Greater San Diego Business Association
The days of washing your pups in the bathroom tub or on your lawn with the garden hose are so old school. With your busy schedule, you just can’t be bothered with the laborious chore of washing the dog and cleaning up afterward. And now you don’t have to. A new age of scrub-a-dub-dubbing your pups is at hand and it’s called the self-serve dog wash. Yes, self-serve dog washes are popping up all over San Diego County and providing dog lovers with a much needed (and much appreciated) change in the way they keep their dogs looking, feeling and smelling clean. Here are my personal reasons for loving the self-serve dog wash, and if I was a bettin’ gal (which I am), I’d bet these are the reasons you’ll love the dog wash, too.
1. Bye-bye to that icy cold water from the garden hose. Your dog hates it. And let’s admit it, you do too. Fido will make sure you get soaked. That icy cold water will leave you and Fido unhappy. Dog lovers: heated water is where it’s at! At the dog wash, employees set you and your hound up in a tub and get the water nice and warm before handing off the hose to you. Luke warm? Ah, yeah… that’s perfect. Fido says, “Feels good.”
2. Contributes to water conservation. Yes, admit I broke out in song and dance as I opened my first water bill after discovering the self-serve dog wash. Did you know that about ten gallons of water drain from a flowing garden hose per minute? Even with a spray attachment, without turning the water valve off, your water meter is still running. Garden hose nozzles also leak often causing a constant flow of wasted water. At South Bark, the hose dangles from the ceiling with multiple easy-click settings and pressurized water flow to save water.
3. No more wet t-shirt contest. Vinyl and PVC aprons? Hello? Genius! Every dog wash in San Diego that I've been to provides their clients with aprons that cover your body from neck to shin. If there is one thing you are certain to find at a self-serve dog wash, it’s the dreaded shaking wet dog! Oh yeah! With tubs on either side of you, there’s no way you’ll escape the splashing. But with aprons provided for you, you can be sure you won’t leave the place looking like you just won a wet t-shirt contest.
4. A full bar! Sorry guys, I’m not talking cocktails. I’m talking skin and coat care products. No matter what the skin condition—fleas, dandruff, itchiness, hot spots or normal—there’s a special shampoo for your dog! Even for dogs with sensitive eyes! Your self-serve dog wash employees can assist you in selecting the best shampoo and conditioner to meet your pup’s particular needs. Medicated shampoos and flea treatments sometimes cost a few dollars more but are well worth it.
5. No more wet dog smell. From high pressure blowers to cage dryers, dogs can go home dry and smelling fresh for only $1-$4 extra. Drying your dog starts by taking as much water off with the towel as possible (Towels are provided). Then when blow-drying it’s important to remember that dog skin does not handle heat as well as human skin does. High-pressure blow-drying is forced air at a cool or warm temperature. Pressurized air held close to the skin removes the large water molecules by blowing them up the hair shaft and off the dog. Blow-drying also removes excess hair and dirt particles you may have missed while rinsing. Thus, dogs stay cleaner longer.
6. Socialize with the experts. (Heck, socialize with the cutie at the tub next to you.) The self-serve dog wash is a great place for you to meet other dog owners and for your pup to socialize with other pups. Look for the experts who can answer questions or troubleshoot everything from weird yeast foot fungus to anal gland expressions. Self-serve dog washes are known for their fun and quirky environments where dogs and dog owners interact, tails wag, and bonding takes place. At South Bark education is a central focus and much can be learned as dog wash employees and owners have experienced the strange, the unusual and the gnarliest of cases.
7. Save your back. Elevated tubs keep you in the upright position and your pup confined to a small 2 x 4 area. Tubs are raised either on legs or on a solid foundation bringing the dog to your height. Some self-serve dog washes have pedestals for your human kids who love being part of dog bath time. And for dogs with a little spunk or aggression, a harness connects to the tub’s edge keeping all safe and secured. Harnesses also come in handy for the tail wagger who is overwhelmed with excitement about their bath and just can’t stay still. My girl Monkey is fully strapped down for her baths as her wiggly butt would have me wrestling her non-stop.
8. Leave the mess behind. If you’re a throw-your-pup-in-the-tub-at-home kind of person, you know what a disastrous mess of wet fur and water this can be… especially when you add in ear cleaner, shampoo, brushes, cotton balls, wet towels, wet towels and wet towels. Um, did I mention the wet towels? At a self-serve dog wash, you leave the mess for the dog wash employees to deal with. No matter how big the mess (and trust me you will make a mess), the dog wash staff is ready with disinfectant and mops the minute you’re done. (Too bad there’s not a self-serve bath for kids.)
9. Love the extras! I’m talking full-service pup stop. Most self-serve dog washes have all the extra “condiments and toppings” you need for small additional fees (or even complimentary in some dog washes). Self-serve dog washes often provide ear cleaning, teeth cleaning, nail clipping, mat removal, brushes, colognes, etc. Just FYI. So, the average cost for a self-serve dog wash ranges between $12 and $20, depending on any “add-ons” you get.
10. Quality bonding time with your pooch. The pure joy and excitement exuding from your dog after getting pampered by their favorite human is priceless. Most dogs really enjoy the bath time experience, especially if it’s done in the proper setting. For them it is like a day at the spa. Gentle massages to the face, ears and jowls are very relaxing. Hearing your “good boy!” or “good girl!” praises are reassuring and rewarding. Connecting with their loyal companion is as important to them as it is to you. So load up your furry kids and head out to the self-serve dog wash for your next bath time. You will be glad you did!
*South Bark Dog Wash offers a 10% discount to all GSDBA members with proof of membership. Just bring in your member ID or name badge.