Sunday, June 26, 2011

To Clip or Not to Clip?

To be honest, I don't know whether dogs like being clipped for summer. As I have many times noticed and many dog owners assert, some dogs seem to prance and smile with a new clip. Is this our imagination, or might it just be that the dog is relieved to be done with a long and boring grooming session and happy to be free?

Aside from dog preference, does it make sense? One argument goes that a dog's coat provides insulation against heat as well as cold and therefore should be left alone, but many, many dog owners observe that whatever the logic behind the clipping decision, their dogs appear more comfortable with a shorter clip.

At Aussie Pet Mobile Cape Cod, we think the decision to clip or not to clip should be made based on the behavior of the dog. If you are wondering what to do, ask yourself the following questions:

1. Does your dog have extensive "undercoat" ( a thick, downy layer close to the skin that tends to shed in hot weather and grow thicker in cold)?

2. Is shedding extreme in spring?

3. Is your dog a "cold weather" breed like a Husky?

4. Does your dog pant and seek a cool place to sleep by digging a hole in the shade when the weather turns warm?

If any or all of these are true for you, we recommend you try a summer clip and compare your dog's behavior before and after. Aside from smiles and prances, does your dog pant less, and seem more willing to play on a hot summer day? Even if the dog doesn't appear to care much one way or the other, a summer clip can make a big difference for you and your housekeeping by reducing the amount of hair in your home and the sand or mud that your dog tracks in from the beach and yard.

A summer clip can range anywhere in length from peach fuzz to 3/4". We usually advise about 1/2", although on dogs with massive amounts of undercoat, a shorter end of the spectrum produces a smoother, more attractive finish. The clip can take the form of a "lion cut" with a longer mane, natural legs and a flag or ball on the end of the tail (see Aslan's photo at the head of this post) or same length all over.

We are booking for grooms and clips the week of July 4th. Call us if you'd like to see what a summer fashion could do for you and your dog.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

3 Ways to Celebrate Fathers

It's probably too late to buy a pet-themed t-shirt or tie for the father(s) in your life, and you didn't need to spend the money anyway. Alternatively, here are three (nearly free) ideas to celebrate the day:

1. Go for a walk:
Do you know a father who would like to spend more relaxing social time with you? Probably. Why not collect a father or two and walk dogs together? Or take a dog fancier on a trip to your local dog park to watch the mutts cavort. It's a nice way to spend a spring evening.

2. Make a cake:
Don't be scared. All you need is some store bought cupcakes and frosting. There are numerous specialized pans and recipies with dog and cat themes, but the easiest and most fun project might be to simply decorate with store bought ingredients. The picture above shows how you can take two cupcakes and frost generously to create a cute dog themed dessert only limited by your imagination and decorating skills.

3. Volunteer:
Join up or volunteer in honor of a favorite father. Your local animal shelter needs your help or you could clean a beach or trail. Or somebody's back yard or attic for that matter.

No matter which you choose, you'll find time to chat and probably chuckle. What better gift can you give?

Oh, and celebrating fatherhood doesn't mean you need to have a bunch of intact males running around. Please spay/neuter your pets and help keep an over supply of animals out of the shelters.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

The Scoop about Poop

Isn't pet waste "natural"? Wild animals leave their scat in the woods, why not pets?

The bottom line is that there are a lot of pets, and while they are not the major contributor to water pollution, studies show that the combined impact of all pets and wildlife poses a health threat to swimmers, other dogs and beaches, and can cause beach and shellfish bed closures.

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health puts out a brochure that explains the risks of pet waste to water pollution on our beaches and sets forth guidelines for pet owners that make a lot of sense. Some highlights:

The Problem:

When animal waste ends up in the
water it decomposes, using up
oxygen. During summer months, low
dissolved oxygen levels harm fish and
other aquatic life.

Beaches and shellfish beds may be
closed, if evidence that diseas-ecausing
bacteria and viruses might be
present is found on routine water
testing. Pet waste can be a cause of
test results that close beaches and
shellfish beds.

The majority of water pollution comes
from small sources – especially at the
household level.

Many towns have “pooper scooper”
ordinances that require pet owners to
pick up and remove fecal matter from
public property. Fines can be
imposed on those caught violating
these laws.

Health Risks:

Pet waste can contain bacteria and
parasites, causing infections such as the

Campylobacteriosis: A bacterial
infection that causes diarrhea in humans.

Giardiasis: A protozoan infection of the
small intestine that can cause diarrhea,
cramping, fatigue, and weight loss.

Salmonellosis: Symptoms include fever,
muscle aches, headache, vomiting, and

Toxocariasis: An animal to human
infection that is caused by roundworms
found in the intestines of dogs. The
parasite can cause vision loss, rash,
fever or cough, and is a particular threat
to children exposed to parasite eggs in
sand and soil.

What You Can Do:

Always carry a plastic bag to pick up
your pet’s waste.

Do not throw pet waste near a storm
drain; use a trash can. Pet waste can
also be flushed down a toilet, but
please don’t flush the bag.

Make sure to dispose of pet waste in
a sealed bag so it doesn’t spill during
trash collection.

Do not flush pet or wildlife waste from
your deck or dock into the water.

Obey local leash laws and seasonal
bans at beaches.

Aussie Pet Mobile Cape Cod cleans Cape Cod by picking up trash and pet waste in addition to bathing and clipping our pets. Join us in keeping our fragile Cape Cod environment clean and green.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Kitty Spa

Ever wondered how to groom a cat?

Meet Bentley. He's a handsome longish haired boy who we groomed recently and gave a lion clip to reduce the amount of hair in his house. Bentley is sitting in the tub after his bath, wearing an e-collar, like the ones your vet uses to keep your pets from scratching or biting stitches when they're healing or a hot spot. We use the e-collar to prevent being bitten by a cat who loses her temper. It's less annoying for the cat than a muzzle. Bentley didn't mind being bathed at all and sat calmly in the hydrobath. Many cats take being bathed, groomed and clipped in stride, particularly if they have been regularly groomed since their kitten year.

The first thing we do is clip nails and clean ears and eyes and do any required clipping. Matted cats need to be clipped very short - what we call a "buzz cut" - in order to get under the mats where they form close to the skin. Contrary to what you might think, a cat with a buzz cut has the softest and cleanest coat you could imagine, like a fine Persian carpet. A long or short "mane" can be left to give the lion look, and the tail can be left full or with a flag or ball at the end. Cats that aren't matted can be clipped to a half or three-quarter inch clip, which reduces hair both inside and outside the cat but looks more natural.

Most cats don't like to be immersed in water, so our hydrobath is preferable. We have warm water pumped through a spray head that we use to massage away dirt, dander and hair. A kitty bath usually takes fewer than 5 or 10 minutes, then on to the grooming table.

Most cats don't need to be restrained on the table. Usually they tuck their feet underneath themselves and lie quietly on the table to be dried and brushed. If a cat loses her temper and won't sit still, we have a soft harness that gently circles the cat's chest and neck that will prevent them from leaping off the table.

It's true that cat grooming requires special skills in handling the cat and preventing injury to their delicate skin, but it's not as stressful for most cats as you would expect and can be critical to their health and comfort.

If you have a cat that has trouble grooming itself, is experiencing hair balls, is matted, or is simply overwhelming you with hair production, give us a call.