FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Q: Do you groom big dogs?
A: We are now booking large breeds again! The Grooming Gallery has hired an additional groomer who specializes in large breeds. Nikki specializes in large breed dogs.
Q: Do you groom cats?
A: Cats are extremely difficult to groom and require two people. The pricing reflects this. We will only groom well behaved cats that do not require sedation, and have very limited hours where cats are booked as we do not allow cats in the shop at the same time as dogs. Our prices start at $100. We prefer you take your cat to West Dakota Vet for grooming as they are equipped to handle cats better.
Q: What are your hours?
A: Our hours vary! Sarah usually grooms Monday through Friday from 8am until 1pm. Nikki grooms M-S from noon until as late as 11pm depending on the clients needs. Evenings and weekends are available with Nikki. Please remember it always takes a minimum of 3 hours to groom an average single small dog: more time is needed for multiple dogs, matted dogs, large breeds, or dogs that don't behave well and need more breaks. We will not rush a groom, so if you need to have your dog finished in a certain time frame, be sure to clear that when you book the appointment, not when you drop off. If we are forced to rush, there may be an additional charge. We want your dogs' groom to be a relaxing, comfortable experience, and if you rush us, we cannot give them that. The dogs are our priority :) While it is often hectic in the shop due to the number of clients we have, we always give each dog individual attention and care.
Q: Do you require proof of vaccinations?
A: I do not require proof. I DO require that all dogs and cats be current on vaccinations. I work on an honor system in this regard. You are expected to have your pets' current on vaccinations, and will be responsible for any costs associated with vet care, medical care and insurance fees if your dog bites another person or another dog and they are not current on vaccinations.
Q: How much will it cost to groom my dog?
A: The cost of the grooming reflects many things. We CAN NOT give you an exact quote until we see the dog. Price depends on many things including breed, size, weight, condition of coat, what you want done, behavior of the dog, etc. Full grooms include bath, nails, ear cleaning and the haircut.
We can give you a rough estimate over the phone or email, but please remember that is just an estimate and until we have our hands on the dog, we cannot give you a price. The price list on the website is only an estimation and the actual groom may cost more or less depending on a variety of factors. We NEVER give exact price quotes over the phone, text or email!
Q: How come my groom cost more this time than last time?
A: Prices are subject to change at any time, although I usually post on here, my Facebook and in the shop when prices are about to go up. Sometimes, you may see additional charges as outlined below:
Dematting Fee: $20/hour - Dematting, when possible, is time-consuming. Even if I shave the dog short, the matts are difficult to get through and cause wear and tear on my equipment. This results in a more expensive groom.
Cleanup Fee: $5 - Please remember to potty your dogs before you bring them in for grooming. If your dog messes in a cage, they sometimes need to be re-bathed, and it takes time away from my grooming to clean up messes. Un-neutered males that constantly mark may not be welcome back.
Day Care Fee: $10 an hour - Please respect the pick-up time arranged when you drop off. I am open by appointment only, and if you agree to pick up at noon, that is when you need to pick up. I often have other engagements in the afternoon, which is why I discuss a time for you to pick up the dog when you drop them off. Thank you for respecting my time.
Missed Appointment Fee: 25% of groom per dog - All missed appointments will be charged to the next groom unless cancelled at least 24 hours in advance. Missed appointments cost me income, which I depend on, and it is often too late to fill the spot by the time you don't show up.
Full Scissor Fee: $5-10 per dog - Dogs that are left over 3/4" long may be subject to a scissoring fee charge. Longer cuts on hair breeds like Lhasa's and Shih Tzu's, for example, take 30-60 minutes longer to finish than shorter cuts. The additional charge reflects this extra time we take to make your dog look great!
Tick Removal: $5-20 - We do not deal with tick removal as a general rule. Bringing in your dog full of ticks is the same as going to your hairdresser with lice. It is not our job to take care of that problem. If your dog does have ticks and we decide we will remove them for you, we will call first and give you the option of taking the dog home ungroomed, or paying the fee to have them removed.
Q: Do you give discounts on multiple dogs?
A: No sorry, I wish I could, but I can't afford to give discounts to multiple dog households, as it takes me the same amount of time to groom 4 from one home as it does 4 from separate customers.
Q: Why did my dogs nail bleed? - or- Why didn't you clip the nails as short as I wanted?
A: Unfortunately, even the most experienced of us groomers sometimes cut the nail too close to the quick, which results in bleeding. Most dogs do not sit well for the nail clipping, and some have especially thick or dark nails that are difficult to clip safely. It happens, and while I do my best to avoid clipping them too close, I also have to try to clip them as short as possible or clients get upset. It's a difficult balance to find, and I do the best I can. If the nail is clipped too short, I always make sure the bleeding is stopped before your dog goes home. I always clip the nails as short as it is safe to do so. On some dogs, this means just tipping the ends of the nails due to long quicks. There is nothing I can do to make them shorter that won't hurt your dog. Regular nail clippings every 2 weeks can help guide the quick back and allow me to clip them shorter, but it takes a very regular clipping to do this.
Q: Do you file the nails?
A: Sorry but I (Sarah) can't offer nail filing due to arthritis in my hands. For some reason, the motion of filing nails causes me a lot of hand pain so I am no longer able to offer nail filing. The afternoon groomer DOES file nails so if you need nails filed, please ask specifically for Nikki. Filing costs an additional $5.
Q: Do you brush teeth?
A: No, I don't. Teeth brushing is something that needs to be done every few days to be beneficial. Having your dogs teeth brushed by the groomer once every few months is basically a waste of your money, so I no longer feel comfortable offering this service. Get a toothbrush and doggie toothpaste and do it a few times a week at home yourself, or book regular teeth cleanings with the vet to keep your pets teeth healthy.
Q: Do you express anal glands?
A: I will on request, but unless your dog is licking/scooting their hind end area, it is not something that needs to be done as most dogs naturally express their glands when they go to the bathroom. I am not a vet, and I am not knowledgeable about any problems with anal glands, so I highly suggest if your dog has anal gland issues, you leave this to your vet. There is a $5 additional fee for gland expression. Some groomers include this in the cost of the groom. I'm sorry, but we do not as we feel it is something that is best dealt with by a vet.
Q: I didn't want my dog's hair that short! I told you to leave it long!
A: I try my best to give you the haircut you want on your dog, however, this depends on the owners, not on the groomer! ALL long coated breeds require brushing and combing several times a week, and full grooms every 6-8 weeks. If you do not keep up on in-between coat care, and do not keep regular appointments, you are limited in what you can expect from the groomer.
Q: But can't you just brush the matts out?
A: Sometimes, yes, but it is painful for your dog, time consuming for me, and the price reflects that. Sometimes the matts are so bad, we simply will not put your dog through that and will opt to shave down instead for their comfort and safety. Imagine if you didn't brush or comb your hair for weeks on end, and then tried to brush it out all at once. It would be extremely painful. This goes for your dog as well. It is painful for the dog and would not be necessary if the owner's took care of the coat properly between grooms, so I always opt to shave the coat short rather than put them through the pain. The hair will grow back, but their trust in someone who causes them pain will not. I am happy to help teach you how to take care of the coat between grooms though, so next time your pet will not be matted...all you have to do is ask. :)
Q: Should I get my long haired dog groomed in the winter?
A: YES! In fact, in the winter you should be bringing your dog in more often so that the coat is completely brushed out and kept clean. If you go too long between grooming in the winter, your dog will end up having to be shaved short. Even if you just book a bath, brush out, face and feet trim, you will be able to keep the coat longer and still keep the dog in good shape.
Q: But if you shave him, he will be so cold!!
A: Honestly, your pet will be much more comfortable without matted hair. Matted hair gets wet and cannot dry, as there is no air flow under the hair. I have shaved dogs that were actually moldy under the matts from rolling in the snow, being in the rain or getting baths while matted. Think of it this way: if you went and jumped in a lake wearing layers of fur coat or a thin, insulated jacket, which would you be more comfortable in once you were out of the water? The thin jacket will dry much faster, and you will warm up better than being weighed down with heavy wet furs.
Dogs have a higher body temperature than we do. Unless they are 24/7 outdoor dogs, just going out to potty or for quick walks with shaved fur is fine. If they are shivering a lot, get a doggie coat or sweater until the hair grows back a bit, and book appointments more often or keep that brush handy!
Q: I was told by my vet/another groomer/breeder/some random person that you are not supposed to shave my *insert breed*.
A: It is not advised to shave down double coated breeds because sometimes the hair does not grow back properly, something that is called clipper alpacia. This is a risk you as the owner take any time you have your double coated breed shaved. Some dogs grow back just fine. Some do not.
We almost always advise a bath/brush out and trim versus a shave down if asked for our opinion. Shaving of any type of hair technically "damages" the coat, but we are not grooming show dogs. Damage of the coat in this sense matters little to a pet dog where comfort is the highest priority. When you get your hair colored or permed, you are damaging it as well. For many dogs, being shaved down keeps them cooler in the hot months because it is easier for their owners than trying to keep up with a lot of thick hair. This is your choice as a pet owner to make.
HOWEVER...if your dog is not in good condition and the coat is very matted, you may not have a choice. Dematting the entire dog is painful, time consuming and very irritating to their skin. We will not put dogs through this unnecessary pain due to owner negligence. If you do not want your double-coated dog shaved down, you need to maintain the coat with regular grooming year round.
Q: My dog came home with razor burn. Is this common?
A: It SHOULDN'T be common, but when a dog has matted fur, it can often get irritated from removing that fur for a few reasons. For one, the hair has been pulled tight for many weeks or months. Once the blood flow to this area is lessened by the removal of matts, the area is often irritated as a result. Think of someone pulling your hair constantly and twisting it. That's what matts feel like to a dog. Getting the clipper under those matted knots often requires me to kind of dig the clipper in harder than I normally would to get the blade under the hair, as well as using a blade that is shorter than I normally would use if the hair wasn't matted. All of this results in razor burn and irritation. The only way to prevent this is to be sure your dog is free of matts by combing and brushing often.
Some dogs are also just more prone to irritation, much like humans. No matter how sharp the razor is or how much shaving soap I use on my legs, I get irritated. Some dogs are much the same, especially white dogs with pale pink skin, and spaniels with heavy dense fur.
Another reason dogs may end up with razor burn and irritation is because they fight the groom. When a dog is pulling away, jumping around and squirming, it's very hard to get a nice smooth clip without irritating them. If your dog is not one that sits well for the groom, unfortuantely they often don't get the nicest groom as a result.
Underarms, groin area, behind ears and the front of the neck are areas that are most prone to irritation (and to matting!). Be sure to brush these areas carefully and often.
Q: How come I didn't get the haircut I wanted? My dog wasn't matted.
A: Sometimes customers don't get the haircut they had in their minds, and it's almost always because they did not communicate their wishes to me clearly. If you have someone else drop off your dog, be SURE to include a note detailing the haircut you want and a number to reach you at if I have questions. I groom up to 50 dogs a week, so saying "the same as last time" is not going to work unfortunately. I can't remember that many dogs, and because people change their minds often, I don't keep track of past grooms. I love notes detailing what you want - that way I can read it quick before you leave and there are no miscommunications.
Remember: I am hearing impaired and read lips! When telling me how you want the dog groomed, be sure you are looking at me, and not at the floor or at the dog. I can't lip-read when people don't talk directly to me.
Sometimes the dogs are more matted than I realize when you drop off, and I agree to haircuts I end up not being able to give. Until the dog is on my table and I have a comb in my hand, I can't always tell how matted they are, so I have to take the coat shorter than the client wanted. Don't worry, it grows back, just be sure to brush and comb more often to keep them matt free.
Q: Your sign on the door says all dogs must be on a leash. I forgot my leash. Can I still bring my dog in?
A: Yes, BUT...please, please remember your leash and collar next time. There are many dogs in my shop at any given time, and many people coming and going. If your dog is not on a leash, I am not able to control them, and the risk of them getting into a fight with another dog or running out the door is high. You should never take your dog into a public place without a leash on, no matter what size they are.
Flexi-leashes are highly discouraged. They offer no control, are bulky and clumsy and I will flat out say it: I hate them. All pet professionals hate them. Please purchase a simple flat leather or nylon leash for your pet, at least for when going to the groomers or the vets.
Q: How about a carrier. Can I bring my dog in a carrier?
A: Yes, but they still need to have a leash on, and you will be asked to remove your dog from the carrier before you leave. You can leave the carrier for me to put your dog into when they are done. Even the best behaved dogs do not react well to someone they don't know well reaching hands into a carrier to pull them out. The risk of me being bit is too high, so they must be taken out of the carrier to be put in one of my cages before you leave.
Q: Do you use cologne or perfume on my dog?
A: Because many dogs and people are sensitive to perfumes, we never use perfumes or colognes on your dog. However if you would like your pet to smell pretty, check out our Paw Spa Corner on the way out the door and spritz your pet with your favorite scent of our Salon Scents!
Q: Should I feed my dog before I bring it in for the groom?
A: No. If you usually feed your dog in the morning, refrain from doing so the day of their groom. Grooming can be stressful, and being nervous can cause your dog to get the runs or even throw up. Having food in his stomach before getting groomed is not a good idea. Please skip the meal until you take them home.
Q: My dog has dandruff or skin issues. Can you fix this?
A: Skin issues need to be addressed by a vet. If your vet gives you a specific shampoo to use, please do bring it in for me to use on your pet! The shampoo I use in the shop is all natural and compatible with most skin types. If your dog has skin issues or reacts to the shampoo, please let me know in advance.
Q: Can I bathe my dog at home?
A: Certainly! However there are a few things you need to know before you do:
- Always brush ALL matts out first. Adding water to existing matts will make them much worse and harder to comb out
- Always use a dog-specific shampoo, not human shampoo. The shampoo brand I use in the shop is available for purchase.
- Always dilute the shampoo. Never use shampoo full strength. It should be watery and very light colored but suds up nicely when lathered. Most shampoos dilute 4 parts water to 1 part shampoo. Look on the bottle for dilution directions, or dilute it 4:1 if there are no specific directions. I usually dilute shampoo in a half gallon milk jug: it can be kept in the cabinet until the next bath with no problem. We also have available an easy mixing bottle for all shampoos that helps you know how much water to add and how much shampoo. We carry a full line of Bark - 2 - Basics shampoo, the same products used by us in the shop.
- Never bathe your dog in a tub full of water with a cup. You need a high pressure nozzle in order to get the soap out of the hair properly, or you can cause skin issues. There is a self serve pet wash on Villard called Autorama Pet Wash where you can bath your own dog between grooms if you lack the room and equipment at home.
- Always squeeze the water out after bath with a towel. Don't "scrub" at the fur with a towel or you can cause matting. Try to not let the dog rub on the carpet when finished!
- Don't use human hair dryers unless there is a cool setting. Dogs have a much higher body temperature than we do and can burn easily.
Q: What tools should I use to brush my dog at home?
A: Two of the most useful tools for almost any breed are a fine tooth comb and a slicker brush. The slicker brush should be used first both with and against the fur to loosen it up, then the comb can be used to brush through from the skin up to remove any mats. If you can't get that comb through their hair, I won't be able to keep the hair a longer length. Dematting/detangling sprays are available to help with tough areas. For short hair dogs, a zoom groom is great for getting out loose hair!