Dog Grooming Trends: From the Creative to the Wild

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American pet owners take their dogs’ looks seriously: The average pet owner spends $73 a year on grooming-related expenses, according to the American Pet Products Association (APPA). All together, the APPA projected that grooming and boarding-related expenses for US dogs would total $4.11 billion in 2012. Just four years earlier, in 2008, the amount spent was $3.2 billion. So what are some of the new and unique grooming services pet parents are opting for?

Temporary Tattoos

USA Today reports that the trend of animal tattoos–airbrushed, using temporary ink from non-toxic dyes–is growing. The pet tats, which usually cost about $10 from a professional groomer, work best on dogs with fair coats and typically fade away after a few baths.

Dogs Dyed, Painted, and Groomed to Look Like Anything But Dogs…

Painted pets have been spotted in China for years and have been recently been causing a stir among American celebrity animals. Groomer to Groomer magazine notes “painting” dogs as a trend, particularly among dogs with light coats. We’ve seen photos of dogs trimmed, dyed and primped to look like Raggedy Andy, giraffes, camels, lions (one Virginian Labradoodle decked out as a lion was so convincing it recently spurred a police search for a baby lion on the loose), pandas, octopi, dragons, snails, ducks, peacocks–you name it! Perhaps inspired by some of the daring looks sported on TLC’s Extreme Poodles, many of the pictures we’ve seen surface have been of larger-breed dogs like poodles.

The National Association of Professional Creative Groomers (NAPCG) cautions that only semi-permanent dyes formulated for pets should be used. Pet health expert Dr. Marty Becker took to the question on an episode of Anderson Live, and said the safest bet is to use food coloring–but to also note that dyeing pets is illegal in some states.

The NAPCG does not condone the use of bleach on pets. The industry magazine Groomer to Groomer has recommended Pet Paint as a product that works on darker-coated dogs.

Wigs

From dog dreds to pups posing in more traditional-looking toupees, we’ve seen plenty of pictures of pets in fake hair. In a report on “outrageous” trends, Animal Planet interviewed Ruth Regina, wig-maker for the stars, who has a bustling side business in making wigs for pooches in all colors, lengths and styles. Newsman Anderson Cooper’s even in on the style: He surprised actress Kristin Chenoweth with hair extensions for her pet.

Feathers, Beads, Glitter, Piercings, and More Bling

According to GroomingBusiness, glitter stenciling–hearts at Valentine’s Day or a paw print just for fun–is a new trend pet owners are interested in. GroomerTV gives a demo of this style in action on an English Bulldog, giving step-by-step instructions for applying what they refer to as “booty bling.” Feather extensions is also cited by GroomingBusiness as a trend to watch. GroomerTV video footage of the 2012 Atlanta Pet Fair runway show off beads and feather extensions, as well as dogs dolled up in glitter.

Woman’s Day has included pet piercing in a roundup of popular pet aesthetics, but it’s not without controversy: A New York Assemblywoman from Staten Island has suggested the practice should be outlawed and a Pennsylvania groomer who offered these procedures to clients was charged with animal cruelty.

Trendy Haircuts: Mohawk, Teddy Bear, Puppy Cut

It may be Ryan Gosling’s fault, but mohawks on dogs are kind of a thing now. SheKnows.com lists it among the cutest pet haircuts of summer. Other popular do’s include the teddy bear haircut (you can blame Khloe Kardashian for that dog hairstyle’s rise to the top), also known as a puppy cut, which you’ve probably seen on smaller breeds like Pomeranians, Yorkshire Terriers, Shih Tzus and Malteses.

It’s clear that for some, dogs have become an extension of self-expression. Many may argue that some of these trends are going too far, and we may see laws catching up to some practices in many states.

What dog grooming tricks would you try, and which will you pass by?

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