Pet care gets redefined as the city gets its first pet spa

Julie gets excited each time she visits the beauty salon. She enjoys the swim, shampoo bath and grooming sessions and is now a regular to the Shiny Pet Spa. Julie is a five-month old German shepherd dog.

“She relishes flaunting her haute looks,” smiles her owner Stalin Jambu of Kochadai.

From masseurs to exclusively designed accessories and pet foods to deodorants and expensive conditioning shampoos, this spa is not much different from those for humans.

“Pets are our valued customers and we treat them as our kids,” says Veterinarian V. Dr.Shankaralingam, who owns the Shiny Pet Spa and Clinic. “Regular grooming keeps the dogs in good health. It improves blood circulation,” he says.

A vet for more than two decades, Shankaralingam wanted to open a spa much earlier. He visited similar spas in Chennai, Coimbatore and Tiruchi to see what embellishments they offered to their customers.

Different treatment

His salon has caught the imagination of pet lovers within a short time. The spa offers seven different treatments starting from stomach cleaning, grooming, pedicure, ear cleaning, hair cut, aroma and hydro therapy. In the grooming session dead hair, ticks, lice and fleas are removed through combing and massaging.

“Don’t remove the mask, Jack will be upset and he may also bite,” cautions Lavanya when masseur M. Radhika carries the four-month-old Rajapalayam dog to the bath tub.

“If the dog cooperates, it is a smooth going. Sometimes it is not easy to get closer. You have to observe the dog’s mood. Once the pet is under control, we give a dose to clean the stomach. It also acts as tranquilizer. For the next 60 minutes, it stays calm,” says Dr. Shankaralingam.

Once the sessions are over the pet is given a shower and allowed to swim in the tub for about 15 minutes. “Bathing in water cools the dogs and swimming is must to keep the dogs in good spirit. It is also a good exercise,” he explains.

The dog is next dried with heater and then deodorant and perfume are applied.

The market is flooded with pet products to cash in on the increased awareness on dog upkeep. There are sophisticated talcum powders that can be used if the owner wants to keep their dogs dry.

Next, the dog is taken for a make up session where it is decorated. With a cap on the head, the dog looks gorgeous. “More than the pets, the owners are more sensitive now. They feel offended if you call their pet as dogs,” says Dr. Shankaralingam.

He charges Rs.750 per dog. He also offers a pick up and drop service for the benefit of the pet owners. “It is a new concept in the city. I have already informed my clients about the importance of regular grooming. Preferably a visit to the spa once a month will help in overall well being of the pets,” he says.

Online dog shows

For the benefit of owners of local breeds who are not able to participate in canine shows, where they are denied a chance to compete, Dr. Shankaralingam hosts online dog shows and awards cash prizes for the outstanding pet through the website

Pet owners and visitors have to register and become panel members.

It greatly minimises time and transport cost. The participants will not come to know about the judges and it will be a fair competition,” he says.

Once the dates for the competitions are announced on the website, pet owners have to upload the video of their dogs doing stunts. The dog with maximum ‘likes’ is adjudged the winner. “We are working to keep the system foolproof. We have restricted double entries for the likes. Also the prize winning pet owner has to come in person with his or her pet to collect the cash award,” says Dr. Shankaralingam.