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Alma Road Veterinary Hospital

A Few Notes On Home-Bathing And Veterinary Shampoos

When customers trot into the salon clutching their own shampoo and ask me to bathe their dog in it, the answer is always the same, "No". The basis of a great groom is excellent prep work. The ingredients in the veterinary prescribed shampoos can damage our equipment.

There are several reasons for this.

Veterinary prescribed shampoos contain chemicals which I do not wish to come into contact with, especially on a regular basis. I will not subject my staff to them either.

Veterinary shampoos have been developed to "heal" various skin conditions. Each use differing techniques to do this, but all are designed to make the product linger on the hair or skin, making them all but impossible to rinse off the dog (or your hands) which is vital.

One such technique is the use of nano-sphere technology, where the active ingredient in the shampoo is encapsulated a tiny ball called a sphereulite. These break down over a period of time, releasing the active ingredient onto your dog's skin.

All the chemicals in Veterinary Shampoos are designed to easily cross through the dog's skin and into the tissues. Guess what. They cross the skin and into the groomer too. We don't use gloves because we need to feel your dog all over and be sure that every bit of it has been washed and every bit has been rinsed out.

Dog shampoos do not have to list their ingredients. Since Wildwash started to do this, some of the better ones have followed suit. Without the MSDS Sheet for the shampoo the client is clutching in her hands, I have no idea what is in it.

That means that the dog is squeaky clean, knot free and absolutely bone dry before I can even pick up my clippers or scissors.

But if you can't rinse the product completely and 100% off the dog's skin and coat you will be unable to get that finish.

Grooming is a lot like decorating, where the final result depends entirely on the preparation that's been put in beforehand. Rubbish prep always results in a rubbish groom.

Even Emma Taylor would fail dismally to produce a decent groom on your dog if the finish wasn't perfect before she started.

There are hundreds of dog shampoos on the market. Some are excellent, using only high quality organic ingredients. Others are harsh, stripping all the grease out of the dog's coat and laden with chemicals and scents.

Because my hands are immersed in shampoo five times a day, every day, (not once every 4 - 6 weeks like my clients dogs are) I have to be absolutely sure that:

1) I am not inadvertently ingesting any chemicals that I don't want to and

2) That my hands are not going to be stripped of their natural oils and so become dry or cracked.

Damaged, sore or cracked hands prevent me, your groomer from making a living.

I learned this the hard way when sphereulite shampoos first entered the market. They act like glue, gumming up clipper blades so that they drag through the coat leaving horrific clipper marks. This of course strains the motor which will eventually give up the ghost. A £250 mistake you cannot afford to make a regular occurrence.

Scissoring becomes a nightmare as the blades cut through then drag over the crushed nano-spheres which have started to release their agent into the coat.

Effectively you're now working on a "damp" coat and it will be impossible to get a good finish.

And why we won't groom a "Home Bathed" dog either...

Our equipment is extremely sensitive and very expensive. Replacement blades are required for the Wahl Mini Clippers and at £23 each, we make 100% sure that there is no grit in between those toes to dull the blade!

But the home-bathed dog will have walked from the car to the salon at the very least, picking up grit, even if the owner did a brilliant job of bathing, and, lets face it, most of them don't have the skills or the equipment to do that.

Neither will the dog have been blasted or fluff-dried straight enough for my trim to be even.

It is my reputation at the end of the owners lead, so this is the reason why I won't groom a dog that I have not prepared myself.

I'm not prepared to play Russian Roulette with my health.

A groomers hands are her business tools. Please don't be offended.
© Katie Rourke Dowding ~ Centre Stage Dog Grooming
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"A good groom is never cheap and a cheap groom is never good" ~ Jackie Grimmett