If you think that a squeaky clean dog with a shiny coat is all about the products, then you need to put that bottle back on the shelf and move over to the food isle because it all starts with good nutrition backed by genetics. A great coat starts with feeding your dog the highest quality food you can afford or one that's suited to your dog's nutritional needs. Hair is mainly made of protein so a diet with high quality protein and essential fatty acids help to promote a shiny, healthy coat.
Now, back to the products! Everyone has a favorite shampoo or conditioner that they like to use but I've found that these three lines do a great job on both the dachshunds and the newfoundland: (note that coat and skin needs are very different from dog to dog so these products may not work for your dog)
- Isle of Dogs- By far one of the most used and liked brands by groomers on the show circut. Works for several types of coats and some skin issues. They now have a sulfate and parafin free line too.
- Plush Puppy- (not shown above) This is my favorite line for the dachshunds, leaves their coat so soft and smooth and smells incredibly good! I use the Natural Conditioning Shampoo with Evening Primrose. You can dilute it 1:1 to make it last longer. I follow it with the Natural Silk Protein Conditioner, but I'm dying to try the Coat Rescue now that the dachshunds have a drier coat.
- Kelco from The Shampoo Lady- I use Kelco Black Star Shampoo on Foyle, the newfoundland, which was recommended by the breeder and it works great! It looks like a big bottle but I've had it for over two years now! I like the natural ingredients in it and I've never had an issue with hot spots. I combine it with their Ultra Silk which has UV protection, and the De Mat Spray to help loosen up the snarls.
When you own a long coated or a double coated breed these products are amazing to help keep the coat from matting or to get those mats out! It will save you a ton of grooming time and be less painful for your dog. I use the Ice on Ice on Foyle before swimming (you can even use the Ultra Silk or De Mat Spray conditioners watered down) and spray the coat, focusing on feathers and belly hair, or anywhere it gets really tangled. Cowboy Magic Detangler is true magic! It only takes a little amount rubbed into the mat and you'll be able to comb through it much easier without ripping it out completely.
I usually wash the dachshunds in the kitchen sink, which my mom thinks is disgusting, but I think it's just easier than the tub, but when it comes to the newfoundland I use the Booster Bath. I used to just use his grooming table but this keeps you a bit drier. I also found a great sprayer at Griot's Garage, the Multi Pattern Hose Nozzle & Car Wash Dispenser where you can put your shampoo in the soap reservoir to mix with the water. There's a lock to keep the spray constant, and several settings depending on what spray you want. You do want good water pressure though to get down to the skin on a double coated breed. Finally, I use a pop up trash bin/leaf collector to get rid of shedding hair or for when you are trimming. Less clean up!
I'm going to show you a more efficient way to wash your dog which is important if you have multiple dogs or an elderly/sick/hurt dog that can't stand for very long. If you have questions feel free to ask your groomer too, they have seen all types of coat and will have good suggestions.
- Start by gathering all your products, non-slip mat, towels, ear cleaner, etc. that you use so it is all within reach. You don't want to leave your dog up in a high position then have to run around the house looking for items because they can jump out quickly! If it's a cooler day I always crank up the heat to keep them warm. Don't wash your newfie or large breed outside if it is cold out, take them to an indoor washing station and ask for extra time or extra water.
- Brush your dog out thoroughly and get as much dead hair and mats out as possible. No use wasting shampoo on dead hair! Put cotton balls in their ears carefully to avoid getting water down the ear shaft.
- Using luke warm water (not hot!) Soak your dog thoroughly starting at the back of the neck heading down the shoulders to the chest, then down the back, the back legs and tail, then the belly area. It's critical that you get all the way down to the skin to make sure the coat and the skin are clean and to help the shampoo lather better. I don't wet the face, you risk getting too much water in their ears so I use a damp towel.
- Here's one trick that a friend taught me to cut some time also: Mix your shampoo and your conditioner together and shake well. If there are a lot of mats and snarls I do them separately, otherwise I combine them.
- Add shampoo to areas in the same sequence making sure to get all the way down to the skin. Take care not to move your dog's legs in directions that they aren't able to go! Gentle massaging also feels good and relaxes nervous dogs.
- Once they are thoroughly covered rinse them out in the same sequence again very thoroughly. Once you think you are done, rinse the entire body one more time, top to bottom finishing with the feet and tail. It's absolutely critical to get all the shampoo out otherwise skin irritations can happen and with newfies that usually means hot spots! Lift up the hair until you can see skin while you are rinsing! Rinse in one direction so you aren't pushing shampoo back up into the coat.
- To help facilitate drying and to cut drying time down use a microfiber drying towel which pulls out an amazing amount of excess water. This can be a real time saver so get out as much water as possible with the towel.
- At this point I usually clean their ears, and brush their teeth.
- If it is warm out I let the dachshunds air dry, but you always want to dry a double coated dog to prevent skin infections. If their skin is healthy then I use a spray in conditioner like a watered down version of Ice on Ice or the De Mat Spray. For drying I use a hand dryer on cool for the dachshunds and the K-9 II dryer for Foyle. I start by "pushing" as much water out of the coat, always blowing in one direction so you don't end up blowing water back into the coat you just dried. I start at the back of the neck, heading around the chest, all down the back and sides, the stomach, then the legs and the tail. (I know one groomer that works from the back to the front but I only do that if I need to get air and lift into the coat for a show.) I end with a gentle speed behind the ears and around the face careful not to blow directly into the ear or the eyes.
There you have it! One squeaky clean dog....that could really use a trim! Yikes! Well, next week I will walk you through how I trim a longhair dachshund. It's a "pet trim" but one that you can manage to do by yourself with a few of the tools that I showed you in last week's GrooMonday post. If you have tips and tricks or a product that you like to use and has great results please let us know!