August 31, 2011

The New Wave of Pet Grooming: Self-Service Dog Wash Spas

By Susan Pearce-Ditch


Like many of us in the changing economy, we are increasingly looking at ways to do more with less. The care of our pets for most of us is not an area we want to cut back on. The responsibility of pet ownership and quality of life care comes with costs including providing proper veterinary care, nutritional requirements, shelter, grooming, and of course lots of love and attention. Grooming can range from a quick and easy bath at home in your sink or tub to full-service coat trimming, stripping, de-matting, shave downs, nail trimming and more. Many canine family members are sensitive to having their nails trimmed, requiring a professional pet groomer to clip their nails and even smooth them down with a grinder or dremel tool. Some require special attention and skin care specialty products for their skin and coat. Increasing interest in deluxe pet grooming services such as coloring, facials, paw soak treatments, nail painting and even pet massage, both therapeutic and for relaxation, are more and more the norm than the exception.

So what does a pet owner do in this fluctuating economy to continue to provide the best possible grooming services for their pet, when their wallets just aren’t in agreement? The answer is found in a quickly growing trend across the United States known as the Self-Service Dog Wash Spa. These unique facilities vary from region to region and can include a basic set-up with one or more grooming stations to a full service groom shop with professional pet stylists.
Some of the great reasons to consider a Self-Service Dog Wash Spa are according to author David A. Grass of “Start your Own Self-Serve Dog Wash.”
• It beats trying to do it at home without the proper supplies and equipment.
• Groomers are great, but other options are also needed.
• It is less expensive and includes all the supplies and specialty products you need.
• It is more convenient, easier on your back with raised grooming tub stations, and leaves no mess at home.
• It’s fun for dogs and people and provides a great option for family-time and socializing with our pets, friends and neighbors.
• Pet owners see it as a unique and wonderful idea, without the mess and hassle.

How does it work and where do I find a Self-Service Pet Wash Spa in my area?

“The way a self-service dog wash works is that people bring their dog(s) in to bathe, or more fully groom them. The majority come in only for baths, and perhaps a good brushing. Others do additional maintenance such as trimming, removing matted fur, cutting n ails, or even shearing or styling their pet’s hair with electric clippers,” according to Grass. “Some customers might come in only once or twice a year, while others are regulars, stopping in every other month, every month, biweekly, or possibly even each week. Some will be seasonal customers, coming only in the winter, which turns out is the busiest time of year for Self Service Dog Wash Spas.

“The idea is for the facility to provide everything customers need to do the job as easily and effectively as possible, without getting in over their heads. Ideally, the facility should be set up so that customers do not have to worry about bringing in anything besides the dog. The facility provides the properly designed space, equipment, supplies, and assistance when needed, such as help getting dogs into tubs, making sure customers have what they need, and answering questions.”

Additional services may also be offered that are equally popular such as having the staff wash pets for customers who do not want to do it themselves, nail trimming, full-service grooming, and even additional spa services such as pet massage, doggie treadmills, a pet bakery area, and even a coffee and beverage bistro area for the two legged family members. One such Coffee Bar and Pet Wash facility is in Annapolis, Maryland (

As the demand for quality pet care in Southern Maryland continues to grow strong and thrive, many families are seeking new and creative ways to satisfy their pet’s needs and their own emotional needs, to provide the best comfort and care possible, and even have some fun in the process. Self-Service Pet Wash services are available by appointment at Chesapeake Pet Resort & Day Spa in Hollywood, Maryland ( Also coming soon to St. Mary’s County later this Fall is the much anticipated Muddy Buddy’s Pet Wash & Spaw ( Be sure to check out either of these websites or their Facebook pages for the ultimate in pet pampering without maxing out the wallet, and updates on the Grand Opening of Muddy Buddy’s Pet Wash & Spaw.

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About Susan Pearce-Ditch


Susan Pearce-Ditch is the creator and original owner of Chesapeake Pet Resort & Day Spa. A graduate of St. Mary’s College of Maryland with a B.S. in Biology, and the University of Maryland University College with an M.S. in Environmental Management, Susan is a PCSA Certified Advanced Pet Care Technician, Certified in Red Cross Pet First Aid and CPR, and a PCDI Certified Pet Care Specialist. She lives in Hollywood, MD, with her husband, daughter and 6 pets. Chesapeake Pet Resort & Day Spa is located at 26120 Jones Wharf Rd, Hollywood, MD. Visit their web site for information about services and facilities.

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