Policing the territory for unwanted elements, dissuading suspicious-looking strangers (a.k.a. everybody) from entering the premises, testing random samples of food for poison—these are just some of the many tasks dogs willingly perform to protect their humans, whether or not their efforts are solicited.

Yep, good canines take their responsibilities rather seriously. This is why they deserve to be pampered!

One way to spoil your furry companions is to treat them to a spa day custom-made for their enjoyment. Of course, when dogs don’t realize they’re off-duty by the time they get to the groomer’s, they don’t get to relax as thoroughly as they should.

Fret not! Here are a few things you can do to ensure that your dog’s spa day becomes a howling success.

PLAY WITH YOUR DOG RIGHT BEFORE THE SPA TREATMENT

Your dog needs to know that s/he’s not logging in to work that day, so to speak, which is why it’s important for you to set the right tone.

Play catch with them; take them for a walk; bring them to the park—do anything that your dog associated with “fun.” When they’re tired but happy, they are more likely to calm down and enjoy the treat you have in store!

TELL THE GROOMER ABOUT YOUR DOG’S ALLERGIES

Is your dog sensitive to certain scents and chemicals? Do they use hypoallergenic toiletries? Make sure you inform the groomer about your dog’s allergies because they will be soaped, shampooed, perfumed, and powdered.

Ask ahead of time if they offer spa treatments meant for dogs with allergies. If they don’t, you can always bring your dog’s own supplies (and hey, maybe even ask for a discount).

BRING YOUR DOG’S TOOTHBRUSH, COMB, AND TOWEL

Many dog spas use the same tools for all their customers. Although these are regularly cleaned, you might want to bring your dog’s own supplies—s/he might be just as much of a germophobe as you are!

FEEL FREE TO NOT HAVE YOUR DOG POWDERED

When was the last time another dog was powdered with the same puff about to be used on your fur-baby?

If you have no way of knowing whether or not the canine before yours had the same flea-free fur, you might be better off saying no to the powder puff. You can have the powder dusted straight on the fur—sans puff—instead, just to be on the safe side.

Alternatively, you can buy your dogs their own powder and puff, in case they want the complete spa experience.

ASK YOUR GROOMER TO SWITCH OFF THE AC

Can you really say your dog is being pampered if they are shivering the entire time? Air-conditioning ensures the comfort of clients—those who aren’t about to get doused in water, that is.

Even a warm bath can feel cold with the AC running, so make sure to ask the groomer to adjust the thermostat or switch off the unit.

STAY CALM

Easier said than done, truly. But a helicopter parent is the last thing your dog needs while they being bathed by a stranger.

Your dog knows when you’re stressed, so they are unlikely to enjoy themselves when you’re anxiously biting your nails in a corner. Do what you want them to do during spa day: relax.

REWARD YOUR DOG RIGHT AFTER THE TREATMENT

There’s no better way to cap off the day than to give your dog their favorite treat! Your dog will learn to look forward to spa day if you reinforce good behavior with a reward he or she knows by heart (and stomach).

CHECK FOR TICKS AND MITES THE DAY AFTER

Many animals go in and out of the animal spa. While most of them are as clean as a hound’s tooth (pardon the pun), it shouldn’t come as a surprise if you find a new flea or mite feeling right at home in your dog’s fur.

That’s no reason to keep your dog from enjoying the outdoors, however. Even a trip to the park or a visit to the “dogtor” can give your pet these unwanted pests! Ask your vet how you can protect your canine friend from these parasites, or treat any current infestation, safely and effectively.

 

This appeared in Animal Scene magazine’s November 2017 issue.