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Grooming Frequently Asked Questions 


  • I just got a puppy. When can he get his first groom?

We recommend introducing your puppy to grooming as soon as your veterinarian gives the thumbs up. Typically about 3 months old. The sooner you bring your puppy in, the better. He will learn the grooming  process and more importantly, learn how to socialize with other dogs and people. This is extremely important to do while they are very young.

The longer you wait,  the harder it can be , not only for the groomer, but for your puppy as well. Especially if he hasn't been socialized or taken out of his comfort zone. Grooming shops can get pretty noisy throughout the day and this can be a very intimidating situation for less socialized dogs. Waiting until they are 10 -12 months old to introduce them to grooming is a HUGE mistake. We want them to have the best experience their first time.

After just a few visits to Spaw, many of our customers say the same thing, “He can’t wait to get in the door!!”  It makes us very happy to see them so excited to come in for grooming and it makes the customers happy as well to know that their little fur babies are so happy and well cared for.  

  • Vaccinations 

We take every precaution to maintain a clean and disease-free environment.  That being said, we are not the vaccination police! The only vaccination required by NY law is Rabies. Please understand that if your pet bites someone and they require medical attention,  all bites will be reported to the local authorities as required by law. If it is found that your pet does not have a Rabies Vaccination, he may be quarantined for up to 10 days. 

Bordetella AKA "Kennel cough" is the most important vaccine because it is a highly contagious virus and your pup is going to be in close contact with other dogs. It is highly recommended, but not required by law.  Therefore, we leave it up to you and your vet to discuss  what vaccinations your pet should get.


We do however, reserve the right to refuse you for service if we feel your pet looks unhealthy and we may require written approval from your vet before grooming.  

You can either request a copy of your vaccination record from your vet, or have them email it directly to us at   

  • What do you mean cage free??​

Spaw is different from other grooming salons because we don’t cage most dogs when they come in for grooming. We like to provide a relaxed and stress free grooming environment for your pet, allowing them to socialize with the other dogs and make new friends.

Dogs are pack animals by nature, so introducing your pup to a stable and well balanced pack at an early age is very crucial to their development.  A well socialized dog is less likely to become aggressive towards other dogs as he becomes older. And as far as your dog is concerned, he is just coming to see all his friends for a play date  (with a little pampering on the side of course!)
We have a chaise lounge located in the center of the room for the dogs to relax on, plus multiple pet beds and blankets. We also have a few open "condos".  They can freely walk in and out of these if they like. We have lots of toys and  a bowl of fresh drinking water is always available. 


There are some circumstances when it may be necessary to crate your dog;  if he shows signs of aggression towards other dogs,  dominates or harasses (humps) the other dogs, un-neutered males, un-spayed females, Senior dogs or dogs with medical conditions, dogs with severe separation anxiety including howling, excessive barking or  jumping /biting at the gate,  high strung personalities that may be disruptive to the rest of the group or cause potential harm to himself, other dogs or equipment... and of course,  by owner request.  

(un-neutered males that mark territory may be required to wear a belly band.) 

  • My dog got a "Time Out!"

We  understand that it may be upsetting to come in and see your dog has been put in a "time out"  But please know that the safety and well being of ALL of the dogs in our care is our top priority! We have a 3 strike policy for the lesser offenders, but due to the variation of personalities on any given day, it is difficult to determine  how they will interact with one another. We want ALL the dogs to feel safe and comfortable, and be out of harms way.  So If your pup gets a time out, please don't be offended. We ask that you trust our judgement and experience.  We've been doing this a long time! 

  • My dog is very nervous or has anxiety​…

There are some dogs that are very nervous or anxious by nature.... But years of experience has shown us that an anxious dog is typically a reflection of the owner! Most of us don't even realize it, but dogs are extremely sensitive to our energy. They feed off of our emotions.  If you are nervous about a situation, such as having him groomed for the very first time, your dog is going to sense this  and may become nervous as well. If you are clingy and uncertain when you drop him off for grooming it is only going to make the situation worse. It is very important when introducing him to new circumstances that you DO IT WITH CONFIDENCE and it will make the experience  much more pleasurable for you both. Just pretend it’s nothing more than a play date and he won’t even know the difference!  ​

  • Can I wait?

Express appointments are available first thing in the morning ONLY. (first in, first out)


You are more than welcome to  sit quietly in our waiting room,  but only if previous arrangements have been made. There may be times that we request you wait; such as with senior pets, or dogs with medical conditions. 

But Interference with the grooming process will not be tolerated. Serious injury could occur, not only to your pet, but to others as well. If you call out to your pet or hang over the gate while he is being groomed, you will be asked to leave.

If we need to block off an additional appointment slot to accommodate you, you will be charged for that time.

We typically don't encourage waiting, as it adds extra pressure on the groomer and  can make the grooming process more difficult. Calm positive energy is essential while grooming and that need is amplified when dealing with anxious dogs.  As stated above, They are very sensitive to our energy! We prefer to take our time so we can form a bond with your pet and show him that he can trust us. 

We  recommend you observe for a few minutes until you feel comfortable...and then let us work our magic. We can typically get it done faster without the distraction.  Go grab a bite to eat or a coffee and we will call you as soon as he is done.  You can rest assured that he is in good hands. Should a problem arise, we will notify you right away.

We  ask that once you leave, you kindly refrain from calling or stopping back in several times to check in during the grooming process. It is neither helpful or necessary and may cause us to feel pressured...Again, your dog will feed off of this energy.  We typically can give an estimated finish time window at drop off, but there are no guarantees in dog grooming!! We never know what the day will bring! So If you walk through the door mid-groom, and your dog sees you, It may be impossible to finish the groom!!

  • How often should my dog be groomed?

 A full groom is usually recommended every 6- 8 weeks more or less, depending on the length and style you prefer. Naturally, shorter styles get groomed less frequently. Upon arrival, your groomer will examine your dogs coat and point out any problem areas before the grooming and let you know what to expect. Be sure to discuss with her any medical conditions or allergies so that she can use the proper shampoo for your dogs skin and coat.  Some puppies can be very difficult to groom, others the complete opposite. It really just depends on the dogs temperament.  Not all of grooming is pleasant so it may take some time for them to gain trust in their groomer. Frequent visits to the grooming shop will encourage trust, even if it’s just to visit and receive a cookie.

  • What are your grooming hours?

Grooming appointments are booked on the hour. Appts are available Wednesday through Sunday, (Occasional Tuesdays with Kelly) From 10 am - 2:00 pm.  We stay open until we are done and the last dog gets picked up. (typically by 4pm, usually no later than 6 pm - But sometimes as late as 8 pm!) 

  • What happens when we arrive?

When you first arrive for your grooming appointment,  If you haven't pre-registered already, we will have you fill out some information about you and your pet. You must also read and sign our policy guidelines. We will need your vets name and the best number to contact in case of an emergency. We may ask to see your vaccination records as well.

Next we will have you meet your groomer who will interview you further about your dogs temperament, food or skin allergies and of course, his haircut!


  • How long does grooming take?

This is the million dollar question! The Grooming Process can take anywhere from 2-4 hours, more or less, depending on many factors...what day of the week it is, (weekends and holidays are typically very busy) What time your appointment is (Morning appt turnaround is much faster than afternoon appts) the groomers schedule, the size of the dog, the length and condition of his coat and most importantly, his temperament.  But even if your dog is a perfect angel and his coat is in great condition, it doesn't mean the dog before him was!! Please be patient with us. No two days are the same and we do the best we can on any given day!

If it is your dogs first time at Spaw, we recommend letting him “hang out” for a little while to familiarize himself with the environment. We want his first grooming experience here at Spaw to be a pleasurable one.  


If you follow a routine grooming schedule at home, your pets visit to the groomer should be relatively easy and stress free. If however, your pets coat has been allowed to grow unattended to, all sorts of problems could occur. Matting is one of them.


  • What is Matting?  

Matting has its very own page!! 


  • Can I bathe my dog myself and get a discount?

NO!!  Every dog that comes in for grooming will be bathed. (unless there is a medical reason and previous arrangements have been made) 
The most important step in grooming is the bathing and drying process. A dog that is not properly bathed, dried and brushed out can be a nightmare to groom and will take even more time. Especially if the shampoo isn't washed out properly...It makes the coat  greasy. We find that many pet owners are unable to clean the face properly. They may have crusty eyes, food stuck in their beard,  or even worse, "cling-ons"!! ... Not only is it unsanitary,  but dirty hair doesn't lay correctly and our equipment won't function as good as it would on a professionally bathed dog. 

We have the most awesome bathing system and we use only the highest quality products made from the finest, naturally derived ingredients. All of our shampoos and facial scrubs are formulated for specific skin and coat conditions, and are PH balanced so they won't burn the eyes. 


At check in, we will assess your dogs skin and coat prior to his bath and use what we feel is necessary. All dogs are shampooed  twice. Once with a hypo allergenic, general purpose shampoo to remove dirt and grime. And then a second time with a shampoo specific to his skin and coat.  


We don't charge extra for specialty shampoos or conditioners.

  • Do you cage dry?

No, and yes. All dogs are hand dried with either high velocity or stand dryers, depending on the dogs coat and temperament. There are some dogs that just do not tolerate the dryer, in which case they will be put in  a crate with a fan or blower. (and we do mean literally a crate with a fan) We do not use the cage dryers that you read awful things about in the news. We believe that they are inhumane and dangerous.


  • How do I make an appointment? 

  • To speak to us directly,  give us a call  Wed Thru Sun between 10 am and 4 pm at 516-280-8330. 

  • If you are an existing client You can BOOK ONLINE 

  • It is recommended that you book your appointments a few weeks in advance, or if you prefer, we can set up a regular grooming schedule for you. You can even pre-book for the year if you would like! (Just speak with your groomer regarding the frequency of your visits)

  • We get very busy during the holidays so it is recommended that you pre-book those appointments at least a month in advance to secure your spot.  If you wait until the last minute you may not be able to get an appointment!

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