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Grooming Your Dog At Home Between Visits to the Spa

What can I do to prevent my dog from getting matted?

The biggest method of prevention is frequent brushing at home between grooms. Some dogs need brushing on a daily basis. Others may just need certain problem areas addressed more frequently. Others are fine unless they get wet, or wear a sweater, harness or collar that causes mattes. If you bathe your dog at home, you should certainly make sure to brush them out afterwards and ideally, dry them while brushing. Many of our clients choose to bring their dogs in baths between haircuts so that a professional can bathe and brush out any mattes in early stages before they develop into more severe problems.

What areas should I watch in particular for matting?

Every dog is different but the areas that are typically problematic include behind/under the ears, around the neck and chest (where collar or harness rubs), in the underarm area and around the tail area. Small, long haired dogs may also have more mattes on the underside of their body due to the fact that it touches the ground when the walk. Spaniels or dogs with long ear hair may also matt on their actual ears. Curly haired dogs may also experience matting around their mouths. Ask your groomer to help you identify your dog's specific problem areas.

What type of brush do you recommend for me to use at home?

A pin or bristle brush is usually fine for short hair breeds. For those dogs with longer hair, a slicker brush is probably the best option. We also recommend that long haired dog owners have a fine-toothed comb on hand to help you locate and remove any mattes that do arise so that you can get them out before they become severe. We offer all of these brush varieties in our boutique, and can special order any that we don't have on hand.

What type of shampoo should I use when I bathe my dog at home?

Many of our customers like our shampoo and conditioner that we use in the spa so much that they purchase bottles of it in our boutique to use at home between visits. It is really a personal preference but certain factors should impact your choice. If your dog has dry or itchy skin, an oatmeal based shampoo will provide some relief. If your dog has a problem with fleas, you may want to choose one that includes neem oil, which offers natural, non-toxic relief from fleas as well as skin-soothing properties. If your dog has a longer coat or has dry hair, you may want to opt for one that has extra moisture. Whatever you use, we recommend opting for products that are chemical free and do not contain artificial colors or scents. At minimum, choose an option that is soap free and formulated specifically for dogs.

Can I use human shampoo, or baby shampoo to bathe my dog?

A dog has a different ph balance than humans therefore you should always use something that is formulated for them rather than sharing your favorite shampoo and conditioner. Baby shampoo is one of the worst things you can use because it is incredibly drying to a dog's scent. Unfortunately, we continue to get reports of veterinarians that recommend this to their customers because it does not burn their eyes. There are many tearless options formulated for dogs so it is not necessary to sacrifice the health of their skin and coat to prevent burning their eyes.

Do I have to use conditioner when I bathe my dog at home?

Whenever you bathe your dog, you are stripping the natural oils and moisture from their skin and coat. As a result, it's important to use a conditioner to add that moisture back in so that your dog maintains a healthy skin and coat. Conditioners also provide help with detangling for longer-haired dogs. If you are not willing to take the extra time to condition and rinse your dog after a shampoo, there are leave in options, or shampoos with conditioner built in that we can recommend as an alternative.

Is there any type of collar that I can use that won't cause mattes around my dog's neck?

Many groomers recommend rolled leather collars for dogs that have a tendency to matt at the neck. We often have these collars for sale in our boutique, and can always special order them for you in a variety of colors. You will need to know the circumference of your dog's neck in order to place an order for one of these collars. Matching leads are also available.

Is there something I can use between baths to keep my dog smelling as good as he does when you groom him?

Our SPA line of products that we use in the boutique includes colognes that match all the shampoo scents that we offer. These can be used as frequently as you like to maintain that just stepped out of the salon smell. We also have other products that provide the same pleasant aroma without bathing, and even products that actually clean and remove dirt and odors without using a water bath.