When I got Riyo back in 2007, the lady I got him from recommended Vellus shampoos and brushes for him as that is what she uses on her show dogs. I followed her recommendation and went on the Vellus website and ordered one gallon of shampoo and one gallon of conditioner. Conditioner is a must for Papillons. Their silky hair needs conditioner to keep it from breaking when brushed. I decided to buy a gallon of each so I wouldn’t run out in a couple of months and have to buy again.
It is now 2011 and I am still using the same two gallons that I bought back in 2007! It’s like the never ending bottle. And it’s not like I try to be conservative when I use it! I got Darcy in 2008 and I have used the same shampoo on the both of them this whole time. I think the shampoo and conditioner is concentrated, so it goes a long way. If it ever runs out, I will buy Vellus again undoubtedly, but I plan on trying out smaller bottles of different products for a little variety!
The brushes are also worth the money. I bought two pin brushes and one small slicker brush at the same time that I got the shampoo. They are high quality wood brushes with rounded pins that don’t scratch the dogs’ skin. The brushes are definitely more pricey than what you find at PetsMart, but they work better, last longer, and are better on your dog’s fur and skin. I bought a slicker brush for the big girls at PetsMart a few months ago and the plastic handle cracked within a couple months. I think it is time I invest in a Vellus brush or a Chris Christiansen brush for them as well. In the end, it is more economical as the wood brushes last for years.
The pin brushes are recommended for the Papillons’ long silky hair, but are useless for short haired dogs like Lizzie and Carmina. As I mentioned before, for them I use the FURminator as a deshedding tool (invaluable), but I also like to use a big slicker brush to brush out debris from their coat by brushing against and with the grain.
Also, if you have a silky haired dog like the Papillons, we aren’t supposed to brush their coats dry. You should mist it with water or with a grooming spray (Vellus has one as well) to get it just damp enough to brush without breakage!