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!

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