Many of you ask when picking up your dogs how do I get their fur so shiny, bright, soft, and fluffy. My simple answer... Go back to the plants! I am a big believer in using plant based cleansers and moisturizers. The less chemicals, additives, mineral oils, parabens, etc. we can keep out of our life, the healthier we will be.
One of my favorite products for bathing is a detox wash by Arbonne - Seasource Detox Spa Detoxifying Rescue Wash. This product is entirely plant based allowing for a detoxifying cleanse to the skin, hair, and body without stripping away the vital oils that keep skin and fur conditioned, soft, and smooth. Using it when bathing the pets allows for a thorough cleansing where I can get in their fur and really scrub their fur clean, lift out the under coat of fur that is beginning to come loose for spring, and still be gentle to their skin. The scent is very spa like and the results are wonderful! I even have a friend with a dog who got too close to a skunk and was sprayed. They used the Rescue Wash and were able to eliminate all skunk odor and restore their dog to his normal happy self.
In particular situations where I notice the dog has skin issues such as dryness, flakiness, indications of eczema, dry or brittle fur, or just needs a good therapeutic bath, I will use an additional combination of the following items: Apple Cider Vinegar, Olive Oil, Coconut Oil, and Food Grade Hydrogen Peroxide.
Let's start first with the olive oil. I usually purchase the 365 brand at Whole Foods. I prefer the Italian Extra Virgin Olive Oil as this has a milder scent to it over say the Mediterranean blend. If the dog is needing a good overall conditioning treatment, I will rinse their fur in warm water and then pour on a good amount of olive oil all over their body. Working it through their fur and down to the skin level allows for a good moisturizer. The dog also usually loves this treatment as they are intrigued by the scent and also loving the all over petting and massaging. Olive oil is very similar to our natural body oil and is also anti-fungal and anti-bacterial in nature. After allowing the olive oil to moisturize their skin and fur, I then proceed with the normal bath. Rinse off the existing olive and then proceed with the detoxifying bath wash.
Apple Cider Vinegar is an awesome cure for most any ailment. It helps heal the skin, fight fungal infections, brightens the fur, reset ph levels, and a whole bunch of other things. If you do a google search on Apple Cider Vinegar, you will see a host of various uses. In the bath department, I dilute a mixture with warm water and pour this over the dogs fur. Also, depending on if their paws are a bit worn and in need of a good "Pawdicure" - I'll fill the bath with a warm water diluted mixture of Apple Cider Vinegar and soak their paws while I do the Olive Oil Skin and Fur Conditioning Treatment.
Coconut Oil is a great moisturizer for skin and paws. Similar to olive oil, it also holds anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties. If a dog's paws are in need of a good conditioning, at night before going to bed I'll take a scoop of the coconut oil which is solid at first and easily melts in your hands due to the low melting temperature. Rub the coconut oil into their paws working between the toes and getting into the crevices. The dog may lick their paws initially, however when putting on the coconut oil at night, they will usually subside from all of the licking rather quickly and will settle down and go to sleep. In the morning, much softer and healthier paws! Do not worry about them licking the coconut oil. It is therapeutic for their insides too. In fact, if you have heard of oil pulling, coconut oil is a great cleanser for teeth and the mouth. Melt a bit of the coconut oil by just running the jar under hot water, dip a toothbrush in the oil and then gentle work around their teeth. Because of the properties in coconut oil, it will help with bad breath, promote healthier teeth and gums, and overall whitening and cleanliness. My favorite is the 365 brand of organic coconut oil at Whole Foods. The cost is very reasonable (usually around $5.99 per jar) and works great even as a moisturizer for our own skin!
Food Grade Hydrogen Peroxide is another excellent product in my bathing ritual. The difference between regular hydrogen peroxide that you buy at the store such as Target or CVS vs. the food grade is that there are no additives or preservatives. I usually purchase 35% food grade hydrogen peroxide on Amazon. As this strength on its own can burn the skin, it is very important that you create a diluted solution usually somewhere around 3%. For pets with white or lighter fur, I'll use this as a rinse to help really bring out the brightness to their fur. For pets with skin issues that need a more aggressive treatment beyond what apple cider vinegar has been able to treat, I will use a diluted solution and soak them in the bath for about ten to fifteen minutes to help combat these skin infections.
While the bath may not always be our pets most favorite activity, I am a believer that like humans, they do enjoy the pampering and end results. Afterwards when they run around the house with the "I survived" happiness, a couple of treats are usually in order to reward their patience and tolerance. And, then of course the all important blow dry treatment especially when it is cold out. Additionally, I also have a heating pad that I use for them to curl up on to insure they do not catch cold.
While these tips are provided for our pets and their bathing experience, they may also be used for humans. My shower is always a topic of conversation when I have guests visiting as there are the usual bottles of Olive Oil, Apple Cider Vinegar, Coconut Oil, and Food Grade Hydrogen Peroxide in the shower caddy. Do a little bit of reading, find what works for you, and give it a try! Your body and health will thank you along with your bank account as you will find that you spend less money. Happy Spa and Pampering!
- To order from Arbonne, please click here. There are discount programs available. Please use Sponsor ID: 19486751. The products are very concentrated and will last you for quite some time as a little goes a long way. I find that the shampoos, conditioners, cleansers, etc. usually last around four to five months. Enjoy!
- I have found the best prices for Food Grade Hydrogen Peroxide on Amazon. Please click here to order.
- Apple Cider Vinegar, Olive Oil, and Coconut Oil can usually be found in your local grocery store or health food store.
Please let me know your best tips for bathing your pets!
P.S. Here are two recent images of Houston the cat being bathed - the before and after. I think he lost about a pound of fur in the scrub down and thorough combing! Though he was not thrilled with the bathing process, he is now back to his handsome, very clean, and shiny self!
Simie (below) is one of our regulars and is resting on the heating pad after her spa and pampering bath along with nail trim before her mom was to arrive home!