You want to share everything with your furry BFF, including your top-notch hair grooming products. The problem is that the same shampoo that does wonders for your hair could actually cause damage to your dog’s coat and skin.
The (Not-So-Obvious) Difference Between Humans and Dogs
Of course, there are lots of differences between you and your dog. You can tell that just by looking into that sweet face. But we are talking specifically about the differences in your skin and theirs. Your dog’s skin has a pH of 6.2 – 7.4 which is in the neutral range. Human skin, on the other hand, has a pH of 5.5 – 5.6 which is more acidic. Human shampoos are formulated to clean skin that falls within this pH range.
One thing that humans and dogs have in common is that we all have a natural barrier, or acid mantle, to protect the outermost layer of skin. This layer prevents bacteria and viruses from getting in while also holding in hydration. Although the barrier is washed away during shampooing, most products contain ingredients that protect the skin until it renews itself. However, the product must have the correct pH balance to accomplish this.
When you use human shampoo on a dog, it can disrupt the natural barrier. If the dog’s skin becomes dry and itchy, the dog will scratch. If abrasions occur, they facilitate the entry of bacteria that can cause all kinds of health complications.
Choosing the Right Shampoo for Your Dog
Dog shampoos come in a wide variety – just as dogs’ coats differ greatly from one breed to the next. Even dogs of the same breed may have different needs because of their health conditions, color, age, or environment. There is no single shampoo that is right for all dogs. But there are some things to look for to help narrow down your choices including:
1. Look for a shampoo that contains natural ingredients – Never use shampoo that contains parabens, dyes, or other harsh chemicals. Instead, opt for a product that contains only natural ingredients like oatmeal, chamomile, or peppermint. Mendota Pet offers a variety of dog shampoos and conditioners made with all-natural ingredients.
2. Shop for soap-free bars with a specific purpose in mind – DERMagic products from Mendota Pet use organic ingredients like tea tree oil, sulfur, and neem oil to create shampoos and cleaners that resist fleas, eliminate odors, or enhance the healing process.
3. Read the ingredients listed on the label – Some products touted as being natural contain chemical fragrances instead of natural ingredients. These additives can cause serious skin irritations and allergic reactions.
4. Purchase products that are made in the USA – It’s true that products made in the US are typically more expensive than those made overseas. Many items sold for pets are made in China where there are no regulations to control the quality of ingredients or the manufacturing process. Always buy American-made products that you know are safe to use on your dog.
5. Rinse your dog thoroughly after shampooing – After you find the perfect shampoo for your dog, make sure you rinse it thoroughly from your dog’s coat after you lather up. Dogs have sensitive skin that is easily irritated by the overuse of any shampoo. If you follow shampooing with a conditioner, rinse every trace of shampoo out before applying. Then, follow the instructions on the conditioner label on how much to apply and how to rinse it out.
How Often to Bathe Your Dog
Most dogs only need to bathe once every two or three months. Those that have certain skin conditions or who spend more time outdoors might need more frequent baths. Generally, short-haired dogs require less frequent bathing than those with long or curly coats.
If you need to bathe your dog more often, use a moisturizing conditioner to restore moisture to their skin. The right shampoo will help you find a healthy balance between keeping your dog’s skin and fur healthy without causing problems due to dryness or irritation.
Bathing Your Dog Is Just Part of a Satisfactory Grooming Experience
Bathing your dog is a golden opportunity for a bonding experience between you and your fur baby. Even if you take your dog for regular appointments at the groomer’s, you will need to provide some basic maintenance at home. Depending on your dog’s breed, you might provide regular brushing, de-shedding, nail trims, and more. Always use quality grooming tools to protect your pet and make the experience a positive one for you both.