My Dog Wears Clothes


Shannon Moore, NCMG  |  Espree Animal Products, Director of Grooming and Education

The days are becoming cooler in most parts of the country right now, and we do need to keep our pups warm.  Some caring pet owners are choosing to keep their pet’s hair longer, while others are choosing to put clothes on their pets.  Neither one is better than the other, and both still require work on your behalf.  With longer hair styles, owners are needing to brush the pets out to prevent their dogs from matting and tangling, and they are having to visit their favorite pet stylist more frequently.  But, the owners who are choosing to dress their pets in those trendy, couture outfits have their work cut out for them as well.  And it is more than just doing more shopping!

There is nothing cuter than watching a pup strut down the street with clothes on that are more fashionable than mine.  The intricate detail and the craftsmanship of clothes for pets today is to be applauded.  They are absolutely stunning and usually made better than the clothes I am wearing.  With that said, those pet parents also need to invest in a soft slicker brush, a comb, and hydrating spray.

Every time you take that cute little sweater, jacket, or dress off your adorable little (or big) dog, make sure you take  less than five minutes to do a quick brush out.  In as little as 5 minutes, tangles and mats can begin to form behind their ears, under their arm pits, and on their belly.  It is nothing that a quick 2 – 3 minute brush out can’t fix. Lightly mist hydrating spray on your pet then use the soft slicker brush paying particular attention to the armpits, behind the ears, and the belly. It is a good idea to double check and make sure the hair is separated and divided by using a comb.   So remember, every time you bundle up your pet with those cute and trendy clothes, do a quick brush out to prevent your pet from being so matted at their next grooming appointment.

Upselling Special Packages


Shannon Moore, NCMG  |  Director of Grooming and Education, Espree Animal Products

So many times I hear groomers say they can’t charge extra for services because they live in a small, rural town, and people just won’t pay for anything extra or they have an older clientele, or they do not do a lot of prissy pooches.   I immediately ask “Have you ever tried?  How did you upsell your client?”  Have you ever considered designing a program where the caring pet owners have a selection of packages to choose from and you, their groomer makes a recommendation as to what they need?

Most of us charge extra for a Shed Less Package, so why not try introducing it with other specialty products.  Espree has recently launched a Senior Care Shampoo and Gel.  It’s a great package upsell for senior dogs.  It’s chocked full of Arnica to help soothe tired muscles, relieves inflammation, and pain. Or what about a Deluxe Spa package where you use Lavender & Chamomile Shampoo and spritzer, a luxurious facial, and Lavender & Kava Paw Balm. Another great package idea is Stop the Itch geared toward dogs with seasonal or non- seasonal allergies.  Avocado Oil Shampoo and an Avocado Oil Spray to keep itching, scratching, and chewing at bay for 10 to 14 days to provide temporary relief. A Holiday Package is another idea.  Bring a little Holiday Cheer into your salon!  Cranberry Spice Shampoo with matching cologne, a cute Holiday bandana and bow, and maybe send them home with a stocking stuffer like a few dog treats.  These are just a few ideas for special packages.  The possibilities are limitless on what you could do in your salon.

I often use a café chalk board and feature one package a month. I display it in the lobby to introduce the new service.  And for those stylists that have more of a challenge with add on services, I will do the first one at no charge and let them know when they pick their pet up.  I tell them that” today the upgraded services was complimentary because I wanted them to be able to see the difference.”  This works great especially with a Senior Package because they can see their pet moving around better and feeling better.   Another benefit to doing a complimentary add on the first time is that it helps build the relationship with the client. It’s a win win for everyone.  The pet gets a much needed service, the client is thrilled that you gave them something at no charge, and you, their groomer have just made the relationship stronger and could possibly get a referral from the client.  So in the end, everyone benefits!

Don’t Skip the Conditioner


Shannon Moore, NCMG  |  Director of Grooming and Education, Espree Animal Products

Is it really necessary to prolong the bathing experience by using a conditioner when you are bathing your dog?  Spending an extra one to three minutes in the bathtub can drastically improve the condition of the pet’s skin and coat. Bathing removes some essential oils leaving the skin and coat more vulnerable to dehydration.  Shampoos are designed to remove unwanted dirt and debris from the skin and coat.  Then, there are solution oriented shampoos that are specifically designed to treat an issue.  If you do not seal the hair shaft with a conditioner after the bath, the hair shaft remains open where residue can enter and hydration can escape.  Conditioning the coat will seal the cuticle, which in turn, will help restore hydration, moisture, and elasticity. Conditioners are designed to provide the delicate balance of maintaining healthy skin and coat while the skin naturally replaces the healthy oils that were temporarily depleted during the bathing process.

Different types of conditioners work best on different types of coats.  Drop coated dogs such as Yorkies, Shih Tzu, and Lhasa Apsos need conditioners that are loaded with silk proteins. This type of conditioner is designed to help build a strong, healthy, shiny, and more manageable coat. Dogs that have normal skin and coat to a mildly dry coat, such as labs, pugs, short haired mixed breeds, etc., should use a lightweight conditioner to help replace the oils that were removed during the bathing process. This will help revitalize the skin and coat.  This will make coats smoother and healthier, while providing extreme hydration to the skin.  Pets that have dry skin and coat, matted coats, and even undercoats should turn to a more intense conditioner to help restore hydration.  Dry coats will become incredibly moisturized without becoming limp or lifeless while leaving the coat weightless.  For those pets who suffer from irritated skin, conditioners that are rich in antioxidants are a great choice.  An antioxidant rich conditioner will soothe the skin while simultaneously helping to protect the skin from free radicals which can cause damage if ignored.

Regardless of the type of coat you are working with, it is important take a few extra minutes and condition the coat. Reducing static electricity while improving manageability, removing any left-over residue, and temporarily replacing the healthy oils in the coat are just to name a few reasons you shouldn’t skip the conditioner!

The Naked Truth

sphynxShannon Moore, NCMG  |  Espree Animal Products, Director of Grooming and Education

Hairless pets are rapidly gaining popularity. Do hairless dogs and cats really need grooming?  The answer may just surprise you. From Xolo’s to Cresties and Sphynx to Bambinos, hairless pets need grooming too.  In some instances, hairless breeds require more attention in terms of maintenance than their coated friends.  Don’t be surprised if a hairless pet walks into your salon for a bath.  The most common issue you will here is that the hairless friend is oily.  How do you get rid of the oil problem?  It is similar to coated breeds that shed.  You cannot stop shedding as it is a natural process.  The same goes with oil production, but you can keep it under control with consistent, routine maintenance.

Frequency of visits to the salon, at home maintenance, exfoliating the skin, and controlling oil production are just a few things you will need to help educate your client.  The hairless pet population does not have a natural way of keeping the oil on the skin in balance, which can lead to skin problems.  Once again, we go back to proper product selection to help provide that balance for their sensitive skin.

Hairless pets normally have sensitive skin, so select a shampoo that does not contain harsh surfactants.  Hypo – allergenic shampoo is a good choice.  It is also important to exfoliate the skin on these naked pets.  Choosing a Dead Sea Mineral Mudbath is a great way to gently exfoliate the skin while also helping to absorb oil.  Though you are trying to remove the oil, it is important to keep the skin hydrated.  Be careful not to bathe naked pets too frequently.  There is a fine line between over doing and not doing enough.  Every pet is different so part of determining a routine will be trial and error.  A good place to start is a bath every 2 weeks and go from there.  It is also common for these naked pets to produce more ear wax and some will even develop oil accumulation around the base of their toenails.  At an absolute minimum, weekly ear cleaning and cleaning at the base of the nails might be necessary.

The Art of Bathing

schnauzer-bathShannon Moore, NCMG  |  Espree Animal Products, Director of Grooming and Education

People sometimes think I am crazy when I say there is an art to bathing a dog.  How hard can it be? You wet the dog down, shampoo, and rinse.  Aaahhh… but there is so much more to it than that!  First, you have to evaluate the dog’s skin and coat.  Is it dry, oily, damaged, or healthy? Does the coat have split ends?  Is the skin and coat in need of extreme hydration? Those are just a few to mention.  Then, you need to choose the products that will help replenish the skin and coat to return it back to a neutral state.  There are so many choices on the market these days, how will you ever choose? Look at the ingredients on the bottle and determine if those ingredients will provide a solution for the dog that you are working with.  If you are not sure, do not hesitate to call the manufacturer and ask questions.  Nobody knows their product better than those who created it.

After you have decided which products will provide solutions to meet the dog’s needs, then the fun begins.  It is quite fascinating to be able to witness the transformation  of bringing a coat back to healthy by simply paying attention to your product selection and making an educated decision on how to use the products.  It is so much more than just a bath!  You get to make the dog not only look better, but feel better too!

I am “old school”, and believe that every dog should have 2 baths.  The first bath is to get rid of the dirt and debris, and help return the skin and coat back to a neutral state.  If you can do this, the second bath is more of a solution oriented bath. So if your dog has chewing and itching, this is the bath to help provide relief by selecting something like an Avocado Oil Shampoo.  If your dog needs more volume or needs to repair coat, this is the bath to use a Keratin Oil Shampoo.  Maybe your dog has a dull and lifeless coat, then choose Argan Oil Shampoo to provide intense hydration and bring it back to life.  All of these shampoos are solution oriented, so it is very useful to figure out wat you need to do to restore that healthy, luminous skin and coat.

After the 2 baths, I almost always condition the coat.  This allows the coat to lock in the hydration and provide the necessary moisture to keep the skin and coat healthy.  There are instances that I do not condition.  For example, if the dog is extremely oily, I will not condition.  Cost and time are never a factor in whether or not I condition the coat.  This is the time that I have to make an enormous difference with how the dog is going to look and feel.

The bath, in my opinion, is just as important as beautiful finish work when grooming a dog.  If you don’t get the dog clean and try to maintain healthy skin and coat, it doesn’t matter how artistic you are with your scissors and clipper work.  The client will notice the cleanliness of their pet before anything else.  And besides, we want the dog to look and feel its best, and that starts with a great bath!