The Paw Spa offers unique service for wire haired breeds

posted July 20th, 2016 by
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For most dogs, grooming means a good bath and a few snips of the scissors. But for terriers and other wire coated breeds, hand stripping is a necessary technique for maintaining a healthy coat.

Crystal Bowen, owner of The Paw Spa, has been hand stripping dogs since the 1990’s. She used to hand strip and show her Jack Russell terriers and wire haired dachshunds.

“Hand stripping is a technique that plucks the dead hair directly from the hair follicle. The canine hair follicle is complex, meaning it has many hairs coming out of one follicle,” Bowen explained. “They are at all different stages of life. To maintain a healthy coat, the dead hairs must be removed. Due to the thickness of the terriers’ coats, they cannot come out just by brushing; they get stuck in the hair follicle and must be plucked manually.”

“When the dead hairs are stripped out, new hair is stimulated to grow and a coarser, brighter hair is produced,” Bowen said. “The color of the coat becomes more vibrant.”

On the other hand, clipper cutting a terrier’s coat can cause the dead hair to become jammed in the follicle causing irritation, swelling, bumps, sores and sometimes pustules, Bowen said. It can also change the appearance and feel of the coat making it dull and soft.handstripping

Because the technique can take years to perfect, not many groomers are skilled in the art of hand stripping. Additionally, too much stripping in one area can cause bald patches or sores; you have to know exactly which hairs to pluck, Bowen said.

And though the process sounds painful, most dogs enjoy the process, Bowen said.

“Most of my terriers enjoy the process so much they lay down on the table ready for the stripping,” she said. “I think it feels good for them to finally have that hair removed.”

Bowen learned to groom during her time as a veterinarian technician.

“I loved grooming, the dogs were always happy to see me and I loved making them look beautiful,” Bowen recalled. “Grooming made me happy, it made me feel like an artist. And I loved pampering the pets, rubbing them in the bath, petting them, brushing them and giving them the best haircuts. I feel like I’m helping them to look and feel their best.”

Because of the extra time and skill involved, the cost of hand stripping is significantly higher than a normal breed clipper cut. Bowen charges a basic bath price for the breed and $1.00 / minute for the hand stripping.

The Paw Spa also offers full service grooming and baths for dogs as well as cats. Spa packages, mud baths, warm oil treatments, shed reducing treatments, tooth brushing and breath control are also offered as well as creative grooming, pet safe nail polish, jewels and feather extensions and pet safe hair color — for that pup that wants a pop of color! All products at The Paw Spa are safe and all natural.

Learn more at

- Lauren Cavagnolo, [email protected]

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