It is safe to say that I washed thousands of dogs and cats by hand early in my career. I was good at it. Then, I heard about bathing systems, and honestly, I was suspicious that a machine could replace my capable hands. Then one happy day, I tried a recirculating bathing system on my own dog, a sleek Doberman. I was astonished at how quickly the bath went, and after drying and brushing my dog, I couldn’t get over how clean he looked, smelled, and felt. If a bathing system could make so much difference on a smooth-coated dog, what could it do for a pet with a long or thick coat? I purchased my first system shortly after that and have never willingly bathed another dog by hand since.
Recirculating bathing systems work by using standing fresh water added to the bathtub and mixing it with concentrated shampoo, which is also added to the water. The pumps are electrically powered and use the pressure from the standing water to create a cleansing foam that easily penetrates through the thickest coats to reach the pet’s skin. The combination of the cleaning power of the shampoo you use and the pressure of the water makes short work of dirt, dust, dander, loose hair, and debris on the pet.
The industry has some misconceptions that this type of bathing system uses “dirty water.” Nothing could be further from the truth. Each pet is bathed in fresh water with a shampoo that you choose to be appropriate for its coat type and condition. Dirt is trapped by the shampoo and held in dilution in the water, which is then sent down the drain. If the pet is very dirty, a second bath (using fresh water) may be required. This technology is not unusual; think of running a load of clothes through your washing machine or tonight’s supper dishes through your dishwasher. The laundry or dish detergent is introduced to the dirty contents of the device, along with fresh water. The action of the water, combined with the chemical components of the cleaning products, delivers clean clothes and dishes at the flick of a switch.
Recirculating bathing systems conserve water usage, and unlike siphon-type bathing systems, they work well even in grooming situations where water pressure is low. Pets do not have to be pre-wet, and far less shampoo (or conditioner!) needs to be used to get the pet amazingly clean. Properly used, this tool eliminates hours of labor time while conserving money used on products. It can quickly pay for itself in a very short period. Combining these facts with the reduced wear and tear on the bather’s body and the superior cleanliness of the pets washed this way, bathing systems are a wise investment.
By Daryl Conner, MPS, MCG
Daryl Conner has been devoted to making dogs and cats more comfortable and beautiful for almost 40 years. You can find her happily working at FairWinds Grooming Studio with her daughter and infant granddaughter, or typing away at her latest grooming-related article. Daryl was awarded both a Cardinal Crystal Award and Barkleigh Honors Award for journalism. She shares her meadow-hugged antique Maine farmhouse with her practically perfect husband and too many animals.