BASILDON’S most pampered pet dogs are being treated to cologne, hair dye, trainers and even their own prams, as part of a craze, said to be sweeping the country.

Customers at Wickford’s new Doggie Style Dog Boutique are snapping up everything from dog beds to fancy dress outfits, handbags, jelly sandals, sun screen and even edible birthday cards – some spending thousands of pounds.

Owner, former care dealer Gary Bruce, who opened a shop a few weeks ago after running the business online for 18 months, said: “It is going really well. It’s an Essex thing.

“I love all animals, especially dogs, and when I went to Spain I saw lots of dogs dressed up, I just thought ‘that’s brilliant’.

“Everybody is entitled to their opinion, but none of it harms the dogs. It’s just pure pampering.”

Catherine Tredwin, 36, from Pitsea, is a regular visitor to the shop and often takes her miniature pinscher Anu, and imperial shih tzu Elmo to buy treats and practical things such as shampoo.

She said: “I think it’s brilliant. The birthday cards are great, as you do want to treat your dogs.

“They’re special. What’s the point in having a dog if you’re not going to treat it right and spend out on it?

It’s my money and I choose to spend it on the dogs.”

Asked what others might think, she added: “Everyone can be judgmental, but the dogs don’t get hurt. They aren’t bothered. If the dogs don’t like it, don’t do it.”

The boutique, in Southend Road, Shotgate, also fundraises for the Dogs Trust’s new centre, at Nevendon, and Guide Dogs UK.