A Pampered Pooch

Dot the bulldog prances around proud after a grooming.

With the holiday season in full swing and out-of-town guests
expected, several South Valley residents are busy making sure their
puppies are prettied up and ready for the attention
It’s the time of year again for holiday parties, out-of-town relatives dropping in and trips to the mall to see Santa, and along with getting themselves spiffed up, several South Valley residents are making sure their dogs look their best as well.

“Ninety percent of the year we let him go shaggy, but we take so many pictures around Christmas time that it’s nice to have him looking good,” said Alma Garza, a Morgan Hill resident and owner of Buddy, her Yorkshire terrier.

With so many dogs needing to be trimmed and treated before the holidays, local grooming boutiques have been booked.

“We work double-time at the holidays,” said Natalie Rizzi, owner of Canine Concepts in Morgan Hill. “Everybody wants their dog to look good for Santa.”

Along with a basic cut of their fur, dogs also can have their toenails painted and decorative bows added to their ears. The spa-like treatment is a trend that started with celebrity pets in Hollywood and has since branched out into the mainstream. Rizzi said she sees the trend continuing to grow.

“I think pets are the next big thing,” she said. “People are taking their dogs out and about with them, and they want them to look good. They’re not just out in the back yard anymore.”

Stephanie Churchill-Gross, owner of The Grooming Edge in Hollister, said painting the toes of poodles, dachshunds and chihuahuas is easy, but it gets a bit more challenging when trying to work with a sheep dog.

Along with the aesthetically pleasing part of getting your dog groomed, Churchill-Gross said it’s also important for the pet’s health. Amber Settle, owner of the Pet Palace in Gilroy, agrees.

“Toenail maintenance is really important,” she said. “When dogs run around outside all day they can get things in their paws, and if they’re not cared for, it can have permanent consequences that affect the dog for the rest of its life.”

Bathing and trimming can cost anywhere between $18 to $100 depending on the size and breed of the dog. While the cost might seem high to some, Settle said she recommends people bring their dogs to a professional instead of doing it themselves.

“I don’t really encourage bathing at home, because a lot of people don’t realize they shouldn’t use cold water,” she said. “Or they get the water in the dog’s ears, and it can be detrimental to the animal.”

Grooming at Home

Professional pet groomers know how to beautify a pet, but grooming your own pet can be fun and more economical. Here are some tips for at-home care.


Brush your pet’s fur at least a few times per week. This will help keep its fur healthy, removing dirt and spreading natural oils throughout the coat.


Trim your pet’s nails about once per month. Buy a clipper designed specifically for the type of pet you have.


Neglecting caring for your pet’s ears can lead to nasty ear infections. Check your pet’s ears or have a veterinarian do an ear checkup twice per month. Moisten a cotton ball with warm water or a little mineral oil, and use it to clean the opening into the canal and the flaps. Do not probe too deeply into the canal.


Special toothpastes are made for pets. Animals can develop cavities and periodontal disease, so their teeth should be cleaned on a regular basis. If you’re not sure how to brush your pet’s teeth, ask your veterinarian.


Bathe your pet once every two months or as often as needed. Be sure to brush before each bath to get all of the knots out of the coat. Also, be sure not to use cold water, and be gentle when you’re washing.

– By Katie Niekerk, Staff Writer

Source: www.caws.org

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