I always loved dogs as a child and grew up in the hot, humid and rainy tropical weather of southern India. I was given a 4-year-old black female English Cocker Spaniel by a friend’s Dad when I was about 11 years old. She was probably one of the only four English Cocker Spaniels that I had seen in my life until then and for many years to come.
Grooming her was a challenge in the early 90s, when the Indian pet product market was at its nascent stages. Even though my idea of grooming was just to have her coat free of tangles and matts, you can only imagine the huge effort and poor result with a regular human hair comb, generic shampoo and no blow dryer.
Observing photos posted online of Cocker Spaniels from Europe totally changed the image of this breed in my mind and when I was older, I nurtured the dream of beautiful English Cocker Spaniels playing in my own backyard. The one thing that struck me was that grooming them appropriately was a significant contributor to the health and appearance of the dog. So my journey was not only to find a well-bred Cocker, but also to learn grooming myself, to maintain them in the best possible condition. The quest to have my own dogs in great condition got me to learn grooming amongst many other skills needed around dogs.
Along my journey with my pets, I realised there were 3 parts to the wellness of a dog- HYGIENE, EXERCISE and NUTRITION.
Grooming is really serving one of the most basic needs – HYGIENE.
I first used Bio-Groom back in 2013. The first ever product I bought was their Bronze Lustre shampoo, which I used to bathe my two red English Cocker Spaniels – Laura and Karo. Laura had come to me with nagging skin conditions that included rashes sporadically all over her body. The widely recommended medicated shampoos which ended up being very harsh on her skin and dried her coat excessively really weren’t helping. Although I got the Bronze Lustre shampoo because I was told it enhances the colour of a red dog, I also realised that the skin and coat were not drying out after each bath. Thus I continued with more frequent baths to keep her coat clean while this product kept it nourished and moist. A combination of a very simple oral antibiotic and consistent coat care with this shampoo eased her out of all her skin problems. She is presently a happy veteran 10 years young and in full coat!
Bio-Groom has multiple lines of shampoos and conditioners. The key is to find what works for the dog you are grooming, based on the present condition of the skin and coat.
The Indulge series from Bio-Groom helps nourish skin and coat with vitamin E, linoleic acid, and omega-6 fatty acids relieving irritated, cracked, damaged and dry skin and leaves the coat with a healthy sheen. In my opinion, the Indulge series is ideal for pet owners to use in between professional grooms, for their dogs that have relatively dry coat conditions. The shampoo is a mild and forgiving one which can be safely used without having the expert skills or training of a professional dog groomer. You can be assured that you will not be stripping much of the beneficial natural oils from the coat and skin of your pet.
Everyday grooming routine for your dogs!
Irrespective of where your dogs are walking or playing, there would be significant amount of dust, burrs and bits of grass that gather in the coat of your dog. It’s important that you don’t let any of this stay on. The problem worsens when these stay on and the dog gets wet. All of this ends up tangling the coat and the moist dust blocks the pores of the skin. You could use a slicker brush to gently remove any burrs and bits of grass stuck to your dog’s coat. Once all the foreign particles are removed, the best way is to blow out all the dust using a force dryer and then mist the coat with Bio-Groom’s Indulge Argan Oil Dog Coat Conditioner Spray before brushing out the coat. The use of this spray helps in nourishing and moisturizing the coat, while brushing with a pin brush saves the coat from any breakage. At this stage I’d recommend drying using the same dryer (however without the concentrator), blown in the direction of the hair growth. This saves the coats of drop coated/ silky coated breeds from being brittle and helps in getting the coat long, strong, straight and healthy while avoiding any breakage and split ends. This conditioner spray also nourishes the hair without making it greasy which collects dirt.
In my opinion, it is ideal to give your dog a bath once in 7 to 10 days. I have observed that most people use excessive products in the hopes of getting better results. Please remember that pouring shampoo and conditioner down the drain does not deliver results on the coat of your dog. It’s important that you use just the right quantity of shampoo and conditioner ideally premixed with warm water.
Some of the shampoos, even though they result in quick and easy degreasing and deep cleaning, can be harsh on the dog’s skin and make it susceptible for external parasites to latch on easily. Sulfates in the shampoos can be harsh on the scalp and may cause irritation and itchiness. This can amplify existing skin conditions with dogs starting to scratch a lot soon after each bath. Sulfate-free shampoos help retain the natural moisture of your dog’s coat, so that it does not lose its natural shine and softness. So it is important that you choose your products wisely and wash off all the shampoo thoroughly each time leaving no residue on the skin and coat of the dogs.
In my experience, Indulge Sulfate-free Argan Oil Shampoo is gentle on the skin and coat while helping clean effectively. Rinse your dog with warm water thoroughly and then apply the premixed Indulge Sulfate-Free Argan Oil Shampoo on to the coat. Use your finger tips to work the product on to the skin and all along the hair. Let it settle in for about 5 minutes and rinse off fully with warm water.
In case if your dog has any stubborn grease anywhere (Specially around the ear or the tail), you could first apply Bio-Groom’s So-Dirty Deep Cleansing Shampoo, a great product that eases off the grease quickly. This could be your first round of application immediately after thoroughly rinsing your dog with warm water.
Conditioning! Conditioning! Conditioning!
Conditioner leaves a protective layer on top of each strand of hair, protecting them against the environment. Less damage means your dog’s coat will look silky and shiny for longer. Rinse off all the shampoo before applying the Indulge Argan Oil Crème Rinse Dog Conditioner. This is important as it restores and seals moisture on the coat of the dog. I recommend a similar process as the shampoo, of mixing the conditioner into warm water before spraying it onto the coat of your pet. Be thorough and make sure the spray gets to all the hard-to-reach areas too. I prefer spraying on the conditioner for its effectiveness and also to save on any unnecessary wastage. Rinse off the conditioner and towel dry the dog first, to make blow drying easier. Make sure you blow dry the dog perfectly with no moist spots on your dog.
Over the years, I have lived with my dogs in various cities in India, with varied climatic conditions. Shampoos can typically yield different results depending on these conditions. The Indulge shampoo is one that can show you consistent results across climate zones.
The Indulge series is mild and can be of great help in maintaining the coat of your dog over a longer term for an everyday plushness in the coat. It’s totally fine to use other finishing products that can then complement basic care, as per the finish you desire on the coat.
For any further information or clarification please get in touch with me on Instagram @casagoldcockers or @biogroom.pets and I’ll be happy to respond.
About the author:
Cherian M J is an Investment Banker by profession who got interested in dog grooming for the love of his English Cocker Spaniels. He is excited to educate and improve pet grooming and care standards for pet owners and professional groomers alike. He is the founder of Casagold Pet Care Academy.