How to Properly Care for Pets’ Skin
By Christina Pawlosky
Understanding the normal skin process will help groomers treat the many different skin conditions they encounter on a daily basis. In the normal process of skin growth, it takes forty-four days for the hair to complete its life cycle. If the skin is injured, the cycle can be as short as thirty days. By using many of the medicated shampoos available to professional groomers or by employing a mechanical irritant such as rough scrubbing, you may be causing more problems than you are solving. You may create an abnormal reaction on the skin surface, and the skin will produce more cells than normal. This over-production of cells at the surface will provide the perfect host for abnormal growth of bacteria, fungus, yeast, and microorganisms. This can mean more problems!
If you are working with a veterinarian who wants the growth cycle stimulated in order to facilitate the action of antibiotics or other prescriptions, a tar shampoo or other medicated shampoo may be needed. Otherwise, you need to keep a healthy balance on the skin surface and maintain the normal skin cycle of every forty-four days. This balance is best accomplished by using a gentle shampoo, followed by a light conditioner to seal and protect the skin. The skin should return to normal within six to nine weeks. If the skin does not look any better in this time, it needs to be looked at again by a veterinarian to determine any internal or environmental causes. If the skin has improved in this time, do not continue to use, or have the owner continue to use, medicated shampoos.
As a general guideline, the suggestion is to always use gentle products, unless working with a veterinarian.
Christina Pawlosky is a well-known figure in the show ring, a successful pet store owner, and a top notch grooming competitor. She has repeatedly won many of the industry’s top honors as both a groomer and a judge.