Don’t fall for the Marketing: Part 1


I recently gave a  dog grooming demonstration for  North Central Maltese Rescue.  I brought along a little bottle of dog shampoo a client had given me. Boy—was the packaging ever cute.  It was a little plastic milk-type bottle, and it had cute  writing on it that  said something about it being a  natural milk bath.

I have to give the company credit—because—even though they are not required to —by law—list the ingredients…they did. There was no milk in the shampoo—nor was there anything NATURAL  in the shampoo.

The problem for the client—who gave me the shampoo, was…her dog had skin allergies and sensitivities. The dog’s feet were swollen!  Her veterinarian told her to use a mild shampoo.

So, how are you going to find a mild shampoo if you don’t know how shampoo works?  We think, because we are Americans, and live in America, the GOVERNMENT makes sure companies don’t lie.  I don’t want to  get into a tirade about  capitalism and marketing.  I just want to say that you have to be an informed consumer…and sadly, very few dog groomers or veterinarians know enough about chemistry or care enough about how the cosmetic aspects of taking care of pet dogs.  Sadly, also,  the veterinarians make a lot of money off their ignorance if your dog has to be treated for an ear infection or skin problem.

What makes shampoo lather  is sodium—-salt.  Usually this is sodium laureth sulphate.  If you read the shampoo bottles,they also contain (no joke—go grab one!) ammonia, some form of benzene, and formaldehyde. Yes, ‘aqua’—a fancy name for water, and  fragrance (what the heck is ‘fragrance’?) & my very favorite:  ‘natural ingredients.’    We can thank the FOOD AND DRUG administration, Congress, and  chemical industry lobbyists for all this.

We can get information on this. It’s no secret.  And, since most  people don’t learn any chemistry until they get into high school, and then only if they choose to, we  essentially pay companies to poison us…but I digress.

What about the LD-50 test, to see how many animals die?  Or pouring  cleaning chemicals into rabbits eyes (which is still allowed)?  Do you know what the point of that cruelty is?  It’s not to make the chemicals in consumer products safer…I’ll tell you that.

We Americans are  in a tough situation, as we expect  cleaners to lather,  or we think they are not cleaning  (just as we expect vacuum cleaners to make noise—a waste of energy…)

Last year I worked for a very well educated businessman who chose a shampoo for  me to use based on the marketing. The product had spa in the name, & had a conditioner right in the shampoo.  The packaging was elegant,the shampoo smelled  nice—but  because conditioner counteracts the shampoo’s cleaning ability, it was almost impossible to rinse out (& I took time to do it—what about kennel staff who really didn’t care?) & it left a residue on the dog. It was designed to do that. You couldn’t see it on a light colored dog, but a dog that was liver or black you sure could…& it was ‘mild’ alright!  It didn’t do a good job of cutting oily dirt.

I don’t use anything that leaves a lingering scent. That scent is some chemical bonding to your dog’s skin, & I have no idea what it is. I use a non-scented hypoallergenic shampoo that dilutes 32 to 1.   I use this as it has less allergens than most shampoos, and some of my clients are allergic to fragrances.

HOWEVER, Double K makes the GRIMINATOR which dilutes 32 to 1, and will cut dirt & bacterial odor, and will leave a scent that lasts about 24 hours.  I like it because it really cleans—but I am not saying  it is mild.

I use a shampoo that  has ‘Nature’ in the name,  dilutes 32 to 1, and  is slightly lavender scented. It’s very calming. I use it because it dilutes  well, cleans well, and smells good while I am shampooing the dog.

On my  drape coated dogs in specials coat, I use  BARK 2 BASICS  ONE STEP SILKY. I love it. It only dilutes 16 to one, but it does not dry out the coat and it rinses  easily.  I finish with the Stuff or  Chris Christensen Ice on Ice.

I only use conditioner/cream rinse in the winter when it is very dry, to cut static. The way  conditioner works is that it is oil based & will seal moisture into the coat, and attract moisture from the air, but it will also attract dirt.

So, why do groomers use any  shampoos that dilute less than 16 to 1—the industry average?  They don’t know math, and they do not know how shampoo cleans hair. That’s a fact.  At one time or another, we all used what we were used to using, but now we can easily get more information off the internet, and there is no excuse for being ignorant & then complaining about how you never make any money …but there is the other issue of dogs with chronic skin problems—& the veterinarian suggesting the solution is to bathe the dog frequently and not address  nutritional or environmental factors  affecting the poor dog’s health and quality of life.

Many of the medicated shampoos have chlorohexidine, which is an  antibacterial.  If bacterial is the problem, it works very well. It is a good antiseptic. But will  mammals develop an immunity to it?  Just another factor to take into account when  using a product.

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