How to Choose the Best Shampoo for Your Pet
Unlike cats, dogs need our help to keep clean and fresh-smelling. In fact, most dogs seem to revel in being stinky! But if you put off bathing your dog, you'll eventually notice the characteristic “dirty dog” smell. According to the ASPCA, you should bathe your dog at least every 3 months. Of course, you may need to do so more often, especially if your dog spends a lot of time outside or has any skin or coat conditions that need special treatment.
With all the different types of pet shampoos available, how do you pick the right pet shampoo? Here are some things to consider:
A dog's skin is more alkaline than our skin so it's important to use a shampoo that is pH balanced for use on dogs. Using a human grade shampoo, which is much more acidic, can dry out your pet's skin and even cause skin irritation and itching. Also, a dog's skin is thinner and more sensitive than our skin and human shampoos contain ingredients that are too harsh for your dog's delicate skin.
When choosing a pet shampoo, consider both the reason for the bath and the condition of your dog's skin and coat. Is your dog smelly? Does he or she have dry, flaky skin? Are there signs of a flea infestation? Below are some recommended pet shampoos for specific skin conditions.
Skin allergies can make your pet's skin dry, flaky and itchy and result in a dull coat. A gentle shampoo can remove allergens and dirt from your pet as well as soothe the skin and help restore moisture to the skin and coat.
If your pet has sensitive skin, you'll want to use a gentle shampoo that will help soothe the skin and coat. A shampoo formulated with oatmeal will provide relief from itching. Because leftover soap residue can be very irritating, be sure to thoroughly rinse any shampoo from your pet's coat. If your pet's skin sensitivity continues, consult with your vet to determine the underlying cause.
Many pets are sensitive to detergents and strong fragrances. A shampoo such as Epi-Soothe is soap-free to soothe, cleanse and control itching on sensitive skin. Also consider a shampoo with tea-tree oil to provide relief for painful and itchy skin.
Your pet's skin can be affected by bacterial and fungal overgrowths. A medicated shampoo with antifungal/antibacterial properties can remove fungus and bacteria from your pet's skin. Cleansing the skin from these microorganisms will help reduce skin irritation and itching as well as fight odors.
If your pet has a flea or tick infestation, a flea and tick shampoo is a cost-effective way to fight these pesky parasites. Choose a flea shampoo with natural ingredients to safely kill adult fleas on contact, or a pet shampoo with pyrethrins which is even more effective. In addition to cleaning your pet, a flea and tick shampoo will also help to physically remove those external parasites. Remember to never use a shampoo formulated for dogs on your cat.
Regular shampooing is an important step in removing loose fur and dander and reducing your pet's shedding. Look for a shampoo such as SHED-X which is formulated with amino acids, antioxidants and healthy oils to control excess shedding and leave the coat healthy and shiny.
A conditioner will replace the natural oils that may have been removed during shampooing, leaving the coat shiny and soft. A conditioner coats and seals the hair shaft resulting in fewer tangles, making the coat more manageable and easier to comb, especially for long-haired dogs.
Let's face it, you can't always shampoo your pet every time he or she gets dirty or smelly. For those times when a bath isn't an option, a pet wipe is a handy way to quickly wipe away dirt and odor on your pet's paws and fur. Plus, you can even take the wipes with you when you and your pet are on the go!
If using a flea preventative, wait at least 24 hours after bathing your pet before applying.