Many of our customers bring us prescription shampoo from their veterinarian when they arrive with their dog for grooming. MOST of these shampoo's have instructions on the label that the product should remain in contact with the pets skin for 5 or 10 minutes. Just how important is this?
The answer is: it is VERY important. Here is why. Medicated shampoos fall into several categories. Some of these include; antimicrobial, antipruritic, keratolytic or keratoplastic. The doctor will prescribe different shampoos depending on what problem the pet is experiencing. The shampoo will begin to clean the coat as soon as in contact with the hair, but the specific action it is designed to work on the skin takes time. Some shampoos actually alter the cellular structure of the skin to help heal it, and if the product is not allowed time to do this, the expensive product is wasted and the pets problem is not helped.
In our shop dogs that are to receive a medicated bath are first bathed in a very mild, basic shampoo to cleanse the skin and coat. We call this a "primer bath." We find that the dog looks better if this primer bath is used before the prescription bath, and I believe that the medicated shampoo has better luck getting to the problem areas if used on a clean dog. After the initial shampoo is rinsed off, we use the medicated shampoo according to the instructions, (in almost all cases the label instructs that this shampoo be used full strength,so no bathing system!) and then we wrap the dog in a warm towel while it "marinates." We have kitchen timers at every bathtub to make sure the pet gets the full time required to soak.
In the interest of groomer health and safety, rubber gloves should be worn when applying any medicated product. After the timer dings, the pet is rinsed well and the grooming continues as usual. Since it does take up extra time in the grooming process, we do charge ($1.00 per minute) for soaking time.
One additional note; sometimes pet owners continue to use a medicated product even after the skin problem is resolved. This can actually irritate healthy skin. We try our best to educate the customer to this fact, but if they are firm in their resolve to continue to use the medicated shampoo, we refer them back to their veterinarian for his advice.