Penny went to a new salon yesterday because her usual groomer only works on Saturdays now and it's quite difficult to get an appointment. I'm used to just dropping Penny off and knowing that Michelle (the usual groomer) knows her well. (In fact, Michelle knew Penny before I did, as I bought her from the clinic where Michelle works.)
I didn't think to discuss in detail how she would be groomed and I was surprised to find that her face had been clipped more closely than I had expected. She no longer has the long fur hanging down on each side of her face. It looks quite nice, just not what I expected.
Her rear end had also been more closed shaved than Michelle usually does.
When we got home, she dropped into one of her favorite resting places, the box where we keep paper for recycling. She seemed unhappy.
Today she has been miserable all day. We went to training class but Cindy suggested we go home, as Penny wasn't enjoying it.
We were lucky to get an appointment at the vet and he checked her over. He suggested she is suffering from 'clipper rash' and said it's not necessarily a reflection on the new grooming salon, as it can develop if the dog is clipped too closely and isn't always noticeable at the time. He gave her a cortisone injection to relieve the symptoms that seemed to be driving her crazy and she is more relaxed now.
I had a look on the Net to check out this condition and found a preview of an interesting-looking book called Grooming Manual for the Dog and Cat,by Sue Dallas, Diana North and Joanne Angus. There's a big slice of the book to look at and page 33-34 says that clipper rash can occur if the blade becomes too hot or if it is dragging through the coat or is blunt. The rash can also be caused by a blade that is too fine for the dog's skin.
There's an article by a professional groomer that I found interesting, in Bartow Buzz Magazine. The writer, Lisa Drummond, says that she considers it most important that pet owners communicate successfully with groomers. She says that if a client were to phone her and say that a dog was scratching and bleeding after grooming, she would suspect clipper burning or chaffing. The feedback would allow her to take note that in future that dog needs a longer blade.
She also says that she would be able to advise the client how to deal with the problem. She would suggest using Neosporin or triple antibiotic, Vaseline or a good re-moisturizing conditioner/lotion.
However, I'd be wary of using Neosporin, as Wikipedia says it tends to exaggerate the pain of abrasions.
My vet prescribed Neotopic-H.I think it sounds better, because it has local anaesthetic properties as well as having a wide range of antibacterial activity.
I'm convinced that Lisa Drummond's discussion makes an important point. We need to talk to groomers and give them feedback so that our pets get an ever-improving standard of care.