The Importance of Using The Right Pet Shampoo and Conditioner
The Importance of Using The Right Pet Shampoo and Conditioner
by Particular Paws
Determining which shampoo to use for your dog can be confusing so I am going to help walk you through the pros and cons of the different types available. Some dogs may have special skin and coat needs because of their diet, environment or the like. Likewise, depending on your specific breed the shampoo you choose can make a visible difference in the health of their coat and skin.
Dogs have more sensitive skin than humans so as most people know, human products should never be used on your fur baby. Canine skin is prone to conditions like dermatitis, allergies, and even sunburn. Dogs also require a different pH balance, so the first and most important step is to choose a shampoo specifically formulated for dogs.
Depending on the size of your dog & the bathing frequency they require, a single bottle of shampoo should last quite a while so you shouldn’t feel bad about paying a little more for a good quality dog shampoo.
Ingredients To Avoid
Not all pet shampoos are created equal. Some have artificial coloring and fragrances that can irritate canine skin and ultimately cause harm over time.
Tea tree-based shampoos can pose a risk to your dog. Although it has antibacterial and antiseptic properties concentrated amounts of tea tree oil can pose health risks to dogs. This said there are some pet products containing tea tree oil that can actually be of benefit to dogs but it shouldn’t be present in their shampoo.
Watch out for dangerous ingredients like formaldehyde and isopropyl alcohol (rubbing alcohol), which also appear in some pet shampoos. Pay attention, just because a brand makes high-quality human shampoo it doesn’t mean they know what’s best for a dog shampoo.
Every dog is different and may react to ingredients that others do not. Monitor your dog carefully for adverse reactions after a bath, which may indicate anything from harmful ingredients, high sensitivity, or allergies.
Choosing a Dog Shampoo
It’s best to choose a pet shampoo with all-natural ingredients. Since dogs groom by licking themselves it is important to be mindful of what goes onto their skin and fur.
Oatmeal shampoo is popular and a good choice for most dogs. Other natural ingredients safe for dogs include shea butter, aloe vera, and coconut oil.
You should try to stick to dog shampoos that use a natural fragrance. Finding a scent that is pleasant and natural isn't hard; lavender, chamomile, and rosemary are all pet-safe options.
In some cases, your pet might need more than a simple, natural shampoo. If your dog has a skin condition, your vet may recommend a medicinal shampoo. You can also learn about what ingredients are best for your dog's condition by speaking to your veterinarian.
Dry shampoo for dogs is the new miracle fix between regular bathing. Spray or foaming mousse dry shampoos are easily applied and a perfect fix for those in-between times when your pooch needs a quick freshen-up but you don’t have the time or inclination to administer a full bath. Dry shampoo helps reduce excessive oil & freshens the fur without the time and energy a wet bath may require.
Dogs who are prone to dry or flaky skin require a gentle shampoo. Shampooing your dog is already drying since it strips your dog of natural oils. For this reason you should be mindful not to bathe your dog too often. Chemicals in some products can dry out your dog's skin even more so reading the ingredient label to check for naturally based ingredients is key in the search for a quality dog shampoo.
Oatmeal and fish oils, specifically omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, help to moisturize skin, which will revitalize the skin and coat. Omega fatty acids are usually ingested though so if you stick to an oatmeal based shampoo that will help to minimize the drying effect from shampoo from external products. Natural herbal shampoos are also a safe way to help your dog moisturize.
Allergies & Itchy Skin
Skin conditions including dermatitis, bacterial infections, and allergies are all conditions that can leave a dog’s skin irritated and sensitive to externally applied products. Itching is a common symptom of dog allergies. To effectively address allergies, you should limit your dog's exposure to allergens as much as possible. It is best to consult a veterinarian to best determine what your dog is allergic to.
To address allergy symptoms, try a hypoallergenic shampoo for pets. Most shampoo treatments require you to leave the product in for a period of time. When applying shampoo be sure to check the recommended time to let the product sit before rinsing.
Aloe vera and oatmeal are two natural ingredients that help soothe itchy skin. Many medicinal shampoos commonly used for itchy skin and allergies contain chlorhexidine or miconazole. These ingredients can result in dry skin only exacerbating the allergy symptoms.
Greasy Or Smelly Coat
Some dogs have extra-oily skin, while others may just have an oily coat that needs a good wash. Greasy skin and fur may require a strong shampoo or multiple shampoos. If your dog has a greasy coat, but dry skin, make sure your pet shampoo contains a moisturizer.
Bacteria and fungus are common causes of smelliness, so consider using a shampoo that is antibacterial, antifungal, or both. Shampoos that contain citrus oils, like orange peel or grapefruit, help with smelliness while remaining safe for dog skin.
There are also de-greasing formulas available for pets. However, excessive coat greasiness could be due to medical condition.
Greasy or smelly skin can be the result of dermatitis. If this condition persists, visit a veterinarian for a professional evaluation. Your veterinarian may need to prescribe a medical shampoo specially formulated for chronic dermatitis.
Consider applying a leave-in conditioner after your dog's bath. Brushing your dog regularly will also stimulate the production of natural oils in the skin. Most dog’s don’t generally enjoy bath time so using a leave in conditioner following the shampoo and bath is the best choice for most dogs. Conditioning is particularly important to breeds that are prone to matting and who have long fur.
However, depending on your breed, conditioning your dog may be unnecessary but it can have some benefits. Since shampoos can be drying, a conditioner can help offset the effects, especially if your dog is using a medicinal shampoo.
As with shampoos, be careful to avoid ingredients and chemicals that may be harmful. Aim to stick with all-natural ingredients.
Dog conditioners are available either to rinse off following a shampoo or to leave-in as a dog dries. Conditioning should make it easier to brush your dog and keep your dog tangle-free following a bath, particularly if your breed has long fur or fur that easily becomes matted.
Conditioners help with unpleasant odors that your dog may develop before it's time for their next bath.
How To Bathe Your Dog
Dogs don't need frequent baths like we do. It's better to avoid washing your dog too frequently as this removes the natural oils they produce that are so critical to their skin health. Gentle brushing stimulates the production of these oils, so brushing regularly is actually more important than bathing.
Wash your dog every one to three months, depending on their environment, and no more than once a week. If your dog is smelly, itches frequently, or feels greasy to the touch, it's time for a bath. Dogs with skin conditions may need more or less frequent baths; ask your veterinarian for guidance on your dog's condition.
Doing a little research or even a brief skim over a shampoo's ingredients can save you a lot of time and difficulty. In general, stick with natural shampoos and conditioners for a healthy, happy canine.
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