Choosing a Dog Shampoo
By Shelley Williams
When it comes to pet shampoos, there are as many choices as there are coat types. It is important to choose the right shampoo to match your pet’s skin and coat’s needs. Because your dog’s skin and hair have different requirements than yours, it only makes sense to use a shampoo designed specifically for his needs. Dog shampoos should indicate if they are formulated for dry, normal or oily skin types. Before you begin, think about why you are washing your dog. Is he smelly, itchy, has fleas or simply dirty from playing outside?
Hypoallergenic shampoos are good for pets who have allergies or sensitive skin. With sensitive-skinned dogs, it is sometimes as much what is not in the product as what is in it. Most hypoallergenic shampoos contain natural ingredients and do not have fragrances or dyes to lessen potential irritation of a pet’s skin.
Medicated shampoos are available at most pet supply stores or, depending on the pet’s condition, by prescription from a veterinarian. These shampoos are formulated to treat skin irritations as well as cleanse your dog’s coat. Dogs suffering from itchy skin infections and other psoriasis-like conditions could benefit from medicated products, which can provide some relief to the symptoms. Always consult your veterinarian before using a medicated shampoo.
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Dry Skin Shampoo
Pets with dry itchy skin and dandruff can benefit from shampoos and conditioners that offer extra moisturizer for the skin and coat. Emollients, such as silk, wheat and oat proteins, safflower oil and wheat germ oil can help keep the skin soft and supple. Look for shampoos that also contain ingredients that can help with itching or dry skin problems, such as peppermint oil, eucalyptus and aloe.
Dogs, just as with people, can have oily skin and hair. This is where the “dog” smell comes from. Your best shampoo option is a deodorizing shampoo. Typically, they contain baking soda or citrus to help remove the dog smell. Be careful of shampoos with added dyes or perfumes, as they can be harsh on the pet’s skin and coat.
For routine bathing, you can consider using an oatmeal or aloe vera-based shampoo, as they are gentle enough for frequent use. To add volume to your pet’s coat or soothe dry skin, consider using a shampoo that contains protein. There are also shampoos that are formulated to enhance or darken specific coat colors. Whitening shampoos brighten white coats and there are highlighting shampoos for red or darker coats.
No matter which shampoo you choose, always be sure to follow with pet safe-conditioner.
Pet conditioner has many benefits, such as detangling and moisturizing dry, itchy skin. Applying conditioner after shampooing can keep your pet smelling fresh longer. Shampoos can strip the oils from the pet’s skin and coat, causing more oil to accumulate and the “dog” smell to return quickly. If you are bathing your pet on a weekly or biweekly basis, you should add a cream rinse or conditioner to the routine to prevent his skin from becoming dry and itchy.
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