Taking a shower – most of us do it twice a day so we should be experts even when it comes to giving our pets a bath isn’t it? Hell, even some professional pet groomers aren’t doing a good job.
So today I’d like to offer some advice and hopefully you’d learn something new. Apart from its purpose of keeping your pets clean, proper pet grooming technique aids in promoting skin health, although the opposite is also true – when done carelessly, may lead to skin problems. Here’s what you need:
- Squeeze bottle. Those selling for a dollar in hardware shops for chilli sauce.
- Quality shampoo. Doesn’t have to be expensive. I like to look for those that are sulphate free. Most soaps have sulphate based surfactants which are cause for irritation and other problems manufacturers don’t want us to know. An alternative is to look for Cocamidopropyl betaine, a coconut oil derived surfactant used in most organic product as the main cleansing ingredient.
- Quality conditioner. Again, doesn’t have to be expensive. If possible, look for products without mineral oil (or look out for key words like paraffin or petrolatum) and silicone (chemical names ending with -cone e.g. dimethicone, -conol or -siloxane). Or else, make sure they are at the bottom of the ingredients’ list.
- Mix the shampoo in the squeeze bottle and mix it with 5-10 parts water. How much water to dilute is up to you. As long it’s easy to apply and it foams sufficiently, then it’s OK. Why dilute? The reason is that all shampoo leaves residue no matter how well you think you have rinse it away. Diluting prevents too much residue from accumulating on one area of the skin and coat. Secondly, diluted shampoo spreads easily, rinses easily and saves money!
- If it’s a treatment shampoo, please leave it on for 5 minutes or as directed.
- As residue does more harm than good, it’s imperative that the shampoo get rinsed off thoroughly until the coat feels squeaky.
- Dilute the conditioner like you did with the shampoo and apply it to the whole body. Pay extra attention to the armpit, legs and undercarriage as these are places usually neglected during brushing and more commonly exposed to factors that cause tangles.
- Similarly, make sure you rinse off the conditioner thoroughly. A thoroughly rinsed should feel powdery, not slick and oily. A good conditioner should not feel too smooth as it’s a good indication that there is too much silicon or mineral oil in it.
- Once a month, mix a teaspoon of baking soda into the shampoo (you may add unfiltered apple cider vinegar too if you want to) and shampoo your pet as usual. This removes the residual build-up and clarifies the hair shaft and skin, making treatment products work better as well as to add volume to the coat. You can even use it on your own hair once a week!
Even when the conditioner indicates that they can be left on or rinsed lightly, my past experience has shown that it may cause skin problems rather than help it. One possible explanation may be that because of Singapore’s humid weather, the conditioner retains excessive moisture on the skin and coat, creating a moist environment that promotes bacterial and fungal growth. Most pet products, including food, are designed and used in cooler climates and we have to keep that in mind.
If you need any more pet grooming tips, let us know what you would like to be featured!