Today you can choose from a huge variety of specialty spa-type grooming products for dogs, including “finishers”, fragrances and other items that do everything from enhancing gloss and coat color to adding volume and scent.
Many of these products are geared towards those who show their dogs, but they’re also popular with people who regard their canine companions as family members and want them to look, feel and smell as good as possible. The best news is that you don’t have to resort to chemicals and synthetic perfumes to give Fifi a makeover – there are lots of safe, natural products to choose from.
Color me pretty
Color enhancing products aren’t just for humans. You can also get them for your dog. Several companies manufacture shampoos and finishers that are especially formulated to bring out the hues and highlights in your canine’s coat. Bio-Groom, for example, offers color enhancing shampoos for black, brown and white or light-coated dogs. They contain pearlescent brighteners that intensify the natural coat color without the use of artificial dyes or bleaches, which can be toxic and harmful. The company also has two finishing products to enhance black or white coats. They are made with spray-on chalk and can be used to cover stains, discolorations or blemishes as well as improve coat color. The chalk doesn’t rub off, although it can be easily washed out of the dog’s hair when required.
Look, no tangles!
Brushing a longer-haired dog can be a problem if her hair tends to get tangled and matted. Detangling products can be used after or between baths to help get rid of knots and make it easier to brush out the dog’s coat. Many of these products are also formulated to enhance the coat’s health and appearance. Bio-Groom has a coat gloss and tangle remover that also repels dirt and dust, while Trilogy’s Bath Fresh Mist contains herbal and fruit extracts and plant botanicals that deodorize and nourish the coat as well as detangle it.
Many conditioners are also specially designed to detangle hair. Dogma and Fetch has a coconut lime conditioner that gets rid of tangles while shining up the coat. It contains hydrolyzed vegetable proteins that restore damaged hair and glycerine to moisturize the coat.
As diligent as you are with your dog’s bathing and grooming, she’ll sometimes smell less than pleasant. Mists, spritzers, and deoderizers are just a few of the things you can use to help get rid of that doggy odor. Just be sure to look for products that are free of detergents and surfactants. “Our Aromatherapy Dog Mists contain no petroleum or wood alcohol that can dry a dog’s skin and coat,” says Nancy Green of Pet Botanica. “Instead, we use a minimal amount of food-grade corn ethanol, and up to 5% pure grade essential oil, with no synthetic fragrances.” This combination of ingredients helps keep the dog’s coat fresh without the stickiness often associated with commercial spray-on scents. “The mists also contain certified organic aloe vera, which is known for its soothing and healing properties.”
These and other products can be used to keep dogs smelling fresh at any time, not just after a bath. “I have a fur freshener to freshen up your dog’s fur between baths,” says Crystal Merkel of Scrub Your Butt Soap Co. This deodorizing spray contains a blend of blood orange and clary sage essential oils. The blood orange offers fragrance while the clary sage helps tone the dog’s skin.
You can even get aromatherapy bath salts to add to your dog’s bathwater. DERMagic Skin Care for Animals is one company that has formulated a blend of Dead Sea salts for dogs. They help draw toxins from the skin as well as freshen up her body. And for the ultimate in luxury, how about a natural canine cologne or perfume? Dogma & Fetch offers an eau de toilette for dogs that contains essential oils and green tea extract as well as vitamin E and panthenol, a B vitamin that strengthens hair.
Mellow out with massage
Massage isn’t just for sore muscles. By rounding out your dog’s grooming experience with an aromatherapy massage, you can also help calm her and treat her coat with healthful, fragrant essential oils. “We have a series of aromatherapy massage oils for dry-skin short-haired dogs,” says Dr. Adelia Ritchie of DERMagic. The oils are designed to help soothe skin problems as well as make the dog smell good. “They are all natural and certified organic where possible,” Adelia adds. “The ‘eucalemon’ [a combination of eucalyptus and lemongrass oils] is my favorite.” Dogma & Fetch also offers a multi-purpose massage oil for dogs. It contains arnica, rosemary and cinnamon oils to improve circulation and ease aches and pains, as well as aloe vera and apricot kernel oil to moisturize and soften the coat.