Convenient Clean

Retailers can find success in the between-bath category by showing customers how the products can save them time and money.




During the colder months, many pet owners worry about it being too chilly to give their pets a bath. But winter weather can create wet, muddy pets on an almost daily basis, leaving pet parents with the struggle of keeping their furry friends freshened up without a full soak. Retailers can help pet owners keep their dogs in optimum condition by selling products to keep pets clean between trips to the tub.

This category offers pet parents much-needed convenience, creating excellent sales potential for retailers. According to Barbara Denzer, vice president of marketing for Cardinal Laboratories, a leading manufacturer of dog products in Azusa, Calif., the between-bath product market has grown because consumers are feeling increasingly time-pressed. 

“Pet parents are busy and want convenience, but they still want to make sure their pet is looking and feeling his or her best,” Denzer says. “Using these products takes less time than a complete bath, and they are easy to use in a pinch.”

Between-bath products can also help customers save money by extending the time necessary between professional grooming appointments. Retailers should make sure their customers are aware of the full range of options on the market for keeping pets as clean as possible, starting with brushes. 

Regular brushing removes dirt, dander and odor, and it distributes natural body oils along the hair shaft, preventing oily deposits and increasing shine. The more a dog (or cat) is brushed, the less often it will need to be bathed and the less odor it will have. Retailers should make sure they have the correct brushes for each coat type available, such as soft slickers for long, delicate coats and rubber brushes for short, single coats.

Retailers may also want to suggest a brushing aid. A light spray will reduce static, aid detangling and freshen the coat even more than brushing can on its own. Ikaria coat mists from PetEdge or Bio-Groom’s Indulge Argan Oil spray are good examples. 

Sprays containing some form of silicon can help prevent more dirt from adhering to the coat, such as Best Shot’s Ultra Vitalizing spray. Best Shot also offers a no-rinse spray, One Shot Dry Clean Spray, which is non-drying to coat and skin.

Pet owners can also use rinseless shampoos, which can be a liquid that need not be rinsed out, or can come in spray, foam, powder or spray powder form. They are applied and usually either toweled off or brushed through, removing dirt and odor along with the product. Lastly, wipes can be used for spot cleaning or full-body tidy-ups. Some manufacturers offer wipes specifically tailored for eyes or ears.

Four Paws offers just about every type of brush for all coat types, and its Magic Coat line has all the products consumers are looking for in a between-bath spray and wipe—cleansing wipes in avocado oil or coconut oil, waterless shampoos and dry shampoo powders. It also has a dry shampoo intended to help reduce shedding. 

When is the best time to use rinseless cleaning products and wipes? In addition to general between-bath tidying, these products are ideal for use with older, ill or recuperating pets, and during travel. Keep those muddy paws out of the car and house and use for quick clean up after accidents by older dogs or puppies. 

I wouldn’t be without Bio-Groom’s Waterless Bath no-rinse shampoo—I keep a spray bottle and a towel next to the door all winter long. Not only does it keep muck out of the house, it keeps paws free of road salt and the dangers of licking it. 

“Anytime bathing is not convenient, just apply and wipe dry,” says Peggy Smith, marketing and media expert for Bio-Groom. “It is tearless and has no alcohol. It is excellent for cats and is pH balanced.”

What retailers mostly need to do to be successful with this category of products is to market it well. Make a display of various types of between-bath sprays, wipes, brushes and fresheners and put it up front. Mark a few as samples and open them so that customers can experience the fragrance and see how easy they are to use. Don’t limit it to the grooming section—put a few in with car items, or colognes, or bathing supplies or next to paw-safe ice melt. And don’t forget to place some at the cash register for impulse buyers.

There are many options available, and stores should carry what will most appeal to their customers’ taste. For example, Cardinal Laboratories’ Viva La Dog Spa and Pet Botanics both include between-bath products, but each occupies a specific consumer niche. The Viva La Dog Spa brand, which includes grooming spritzes and facial wipes, is designed to appeal to fashionista consumers who pamper their pets, while the Pet Botanics brand includes products with a fresh, clean scent designed to appeal to the more practical consumer.

Give customers good reasons to use between bath products and keep the items in front of them to increase awareness of the options, and this category can be a strong moneymaker. Who doesn’t want their pet to be springtime fresh all winter long?  

Carol Visser has been involved in the pet industry since 1982 in various capacities, including grooming in and owning a busy suburban shop, working as a product expert for PetEdge, teaching seminars and training dogs. She certified as a Master Groomer with NDGAA in 1990 and as a Certified Pet Dog Trainer in 2007, and she continues to enjoy learning about dogs and grooming at her small salon in rural Maine.


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