When the snow melts, your canine friend will be raring to get reacquainted with your neighborhood and the local dog parks. But just like you have a spring cleaning routine for your house, you should have a checklist of things to do to get your dog ready for the new season.
Enter Keith Miller. Miller is the owner of Bubbly Paws Self-Service Dog Wash and Dog Spa, which opened last month in St. Louis Park. Miller also owns the Pampered Pooch Playground, a popular doggy daycare in St. Louis Park. He shared a few steps pet owners should take to get their dogs ready for warmer weather:
- If you live or walk near a lake, don’t let your dog wander onto thin ice.
- Remove dirt and dead hair from your pet’s coat by giving it a shampoo and a good brushing. “If you get the dead hair out, they will shed less at home,” Miller said.
- If you have a dog with curly hair prone to matting, have the dog’s hair cut short for summer. “Mats can even become painful for dogs,” Miller said. He pointed out that if you take your dog to your cabin or a lake, short hair will help the pooch dry quicker and avoid further matting.
- Make sure your dog park permit is up to date. St. Louis Park has two off-leash dog parks, at Cedar Knoll Park and Dakota Park. Access to the parks is included in dog licensing fees for St. Louis Park residents; non-residents must purchase a permit for $55.
- Double-check that your dog’s vaccines are up-to-date, especially bordatella (kennel cough). “The chances of a dog getting sick are higher when they are around more dogs, like at the dog park,” Miller said. Seasonal allergies also pop up in the spring in dogs, much like they do in people, he said, so see your vet if your dog exhibits allergy symptoms.
- Make sure that your doors and fence gates latch properly, so your little escape artist can’t bolt.
- Make sure your dog has an I.D. tag or microchip in case it does bolt.
If your dog’s a muddy mess from the spring thaw and it’s too chilly still to hose it off in the yard, Bubbly Paws offers both self-service dog washing and full-service grooming.
“If your dog is muddy and you don’t want to deal with it, bring them in,” Miller said.
He said the dogs that came in during the store's opening week were quite relaxed while getting clean in the waist-high tubs.
“They are comfortable because they are still getting a bath from their owners, not a random person,” he said.
All supplies are provided, including dog shampoo made by another local St. Louis Park company, Topline Canine Care.
“We try to keep our supplies local or regional,” Miller said.