Are our homes really going to the dogs? With a third of us now counting a faithful hound as a family member, perhaps it’s no wonder we’re increasingly factoring creature comforts into our properties. And following on from deluxe beds and designer rain-jackets, the latest must-have for any discerning dog lover is a… dog shower.
But don’t be fooled into thinking that simply having a downstairs shower room means you’re up with this latest trend.
I’m talking about luxurious, canine-sized, dedicated doggy bathing areas worthy of a five-star spa. Beautiful tiling, Farrow & Ball painted panelling, with personalised dog-themed fittings…
Located at a convenient post-walk entry point — typically the kitchen or utility room — in order to ensure no mucky paws trek through the rest of the house, these scaled-down shower units often have a raised base and detachable shower head for ease of washing your dog head to toe. A screen over the drain is also must to avoid dog hairs clogging it up.
Owners are evangelical about the benefits, getting misty-eyed as they recount how their cream carpets have never looked better.
I’ll confess, it’s not a trend I’ve bought into myself . . . yet. For now, I’ve no intention of spending money on hot showers for my cockapoos, Maple and Piccolo, when an outdoor hosepipe — or if they’re particularly mucky, a tub full of second-hand bath water — will do.
However, given that they’re both prone to re-dirtying themselves during the washing process, I can understand the temptation. (However, if your dog, like mine, is not a great fan of being washed, you might struggle to get your ungrateful pooch into their smart bathing suite in the first place.)
Our new-found love for doggy luxuries has strange timing in some ways. We’re in the midst of an energy crisis.
Wash and brush-up: Golden doodle Ted. Where once people enjoyed a hot bath on a Sunday night, and that was their lot for the week, now it’s more like two hot showers per person per day plus another one for the dog
Where once people enjoyed a hot bath on a Sunday night, and that was their lot for the week, now it’s more like two hot showers per person per day plus another one for the dog.
Perhaps this doggy indulgence is yet another post-lockdown fallout. It was during this time that many people became dog owners for the first time. Even if you already had a dog, spending so much time at home with them was bound to see you become more attached and prone to indulgence.
Pampering them with their own in-house washing facilities just takes that a step further.
Yet you should remember that dogs are like babies in more ways than one; doting parents spend a fortune on a beautiful nursery, even though their newborn will neither notice nor care.
Whether your dog is a fan of its shower or not, it could still turn out to be a wise investment. Because the more people there are with dogs, the more relevant to the property market a dog-friendly home becomes.
Having been immersed in the property world for decades, I suspect that in the same way someone who adores their children might be seduced into making an offer after sighting a tree-house in the garden, so, too, might a devoted dog owner be swayed by a dog shower in the utility.
Though I can’t help but wonder: what next? A doggy bedroom with wardrobes and underfloor heating? Or how about pooches having their own sitting rooms, with dog-sized sofas and TVs where they can relax while you work your socks off to pay for it?
It certainly gives a new meaning to being in the doghouse.
Here, BETH HALE talks to the owners who have splashed out on dog showers . . .
EN SUITE DOUBLES AS WELLY WASH
When she started home renovations, a boot room was an essential requirement for mother-of-four Suzanne. And not just for the children. The family blogger, 42, lives in Durham, surrounded by fields and riverbanks that are a muddy magnet for the family’s two dogs — Frankie, a miniature dachshund, and Ted, a golden doodle.
So with leftover materials from refurbishing the family bathroom, Suzanne set about installing a dog shower in the new boot room. Framed with grey-blue wooden panels, it sits snugly beside a matching coat cupboard.
‘The children laugh about the dogs having their own en suite,’ says Suzanne.
‘It’s been a great addition to our home. We use it not only for washing our dogs but also for cleaning wellies and walking boots.’
Marble splendour: Cockapoo Freddy bathes in luxury. When teacher Kate Whyte embarked on renovating a 1960s bungalow near Liverpool’s Crosby beach, a dedicated space for washing cockapoo Freddy’s sandy paws was top of the wish list
POOCH PERFECT BY THE SEA
Having the beach a short stroll from the front door is paradise for a pooch, but a sandy headache for a house-proud owner. That’s why when teacher Kate Whyte embarked on renovating a 1960s bungalow near Liverpool’s Crosby beach, a dedicated space for washing cockapoo Freddy’s sandy paws was top of the wish list.
‘Freddy’s favourite thing is to roll in the mud, run in the sea, then roll in the mud again, then the sand, and if there’s a dead bird or fox poo, he will find it,’ Kate says.
‘In our last house, I had to get him upstairs and into the shower and it was a nightmare.’ A utility room, with an external door, provided the perfect solution, and now Freddy has his own marble-effect shower room, complete with gold taps and canine soap dispenser. The tiles were £500, but Kate picked up a cheap shower fitting online.
‘When I said what I wanted, people thought I was bonkers, but it’s been great.’
And Freddy? ‘He just tolerates it,’ laughs Kate.
BLISSFUL BLUE GIVES PAWS FOR THOUGHT
Crossbreed Isla may not be the biggest fan of her bespoke shower, but it’s certainly solved the muddy paw problem for owner Danny Gavin-Mills and his partner Nicola Furness.
Danny, 32, is a carpenter, so when the couple started doing up their home in Heaton Chapel, Stockport, he was able to turn a corner of the utility room into a doggy wet room for Isla and her springer spaniel friend Georgie.
Blue heaven: Georgie in the scallop-tiled cubicle. Danny, 32, is a carpenter, so when the couple started doing up their home in Heaton Chapel, Stockport, he was able to turn a corner of the utility room into a doggy wet room for Isla and her springer spaniel friend
Danny used off-cuts of wood while office manager Nicola sourced the brass fittings online.
They got the stylish navy blue scallop tiles from Topps Tiles, with the total cost coming to £250.
But the couple say it was all worth it.
‘Previously, our only option was to take Isla upstairs to the bathroom and risk getting mud all the way through the house, or stand her in the garden and spray her with a cold hose, which wasn’t pleasant for any of us,’ says Danny.
FARROW & BALL ADDS CANINE CHIC
Archie the cocker spaniel can survey his kingdom (the family boot room) from on high in his chic canine cubicle. It’s actually an old ceramic Butler sink that his owner, Sarah Rossi, 41, picked up for a song on eBay.
She then had the sink adapted and installed within a custom-built cupboard unit by a carpenter, with the total cost of the cupboards and shower coming to around £2,000.
Green with envy: Cocker spaniel Archie has high-end Farrow & Ball paint in his shower room
Cookery writer Sarah, who runs the Taming Twins food blog, says: ‘We live in the countryside in Worcestershire, so when we go for a walk and Archie gets mucky, I like to be able to wash him before he comes into the main house.’
There is an automatic soap dispenser and a dog lead hanging from a suction cup, to avoid any soapy escape attempts.
One special extravagance is the Farrow & Ball paint (shade: Green Smoke). It also features a pull-out step to help Archie climb in.
‘He prefers to be lifted in, or lured in with treats,’ admits Sarah, a mother of two.
SHOWER TO KEEP A WHITE COAT CLEAN
Keeping a white coat clean is taxing for those on two legs. For those on four legs, it’s a daily challenge. But bichon frise Mumble can ensure he always looks salon‑fresh thanks to a shower cubicle that would make most humans jealous.
Josefina Zarate-Smith, 61, and husband, George, installed the shower area in the utility room of their home in St Albans, Hertfordshire, in 2019.
‘Mumble doesn’t really like showers,’ says Josefina. ‘But because of his coat he is quite high maintenance.’
Bichon frise Mumble ensures he always looks salon‑fresh thanks to a shower cubicle that would make most humans jealous
The shower, which boasts tiles in four colours, trendy black taps and even geometric art to fit in with the furnishings in the rest of the room, is the perfect solution.
While it looks expensive, Josefina says the tiles were modestly priced, and the only headache was actually getting started.
‘Our builders had never built a dog shower,’ she laughs. In the end an internet search led her to Koster, a company that delivers waterpoofing for wet rooms.
‘We use it nearly every other day,’ says Josefina. ‘Even if it’s just for wiping Mumble’s belly and paws.’
HANDSOME HENRY’S HAIRWASH PAD
If anyone knows a thing or two about keeping spic and span, it’s Instagram cleaning queen Mrs Hinch. So no surprise that family pet, cocker spaniel Henry, has a beautiful washroom all of his own.
The 32-year-old, full name Sophie Hinchcliffe, unveiled the splash pad on her social media account earlier this year, revealing she had transformed a ‘small room used to store paint’ into a luxurious space with tiled walls and a monogrammed ‘H’ on the floor.
And should anyone forget whose space it is, there is also a sign declaring ‘Henry’ at the entrance.
Family pet, cocker spaniel Henry, has a beautiful washroom all to himself. The washroom cost around £800 to install, with a cupboard to one side for towels, dog shampoo and conditioner
‘WOOF’ WASHROOM FOR A BEST BUDDY
Cavapoo Buddy needs no encouragement to plunge into his bespoke shower.
Trudi Letts, a 49-year-old property developer, had the shower installed in her utility room earlier this year, and Buddy, two, now uses it every day after long walks from the family home near Wakefield, West Yorkshire.
The washroom cost around £800 to install, with a cupboard to one side for towels, dog shampoo and conditioner. And in case there was any doubt for whom the shower was intended, ‘WOOF’ is written on the bottom in mosaic tiles.
‘When I told my husband I wanted one, he said: ‘Don’t be so ridiculous.’ But Buddy loves it — he jumps straight in.’
Cockapoo Charlie, 12, is less keen, and has his hair washed at the dog groomer’s.
Cavapoo Buddy needs no encouragement to plunge into his bespoke shower. The washroom cost around £800 to install, with a cupboard to one side for towels, dog shampoo and conditioner