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Some advice please RE: geriatric dogs

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  • Some advice please RE: geriatric dogs

    Being mobile I get a LOT of old, old, dogs. I am very careful with them moving them around, stabilizing them, etc. while working on them. If they're small it's not a huge issue. BUT, if they're large it can be a problem.

    I had a 10 year old Newfie shavedown who has diffuculty in a regular grooming environment. She would take 3 days to recover from a grooming (they tell me) because it was so hard on her. Her muscle tone is very poor at her age and especially in the hind quarters. I let her lay on the table and tub the whole time except when I needed to get under her. Then I would lift her up and employ the assistance of a sling to help stabilizer her. All seemed to go fine, but it took me about 4 hours straight. The owner checked in a couple times and when I was finished, I let her down off the table and she literally slid off and slid (splayed like) out of the van. Wow, I thought what's going on here? So I get her out of the van and try to stabilizer her but her hindquarters were so stiff she was barely able to stand, much less move. Her hindquarter muscle tone is almost gone, very stingy and thin for her bulk (not overwieght tho). OMG, I had to help her up several times to walk her to the door, poor thing, and she was walking bowl legged (I suppose from resting splayed-like on the table). I felt awful presenting her to the owner like that (a physician/aquaintance no less) and I know he was a bit surprised too. I suppose in a shop she had time to recover a little resting in a crate before going home. Being mobile I don't have the option of giving her breaks and maybe the mobile wasn't the best for her (the theory being she wouldn't be all day at the groomers and require three days to recover). Ugh, the only thing I can think to do next time (if they ever call me again) is to let her lay flat out on the ground outside while I shave her one side at a time. Then give her a quick bath and dry her oustide (if the weather is permissible). Was there something I missed, or other options?
    A Light exists in Spring, Not present on the Year, At any other period -- When March is scarcely here...~~ Emily Dickensen~~

  • #2
    I feel your pain. Those guys are soooooo hard, and then when you need a stretcher to deliver them back...ug.

    One thing I've done over the years...particularly w/ old Newfies (and I've had a LOT of them as my dear friend of 30 years has always had a pair...) is I bathe and dry them one day....and clip the next day. That may not be a practical solution for you...but it's the only way I have found to keep the poor dog in one piece after grooming.

    I can employ every single trick I've amassed over the years for grooming the dear, old, bears,...but the bottom line is that they just can not handle extended appointments. They can't do it...and I don't know about yours, but every single one of mine has been extremely overweight by that time. Extremely,...and that sure doesn't help matters.

    What's equally difficult for me..is that alot of these Newfies...I've been doing since they were small bear cubs, and even though their bodies are wrecked...they still insist on trying to "help" me...they don't understand the playbook has changed. I love those old dogs.
    Often it's not what you say, but how you say it.

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    • #3
      It's so rough to see them so old!

      For me, with the old one's it's a case of get them clean, do the best you can safely and comfortably for the animal, and get it done QUICK.

      For example, and I know size wise this is way different, but I had a 15 year old Am. Eskimo that can not stand, balance or anything. I always kept my arm around him, used a mars tool to "brush" over him removing coat, thick spots, and mats with that. Clipped out underside, butt, inside back legs - the bad parts. Bathed, then HV dried on the floor - me sitting, him laying half in my lap. Got half way through and he peed all over, himself included. Re-bathed, dried on floor. Quickly trimmed feet, nails and done. Took 45 minutes. Granted, he had a light coat for an Am. Eskimo, and was a VERY good boy, and his feet were trimmed but not perfect. Owner was THRILLED. He thought he looked so much better, and clean, and easier to maintain. 2 days later I groomed the other 2 dogs in the house, that are old, but not so bad off, and they did look "neater" so client knows I know what I'm doing, but did not want to put the other one through what it takes for that. (the other 2 took 2.25 hours total, 1 Am Eskimo with heavy coat, 1 papillion mix.)

      So... for an old Newfie I'd suggest not a shave down (time), not a full groom (time again) but to use a mars tool (or a few of them) to remove coat, clip difficult areas (belly, butt, inside back legs, behind ears) HV dry on the floor the best you can and get it done ASAP. THEN do it regularly - like every 5-8 weeks. (Instead of 2X year as many newfie owners do.) You could even skim the coat to knock off long stuff, or scissor it.

      If the dog is a mess start with a clip down over 2 - 3 visits, perhaps over 2 weeks! Then get into a maintenance schedule where it can get in and out in 1.5 hours or so. Make sure they talk to their vet about things such as deremax or remidyl (anti-inflamatories) and that they give them before grooming (however much before the vet says.)

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      • #4
        As usual, Sibes has given you the best option. Before I stopped doing the big dogs, I had a few that I had to groom in 2 separate appts. Bath & Dry on Monday, shave down or brush out on Tuesday. I found it to be the only way that the senior guys could comfortably handle their grooming without placing them under stress. Being mobile, we always seem to get the senior pets so they can be in and out more quickly than a salon and they dont have to be transported back & forth to a shop, but not being able to give them rest breaks during the session is one of the drawbacks for the older pets.

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        • #5
          Grooming the Giant Elders/ Patriarchs!

          I prefer to bath and dry the large dogs on the floor if possible. It is faster and they can be lying/sitting down . After the fluffy ,high power blow dry ... the coat is easy to shave or trim smooth! All accomplished on the floor while comfortable... lying down or sitting. This can reduce the stress and makes for a beautiful coat! MA

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          • #6
            Originally posted by mawool View Post
            I prefer to bath and dry the large dogs on the floor if possible. It is faster and they can be lying/sitting down . After the fluffy ,high power blow dry ... the coat is easy to shave or trim smooth! All accomplished on the floor while comfortable... lying down or sitting. This can reduce the stress and makes for a beautiful coat! MA
            One big (no pun intended) problem that I (w/ relation to my above post) have had with that approach, is that by the age I was talking about...these dogs are no longer physically able to sit. They can stand, and they can lay down, but they can not sit comfortably. At all.
            So after all the up-n-down-up-n-down in the tub...they are wiped out. Just the sheer weight of their coats soaked thru...is enough to get them exhausted. HVing isn't a problem...but when I start round 2 of the groom (the clipping or extensive coat work), stick a fork in them, they are DONE. I just can't do it to them. Best for me to split the appt. into 2.
            I think the other thing that would cause MDM concern...is that because she is Mobile, doing them on the floor...really isn't an option.
            Often it's not what you say, but how you say it.

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            • #7
              Being mobile.... working on the floor would not be possible. I'd have to move outside on the ground which I would probably do.
              A Light exists in Spring, Not present on the Year, At any other period -- When March is scarcely here...~~ Emily Dickensen~~

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              • #8
                I always break up the appointment, no more than 2 hour at a time. I find that is the max that most dogs have in them for grooming.

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                • #9
                  I do exactly like Sibes-- when they get to this point the grooming is split into two sessions. Doesn't necessarily have to be done on consecutive days and some dogs will do better with a little longer break. I ask the owner to try and keep them fairly clean if I bathe the first session and most of my older guys are not very active anyway and so don't get that dirty.
                  The true meaning of life is to plant trees, under whose shade you do not expect to sit. ~Nelson Henderson

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                  • #10
                    split sessions

                    How do you charge when you split the sessions?

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by PUPPY CARE View Post
                      How do you charge when you split the sessions?
                      Although it probably takes a bit longer to do it in two, I charge the same price as I normally did.
                      The true meaning of life is to plant trees, under whose shade you do not expect to sit. ~Nelson Henderson

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by blue View Post
                        Although it probably takes a bit longer to do it in two, I charge the same price as I normally did.
                        Tho I'm not mobile like MDM, I do like Blue does. No loss in doing the right thing.....
                        Often it's not what you say, but how you say it.

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                        • #13
                          i schedule them 2 days also,...shave down 1st come back and bath and dry.
                          I shave them down 1st because for the comfort of the dog it takes 1/2 the bathing and drying time
                          I charge more for the "TLC" dogs and charge a 2nd housecall charge for the second visit and if the dog is really on the edge...I will not do them with out the owner as witness to the process....that way if anything goes bad the owner is SURE I did my best to help the dog and there are no questions as far as why the dog had a problem.

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