instructions. Of course, we will also ask pertinent questions, too.
Your pet will be treated each time as per the instructions in your Pet Profile. If you decide to make any changes, please be sure you tell us the next time you bring in your dog. Just to make sure we fulfill your preferences, it may help to write down your preferences to be sure you don’t forget and to be sure we record them in your Pet Profile accurately.
About Matting See our separate page about Matting.
A Word About Eyelashes
It is common practice for groomers to trim eyelashes. Some customers, however, may ask that they not be touched. The coat and eyelashes closely blend together on some dogs. In such instances we take a great deal of care to ensure that eyelashes are not touched. However, should a dog move continuously or abruptly, some eyelashes might unavoidably be cut. While this is rare, the possibility exists even with the most seasoned professionals. The reason we mention this is to assure our customers that we are indeed cautious, but we ask for understanding should this happen.
Picking Up Your Pet
For 10:00 a.m. appointments, your pet will be available at 2:00 p.m. For 2:00 p.m. appointments, your pet will be available at 6:00 p.m. Since we close at 6:00 p.m. please be prompt.
If a pet is not picked up at 6:00 p.m. and we are unable to reach the owner by telephone, the pet will be boarded at an additional cost of $14 per night.
Even if we are able to reach the owner by telephone, we may not be able to stay to enable a late pick-up. If home delivery cannot be arranged ($35 charge) overnight boarding will be necessary.
Please have a leash available when you pick up your four-legged friend.
Special Needs Dogs
If you have a "special-needs" dog, such as a geriatric or physically challenged dog, you may request an Express Appointment in which your dog will be in and out as soon as possible. See Express Appointments section.
Very young puppies also are given priority, as they require more bathroom breaks and greater attention to make them feel welcome and comfortable in their new surroundings.
Standing Appointment Program
A “standing appointment” means an appointment that is scheduled once every 2, 4, 6, or 8 weeks. Customers with standing appointments receive a 10% discount on all services.
The number of weeks you choose between appointments depends upon the breed and lifestyle of your pet.
Standing Appointment Program Policies
1. Pre-registration is necessary. Register for standing appointments either when making your next appointment or when you next come into our salon.
2. Appointments will be made for the same day every multi-week period and for the same time (10:00 a.m. or 2:00 p.m.) as long as the dates and times are available. Otherwise, an alternate date and time within the same week will be scheduled, but if this does not work out, you may call in advance to confirm a more convenient time. We will send you a list appointment dates and times for the following six months so you can put them on your calendar, too.
3. To receive the discount, you must be on time (no more than 15 minutes late), or call to let us know when we can expect you. No shows will not receive the discount for the appointment in question.
Grooming Myths and Facts
Myth: My dog only needs to be groomed once a year. Fact: In general dogs need to be groomed at least every 4 weeks to stay in optimum condition. Grooming not only keeps the pet's coat free from matting and dirt, but also keeps the nails, ears, and anal glands in good condition. Also, since a groomer usually sees a pet more often than a vet, any skin and health conditions can be observed by the groomer and relayed to the owner to discuss with their vet.
Myth: During the summer months, my pet needs to be shaved to stay cool. Fact: A pet's coat is designed to provide protection from the elements, and shaving it only removes that protection. Dogs don't sweat to stay cool, so shaving a pet whose coat is in good condition only exposes the pet's skin to the harsh environment, and can result in sun burns and increased skin cancer risk.
Myth: My pet doesn't have matts. I brush it all the time. Fact: Running a brush over a pet and proper coat care are two different things. A quick brush over every once in a while just smooths the coat, and doesn't get down to the skin where matting occurs. Proper coat care consists of a two part grooming method, performed at least three times a week. First, use a greyhound comb to remove any tangles and undercoat. Pay special attention to the areas around the neck, chest, under the legs and rear. When you can run the comb through your pet's hair without finding any tangles, then your pet is matt free. Then, finish with a slicker brush to smooth the coat, and remove any excess hair the comb missed. A slicker brush can be used before using the greyhound comb to work through stubborn matting and undercoat, just be careful not to brush burn the pet.
Myth: Groomers can get out any matting, no matter how severe, with special tools. Fact: Mild matting can be brushed out without causing injury to the pet, though some redness may occur. On moderate matting, some groomers may use a matt ripper to cut through the matting, however this is very painful to the dog and may cause injury. For this reason, we at Dog Day Afternoon Spa will not use such a procedure. Severe matting requires shaving to properly remove it. We suggest shaving on moderate and severe matting to prevent injury. Remember grooming should be humanity before vanity.
Myth: The FURminator® treatment stops all shedding. Fact: Nothing stops shedding. The FURminator® Shed-less treatment only helps reduce shedding. The amount it helps is dependent upon the frequency of treatments, health of the pet, and time of year. Having the FURminator® performed once every six months will not aleviate shedding for long. It is recommended by the manufacturer to have the treatment every 4 to 6 weeks to see lasting benefits. If a pet has an undiagnosed health problem, it may shed more, and stress can increase shedding. Exposure to light dictates seasonal shedding. Pets shed more during the lengthening and shortening days of spring and fall.
Myth: Dipping is a preventative against fleas and ticks, and should be done every time my pet goes to the groomer. Fact: Pyrethrin dip is not a preventative, and should only be used when fleas or ticks are present on the pet. If your pet is found to have an infestation, we suggest professionally treating your house and yard, and using a monthly topical treatment after the pet is dipped to prevent future outbreaks.
Myth: My dog has a smell after only a week. The groomer did not wash it well enough. Fact: Pets smell. Age, diet, health, and environmental factors contribute to the smell. Bathing often, use of special deodorizing shampoos, or spray-on deodorants can help alleviate that "doggie" odor. If you find your pet has a strong odor even after bathing, consult your vet about dietary changes, anal gland problems, or dental health issues.
Myth: The groomer is responsible for training my pet during the groom and correcting any behavior issues. Fact: Owners are responsible for the proper training of their pet. The few hours a month that a groomer spends with a pet is no way near enough time to train it. Also, groomers are groomers and not pet trainers. Owners pay groomers for their time and skills to make pets look good, not act good.
Myth: The groomer knows exactly the type of cut I want. Fact: Groomers are not mind readers. Even if you know what you want, a groomer can only guess if the owner doesn't explain it exactly. Always have specific lengths, styles, and terms researched, and explain in detail what you want for your pet. If the pet is in reasonably good condition, the groomer will do his/her best to give your pet the trim or style you desire.