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New salon aims to pamper your pets

If your pet is hankering for pink highlights or a fresh coat of nail polish, a new St. Albert business is aiming to please.

If your pet is hankering for pink highlights or a fresh coat of nail polish, a new St. Albert business is aiming to please.

Fabulous Furballs will mark its grand opening today after two months of operation in the Tudor Glen space formerly occupied by Puppy Palace.

Franchise founder Krista Castellarin has high hopes for the St. Albert location, her third since starting her business in Sherwood Park in 2007.

“We’re very similar to the pet spas and boutiques that you see often in Beverly Hills or in Las Vegas,” Castellarin said.

Her centres offer grooming from certified staff, deep conditioning, hair colouring and dying, nail trimming and polishing.

Costs range from $10 for a nail trim to upwards of $200 for colouring.

The business model is aimed at treating pets like Hollywood starlets, a trend in the United States that Canada is lagging by 15 years, said Castellarin, who moved to this region from Las Vegas.

“I was kind of surprised when I moved here and I couldn’t get pink highlights for my Yorkie,” she said.

Her Sherwood Park and Terwillegar locations are booked a month to six weeks in advance, she said.

“It’s kind of like an Eveline Charles but for the four-legged set,” she said.

Her outlets also carry a range of high-end accessories, including leather doggie handbag carriers by Los Angeles-based House of Dog.

The display case shows off a Swarovski crystal-encrusted retractable leash for $185 and crystal-studded leather collars for $184.

St. Albert store owner Kathy Hirt heard about the franchising opportunity and decided on a career change from a dental technician.

“Everybody loves their dogs to be pampered. We’re kind of hoping that’s something that St. Albert is looking for,” she said.

Adrian Theroux, general manager of Paradise Pet Centre in St. Albert, has noticed increasing demand for doggie seasonal wear, carrier handbags and bling collars in the last five years. He noted that excessive pampering can lead to behavioural issues.

“If a dog is pampered too much and there isn’t training involved, they definitely become the leader of the family,” he said.

“Excessive barking will develop, attention-seeking behaviours like chewing on stuff they know they’re not supposed to, piddling in the house, those kind of things.”

He recommends obedience training so dog owners can learn how to establish themselves as leader.

“The status of a dog is a lot higher up in the family than what it was say 10 years ago,” Theroux said.

“Back then a lot of people had dogs but they were just dogs.”

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