Creative Grooming 

Want to lighten a dark haired dog?? Think again…


I have recently noticed a surge in creative grooming on the social media forums. For the most part it is safe and completely wonderful to see people’s imaginations coming to life on their pets. As we all know, creatively groomed dogs are probably some of the best cared for and loved dogs. They really do enjoy a groom. The one-to-one interaction & quality time is priceless when you have a dog that is used to and loves that grooming experience. It is pleasurable for both the dog and the groomer and leaves such an amazing sense of satisfaction when finished for both of them. 

Our fundamental job as groomers is to look after and to maintain the skin and coat of a dog. That’s it. That is the job we are trained to do. That is where our money is spent, whether it be on seminars & training or sourcing the best products. That is the job. 

So why colour a dog at all? 

Good question!! 

Pet colouring is requested by many media publications and broadcasting companies. It also follows suit that if it is available for humans, people will invariably want to do it to their dogs. As professionals we MUST be leading by example as far as this medium is concerned and therefore remember to incorporate OUR JOB to the standards we set when performing it. Once again, that is, ‘to look after and to maintain the skin and coat of a dog’.

Now for the Sciency bit!!!

A strand of hair is made up by a load of different layers, these are: 

Medula – the column that runs through the centre of the hair

Cortical Fusi – Pockets of moisture held within the cortex 

Pigment Granules – Pods of melanin in the cortex that give the hair its colour 

Cortex – Interior of the hair shaft that house the cortical Fusi and the pigment granules  

Cuticle – the outside of the hair

All of these things give the hair its strength and lustre. They moisturise and protect. Mother nature very rarely gets it wrong. 

Now that we know what a strand of hair is made up of, Im going to explain why when using lightening cream, bleaches and oxidising dyes, you are not doing the job that you trained to do…

Safe, temporary dyes like chalks, sprays and blo-pens simply stain the cuticle. They do not penetrate the cuticle and depending on how porous the hair is, won’t last very long. They usually wash off within a few washes.

Semi Permanent Dyes penetrate the cuticle but only because the molecules are so small, they attach to the cortex where the pigment granules are. They will last longer than temporary colour because they have entered the actual shaft of the hair. They simply cover the colour already there and wash over over time. This doesn’t damage the essential particles that make up the hair. That is why they only really work on lighter coloured dogs, the colour mixes with the dogs original hair colour and so its hard to achieve a true colour! If the hair is darker than the dye, it won’t show up! 

Oxidising Dyes and Bleaches These products damage the hair. The chemicals swell the cuticle and let the agent in to the cortex destroying everything inside it including the cortical Fusi and the Pigment Granules. It also damages the Fibrils (these give the hair strength). Some say that conditioner helps but in actual fact, it just makes it feel nicer to you. The damage is done! 

I only applied it to the tips’ It doesn’t matter. The chemicals in the bleach can travel down the cortex of the hair and access the follicle. This could lead to the agent entering the bloodstream and that is after deforming the follicle itself. 

Oh, and if this isn’t enough, the fumes themselves could cause chemical burns on dogs skin!!! 

Is this looking after the dogs skin and coat??

Still thinking about it?? 

Humans have 5 million Olfactory nerves – (that’s what makes up our sense of smell). How do you like the smell of bleach when you dye your hair?? Strong isn’t it?? 

Cats have 65 million Olfactory Nerves – (Wow, what a difference)

Well Dogs have 220 million Olfactory Nerves. (Makes your eyes water thinking about it)

Did you know that at the low concentration found in hair bleach which is about 3% the inhalation of fumes can cause respiratory irritation. As I said, Humans have 5 million Olfactory nerves. 

Imagine how that will feel to a dog – 220 million Olfactory Nerves. 

In Conclusion

I know there are many people that believe that nothing will happen but what if it did? We all love our pets and there are safe ways to do everything that we do. Why on earth would we put our dog’s safety and wellbeing in harms way just for the sake of a truer black or a brighter red. 

We are there to protect and maintain the skin and coat and must never be seduced by a great result, sometimes it is detrimental to their wellbeing, even if the product is pet labelled. 

You can’t argue with science!