What does the average pet – say a dog – need in order to feel comfortable? A bowl of water and food are essential, of course. A warm place to sleep is also needed, though a patch of sheltered ground will do in most cases. And perhaps a bit of room to run around in, which may vary depending on the size of the dog. Provide this, and your average pooch will be as happy as a pig in mud.
This is why eyebrows are being raised at the new trend of extreme pampering that is sweeping the globe. Dogs and other pets are being treated like royalty by their owners, and are being granted everything from luxurious beds with designer labels to staggeringly expensive pampering sessions. And yes, this involves dogs getting their coats dyed all the colours of the rainbow, literally. A little hair treatment that many would have to hit the jackpot playing slots just to be able to afford on behalf of their pets…
The owners say their pet’s love it, but do they really? And is this new trend indicative of something unintentionally sinister, as far as ownership goes?
Why Pamper Pets?
Anyone who has a dog will know that by nature, the animals are not especially concerned with things like luxury. The average dog will sleep comfortably on just about anything, including grass lawns and stone floors. Yes, they may use a nice soft basket, but does the animal really care if it happens to be the most expensive basket available? Highly unlikely. So why are owners bothering?
The Pet Industry Federation made an interesting statement about the situation, saying that more and more pet owners are humanising their pooches. They said nothing more than that, but the implications were clear. The Kennel Club were a bit more blunt about their views, saying that, very simply, that people are, more than ever, seeing pets as an alternative to children.
But Is Grooming Cruel?
This growing perception of pets as substitute children is perhaps the explanation for why owners are choosing to pamper them. After all, if there are no children to spend exorbitant amounts of cash on, why not the dog? This is all good and well, but do the animals really enjoy it, or are they getting traumatised for life? After all, some dogs can be terrified of a vacuum cleaner, so isn’t a hair dryer going to have much the same effect?
The RSPCA has said that the latest spa treatments, focusing on trendy, pampering treatments for dogs, can in fact have the exact opposite of the desired effect. Which is to say; some animals may leave their pampering treatments a great deal more stressed than when they went in. Although, of course, this very much depends on the dog.
Furthermore, the RSPCA said that trendy dog grooming is worrying in that it tends to paint pets as toys or fashion accessories, as opposed to living, feeling creatures.
Different Strokes For Different Pooches
Some dogs are happy to have their owners vacuum their coat, and will express this enjoyment in the best way a dog can. Some love this sort of attention, and others will hide under the couch until the monstrous vacuum cleaner has returned to its lair. The first dog probably wouldn’t have much problem with a bit of pampering treatment; the second would probably bear the scars for life – as would the ‘beauty therapist’ who worked on them.
The only real question is whether owners are aware of their dogs, what sort of treatment they enjoy, and how they will respond to a pampering trip to a spa. After all, we’re sure that not many pets want to have ombre-highlighted hair, or a ‘pawdicure’ complete with painted nails, and would probably be a lot happier with a run in the park.