Dog Grooming Services

The type of groom your dog can be offered will depend not only on the breed but on your personal preferences and requirements. While for every breed there is a "Breed standard", these are laid down by the Kennel Club, apply largely to show dogs and are generally impractical for every day living. In our experience the vast majority of owners prefer a practical variation on the theme, which is what we try to provide for you. These broadly break down into the following categories:

Short Haired Groom

These include Labradors, Short Haired German Shepherds, Rottweilers, Great Danes and similar. Grooming for these breeds includes removal of deadcoat with specialist brushes and "rakes" (especially Labs and Shepherds!), a good bath of two shampoos and a conditioner. Our powerful "blaster / dryers" lift out more deadcoat and help achieve a fresh, shiny coat finish. Plus Nails, Ears and Glands if required (see below).

Clip and Style

Airedales, Spaniels, Westies, Labradoodles, Poodles, Schnauzers and any breed needing a clip and style. With these breeds our job is first to find out what style you would like, and guide you if you're unsure. We have a style book with extensive breed styles to help you decide. The groom then includes removal of deadcoat, minor matts and tangles (see Matting below), bath of two shampoos and conditioner, dry, then clip and style to your requirements. Plus Nails, Ears and Glands if required (see below).

Matting / De-matting

The full grooming service for your pet includes removal of deadcoat and tangles. Matting is treated as a separate issue. For those unfamiliar with matting, it is when the coat has gone beyond "tangled or knotted" and has now formed into a solid Matt, similar in texture to a piece of felt. If this is isolated and not close to the skin it can usually be removed by thinning and combing out. This generally only leaves a thinned area on the coat. If, however, it has formed close to the skin it may be impossible to remove with brushing and combing. Then the only solution (with your approval) may be to clip the area out, which will leave a bald patch. This will however grow again. In extreme cases where the matting has taken hold all over, it may be necessary to clip off almost the entire coat. This will only ever be done after consultation with you and we may ask you to sign a consent form prior to carrying this out.

Long Haired Groom

There is a large group of dogs that are neither short haired nor traditionally clipped. These include Golden Retrievers, Long Haired German Shepherds, Collies, Newfoundlands, Bernese Mountain Dogs and many more. Many of these breeds have a dual coat: a generally fine undercoat close to the skin and an outer topcoat. In warmer times and centrally heated homes the undercoat is not really required and is shed as deadcoat.

Deadcoat removal

The topcoat, however, tends to retain this deadcoat resulting in a dull, overloaded coat. The removal of this deadcoat is the key to a successful groom. It is not unusual for us to get at least a dustbin liner full of deadcoat from say a Long Haired German Shepherd, as the picture on the right shows, and more from one of the giant breeds. The groom is then completed with a bath, dry, tidy of feathers, skirt and tail if required. Some owners prefer these left "natural". Plus Nails, Ears and Glands if required (see below). A number of our customers do in fact have these breeds clipped short all over, either once a year in the spring or on a regular basis. It's a little drastic but very practical and the dogs do seem to appreciate it, especially in hot weather. There are"before and after" pictures for you to look at in reception if this is something you are considering.

Bath only, Tidy only, “Bath & Tidy” or “As Required”

There are times when "the full works" are not required and maybe all that is needed is a bath or a bath and a tidy up in certain areas until the next full groom. That's fine and you're very welcome to book even for the smallest of jobs even if this is just to trim the hair round a dog's etes while you wait. This applies to any breed of dog and can often be fitted in at short notice. Fox-poo, ink, gloss paint and clay! A common request is a "Bath only" when something nasty has been rolled in! We have also been called upon to remove gloss paint (a dog "helping" with the decorating), ink and most challenging to date, two dogs who had managed to get covered in wet, runny clay which had subsequently dried solid.

Large & Giant Breed Specialists

Your large and giant breeds including Leonbergers, Irish Wolfhounds, Bernese Mountain Dogs, St.Bernards, Newfoundlands and many more will benefit from specialist equipment and groomers with extensive experience of dealing with this size of dog. The larger and giant breeds tend to fall into different grooming requirement categories; some just primarily needing a brush and bath while others require the full works, possibly including clipping and trimming. Much will also depend on time since last fully groomed. Do give us a call to discuss your requirements which may vary significantly even within the same breed.

Nails / Claws

Nails / Claws can be trimmed at the same time as a groom or this service can be carried out on its own at any time. Some dogs nails grow very quickly and need trimming every 6 weeks or so. Others, particularly if they walk a lot on paved surfaces, can hardly need doing at all. Do keep an eye on the Dew claws though (the 5th claw further up the leg). These do not make contact with the ground and can easily be overlooked. We have had more than one case where these had grown right round and back into the skin.

Ears

All breeds may need their ears cleaned on a regular basis to keep them clear and smelling sweet. A number also need their ear hair plucking to keep the ear canal free. These include Poodles, Bichons and Shih Tzus. We can check, advise and carry this out if required.

Anal Glands

What's all that about?! Does your dog "scoot" along his / her bottom, smell particularly "doggy" at times or spend a lot of time licking and biting at the rear end?  Chances are that their anal glands need emptying. This is something we can do for you, either on its own or along with a groom while they're in the bath. 

Appointments

We're open 6 days a week. Monday to Saturday between 9am and 5.30pm. While appointments can be made for any time, we generally run a “morning session” with a first drop off time of 9am and pick up at 1pm, a "mid session": drop off at 10am and pick up at 3pm and an “afternoon session”: drop off at 1.30pm for 5.30pm pick up. We will always phone you if you wish, as soon as your dog is ready for collection to save them waiting around. 

An appointment is usually required for a full groom but we can generally accommodate smaller jobs like nail clipping, microchipping and "bath only" at short notice. For short waits you can browse the garden centre next door which has a café serving drinks and light meals. Your dogs will be treated with kindness and care while they’re with us, with water and walks as required. You're very welcome to try us for a short notice appointment just in case we've had a cancellation or have spare space. Call 01233 822 411. An answerphone will cut in if we're closed or all lines are busy. A-Z Animal Care Kent