We visited Aundria McNamee, the owner of BEAUTIFUL PETS grooming parlour in Costabissara (VI), photographed her while she took care of the family friends who came in for a shampoo and set, and asked her to tell us some of her secrets.
How long have you been doing this job?
I got a diploma in pet grooming in the US, where I come from, where this profession has been around for a lot longer than in Italy; I’ve been working in the sector for 7 years, and I opened my own business 3 years ago, which took a lot of courage and risk.
Do you think people understand the importance of keeping their dog or cat clean?
The way people see their pets has changed a lot over the last few years. They used to be seen as just an animal that could be kept outside, but now people think of them as part of the family, and they want them to be clean and perfumed – also because most of them live in the house, and climb onto sofas and beds, so hygiene is fundamental.
How often should dogs be bathed?
It depends on the breed and their coat. Some breeds, like Yorkshire terriers, have really oily skin that makes their hair get dirty quickly – they need bathing every 2 weeks, not more, or you risk damaging their skin. Other breeds, like Labradors or German Shepherds, can be bathed once every two months, although ideally once a month.
What can owners do at home?
It’s really important to always brush your dog, especially some long-haired breeds that often come to me in an awful state. If you don’t brush it, knots can form that we sometimes have to cut. A dog that isn’t brushed also risks getting dermatitis. If he has long hair, you’ll need to use a brush and comb. If he has short hair, then a comb or pumice stone will be enough.
What should you do if it rains?
If your dog gets wet when you walk it, you always need to dry its paws, or it could start smelling bad. There are lots of dog-coats available to stop it getting wet or dirty.
What is grooming for, apart from keeping the dog clean?
Definitely for keeping parasites under control; here, we also take care of cases of alopecia, thanks to ozone therapy that we do in water. We’ve seen some great results even with dogs that had really large bald patches.
Do you have one last tip for people who decide to wash their dogs at home, maybe in an emergency, like the one you told us about when a dog ended up in a muck-heap?
When you bath a dog, you should never use products designed for humans, such as shampoo – they aren’t good for their skin, because they have a different pH.
Their ears are very delicate, and you need to make sure never to blow air directly inside them, so when you dry the dog off, you need to cover their ears with one hand to make sure the air from the hair dryer doesn’t get in.
Thank you, Audrina – we’ll let you get back to your customers, who can’t wait to be pampered!