The Importance of Diluting Product Correctly

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

Groomers work very hard for their money. We must use every tool we have at our disposal to help get that beautifully executed groom with each dog we work on. These tools are not only our clippers, scissors, and styling products, but also our shampoos and conditioners. After all, the bath is the quintessential element of a professional groom. It is the one tool that gets the pets’ skin and coat clean, healthy, and vibrant. Therefore, it is one of the most important parts to the grooming process.

It is important in any grooming salon not to waste shampoo. After all, most shampoo used by grooming professionals is concentrated and needs to be diluted. If we don’t dilute shampoo correctly, there is a lot of wasted product and that is like throwing money out the window. Diluting product correctly is important in terms of performance as well. In order to have a product provide a solution for the pet and perform as the manufacture intended, we must pay attention to the dilution rate. If the product is overdiluted, it may not have the ability to do what it should do. If the product is under diluted, take some extra time to rinse and to rehydrate the coat. It is important to remember that when you under dilute a product, there is more surfactant being used than what the manufacturer recommends. In order to keep the skin and coat in optimal condition, it is necessary to rehydrate the coat.

Once you are finished bathing for the day, take any shampoo that has been diluted and discard it in order to prevent bacteria forming in the mixing bottles. We all hate to waste shampoo, so if you have any energy left, it may be a great time to bathe your personal dog with what is left over from the day. Don’t forget to clean out those mixing bottles thoroughly to remove any product in the bottle!

Water Temperature

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

The normal body temperature for dogs (100.2-102.8 degrees Fahrenheit) are significantly higher than that of normal human body temperature.  Because of this, dogs and cats tolerate cooler temperatures better than humans.  Temperatures that may seem comfortable to us may not feel comfortable to the pet.  When selecting appropriate water temperature when bathing, always select a temperature that is comfortable for the pet, rather than the person bathing.

Unfortunately, there is not a universal water temperature that is ideal for all situations.  It is important evaluate the skin and coat before determining the appropriate temperature.  In general, cool to lukewarm water temperatures are generally healthier. Warm temperatures are normally drying to the skin as it breaks down essential body oils and causes the skin cells to separate.  When essential body oils are broken down, the end result is skin that is dehydrated and depleted of nutrients. Warm water temperature should be avoided if a pet has sensitive, irritated, or dry skin. Warm water could potentially cause additional irritation to the skin.

Warm water is not good for pets that have dry, irritated, or sensitive skin, but it is good for pets that have oily skin.  Warm water is a natural solution for removing excess oil therefore it is recommended for bathing and rinsing greasy skin and coat.

The final rinse when bathing a pet whether the skin and coat are dry or oily should be with cool water.  The final cool rinse allows for the remaining body oils to coagulate which, in turn, allows for proper hydration of the skin.  In addition, a final cool water rinse calms nerve endings and provides temporary relief from itching.

5 Ways to Honey Can Improve Skin and Coat for Our Canine Friends

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

Honey is often associated as a healthy sweetener for humans, but you might be surprised to learn the amazing benefits this ingredient has for improving the condition of the skin and coat for our canine friends. Now this does not mean we want you to run out and put raw honey on your best canine companion. However, look for products that contain raw honey so your pet can reap all the wonderful benefits form this delightful ingredient. One of our favorites is Espree’s Milk and Honey Shampoo.

1. Moisture Retention

Honey is a natural humectant. It draws moisture into the skin and retains that moisture for long -lasting hydration.

2. Hair Growth
It strengthens the hair follicle for healthy growth.

3. Pore Cleanser

The enzymes in honey clarify the skin and keep the pores clean and clear because of its phenomenal cleansing properties.

4. Expedites Healing

Honey has an abundance of antiseptic and anti-microbial properties which helps accelerate the healing process for minor wounds, abrasions, and cuts. The anti inflammatory and antibacterial compounds in honey also help the tissue regenerate and allows the skin to recover.

5. Prevents Bacterial Growth

The antibacterial and antifungal properties of honey thwarts bacteria that can lead to a multitude of skin issues. The anti-inflammatory properties will help calm redness and irritation as well.

Winterize Your Pet!

Shannon Moore, NCMG Director of Grooming Education Espree Animal Products

Cooler temperatures are here and the Holidays are right around the corner.  In most areas, the weather is going to continue to get colder and colder.  Here are 3 things you can do to help winterize your pet when it comes to grooming maintenance:

#1 Keep your pet mat and tangle free.  We always like to keep our pet’s hair longer this time of year to help keep them warmer.  It is important to keep them mat and tangle free whether you do it yourself or you take them to your groomer for bath and brush outs.  When your dog gets matted and mats are close to their skin, your dog has a harder time regulating their body temperature.  In addition to making it more difficult for them to stay warm. Moisture can get trapped in the matting and cause major skin issues.

#2 Deep conditioning Treatments will help keep the skin and coat in good condition. When the heat comes on in the house, the skin and coat tend to dry out.  The coat becomes brittle and the skin gets flakey. Then sometimes we even add a sweater, which keeps their skin from being able to breathe.  Keeping your pet on a regular schedule for baths and routine brush outs with deep conditioning treatments will help keep your pet in tip top condition.

#3 Don’t forget to protect the pads of their feet.  The sand and salt trucks are seen regularly during the winter months.  And the ground is freezing cold.  After all, we break out our heavies socks and boots to help protect out feet.  Espree’s Paw Balm is a great way to provide natural protection for your pets feet when going outside.  Not only does it help lock in moisture, it also provides a breathable, dense, and protective barrier between the pad of the foot and the cold ground even in the most extreme weather conditions. Say good-bye to the irritating sand, ice, and snow that gets stuck to the pads of the feet or even between the pads!

Know Your Product!

Melinda Owsley, Heart and Style Gooming  |  Maysville, KY

My favorite part of getting my hair done, as infrequent as that is, is how amazing it feels after my hairdresser uses her magic products and tools. I can’t make it look/feel that way at home which is part of why I pay her and tip her well. She has the knowledge to deal with my hair texture and produce the most amazing results.
Is this not also our job, Groomers? Or Petstylist? Are we not also responsible for finding the product combination that produces the best results?
My old business partner used Dawn dish soap on every dog. I’m not talking just your dirty greasy jobs… Or your flea ridden dogs… I mean every dog and only that with no other product… Ok so they were squeaky clean. But how was their texture? How did  the coat lay? How did they smell? And for the love of all that’s holy, did they go home and dig themselves raw? It probably wasn’t as good as it could’ve been…
Part of how we build a reputation as a knowledgeable stylist includes product selection… Especially as today’s people are becoming more educated about chemicals, it is imperative that you find a naturally-based, organic whenever possible, company.
Espree offers a wide array of products That are affordable, dilute well, and produce amazing results. All the while offering an organic, plant-based ingredient list.
One of my favorite dogs to groom are Maltese… It’s because I know that when I use the product combination that I use, it is such a magnificent transformation from when the dog came in. I don’t fear static, light flyaway hair, or spindly legs because I can hide it all if I use a volumizing shampoo, texturizing rinse, and light scissoring spray….
Shampoo isn’t “just shampoo” as I’ve heard it often stated… It could be your signature, it can be your aid, it can be your time saver, and it will set you apart from the competition that uses Dawn…

Dental As An Add-On Service!

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

Add-ons in the salon are continuing to gain popularity with groomers and their clientele.  Offering dental services is one of the most popular and one of the most beneficial to the pets and their owners.  Teeth that are covered with plaque and tartar build up can cause a myriad of problems because of the body’s inability to fight off the bacteria.  Good oral hygiene is imperative to keeping a pet healthy.

The fee for a dental add-on varies depending on location and clientele in the salons.  Regardless of whether you charge $3 or $35 for a dental service add add-on, the end goal should be to remove as much plaque and tartar as possible in addition to something to freshen the breath.  Owners have a tendency to equate fresh breath with clean teeth.  That is not necessarily the case.

There are many dental products to choose from on the market.  Many do an amazing job of freshening the breath, but it is just as important to tackle the plaque and tartar build up.  As a professional stylist, I prefer to use a disposable toothbrush with a brushless gel to brush the dog’s teeth.  Even though most products claim that there is no brushing required, when a toothbrush is added, it expedites the process of helping to remove plaque and tartar.  I prefer to finish the dental service with an oral care spray.  That is great to freshen the breath and help remove the fresh plaque and tartar. When you focus on removing as much tartar and plaque build- up rather than just focusing on breath, you can make a visible difference with the inflammation of the gums. After all, we want to see results quickly with the dental add-ons.  Faster results are best for the pet, the pet’s owner, and the pet’s groomer.

Style On!

Sarah Drouin NCMG – Pet Tech CPR CErtified – Award Winning Stylist –

A well known comedian tried to make a joke about a pet professional recently. I think his comment was something to the effect , that he saw a mobile van that said “Pet Styles by Stephon”.
His joke was, no you offer dog grooming by Stephen. He claims we are just dog groomers. Just someone who shaves dog hair off of dogs.
The way he said the tried  “joke” was that we are beneath the average person making a career out of what they are passionate about.
Well, now I know that us as Pet professionals get that we are not; and that it’s very disheartening to hear someone try and put down a group of professionals. Especially in such a public way.
It’s easy to get up in arms about it. What I think is, it’s truly a shame he has this ignorance to our industry.
I know some amazing people who do more than just shave hair off of a dog.
These people have hearts made of gold, they can take criticism on a daily basis, make dogs transform within a few hours, build relationships with the clients and most importantly the dogs on their table.
We have a place in our hearts for these dogs and care for their well being. The list really goes on, as far as what we do daily for each of our clients.
I can tell you, most clients appreciate what we do. The dogs appreciate what we do. So if you want to say you’re a “Pet Stylist”, do it.
Styling a pet can be really rewarding. We all have clients who like a really nice close haircut. However we still have our own styles in how we achieve that. We also still style the face to match that short body, with so many different head styles and shapes and coat types it can be a fun challenge into “styling” them up!
So, to all of my “Pet Stylist”; Style on!!!! Remember you’re not ready to be talked about , you’re not ready for the success as one once said!

Making A Dog Who Has Never Been Bathed/Groomed Feel Like New

Brian Tupes, About Pets Center  |  Salem VA

At some point you have seen it walk through the door. The dog that looks like it has been left outside its whole life and never been bathed or groomed. It is important to make this dog feel as relaxed and comfortable as possible during the whole process.

Having a relaxing calm environment is a must to reassure the pet.The way you talk to the dog will set the tone for the groom. Soft soothing tones from you will let them know there is nothing to fear,also call them by name as much as often as you can. The bathing ritual should be very relaxing for the dog.

I find the Espree line of shampoo and conditioners a great asset to establishing this experience. The scents in this line of products helps to calm an anxious dog during the bathing process. I personally want to make this time with the dog to be the most relaxing it can be.The shampoo make a great cleansing lather getting a squeeky clean coat. A little neck massage, circular hip rub down and a good butt rub seem to do the trick. It gets them into enjoying the bath.

When I get the eyes rolling up into their head I know it is working. Next the conditioner gives the coat its luster and softness without weighing down the hair. Really work it in with your fingers the dog enjoys this as well. Let the conditioner soak in a bit. If the dog has serious eye boogers dab some conditioner on with your finger ( Careful of the eyes here ) and gently rub on. In a few seconds it will loosen up those rock hard drainage clumps and makes removing them a snap. Rinse the coat thoroughly, dry well, and you will have a soft, clean, very relaxed dog to work with on your grooming table.

Obesity shortens lives! Check out our tips to help maintain your pet’s weight!



We see it all the time. A funny video of a fat cat online, barely able to jump onto a ledge. A chubby dog that can hardly get through his doggy door. Thousands of pictures of fat animals laying on their side with a hilarious caption about being lazy or not wanting to exercise. While very amusing to be sure, obesity in animals is just as serious as it is for humans. However we are much more likely to overlook our pet’s weight problems at the expense of their health due to either ignorance, laziness or just not caring. That’s why it is important to be informed about your pet’s weight and help them maintain a healthy lifestyle, so you can spend as much time with them as possible.

There are several ways to help control your animal’s weight. While many seem obvious, you should always consult a veterinarian first before trying anything, even a simple diet.

First, of course, is portion control. Are you leaving food out all the time? This alone is a huge cause of weight gain in domestic pets. When your cat or dog can eat anytime they want, then they end up consuming far more daily calories than is necessary. Yes, you might only see them take a little bit at a time, but each small portion adds up when they can do it many times a day. Maintaining strict food control is extremely important in ensuring that they only eat as much as required.

When trying to help them lose weight, cutting back on their food at first can be trying. They may be used to eating all the time and can become irritable, but after while they will get used to it. Again, please remember to consult a veterinarian before you attempt a diet for your pets. Cats especially need to have carefully portioned amounts of food, or they can suffer from hepatic lipidosis, otherwise known as Fatty Liver Disease. Cutting back too dramatically on their food intake can cause this, so always be sure before you do anything.

The next issue is very closely tied to the first. Treats. Are you giving your pet too many? Dogs especially can take in way more than they need due to eating too many pet treats or worse, human food. Some dog owners give their dog a treat each time they go to the bathroom, each time they set down to eat, and sometimes just because the dog has become used to getting a treat at a certain time. Cut down on this by limiting the amount of treats you hand out and if you must give them one, try training treats. They are generally very small, contain less calories and still perform the same function.

Finally, exercise. Even some of us find this to be a chore at times and your pets can be no different. Cats especially, due to their domestic lifestyle, can easily fall into a downward spiral of obesity. If you have the rare cat that likes to go running with you, congratulations! You have it easy and probably should film this too when it happens. For the rest of us, there are several ways to help get your cat burn some calories. Change where they eat occasionally. This works especially well if you have a two story home, as they have to travel farther for their meal. Try to also find time and play with them at least twice a day for ten minute intervals. Laser pointers, sticks with fake mice on the end; anything to make them move around just a bit more than they normally would.

Fortunately, dogs are much easier. Walks are top of the list. Get out there and walk your dog at least once a day, ideally for at least twenty minutes. Not only will this help them, but give you a great chance to exercise as well. Throwing balls, socializing at dog parks, doggy day care; all of this will have your dog moving around much more than a lazy day at home.

Remember, animal obesity can have as much effect on animals as it does humans. It shortens their lifespan, causes serious issues later in life and overall makes for a less enthusiastic pet. Even if you suspect your pet looks fine, it is always important to check with a veterinarian to be sure they are at the optimal weight. Keep your pets feeling fit, healthy and happy and you will have a friend for many more years to come.