Touch-up Techniques

Retailers can help keep dogs clean between full washes by stocking the many between-bath products on the market.




Targeting customers’ needs as specifically as possible can be the best way to sell between-bath products. If you train your staff to know what customers’ main concerns might be with their pets during the time in between full baths or professional groomings, they can help suggest solutions using the products that you stock.


As always, make sure owners understand that strong, unusual or particularly unpleasant odors, as well as itchiness or excessive shedding, may have an underlying medical cause, and such cases should be seen and diagnosed by a veterinary professional. However, most complaints of shedding, itching and odor—especially in spring—are related to an inability to bathe at home due to weather, seasonal shedding, and itchiness from dry skin and shedding. While a brush and comb that is appropriate for the animal’s coat type may be the most useful things you can sell a customer, don’t overlook the many other products that can be truly helpful.


For customers interested in achieving a generally cleaner pet in between full baths or professional groomings, offer a few of the many no-rinse shampoos available that can be applied and then toweled off. Some manufacturers have a powder form that is brushed out—carrying dirt and dander away with brushing. Many of the liquid versions can be purchased in an economical gallon and poured into a spray bottle for convenience of application—like Bio-Groom’s ever-popular Waterless Bath No Rinse Shampoo.


Pet parents whose main concern is odor may need a simple grooming spray, gentle fragrance or odor-combating spray. Products designed to reduce odor on pet bedding are a good fit here too. Natural Chemistry’s Waterless Bath is good for general cleaning, or just for a quick freshening up if a pet is too old or debilitated to be bathed. According to Natural Chemistry, based in Irving, Texas, although keeping pets’ skin and coats clean is an important step in their healthcare, not all can be bathed, and this product simplifies matters. The company’s product line also includes enzyme-based sprays to combat odor on pets, and an environmental cleaner—Smells & Stains—that can work well as an add-on sale.


A complaint of shedding can lead to sales, not only of grooming tools, but  also rinseless baths, grooming sprays and nutritional supplements—especially those with fatty acids. The sprays will also help cleanliness and reduce odor. If you sell foods, this is a great opening for a discussion about quality food and its benefits for skin health.


Allergy Attack

Itching and allergies may be the single biggest concern for many pet owners, and there are many between-bath products available to help address this issue. Some work even better as part of a cleansing system. Mendota Pet—long-known for high-quality leads, collars and field gear—has another high quality line: DERMagic grooming products. Although made in conjunction with the companion shampoos and conditioners, DERMagic Skin Rescue Grooming Spritz can be used alone as well.


Since many allergies and connected skin conditions have an accompanying odor, it’s tempting for pet owners to over-bathe their pets. According to Steve Cady, vice president of sales at Shoreview, Minn.-based Mendota Pet, “Shampooing more often than every other week can dry the skin and cause even more itching. DERMagic Skin Rescue Grooming Spritz is designed to use in between baths.”


The fresh-smelling spray combats odor, conditions the coat and helps prevent matting. Pet parents can use it as often as needed, since the weightless natural botanicals like aloe vera, lemongrass, spearmint and neem seed oil—as well as allantoin for soothing and a mild surfactant for cleaning—will not leave a heavy residue on the coat.


Mendota also offers Retrieve Speed Bath Cleaner, a rinseless shampoo meant to be sprayed on and toweled off. It includes mild surfactants and natural ingredients like aloe and coltsfoot for cleaning, and allows you to bathe your dog anytime and anywhere without the need for water. A nice add-on companion for the cleaner is Retrieve Skin & Coat supplement with omega fatty acids and ester C. Using this product can dramatically improve skin and coat health, and reduce shedding and excessive scratching in a multifaceted approach to common skin problems.


Stain and Spot Control

Products that clean stains and spots—whether they’re for the average dog, a geriatric or one that’s been ill—can be a lifesaver for an owner who can’t give their pet a full bath right away. And many types of stains—especially eye stains, ear stains and stains from the pet licking itself—need to be treated more frequently than baths allow in order to be effective. In addition to regular cleaning with rinseless shampoos, other options are available.


Angels’ Eyes, based in Sunrise, Fla., is a line that tries to cover all the bases in stain control. Its all-natural supplements contain ingredients that target eye stains—such as cranberry powder, eyebright, olive leaf and marshmallow root—in flavors to suit any dog’s taste. While the supplement is working from the inside out, the pet owner can use Angels’ Eyes Gentle Tear Stain Wipes with juniper oil, chamomile and aloe to clean and soothe irritated under-eye areas. Angels’ Eyes Tear Stain Solution applied daily with a cotton ball may help remove tear stains and saliva stains. Angels’ Eyes Heavenly Coat soft chews supplement contains omega-3 and -6 oils, biotin, zinc, and vitamins A and E—all known to support coat and skin health.


Pets, especially ones that have free range of a house or backyard, will often turn up with dirty spots on them. Whether they’ve found their way into some food, or gone outside after a rainstorm, messes happen. This is when products like grooming wipes and foams are most useful.


“Grooming wipes can also be used to spot clean when pets have gotten into something messy,” says Yvonne Roth, head of marketing for San Francisco-based Earthbath. “The grooming foams are great for a deeper clean between baths. They’re essentially a waterless shampoo that pet parents can rub onto their pet, and then towel off.”


Earthbath has been manufacturing soap-less shampoos since 1995, and its product line has grown to include grooming wipes and spritzes to accommodate between-bath cleanings, as well as relief from itching, odors and allergies.


General Relief

Glo-Marr has an astounding array of specifically targeted sprays to solve most pet skin problems, including a number of sprays labeled for dogs, cats, ferrets and rabbits. Although the sprays can be used on their own, each has a companion shampoo, which can lead to greater sales. The company’s BALANCE Glide Ease D-Matting Pet Spray will help remove dead, shedding coats, or de-mat the coat. There are also dozens of colognes that also include conditioners in the BALANCE line.


Glo-Marr’s extensive Kenic line includes Hot Spot Anti-Itch Pet Spray, which contains menthol, clove oil, cedar oil, eucalyptus, peppermint oil and tea tree oil. The spray is intended to soothe and cool skin, relieve burning and itching from hot spots, and alleviate reactions from fleabite, food and grass allergies. The Neem/Oatmeal Pet Spray is made with pure neem oil that will provide instant relief from itching in between baths and the Oatmeal Baking Soda Pet Spray is a hypoallergenic blend to soothe and combat odor. Oatmeal Conditioning Spray—also hypoallergenic—restores moisture and relieves itching. Glo-Marr’s Avo-Med Pet Spray with avocado and wheat germ oil moisturizes and reduces inflammation. The line also includes Kalaya Emu Oil Pet Spray, Medi-Tar Dog Spray, Sulfa-Med Spray, Defender Spray and more to help dogs between baths.


There’s an answer for any problem your customers may present you with, including a rinseless shampoo for full non-bath cleanings—Dry Pet Shampoo Waterless Cleanser. This spot cleaner will remove dirt, urine, feces and other organic matter from the coat and is labeled for dogs, cats, ferrets and rabbits.


When it comes down to it, retailers need to pay attention to their customers’ needs, and be able to help them resolve between-bath issues. Storeowners and their employees should be aware of seasonal issues, as well.


“In-store displays is a great way to bring awareness to between-bath products that customers may not be aware of. Retailers can also run seasonal promotions of these products, for example during shedding season,” says Roth.


Being knowledgeable about the various problems that can arise will be beneficial not only to retailers, but to pet parents, encouraging them to come back to the same store the next time a problem arises.


“Retailers can get sales, benefit the pet and benefit the customer. Helping solve problems helps you create a relationship that keeps them coming back, and the best way to do that is to not just make a sale but to really help” says Steve Nicolosi, owner and national sales manager for the Lawrenceburg, Ky.-based Glo-Marr. “Customers today are looking for a customer service experience, and smaller stores are set up to be better at that.” PB


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