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.

The Holiday Season Is Here!

Sarah Drouin NCMG – VIP PET SALON – Pet Tech CPR Certified – Award winning

The holiday season is here! With that being said, I think we should cover a few bases for safety.

First if you do have a tree inside, tree water, which may contain fertilizers that can cause stomach upset. Stagnant tree water is a breeding ground for bacteria, and your pet could end up with nausea or diarrhea should he consume.

Tensile, you know that really pretty stuff; cats like that too! If they should swallow it, dehydration and possible surgery. It’s best to brighten your boughs with something other than tinsel.

Wires and electric are everywhere, oh my! Batteries and glass or plastic ornaments out of reach. A wire can deliver a potentially lethal electrical shock and a punctured battery can cause burns to the mouth and esophagus, you can never be too safe.

You may abide by your rules of no people food, but what about sweet granny? She can’t say no to Bella’s sweet begging eyes! It’s probably best to keep them secured in their own secluded space. A Room of Their Own: Give your pet his own quiet space to retreat to, complete with fresh water and a place to snuggle.

Have great holidays and be considerate of your pets!

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.

The Importance Of Letting Owners Know

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

Of course, we let the owners know when there are strange bumps and lumps popping up on the dog’s skin.  After all, we have our hands on the pets more frequently than just about anyone. The owners are almost always grateful for letting them know so they can take their pet to the vet for diagnosis and treatment.  But what about those spots that show up that we have accidentally caused (or at the time, we think we were likely to blame) ? Every groomer I know has some type of healing cream or Aloe Witch Hazel Spray to help quickly heal those areas that were brush burned or clipper burned.  It’s not like this happens every day but every once in awhile, it does happen regardless of how careful we are. We are human, we make mistakes and accidents can happen.  But did you ever stop and think that maybe it is not your fault and something medically could be going on with the pet?

Groomer’s are our own worst critics.  We immediately place the blame on ourselves or the products we have chosen to use if spots start to show up on the skin when we are grooming the pet or shortly thereafter.  I always try to provide immediate relief if I see this on a pet that I am grooming, but I also let the owner know.  If it happens more than once, I recommend the pet see their regular veterinarian for blood work.   I become suspicious of an autoimmune disease in the dog.  Sometimes what appears to be brush burn (or clipper burn) is actually something going wrong with the immune system.  The immune system plays a vital role in maintaining the body’s overall general health and resistance to disease.  Sometimes, things can go wrong with the immune system.  Normal handling and brushing can trigger an immune dysfunction with dog’s suffering from autoimmune disease.

Since environmental as well as genetic factors can “trigger” an immune dysfunction, I am more likely now to refer the dog to the vet when these unwarranted “spots” show up from normal handling and brushing.  Stepping outside of your comfort zone (of course, we don’t want to be blamed for causing these unusual skin irritations), recommending the owner takes the dog to their veterinarian may allow for proper diagnosis of an autoimmune disease that could have been left unattended for a long time!

5 Must Haves for Foster Parents of Rescue Dogs

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

Fostering a rescue dog can be a rewarding experience.  You have a chance to help a dog in need and offer a rewarding experience for them to start a new life!  It does require consistent care by providing a safe and suitable environment, food and water, basic training, and most importantly lots of love and socialization.  The foster experience can last a few days to several weeks or months depending on the pet and situation.  We have comprised a “must have “ list to help make the foster experience as rewarding for you and the animal.

#1 Wire Crate: This will provide a safe-haven for the animal while you are way from home.  A wire crate also gives them a space to call their own. It keeps the pet safe from hazards such as electrical cords, plants that may be chewed, glass that could be knocked over, or small items or children’s toys that may be eaten.

#2 Toys: Not only will toys keep the pet from becoming bored, but they will also help bring out the pet’s personality.  In order to avoid spending a small fortune on toys, I put a few toys down one day and then pick them up and change the toys out for the next day.  Your foster will think they get new toys every day, when in reality you are recycling them.

#3 Shampoo: Espree’s Hypoallergenic or Espree’s Tea Tree & Aloe Shampoo work great for rescue dogs.  The Hypoallergenic is great for dogs with sensitivities while getting them squeaky clean.  If skin issues are present, then the Tea Tree & Aloe is the perfect choice. The lather well, clean the skin and coat, and provide an abundance of hydration.  This wholesome solution will not only have your foster looking and smelling better, but feeling better too!

#4 Pet Wipes: Espree Perfect Calm Pet Wipes are great for cleaning up minor accidents and spot cleaning when you don’t have time for a full bath.  They are infused with Lavender and Chamomile to help with anxiety and stress.

#5 Wound Cream: Espree’s 3 in 1 Healing Cream is a must for anyone with a pet.  Pet wounds are particularly challenging.  Pets just can’t leave the area alone.  # in 1 Healing Cream is formulated with Bitrex to stop licking and chewing while Yeast Extract ad Aloe promote healing and cell regeneration.

Styling Products Are All The Rage!

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

What about the everyday pet that walks into our grooming salons?  Is there a place for styling products in the salons?  Absolutely!  However, everything in moderation.  Styling products are great to use if you are doing a groom with an Asian Show dogs and grooming competition dogs use styling products on a regular basis to achieve that “just stepped out of the show ring” look.  Styling products have really evolved over the years with an increased demand to “fix” coat issues.  The products are not only used for topknots and spray ups, but also to add texture, density, and volume to a coat.  There are styling products specifically designed to use on topknots and the head to help the hair stand up such as a root lift.  Then, volume mousse to help obtain volume in leg hair.  Volume spray to help with scissoring and adding texture to coats that are soft.  And, of course, the famous shine spray! A must have for every groomer and show handler to add that winning touch to their finished masterpiece. These products are great for these types of dogs and trims.

Also, if you have “not so good” coat and you need a bit of lift or texture to get those legs columned or the hocks to stand up. And for puppy coats that are supposed to be a curly coat, and they are so soft and silky they resemble the silky texture of a yorkie.  Remember, the show dogs and competition dogs can sometimes be loaded with product.  This product needs to be broken down after they have shown or competed.  How do you break down the product? With my dogs and many show dogs, the product is immediately washed out.  Yes.. another bath.  If I am not going to bathe and condition the coat (maybe I am showing the next day),  I will at least use a conditioning spray and brush through the coat to separate and divide the hair.  My personal favorite is Espree’s Aloe Hydrating Spray (I am addicted to this spray), because it maintains perfect hydration while the coat is separated and divided without leaving a residue.  You cannot feel it I the coat and it improves the elasticity of the coat.

When we send a client dog home, the chances of dog’s coat being sprayed with a conditioning spray is slim to none.  We all know that!  In reality,  we don’t want to use a lot of styling products to “junk up the coat”.  After all, it is just as important to keep the skin and coat in great condition, so when the dog comes back its topknot is not glued to its head with a bow that is 2 seasons behind.  Or, its leg hair is so matted that a #7 smoothie is the only option.  The bath and prep must be top notch and the brush out must be complete.  I will use styling products sparingly with salon dogs.  Less is better, so I use them very sparingly. I always comb through the coat after applying the products too, since they more than likely will not be broken down.  I use styling products on my clients to give them a little extra help with their coat, but I am taking every precaution so I don’t damage the coat.  Happy Styling!