You burned my dog

Care and feeding of the Prima Bathing system


I have had my Prima system for a long time. I think about 6 years actually and would not want to work without it. It is a pressurized shampoo application system, totally contained. It holds 14 gallons of diluted shampoo and has a hose for an auxiliary tank which allows you to use it to apply medicated shampoos or conditioners other than your regular base shampoo. It is a huge time saver and money saver since the shampoo is not wasted, but is rather applied directly to the dog with no spillage at all.

The only thing I do not like about it is that it is hard to clean, and I have never really been happy with how clean it got doing it only occasionally, so we developed a regimen a few years ago on how to do it easily and it has worked wonderfully! It is actually very simple. When the tank is empty at the end of the day, or very close to it, we empty the tank using the drain hole in the bottom and rinse it with warm water, allowing it to dry out overnight. This happens usually twice a week and ALWAYS on Saturday since we will be closed on Monday. Once a month or so I put a gallon of white vinegar in the tank and swish it around really well, add hot water to the top and allow it to sit over the weekend (again, done on a Saturday after the dogs are done). This has kept the system clean and working great for years.

Well, apparently I failed to teach my newest member of the bathing staff how to do this. I thought that the long time staff had taught her. The girl the usually cleans the tank thought the new bather was cleaning it, the new bather did not know it needed doing and generally speaking we dropped the ball. It didn’t get cleaned.

 I found out on Monday when I came up here to bathe my dog, Toto. The shampoo smelled rotten for lack of a better way to put it. I turn the AC off in the shop over the weekend unless we have dogs boarding, and even then I turn it UP because it doesn’t need to be 70 in here when we aren’t working.

I decided I better clean it out, thinking it was just soured from the weekend, so I put it in the tub, drained it and rinsed it. Then I figured the vinegar bath would be good, poured in the vinegar and let is sit, added water, ran it a bit on mix and slimey gunk was beginning to show up on the top of the water.


Prima gunk 2

 I drained it and LOTS of thick, white, pastey looking material came out. I was concerned and then took a brush to the inside of the tank, and used high pressure spray from the nozzle to dislodge more “gunk”. I ended up with over 16 ounces of "stuff" coming out of the tank that should not have been there.


Prima gunk Prima gunk 3

 I was horrified at what was coming out of my tank. I collected it and put it in a measuring cup to show my staff. They couldn’t believe it either, but I had the proof. There was soap scum, some of which was mildewed all over the top and sides of the tank. Somehow there was hair in the tank that had collected more scum and I found two paper lids off of shampoo gallon sin the tank as well. I was amazed to say the least.

I was also very concerned that we had been using shampoo from this tank for who know how long. I mean, it might be contaminated with bacteria, viruses or who knows what. It could be making a dog sick!

I am determined that it will never happen again.

We now have everyone double checking at the end of the day to insure the tank is sitting open in the tub after being drained and rinsed. I do not want to have to go through this again nor do I want to worry about client dogs or my own dogs getting ill from the residue.  


I could have chosen to not publish this since it is possible this will emabarrass me or make people wonder if my shop is clean enough to be safe. I chose to publish it because I am not perfect. I trusted that it was being cleaned and I was mistaken. I also wanted others to know that this is a possibility if you are not careful and diligent about keeping the tank cleaned. If one person learns from my mistake it is worth the public embarrassment I have subjected myself to.



I also have had that problem in the past. I am also a small one person shop and hated the idea of having to pour money down the drain each night. I installed a fish tank heater in my tank and it helps keep the shampoo fresh as well as keeping the water warm for the baths, I empty once a week now and never run into that problem.

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