- Spoiling your dog has a lot of benefits — From dog spas to DIY treats, pampering your pet relieves stress for both of you and promotes healthier living for your dog.
- Dog spas are a step above regular grooming — The groomer isn’t always the first person to come to mind with pampering, but it often makes for a better, more relaxing experience for both pup and pet parent.
- Pick the right professional — Some things are standard across the animal spa industry, but you still need to research the right one for you.
- Pamper pets at home — Spoiling your pet can also be one-on-one time with their favorite person while doing their favorite things at home.
Spa days, exercise, salon visits, Netflix marathons — we do a lot to de-stress. It’s just as important to pamper our pets to help them feel their best, too. These days, our pets are more stressed than ever before. Dog spas are a popular solution for dogs that need grooming and pampering. Keep reading to learn more about animal spas, explore some of the top spas near you, and learn some fun ways to pamper your pet at home!
Why pampering your pet is a good thing
In the last few years, life has been unpredictable. Whether it’s combining households or accommodating a remote workspace, we’ve had to make a lot of changes; our pets have gone through those changes with us.
Pampering happens for many reasons, whether it’s for pets or people. We usually feel better physically and mentally after some self-care, and it’s the same for our pets when they get pampered and groomed. Grooming your pet leads to several benefits:
- Wash out grease and dirt — Too much grease or dirt in a dog’s coat leads to skin problems as irritation can develop. Brushing plus baths will allow their skin to breathe again.
- De-shed excess hair —Most dogs shed their coats at certain times of the year and some dogs shed way more than others. A good brushing removes that loose fur and prevents matting, which can lead to painful sores and discomfort.
- Remove parasites — Groomers can check for fleas, ticks, and ear infections that pups might be dealing with, in addition to feeling for any abnormal lumps and bumps.
- Clean teeth and gums — While this should be an at-home task too, groomers will brush your dog’s teeth to freshen their breath and can alert you of dental disease or a fractured tooth.
Trending: Spas for pets
Many groomers offer services beyond the basic brush, bath, and nail clip. It’s an experience geared toward lessening stress. These boutique day spa services have become so popular that the pet spa industry was worth $7.5 billion in 2019, according to Grand View Research, and continues to grow.
Common dog spa services
Pet parents looking to give their dog a spa day can generally expect similar services and prices at most pet spas. Certain dog breeds may cost more due to the amount of grooming needed, but owners can expect to pay between $40 and $100 per visit.
In terms of services, here’s what you can expect to find offered at your nearby pet spa:
- Bath and brush — With this simple service, most places provide a bath, nail trim, trimming the fur over the paw pads, sanitary trim, and anal gland expression.
- Bath, brush, & haircut —This is the basic service above, plus a haircut.
- Specialty services —For a little extra, some locations offer additional brushing, special de-shedding washes, and breed-specific grooming.
Some groomers offer à la carte options in addition to full services. Common offerings include nail trims and filing or a medicated ear cleaning, neither of which usually costs more than $15. Additionally, some dog spas offer massages, fruit facials, nail polishing, and even pet-safe hair coloring.
👉 Not familiar with pet grooming lingo? Visit Petco’s glossary to learn the latest terms, cuts, and styles.
4 qualities to look for in an animal spa
Treating your dog to a day at the spa starts with finding the right one. Here are four qualities you’ll want to look for in a spa for pets.
1. They take care of the not-so-glamorous things — We love our pups and would do anything for them, but that doesn’t mean we want to express their anal glands. Make sure this is something your groomer or veterinarian does to make your dog more comfortable.
2. They offer comprehensive services — Make sure your groomer provides the full range of services you want for your dog. In addition to the basics, you’ll want to make sure that they clean and inspect ears, do haircuts, and brush your dog’s teeth with doggie-safe toothpaste.
3. They use the right tools and products — Pet groomers should use non-toxic, gentle shampoos that are safe for all pets. Make sure they have the right equipment, such as an adjustable grooming table, different brushes, rounded scissors, and pet clippers.
4. They should really know dogs — Not all pups are a groomer’s dream come true, and some need an especially patient and experienced groomer. Choose a spa that knows how to handle reactive pups or senior dogs with arthritic conditions. If your dog is of a rare breed, make sure the groomer has experience with this breed.
The best dog spa chains
Ready to explore dog spa services near you? Browse the top dog spa chains below and explore their locations and services. Many providers offer a search feature, so you’ll be able to select the best groomer in your area for your pup and your budget.
Well-known and affordable, most PetSmart locations offer grooming services and a handful of other perks. Booking can be done online, and some breeds even have an express service.
Camp Bow Wow
Camp Bow Wow has locations nationwide, though they’re more common in Eastern states. Here, your dog’s comfort is a priority and the first consideration in everything this franchise does. It offers basic services, grooming packages, and à la carte options.
Dogtopia is a great option for pet owners looking for a place to pamper their pup with a full-service spa experience. Its professionals provide the typical services but with an expert touch that helps reduce anxiety for dogs (and their parents).
When EarthWise Pet designed its dog spas, the priority was your dog. Grooming areas are designed for a dog’s safety and comfort. Plus, the chain avoids the use of harsher chemicals with its shampoos so that sensitive pups don’t have a bad experience. A dog-first company, EarthWise is a great provider if you have a location near you.
Creating a positive experience for your dog’s spa day is the No. 1 priority for these groomers. Central Bark even offers enrichment during the spa experience for bored pups and those that do best with a distraction. At the end of the day, your dog comes back feeling better, cleaner, and ready to snuggle.
6 ways to spoil your dog at home
Dogs deserve all the pampering, but not everyone can afford multiple trips to the spa. The good news? Pampering doesn’t have to blow your budget out of the water. Pups are just as pleased with inexpensive DIY projects and some quality time. Here are six simple, low-budget ways to spoil your dog that don’t require a trip to the dog spa.
1. Give your pup an at-home spa day
Here’s how you can give your dog a spa day at home without breaking the bank:
- Start with a massage — If your pup is used to being handled, they might enjoy a massage for the same reasons we do: it eases aches, pains, and tension. Price: Free!
- Move on to a pawdicure — That’s right, cleaning doggie paws can be a treat for your pup. For particularly dirty paws, start with a foot bath and mild, dog-safe shampoo to loosen up dried dirt and mud, towel them dry, and then trim. Price: $10-15 for the scissors
- Spoil them with a rich bath — Choosing the best dog shampoo is the first step for bath time. Give your pup an extra treat with a rich, lathering shampoo that smells amazing, too. If your pup suffers from dandruff, there are several options to help battle that dry skin. Price: $10-25 depending on the shampoo
2. Make DIY dog treats
While your pup would love something right out of the package, homemade dog treats can be just as satisfying — plus, you know what’s going into each treat. That’s great for pups with sensitive stomachs or special digestive needs. Check out some DIY dog treat recipes here. Price: $20, on average
3. Go for a walk and picnic
Exploring a new dog-friendly place in the sunshine and stopping for a picnic is a great way to spoil your dog — and yourself. Price: Nominal, if you and your pup nosh on food from home.
4. Play in the water
Visits to a friend’s pool, the beach, or a dog-safe pond or lake are all great options for pampering and physical exercise. You could even invest in a simple backyard kiddie pool. Make sure to clean your dog’s ears with a routine ear cleaner after playtime to prevent an ear infection. Price: Free, minus the cost of travel
5. Learn a new trick
Teaching your pup a new trick is a great way to stimulate their mind, build confidence, and reduce stress later during visits to the vet or groomer. You could start by teaching them to gently take one of your DIY treats. Playtime or learning new tricks promotes bonding and helps ease boredom, which is often the source of unwanted behavior. Price: Free!
Dr. Michelle Diener
Senior dogs can receive enrichment with shorter walks outside. Puzzle feeders, interactive dog toys, and snuffle mats can also provide enrichment for dogs of all ages. Just make sure to monitor your pup when giving them a new enrichment toy. Hiding some peanut butter inside of a kong toy and then freezing the toy can be a special treat for your dog that will last several minutes.
6. Update their old bed
A dog’s bed often wears out long before the dog does. Instead of throwing out a well-worn bed, update it with a fresh cover or padding from your favorite pet store. Or, upcycle your old towels. Fido will love it even more if it smells like you! Price: Free to nominal
👉 If you have a senior dog, consider placing their bed over an elevated dog bed.
Be a smarter pet parent
Sign up for the best pet advice you can get
Frequently asked questions
Does my dog need a spa?
If you think your dog would enjoy the experience, a dog spa is a great idea! While you can do some of the same services yourself, professionals know how to do it without hurting your dog or getting injured themselves.
How do you give your dog a spa day?
If you want to do it at home, a spa day includes bathing, drying, nail trimming, ear cleaning, and more. For particularly spoiled pups, massages, brain enrichment, and homemade treats are other options owners can do on their own.
Are dog spas effective to treat stress?
Dog spas aren’t designed to relieve a dog’s day-to-day stress, but rather the discomfort of a dirty coat. Groomers who take a dog-first approach prioritize a dog’s well-being and work hard to combat the stress caused by a grooming session.
Do dogs like being pampered?
Dogs enjoy the results of a spa rather than the visit itself, but grooming is pampering. As far as walks, cuddles, treats, and other quality time with their person, however, dogs love being pampered. Spoiling your dog also strengthens your relationship with them, which is well worth it.
How should you spoil your dog?
Taking advantage of dog spa services, pampering your pup with a massage, cuddling during a good movie, and teaching them new tricks are all great ways to spoil your dog.
Do I tip the dog groomer?
While there’s no absolute answer to this, most people tip groomers between 15% and 20%, depending on satisfaction. Several factors come into play, including if your dog nips at them or has an accident. Certain services are particularly unpleasant too, so many people choose to tip extra for those.