When times are tough, there’s nothing better than a cuddle from man's best friend. With the demand for puppies soaring, it’s more important than ever that we care for our canine companions correctly.
There is no disputing that Britain is a nation of dog lovers and there couldn’t be a more appropriate time to be thankful for our favourite pets. Over the past few months we have also seen a huge increase in new dog owners, with searches such as ‘puppies for sale’ up by 42% compared to 2019. For dog owners across the country, the pandemic has meant more time at home with their four-legged friends. But with the continuing restrictions, are we still looking after our dogs properly?
Since the release of Mira’s new dual electric shower range, Mira Showers has been busy delving into the world of canine care in order to provide the best possible advice on caring for your dog at home. Along with expert advice on washing and grooming, Mira has commissioned a survey of UK dog owners to find out how confident they are in caring for their dogs properly. Our survey has also revealed the areas where doting dog owners and the nation’s most pampered pooches reside.
Instagram’s best pampered pooches
With Lockdown 3.0 in full swing, there really is no time like the present to take a look at cute dogs having baths.
Mira Showers enlisted a panel of dog lovers to uncover thousands of pampered pooches from all over the globe. By analysing all posts that use one of the top six dog bathing-related hashtags, we can reveal Instagram’s most adorable bath-time dogs. From distracting your puppy with a rubber duck like Tormi the Jack Russell Terrier, to lathering up like Harvey the Shetland Sheepdog, it's easier than you think to shower your dog at home with the handy addition of a dual handheld shower.
Dos and Don’ts of dog washing and grooming
It can be easy to underestimate the responsibility of a new companion and the costs involved in caring for them properly.
We’ve teamed up with Wood Green, The Animals Charity and Purplebone dog grooming specialists to provide advice on how to wash and groom your dog at home. Though it’s possible to wash your dog outside, Veterinary Surgery Manager and qualified dog groomer Ness-Croft Taylor recommends a hand-held shower to regulate the flow, so if your dog is timid you can introduce the water gradually. The water temperature should be warm – and you should always check the temperature by dipping your elbow in - as you would when bathing a baby.
Billy Barlos, Senior Groomer at Purplebone also recommends the use of a handheld shower head to help ‘soak all areas of the dog for applying, rinsing and removing any excess shampoo’. When it comes to shampooing, both experts stress that dog owners should never use human shampoo and should use certified dog shampoos only. Human shampoos have completely different ph. levels which can cause painful skin problems and sting your dog’s eyes.
When washing your dog, start at the head and work your way backwards down the legs and body. Be mindful not to get water down the ear canal, as this can lead to infection. Be particularly careful around the eyes and be aware if your dog has certain areas that they are sensitive to, such as their paws.
It’s not advisable for an untrained dog owner to clip and trim hair or claws at home. Ness Croft-Taylor says ‘there are certain techniques that need to be followed in order not to harm the dog or yourself. For example, if you cut your own nails too short, they are sore, and it’s exactly the same for a dog’.
While general bathing can always be done at home, some dog breeds require a specific clip and need to be groomed professionally. Billy Barlos recommends the latter, as often professional groomers can pick up on lumps and bumps that owners can miss. He says that ‘brushing should be a daily routine for all dogs at home, regardless of coat type. It gives you an opportunity to check your dog's skin and coat for any foreign bodies’. If you can’t get your dog to a groomer regularly, there are certain things you can look out for to monitor the condition of their coat:
- A change in coat texture i.e. dandruff or matting
- Any itching or scratching
- Any areas of patchy skin or hair
- Any redness or dryness of the skin
If you notice any of the above changes, it's advisable to take your dog to the vets as soon as possible.
Confessions of UK dog owners
Now you know how to keep your dog clean, would you consider letting them share your bed?
Our research shows that 25% of the nation's dog owners do just that. Luckily most dog owners bathe or shower their dogs at home once a month, and an estimated 822,000 dog owners like to take a shower at the same time as their furry friend. With 1.6 million dog owners who confess to kissing their pet on the lips and 2.4 million owners who would take the day off work to care for a poorly pup, we can confirm that the UK is officially a nation of soppy dog owners.
When assessing how much dog owners spoil their pets, we found that owners of poodle crosses, lurchers and mixed breeds took the lead, with breeds of this kind more likely to feast on human food or receive a massage from their owner. Close behind are dogs in the hound group, which includes breeds such as Beagles, Dachshunds, Greyhounds, Whippets and Rhodesian Ridgebacks. These breeds have been known to eat dinner at the table with their owners and share their paw-rents' bed.
Investigating bathing habits by city, dog owners in London bathe or shower their pet at home more than any other UK city, with an average of seven washes a month. Owners in Bristol and Manchester are close behind, giving their dogs a bath six times a month. Dog owners in Glasgow wash their dogs the least, with an average of two washes per month.
It’s a similar story for professional pampering, with Londoners taking their pooch to the groomers more than any other UK city. Dogs in London visit the professionals around four times a month, costing their owners roughly £210 a year. In contrast, dog owners in the Northeast region of the UK have their dogs groomed professionally less than anywhere else in the country.
On an annual basis, UK dog owners are spending an average of £131 on professional dog grooming services, £96 on products for home bathing and £127 on dog accessories, such as toys and treats. Our survey reveals that the nations most spoilt pups reside in Greater London, with dog owners in the area spending the most on their pets each year. In contrast, pup owners in Wales are spending the least in total on their dogs each year.
Dog Grooming Recommendations
If you’re struggling with dog grooming at home, you’re not alone.
2 in 5 UK dog owners admit that they wish they knew more hacks to make showering their dogs easier. A dual shower can be a perfect solution for dog owners, who can use the detachable shower head to manoeuvre around their mucky pup. A treat-based incentive does always help, as Ness Croft-Taylor, Veterinary Surgery Manager and qualified dog groomer at Wood Green outlines: ‘there will always be some dogs who love water, and others who only tolerate it. If you can make it as pleasant as you can through praise and treats, it will be a much more relaxed experience.’
Our survey revealed that around 1 in 7 UK dog owners don’t know how to wash or groom their dog themselves at home. With the help of animal charity, Wood Green, and professional grooming experts at Purplebone, we’ve put together a general guide to dog grooming that may help answer common queries around how often you should bathe and groom your dog.
If you’re looking for a dog friendly shampoo which is free from parabens, harsh chemicals and detergents, Purplebone’s calming oatmeal shampoo is professionally formulated for weekly and bi-weekly washes.
- Mira Showers monitored six Instagram image hashtags relevant to dogs being groomed at home (including #puppybath, #dogbath, #muckypup, #puppybathtime, #dogbathtime and #doginshower) and enlisted a panel of dog lovers to identify Instagram’s best pampered pets
- Mira Showers commissioned Censuswide to conduct a survey of 1,007 dog owners in the UK between Sept 4th and Sept 9th 2020. Censuswide abides by and employs members of the Market Research Society which is based on the ESOMAR principles.
- Specific dog breeds have been mapped to their respective groups by the American Kennel Club
- Search data has been taken from estimated average monthly search volumes using Ahrefs Keywords Explorer, UK Google search volumes
- The most recent figures from ONS estimates the UK adult population (18+) is 52,673,433. The PDSA estimates that 26% of the UK adult population are dog owners (approximately equates to 13,695,093 UK adults). 0.6% of survey respondents say they spend over £3001 on professional dog grooming each year, which is approximately 81,486 dog owners.
About Wood Green
Founded in 1924, Wood Green are a national charity dedicated to improving pet welfare in the UK and beyond. Wood Green, The Animals Charity in Godmanchester has become one of the largest pet rehoming centres in Europe for the care of dogs, cats, and smalls pets. They are recognised innovators, setting national standards in animal welfare.
Insights provided by Ness Croft-Taylor (City & Guilds Level 3 Certificate for Dog Grooming) - Veterinary Surgery Manager and qualified dog groomer at Wood Green, The Animals Charity.
Inspired by their own four dogs, Jacob and Julian founded Purplebone in 2010 to fill a much-needed gap in the market for a quality grooming salon-cum-pet store. Purplebone is now a well-loved destination for the dog community, in the heart of their West London neighbourhood. Purplebone has appeared on programmes for Sky 1 and Channel 4, and has been featured in various publications, including Time Out, The Evening Standard and British Vogue.
Insights provided by Olivia Irvine – Customer Care Manager and Billy Barlos - Senior Groomer (certified Groomer and Crufts 2020 participant)