Whether it’s rolling in something stinky in the backyard or frolicking in mud at the park, our furry friends can get dirty and smelly. Sure, you can give them a hose-down at home. But what about a spa day? Getting your dog scrubbed and stylish is easier and more affordable than you think.
What exactly is a dog spa? Dog spas are not a novelty—in fact, it’s a $5 billion annual business. The emergence of pet grooming salons in the past decade has spawned everything from shed control to hair color to “pawdicures” and nail painting. We went behind the scenes to find out just what’s on offer and how much it all costs, so you can find something practical and fun to fit your budget.
The Spa Menu
A full-service bath is the most common reason to visit a dog spa. Why DIY in the bathtub when your pet can be pampered with a shampoo, blow-dry, nail trim, and ear cleaning? Prices vary by the size of your dog and his coat, but most range from $30 to $80.
Haircuts are also a primary reason to visit the groomer. Apart from the practical, salons can get creative with the cuts, making dogs look more like stuffed dolls or other real-life animals. There’s even a Facebook page dedicated to dogs with unique hair styles.
You can take basic grooming and bathing to the next level with additional services. For instance, PETCO offers a number of special add-ons, including:
- Blueberry facial
- Paw balm application
- Teeth brushing
- Nail “pawlish”
- Breath refresh
These add-ons are pretty affordable, too—pick three for just $22 extra. PETCO also operates about a dozen grooming spas spread across five states.
Best Friends Pet Care also offers some unique amenities, including hair color. They’ve been in the grooming business for nearly 25 years with 53 locations across 30 states, and have seen clients’ needs change in that time.
“We’re starting to get more interesting requests for unique styles and designs,” Vice President of Marketing Adam Wendt says. “Parents want to make their pets look and feel unique, and we’re more than happy to accommodate their requests. We think of ourselves as a full-service salon—you can get anything you want!”
Aside from hair color, Best Friends Pet Care also offers their trademarked “Shedicure” to help keep your dog’s coat in optimal shape and minimize shedding.
“Twice a year, their undercoat prepares for the winter and summer and Shedicure helps remove the coat as it’s growing to help the dog breathe easier or insulate,” Wendt explains. “I wouldn’t call it a cure for shedding, but it’s a good way to help with undercoats.”
If your dog has a lighter coat and has some discoloring around his mouth or paws, how about a whitening shampoo?
“It helps bring back the beautiful white luster in their coat,” Wendt says.
Best Friends also offers veterinary services on site, and they think medical care and grooming go hand-in-hand.
“We try to take the best veterinary practices and apply them to grooming services,” Wendt says. “We believe health and wellness are central for a happy, healthy pet.”
How much is a dog spa visit at Best Friends? Prices for all services vary depending on location, but the main factor in determining price is the size of your dog. Regular full-service haircuts generally vary between $40 and $80. The Shedicure—which is recommended with a full bath—starts at just $10, and nail painting costs $8.
Fancy grooming isn’t just an American trend—the BBC detailed the lengths some pet parents will go to when it come stop pampering their fur babies in a recent special report:
Benefits of Good Grooming
Good hygiene and regular grooming doesn’t just make our pets look good, it’s important for their health, too. We already detailed some of the biggest health mistakes pet parents make—and infrequent bathing is one of them!
Founder of The Pet Wellness Academy, Dr. Katie Kangas, says bathing needs vary depending on breed and activity level, but most dogs need a bath about once a month.
“A bath is an underutilized tool for maintaining skin health, especially if your dog has allergies,” Dr. Kangas adds.
Medicated shampoos can also help reduce itchiness in an allergic pet—ask your veterinarian if your dog would benefit from a medicated shampoo and bring it along to your salon to use in lieu of their shampoo.
Grooming is especially important for dogs with longer coats that can become matted or easily hide foxtails or burrs.
The Bottom Line
Getting clean doesn’t have to be all business. With all types of services available in salons across the country, it’s easier than ever to pamper your pooch by treating him to a luxurious spa day.