I have done many pet photo sessions with my own dogs. We sometimes just go straight out and start taking photos, but my dogs just love dirt, digging rolling and being dogs! This is great until I go to take photos and realise they are dirt covered and grass stained! These are my own tips from my experience to get your dog looking their absolute best! I also recommend products I personally use. Please note that I am providing affiliate links, but these are products I absolutely love, use and recommend. Read on to find out more…
Start by getting ready to wash your pet! My first and most important tip is get everything organised before you even get your pet! Ensure all the towels and everything you need is in arms reach. There is nothing worse than having a wet dog and not being able to reach the towel! I use a cheap shower attachment in the bathtub, but some people are lucky enough to have a proper shower head or a twist-on connection to their tap (I wish I had different taps!) I recommend having towels on the ground as well as some ready for drying.
Use products that suit your dog. My dogs all have white paws, fronts and collars. I always use a dog or horse specific Whitening and Brightening Shampooon their whites. On my dog that is mostly black, I use a Black Gloss Shampoo. This means that stains are removed from white areas and the dark parts of her coat are glossy and rich. Both these products are gentle and leave the coat clean and smelling nice. I always add a few pumps of Relax Shampoo because I love the scent and they do seem relaxed after a bath using it!
After a good rinse, always make sure to leave time to use conditioner! I always used to skip conditioner because I didn’t really understand the benefits. Now I have discovered that a really good lather of conditioner will help remove all the dead hair! I’ve noticed a huge reduction in shedding using a dog Conditioner. I also use a few pumps of Relax Conditioner because again, I love the scent! I do another rinse after this and watch all the dead hair fall away (another tip, make sure to clean the drain afterwards!)
This step is optional. I really love making sure my dogs have minimal staining on them, so I also finish off with a rinse of Mighty Bright. This can cause some purple residue, so make sure you follow the instructions on the bottle.
I always let my dogs have a good shake and then I do a really thorough towel dry to start the drying process. This does create a wet mess in the bathroom, but it saves me time drying. Once towel drying is done, I use Relax Conditioning Spray by spraying it and massaging it in to their coat. This works like a lovely smelling de-tangler/leave in conditioner.
Next up is blow drying using a Dog Blow Dryer. This is very important as a pet blow dry shouldn’t use heat (like a human one, which gets too hot for dogs) and dries their coat quickly. The goal here is to not only dry their coat, but also blow out any dead fur. Using a proper blow dryer is one of the most effective ways to remove dead hair and to prevent matting. Damp hair will matt very easily, so make sure to get your dog as dry as possible!
The final step is brushing! I use a Undercoat Rake which is perfect for brushing (without tearing the hair) but also removing any remaining dead undercoat and knots. This leaves the coat looking glossy and neat. Be sure to focus on behind the ears, around the neck, chest, stomach and pants area. These areas are prone to tangles and matting.
By doing all this, my dogs all have beautiful, shiny and tangle-free coats. Shedding is minimal and they rarely have any stains on their fur. The other bonus is that in our warm climate, they don’t overheat, as they never have an overload of undercoat making them hot. If you are new to grooming, make sure to incorporate treats and lots of positive rewards for your dog. Mine have been groomed since birth, so they know the routine. Don’t expect a dog that hasn’t been properly introduced to grooming to accept it without some extra work.