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Dogs are our best friends and it is up to us to take good care of our beloved pooches.
To do this a lot of grooming products are available in the market but the one essential grooming product is the shampoo.
Dog shampoos need to be chosen properly because they are responsible for cleaning the coat and the skin and they come in contact with both extensively.
A good shampoo can work wonders for the dog whereas, the wrong one can do more harm than good. Therefore, the following article is an attempt to help the pet owners make an informed decision.
The details about what a dog shampoo is and how to select a good one are listed below.
- What is a dog shampoo?
- 5 Steps Before You Buy a Shampoo
- How to Choose the Right Dog Shampoo?
- How to select shampoos if your pet has some disease or infection?
- Bottom line
What is a dog shampoo?
Dogs are adventurous creatures and tend to wander off in search of things or while playing. When they do this, they may end up in dirty places and become unclean themselves.
Although one can restrain them, this situation is not completely avoidable and hence, it now becomes necessary to give them a bath. A dog’s health is also dependent on the way it lives and if it is dirty then it is more prone to diseases.
But one also needs to know that just a bath with water will not help the cause. The germs and/or insects that have come in contact with your pet pooch will not give away easily.
Thus, comes into the picture dog shampoo. Just as for humans, it is necessary to use certain products to maintain personal hygiene, the same goes for dogs too. Their coat needs to be cleaned with some cleaning agent that not only eradicates the germs and unwanted material but also the fleas or ticks if any.
Dogs shampoos are specifically made to achieve this purpose. They clean the dog’s coat and also help nourish it externally with nutrients and vitamins to keep it shiny and moisturized.
A dog’s health is reflected by its coat’s condition and a healthy nice dog can boast of a shiny bright coat.
However, if the dog is also facing some problems of skin sensitivity or infections, there are shampoos that address these issues.
It is very important to make sure that these problems are dealt with immediately and one cannot ignore all the signs keeping in mind the importance of a dog’s good health.
These shampoos are designed to specifically target these problem areas and deal with them in the most effective and safe manner.
5 Steps Before You Buy a Shampoo
When looking for a shampoo, besides choosing one that is mild with safe contents, conditions and complaints specific to your pooch are important to consider.
Choose the right shampoo keeping in mind these 5 guides.
1. Identify needs
Choosing a suitable shampoo is important for the health and comfort of your dog.
Moisturizing shampoo with ingredients like vitamin E and honey can treat dry – itchy skin conditions.
Conditioning shampoos are thicker and treat itchy and dry skin conditions, which also help smoothen out tangles and curb hair loss. However, a conditioning shampoo can’t be used on dogs with an oily coat.
Aloe based shampoos make the coat glossy are soothing for itchy skin. Wholesome shampoos full of minerals, vitamins, and proteins can bring back shine to a lack-lustre coat. However, formulations with oatmeal are the safest to treat all conditions from normal to dry with dandruff and greasy skin.
Artificially scented shampoos mostly contain chemicals and are definitely a bad choice for dogs with sensitive skin.
Deodorizing organic shampoos use fruit, flower and herb extracts to control problems of odor and deep cleaning to deliver a long-lasting fragrance.
Most deodorizing shampoos warrant that the dog stays freshly clean and the scent is such that it to stays with the coat for close to 14 days.
Dry dog shampoos are the most convenient to use especially when strapped for time or if spot cleaning is needed. As convenient powder-based cleansers, they’re effective in stripping off dirt and grime in between regular baths.
Sometimes water can be a hindrance in drying out already sensitive skin. In this case, an oatmeal based dry shampoo can work wonders is cleaning and moisturizing.
Dirt and stains are stubbornly obvious on dogs with white fur. Shampoos that contain bleach or peroxide might permanently destroy a dogs coat.
It’s vital to choose a whitening and brightening shampoo that deep cleans and deposits colourants without the use of harsh chemicals. These shampoos can be used on dogs with fairer fur and all breeds
2. Identify what your dog doesn’t need
A pet guardian should be watchful of products and ingredients that suit the dog’s skin. Over time, a pet guardian would know the sensitivities and allergies of a dog. Avoiding products with those specific ingredients is in the best interest of the dog.
Brands with notorious amounts of certain surfactant, solvents and parabens could cause allergic reactions in sensitive dogs.
Even some natural ingredients are not entirely safe and might be unsuitable for dogs with sensitive skin. For e.g. essential oils like tea tree, birch and camphor could cause adverse effects.
Doing a patch test of products over a 24 hour period and ditching ones that cause reactions is paramount in using the right shampoo brand.
3. Read product reviews
Information available online makes life easier in assisting to choose the right shampoo. It’s wise to search for products that would fit the needs of a pet and read corresponding reviews.
Products that have 60% more positive reviews and ones that seem reputable are the safest options.
Products that have been in the market longer tend to have a trustworthy track-record.
Also enquiring about products from other pet guardians and reading blogs and forums deems helpful in making the best choice.
4. Avoid chemicals
When buying a dog shampoo, finding one that is not harsh is the underlying objective.
Although there’s no serious immediate damage, contents like artificial colors, fragrances, alcohol, preservatives etc. cause adverse effects of inflammation and fur loss.
It’s imperative to read labels and spot chemical adversaries in names and contents. Steer clear of claims like ‘organic’ and ‘natural’ that hide the fine print of actual ingredients.
Trustworthy products disclose a full list of ingredients out in the open.
Dogs are self-cleaners and when the right shampoo is used, bathing a dog becomes less frequent and stress-free.
Organic shampoos can be expensive, but they avoid the discomfort, hassle and consequent expense brought on by chemically laden shampoos. Keep in mind, USDA certified organic shampoos are the safest and most effective.
5. If need be, opt for a medicated shampoo
If a dog has persistent skin problems that are unmanageable with other shampoos, medicated shampoos are advisable to use.
Certain shampoos are pyrethroid-based that thwart a recurring tick problem. These are safer than shampoos that contain organophosphate insecticides (OPs) and carbamates.
These shampoos tackle ticks on the dog but can’t prevent re-infestation from insects in the environment.
Medicated shampoos are not safe to use on dogs below 4 months, old and pregnant dogs. When choosing a therapeutic or medicated shampoo to make sure it’s meant for dogs only.
The dog’s weight and size is also a factor in choosing the right shampoo for ticks.
Dogs that are hypersensitive to chemicals and scents in other shampoos need medicated shampoos with hypoallergenic properties.
Shampoos with hydrocortisone and miconazole treat inflammatory conditions such as eczema, dermatitis and other stubborn infections and fungal flare-ups.
Shampoos that are antibacterial and antifungal treat greasy and smelly skin conditions.
It’s advisable to consult with a veterinarian if the dog’s skin condition worsens or continues to persist.
As well in case of red and raised bumps or other troublesome skin-situations, vet’s advise about medicated shampoo and supplementary treatment is important.
How to Choose the Right Dog Shampoo?
Once you have understood the requirements of your dog, now it is time to dig deeper into specifics of your dog needs. The following are some useful points to keep in mind while selecting the right shampoo for their dog.
1. It should take care of skin issues
If a pet owner notices any specific problems like skin problems, dry coat, insects etc, then they should first consult a vet and then select an appropriate product from the many that are available in the market these days.
There are a lot of varieties of shampoos that are available in the market and each of them focuses on a different target. One needs to first identify their needs and then make a smart and informed choice.
2. It should maintain Right Skin pH
A very important factor is skin pH. Dogs have very sensitive skin and there is a specific pH associated with it which ranges from 2.2 to 7.5. Any shampoo that wishes to accomplish any of the tasks that it needs to do should do so while making sure that the pH stays between the specified range.
Any variation can increase the problems and cause unnecessary troubles.
3. Be Aware of allergies to ingredients of shampoos
One should be aware if their dogs are allergic to any specific ingredients that are mentioned on the packaging of the shampoo.
This is very important as allergic reactions can have severe consequences and one needs to get a few tests done before selecting the right product.
An alternative solution is to do a patch test where the owner can test the shampoo on a small area of their pet’s coat and wait to see if there are any adverse effects.
4. Check if your pet’s skin is sensitive
Keep in mind that if one’s pet has sensitive skin then normal shampoos will not help. Then the owner needs to focus on buying shampoos containing oatmeal and aloe vera.
Aloe vera is known for its anti-bacterial properties and cooling effect. This can help with the itching and irritation.
5. Pay attention to Skin types
If one owns white coloured breeds like an American Eskimo or a Dalmatian then they can use special whitening shampoos that are available to remove the yellowness or stains that won’t go otherwise.
Carefully observe the skin type of your dog before buying a shampoo as they are also available in three-wide varieties: normal, oily and dry skin. These are designed to work with the specified skin type. Using one for another type can only worsen the situation.
Check if the shampoo has been approved by the FDA. Any unapproved product is definitely not worthy of any money and only if the product’s effectiveness is verified it should be used.
Further, if the shampoo claims to be organic, then make sure it has the certifications from relevant and reputed authorities for the same.
7. Explore Biodegradable and organic shampoos
Biodegradable and organic shampoos are more friendly towards the dog’s skin and hence, one should opt for these rather than going for the chemical based products.
Although, they may be effective they can cause damage. Eco-friendly shampoos are not only harmless but they are also effective in nourishing the dog’s coat due to all the essential nutrients present inside.
How to select shampoos if your pet has some disease or infection?
Following are some different types of dog shampoos that are available in the market to handle some of the problems that are faced commonly.
If the owner finds any problem with their dog then they can select any one of the following specific to their needs.
These are specially fabricated with a no-tear formula so that they can be used to bathe the small pups. Since these puppies are so young they might get shampoo in their eyes and there isn’t any way to avoid this. Thus, these shampoos come to the rescue.
These are designed to add shine and brightness to a dog’s coat. Sometimes, it may be dull due to poor diet or at other times due to external factors. If it is the latter, then these can definitely help.
If you can smell your pooch from a few yards away even after bathing it regularly, you know that there is an odour problem. Therefore, these are designed to remove the odour and some even replace it with a pleasant fragrance.
Herbal Proteins Shampoos
These are mainly based on natural products and are helpful in conditioning the coat naturally.
These have an edge over the others as they not only contain the enriching proteins but also lack the harmful effects of other chemical based shampoos as these do not contain any strong or harsh chemicals.
Septic Soothing Shampoos
If your pet suffers from any skin conditions like red spots or irritation or inflammation then it is best not to use any cosmetically valued shampoo but rather a medicated one.
These will help in soothing the itching and scratching tendencies to prevent the dog from injuring itself while doing so.
Fleas and Ticks Shampoos
Sometimes, the dogs come in contact with these insects who conveniently make the dog’s coats their home. But one cannot allow this to happen, therefore, these shampoos successfully immobilize the insects and one can then comb them out of the fur.
The presence of these parasites can be particularly irritating for the poodle and this makes it necessary to tackle this problem as soon as possible.
Premium Conditioning Shampoos
One often notices that sometimes their dog’s coat becomes very dry after using certain medicated or other branded shampoos.
Therefore, to restore the natural moisture level of the coat to make it soft and smooth to touch, one need to switch over to the conditioning shampoos that leave the coat hydrated without any oily residues.
A common problem with dogs is the itching problem and this can be dealt with by using the shampoos that deal with the itching. It may be due to dry skin or insect infestation. If it is the former, then these kinds of shampoo come in handy.
These are loaded with extra minerals, proteins and vitamins to enrich the coat externally if it seems dull or lacking in lustre.
Summarizing, one can easily conclude that choosing the right shampoo is of utmost importance. Therefore, one should keep all the aforementioned points in mind before deciding on a particular product.
Also, one can also refer to a veterinarian for advice and counsel.