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Dog bath games & Bonnie and Bailey organic dog shampoo test

By September 7, 2017September 14th, 20183 Comments

When Bonnie & Bailey‘s crew got in touch asking whether we would have been keen to test their dog shampoo, I finally felt time had come to give Argo a good bath after our Summer adventures. Bath day was scheduled on a wonderful sunny weekend (with Murphy’s law hitting the nail on the head just a couple of days later, lavishing copious rainshowers).

Dogs, humans and stories behind Bonnie & Bailey

Bonnie & Bailey is a brand that makes organic dog grooming products certified by the Soil Association. It was born in 2012 over pizza in Clapham Junction by four dog lover co-founders.

The idea was to create a line of products which did not contain nasty chemicals and were gentle on the skin and fur of the dogs, as well as environment-friendly. “On this journey we travelled down the natural as possible path, and as we ventured further, found ourselves increasingly using and experimenting with organic oils alongside our organic shampoo base. This made perfect sense to try and make the purest and most natural product – organic style – which is as good as it gets”, said Caroline Kinner, one of the founders.

Co-founders Nigel and Andrew, the two PhDs, are chemist and biologist respectively. Nigel, especially, plays a major role in the day to day running of the Bonnie & Bailey empire, and is affectionately known as the “Prof” for his chemical intelligence and experience. Caroline and Catrina take care of the rest. In particular, Caroline “does the talk” and is know for “having no shame”, as she demonstrated during the early days of testing trials, when she would stop random people on the street, in coffee shops, absolutely anywhere, to counsel opinions on sample essential oils.

The crew is of course completed by the doggies! “Chloe the Catahoula Mix from Dallas, Texas, is actually Chief Shampoo & Fragrance Tester. She is an absolute ‘roller’ in all things nasty” said Caroline. “I was keen to find a product I could use often, that was natural as possible which was able to effectively remove stinky smells… until next time”. Chloe also joins Caroline to the warehouse and lays at her feet when she is working. She also enjoys going on walks and on sales visits during the day.

There is then Catrina’s dog, chocolate Labrador Lola, who apparently is also a “roller” as well as Thames swimmer and a bath-time howler. Her favourite is their Puppies shampoo, “which has lovely rosemary, lemongrass and chamomile fragrance, especially, for calming” added Caroline.

Dog Bath Time: A “Dogs and Ladders” game

If you were to represent dogs’ reactions to bath time in a pie chart, Argo would probably belong to the slice of those who (grudgingly) tolerate it. In fact, even if he hurries going in hiding in his crate as soon as he hears the word “bath”, in the end he is always easily won entering the bathroom and jumping into the bathtub with the promise of a few treats.

But we all know a few friends whose dog bath time looks much like a Sneak and Ladders game (or, more appropriately, a “Dogs and Ladders” game): they manage to move forward a few spaces (getting the dog in the bathroom, maybe even in the bathtub) but, for a reason or another, they will often end up having to restart the whole process from the beginning for scarce cooperation of the furry one.

Whether you are one of them or you fancy just having a laugh, hopefully you will enjoy being taken through our dog shampoo test as in a “Dogs and Ladders” game. Bonnie & Bailey shampoo will not make the magic for convincing your dog to take a bath – though a few good treats or some butcher’s delicacies may do the trick – but there are some differences you will notice on the way to the finish line.

So let the game start!

“Dogs and Ladders” bath time

  1. Check the weather forecast. More than once. Although the word dog is involved in the expression “cats-and-dogs weather”, it may not be appropriate to pick one of those (anyway don’t stress out too much: shouldn’t it rain after the bath, dog will find suitable puddle/pond to roll into).
  2. Set up: towel for the dog (and one for the human), swimsuit from bottom of the drawer, dog shampoo Bonnie & Bailey Derma Sooth,  hairdryer.
  3. Find dog
  4. Call dog
  5. Having mistakenly pronounced the word “Bath” before calling dog, get back to step No.3 (Find dog)

  1. Gently lure dog into bathroom. Saying “park” and “walk” while entering bathroom may work the first time. Don’t hope to get dog be convinced the second one.
  2. Reward dog for jumping into bathtub, if applicable. Alternatively, lift dog and place it in bathtub (if large dog is involved, ring then up physiotherapist for back fixing session).
  3. Place dog under fixed head shower and pour water with basin onto dog were appropriate, if dog still in bathtub (otherwise get back to step No. 3, i.e. find dog). Better done with extensible shower head, where available.
  4. Dispense Bonnie & Bailey shampoo on hands, apply on coat while frictioning, if dog still in bathtub. Otherwise go back to step No. 3 (Find dog). Again.

  1. Rinse well, shielding behind shower curtain when dog decides to shake. May take few tries and soakings to get timing right.
  2. Get dog out of bathtub. Get completely drenched thanks to dog’s last shakes. Best tecnique: hold large dog towel between yourself and dog.
  3. Dry dog’s paws before he gets out from bathroom.
  4. Plug in hairdryer and start drying phase before dog rolls on carpets, crawls against sofa and walls. Avoid at any cost letting dog into garden (where applicable), if you do be prepared to go back to step No. 4 (Call dog).
  5. By now you should be fairly drenched while you dog happily runs around in zoomies. You have won the game. Go get yourself a piece of cake at nearest bakery/beer at nearest pub to celebrate. After cleaning the bathroom and taken a shower!

Our observations about Bonnie & Bailey’s shampoo

Foam: What you see is not what you get!

One thing that I noticed during our bath was that the Derma Sooth shampoo made far less foam that the products we were used to. To say it all almost none. At first this felt a bit unusual and I thought that may have proven the shampoo a bit ineffective. Wrong. I suddenly remembered that Caroline from Bonnie & Bailey had explained that many shampoos (also some of those calling themselves organic or natural) use unnatural ingredients that aren’t good for dog’s sensitive skins and can strip the pH balance of the their skin and these include sulphur laureate sulphates, which are chemical foaming agents, and parabens (preservatives).

Bonnie & Bailey doesn’t use such ingredients (which is good news!), hence their shampoo non-foamy consistency. They committed to providing the most natural product possible, which still includes some minor components as thickeners and preservatives, but is mostly made of selected essential oils. “To confirm our commitment to the purest, most natural ingredients possible, we approached The Soil Association (SA) for authentication, which we were able to obtain pretty easily. The SA does not recognise chemicals, parabens, sls’s or even water as an organic ingredient. So our products are literally, as natural as we can make them!”

After-bath fur softness

Normally, after having a bath, Argo’s coat looks clean but a bit dry and lackluster. It then improves in the following days, when his fur becomes softer and shinier. So I wouldn’t have been surprised nor disappointed if I had to wait a day or two to see Boonie & Bailey’s Derma Sooth shampoo effect.

However things went very differently: right after drying his coat, it already felt of the correct moisture, very soft to the touch and shiny to the sight! And he didn’t show any sign of etching or discomfort either.

The shampoo is odourless and so was Argo after his fur had properly dried.


Ingredients Quality
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
(Mostly blend of organic essential oils, certified by the Soil Association)

★ ★ ★ ★ ★
(Soft and shiny coat, no parfume)

★ ★ ★ ★ ★
(Derma Sooth shampoo costs £12.50 – currently on sale at £10! – per 250ml)

Environmental friendliness
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
(For ingredients and non-plastic dispenser)

We would definitely recommend Bonnie & Bailey’s Derma Sooth shampoo.

Transparency note: This is an indipendent review. We only received a sample of Bonnie&Bailey’s Derma Sooth dog shampoo to test.

©2017 The Londog


  • Justin Kumaran says:

    Aw, bath time is such a fiasco in our household with neither dog enjoying it very much! But they’re always very good and stay in the water looking miserable until we’re finished. Looks like a great product though, one of ours is allergic to loads of things, so it seems like it might be worth a try with him.

  • Judy Britten says:

    I bought some of this at Pup Aid 2017 and look forward to using it on my pug next week when his bath is due. I opted for the neroli which smells divine.

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