By Julia Williams
Who among us wouldn’t jump at the chance for a day of pampering at a spa? I know I would! A spa day can make your body and your soul feel rejuvenated like nothing else can. A relaxing massage turns your aching body into putty, and afterwards you’ll have the longest, best, most awesome sleep ever.
Which got me to thinking…why should humans be the only ones who get to enjoy something so magnificent? Our pets love pampering too, and having a monthly “spa day” for them in your own home is a great way to treat them like the fur kings and queens they are. Plus, it can be a wonderful bonding experience. So let’s get started, shall we? Here’s how to create a pet-perfect spa day for your dog or cat.
The number one rule for a successful spa day is that the environment needs to be calming. When it comes to pampering your pet, ambiance is everything. That means you need a quiet room away from the hustle and bustle of the typical home; a peaceful place without noisy kids, blaring TVs and other disruptions.
To Wash, or Not to Wash?
We feel invigorated after getting clean, and most dogs do too. They may not enjoy the actual process of “getting a bath” but they love the after-feeling. It’s also going to be more pleasant for you to work on a squeaky clean canine rather than a dirty, stinky one, so a spa day for dogs should start with a bath. Cats are a different story. I’ve heard tales of felines who actually do like water, but I’ve never met one. If your cat doesn’t think getting wet is pure torture, then a bath would be fine; otherwise, skip it.
Let’s Get Comfy, Shall We?
Your spa room should have several soft, thick towels, blankets or comforters for your pet to lie down on. If your pet seems to enjoy music, then playing some easy-listening tunes at a low volume can help set the scene. Close the drapes and dim the lights too!
At first, your pet might wonder what the heck is going to go down in this strange, new setting. Ease them into the situation with some gentle petting while talking softly (or singing if you’re so inclined).
Next, lightly run your hands over your pet’s entire body, checking for any unusual lumps, bumps, scratches, sore spots, fur loss, hot spots and anything else that shouldn’t be there. Gently examine inside his ears and look at his eyes, paw pads and teeth. You’re essentially giving him a home “wellness” check, but done slowly and tenderly, it will soothe your pet and encourage relaxation.
Full Body Massage
Ahhhhh….this is the crème de la crème of the whole spa day experience. Dogs and cats can get muscle knots, body aches and stiff joints just like we do, and massage helps alleviate them. Massage can balance an animal’s muscle tone, which aids the flexibility around joints. Best of all, massage stimulates endorphins, the feel-good hormones that lessen pain and trigger a positive, happy feeling. Learning how to properly give your pet a massage isn’t difficult or time consuming. This article provides some pointers on massage techniques.
Try Tellington TTouch
TTouch is more than just touching your pet. It’s a training method that uses bodywork and touch to promote good health and behavior in humans, dogs, cats, horses and other animals. TTouch utilizes circular movements with your hands and fingers all over your pet’s body. It’s believed to help your pet relax and reduce his stress. If you’re interested in learning more about it, check out our article, What is Tellington TTouch?
A “pawdicure” is a must for your pet’s spa day. Now, it’s true that some dogs and cats are not exactly a fan of getting their nails done. Truth be told, I kinda understand that – I don’t really like people messing with my feet either. But doing it at the end, when your pet is uber relaxed from all of the other great spa treatments, ensures that the process goes smoothly and with little fuss. If you’ve not done it before, you can learn all you need to know by reading How to Trim Your Cat’s Claws and How to Trim a Dog’s Toenails.
To end your pet’s spa day on a high note, dole out some tasty CANIDAE treats and offer them some cool, refreshing water to wash ’em down.
A day of pampering can make your pet feel like royalty. Which is perfect, really, because in your eyes they most definitely are!
Read more articles by Julia Williams