How the pandemic has impacted the pet service industry

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Anna Pollard from The Dog House Canine Spa shares her experience of how the pandemic has affected her business.

Anna Pollard from The Dog House Canine Spa shares her experience of how the pandemic has affected her business.

The Dog House Canine Spa is based in Syston, Leicestershire (we have just moved premises!) we are a luxury dog grooming salon and we specialise in introducing puppies to the grooming process from the earliest opportunity.

Throughout the pandemic, have you been completely closed or still able to operate?

Throughout the pandemic the guidance for groomers has been very unclear. The Pet Industry Federation (PIF) have closed off their information to only paying members and The Canine and Feline Sector Group (CFSG) have been really slow with the information they have published.

The position according to the rules stated “An owner may take a pet to be groomed by appointment if the grooming is necessary for welfare purposes – not for aesthetic reasons only.” There was a lot of ‘it’s your interpretation’ when it comes to the term ‘welfare’. As a business we made the decision to close as we thought it was the appropriate course of action to help minimise travel and stop the spread of the virus.

We were really lucky to be able to receive government funding – which was then withdrawn after the first payment however we were still able to claim furlough though, although only on a basic salary.

When you were able to open again, how did the pandemic affect the way you worked in your business?

We now have reduced staffing as my business partner is high risk and we have reduced appointments in between lockdowns too to prevent overlap of clients and dogs.

We now meet all clients outside and if they do need to come and assist with the more difficult dogs then they’re asked to mask up. We have hand sanitisers available to clients and are mainly taking card payments or sending payment link if they prefer a totally hands-free experience.

We clean down in between each dog and thoroughly at the end of each day (that hasn’t really changed that much since before Covid).

How has the pandemic affected your business as a whole?

We have lost some clients throughout the pandemic, however, a majority of our clients have stayed with us. We took a lot of grooming online and were able to offer masterclasses and 1-1 zoom calls. We also did a number of videos for clients too to help them with how to maintain their dog.

Did you notice any change in your customer's behaviour throughout the lockdown?

Some clients have clipped the dogs themselves and found it quite difficult while others have safely chopped out knots where they can so that their dogs’ hair doesn’t become matted and uncomfortable – we’re then able to even it up. We’ve seen a lot of dogs with separation anxiety type issues, having been with their owner constantly.

There’s also been a lot of matted dogs, even though we have been open for welfare grooms they haven’t bought their dogs to us. We also moved the salon whilst we were closed too so that we’re ready and raring to go from 29th March when people can travel for non-essential reasons.

We’re now attached to a vet and we are in town so we’ll be much more accessible for a lot of our clients and new clients too.

“We’ve seen a lot of dogs with separation anxiety type issues having been with their owner constantly.”

A lot of clients also seem to be a lot more grateful for our services too – so we’re launching ‘Love Your Dog Groomer’ National Day on 18th September for clients and groomers a like.

Are you making any particular plans for when lockdown ends?

We have a couple of special offers that will be going out for clients to really pamper their pooches after lockdown and we also plan to roll out a membership programme for clients who want the perks of being on a regular schedule and all the benefits that will bring such as priority appointments and bespoke beauty packages tailored to their dog’s needs.

“A lot of clients also seem to be a lot more grateful for our services too – so we’re launching ‘Love Your Dog Groomer’ National Day on 18th September”

How do you feel about being a member of the K9 Nation Marketplace?

Not many of my clients know about the K9 Marketplace yet but I’m keen to still share about it as I think it’s a great tool for them to find everything that they need for their dogs.

It would be awesome if there was a focus on dog-friendly towns. The town that we’re in has a lot of potential with several vets, a massive pet shop and us and it would be great to see more dog-friendly cafes etc when the world gets back to normal!

To find out more about The Dog House Canine Spa, you can visit their website: https://thedoghouseleicester.co.uk/

You can find The Dog House Canine Spa on the K9 Nation Marketplace. If you haven’t downloaded the free app yet then click below!

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