How much is that doggie in the window?
And while you're at it, could you tell me the price of that all-natural special-formula shampoo, the pet cologne and the sharp-looking leatherette motorcycle jacket? "We all like to look good," says Tonya Pomeroy of the Silver Hydrant grooming salon in Ellicott City, "And we like our pets to look good."
Which is something of an understatement when you consider that Americans spend roughly $4 billion a year on products and services other than food for their pets, according to the Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council. Liz Price, owner of Shear Grace in Roland Park, says she has customers who regularly drop off their dogs to be groomed on the way to their hairdresser's.
With that in mind, we decided our readers might be more interested in seeing a makeover of a dog or cat than some human model (with before and after pictures, of course).
We started with two shaggy dogs, Jack and Frankie, and two long-haired felines, Celeste and Goodness. All four are waiting to be adopted at the Maryland SPCA on Falls Road (410-235-8826). We quickly found that there are many people in the dog grooming business, but fewer and fewer will tackle felines. Dogs are simply better-natured about the whole process. "We had our last rotten experience with cats a few years ago," says mobile groomer Jan Nieman, owner of Canine Clippers Inc., whose clients are now limited to dogs.
We did find an experienced cat groomer in John McGuire at Pet-Agree (410-659-0313), who undertook the detangling, claw-clipping and bathing of Celeste and Goodness. Jim Driver of Driver Animal Services (410-574-3945), a mobile dog groomer, beautified Jack and Frankie. The results speak for themselves.
By the way, expect to pay $25 and up for cat bathing and grooming, and $35 and up for dogs.
There's a lot more to doggie -- and kitty -- style than just a bath and haircut. Consider these products to enhance your pet's appearance:
Balance cologne for pets. The 8-ounce pump spray comes in Temptation, a knockoff of Passion, and Mystique, which smells like Obsession for Men ($10.95). At Pet-Agree, 834 Guilford Ave.
Fashion-forward collars. From Woof Engraveable, genuine leather with tags in the shape of a bone ($20). From C. H. Vernon, Southwestern leather decorated with conch shells ($38). At Animal Instincts, Valley Village Shopping Center in Pikesville
Kenic Sno-Flake. Formulated for your white or light-colored pet, it helps whiten the coat. 16-ounce bottle ($7.99) at For Pets Sake, Ltd., 6314 Falls Road
Kitty Korner Komber. This self-groomer is V-shaped to fit in a corner. You put catnip in the attached container, and Kitty rubs up against it and the grooming combs ($7.99). At Meow, Meow! in Pratt St. Pavilion, Harborplace
Lawrence Grooming Glove. Imported from England, the mitt comes in horsehair or a combination of horsehair on one side and wire pin or sisal on the other ($18-$25). At Shear Grace, 735 Deepdene Road, Roland Park
Petrodex Dog Toothbrush. It differs from a human toothbrush in having a brush at each end and the price ($10.99). At P. T. Moran, Festival at Riva, Annapolis
Folks, with groomers willing to bathe cats in short supply, you may have to try this at home. Here are some tips from Pet-Agree's John McGuire and Cat Fancy magazine on undertaking the bathing chores yourself.
A second pair of hands to help hold the unhappy cat is almost essential.
Clip the claws first. Brush and comb your cat before the bath. Water will only make tangles worse.
Use a shampoo specifically made for cats.
Give your cat a warm, gentle shower rather than a bath. Felines don't like to sit in water. The kitchen sink spray works well. Avoid the face and eyes.
Surprise him before he has time to react. Wet him quickly, turn the water off, lather him with shampoo and rinse him quickly.
Towel dry and then use a hand-held dryer to complete the job. Be sure not to blow on one spot too long; it might burn the cat's skin.