Indians take to grooming salons for pet pooches (Feature)

June 10th, 2009 - 1:39 pm ICT by IANS  

By Nihar Thadani
New Delhi, June 10 (IANS) Shampooed hair, fresh breath, trimmed nails, fancy boots and hairstyles - pet dogs in India never had it so good. Grooming salons and special products for man’s best friend have become a rage, especially in cities like Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore.

Some sections of the upwardly mobile public are willing to splurge thousands on making their pet pooch look - and feel - good.

“A clean dog equals a happy dog. As dog owners are busy, we take care of their dogs,” Yashodra Hemchandra, owner of Fuzzy Wuzzy Salon in Bangalore, told IANS on phone.

“About 90 percent of Indians are animal lovers, but they don’t have the time to groom their pets. Also, these days people are importing different breeds of dogs and looking after them is not an easy task,” Hemchandra said.

“The competition for dog shows is intense. Ten years ago, only about 150 dogs would participate in a dog show. But now there are about 500 to 700 dogs,” she added.

IANS called some of the famous salons for dogs - Fuzzy Wuzzy Salon in Bangalore, TailWaggers and TopDog in Mumbai, and Scooby Scrub in New Delhi - and their owners said clientele had dramatically increased in just a few years.

These salons groom around 10 dogs every day. Dog owners shell out anything between a few hundred rupees to thousands per visit - depending on the size, breed and condition.

“When I started out in 2006, I had about 10 dogs a week. Now I have 12-15 dogs a day,” said Cookie Khanna, owner of TopDog.

Apart from shampooed hair, a healthy, clean and shiny coat, trimmed nails and fresh breath, dog owners want their pets to be dressed in bright fitting dresses - along with boots and fancy hairstyles.

Harbani Singh, a south Delhi resident, is all praise for the grooming salons. She usually visits the Scooby Scrub in Niti Bagh to give her dog - Hipster - a St Bernard, the complete overall.

“I do take care of Hipster at home. But I think the salons are better. All my friends who have dogs visit grooming salons. They are quite happening these days,” she said.

Said Preeti Kumar, owner of Scooby Scrub: “I always recommend that one should take one’s dog to the grooming salon once a month - for that clean coat, ear and paws so that the dog stays healthy and does not require a vet’s attention,” stressed Kumar.

Pet products sellers say home grooming is the best.

Pawan Kumar of Bittoo The Pet Shop in Delhi said he sells more than 100,000 products on a monthly basis, while Ashwani Munjal of Windsor The Pet Shop said it costs just Rs.100-150 to groom a dog at home compared to Rs.750 spent in a salon.

“If you groom your dog yourself, there’s more love and affection involved,” added Kumar.

But Narendra Gandhi, a vet working in a private clinic in New Delhi, recommends grooming salons.

“At home, you can bathe, brush, and clean the eyes, ear, and teeth of the dog. But it is more than that. You need to know what shampoo and which brush to use as every dog has a different hair texture,” he said.

Singh sums up the growing charm of grooming salons: “They take good care of the dog. They treat it well. They feed it biscuits and pet it so that it is not scared.”

“If it’s is happy, then I too am happy,” she said.

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