Winter Washing

A sudsy bath or even a trip to the groomer is not always ideal in the winter, but retailers can offer an array of bathing solutions and alternatives.



It’s that time of year again­—the time when no matter what pet owners do, their pets track mud, moisture and that doggy odor throughout the house. It is also the season when dry, static-driven tangles can appear overnight, and dogs and cats start itching and scratching due to dry skin and winter shedding.

What can pet owners do to alleviate some of these problems? Taking the dog to be groomed more often is certainly an option, although that can be expensive. Another option is to bathe and dry at home, but the majority of pet owners are not set up to do that easily—especially with larger dogs. In addition, over bathing can actually worsen some of these problems, if the right conditioners and drying techniques are not used.

This is where pet retailers can help. In addition to nutritional solutions—quality foods and supplements, especially those with fatty acids and oils—there are sprays and wipes aplenty designed to help with these issues. Although many of these items come in handy in the spring and summer, it’s winter that makes people appreciate these products the most, when, in many parts of the country, the air is dry or it’s too cold to bathe outdoors. Offering bathing alternatives and winter-friendly ways of keeping pets fresh should be a top concern for retailers, and fortunately, the market is flush with options.

Best Shot Pet Products, for example, offers its One Shot line of products, which includes a Dry Clean Spray perfect for winter bathing without water. Pet owners can clean and freshen up their pets anytime by spraying on and toweling off. Since it is alcohol free and fortified with aloe vera and special conditioners, it will not dry or irritate the skin. Following this with Best Shot’s Ultra Vitalizing Mist or UltraMax finishing sprays may provide added shine and skin health.

Another spray product that concentrates on being as “green” as possible is Opie & Dixie’s Organic Rosehips Minute Mist Dry Shampoo, Conditioner and Detangler. Although mainly marketed as a quick cleaner, this little bottle performs miracles in controlling static electricity, matting and dry skin—and it does so without leaving any residue. Every ingredient is listed on the label and on the company’s website (, along with a detailed explanation of what purpose the ingredients serve, leaving customers with no doubt of what they are buying.

Espree is another company that has put great thought into its products’ ingredients. Espree’s product lines are made from human-grade ingredients from sustainable resources, with organic aloe vera figuring in most of them. Its Aloe Hydrating Spray makes brushing longer coats easier and is ideal for replacing moisture during the drier times of year. Short coats can benefit from Simple Shed & Static Spray, while any dog in need of a quick touch-up could use Quick Clean Waterless Bath. “Quick Clean is a gentle, tearless foam to remove dirt, stains and odor,” explains Lisa Jordan, sales and marketing director at Espree. “Rub foam onto soiled area and wipe with a cloth—stains and odor are gone. The formulation is enriched with 100-percent certified organic aloe vera and natural emollients for sensitive skin.”

Espree Conditioning Colognes, such as Doggone Clean Cologne, include an odor neutralizer and will refresh the coat.
Keeping coat and skin hydrated when humidity levels are low is among the biggest challenges in the winter. “I do maintain my pets regular grooming routine in winter, but just like I do with my own products, I switch to our more moisturizing formulas, and I definitely have them use conditioner to keep dry skin at bay,” says Pet Head president Kyara Mascolo, owner of nine dogs.

Not every pet owner is dealing with dry air; wet, slushy conditions can muck things up, as well. “If you live in an area where snow and rain make it challenging to keep your pet clean even with regular grooming, then I recommend our Dry Clean Spray Shampoo,” says Mascolo. “It doesn’t require rinsing, and it’s super quick and easy, but it is a wet product, so it takes care of dirt and odor nicely. If your pet is kept mainly inside then you have to try our Dogs Luv It Dry Shampoo, it’s a powder spray that absorbs excess oils and dander, and it fluffs the hair and lightly deodorizes. It’s amazing, and I even use it on my hair between shampoos.”

Mascolo also recommends Pet Head’s Paw and Body Wipes.

Another type of wipe was developed by Amy Hickox, who saw a need to safely apply pleasant scents without bathing, drying the skin, or using a spray. After doing a lot of research, she came up with Aromalettes, single application wipes with pure fragrance oils. Four scents offer something to please every pet owner. “I use them just to keep my little dog Biscuit smelling good all the time,” says Hickox. “It’s great when we go to family get-togethers to make sure Biscuit is very welcome when we visit.”

Although Warren London has four scents in its Wet Kiss line of refreshing colognes, suitable for between bath use, the company also has a product with a different spin on freshness. Even if your pet stays pretty clean, or wears sweaters or jackets in inclement weather, what part is always touching the ground? The feet, of course. Deep Cleaning Paw Fizz Tablets are put in water deep enough to cover the pet’s paws, either in the bath tub or a little basin. The tablets will fizz for up to five minutes. According to Eric Bittman, owner of Warren London dog spa and grooming products, “The fizz releases many great natural ingredients that will not only give dogs’ paws a deep cleaning but will also help to eliminate and odors, fungus or bacteria.  This product works great on dogs that are always licking their paws, or for dogs who just have dirty paws.”

Cardinal Pets’ Crazy Pet Professional grooming sprays, in their brightly colored, attractive packaging, are ideal for consumers to use in-between baths for a “dry” bath. This grooming spritz cleans, conditions, detangles, takes out static and leaves a long lasting scent. Crazy Pet Grooming Sprays are recommended for all types of breeds, for people who like their pet to smell good after the bath, and for owners who like to “spiff up” their pet in-between baths.
A tried-and-true favorite for between baths is Bio-Groom’s Waterless Bath. Keep a spray bottle of this product and a towel by the door and your pet will stay bath fresh all the time. It’s tearless and safe for cats, too.

Lastly, educate customers about keeping pets safe and clean in a dry, cold environment—for example, keep dogs away from woodstoves or other dry-heat sources and consider adding a humidifier to the environment. Following this advice, along with using some of the many grooming products on the market these days, will keep pets tidy and keep skin and coat in optimum condition until the sun comes back full time this spring.

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