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Luxe Pet Grooming Products Trend

Jul 21, 2023Jul 21, 2023

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Your dog’s beauty regimen is becoming as sophisticated as your own.

Take yourself for a walk in most cities and you will see—regardless of weather or terrain—dogs in sweaters. Dogs in boots. Dogs in raincoats. Dogs riding around in strollers (literal “fur babies”). You will certainly pass a doggy daycare spot, where the home-alone crowd gathers for group slobber sessions during human work hours, and where pets may also—especially if the establishment has “spa” in its name, as many do—be treated to pawdicures (their term, not mine), massage therapy, and personal training sessions involving canine-calibrated treadmills or heated lap pools. Even before the pandemic, during which more than 23 million American households adopted a pet, the traditional boundaries between man and beast—and the distinctions in the care and feeding thereof—had begun to erode. As Sophie Dahl recently put it in an Insta-caption of a photo of her beloved former stray dog Jojo, “In no other universe would I let someone who licks their own bum and eats rabbits whole sleep on my pillow, but here it is.” Goodbye, doghouse; hello, Frette sheets. And now dogs even have beauty products to rival our own.

Former Vogue staffer Jane Wagman co-founded Pride & Groom, a prestige line of coat-specific pooch-pampering products, with the goal, she says, to be “Vidal Sassoon for dogs.” It makes sense. One of my dogs, a decorative Papillon-Chihuahua mix, has long, silky fur that flounces from her rear end like luxuriant bloomers, while my other dog, a miniature mutt mélange with suspected Brussels Griffon DNA, feels like a Brillo pad. If I and a human friend had such disparate follicular features, we wouldn’t use the same shampoo…so why should they?

“Different dogs have different needs,” Wagman says, “from whether they have fur or hair to whether they have an undercoat to whether they have dandruff or dry patches.” To tackle this variety with sufficient sophistication, the Pride & Groom team went to a high-end human beauty lab in New Jersey to develop their products. A 2020 launch with three shampoos (The Shedder, The Non Shedder, The Sensitive One) and a conditioner (The Final Coat) proved wildly successful, and now the range has expanded to include a waterless cleanser that functions like a blowout-­extending dry shampoo, a multi­tasking shea butter–based balm for parched noses and paws (Wagman uses it on her own cuticles and elbows), and even a signature scent.

“Part of the point of the brand was that we hated the way our dogs smelled when they came back from the groomer,” Wagman says. “They would smell either like chemicals or like cotton candy. It made zero sense. They’re sleeping in our beds—we don’t want them to smell disgusting.”

There’s a vanity-worthy assortment of eau-de-anything-but-dog options. Try Santa Maria Novella’s divine rose-scented pet deodorant, Pride & Groom’s bergamot-and-citrus-laced Proud, or lovely lavender-based Calm Cologne from Australian brand DOG by Dr. Lisa. Though this may seem a misguided anthropocentric attempt to erase our four-legged friends’ intrinsic otherness, DOG founder (and 15-year veteran veterinarian) Lisa Chimes says it’s nothing of the sort. “The goal is to find a happy medium between your dog’s fragrance preference and your own. Our colognes are formulated with only safe essential oils in very small amounts—nothing that would be overpowering—and they contain no alcohol, which could dry out the skin.” A pup “perfume” is no more than a fur-­freshening mist. I will nuzzle my dogs when they smell how they smell naturally (specifically, like ­Fritos), but it’s oh so much more pleasant after a little rosewater spritz.

The rise of human-inspired dog beauty products is undeniably as much about us as it is about them. Josh Weiss, founder and CEO of pet supplement brand Reggie, notes that products that align with our own wellness regimens strike the strongest chord. “As people have given more thought to their self-care, including what they put on, and in, their bodies, the same has happened for the pets in their lives. That’s why holistic, all-natural products are quickly outpacing legacy brands.”

In the end, both species benefit. Proper treatment of a pet’s skin and coat has an enormous impact on its well-being (Chimes says that overuse of harsh, detergenty shampoo is a common cause of skin diseases and allergies in dogs), and science has repeatedly shown that simply spending time with our furry friends makes us healthier and happier. Shouldn’t every dog have its good hair day?

This story appears in the February 2023 issue of Town & Country. SUBSCRIBE NOW

April Long writes about beauty, wellness, and luxury skincare for Town & Country.

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This story appears in the February 2023 issue of Town & Country. SUBSCRIBE NOW