Dog Spa Days
Exfoliation for Fido
It has finally happened. This inevitable, radical development has been a long time in coming, but it’s here. Are you sitting down? You can now buy a hydrating facial scrub for dogs. It’s true. These days, exfoliating in the shower next to your dog isn’t all that strange. Who knew that dogs needed to exfoliate? Apparently they do.
It wasn’t that long ago that people thought dogs didn’t need spa treatments, like aromatherapy, paw-dicures, massage, and bodywork, but they need that too, it seems. It’s the latest trend, and it doesn’t show signs of slowing down. In fact, many groomers these days are now offering “spa treatments,” and manufactures of pet products have jumped on the spa bandwagon with aromatherapy collars and candles for pets. It’s a dog’s life, indeed.
Veronica Burke of New York City does therapeutic body work for dogs and people, but the most thriving part of her business lately has been canine. For $120 a session (1 to 2 hours) Burke will chill out your hot dog.
“Our animals pick up our stress, and even though your animal may live the life of luxury, all dogs need to work, and when they take our lives instead of their lives, they get stressed,” Burke says. “I teach my clients how to touch their animals as a mother dog would do with a puppy, and they get a tremendous response. People see a definite change in their dogs after a spa day. The older the dogs get, they more they need a little extra care. This work really has recuperative properties.”
Doggie daycares and boarding facilities have gotten their feet wet in the spa pool too, and are offering spa services that are very similar to human spas.
“People love their dog, and when they leave their dog here they might want him to get a fifteen minute massage every day and a gourmet meal in the morning,” said Michelle O’Connell, general manager at the The Ritzy Canine, a dog spa and daycare in New York City. “It’s a way of pampering their pet. All breeds come in for it, but it’s mostly done with the small dogs.”
The concept of the “spa day” has even gone by way of the hounds. It used to be that a “spa day” meant getting together with one or two girlfriends and getting seaweed wraps from well-built, handsome guys in white t-shirts. Nowadays, the spa day has turned into the “s-paw day,” with groups of dog owners and their pooches meeting on weekends for a relaxing “sparty.” Recently Corris Little, a Schnauzer owner and organizer of the New York City Schnauzer playgroup in New York City, hosted a spa day with some of her friends at a hydrotherapy spa.
“Though Roxie doesn’t have any ailments, I wanted to take her for a doggie paddle in the pool and see how it worked out,” said Little. “It was a great way to cool off in August. I’m one of the more fanatical dog owners that you’ll meet. I don’t have any children, and my dog gives me unconditional love, and I want to return the favor. I go to the spa about six times a year, so it’s a natural transition that I want to do the same things for my pet as I do for myself.”
The spa trend isn’t as over-the-top as you may think. Dogs seem to respond well to massage and acupuncture, and all of that shea butter and tea tree oil in their shampoos can’t hurt. Of course, the dog’s favorite part of the spa day is that gourmet meal – even the most spoiled spa dog is probably a first-class chowhound.
by Nikki Moustaki
This article was originally published in Dog Fancy Magazine