Doing the Dirty Work
Pet Product News International October 2017
While ingredients and gentleness are important to groomers, efficacy ranks as the most important aspect
of the shampoos, conditioners, and skin and coat products they use.
BY SANDY CHEBAT
Grooming dogs and cats is a very physical job, and professionals especially appreciate products that work the first time. “Effectiveness, ease of use and exceptional results” are key
attributes that professionals are looking for in shampoo, conditioner,
and skin and coat products, said Gina Dial, vice president of sales and
marketing for John Paul Pet in Ventura, Calif.
Professional groomers agreed.
“Everyone wants a product that works,” said Lindsay Sabanosh,
manager of Walter’s Pet Styles in New York. “Having to bathe a dog
three or four times to get the dirt and grime off their coat is impractical.”
In particular, Sabanosh said she looks for products that “cut through
the buildup and leave us with a coat that is silky and manageable.”
“Dirt and grime is one of the biggest challenges of living in NYC,”
Sabanosh said. “Dogs are walking through who-knows-what in the
streets every day.”
In addition to wanting shampoos that “fully clean dogs without
having to wash them multiple times,” Susan Delaney, owner and
groomer at All About Grooming in Haskell, N.J., said she wants cus-
tomers to enjoy the products after they have been used.
“When a customer tells me their pet smells and feels good, I know
that the product is doing the job,” she said.
In line with effectiveness, products need to provide a solution for
each pet, said Shannon Moore, a certified master groomer who has
owned and operated her own grooming salons and is now director
of grooming and education at Espree Animal Products in Grapevine,
“Not every pet that comes into the grooming salon has a normal,
healthy skin and coat,” she said. “We are looking for products that will
help provide relief to the pet, to improve the skin and coat, and help it
return to a natural, healthy state.
“In addition, professional groomers are focused on products that
will help provide a level of comfort, whether it is to soothe sore muscles; help relieve dry, itchy skin; or even help provide stress relief for
pets visiting the grooming salon,” Moore said.
Aside from wanting effective products, professional groomers want safe, pure,
gentle, and earth-friendly shampoos and conditioners to use on their clients, according
to Larry Cobb, CEO of The Company of Animals’ U.S. division in Davenport, Fla.,
which acquired the Pet Head brand of grooming products last year.
Fragrance is also important. “When it comes down to it, we focus on function and
then recommend choosing for scent,” said Zack Grey, owner and founder of The Urban Pet, which has four locations in Southern California.
Popular scents in his grooming salons are green tea, mango and eucalyptus. Because some clients like a particular after-bath spray scent, his groomers find that scentless shampoos and conditioners are a helpful option, as well.
Groomers ultimately want shampoos, conditioners, and skin and coat products that
work well on dogs and cats and are safe both for humans and pets, professional
groomers said. For this reason, natural ingredients and botanicals are big this year,
with the newest offerings combining both.
Espree Animal Products launched several products for professional groomers
this year. At SuperZoo in Las Vegas in July, the company introduced Allergy Relief Avocado & Aloe Shampoo and a complementary spray, Espree Allergy Relief
Avocado & Aloe Spray. The pair is designed specifically for allergen-sensitive pets,
“This powerful combination of avocado, aloe and pomegranate seed oil works
effectively to flush out allergy-causing particles,” she said, adding that “fatty acids,
antioxidants and vitamins work to soothe, hydrate, and heal damaged skin and coat.”
Also introduced in July, Espree’s Oatmeal Baking Soda Spray is formulated to help
soothe itchy skin and control odor, Moore said.
The human side of the grooming category has seen an influx of charcoal-based
products, and the pet industry can expect to see similar products. Espree plans to de-
but a line of charcoal-based products in Q4 2017. The line includes a charcoal shampoo,
conditioner and mud bath designed to purify the skin and coat and give pets a spa
experience, Moore said.
New from John Paul Pet is Lavender Mint Shampoo and Lavender Mint Detan-
gling Spray. The paraben-free products contain extracts of tea tree, lavender and mint
to calm and soothe while reducing skin irritations, the company stated.
In January 2018, John Paul Pet plans to introduce Wild Ginger Shampoo and Con-
“Both are botanically based and share names with best-selling Paul Mitchell prod-
ucts for humans,” Dial said. “We took an excellent shampoo and conditioner and
pH-balanced it for pets.
“We are also launching more shampoos and conditioners in gallon sizes,” she
AN EVOLVING CATEGORY
Possibly the biggest evolution the pet industry has experienced is the transition of
animals from family pet to full-fledged member of the family. As such, it’s no surprise
to many in the pet grooming industry that the trends seen in human hair care are
showing up in pet grooming.
In the decade since John Paul started creating shampoos and conditioners for pets,
the company has seen a shift toward natural, botanically based products.
“The trend in human products is also leaning toward natural,” Dial said. “Pet
parents want what is best for their pets and follow the trends they see in their own
Part of the focus on natural ingredients is tied to increased consumer demand for
products pet owners perceive as safer than what was available in the past.
“Since I entered the industry [more than 30 years ago], there has been a seismic
shift in groomer and consumer preferences toward safer, more natural formulas,”
Cobb said. “Groomers today want to know exactly what goes into the shampoos,
conditioners and pet care products they use—not only to ensure they’re treating
their four-legged clients right, but to earn the trust of their customers. Thanks to
the continuing humanization of pets, this trend toward kinder, gentler grooming