Making bath time a dog-friendly routine

Dan McNab, owner of Cookie’s Pet Corner and Wash, blow dries Cookie at a pet washing station.  - Kaitlin Strohschein/Staff Photo
Dan McNab, owner of Cookie’s Pet Corner and Wash, blow dries Cookie at a pet washing station.
— image credit: Kaitlin Strohschein/Staff Photo

A small pug guards the front door of a pet store on Bethel Avenue.

The dog’s name is Cookie, and the store, Cookie’s Pet Corner and Wash, was named after her.
Those brave enough to walk  past Cookie can spend $25 to rent a self-serve pet washing room for 50 minutes or shop through the high-end dog or cat food available at the store.

It’s the only business of its kind in Port Orchard, according to Dan McNab, the owner.

“I’ve watched the entire pet-washing revolution,” he says.

“In Washington, it started in the past five years, and on the East Coast, it started a little earlier.”

While watching the “pet washing revolution,” he says, he’s seen some pitfalls to avoid to make dog washing as nice as possible for dogs and their owners.

He’s seen pet washes, for instance, where a group of people wash their dogs at a collective washing station.

Washing the dogs together can cause issues, he said.

“Dogs have a tendency to growl,” he said, and when they do, other dogs may get upset and bark or growl back.

Then their owners get upset, and the scene can quickly turn ugly, he said. Putting the animals in individual rooms, like those at Cookie’s Pet Corner and Wash, shuts down that potential for fights.

Several aspects of the room-rental are designed to be especially dog-friendly.

McNab, a contractor and a dog worked together to design stairs to the dog showers that a variety of dogs can walk up easily.

They’re shorter than human stairs and make the dogs feel secure and surrounded, with a wall on one side.

“If the dogs weren’t happy about it, that doesn’t accomplish anything,” McNab said.

He also bought the washing stations’ blow dryers with dogs in mind. Dogs tend to be afraid of the loud sound that the dryers make, he explained.

To avoid that, the dryers at McNab’s shop have a higher than average number of speeds between “low” and “hurricane,” so that the owner can start the blower on a low setting and slowly get the dog used to the sound.

Each room includes shampoo that’s soap free, detergent free and alcohol free.

“You could wash the dog every day, and it doesn’t dry their skin out,” McNab said.

Besides the self-serve pet washing rooms, Cookie’s Pet Corner and Wash also offers a variety of high-end dog and cat food.

“I try to stay with food lines with some fresh food in them,” McNab said.

He remembers an especially bad pet food poisoning that killed a large number of

animals several years ago, and the corporations reactions.

“They act like they’re a replaceable tool,” he said, “but they’re not.”

They’re more “humans,” than that and deserve to be treated well, he said.



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