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Hi All!
I am new to this community and a relatively new doggie owner. We have 3 pure bred mini/toy poodles (weight ranges 10-14lbs). Sorry in advance for the long post and lots of questions!

Rocky: He my handsome baby and is mixed black and white.

Pepper: She’s a little diva with the cutest Micky Mouse face! Her coat is all black but is starting to show some signs of greying.

Duke: He’s the baby of the house and is the most mischievous. He jumps around like a bunny rabbit and can’t sit still for the life of him. But more importantly, he acts like he’s part of the Royal Family, thus we call him the Duke of Edinburgh! His coat is all white 🐩 (He’s the child of Rocky + Pepper — who are also brother/sister and are part of the same litter — it’s a long story).
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All of are super sweet, but LOVE to roll around in the grass in our back yard and play in the dirt/mud, dig holes, and eat grass? (We feed them so no clue why they all persist on eating grass).

We bathe them at home once a week with random pet shampoos that we’ve seen on sale at TJ Maxx, but tend to go with the products that are oatmeal based.

When they go to the groomers, their coat stays fluffy and soft for about a week. However, at home, after their bath, I towel dry them and then use a regular blow dryer (usually on the cool setting) while brushing them (the brush with the little steel like pins for matting?). Their coats stay fluffy for a bit, but are also “rough” and curly if that makes any sense?

I want to know:

1) What is shampoo is the best for their coat?

2) What is the best way/shampoo to maintain a white coat for duke (there are still yellow patches sometimes after a shower at home)?

3) What is the best conditioner? Do they need separate conditioners since all three are different colors?

4) Can you use coconut oil as a conditioner in the shower and then rinse it off? Will this hurt them or make them extra “sticky”?

5) Duke (the white one) has a lot of red discoloring around his eyes and mouth. I know this has something to do with the tears and reaction with their hair? How can we get rid of that or treat it at home most effectively? (he is so cute but ends up looking like a zombie by the end of the week)

6) Is there a way to prevent all the grass/dirt sticking to their coats? Or a way to get it off thoroughly without showering them? (We literally have to sweep the house 1-2x a day and it’s the amount of grass/dirt they bring in)

7) With hot weather coming around the corner, they tend to be extra stinky after coming back from a walk or being outside (sweat, I know — as a child I had to take a shower before dinner during the summer lol! But that isn’t feasible to showEr them every day). What products can be used to eliminate the outside funk odor and not hurt their skin?

Any other tips/products/methods that you all can give me would be much appreciated!! I just want to make sure the pups are taken care of and also have some peace of mind on our end too (I hate cleaning lol!)

Thanks in advance for all of your advice, help, and guidance!

Xoxo,
Runal, Rocky, Pepper, and Duke Patel

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Welcome! Your three pups are very cute and you clearly put a lot of work into them. I don't have answers for all the questions but I will focus on a few.

Shampoo/conditioner... I would suggest buying a specialty shampoo/conditioner that's made for their coat type. If you search past threads on the forums you'll find a lot of suggestions. Chris Christensen and Nature's Specialties, Les Pooch, and Isle of Dogs seem to be favorite brands that come up a lot. Currently I'm using Nature's Specialties Almond Crisp and love it. I would personally stay away from anything too oily like coconut oil. Oil doesn't rinse out well with water, so it's likely to leave an oily residue. For keeping whites white, there are specialty whitening shampoos that are made to help remove the yellowing. Chris Christensen and Nature's Specialties sells good ones.

The most important thing in getting that fluffy texture is using a high velocity dryer. That's probably why you aren't getting the desired texture. There are lots of threads on good affordable home HV dryers. They cut down on time to dry and will help you get that nice fluffy coat. It does take some research and practice to get used to how to use them.

For tracking in dirt and plants... you are running into the reason many people like to keep shaved faces and feet on their poodles! The coats are indeed like velcro. I don't know of a good solution other than keeping shaved face and feet. I use a slicker brush to remove any stickers and seeds that get caught in fur when mine goes for a romp.

Hopefully others have advice on your other concerns.
 

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Hello to you and your sweet poodles!

I’ll try to answer your questions as well as I can or add on to Raindrop’s answer.

1) What is shampoo is the best for their coat?
This is tricky since poodles tend to have sensitive skin, and you might find that some shampoos cause dryness or itching more than others. I don’t recommend oatmeal shampoos based on personal experience as well as it actually being a common topical allergen for dogs. I use nature’s specialties berry gentle shampoo, diluted with water in a separate bottle 16:1. (16 parts water to 1 part shampoo). The natures specialties almond crisp shampoo (and no conditioner) is recommended if you plan on doing your own grooming as it helps the hair to stand out straight and makes for easier scissor work create the shape you want with the hair. A lot of people like the scent of it. Also important is to rinse twice as long as you think you need to if using a hand held sprayer. More than that if just pouring cups of water on them. Poodles are difficult to fully rinse!

2) What is the best way/shampoo to maintain a white coat for duke (there are still yellow patches sometimes after a shower at home)?
There are whitening shampoos/optical brightener shampoos you can find for white dogs. They are usually purple based. Since they are on the opposite side of the color wheel from yellow they help neutralize yellow tones. Beware as they can be drying to the coat and skin. Dilute with water as the instructions on the bottle recommend it. do two rounds of shampoo and water rinse to fully clean down to the skin.

3) What is the best conditioner? Do they need separate conditioners since all three are different colors?
i really can’t answer what the best conditioner is. I just recommend one for dogs, again, diluted with water in a separate bottle. Less is more when it comes to conditioner. You don’t need different conditioners for your different colored poodles.

4) Can you use coconut oil as a conditioner in the shower and then rinse it off? Will this hurt them or make them extra “sticky”?
I have no experience with this! Diluted dog shampoo and conditioner are very difficult to fully rinse out so I can’t imagine how difficult coconut oil would be. But it will not hurt the dog physically.

5) Duke (the white one) has a lot of red discoloring around his eyes and mouth. I know this has something to do with the tears and reaction with their hair? How can we get rid of that or treat it at home most effectively? (he is so cute but ends up looking like a zombie by the end of the week)

I’d say talk to the vet about this, but know there may not be a solution. My only recommendation is once a day take a separate wet cotton pad to wipe under each eye and each side of the mouth. Then completely dry it with a different clean paper towel for each side. You want to avoid the wetness of the saliva and tears but avoid irritating the skin with rubbing.
You can try distilled or purified bottled water only for their drinking water for a few weeks as well.
Light colored dogs are more affected by this common staining since it contrasts against the light hair. Keeping the hair on the muzzle shaved will prevent the red staining around the mouth. But not under the eyes.
Please see this link:



6) Is there a way to prevent all the grass/dirt sticking to their coats? Or a way to get it off thoroughly without showering them? (We literally have to sweep the house 1-2x a day and it’s the amount of grass/dirt they bring in)

The only way to decrease the problem is to keep their body and legs less than 1/4” (6mm) short. Keep the hair on top of the feet and between toe pads as short/shaved as possible. Keep the ears shorter so they don’t drag on the ground if they are sniffing around. Fluffy hair and three dogs is going to make it hard to avoid brining in dirt and grass from outside.

7) With hot weather coming around the corner, they tend to be extra stinky after coming back from a walk or being outside (sweat, I know — as a child I had to take a shower before dinner during the summer lol! But that isn’t feasible to showEr them every day). What products can be used to eliminate the outside funk odor and not hurt their skin?

I know they’ll have a little bit of an outdoor body odor smell, but dogs don’t actually sweat! I really don’t have a good solution except for a rinse free shampoo foam and then a thorough brush and comb after. I’m sure there are doggie colognes you could use too. I’ve never tried them because I find poodles smell very manageable with a bath every 10 days or so.


also, as raindrops mentioned, you need to get a high velocity dryer if you want to achieve the fluffy, soft, straighter hair that lasts several days. This also makes clipping the hair much more even and helps blow out minor tangles after the shower/bath. I recommend a “stepless” dryer so you can get your dogs used to higher Wind speeds over several uses.
 
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