Spa day for these pampered pets starts off with teeth brushing, using an enzymatic toothpaste and a human toothbrush. Other saint owners have suggested a baby washcloth wrapped around a finger to clean the teeth. Be sure to look for any redness, bleeding, or loose teeth that may need a vet’s attention. April says she started doing this when her dogs were young, so they are used to it and don’t fight it. If it becomes a test of wills to clean teeth, leave it to the professionals. Some of her favorite products for maintaining healthy mouths are … Tropiclean Fresh Breath Water Additive and Fresh Mint Foam .
After a trimming of the nails, hair on the paws, and a sanitary trim, you should spend time on a thorough brushing. April has learned from show groomers that it’s essential to get all the knots and tangles out prior to the bath, as well as to remove the dead undercoat and matting, to allow proper penetration of water and shampoo to the skin. This bath prep can be time consuming, depending on the dog, and can take up to 30 to 45 minutes!
Whether you bath your Saint outdoors or in your bathroom, secure them with a leash to prevent runaway wet dog. Now, this passionate Saint owner uses three (yes, three) professional-quality shampoos, but swears there is a method to her madness. First, using a baking soda-based shampoo , transferred to a restaurant-style ketchup squeeze bottle for ease, she runs a bead of the shampoo from the neck, down the back to the tip of the tail, and down each leg. Spritz with water and start to lather and then rinse. If you’ve done a decent job of brushing out the hair and undercoating, the water and lather will get down to the skin, and not just merely the top coat. This should “deodorize” your dog.
The second step involves a whitening shampoo. Be sure to include the dog’s head and chin in this step. The third step is the freshening shampoo. Now’s the time to bring in the Zoom Groom rubber brush which is great for working in lather and a soothing rub down. Rinse well, and rinse again to make sure no trace of shampoo remains. An oatmeal and baking soda conditioner may help troubled spots in the coat. Allow to sit for a few minutes, then rinse thoroughly.
After towel-drying thoroughly, Persephone and Gogo get a few finishing touches, While many choose to let their saint “air dry,” April actually invested in a pet dryer, because not only does she not want the “wet dog” smell in her home, but she says it prevents your pup from getting hotspots and other skin problems as a result of the lingering moisture. She uses the Metro Air Force Quick Draw Pet Dryer that she found on petedge.com for less than $100.
April reminds us that saints’ floppy ears, combined with moisture, are a breeding ground for yeast and bacteria. Grooming isn’t complete without an ear cleaning, using an alcohol-based cleaner to remove any trapped water. While your saint is still leashed, and holding the tip of the ear firmly, keep the whole ear upright and squirt a generous amount of the cleanser into the ear. With your free hand, gently but firmly massage the base of the ear. You will hear a squishy sound, and your dog will not be happy. “Let go and move away,” she warns, “as your dog will shake his head.” Repeat on the other ear. With a few paper towels, or cotton pads, and two fingers, wipe out and dry the inside of the ear. She finishes off this star treament with a spritz of fragrant grooming spray.
Sunny Saints does not officially endorse any particular brand or type of products, but we do have a lot of passionate St. Bernard lovers and supporters who have a lot of experience and situations to share. We’d love to hear about your dog grooming tips that just might make life easier for the rest of us!