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Groomer Shares Important Dog Shampoo Facts

Important Dog Shampoo Facts

Learning dog shampoo facts is important for dog owners because, let's face it: every dog needs a bath once in a while, and some dogs need baths more frequently than others. When your dog's bath-time is around the corner, it’s crucial to use a shampoo made for dogs instead of using your own shampoo, because people shampoo is too harsh for dog skin. What else should you know about dog shampoo and washing your dog? Following are facts about shampoo from Jennifer Nelson, a dog groomer for more than 12 years.

Lime sulfur may be used to treat skin conditions in dogs

Lime sulfur may be used to treat skin conditions in dogs

Dog Shampoo Facts: 1) You Can't Use Your Shampoo

Many dog owners on a budget may find it tempting to cut corners and use their own shampoo to bathe their dogs. There are several reasons why it’s a bad idea to use human shampoo on your dog. One of the biggest reasons is a matter of pH.

The human skin has a pH level of 5.5, while dogs have a pH level of 7.5. That means that human shampoo is much too acidic for dogs and will irritate a dog's

Another problem with human shampoo is that human skin is three times thicker than dog skin. As you can imagine, because of this, it’s much easier to damage a dog’s thin skin with harsh chemicals and fragrances that are found in human shampoos.

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Dog Shampoo Facts: 2) There are Many Types of Dog Shampoo


What are different types of dog shampoo? There are a variety of different types of dog shampoo on the market since dogs and their humans all have varying needs. Some common types of dog shampoo include:

⦁ Flea and tick: Keeping your dog free of fleas and ticks is a crucial part of keeping your pup healthy and happy. Flea and tick shampoos are designed to kill parasites on your dog. Follow directions carefully and avoid getting this shampoo in your dog’s eyes.

⦁ Oatmeal: Many dogs suffer from dry skin, and some shampoo contains soothing oatmeal to help moisturize your dog’s skin. Many oatmeal shampoos also contain aloe for the ultimate in moisturization.

⦁ Tearless or hypoallergenic: These shampoos are super gentle and contain little to no fragrance. Tearless and hypoallergenic shampoos are ideal for puppies and dogs who have allergies or sensitive skin. It’s also a great choice for humans who have allergies and don’t want additional scents on their dog.

⦁ Face wash: Most shampoo is too harsh to use around your dog’s eyes, and tearless shampoos often don’t have much scrubbing power. Face washes are gentle enough to use around your dog’s eyes but tough enough to remove eye gunk and reduce tear stains.

⦁ Whitening: This shampoo is purposely made for dogs with white coats. Whitening shampoos are often blue or purple to emphasize the whiteness of a dog’s coat.

⦁ Deodorizing: For especially stinky dogs, deodorizing shampoos contain special ingredients to bind to and eliminate most kinds of odor.

⦁ Deskunking: For dogs that have been sprayed by a skunk, your best bet is a shampoo formulated specifically to reduce or eliminate the oils responsible for skunk stench. Follow the directions, since you may need to leave it on for around 10 minutes for best results.

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⦁ Medicated: Over-the-counter medicated shampoos can work for dogs with mild skin conditions that aren’t helped by oatmeal shampoo alone.

⦁ Prescription: Certain types of skin conditions need to be treated with a shampoo prescribed by a veterinarian. Carefully follow directions. Prescription shampoos may need to be applied several times a week depending on what type of condition they are treating.

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Dog Shampoo Facts 3: Too Many Baths are Bad

How often should I wash my dog? In general, you should try not to wash your dog more than once a month since you can dry out their skin with frequent bathing. The more often you wash your dog, the more gentle shampoo you will want to use.

Dogs with short hair that spend most of their time inside may only need baths once or twice a year, but most dogs will benefit from getting bathed every two to four months.

"Typically - we don't like to bathe them too often-unless using a medicated shampoo for a specific condition. Excessive bathing can lead to dry skin, itching, and even secondary skin infections."~Critical Care Vet

How often should you bathe a dog?

Rinse, rinse and rinse to avoid pockets of trapped shampoo.

Dog Shampoo Facts 4: Mistakes Can Turn Costly

Giving your dog a bath with a quality shampoo may look like a no-brainer, but if you make some mistakes you may end up with problems and these may lead to even a costly vet bill. Here are some important tips to help the experience go smoother and prevent unintentionally damaging your dog's skin.

⦁ Put cotton balls in your dog’s ears before the bath to help prevent water from getting in. Water in the ear canals can lead to annoying dog ear infections.

⦁ Use saline eye drops before and after the bath to help prevent irritation from shampoo accidentally getting in your dog’s eyes. Tearless shampoos may help minimize this.

⦁ Use warm water. Water that is too hot or cold is uncomfortable for your dog and can dry out their skin. Dogs don’t appreciate a steamy hot shower the way people do.

⦁ Rinse, rinse, and rinse again. Once you think you have all the shampoo rinsed out of your dog, rinse for another few minutes just in case. Feel every inch of your dog’s skin and fur to check for pockets of shampoo before deciding your dog’s bath is over. Leftover shampoo residue can cause skin flakes and itching at best and a staph bacterial infection at worst.

⦁ Avoid using heat to dry your dog. Hot air can dry out your dog’s skin. Dogs are also prone to overheating. Instead, towel dry your dog well and use a dryer on a cool setting to dry your dog without overheating him or his skin.

About the Author 

Jennifer Nelson is a writer in the Midwest who has a passion for animals in general and dogs in particular. She was a dog groomer for more than 12 years and now spends her days with her terrier mix, Scruffles, writing about dogs and medical conditions.


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