About a month ago I had a neighbour knock on my door asking about my grooming services.  He had met a client of mine on the street and was surprised to know there was a pet grooming business in his neighbourhood.  He came asking about how much I would charge for his shetland sheepdog.  (sheltie)  I was pretty excited because they are my favourite dogs to groom and I don't have any regulars!  I told him I would have to give him a price range because he didn't have his dog with him and I have seen shelties vary greatly in size and thickness of coat.  After giving him a range, he seemed to think my base price was high and said, "FOR JUST A BATH?!"  I explained it is not just a bath, it is a full grooming package and listed off everything a sheltie needs in order to stay healthy and looking their best.  I haven't heard from him, which is fine because he made a few comments suggesting I made too much money and I don't need a client like that anyways!  

This rendezvous crossed my mind today and gave me an idea!  The reason for this blog entry is to explain in depth the most important part of the grooming process: The Bath.

A professional bath will make or break a quality groom.  You will not take home a beautifully groomed pet if there is dirt, oil or un-rinsed product left on the dog.  Aside from being esthetically pleasing, a professional bath will also improve the health of your pet.  The bathing system and dryers allow the groomer to see right down to the skin.  Often issues such as lice/fleas, dandruff and hotspots are first detected by the groomer.  New lumps under the skin and any changes are noticed when the dogs are on a regular grooming schedule. 

This is A.C. a pug crossed with a chihuahua that I groomed today.  Forgive the pictures it was taken with my cell phone :)  He will be modeling the steps in the bathing process. 

 

I have recently started using a recirculating bathing system.  With this system I have been able to reduce the amount of water consumption and shampoo used on the dog.  It is a fantastic method of bathing animals.  As opposed to handwashing and scrubbing with my fingers, this system immediately breaks the surface tension on the coat with the soapy solution.  It penetrates right down to the skin and flushes away any dirt and grime. The water pressure also loosens and removes the dead coat eliminating the need to brush excessively.  


A sprinkle of baking soda is added to every fresh bath.  Baking soda is a natural degreaser and helps to neutralize acids on the skin and wash away excess oil.  It also exfoliates to remove dead skin cells.  Baking soda is known to relieve skin irritations, rashes, bug bites and sunburn.  While your pet is being bathed, their pads are also soaking in baking soda making their paw pads softer.


Spa Lavish's Blueberry and Vanilla Facial is applied to the muzzle, cheeks, and chin of every dog.  This product deodorizes and will help reduce the staining of tears and saliva.  It has a lovely fragrance that lingers after the bath and will make you want to nuzzle your pet all day long. 


A.C. just after getting his facial.  Letting it sit for a minute or two enhances the performance of the product. 




Depending on the coat type, a conditioner solution is pumped through the coat.  Show Season's Chrome Coat is made with Amodimethicone that does not suffer build up and actually seeks out cuticle damage to fill in "as needed", restoring coats and adding shine. 

Afterwards, fresh water is used to rinse the dog completely.  By this time you can be sure your dog will be squeaky clean from the tips of his hairs to the pores in his skin. 



The bathing process is my favourite part of the groom.  I absolutely love watching dirt go down the drain and getting the coat squeaky clean.  Groomers have access to countless products that cater to every coat and skin type.  Part of the fun during the bath is choosing what shampoo will suit the dog the best.  I believe in having many more than one all purpose shampoo and invest lots of money in finding the best products on the market. 



The drying process is also key to a perfect groom.  Kennel drying just won't cut it.   Hair looks its best when its "set" and blow dried properly.  I have two different kinds of dryers.  One is a force dryer that literally sprays the water right off the dog, while removing even more dead hair.  The other is a heated dryer that is less forceful and is great for getting curly coats straight.  All dogs are dried immediately after the bath, guaranteeing a proper blow dry. 



Here's A.C after a final once over with a brush and comb and a slight trim all over.  All done and ready to go home.   Now where is mom?  :)