Spa dogs live the best life! Dogs are sentient beings, and they have emotional and energetic needs. Traditionally, grooming has been an uncomfortable experience for dogs, but our goal at Pawsitivity is to make it a comfortable and enjoyable experience for every dog. We do everything we can to make that happen. Some of our spa treatments help to make your pet more comfortable. Many products also offer specific support for skin, coat, temperament, environmental allergies, matting, or other issues. In this first post of our Spa Dogs series, we’ll highlight a few of the spa treatments we offer. Read on to learn about all the benefits they give to your pet!
We use the FURminator Shedless Treatment process for de-shedding. There are a few different brands on the market that work for de-shedding; we use this one because it is hypoallergenic, which means it can safely be used even if a dog has sensitive skin. A shedless treatment is helpful for dogs with a double coat who don’t get regular haircuts, whose undercoat sheds out multiple times a year -- for example, German Shepherd, Husky, Golden Retriever, or Chow. When seasons change, these breeds “blow their coat” and the extra undercoat is loose. A shedless treatment removes all that loose hair easily and painlessly, to make your pet more comfortable.
We use muds to give an active, 10-minute full-body massage (rhythmic deep-muscle stroking). Every canine client who gets a mud massage loves it! It is deeply relaxing and calming. The brand we use is Madra Mor, because it is the only high-quality mud brand on the market. We use four of their varieties: Soothing, Fortifying, Shed Safely, and Mobility. The main ingredient in all of these mud treatments is fine, mineral-rich clay. This medium is detoxifying, and it helps the essential oils absorb into the coat and skin.
Soothing Mud is made with colloidal oatmeal, aloe vera, green tea extract, and witch hazel to help alleviate irritated, red, and inflamed skin. It also includes chamomile and lavender essential oils, which are relaxing and calming to a dog’s energy and emotional state.
Fortifying Mud, made with diatomaceous earth and apple cider vinegar, is useful for dogs with very long, heavy coats that make it hard for the skin to breathe. Without airflow, they are prone to getting skin irritation. The diatomaceous earth is exfoliating, and essential oils including grapeseed, tea tree, and peppermint make the skin more resilient and the coat softer, stronger, and easier to work with.
We mainly use Shed Safely Mud for breeds that technically have a double coat, but get regular haircuts (for example, Old English Sheepdog). Using mud with essential oils makes it easier to maintain the coat in between haircuts. This mud is ultra-moisturizing for the coat, so the hair is healthier and doesn’t tangle with regular brushing. We also use Shed Safely on short-haired, smooth-coated dogs with no undercoat (for example, Boxer), because it is comparable in cost and results to the Shedless Treatment, and is more comfortable for your dog. This mud is made with aloe vera, borage oil, and rice bran oil, which cleanse and exfoliate the skin.
Our bathing technician, Summer, says that Mobility Mud is her favorite mud treatment to give, because the dog’s immediate relief is obvious. Mobility is made with peppermint and menthol oils, which have a cooling effect and ease aches and muscle soreness -- in addition to the relief from the massage itself. This treatment increases blood flow and flushes toxins from the system.
The facial product that we use is called Lavish Facial Cleanser, made by TropiClean. This cleanser is similar to shampoo but much thicker, and when massaged into the dog’s head and face it creates a thick foam. It is effective for whitening, and it is tearless, so we can achieve foamy suds all over the head and ears without worrying that it will get in your pet’s eyes. We pay close attention to areas where there tends to be drainage, which stains the coat and creates unpleasant smells. The facial releases this staining and is an effective cleanser with a soothing, pleasant smell. The scent of the facial cleanser lasts longer than coat shampoo, making your dog’s face smell sweet and clean for at least a week!
Dogs only need sunscreen if they are short-haired or have been cut so short that their skin is exposed. They can get sunburn just like people, so dogs like the Chinese Crested who are hairless need sunscreen every time they go outside. A dog that normally has thick hair (for example, Husky or Great Pyrenees) who has to be shaved and has never had skin exposed to sun before, especially if light-coated, will burn easily if sunscreen is not applied. At the spa, we offer Warren London spritz sunscreen, made with aloe vera to moisturize and protect your pet’s skin.
We use The SkinWorks cream as a “hot spot” treatment for dogs with heavy coats that don’t let the skin breathe. A non-greasy formula that moisturizes and soothes inflamed skin, this cream is helpful for irritated spots, especially for dogs who don’t regularly get a sanitary shave and end up with razor burn when they have it done. We also use this cream to soothe calluses on hocks or elbows.
While your dog is standing in about two inches of water in the tub, we drop in several Warren London Paw Fizz tablets, which fizz like a bath bomb. Your pet’s feet soak in this the entire time she is getting her bath. When she gets out of the tub, we massage her paws with The SkinWorks cream as a paw balm for moisture. Fizzy Paws is a great pawdicure for dogs who have itchy feet. Some dogs have a nervous habit of chewing and licking their feet; this treatment seems to deter them, perhaps because it soothes them enough to keep them from wanting to chew or lick out of anxiety. If a dog’s feet look normal but seem to bother him a lot, this pawdicure seems to help the most.
While your dog is standing in about two inches of water in the tub, we add TropiClean’s Lavish Paw & Pad paw treatment, made with oatmeal, wheat protein, and vitamin E. Your pet’s feet soak in this the entire time he is getting his bath. When he gets out of the tub, we give him a paw massage with our house-made Lavender Paw Balm. This pawdicure makes the paws and pads much softer, breaking down calluses with salicylic and malic acid. For that reason, this treatment is best for indoor dogs, rather than those who live outside and regularly walk on hard or rough surfaces. If your pet is an indoor dog, it is really nice for you to be hugged with soft and smooth paw pads instead of rough, scratchy ones!
This is one spa treatment that is just for fun! OPAWZ brand makes semi-permanent dye specifically for dogs, cruelty-free and not tested on animals. Some states have legislation against coloring animals. These laws were established in the 1950s, when people began coloring animal coats using human-grade products, which were very harsh on a dog’s skin and coat. Today, color formulations have been developed especially for dogs that do not irritate skin or damage the coat. We have never seen a dog have a bad reaction to color. (Look for an upcoming follow-up article about skin and coat health!) Dogs love getting color, because they love the attention that comes with having their coat decked out! The process of coloring your pet’s coat requires constant monitoring. The color takes about 30 minutes to set, so your pet must be able to stand without scratching. Dogs who get color regularly are very comfortable with the process and take it quite patiently. Below is Ellie with her fancy colored tail and nails!
We do give spa treatments for fun, and yes, the dogs enjoy it, but our spa services also have a specific purpose and address specific conditions for your pet. Our goal is to give your dog a comfortable, enjoyable day with us, and to help him stay more comfortable when he leaves!