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Dog Skin Education: Why not Use Human Shampoo on Your Dog?

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When it comes to grooming your dog, you might think that you can just use your own shampoo. But think again. Even though your shampoo is fine for your scalp, it won’t work so well on your animal’s skin. Keep reading to learn more about why you should stick with cleansing products that have been specially formulated for use on your dog’s delicate skin.

Animal Skin vs. Human Scalp

To really understand why your shampoo shouldn’t be used during your dog’s bath, you need to understand the basic differences between animal skin and the human scalp. And it all starts with pH.

When you want to wash that grime right out of your dog’s fur, don’t use the shampoo you use on your hair. There’s an acidic layer covering your skin and the skin of your dog, and it’s known as the acid mantle. This is meant to protect the top layer of the skin from a variety of contaminants. Whenever you use shampoo, you’ll end up washing the acidic oil layer away. Your body will repair itself usually within 12 hours, but if that layer of your skin were left unprotected and stripped, you’d be susceptible to flaky, dry, peeling, and irritated skin.

The human scalp has a pH that ranges from 5.2-6.2, so your shampoo will be formulated to help maintain this pH. But the pH for dogs can range from 5.5-7.5, depending upon gender, size, climate, and breed. If you end up using your shampoo on your dog, his acid mantle could be disrupted, resulting in an environment that will allow viruses, parasites, and bacteria to thrive. And in addition to disrupting the pH balance of your dog’s skin, human shampoo can also do damage to your pet’s coat, which also serves as a protective barrier from environmental irritants and contaminants.

The more you wash your dog with your shampoo, the bigger the imbalance will become. And your dog’s skin could become so dry that he starts scratching himself, causing abrasions that can be susceptible to bacteria as well.

Ingredients to Avoid

When you want to wash that grime right out of your dog’s fur, don’t use the shampoo you use on your hair. When searching for a shampoo for your dog, read the label to ensure it has the appropriate ingredients for maintaining the right pH balance. Pet shampoo manufacturers will often include this information right on the label, or at least state that the product is balanced for canines.

You should also avoid artificial colors and fragrances. Natural moisturizing ingredients, such as aloe and vitamin E, can work well on your dog’s skin and coat to maintain smoothness and hydration. And you can also opt for natural, subtle fragrances, such as chamomile, that are gentle and safe for use on pets.

Keep in mind that not all pet shampoos are created equal, and a dog may respond differently to one shampoo versus another. Different canine breeds will have differing coat density and skin thickness, and even their hair type will vary. All of these factors will affect how your dog responds to a shampoo.

Medicated Shampoos and Regular Shampoos

When you want to wash that grime right out of your dog’s fur, don’t use the shampoo you use on your hair. When searching for the right canine shampoo, you’ll also come across standard options and medicated options. A medicated shampoo should really only be used when you’re dealing with seborrhea, hot spots, severe irritations, and other skin problems. These products will typically contain ingredients like hydrocortisone and sulfur, and they may help to improve your dog’s skin. However, they’ll likely not be sufficient if you’re dealing with mites, yeast, or an infection, so you’ll need to consult with your veterinarian to get the appropriate medicated cleanser for more serious concerns.

Proper Grooming with the Right Pet Shampoo

Vetericyn Plus® products include cleansing options that are recommended by veterinarians and don’t contain any tea tree oil, making them safe to use on all animals. They’re gentle, balanced, and non-toxic, as well as easy to use, so they can be just what your dog needs to feel clean without irritation.

Here are a few of the many Vetericyn Plus shampoos that you can use with confidence on your dog:

  1. Vetericyn FoamCare Shampoo – Low Density Hair Shampoo is designed for dogs with low density, or fine, hair. All you have to do is spray, foam, and rinse to thoroughly cleanse and condition with less mess. The ingredients support coat and skin health, and the formula is pH balanced and non-irritating so your pet’s skin will retain its essential oils.
  2. Vetericyn FoamCare Shampoo – Medium Density Hair Shampoo is designed for dogs with medium/regular hair. If your dog has an average density coat and a moderate amount of fur, you can use this product to clean him regularly without irritation.
  3. Vetericyn FoamCare Shampoo – High Density Hair Shampoo  is designed for dogs with high density coats that have thick hair and/or undercoats. These coats can be harder to cleanse thoroughly, but this product will get into that thick hair to get an optimal clean.
  4. Vetericyn FoamCare Shampoo – Medicated Shampoo is formulated to manage and alleviate skin ailments, such as dry, itchy, irritated, and scaling skin, as well as seborrheic dermatitis and psoriasis. All you have to do is spray, foam, and rinse to provide anti-allergenic, anti-inflammatory, and skin conditioning relief. Plus, this synergistic blend works on enhancing your dog’s immune system against dermatological problems.

If your dog ends up with dry, irritated skin after being bathed, it’s time to change his shampoo. And for a limited time, Vetericyn is offering $4 off their new FoamCare shampoo, making this the perfect time to make the switch. Vetericyn’s products can provide your pet with the relief he needs so his skin will be healthy and his coat will shine.


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