No Tub Needed

Products designed to keep animals fresh and clean between baths represent a major convenience for pet owners and a tremendous selling opportunity for retailers.


Sometimes a dog or cat needs a little cleanup, but its human is just too busy for a full-blown bath. Other times, the pet is injured, elderly, or afraid of water or the tub. Then there are the times when the animal is not really that dirty, or is traveling with its owner, so a bath is simply not convenient. In each case, a retailer’s selection of between-bath products can provide a valuable assist.

Between-bath products are growing in popularity as consumers realize that they do not need to lay out the special paw prints towel and bottle of shampoo every time Fluffy needs some tidying. And manufacturers are responding by developing even more convenient ways for pet owners to keep their beloved animals fresh and clean with little hassle.  

“I have seen an increase in requests for these types of products from our retailers,” says Lisa Jordan, sales and marketing director for Espree Animal Products in Grapevine, Texas. “A quick-clean product to use between baths can extend the length of time between actual tub bathing. Indoor pets need a touch up to keep their coat feeling and smelling fresh. These products are perfect for puppies, elderly, ill or easily stressed pets.” Espree manufactures natural and organic products and uses certified organic aloe vera.  

Jordan adds that retailers can drive sales by simply recommending these items to shoppers, and not just when they ask for between bath products. Sales associates can bring up the topic any time a pet parent is shopping for grooming solutions, or even wandering the aisles looking for products for a new pet or an elderly or ill pet. Some pets become stressed from actual bathing, Jordan says, and they can benefit from a quick touchup of dirty paws and faces. 

Sales of between-bath products have been on the rise, says Jordan, and Espree has developed several products in this growing segment. The company offers four Waterless Bath Sprays, available in Aloe Oatbath, Baking Soda Oatmeal, Perfect Calm Lavender and Clean Cat; four Dry Baths, available in Puppy, Kitten, Oatmeal Baking Soda, Tea Tree & Aloe; and three Foaming Facial Cleansers, in Plum Perfect, Rainforest and Oatmeal Baking Soda. Espree also offers 13 Disposable Wipes in various formulations, including Ear Care Wipes, Tear Stain Wipes, Flea & Tick Wipes, Fly & Mosquito Wipes, Puppy Wipes, Kitten Wipes, Silky Cat, Rainforest, Paw Wipes, Tea Tree & Aloe Wipes, and more.

According to Doug Gleason, president of Los Angeles-based TrueBlue Pet Products, the between-bath category is thriving because the way people live with pets is changing. “More people are bringing pets with them on the furniture or on the bed,” he says. “When you live more closely with your pets like that, having them be dirty or smelly is more of an issue. That’s kind of boosting the category.”

Gleason adds that not only do consumers want a clean pet, humans are pretty busy these days. “If you use the right shampoo, you actually can bathe the dog every day,” he says. “The reality is, we don’t have the time. That’s a big endeavor, especially the bigger the dog you have.” Besides, he says, some people simply want their pet to smell better or just want to remove a bit of dirt from the pet’s coat or paws. 

Gleason says another reason for the growth in the category is that product quality has improved over the years. Early versions of waterless shampoo sometimes left a residue on the fur. More recent versions are lighter and more effective and also do not dry the skin. TrueBlue offers Fresh in a Flash Cleansing Spray, which contains grapefruit oil to clean without stripping oils from the dog’s coat. Fresh in a Flash Cleansing Spray does not leave a sticky residue, so pet parents can apply the spray every day if they want. 

For pet owners who want to remove some dirt, TrueBlue offers Super Fresh Body & Paw Wipes, which contain grapefruit oil, chamomile and macadamia nut oil. “Our first goal was to not dry out the skin,” says Gleason. “Then it was, ‘Can we moisturize the skin?’ The challenge with moisturizing is with lotion you get a greasy feel. That’s when we found macadamia nut oil.” Grapefruit oil helps make the pet smell fresh. 

Wipes have become particularly popular because consumers love the convenience, and Gleason says that retailers are devoting more shelf space to these products as a result. “If you can make something easier people will always like it, if you can make it work well,” he says. “Clearly there is a group of consumers who want wipe convenience. It’s a growing category.” 

Under the Surface
The benefits of between-bath cleanings extend beyond just having a pet that looks and smells pleasant. “Maintaining healthy ears, paws and coats in between grooming visits is vital for the health and wellbeing of dogs and cats,” says Crystalyn Guzman, CEO of Aroma Paws in Tarzana, Calif. “Pets are being taken care of especially well these days as they are such important parts of our lives.” 

She adds that sales of between-bath products such as Aroma Paws Organic Ear Wash, Deodorizing & Conditioning Coat Sprays and Paw Conditioning Treatment are doing very well. “Consumers are savvy on how to use these products, and if not, a quick look on our website will provide a wealth of information,” she says. Retailers can help by offering pet owners product use and benefit information that Aroma Paws supplies. 

In addition to smelling clean and having a fresh coat, dogs need to be insect free. Aroma Paws launched a Bug Repellent Dog Coat Spray, which contains therapeutic essential oils that repel fleas, ticks, mosquitos and other pests. The oils are also soothing to the skin. 

Other sprays are for freshening. Best Shot Pet Products, based in Lexington, Ky., offers a lineup of sprays that match the lineup of facial and body washes, and change with the seasons. The Summer Scent Body Sprays, available March through September, were Mango Maui, Exotic Island and Tropical Breeze. They are alcohol free and fabric safe with organic chamomile, ginseng, rosemary, rose hips and sage extracts. The sprays are safe for dogs, cats, puppies and kittens. 

Safety is an ongoing consumer desire, and many people look toward natural and plant-based items to fulfill this need. Earth Bath, which is based in San Francisco, offers natural pet shampoos as well as between-bath products such as Grooming Foam for Dogs and Grooming Foam for Cats. The waterless foam is a rub-on, towel-off formula that leaves the coat plush and shiny. The ingredients include shea butter, colloidal oatmeal, vitamin E, aloe vera, green tea leaf essence. The foams do not contain synthetic dyes, perfumes or parabens. There is also a hypo-allergenic version of the foams. The company also offers wipes, in facial, eye, ear, grooming and other varieties.


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