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Beyond Bath, Brush, Cut: Specialty Treatments

Perhaps your dog has sensitive skin or allergies. Or, maybe your pup stepped into some tar or gum, which seems impossible to remove at home. These are just a couple of unique circumstances which may require some additional primping beyond the basic bath and trim. We’ve broken down a variety of special grooming treatments offered by most groomers that are worth asking about, depending on your dog’s needs.

• An oatmeal bath provides soothing relief for dry skin, itching and irritation. A gentle formula designed for sensitive skin, this special shampoo will condition and help restore natural moisture to your dog’s skin and coat.

• A flea or tick shampoo is designed to remove these pests from your dog’s skin and coat on contact. The formula is designed specifically for this purpose, and does not contain harmful insecticides that could be dangerous to your dog.

Hypoallergenic shampoo is another gentle washing product free of dyes or perfumes, which can irritate the skin of dogs prone to allergies.

• De-skunking treatment is appropriate for a dog who has come into contact with a skunk and therefore absorbed an offensive odor. A specially formulated shampoo and/or solution typically with hydrogen peroxide, baking soda and lemon essential oil removes the smell.

• Hot oil treatment rejuvenates the skin by applying natural oils to offer maximum coat protection and conditioning.

beyond-bath-thumbnail• Relaxation massage is perfect for an older dog or pup with sore muscles or joints, arthritis or hip dysplasia who are in need of some relief and extra attention. Many salons offer special tubs with HydroSurge® technology, which provides invigorating and relaxing massage that increases blood circulation during the bathing process.

• A “pawdicure” treatment is…you guessed it, a full grooming for your dog’s nails. Clipping, filing, grinding, buffering and even a polish are available services at most salons.

• De-shedding treatment usually involves a specially formulated shampoo which will help loosen troublesome hair and thin out your dog’s undercoat to cause less shedding. Special brushes and high velocity dryers are typically employed to remove excess, dead fur.

Specially medicated baths are often offered for specific conditions such as dandruff or dermatitis. To that point, it’s always a good idea to inform your groomer ahead of time of any areas or issues that need special treatment.

• Hand Stripping or Carding is a grooming technique used for certain breeds such as terriers and spaniels. The process involves plucking the outer guard hairs after the coat is blown out with a dryer. The top coat is pulled out using fingers, a stripping knife or stripping stone in a steady rhythm. When complete, the top coat is completely removed to reveal a dense, soft undercoat.

Whitening treatment is typically offered for light-colored dogs who have stained coats due to environmental factors, diet, urine or saliva. Ask for a natural optical brightening or “blue shampoo,” which is used to remove light stains and cause the coat to more effectively reflect light, giving off the appearance of a whiter coat. Stay away from bleach or clarifying shampoos, which are very harsh and could permanently discolor your dog’s coat or cause other issues.

After reading this, you may have come to the conclusion that just about any special spa treatment available for humans, is available for dogs. …And you’d be right.