Do I Really Need To Use Conditioner on My Dog?
Most people dislike bathing their dog because, let’s admit it, it’s a pain in the rear end. By the end of the process you’re wetter than your dog, and the bathroom is left in shambles. So for most, the idea of prolonging the bathing experience one minute longer is not even an option. However, that one or two extra minutes to condition your dog can really improve the state of their coat.
The case for conditioners - As we all know, shampoos by design are used for removing unwanted grime from the skin and coat. But shampooing, without sealing the coat afterwords, leaves the hair shaft open where residue can enter and oils and hydration escape. But conditioning after shampooing will close the hair cuticle and restore hydration, moisture and elasticity.
Conditioners also fill in the damaged hair that drying, brushing, dematting and petting cause. Just normal wear and tear chips away at the hair cuticle which a conditioner will restore to a smooth state and one that gives a more lustrous appearance and feel.
The most amazing conditioner I’ve used is Fur Butter (or Fur Worse) . It’s an oatmeal-based ultra rich conditioning treatment for dry, damaged and long coats. It’s very think and rich and leaves the dog super soft & silky.
So, in a nutshell it’s definitely better to condition your dog than not to condition. But some dogs benefit more than others. To determine if your dog is a good candidate and if the extra two or three minutes conditioning your dog is worth your time, answer the following questions:
1. How long is your dog’s coat?
2. Does he/she have an under coat?
3. How often do you wash your dog?
4. Does your dog have itchy skin?
5. The cuddle factor (CF) you would like to achieve.
6. How adverse is your dog to bath time?
If your dog has a long coat, then it may be prone to mattes and tangles (think Maltese, Yorkies, Afgans). Using a conditioner will not only make your dog’s coat healthier it will make your job a lot easier by helping to remove mattes and tangles and the after bath brush out will be a breeze.
Dog’s without undercoats will probably receive the most benefit from a conditioner. Because their hair most resembles human hair, it’s thin, easily tangles and gets dirty quickly. Dogs with undercoats usually have thicker coarser hair (like a lab) and therefore do not matte and the coat tends to repel dirt.
If you wash your dog often (more than 1x per month) you should definitely condition your dog to close that hair shaft so the coat retains moisture. To read more about how often to wash your dog, click here
If your dog has itchy skin , you may want to bathe your dog more often to get rid of allergens. And if you’re washing you dog frequently, conditioner is a good idea. Be sure to use one that has oatmeal which works wonders for itchy skin and other botanicals to help combat itchy skin. Look for herbs like aloe, burdock, comfrey and boswellia to help with inflammation.
The Cuddle Factor
Of course this is the most important thing to consider! I have a maltese and nothing is better than slathering her with Fur Butter (or Fur Worse) Deep Conditioner. Her coat is left so amazingly soft. It immediately makes the CF go from 10 to 1,000,000.
Bath Time adversity
If your dog really really hates the water and can’t hang around in the tub for one minute longer, there are still things you can do to condition your dog. For example, there are some great 2-in-1 Shampoos and Conditioners you can check out like Bubbles ‘n Beads. Not only does it smell amazing but it gets the job done fast. Or, get a leave-in conditioner that you simply spray into the dog’s coat after a bath. This aids with the brush out process and adds moisture into the coat. Most of these can be used on a wet or dry coat.
So there is some science to this after all, it’s not all just fluff (not pun intended) Although for most of us it will come down to unquantifiable things like the all important Fluff Factor and of course the already mentioned Cuddle Factor.