How to Choose a Good Dog Shampoo

March 3, 2015

By Laurie Darroch

Dogs do need to be bathed on occasion, and you need to choose the right shampoo to get your canine friend clean. Their skin and fur attracts dirt, debris and pests which can cause health problems. A stinky dog can also smell up a house quickly, and get furniture and bedding filthy.

Don’t use products designed for humans for bathing your dog, no matter how much you like the smell of them. They’re not meant to be used on dogs. Don’t use dish detergent either, as it can be caustic and can burn their skin. The added chemicals and perfumes from these types of products may also cause allergic reactions or make your dog’s skin worse. The strong scents can be agitating to a dog’s super sensitive nose as well.

Look for a shampoo designed specifically for canine care with healthy ingredients such as aloe or oatmeal for moisturizing and cleaning. When buying dog shampoo, keep in mind that an adult dog may have different sensitivities and needs than a puppy does, so be sure to buy age appropriate products. Getting the right dog shampoo will help to keep his fur and skin healthy.

Dog Shampoo Recommendations

Your veterinarian is a good resource to find the right kind of shampoo for your dog. Your vet’s office may even carry a supply of what you need to purchase. Every vet office is not aware of every available product though, or they may be promoting a limited line of products. Word of mouth is often an excellent resource to find a great product. Ask friends or family with dogs, trainers, informed workers at the pet store, or even your local shelter what dog shampoo they use.

Read Labels

Read the labels and list of contents in the shampoo to determine if you are purchasing the right thing for your dog. One is not exactly like another or meant to be used for every dog. Different shampoos may serve different purposes. Some may be medicated for a specific condition. A dog who suffers from excessive dry skin, fleas or any other specific problem will need the right shampoo for that particular problem. If you try to treat the condition with the wrong product, you may exacerbate any skin problems instead of clearing them up.

Where to Buy Dog Shampoo

Once you have found the right shampoo for your dog, whether it is for regular use or to treat a specific condition, you want to find a consistent source for purchasing that product. Stores do change their product lines periodically, which can be frustrating when you’ve found a good product you like, but they no longer carry. If you are having trouble finding a particular brand, ask the manager at the store if they can get a shipment for you. You can also hunt online, or contact the manufacturer directly and ask them for a list of local suppliers.

How Often to Bathe a Dog

Unless your dog is outdoors frequently and gets dirty all the time, or has a health issue that requires more frequent bathing, you do not need to bathe them all the time the way we bathe ourselves daily. Use your best judgment based on how they look, smell, and how their fur feels or whether or not they have a condition that requires bathing to determine if they need a bath or not. Grooming and brushing your dog frequently is an important part of their care and being a responsible pet owner, but bathing is typically only needed every 3 to 4 weeks.

Tips for Bathing a Dog

If your dog does not like to be bathed, have someone help you. You can also make the experience more pleasant for them by giving your dog a few CANIDAE treats as a reward to get in the water and after the bath is completed. Praise them and make it a good experience.

Set up towels, water and bathing products ahead of time to keep your own stress levels down if they are fighting the bathing experience. Try soothing your dog with a massage while bathing them to calm them down. Talk in a calm voice. If they begin to view it as a pleasant experience and associate the bath with good feelings, bathing will become easier for both you and your dog.

Top photo by Jelly Dude/Flickr
Middle photo by AJU_Photography/Flickr
Bottom photo by Hillary H./Flickr

Read more articles by Laurie Darroch

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