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When choosing a dog

by Gayle Caston on 09/26/17

As a mobile dog groomer in Stuart, Fla., for the past several years, if you are considering bringing in a new four-legged family into your pack, think about these important considerations.

Everybody falls in love with the dog with the cute pug nose or the long flowing mane. But one thing most families don't consider when adopting or buying a new pup is the possible grooming needs for their dog.

Do the research. Study the characteristics and needs of the breed before you commit. If the potential new arrival is a mixed breed, then realize you are adopting the attributes of all breeds in the mix.

For example, if the dog is a "doodle," then that means they have poodle in their genes and that means a dog with high grooming needs and regular maintenance.

Consider how much the breed tends to shed. Don't be misled, even short hair dogs shed. They might just shed shorter hairs, but it could be in copious amounts, so regular grooming visits might be advisable.

All breeds require some home care. There are no maintenance-free dogs.

But don't worry. Don't let shedding dissuade you from choosing a breed or dog you love. With regular brushing, you can prevent loose hair from filling up your house.

Find a place outside for regular brushing. If you need to be inside, then just cover the floor with something to catch all the loose hair.

If you pick a dog with high grooming needs, be aware that as the owner of the dog, you will have to contribute to the grooming as well. That means a regular or even daily brushing to keep the fur from becoming entangled and matted. A well-brushed coat means an easier time for the dog when its grooming time.

Be sure to not just brush the back, but also the belly, under the ears, under the chin, legs, feet and rear end. Don't worry about embarrassing your pet about where you brush them, they’re not shy.

Another thing I recommend for new dog owners is to take them immediately to the veterinarian. The vet can check on their health in general and make sure they are up-to-date on vaccines.

It's also a good idea to chip them with an identification chip.

The vet will also check for fleas or other pests. If you need to take the dog home first, give them a thorough once-over. You want to catch any pests before you bring the dog into your home.  Check all the way down to the skin, not just the fur. Look for signs of mange or other skin conditions as well.

Perhaps the dog already has a chip that the vet can check. The vet can also help to determine the age of the pet.

Sure, you can't wait to bring your new furry friend home. But for your piece of mind, when you adopt a pet, do your research first and visit a vet. Those steps will give your new pooch the best start possible in their new home.

How to keep your pup happy during the summer months in Florida 

by Gayle Caston on 06/16/17

          As the owner of a mobile dog grooming business in Stuart, Fla. where the temperatures can get quite warm at times, I am frequently asked: "How do I prepare my dog for the summer?"

Dog fur offers great natural protection from not only cold, but heat as well, if air is allowed to flow freely. And many people don't realize, but dogs can get sunburn too. So, fur is also a great barrier from harmful UV rays.

The best way to make a dog's coat effective during the summer months is to keep the fur in the best condition by regular brushing and combing. This opens up the fur follicles to allow the passage of air so their bodies are better able to adjust to changing temperatures.

The process is similar to when people wear a long sleeve shirt in the sun and remain comfortable because they allow the movement of air within the fabric. Fishing shirts do a great job of this with their vents and light material.

For the hotter seasons, I recommend my clients do the following:

- thoroughly brush out their coat.

- don't just focus on the back, but also pay attention to the feet, under the ears, tail, groin, legs and bellies. These areas tend to mat easily which can result in sores later.

- follow up a brush with a comb, starting from close to the skin and then working your way out. This helps to alleviate any tiny mats that are just forming and it further dislodges loose hair. Loose hair can become entangled with growing hair and that can cause problems as well.

- combing is very important. I tell my clients, you can brush a carpet but you can't comb it. You can brush a matted dog and think he or she is okay, but with a comb you will find those hidden mats and tangles. It is very important to get those small knots because they will eventually turn into larger mats.

The point is to create a shield of fur to protect your dog and still allow air to pass. Fur is for protection, not just looks, and it can't do its job if it is not well maintained.

Other summer tips I would suggest is to be sure to always provide plenty of fresh water. And remember, during the summer, dogs still need their exercise, so try to schedule walks early in the day, on shade-covered paths or after the sun goes down.

Sure, it gets warm in Florida in the summer. But that doesn't mean your pup has to be miserable. Give him a regular brushing and exercise and he'll be a happy camper.

Mobile grooming for your older dog

by Gayle Caston on 08/06/16

Many of my regular mobile grooming clients are older dogs. Their owners feel mobile grooming is less stressful for many reasons. The dogs don't need to be loaded into the car to be driven to a salon. They won't be subjected to other dogs and their noise and activity. Your dog will have the same groomer handling him/her each time. And most important, they're returned to their house immediately after their groom. A little TLC for your senior pup. Of course these benefits are enjoyed by all dogs using mobile grooming. Go ahead. Pamper your loved pup, while enjoying some convenience for yourself.

Caring for your Pup between Grooms

by Gayle Caston on 02/14/16

Getting your pup groomed regularly is important. But so is caring for his/her coat in between grooms. It doesn't take long but there are a few important tips that can keep them looking and feeling clean and comfortable all the time. As a Stuart mobile dog groomer I hear many pup parents talk about brushing, but combing is important too. That's how you find those tiny mats that can cause discomfort and problems down the road. And just as we don't comb only the top of our head, dogs need combing all over. Particularly those places we don't think of combing such as feet, tails, friction areas like where their legs meet their body, behind ears, and collar areas. Remember harnesses aren't meant to be worn all day. They can cause mats and sore areas if kept on too long. Your pup will appreciate your efforts.

Martin County has a new groom van

by Gayle Caston on 11/07/15

If you've seen a new dog grooming van in Stuart/Palm City area recently be sure to wave. Though I haven't put The Spaw signage on it yet, this van is the newest addition to The Spaw family. It will help us take on new dog grooming clients. Though most of our clients are not seasonal, business definitely picks up in the fall and winter. So we're looking forward to meeting new dogs and their families. Happy upcoming holidays.