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The Importance of Using Conditioner: Do you really need it?

Many dog owners and groomers are great about regularly bathing their furry friends, but there's an important step that often gets overlooked: using conditioner. Conditioning a dog's coat isn't just a nice addition—it's a crucial part of their grooming routine. So, why is conditioner so important for dogs, and what benefits does it provide for their skin and coat? 

Benefits of Using Conditioner

Conditioner plays a vital role in maintaining your dog's skin and coat health. Here are some key benefits:

Moisturization and Nourishment: Conditioner helps to moisturize and nourish your dog's skin, preventing dryness and itchiness. It also helps to add back a protective layer of oils that gets stripped away by shampoo. A well-hydrated skin and coat reduces the risk of post-groom irritations.

Enhanced Coat Texture: Regular use of conditioner makes your dog's coat softer, shinier, and more manageable. It helps to smooth the hair shaft, giving your dog a sleek, glossy appearance.

Detangling and Reduced Shedding: Conditioner aids in detangling knots and mats, adding extra slip and creating a smooth surface, making brushing easier and less stressful for your dog. It can also help to reduce shedding by strengthening hair follicles and reducing breakage.

Improved Weather Resistance: Conditioning your dog's coat can enhance its ability to handle outdoor weather. A well-conditioned coat provides a protective barrier against environmental elements such as rain, snow, and wind. The added moisture and oils help to repel water, prevent dirt from sticking, and keep the coat insulated against cold temperatures. This makes your dog's coat more resilient and better equipped to handle various weather conditions, ensuring their comfort and protection while outdoors.


The Science Behind Conditioner: What does it really do?

Conditioner works at a microscopic level to improve the health and appearance of your dog's coat. The hair shaft is composed of multiple layers, including the cuticle, cortex, and medulla. Here's how conditioner affects these layers:

Cuticle: The outermost layer of the hair shaft, the cuticle, consists of overlapping scales that can become rough and lifted due to damage or lack of moisture. Conditioner smooths these scales, making the hair shaft lie flat, resulting in a smoother and shinier appearance that is less likely to tangle.

Cortex: This middle layer contains proteins that give the hair strength and elasticity. Conditioners often contain proteins and amino acids that penetrate the cortex, helping to repair and strengthen the hair from within.

Medulla: The innermost layer, the medulla, is present in thicker hairs and provides structural support. While the medulla is less affected by external products, maintaining overall hair health helps preserve its integrity.


Should You Use Conditioner on Every Client?

As a dog groomer or owner, you might wonder whether every dog needs conditioner. The answer is generally yes, but with some considerations:

Coat Type: Dogs with long, curly, or dense coats benefit greatly from regular conditioning to prevent tangles and matting. Short-haired breeds can also benefit, especially if they have sensitive or dry skin.

Skin Condition: Dogs with skin conditions such as dermatitis or allergies may require special conditioners formulated to soothe and heal their skin. Always consult a veterinarian for the best product recommendations for such cases.

Frequency of Baths: Dogs that are bathed frequently may need conditioner more often to replenish natural oils stripped away during washing.


Types of Conditioner and When to Use Them

There are various types of conditioners available for dogs, each suited to different needs and situations:

Leave-In Conditioners/Coat Sprays: Ideal for daily use or as a brushing aid, especially for dogs with dry or damaged coats. These conditioners are applied to the coat and left in without rinsing, providing an ongoing hydrating effect. They can help to provide extra slip when brushing to help avoid damage, and will leave your pet fluffy and fresh after a brushing session. 

The perfect finish to a groom, or an in-between refresher. This is a coat glosser and detangler that creates a lustrous, healthy, show-ring sheen. Repels dirt and dust and prevents stains, it retains dog and cat grooming for longer. Can be used all over as a coat spray, or as a brushing aid to help detangle matted hair and smooth the cuticle to keep it frizz-free. For use on wet or dry coats.

Refreshes the coat and leaves behind a beautiful unisex scent with notes of musk and talc. Enriched with Quaternized Keratin for a beauty treatment with a polishing and detangling effect on the coat. Moisturizing alcohol-free formula takes care of the skin and coat and aids in combing, adding a beautiful shine. Suitable for cats and dogs.

Rinse-Out Conditioners: Best for regular grooming sessions, these conditioners are applied after shampooing and rinsed out, providing deep conditioning and easier detangling.

This formula is designed for over-worked coats. It's a great tangle remover, ideal for knot and tangle-prone coats, finer or double coats. It really does leave the coat silky smooth and shiny as the name promises. Fortified with Chamomile, nature's own hair and skin conditioner, along with silk proteins. Leaves the coat looking and feeling its best.

This formula has a unique blend of Moroccan argan oil and conditioning agents. It rapidly penetrates the hair shaft, restoring shine and softness whilst strengthening the coat from within. This renewing formula is ideal for damaged coats, or those in poor condition.

Deep Conditioning Treatments: Suitable for infrequent use or as needed for dogs with particularly dry or damaged coats. These intensive treatments offer deep nourishment and can help repair damaged coats. 

A blend of light and non-greasy oils, Yuup! Revive Intensive Oil Treatment is specially formulated to restore the most matted, dry, dull and damaged coats. Use for detangling, glossing, shortening drying time and as a heat protectant. Suitable for cats and dogs of all breeds and coat types, specifically long hair. Hydrating formula contains Jojoba, Linseed and Sunflower oils. Soft natural gummy (AGAR) microspheres that while breaking through the dispenser, release and activate the inside Quaternized Keratin and Vitamin E. Can be added into your shampoo or applied directly on the coat.

This treatment moisturises the skin and coat, leaving the coat super shiny in top show condition with a non-oily feel. Super Cream helps relieve dry, itchy skin and is fantastic for dry, damaged or sensitive skin and coat. It also eliminates static and helps to untangle fur. Use as a detangler or intense conditioning treatment. Non-irritating, anti-static, pH balanced formula matches the natural skin acidity. Washes out easily with any shampoo.


Combatting Slow Drying Time

Some groomers and owners may worry that using conditioner will prolong drying time after a bath. To address this concern there are some things you can use to your advantage to ensure providing hydration doesn't come at the expense of inefficiency:

Lightweight, Quick-Drying Conditioners: Opt for formulations designed to be lightweight and quick-drying, which won't weigh down the coat or prolong drying times.

Lightly fragranced, ProGroom's Gentle Easy Rinse is a unique conditioner designed for instant results, faster rinsing and rapid drying times. Designed for sensitive coat types, it contains a low allergen fragrance. Formulated with natural aloe vera to soothe and cool as well as ultra-emollients that hydrate and moisturise, leaving coats more manageable without being too heavy. Dilute 1:15 for normal coats.

Quick Drying Sprays: Use a quick-drying spray after conditioning to help speed up drying times on those who need a deep condition. 

A dog grooming spray specifically designed to shorten the time it takes dogs’ coats to dry after bathing. Cuts down drying time by up to 50% and keeps style for longer, providing a great benefit to both groomers and individual users. SoQuick can allow groomers to bathe more dogs per day. This speed dry spray for dogs is ideal for small pets that can’t stay wet for very long, and dogs with long hair or thick coats who risk developing hot spots and mold or mildew in their undercoat if wet for too long. It’s also great for pets who hate being wet. Safe, non-oily, fragrance-free formula leaves no residue and won’t clash with shampoos or conditioners. In addition to speeding up the drying process, this spray detangles and smooths the coat, eliminates frizz, and locks out humidity.

High-Velocity Dryers and Chamois Towels: Use a Chamois Towel first to absorb as much water from the coat as possible. Then use a high-velocity dryer to speed up the drying process. Ensure that your dog is completely dry to prevent skin issues, especially in breeds prone to hot spots or fungal infections.

The Shernbao Pet Towel is a highly absorbant synthetic chamois towel, perfect for post bath drying, spills and after wet adventures. Measures: 65cm x 45cm. Made of PVA, a super soft chamois-type material that is not only super absorbent but also very fast drying. Antibacterial and antifungal, anti-tensile tear, soft yet strong, flexible so it's easy to twist to wring dry.

Our best selling velocity / blaster dryer. Twin motors for an impressively fast dry time even for very thick coats and giant breeds. Enough air force to make quick work of blowing coat for Spitz breeds. Robust, reliable model for professional use. Comes with nozzle set and flexible hose. Includes heater (switch on or off). variable dial air speed dial for maximum control.

The Secret Use of Conditioner: The Close-Open-Close Method

An often-overlooked grooming technique that can work wonders for removing a stuck undercoat or cleaning a very dirty dog is the "close-open-close" method. This method involves using conditioner before and after shampooing.

Here's how it works: Start by applying a generous amount of conditioner to your dog’s dry coat and let it sit for a few minutes. This initial conditioning helps to loosen dirt and undercoat, making it easier to wash out. Next, shampoo your dog thoroughly, which will clean the coat and skin more effectively now that the initial layer of dirt has been addressed. Finally, apply conditioner again, rinse it out, and notice the dramatic difference. The second round of conditioning restores moisture, smooths the hair shaft, and leaves the coat shiny and tangle-free. This technique is especially beneficial for dogs with thick undercoats or those who get exceptionally dirty, ensuring a cleaner, healthier, and more manageable coat.