Pet pampering in Siem Reap has stepped up a gear with the opening of a salon and spa that puts furry friends’ health and wellness first.Words by Marissa Carruthers; photography by Enric Català.

A cat lazes in the dappled shade that covers the sofa, ignoring the excited black pug scampering below. Meet JJ and Coco, one of three resident cats and one dog that have called Pet Grooming Services home since it opened in the leafy outskirts of Siem Reap in June.

As an extension of Pet Grooming Cambodia, which opened its doors in the Toul Kork area of Phnom Penh in 2014, its Siem Reap sister is providing a sense of style and wholesome health into the growing number of animal lovers in Temple Town seeking to preen their pets. And for those animal lovers unable to leave their prize pets at home during a trip to Temple Town, there is space for humans to stay at the villa with their dogs or cats too.

“We don’t offer the animals anything we wouldn’t offer humans,” says owner Donabelle Zuzart e Weißer, referring to the range of treatments, treats and food on offer. “Their health and wellness is just as important as ours.”

In one room of the spacious villa sits the salon, where pets can receive a range of treatments that take in a 90-minute massage with warm oil and towel wrap, scrubs made of grapefruit seed extract apricot and avocado oils, shampoo and blow-dry, and manis and pedis. An array of natural conditioners and shampoos line the wall: itchy skin shampoo, brightening shampoo and hypoallergenic conditioner, to name a few.

An inviting aroma wafts from the kitchen, where a pot sits on the hob preparing one of the gourmet dishes on offer. The menu boasts meals that could easily be served at a restaurant. Think chicken chow chow made from chicken breast, yellow squash, cilantro and coconut oil, and slow cooked and grilled duck breast with herbs and potatoes, to steamed Dori fish, broccoli and thyme and the Porkalicious Potluck, containing pork, green beans, courgette and olive oil.

“If I can’t be bothered cooking, I pop one of these open and heat it up,” says Siem Reap manager Chrisella Morris, placing the lid back on the pot having tasted her culinary concoction.

Having built up a reputation for grooming and pet sitting at the Phnom Penh hub, Zuzart e Weißer is expanding her focus to develop a range of home-made healthy foods for animals. And as part of her mission she has scoured the globe’s pet produce to source the best range of natural supplements and herbal remedies to give wearied pets in Cambodia a boost.

“We’re going more into positive health and wellness for dogs and cats because it makes a big difference. You want to try and give your pets the longest and best quality of life,” says Zuzart e Weißer, who also maps out personalised diet plans for pets.

Supplements include salmon oil, which is rich in omega 6 and omega 3 oils making it is a good source of fatty acids, eggshell powder for calcium and Cambodia-produced superfood spirulina, a microalga packed full of protein, vitamins, minerals, amino and enzymes.

Plans are also in the pipeline to start growing catnip.

“It’s important to think about animals’ diet,” adds Zuzart e Weißer. “I don’t penalise people for what they feed their pets. If rice is all they have, then at least they are being fed. However, I do encourage people to try and think a bit more what they are feeding them.”

She adds most of the pet food in the form of kibble that is available from supermarkets across Cambodia is heavy in grains, which is not great for a cat or dog’s diet. “It’s a real eye-opener,” she says. “Most of the brands sold in the supermarkets are made of 90 percent by-products.”

On top of this, Zuzart e Weißer is also providing an eco-friendly alternative for pets who pass away in the form of Biosurn. Imported from Spain, the 100 percent biodegradable urn offers the perfect memorial by transforming ashes into a tree. The remains are placed in the bottom of the pot before seeds of owners’ choosing are scattered atop and it placed in the ground.

“There are more and more people in Cambodia wanting to really take care of their pets, and that is a great thing to see,” says Zuzart e Weißer.

For more information, visit Pet Services Cambodia and Pet Grooming Cambodia on Facebook.