Towels and the laundering of towels will be one item that anyone with a pool will become all too familiar with. It is nice when planning the design of your pool, that you allow for a washer and dryer nearby. Get plenty of towels – cheap ones.

Stack 'o towels

Some pools ask the client to bring their own towels but this can be an inconvenience and then you are sending the client home with a car full of wet towels. I prefer to provide towels to my clients but each set up will have its own requirements.

Don’t invest in the fancy puffy soft towels. Not only can you only put a few of these fatties in the dryer at once, but they actually don’t absorb as well as the cheaper thinner cotton towels!

Remember to use as organic and healthy of detergent as possible. Avoid all artificial scents. The dogs that come to see you in Canine Water Therapy are often compromised and their fur plus immobility can lead to difficulties in getting everything dry after a spa session.

Be sure to think twice before using dryer sheets or fabric softeners. Research in dermatology has confirmed that the use of perfumes and dryer sheets and fabric softeners that contain artificial ingredients can cause or prolong irritated skin conditions. Dryer sheets and Fabric Softeners will actually reduce the absorbency of towels as they work by adding a thin coating to the towels to ‘reduce cling’… if you love scented towels, try putting one drop of a healthy pure essential oil on one corner of one towel per load in your dryer and it’ll not only scent the entire load but may also leave some healing properties inherent in the oil.

I always take the collar off the dog so that it doesn’t get wet and hold water later and also so that the area under the collar doesn’t escape drying after our session.

I use plenty of dry towels and focus on the areas that we often miss – ie the armpits and between the hind legs. If the dog will allow, I use an unheated blow dryer and pay extra attention to these areas.

Here’s a picture of a dog who reacted to something after his spa treatment. This area between the legs, as well as the armpits, are often hard dry in a compromised pup.

Irritated skin between the hind legs. Click for larger.

It is not natural for a dog to be in warm water for 30-60 minutes and any bodywork you do in the pool will drive the water to the skin which is also unnatural as the dog’s coat is designed to repel… so its our responsibility as pool owners and therapists to pay attention to every detail of the canine water therapy experience and do what we can to make healthy choices.