I am often asked how to make dog fur soft without running to the groomer for high-end shampoos and costly treatments. I’ve learned many coat softness tips over my 30+ years of being a Cocker Spaniel mama, but none are as amazing as frothing.
Frothing your dog can improve the coat, help prevent itchiness and scratching, reduce the amount of water and shampoo used, and help make your dog’s fur incredibly soft.
Every dog’s coat is unique. The Cocker Spaniel coat, for example, is not thick like a Siberian Husky, but it is substantial. The amount of froth I use on my sporty cut Cocker, Alvin, would differ from the amount used on a Cocker in a full show coat. Stay with me.
If you want to make your dog’s fur soft and shiny, frothing is one of the hottest trends to hit the pet grooming world. In this article, I’ll show you how frothing is done and why it will make a huge difference in the texture, softness, and sheen of your dog’s coat.
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How to Make Dog Fur Soft and Shiny
A healthy, shiny coat and soft fur is a combination of what’s happening inside and outside your dog’s body. If your dog has a dull, dry coat, one of the first things to do is visit the veterinarian.
A dull, dry coat can indicate a hormonal imbalance, canine thyroid issue, or something else found with a blood panel. Feeding a protein-rich, whole-food diet such as Dr. Harvey’s also makes a huge difference.
Externally, keep your dog’s skin and coat in good condition with brushing, regular bathing, screening for lumps and bumps, and trying a frothing at home.
What Does Frothing A Dog Mean?
You know those frothy milk toppings you see on fancy coffee drinks? Frothing dog shampoo works on the same principle with a completely different purpose.
Frothing shampoo is a unique method of activating emulsifiers in dog shampoo, so it becomes a thick foam. It is one part dog shampoo and one part warm water mixed up to a lathery, sudsy, foamy consistency.
With the naked eye, it’s the manner in which the dog shampoo is mixed with warm water that distinguishes it from a non-frothed shampoo. You will see a nice, foamy head floating high atop the solution that is applied to the dog.
“The product is better distributed when frothed or in a foam consistency,” says Karen Elizabeth Osper, Cocker Spaniel breeder of over 30 years who owns the Perfect Paw in Whitinsville, Massachusetts. “It stays where it is put, and the product goes further.”
Osper allows frothed dog shampoo to sit on the dog’s skin and coat for eight minutes and 10 minutes for conditioner in her salon. When used properly, a dog’s coat is soft, shiny, and incredibly luxurious to the touch.
Understanding Dog Shampoo and Why Frothing Works
Most dog shampoos contain water and other cleansing ingredients that must be shaken prior to application. The proteins in shampoo are emulsifiers, which are added to help moisturizing oils and water mix together. Emulsifiers distribute emollients that work to restore the natural luster of your dog’s coat.
As you shake the bottle of shampoo, the oil droplets get mixed and distributed throughout the water component. The result is a creamy texture muck like a ranch salad dressing.
Not everything in dog shampoo is safe for your dog. Be sure you understand what’s in the bottle before applying it to your dog’s skin, which is his biggest organ.
Frothing works because the suds stay where you place them. If your dog’s coat normally washes over and the shampoo barely penetrates, frothing solves this. Mixing shampoo with warm water activates the emulsifiers, but frothing takes it up a notch. Warm water also creates more suds than cold water.
How Can Frothing Improve My Dog’s Skin and Coat?
Frothing can make a huge difference in your dog’s skin and coat but also in your budget. According to Amy Lee, a professional dog groomer, frothing offers the following benefits:
- The foamy solution cleans better
- Frothing shampoo activates the foam boosters and sulfates in shampoo so they can perform their best.
- Frothing shampoo eliminates having to scrub the dog, which further activiates and releases foam boosters
- Frothing helps conserve water and product, thus saving you money.
- Ensures better rinsing so you don’t leave product on the dog’s skin (which can cause dandruff and itchiness)
- Helps make your dog’s fur soft and clean.
By applying the mixture to your dog ‘suds forward,’ meaning the mixture is actually suds and frothing as you place it on your dog. If your dog has a coat that is hard to penetrate with water, frothing tackles this issue.
“You can apply the froth directly to the coat wet or dry on some of those really hard-to-penetrate dirty coats,” according to Allison of Leading Edge Dog Show Academy. “The bubbles or froth allows the shampoo to lift the dirt and oil off the hair shaft, off the skin, and get it away from the hair shaft and skin.”
Allison reminds pet parents that on the second shampooing of a dog, you might see more suds and lather when they are bathed traditionally. However, using the frothing method, you won’t worry about doing it twice, especially with a shampoo formulated to froth.
How To Froth A Dog Step by Step
Don’t be intimidated by the frothing technique. It is easy-to-follow and requires very little effort. Here’s a step-by-step outline how to froth a dog plus a video tutorial.
For this frothing system, I will use Froth Tails Tangerine Gin Fizz frothing shampoo as an example.
- Shake the bottle of dog shampoo well.
- Add the desired amount of shampoo to your mixer/blender. When I tried this on Alvin, I used a portable blender cup. You can also use an immersion mixer, but more about that later. I used a tablespoon of product for my 24-pound thick-coated American Cocker Spaniel.
- Add the necessary amount of warm water from a separate bottle to your mixer. Since the Froth Tails shampoo is a 50:1 ratio, you’ll add the about a ¼ of the blender cup with warm water. Do NOT add too much water, as you will be frothing to fill the entire cup to the top.
- Place the lid on your blender cup and turn the unit on. Pay close attention to the level of froth so you don’t overblend or overflow.
- Use your hand or a wet loofa to scoop the froth out of the container and disperse the foamy, frothy mixture all over the dog’s dry coat. Do not pre-wet. Massage into your dog’s skin and coat as usual.
Of note, if you are using a regular dog shampoo that is not highly concentrated, you’ll use a bit more product than a shampoo designed to froth.
I tried the frothing method with Pride and Groom Shampoo for Shedders and I used about a tablespoon of the product. Be sure to shake it up first. Use the same amount of warm water in the blender before frothing.
Are There Special Tools Need To Froth My Dog?
Yes, you need a few things to froth your dog properly. Fortunately, they are very inexpensive items you can purchase on Amazon. You don’t need all these items, but I’ve listed different options depending on your dog’s size, needs, etc.
Microwave-Safe Cup To Warm Water: I like the OXO line of microwave-save products. (only place microwave-safe containers in the microwave when heating the water – never microwave the shampoo)
Measuring Cup: So you can easily measure, prepare, and froth your mixture.
Milk Frother: If you like a nice, quick frothy technique, use the same frother used in cafes around the globe.
Measuring Spoon Set: To measure the dog shampoo easily. (if desired)
Measuring Cup Set: To easily measure dog shampoo for larger dogs or multidog households.(if desired)
Portable Blender with Cup: Perfect for mixing shampoo with warm water.
Immersion Mixer Stick: If you prefer a handheld mixer, this 9-speed hand blender performs beautifully.
What Are The Best Dog Frothing Shampoos?
You can use any shampoo to froth, but some companies offer formulations with frothing in mind
Dog shampoos I tried for this post and the frothing results are as follows:
Froth Tails Tangerine Gin Fizz frothing shampoo: One 16-ounce bottle dilutes about 6 gallons of water. The scent is refreshing orange but not overpowering, with sweet sugar and elderflower gin notes. It is designed to froth, and it performs beautifully in warm water. I used about 1/2 teaspoon on Alvin with warm water.
Pride and Groom The Shedder Shampoo: You know that fresh scent dogs have right after professional grooming? That is what Pride and Groom’s shampoo smells like. It performs like a very expensive shampoo and frothed up nicely.
Pet Releaf’s Skin and Coat CBD Dog Shampoo: Alvin developed some dry skin, leading to flakiness on his back. I love the Pet Releaf CBD shampoo line and tried frothing it up. It took less product than other shampoos to create a rich, lathery froth.
Zymox LP3 Enzyme Shampoo: I use this Zymox shampoo year-round for itchy skin and to nourish my dog’s coat. It frothed up like a champ with very little product.
How Can Frothing Help My Itchy Dog?
Pet groomer and Cocker breeder Karen Osper says frothing can cut down on itching and potentially eliminate harmful medications like Apoquel.
“Frothing gets to where you need it, so if you have a dog with bad skin issues, you can place the froth on the bad areas first and allow the product to sit,” she advises.
One of her clients, a Golden Retriever, comes in regularly for bathing and grooming. The dog suffered from yeast that caused hot spots all over his body.
“These owners listened to us and went from a dog with raw open wounds and severe itching to a happy dog with healthy skin,” Osper shares. “The answer isn’t always Apoquel or Cytopoint.”
Here are the exact steps Osper uses on this Golden Retriever:
- Gingerelderberry Pek Conditioner: 3 to 4 tablespoons, purifying mask 2 tablespoons. If the dog has a lot of crust, add 2 tablespoons mineral red peel, and one teaspoon K101. Add 2 to 2-1/2 cups of warm water and froth it up.
- Apply to dry coat.
- Soak 10 to 15 minutes.
- Next, she uses 1-1/2 teaspoons Zolfo shampoo, 2-1/2 teaspoons mineral plus cream shampoo and 15 to 18 teaspoons of water, then froth it up.
- Apply that mixture to the worst areas first, then everywhere else.
- If you have ozone, use it on manual for 20 minutes.
Coupled with a change of diet and weekly baths, the Golden Retriever no longer has the yeast, hot spots, or itching.
Talk to your veterinarian about a medicated shampoo that you can froth up when used at home.
Recap of Why Frothing Is Better For Your Dog
Frothing is easy, fun, and is really good for your dog skin and coat. Frothing benefits include:
- Using less water and less shampoo
- Ability to spot treat areas
- The frothy mixture cleans better
- Product stays on and does not drip off the dog.
- The foam boosters and sulfates are activated when frothed.
- Frothing ensures better rinsing and no product left behind.
- No need to pre-rinse the coat before applying the froth.
- Feels like a spa treatment for your dog.
- You and your dog bond over the experience.
- Frothing is easy to learn and enjoyable to place on your dog.
PRO TIP: If your dog hates bathtime, consider using a Lickimat. Smear your dog’s favorite yogurt or pet-safe peanut butter on the Lickimat, place it on the tub or the grooming table, and watch your dog lick his troubles away.
Read more tips about grooming a difficult dog.
FAQs About Frothing Your Dog
According to Go Groomer Amy Lee, you can apply the frothing mixture to a dry or wet dog, but she prefers it on a dry dog. She says applying it to a dry, dirty coat is more effective to clean your dog instead of pre-wetting him.
Yes, using the frothing instructions in this post.
Yes, frothing is designed for all dogs’ coats. The type and amount of shampoo you use varies from dog to dog and your specific needs.
No, it the mixture can grow fungus and bacteria, so always dispose of any additional frothing mixture you do not use. Create a fresh batch of froth each time.