There’s more to your dog’s skin and coat than meets the eye. The skin and coat are a dog’s first line of protection from their environment, so maintaining healthy skin and a strong coat is essential. Sounds easy but sometimes challenging issues such as an allergy hot spot or flaky, dry skin and a dull coat need professional attention. Experienced groomers, in partnership with a veterinarian, can help resolve troubling skin conditions.

Emily Dixon, a professional groomer with Holiday House Spa on State in Doylestown, is completing certification as a pet aesthetician—a skin and coat specialist. She earned her Hair & Skin Certification after completing a 15-hour course focused on different types of skin and coats with methods and techniques for proper care. As part of the formal training program, Emily has been working with several clients with great results.

“I love learning about ways to help provide our clients with quality care. Attending a lecture by Dr. Clifford Faver, founder and chief veterinarian of Animal Health Services, at the Hershey Pet Expo last November really opened my mind to skin and coat care. This certification through Iv San Bernard (ISB) is a great addition to my professional grooming tool belt in order to bring clients real value,” said Dixon.

3 Basic Types of Coats

From American Pit Bulls to English Sheep Dogs, there’s a big variety in coats. For a professional groomer, it comes down to three basic types of coats: short, medium and long. Short coats includes breeds such as Boxers, Pit Bulls and German Short-haired Pointers. Medium coat breeds include Golden Retrievers and Pomeranians. Finally, long coats include breeds like Poodles and all doodle mixes, Bichons and Yorkshire Terriers.

When it comes to grooming, short-haired breeds get less attention to their skin and coat than they should. Short-haired breeds have the least amount of skin protection so their skin and coat need just as much attention as breeds with a medium or longer length coat. Short-haired breeds are prone to sunburn and allergy hot spots, so a good skin care regime is just as important as it is for breeds with longer coats.

Why Seek Professional Help?

It would stand to reason that bathing a dog with oily skin with a grease-cutting dish detergent like Dawn is a good idea, but it’s not. Dawn is a harsh detergent and can leave skin in a vulnerable condition. Oily skin that is treated with detergents that strip the skin and hair of natural oils will actually produce more oil. The oily skin condition would actually get worse.

“It sounds counter-productive, but oily skin needs an oil-based conditioner. A dog’s skin has a different Ph level than that of a human, so human products are not right for a dog’s skin and coat. A dog’s skin and coat should be assessed by a grooming professional so the appropriate product and care regime can be recommended,” said Dixon.

groomers help resolve troubling skin conditionsLetti’s Story

Letti is a 10-year-old miniature long-haired Dachshund. She had flaky skin, trouble with her ears, and even with weekly baths, her skin and coat smelled bad. Letti licked and scratched all the time. Dr. Laura Weis, with Doylestown Veterinary Hospital & Holistic Pet Care recommended Letti’s owner work with Emily at The Spa on State.

Emily began treating Letti with the ISB Mineral Red product line, using their Mineral Red Derma Complex Shampoo and Derma Plus Conditioner. After four visits, the condition of Letti’s skin and coat improved so Emily outlined a home-care regime for her owner.

“Emily is great. Letti’s scratching and licking have improved, her skin is doing better, and she can go longer between baths now. Giving Letti fewer baths was a goal. When symptoms begin to resurface, they are not as bad, and we have a plan for handling it with quick improvement,” said Letti’s owner Jamey.

In order to complete the second part of the certification process, Emily is working with dogs in each coat category using different products and techniques and documenting the results. Emily has also been recommending ISB products to clients.

groomers help resolve troubling skin conditions

Teddy before…

“The majority of our clients are mixed doodle breeds. These dogs tend to have drier skin and coats, especially in the winter, so using these products have made a visible difference. Clients like the ISB products because they hydrate and make the coat easier to brush,” added Dixon.

groomers help resolve troubling skin conditions

Teddy after!

The health of your dog’s skin and coat is very important because it’s their first line of protection from the environment and harsh seasonal conditions. Skin disorders can become worse if not properly treated. Professional groomers can help resolve troubling skin conditions by assessing the skin and coat and recommending the best products and care regime for positive results.

“Establishing a bathing schedule for your dog can help maintain proper skin and coat care. Every grooming appointment doesn’t need to be a full grooming service. Itchy, dry, flaky skin? We are here to help, and by using the right products, most skin conditions will improve,” said Dixon.

The Spa on State offers Spa Club, a premier bathing service designed for dogs that benefit from frequent grooming for optimal skincare and provides pet parents with convenient, pre-scheduled bathing appointments. To schedule a grooming appointment at the Spa on State, call 215-345-6960.