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How To Identify Pet Health Concerns Early

Veterinarian examining a springer spaniel

Pet groomers have an opportunity to asses the overall wellness of client pets on a regular basis. Here i’ll discuss some fairly common pet health concerns to watch for.

Professional groomers have unique and frequent access to a pet’s state of well being and can play a large role in the overall wellness of their client’s pets. This picture becomes even more clear when you consider the fact that your clients schedule appointments with you every 4 – 8 weeks on average, but only schedule appointments with their veterinarian once a year (excluding emergency visits). Compounding the issue further is that clients, who are in the most frequent contact with their pets, simply do not have the knowledge necessary to identify various skin, coat, and dental issues before they become serious health concerns.

How you can help during the grooming process

This is where you come in. Given the frequency and scope of services involved in a professional groom, pet groomers have a unique opportunity and professional responsibility to help keep watch for and identify health concerns as they develop. Here is a list of common health concerns groomers commonly find during the grooming process. This list is not intended to be comprehensive, contact a veterinarian for a complete list of common pet health conditions identifiable by external examination. Health info provided curtsey of Wiki Pet Health

Hot Spots and Ear Infections in Pets

Hot spots and ear inflammation / infection are 2 of the more common conditions groomers will encounter and both conditions often have ties to food allergies. We have had strong success in reducing the occurrence of both conditions by improving a pet’s diet with foods free of corn, wheat, and soy (3 of the more common food allergies). These ingredients are found in all low-end pet foods easily attained in your local grocer or large superstore chains.

Suggest your clients begin buying their pet foods from a specialty or feed store that carries better brands. Brands that we have found that go the extra mile and ensure the best ingredients and are manufactured in the highest level processing facilities include The Natura Brands, Eagle Pack Holistic Select, Canidae, and more.

The prevalence of Periodontal disease in dogs

In the February issue of Groomer To Groomer magazine, in an article titled "You Want Me To Do What?" Bernardine Cruz DVM says "85% of cats and dogs over the age of four suffer from periodontal disease" (source not cited), helping us emphasize the importance of an oral exam during each groom. If you haven’t yet read this article, i highly suggest doing so. It is very informative and offers great techniques to teach your clients how to maintain their pet’s teeth at home (the article begins on page 42).

Signs to look for are overly bad breath, inflamed gums, bleeding gums, loose teeth, excessive drooling, and more. If you don’t already offer tooth brushing with your groomings, you may want to consider doing so. It is an easy way to include the pet’s mouth exam with every grooming. Pet approved tooth brushes are available from places like Pet Edge, the cost is minimal, and the service takes only a few minutes to complete.

To close

As a pet groomer, you have a professional responsibility to not only help your client’s pets look and smell nice, but to keep them on a path toward wellness. Early identification and treatment of potentially troublesome health concerns will ensure your client base is happy and healthy, reduce the time spent grooming dogs that would otherwise have a collection of infections or other health issues, and display your dedication and investment in your client’s lives. Less costly trips to the veterinarian means more "pet money" available for grooming, which may reduce reschedules and cancellations.

Using this formula, you may notice more and more of your clients are turning into raving fans and spreading word of your fantastic business to friends and family!