4153 1399 71 Princess St, Bundaberg QLD 4670 Opening Hours: Monday-Friday 7:45 am-5:30 pm • Saturday 8:00 am-12:00 pm

When is a Deep Follicle Cleansing Shampoo not a Hydrobath?

The problem with the use of the term “hydrobath” is that the it implies that what your animal undergoes is “special” and different to any other bath that the owner can give the animal.

Let’s me start at the very beginning (a very good place to start – as Julie Andrews sang).

Hydrobaths started their life in the 1960’s and 1970’s as a way to “blow” chemicals onto the skin of the dog (they are not really intended for cats and are recomended either). In those times we (veterinarians) had little way to control the fleas and ticks on dogs and we so used drugs like organophosphates – such as Asuntol, Gammawash, Malawash, Nucidol etc.

We also wanted a way to recycle these chemicals so that we could “wash” a number of dogs at the one time. That is when someone designed the hydrobath – it was a way to confine the animal to a small area, have a pump underneath that allowed us to “high pressure” rinse the animal so that the chemicals could be applied directly onto the skin and also underneath was a reservoir to hold the chemicals in and all the rinse that came off the dog went into the reservoir so that the chemicals could be recycled.

It was common to have “Rinse days” or “Flea and tick days” when owners would bring their dogs in and get the flea and tick chemicals applied. It was not unheard of to have dozens of dogs sitting in the waiting area or outside the practice I was working in – waiting for their turn in the hydrobath flea and tick rinse.

Then, in the 1980’s and early 1990’s, when there was high unemployment and lots of redundancies that some enterprising people decided that using the hydrobath to wash dogs commercially was started. Then it developed that the hydrobath could be put on the back of a trailer so that the washes could be taken to the dog rather than the dog being brought to the hydrobath. The mobile dog washes had arrived and continue to this day.

But there is nothing mystical or special about getting a dog hydrobathed – it’s basically a hose with a rose on the end of it and attached to the hose is a pump to allow the shampoo to be applied at a certain pressure. You can do the same to your dog by using a garden hose with a variable rose on the end of it.

But what YOU do is important

  • it is important to use the right shampoo for your animal to make sure you do not damage the skin,
  • it is important to massage the shampoo into the skin and in some dogs that can take a lot of effort,
  • it is important that your rinse off the shampoo after the wash is finished – residue shampoo can severely damage the skin and cause intense discomfort to the animal 
  • it is very important that you apply the right conditioner to the skin and in the appropriate manner after the “hydrobath”.

There is no doubt the owner can buy the right shampoo and conditioner for their animal (your vet can advise you what is the best shampoo and conditioner for the hair of your dog), there is no doubt you can sit with the dog for 10 minutes massaging the shampoo in, there is no doubt the owner can make sure all the shampoo is rinsed off and there is no doubt that the conditioner can be applied in the appropriate manner and then the dog allowed to dry .

BUT to wash the average dog properly will take between 15 – 25 minutes and if you have the patience to do the wash properly then you are better than me.

When our trained staff wash a dog we refer to it as a Cleansing Shampoo and Soothing Conditioner (we still use the word hydrobath on the account because it is easier) and the average dog, from the moment we start to the time when the animal is dry usually takes around 35 minutes. We match the shampoo and conditioner to the skin of the animal so that there is no damage done to the skin during, or after, the shampoo. We most probably should change the name from Cleansing Shampoo to Deep Follicle Cleansing Shampoo but that would take too long to say or too long to write 😉

So if you want your dog “washed” then use the garden hose with a good shampoo and conditioner or go to a hydrobath. BUT if you want your dog Deeply Cleansed, if you want to maximize the health of the dog’s skin, if you want all the “crud” cleaned out of the hair follicles, if you want the animal to feel “special”, if you want to pamper your dog – then bring your dog into our animal hospital and allow one of the trained staff to “spoil” your dog.

After all – aren’t they entitled to feel good in this life?

Ring 41531399 for an appointment.

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