Dear Dr.Sandy:

Your coat always looks so shiny. I was wondering what products you use, and what your bathing regimen is.

—Pet Owner in Lake Piru

Thank you — I am rather fastidious about my hygiene. I may not be the gold standard pup for bathing practices, however, as my skin is especially sensitive I’ve had to leave otherwise premium products by the wayside.

I was a huge fan of Buddy Wash lavender and mint all-natural shampoo, made with coconut oil, aloe vera and Vitamin E, which I recommend highly. My easily irritated skin was not soothed, and I currently use a rather unorthodox mix of Dial for Men’s Hydrating Body Wash (it has a gentler detergent) and Nature’s Gate Aloe Vera Moisturizing Conditioner. I hit my snout with a solid wash of Johnson & Johnson’s Baby Shampoo, because, yes, I’m sensitive.

For a more solid list of recommended products, I turned to Lindsay Foster, owner of Dogs Rule Mobile Pet Grooming and VC Reporter copy editor.

She urged the use of lavender or oatmeal for pooches with dry skin. Her favorite brand (a standard in all her treatments) is Kelco, a line of all-natural shampoo that comes in a variety of blends. (Although not sold locally, Kelco is available by the gallon at a variety of online stores, including

And for fleas? Foster points out that most dog shampoos will kill fleas if left on for five minutes, but she also recommends Flea Treats (for dogs #and# cats), which by her observation of pets Toby and Callie are a delicious, ingestible alternative to more harsh exterior treatments.

Foster’s trade secret for ridding a living area of fleas is less organic but extremely effective: She recommends sprinkling Borax into the carpet, then vacuuming it up, and repeating weekly for three weeks.