Dog owners can find such a wide variety of shampoos that it can be a confusing choice. Generally, you should only need one type of shampoo to use on a regular basis. Which one you choose is determined by the natural condition of your dog’s coat. Some dogs may need more moisturizing or deodorizing capability. You can purchase other types on an as-needed basis for special situations. Your veterinarian can advise you on the best type of shampoo for your dog’s needs.
Shampoos that contain additional emollients are good choices for dogs that have naturally dry skin and hair. These shampoos provide a coating of oil to help soothe dry skin and keep hair moisturized. Your veterinarian may also suggest adding more oil to your dog’s food, such as a tablespoon of olive oil, 2 or 3 times per week in addition to a moisturizing shampoo.
Some types of shampoo contain “colloidal oatmeal” which is ground down to a fine powder and dissolved in liquid. This colloidal form is well-known for its ability to soothe itchy, flaky skin both in humans and in dogs. However, ensure that the shampoo does not also contain heavy fragrances or other ingredients that can undo the good effect by leaving behind a residue that can further irritate the skin.
Dogs with all-white coats or large patches of white in their coat coloring may require a whitening shampoo to remove not only dirt but also the yellow discoloration that often occurs. Many different brands are on the market. They all work equally well. Avoid using human shampoos that whiten and brighten white hair. These may contain ingredients that are too harsh for dogs’ coats. Also, use caution when brightening white puppies’ coats. Puppies have very sensitive skin and can develop contact dermatitis from harsh ingredients in shampoos. Your veterinarian can advise you on the best type of whitening shampoo for your puppy.
A number of medicated shampoos are on the market for use in special situations when dogs develop skin conditions that cause itching, irritation, redness or sores. These shampoos contain ingredients that work to soothe the skin and encourage healing. Medicated shampoos may contain coal tar, sulfur, menthol, eucalyptus or other ingredients that heal irritated tissues and reduce itching.
Some dogs naturally have a strong scent to their coats because of the amount of sebaceous oils needed to keep their coats glossy. Certain breeds of dogs may have strong odors because of the type of coat or number of folds in their skin. Labrador Retrievers, schnauzers or German shepherds may have a strong smell. Dogs with thick coats may acquire more dirt and oils under the layers. Owners may find this natural scent unpleasant, especially when they discover it on their sofas, comforters, carpets and other household items. When used regularly, deodorizing shampoos will help to reduce this natural odor. Deodorizing shampoos also help to remove odors picked up from the yard or from dogs rubbing themselves in “found” items outdoors.
Flea and Tick Shampoos
Use flea and tick shampoos when external parasites are found on your dog or in your home. Outbreaks of fleas can be a disturbing experience both for the dog and the owner. You must first treat the animal by killing all fleas, larva and eggs in its coat. Use the shampoo as directed on the label. Generally, you must leave the shampoo on for several minutes and remove dead fleas and eggs with a flea comb. You must then treat the home environment with a suitable insecticide. Follow up with frequent vacuuming of carpets and flooring. Regular shampooing with a flea and tick shampoo may not be enough to protect your dog against these pests in the warm, summer months. Prevent further infestations with a monthly spot-on flea and tick repellent product.
No-Tears Formula Shampoos
No-Tears formulas allow owners to shampoo thoroughly around the face and head. This can be particularly helpful for dogs with white fur on their faces or for dogs with messy eating habits. Food residue and discoloration can be removed without causing eye irritation.