Pet spas and resorts have exploded in popularity — and not just for wealthy celebrities.
Walk down nearly any street in New York City and you’ll likely see a pet spa offering a long list of pampering options. If not a pet spa, there’s no doubt a boutique pet hotel is just around the corner.
Some people laugh when they hear about pet massage, acupuncture or aromatherapy. Others can’t wait to pull out their credit cards and schedule an appointment. The question is: Are pet spas worth the cost (which is often the same or more than a human spa), or are they just way over the top?
Pet Spa Treatments
Pet spas and treatments come in a variety of different packages. You might find a dog boarding company that offers spa treatments, a full-on pet hotel with spa package add-ons or even independent canine massage therapists or acupuncturists offering in-home visits.
Take the Posh Pet Hotel in West Palm Beach, Florida, for example. At the high end, your pampered pet can spend the night in a presidential suite, which offers a queen-size memory foam bed, a 42-inch flat-screen TV and shiny crystal chandeliers. Head over to the hotel’s spa, and you can treat your pet to services like stenciling and glittering, fur dying, massage therapy and more.
Over the top? Maybe just a skosh.
On the other end of the spectrum, however, you’ll find canine massage therapy classes open to the public. These classes teach people how to massage their pets at home instead of having to shell out big bucks for a professional. There are even online canine massage schools, if you’re looking for a change in careers.
It’s clear that even if pet hotels were in it for the revenue, regular people are looking for ways to incorporate massage therapy techniques as a part of their pets’ health and well-being.
Benefits of Pet Spa Treatments
Let’s break down pet massage therapy and other “spa” treatments.
- Let’s face it: Stenciling and fur dying are unnecessary and potentially harmful.
- Massage or acupuncture have loosely supported benefits.
It’s clear any changes to your pet’s appearance are purely an indulgence. That’s not to say it’s over the top, as it’s purely a personal preference, but we can all accept that it’s unnecessary.
On therapeutic spa treatments like massage, however, the jury is still out. Most strong supporters of pet body work claim it holds the same benefits as it does for humans, such as increased blood flow, pain relief and improved flexibility.
Unfortunately, it’s hard to back these claims with any scientific evidence, at least when it comes to pets. In fact, if massage is done incorrectly, your pet could end up injured or in pain.
Acupuncture, on the other hand, seems to be given a bit more weight in terms of effectiveness. According to professionals, this treatment can remove toxins from the body or improve blood flow, and some pet insurance plans even cover it.
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This NYC dog hotel offers several amenities, including spa treatments:
Are pet spas over the top, or are they a necessary indulgence? It’s hard to say for sure. What can be said, however, is that the choice is yours.
If treating your pet to a day at the spa makes you feel good, maybe it is worth it. Assuming no harm will come to your pet in the process, they’d probably love a weekly 1-hour massage. Indeed, who wouldn’t?
The decision comes down to a fine balance. Is treating your pet to something that could have absolutely no effect on their health worth the money to you? If so, spend a day at a pet spa or hire an in-home pet massage therapist.
If not, stick to regular belly rubs. Your pet might never know the difference because, really, all they want is your love and attention.
Whatever your decision, though, the most important thing to do is always consult your vet before putting your pet through any sort of physical therapy. The certified canine massage therapist you find on the web might not be a veterinarian, so stick to the guidance of the pros when it comes to your pet.