The Great Conditioner Debate!
So many people ask me about conditioning their dog. 'Why would I do that?" 'Sounds like a waste of time?' Are you serious?'
YES, I'M SERIOUS! And here's why...
"Human hair and animal fur are chemically indistinguishable, having the same chemical composition - both being made of keratin. The primary difference between hair and fur is the word usage. The hair of non-human mammals refers as “fur,” while humans are said to have hair. So, basically, hair is a characteristic of all mammals."
So why would we treat our dog's hair any different from our own?
That's not as silly as it sounds... So, does the conditioning process matter?
The simple answer is YES!
No matter how good your dog haircare products claim to be, shampoo naturally cleanses away dirt and grime, opening up the hair shaft and altering the hair (and skin’s) natural moisture balance- it’s oil equilibrium (pH). That’s its purpose. Shampoo only, depending on the quality of ingredients or chemical make-up, can leave your dog’s skin dry and the fur brittle.
Kristen Duvall, Author at DOGSBLOG says;
The case for conditioners – Shampoos by design are used for cleaning- removing unwanted grime from the skin and coat. But shampooing, without sealing the coat afterwards, leaves the hair shaft open– at that point residue can enter and oils and hydration escape. What you can do is use a conditioner after shampooing to close the hair cuticle and restore hydration, moisture and elasticity. Conditioners also fill in the damaged hair that drying, brushing, de-shedding and rubbing causes. Just normal wear and tear chips away at the hair cuticle. Conditioners can help to remove the cuticle to a smooth state and one that gives a more lustrous appearance and feel."
Have you ever experienced that ‘squeaky clean’ feeling?
Using a conditioner on your dog after a thorough cleanse with a professionally formulated, high quality, pH balanced dog shampoo, will do everything possible to protect and enrich your dog’s hair and skin. Nourishing and rejuvenating, leaving coats soft, shiny, tangle, and itch-free. It also helps cool, and hydrate the skin, building skin health each and every time you bathe them.
How to condition well.
1. Following a good shampoo, and ensuring all shampoo residue has been washed away, remove as much excess water as possible (a good shake is convenient at this time:)
2. Underwater Dogs Conditioner is light and effective. A little goes a long way so don't use too much. Start with a little and get the best possible coverage. Add more if need be. You will note the product becomes super slippery when it touches wet hair, feeling like silk, and quickly covering the body to soften and detangle fur and rehydrate skin.
4. Massage thoroughly. If your dog suffers from skin sensitivities, rashes or itchy spots- pay special attention to these areas. If you dog has long hair, comb the conditioner through with a wide-tooth conditioning comb. This ensures conditioner coats all hair strands. Be sure to work it well into the skin- remember this is a process to protect both hair and skin. We cannot have one without the other.
5. Rinse well, but know that this product can be left in. I always rinse lightly from top of head to tail, with minimal rinsing on the underbelly and legs as my Cocker Spaniel has mild sensitivities. A face cloth on the face and ears is a good idea, and can be a good way to help distribute conditioner without your dog taking offence! It does not matter if the product is left on the coat- in fact, it's a bonus.
6. If you're using our conditioner as a Leave-in Treatment, do not use too much. Product goes a long way, start small, adding more if required. In this instance, towel dry your dog first, and then use the conditioner like a massage balm.
The finished coat needs to be seen to be believed...
Courtesy of Zoe, Shadow, Phoenix with Mum, Simone @chasingperfectiondogtraining
Is using conditioner ONLY on my dog ok?
We say no... Not on a regular basis. If you've followed me thus far you'll note that the shampooing process unlocks the hair-shaft cuticle, cleansing and preparing it to receive and lock-in conditioner. The conditioner then closes the hair shaft, completing the process.
If you choose NOT to shampoo your dog at bath-time, you’ll only be 'layering' conditioner on top of other products you've used, plus dirt and grime and anything else they brought home from the dog park! There's no real benefit to be gained by this process.
Layering conditioner on top of dirty hair/fur and skin and daily maintenance products means you are trapping dirt and grime in-between the skin and conditioning agent. This has the propensity to block pores and cause ingrown hair. You'll also end up washing most of the conditioner down the drain because most of the product in this scenario, is sitting on top of the hair shaft.
What product remains on the hair, will make the drying process difficult i.e. it will take longer to dry, finish heavier due to product build-up, and look dull after just a few days.
Also, there's only so much conditioner the skin can absorb before pores become blocked and the hair becomes heavy with excess product. In saying that, if your dog swims a lot (ocean, dam, lake, pool) there is nothing wrong with rinsing your dog off post swim and using a conditioning product on their coat (brushing it through for longer haired dogs). You'll find a good spray moisturiser- like Underwater Dogs No-Knots Detangler is perfect for this job.
If your dog is a swimmer, and this is your in-between bath-time process (not something you plan to do all year round), then we say yes, condition only - in-between bath-times will work fine!
Remember, shampooing and conditioning your dog regularly not only cleanses and hydrates skin and hair, but helps exfoliate dead skin cells, aids in the removal of shedding hair, cools and moisturises dry, sensitive, itchy skin types.
It will also make your Groomers job that much easier when it's time for their regular grooming session, having kept matting and tangles at bay... All important in the on-going skin and hair health of your dog.
@zoe-the-stunner @phoenix_the_big_boy @shadow_a.k.a_brutus
A Note about Spray Conditioners:
We've talked about a spray conditioner for in-between bath-time conditioning. Underwater Dogs No-Knots Detangler is just that - a Spray Moisturiser and Conditioner in one. No-Knots can be used daily on wet fur - to detangle and moisturise, adding moisture to aid in the drying process; or on dry hair as a professional hair relaxant- softening the hair shaft to enable easy brushing or combing, even the toughest of tangles!
It also makes a great in-between bath-time deodoriser!
If you don't have No-Knots, pump a few dollops of Underwater Dogs Conditioner into a spray bottle and add warm water- shaking gently to disperse the product. This mixture works just as well, and can be left on the coat (leave-in conditioner).
The Conditioner mix works best on a WET coat, but be sure to discard any left-over mixture within 24hours- as adding H2O to any product provides the perfect environment for bacteria to grow, which can be dangerous for your dog.
A spray conditioning treatment is perfect for the swimmers among us. Sea salt, chlorine and mud all have a drying affect on our skin, and dry skin can lead to tight, hot, itchy skin!
Finally - What about foot baths?
For those dogs who love a romp at the park, find ALL the muddy puddles and tend to always come home with filthy paws - don't forget that a quick foot bath not only cleanses, but helps condition and keep paws and pads protected. It also helps to keep bacteria or skin rashes/ezcema between the toes at bay.
Follow these simple steps:
1. Rinse feet in the shower or bath, removing as much of the mud as possible. As always, use warm water. Not only does this feel better, but helps activate the shampoo to it's optimum.
2. Cleanse each foot carefully with the Underwater Dogs Shampoo of your choice, ensuring all mud is removed from between the toes and pads.
3. Rinse again thoroughly until all signs of shampoo are gone.
4. *Towel dry. Make certain you get as much moisture out from between the toes and pads.
5. Massage a small amount of conditioner in and around the feet, especially between toes and the under pads. Start with a little bit of product, and add more if desired. Remember - you don't need to use too much. I cannot say that too often!
Following this very simple process will help stop your dog needing to chew their feet (due to irritation), developing dry, cracked, discoloured or smelly paws, also due to wet and muddy elements.
If your dog suffers from itchy feet - caused by what we know to be seasonal grass allergies, the same process will offer your dog relief. Give a soothing foot-bath each and every time your dog reacts to it's environment - you will notice a huge difference.
Building skin health in your dog has benefits over and above just the itch. You can be rest assured!
Underwater Dogs is professional haircare for dogs promising you the cleanest, softest most delicious smelling dog on the block! Professional grooming salon formulas, naturally moisturising shampoos and conditioners - soap-free, paraben-free and pH balanced, made especially for your dog.
We’re proud of our product range and would like to assure all our dog-loving customers that our quality ingredients, and scientific formulations will not let you down. All products are backed by the Underwater Dogs 100% Money Back Guarantee.
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SKIN & HAIR HEALTH by UWDOGS