Thailand's mobile dog-grooming salon a hit among locals and expats

Thailand's mobile dog-grooming salon a hit among locals and expats
A dog groomer is trimming some coat.

For pets in the US and the UK, a trip to the canine beauty salon has long been replaced by a more personalised service - home grooming - and now pooches in Thailand can also enjoy a trim and pedicure at home thanks to The Paw Pals.

The business is the brainchild of Thitikhun Yoovidhaya, a scion of the Red Bull family, and her veterinarian friend, who were quick to recognise the business possibilities of a mobile grooming service and launched Paw Pals back in 2011.

Their premonition proved right on the button and before long the phone lines were humming with local and expat residents booking a shampoo and all the trimmings for their canine companions.

The service couldn't be more convenient: you just ring the call centre and arrange an appointment and a professional dog groomer will come knocking at the door ready to pamper your pooch from head to toe.

"I studied in the UK for 11 years and when I came back home, I was determined to set up my own business. After seeing how miserable my two dogs were when I left them at a pet grooming shop, where they had to wait in a cage until it was their turn, I decided to offer a home service," says Thitikhun.

"My friend, who's a vet, thought it was a good idea and that's how The Paw Pals was born. We've been lucky too as the good feedback from celebrities pet owners like Natthawut "Poh" Skidjai, Benjapol Chueyaroon and Chollada Mekratri, has helped our service become known.

The pair invested Bt2 million into turning two trucks into functional pet beauty salons, equipped with air-conditioning, a large bathtub, water heater, anti-slip rubber mat, foldable table and other grooming essentials.

Prices are calculated based on breed and weight and range from Bt300 to Bt480 for bathing and blow drying to between Bt420 to Bt1,200 for a shampoo and cut. The customer also pays a Bt100 to Bt300 supplement based on the distance between Paw Pals headquarters on Chaeng Wattana Road and their homes.

"Right now, we have more than 2,000 members. All our groomers are fully trained and the service takes between 30 minutes and two hours depending on the treatment the dog requires. A full programme includes a cut, shampoo brushing, nail trimming and ear care," Thitikhun says.

"For small breeds like Pomeranian, Beagle, Chihuahua and Scottish Terrier, we charge Bt300 for bathing and Bt800 for large dogs like the Siberian Husky and Golden Retriever. We're also planning to expand and eventually hope to have seven or eight branches in residential areas across town."

Owners are asked to provide parking space and easy access to electricity and water.

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