Jennifer Hecker, CMG
Suesan Watson, NCMG
Melissa Verplank, CMG
Today, we have a wide assortment of products to make our grooming jobs easier. They give us better results and may even help us do the job faster. It could be anything from a shampoo, to a coat conditioner. It might be a magical spray or powder you apply to the coat. Take a look at any grooming catalog and you’ll find a vast array of items from a variety of manufacturers that can take care of just about anything you could need.
But how do you know exactly what to reach for when a unique situation presents itself? Sometimes you don’t always know what you need. Or maybe what you need is a specialty item and you don’t have it at your fingertips. What do you do then?
Smart groomers and stylists often turn to home remedies. Years before we had the variety of products we do today, most clever groomers turned to their own cabinets for solutions. They used their ingenuity and developed home remedies to solve their grooming dilemmas.
Recently on the Learn2GroomDogs.com set, we had an unusual situation. Luckily, we had the masters of home remedies in for a filming weekend, Lisa Leady and Suesan Watson. (If you haven’t caught their L2GD lesson on home remedies – click here! Not only is it educational, the sister duo missed their true calling as a comedy routine!)
All of the dogs for that filming weekend were dogs that were supplied to us, sight unseen. We’d simply made the request for eight dogs.
The criteria was:
While we were at lunch, the dogs were checked in. Our team had placed them in a holding area to await their afternoon film session. When we returned, we were excited to see what was we had to film. I knew all our afternoon dogs were mixed breeds that had come from a large 300+ dog puppy mill rescue that took place a few years ago. Luckily, all of the dogs found loving homes. The family supplying the dogs for the Learn2Groom film shoot had adopted three of the puppies. Many of the rescued pets were Shih Tzus, Pomeranians, Malteses, or mixes of the three breeds.
When we walked into the kennel room at the Paragon School of Pet Grooming, we were so excited. Every dog was adorable! But one really stood out – a Pomeranian/Shih Tzu mix. It had plenty of coat that brought out a few key features, making him even more appealing. But it did have a problem – and it was smack dab on the top of his head: a huge, rusty-colored lick stain.
If you’ve been in this profession for any amount of time, you know exactly what we were looking at. Apparently, one of his four-legged siblings had taken to cleaning the top of his head on a frequent basis. The constant licking had turned the white fur a rusty red color. He also had a fair amount of rust staining near his eyes and around his mouth.
Sue immediately reached for this little cutie. As she was snuggling with him she looked me right in the eyes and said, “Do you have any ketchup?”
Why did Sue want ketchup?? Even though I hadn’t said a word, my expression must have asked the question.
Sue quickly went on to explain that ketchup would lighten the stain on the top of the dog’s head. “Really?” I exclaimed. I didn’t bother to question her – I knew she had something good up her sleeve. Sue said it didn’t matter what brand of ketchup we chose – any ketchup would work. I quickly went and found a couple packets of ketchup in the kitchen and handed them to her.
We took the dog out onto the practical skills floor and set him on a grooming table. Sue simply opened a package of ketchup and started to apply it to the dry coat. She generously worked it into the top of his head, under his eyes, and on his muzzle area. Once the ketchup had thoroughly saturated the hair, we set this little guy aside to sit for about 30 minutes before bathing him.
I was amazed after Sue bathed and dried this little dog. The rust-colored staining was significantly lighter! Was it gone altogether? No. But it was considerably lighter on the top of his head. Around his eyes and on his muzzle area it was almost totally removed.
I was astounded.
Sue suggested that we do a couple more applications in the future to really lighten the top of his head.
After seeing what a single application of ketchup (yes ketchup!) had done to brighten this dog’s coat, there was no doubt in my mind that a few more applications would lighten the stain even further.
I love home remedies when it comes to grooming. These problem-solvers are made from items that you just naturally have on hand. Many times they are common pantry items that all of us have hidden away in drawers or cupboards.
Who knew you could use ketchup to lighten and brighten the coat? It was a new one for me.
Watch for Suesan Watson in an upcoming Learn2GroomDogs.com video lesson featuring this adorable little Pomeranian/Shih Tzu mix. Join today!
Do you have any tricks like this one? Tell us about them on the Learn2GroomDogs Facebook page.