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Groomers’ Perspective

Posted: December 30, 2010, 4:15 p.m., EDT

By Sandi Cain

Quality, dilution ratios and price are key components that groomers consider when choosing shampoos and conditioners for their shops. But natural, organic and green products also rank high in importance, groomers reported.

“A good groomer looks for quality first, dilution ratio second, special features third and fragrance fourth,” said Candy Jackson, president of The Shampoo Lady, a wholesaler in Vancouver, Wash.
Jackson added that she carries a broad range of products from Kelco, Nature’s Choice, Double K, Groomers Edge, Bark2Basics and Coat Handler.

Green-friendly shampoos and hypoallergenic formulas also are must-haves for groomers from coast to coast.
“We look for green-friendly and hypoallergenic products [as well as] the dilution ratio and what provides the best bang for the buck.” said Patty Rayburn, owner of Carol’s Grooming Services in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.

Other groomers agreed, adding that natural products are popular as well.
 
“When we purchase, we keep an eye toward the following: natural botanical type ingredients and green products and packaging [and] pesticidal shampoos that are safe and naturally based, such as neem oil [among other things].” said Daryl Conner, master pet stylist for the Yankee Clipper in Rockport, Maine.
Some groomers also expressed a desire to avoid complicated ingredient lists.

“I don’t like to see a product where I can’t pronounce the ingredients.” said Aquila Brown, owner of The Yuppy Puppy in Spokane, Wash.

Overall, demand in the market for pet shampoos has widened to include many natural, green-friendly product characteristics.

 “We’ve gone green and more natural, [looking at] who the vendor is, what is their philosophy, where do they manufacture and source [along with] the smell, whether it’s free of parabens and is biodegradable.” said Nadine Joli-Coeur, co-owner of Houston-area retailer Natural Pawz, which sells to both the groomer and consumer markets.

Rayburn said she seeks whatever will give her the “most bang for the buck” and is fond of distributor EZ-Groom’s dry skin, hypoallergenic and whitening products.

Wendy Booth, proprietor of Canine Corner in Colorado Springs, Colo., pays close attention to dilution ratios and how well products work with her bathing system more than price.
 
“Cost isn’t a factor if the product is good,” she said.

Booth also seeks out shampoos formulated for cats, such as the line from Ft. Worth-based Tomlyn Products, a division of Vetoquinol U.S.A, she said.

That’s not to say cost isn’t an issue.

“It needs to be affordable, but it’s important that it works for the dog and is high quality for the skin,” said Connie Wills, a groomer at California Pets in Orange, Calif.

One thing groomers said they wish they could consider that’s still missing is a reliable list of ingredients. Pet shampoos and conditioner manufacturers aren’t required to include that information on product labels. Conner said she longs for the day when labeling will assure groomers that all contents are safe for the animals they groom.

“As a pet grooming professional, it’s difficult to make good product choices if we don’t know what’s in the shampoo and conditioner we purchase,” she said.

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