Archive for August, 2010

Spas for dogs?

August 30, 2010

Some grooming establishments offer spa treatments for dogs–and some offer such treatments for cats.  Do dogs really benefit from spa treatment? I have been in the grooming industry for over 30 years and in my professional opinion, the answer is no.

These treatments are nothing more than a good way to separate people from their hard-earned money. Facials for dogs. Hot oil wraps. Aromatherapy. Exfoliating.  These are all offered as an add-on charges to grooming at about $10 a pop. Some people can afford it and if they want to spend their money that way, I say more power to them. But my problem is when people feel obligated. Many pet owners feel that if they don’t buy these services that they are some how depriving their poor dog of some sort of miracle treatment that will cure their dog’s skin problem.

I’ll let you all in on a little secret. That facial product that some places are hawking is nothing more than regular dog shampoo. It just has a little bluing added to it to make white dogs appear more white. If used too often it can make your white dog turn gray. I don’t think that most grooming salons know that they are paying about $15 more a gallon for the same stuff they probably already use. The oil treatments typically only make your dogs coat greasy. If the dog has a dry coat, a topical approach won’t help. It needs to be addressed by changing the pet’s diet. That’s where the problem starts: systemically.

As far as aromatherapy…well, maybe if you had a candle that smelled like, oh I don’t know… like something the dog rolled in!!! That would be more appropriate.  I have heard, though, that natural lavender can have a calming effect on dogs just like it has been known to on people. I can’t weigh in on this because I have no proof one way or the other. I have seen groom shops that light candles while they wash your dog — and charge you for it!!! I didn’t notice that it did much at all.

Then again, I believe in just good old-fashioned grooming, a clean dog with a great clip. We don’t even offer nail polish at my place, because it is just too toxic to pets. They tend to lick their feet a lot and can wear away the polish. Most pet polish is made in China and you never know what is in it. It may contain lead or other toxins.  The polish also has to be removed every time with acetone — another chemical — while both the dog and groomer have to breathe in the fumes. As a beginning groomer, I worked for a woman who owned and showed Standard Poodles. She also owned a grooming salon. Every single dog we groomed had their nails painted, bows in their ears, and heavy spray on cologne. This was the way we did things. As time has passed, I have become more sensitive to strong odors, especially chemical smells. I have many, many clients that have the same problem, so I decided years ago to use a good quality pet shampoo that is made with only natural ingredients. The dog smells clean and doesn’t need to have something more added.

I used to put bows on all dogs. That was a sign that your dog had been to the groomer! I ended up picking most of them off of the floor as owners would — in most cases — pull the bows out and toss them.  I quit doing it.  I quit wasting my time and money on ribbon and made a sign. Now we will gladly put bows in your dogs ears at no charge, but only if you want them.

We gladly give medicated baths or flea baths. These are included in the groom. We DO NOT charge anything extra. We need to bathe your pet anyway, so why charge more for the same process? Sure the medicated shampoo costs a few dollars more per gallon, but I have a hard time charging an extra $5 per dog to make up that few dollars. If I wanted to make it equal, the cost would be about 25 cents per pet.

Our pet shampoos have no Sodium Laureth Sulphate, no phosphates, and no chemically enhanced smell to it. In my opinion, it’s just the right thing to do for your dog, the person who bathes your dog, and you.