Frequently asked questions

Frequently asked questions:

What should I do before I drop off my dog?

It is very important to be on time for your scheduled appointment. Being just 15 minutes late can hold up the grooming of every dog coming in to the salon.

Please ensure that your dog has been given the opportunity to go to the toilet before you bring them to the salon. A dog has to stand to be groomed and will sometimes need a holding strap for this, which as you can imagine wouldn’t be comfortable on a full bladder.

What happens when I drop off my dog?

Your dogs appointment will start with a consultation session. This is to look at the overall condition of the coat, skin, ears, feet and even teeth. All these things help Vanessa determine the next step in the individual grooming process.

We will discuss the way you would like your dog to be groomed. If your dogs coat is in poor condition or needs intense dematting, or clipping shorter than you had initially envisaged then you won’t get a nasty surprise.

It is also the time when your dogs temperament can be determined. If your dog is nervous, then calming steps can be taken to make the grooming process as pleasant as possible.

It is imperative that you, as the owner, share your knowledge of your dogs temperament with Vanessa. If your dog is known to snap, hates being bathed, or blow dried or having their feet touched it could place Vanessa, as the groomer in a very dangerous position. Groomers use tools such as scissors on virtually every dog they groom. So if your dog is known to snap please let Vanessa know. There is no way that Vanessa would want to accidently injure your dog. This can be avoided by sharing information from past groomers reports or your knowledge of a potential problem.

How long will it take?

Each dog has a unique personality, coat type, groom style, drying time and method, and in some cases a possible medical condition or age factor that may require additional care, caution or attention by Vanessa.

Grooming involves not only bathing, drying and clipping, but dematting, removing knots and tangles as well as ear and nail care. All of these processes need your dog to stand. Dogs do not stand still and this is why it takes so long and why grooming is more expensive than your average hair cut. If your dog is ageing or arthritic, or has hip complications the groom will take longer as your dog will need rest periods so that it does not become uncomfortable.

What if my dog needs intensive dematting?

Dematting can be an extremely painful procedure. In order to keep length on a dogs coat, it must be completely dematted and free of all mats and tangles before the coat can be bather or clipped.

The health and well-being of your pet is Vanessa’s priority. It may be that it is impossible to dematt your dog. Vanessa will not place your dog in such a painful situation. If this is the case, Vanessa will recommend a ‘clip off’ or ‘smoothy.’ Always remember the coat will grow back. With proper upkeep of the coat, you could have the coat you have always wanted.

If Vanessa say’s that dematting is out of the question, please listen to her. A good groomer will not intentionally clip your dog too short unless there is a reason.

How can I look after my dog’s coat at home?

Vanessa can advise you about combs and brushes for your dog. You should create a simple schedule of at-home care/brushing in between your professional grooms. Take a comb, preferably metal, as plastic can snap or cause static. Start at the face/ beard, all the way to the tip of the tail, comb through all parts of your dog’s coat including the armpit area, and under the tail. Did your comb make it through or did it come to a halt? Now take a closer look. Is it a ‘snarl’ or is this what is called a skin mat or felted mat? A skin or felted mat is pretty close to the skin. Many people make a very sincere effort to keep their dog’s coat combed out, but because they did not comb or brush for the actual skin out, they actually started above the mat and combed the hair through so appearing as though the coat is not matted. If you bathe or wet a pet that has any matting, it intensifies the mat making it tighter and almost impossible to get out without actually clipping or cutting very short.

Try the comb from the skin base and see what happens. If you passed the ‘My pet is not matted test’ then pat yourself on the back! Your pet’s coat is in good shape and you should be able to request just about any groom on your dog.

What happens with a bath and groom?

After all the mats and tangles are removed Vanessa can start the actual groom. If the dog is to be clipped then the clippers will be used to remove the initial all-over length, which allows a shorter drying time for your dog. Why dry a coat that isn’t going to be there anyway? This also produces a nicer finish to your dog’s coat.

A thorough bath with the appropriate shampoo and conditioner is used. Your dog’s anal glands will be checked and if needs be and is possible the anal glands will be cleared. Dogs can get a build up of anal fluid in the gland that is located directly below the anus. You may have noticed at one time or another a smelly and pungent oil-like liquid is present on your dog’s rearquaters; this is most likely because the sac is full.

Your dog will then be dried and styled.  Ear cleaning and a nail trim and file are included in the price.

How is my dog dried?

Firstly your dog is towel dried. Then dried with a forced air dryer and then finally finished with the finishing drier. Many dogs are dried using a the ‘fluff’ dry method, which is a complete hands-on drying technique to direct the coat with the lay of the coat so that a specific groom or finished look can be achieved.

The drying time on a dog can take anything from 20 minutes to 2 hours or even more on some of the heavier double coated breeds. Clipping and scissoring cannot be done on a damp or dirty pet.

How is the finished look achieved?

When the drying procedure is complete the finish takes place. This is where the actual style and creativity of your groomer takes place. It is not uncommon to need to change clipper blades half a dozen time or so to achieve the final look, or to switch scissors several times.

Before the actual finish is started, Vanessa must completely re-brush and remove any loose hair, to be certain not to miss any mats and therefore assist in allowing a clean and tidy finish.

A finish on the average dog can take one or two hours depending on the breed being groomed. The final clip is completed when the edges of your dog’s feet and hair between the toes have been scissored, again depending on the breed. Then special requests are added such as bows or bandanas and colone.

Does Top Tails provide a hand stripping service?

Vanessa will consider hand stripping but this depends greatly on the quality of the coat and the temperament of your dog. It is a labour intensive procedure that most dogs do not enjoy.  Vanessa can provide an alternative approach which will help maintain the colour and texture of your dogs coat, which simulates the elements of hand stripping.  She will of course discuss options during the consultation stage of your appointment.

When will my dog be ready for collection?

You will be advised of your collection time during the consultation at the beginning of your dogs appointment. It is important that you collect your dog at that time. Otherwise a dog sitting charge will be levied.

Your dog may not appreciate being crated for longer than is necessary, which can produce needless anxiety.

Please do not just ‘pop in’ to see if your dog is finished. The chances are that by doing this you will stop all chances of your dog being safely groomed. Once a pet has seen its owner, it is nearly impossible to regain control. The anxiety created when your dog thinks it’s time to go home can put both your dog and Vanessa in real danger. It is not unknown for dogs to deliver very serious bites to dog groomers after the owner has arrived and left a second time.

Can I stay whilst my dog is groomed?

It is not uncommon for owners to want to stay whilst their dogs are groomed. This is often because they feel that their dog might get upset when they leave it behind. The majority of the time the pet is perfectly fine, and will calm down when he or she is left at the groomers to be groomed without the owner. If you as the owner are anxious at all your dog will pick up on this and feel there is something to worry about.

Also our pets look to us for approval. This means that if the owner is present and communicates with their dog even unintentionally, the dog gets confused. It ends up struggling between the groomer and it’s owner who is sitting aside trying to comfort their pet. Your dog will not understand this. This can cause them to try to escape and may bite out of protection or fear. Many dogs can and will bite at sharp equipment when the owner is present, therefore increasing the chance of your pet getting seriously injured. This is the last thing that Vanessa would want for your pet.

Why can’t you tell me exactly how much will it cost over the phone or in an email?

When you book your appointment Vanessa will quote you a guide price, but she cannot tell you how much your dog will exactly cost until the groom has been completed. This is because each dog is unique, in size, coat condition and temperament. A larger dog, one that needs lots of dematting or a difficult dog to handle will take more time and therefore will cost more.

Where are you located?

Toptails is located in the residential area of Chase Meadow, Warwick.

Toptails is easily accessible from Warwick Town Centre (5 minutes drive) and Junction 15 of the M4o, the Warwick turn off (again 5 minutes drive).  There is easy parking.  Vanessa will give you further details when you book your appointment.

Does Toptails do mobile grooming?

No toptails does not do mobile grooming.  However, the salon is close to Warwick Town Centre and is served by a bus route if access by car is a problem.