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Dog shampoo: when to use shampoo therapy?

When is it worth using dog shampoo, and when not necessarily?

Dog shampoo

Probably every owner of four-legged creatures, at least once thinking about keeping the animals clean and hygienic, asked himself the following question:

does the dog need a bath?

If so, how often and with what means?

Will the shampoo used by people on a daily basis be harmful to my dog??

Besides the need to keep the animal clean shampoos and preparations for dogs for use on the skin of animals, they offer great opportunities in the treatment of all dermatological ailments that are troublesome for both animals and their owners.

In this article you will learn:

  1. How often to bathe your dog.
  2. Since when can dog shampoo be used.
  3. What is the best shampoo for an allergy dog.
  4. What are the types of dog anti-dandruff shampoos.
  5. How to choose an antifungal shampoo for your dog.
  6. How much is a dog shampoo.

Daily hygiene and keeping the animals clean is not difficult as long as their skin maintains the proper pH and the skin film efficiently fulfills its protective function against external factors.

Even healthy epidermis (of both animals and humans) is inhabited by bacterial flora on a daily basis, which protects the skin against the multiplication of pathogenic bacteria.

However, there are many diseases that can disrupt the proper functioning of the skin, which can cause problems in the form of:

  • itching,
  • peeling of the epidermis,
  • dandruff,
  • ringworm,
  • seborrhea,
  • bad smell,
  • primary and secondary eruptions,
  • the presence of parasites.
  • How a dog's skin is built?
    • Dog epidermis
    • Dermis
    • Hair
    • Subcutaneous tissue
  • How often to bathe your dog and when can we start?
  • Dog shampoo
  • Allergy dog ​​shampoo (anti-itching)
  • Dog anti-seborrhea shampoo
  • Antibacterial shampoo for dogs
  • Antifungal shampoo for the dog
  • Shampoos for daily hair care
  • Is it possible to bathe a dog in human shampoos?
  • How much is a dog shampoo?

How a dog's skin is built?

The skin is the body's largest organ.

The skin, hair and subcutaneous tissue constitute 12% of the weight of an adult animal.

It acts as a barrier between the external environment and the inside of the animal body.

It protects the body against physical, chemical and microbiological factors.

It also protects against allergens.

The appearance of the skin reflects the animal's health and proper nutrition.

Under the influence of internal and external factors, the structure of the skin (and its products: hair and claws) may be disturbed, which is manifested by skin diseases, i.e. dermatoses.

In such situations, a wide range of possibilities are offered by baths with the use of therapeutic agents, such as dog shampoos and medicinal nutrients.

The skin consists of three layers:

  • cuticle,
  • dermis,
  • subcutaneous tissue.

Dog epidermis

The outer layer of the skin protects the animal's body against external factors such as pathogenic bacteria and fungi.

It consists of several layers:

  • basal layer,
  • spinous layer,
  • granular layer,
  • light layer (only on the finger pads and nasal plate),
  • the stratum corneum.

The basic cell of the epidermis is keratinocytes. There are also pigment cells - melanocytes and Langerhans cells involved in immune reactions.

The outermost layer is the stratum corneum, which is composed of the horny cells - corneocytes.

The intercellular spaces of this layer and its surface are saturated with the secretion of the sebaceous and sweat glands, forming the so-called. skin film.

Together with dead epidermal cells, it plays the role of a physical barrier that protects the skin against infections.


The basic building blocks of the dermis are fibers:

  • collagen,
  • reticular,
  • elastin.

In addition, it includes a basic substance whose role is to bind the skin and store water and numerous cells such as fibroblasts, melanocytes if mast cells.

The latter are involved in allergic reactions.

There are many in the dermis blood vessels.

The role of blood vessels in the skin is to nourish its structures and participate in thermoregulation of the body.

There are also many in the skin nerves, both motor and sensory.

The latter's receptors allow the animal to feel heat, cold, touch, pain, pressure and itching.

They are products of leather hair, growing out of hair follicles and claws.


The main component of hair is keratin.

Their color depends on the dye content - melanin.

Hair acts as a protection against mechanical damage, solar radiation and the harmful effects of UV rays.

In addition, they prevent the body from cooling down.

There are sebaceous and sweat glands in the hair follicles.

Interestingly, the sebum - sweat emulsion on the surface of the skin has antibacterial and pheromone properties.

Subcutaneous tissue

Its composition is 90% fat tissue and connective tissue.

It acts as a storehouse for energy and nutrients and protects against heat loss.

It is also a kind of shock absorber for the body in the event of mechanical injuries.

How often to bathe your dog and when can we start?

How often to bathe your dog?

There is no clear answer to the question of what is the best moment for the first bath.

Owners who ask me when they can bathe their pet for the first time often get the answer: as late as possible and as little as possible, however, within the limits of common sense.

It all depends on race conditions and predispositions.

Usually with the first bath, I advise owners to hold off until the minimum completion 6 months by a puppy, when a full vaccination package is made and the animal has a fully developed immune system.

There are also exceptions to this rule.

Any dirt, unpleasant smell, dandruff or sticking to the hair causing any discomfort to the animal should be avoided with the fastest possible bath!

It is important to Also, do not wait with the first bath until the dog is fully mature (usually it takes place after the age of 1, although there are racial differences) because the easiest way to develop certain behaviors and habits in a young animal, willing to explore the world through play.

At a later age, depending on the animal's disposition, the first contact with water may result in resistance and anxiety in the dog.

When planning the frequency of baths used, we should take into account such conditions as:

  • breed of dog,
  • type of coat structure,
  • season,
  • individual conditions.

Animals with skin problems or a tendency to frequent dermatitis, especially dogs with hard-to-reach cleaning areas such as English bulldogs, french bulldogs, pugs, shar pei with characteristic skin folds, should be bathed more often.

It is also important how to carry out the bathing procedure at home.

As for the basic rules, it should be remembered that:

  1. The bathtub should be provided with non-slip mat, making dogs feel safer and more stable.
  2. The water for bathing should have a temperature similar to the internal temperature of the animal, i.e. 38-39˚C.
  3. It is worth before bathing the pet brush, which will allow the shampoo to reach the skin better over the entire surface of the animal.
  4. After rinsing the foam for the first time and removing external dirt, repeat the operation.
  5. We start the bath from the tail gradually moving towards the head, with extreme caution or completely bypassing the head to prevent water from getting into the ears, eyes, nose and mouth.
  6. The active substance contained in medicated shampoos should be in contact with the skin for at least 5-10 minutes, therefore, after pre-washing, re-spread the shampoo over the dog's skin and massage it in for a longer period of time.
  7. When wiping your pet after bathing, be sure to apply the towel locally, excluding strong vigorous rubbing with a towel.
  8. Dogs with skin conditions do not dry with a dryer, as this can dry out the skin too much, exacerbate itching and skin lesions.

Dog shampoo

Dog shampoos

We have a wide range on the market dog shampoos, however, the composition of these preparations and the active substances they contain are of the greatest importance.

In my article, I would like to present examples of substances included in medicinal shampoos recommended in veterinary clinics, depending on the problem our four-legged friend is struggling with.

You will find some examples later in this article shampoo therapy applicable in veterinary medicine.

Allergy dog ​​shampoo (anti-itching)

What shampoo for an allergy dog?

Itching is the most common and common symptom allergies in dogs.

Additionally, dogs with allergies develop skin lesions in the form of:

  • erythema,
  • dermatitis,
  • primary and secondary eruptions.

Persistent itching causes your dog to scratch and even scratch large areas of skin, which can lead to wound formation.

In addition, u allergy dog there may be alopecia around the eyes, paws and often ear inflammation.

Depending on the allergen, we can divide dog allergies into:

  • Food allergies - where the allergen is an ingredient of the consumed diet.
  • Atopic dermatitis - i.e. genetically conditioned reaction of the immune system, consisting in an abnormal, excessive reaction of the body to small doses of inhalation or contact allergens caused by pollen, dust mites, molds and fungi.
  • Atopic flea dermatitis (FAD), where fleas are the allergen (both their venom and faeces).

You can find more about allergies and atopic dermatitis in dogs in the article "Dog allergy and atopic dermatitis ".

In the case of animal allergies, it is most important to establish the source of the allergy.

They apply to dogs with allergies shampoos with anti-itching and anti-inflammatory properties based on:

  • oat colloidal extract,
  • fatty acids,
  • urea,
  • glycerin,
  • menthol.

Dog shampoo from this group may contain natural soothing substances, such as:

  • aloe,
  • tea tree oil,
  • oat flakes.

Shampoos for dogs with allergies help in:

  • washing away allergens and photogenic substances from the body surface,
  • moisturizing the skin which protects against harmful external factors,
  • reducing the adherence of microorganisms to the skin,
  • supporting the natural antimicrobial defense of the skin.
Please note that these preparations only have supportive application with antipruritic therapy.

They bring temporary relief to the animal, but with further contact with the allergen, itching and related unpleasantness will quickly return.

An allergic patient should be thoroughly examined by a veterinarian and undergo general therapy, supported by shampoo therapy.

Dog anti-seborrhea shampoo

Dog seborrhea is the result of overproduction of secretions from the sebaceous glands in the hair follicles.

The causes of seborrhea include:

  • hormonal disorders:
    • thyroid disorders,
    • dysfunction of the sex glands.
  • improperly balanced diet and deficiencies:
    • fat,
    • proteins,
    • vitamin A,
    • sulfur,
    • zinc,
    • selenium.
  • secondary to skin diseases such as:
    • demodicosis,
    • scabies,
    • allergy,
    • tinea,
    • yeast infection.

We can meet 2 forms of seborrhea:

  1. Dry seborrhoea, where the hair becomes dry, brittle and dull and the animal develops scales.
  2. Oily seborrhea where the hair becomes greasy and moist.

In the case of seborrhea, you should also see a veterinarian in order to find the source of the disease and improve the animal's quality of life.

In anti-seborrhoeic shampoo therapy, substances with an effect are the most widely used keratolytic and keratoplastic, degreasing and cleansing the hair follicles such as e.g.

  • tar,
  • sodium salicylate,
  • zinc gluconate,
  • pyridoxine,
  • selenium sulfate,
  • sulfur,
  • salicylic acid.

The main function of sebum is:

  • providing the skin with elasticity,
  • limiting water loss,
  • maintaining proper hydration.

That is why, in the case of disturbances in the functioning of the sebaceous glands, it is very important to use moisturizers at the same time, such as:

  • glycerine,
  • propylene glycol,
  • urea,
  • lactic acid.

It is also recommended to use softeners, such as:

  • lanolin,
  • oils,
  • paraffin,
  • waxes.

Oral use may be an additional support in case of skin disorders manifested by seborrhea vitamin A.

Properties of anti-seborrheic champagnes are:

  • removal of dandruff flakes, which often occurs with seborrhea (more about dandruff can be found in the article "Dog's dandruff "),
  • regulation of keratinization processes,
  • regulation of sebum production,
  • restoring the balance of skin microflora,
  • reduction of itching.

Antibacterial shampoo for dogs

Antibacterial shampoo for a dog

Bacterial skin diseases are usually different types of pyoderma (pyoderma).

They are one of the most common skin diseases diagnosed in dogs, as they accompany other dermatological problems, as a complication of the underlying disease, such as:

  • allergies,
  • internal diseases (especially hypothyroidism or hyperadrenocorticism),
  • seborrhea and inflammation of the sebaceous glands,
  • parasites,
  • hormonal fluctuations,
  • anatomical predisposition (skin folds)
  • malfunction of the immune system.

The most frequently isolated pathogen from purulent lesions is staphylococcus such as Staphylococcus intermedius and Staphylococcus pseudointermedius.

In the initial stage of the disease, the only symptom may be:

  • itching (excessive scratching of the dog),
  • erythema,
  • local alopecia,
  • skin eruptions.

Additionally, pustules may appear and it changes the smell of the skin in infected places.

Such symptoms are an indication for a medical and veterinary consultation, because shampoo therapy alone may turn out to be insufficient.

When it comes to the composition of antibacterial shampoos, their formula is based on ingredients with antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal properties, such as:

  • chlorhexidine,
  • benzoyl peroxide,
  • ethyl lactate,
  • povidone iodine.

To bath in dog shampoo with chlorhexidine to be effective should be after wetting the hair by 10 minutes massage the shampoo foam into the animal's skin, and only then rinse and dry the animal without using a dryer.

In addition, the preparations contained in antibacterial shampoos are characterized by their action soothing and lowering the pH so as to create an environment unfavorable for the existence and multiplication of pathogenic microorganisms.

In the case of pyoderma, it should be remembered that shampoo therapy alone is not enough.

It is necessary to implement antibiotic therapy.

Therefore, a medical and veterinary consultation is necessary to determine the root cause and implement multidirectional therapy.

Antifungal shampoo for the dog

Antifungal shampoo for the dog

Dermatophytes in dogs are caused by dermatophytes of the genus:

  • Microsporum,
  • Trichophyton,
  • Epidermophyton.

Infection can occur as a result of direct and indirect contact with the fungus.

Factors predisposing to the development of infection include:

  • unfavorable environmental conditions - it favors the development of mycoses high temperature and high air humidity,
  • high density of animals like for example. in shelters or animal farms,
  • mechanical damage to the body in the dog like abrasions, scratches, open wounds,
  • diet low in:
    • protein,
    • unsaturated fatty acids,
    • copper,
    • iron,
    • sulfur,
    • vitamin A,
    • B vitamins,
  • weakened immune barrier, e.g. in young, elderly or pregnant animals,
  • the presence of parasites.

More information on mycosis can be found in the article "Ringworm in dogs and cats "

The ingredients of the antifungal shampoos are first and foremost ketoconazole and miconazole , which in conjunction with chlorhexidine have a strong fungistatic effect on most pathogenic fungi and yeasts, such as Malassezia pachydermatis.

Dog antifungal shampoo may also contain sulfur compounds, selenium or tar.

These shampoos are not in the fungicidal department, stabilize the pH of the skin and prevent it from drying out by leaving a thin fat-protein layer.

The mild cleansing agents contained in the preparation allow for their frequent use in order to prevent the recurrence of diseases complicated by fungi.

Shampoos for the daily care of the coat

Shampoos for the daily care of your dog's coat

In addition to the medicated shampoos that have been mentioned and described above, we have a wide range of preparations for use in dogs on a daily basis.

Choosing dog shampoo it is worth choosing a preparation suitable for this breed of dogs taking into account the type of coat.

Taking this as a criterion for the division of shampoos, we can specify shampoos for breeds:

  • shorthair,
  • long-haired,
  • smooth-haired,
  • wirehaired.

Additionally, it should be remembered that we will use different preparations in animals at the puppy age than in adult dogs.

Also coat color can be a determinant in the selection of animal care products.

Is it possible to bathe a dog in human shampoos?

Can you use human shampoos to bath your dog??

Definitely you can not bathe the dog in human shampoo!

Dog skin has a pH that is different from that of human skin.

Therefore, dogs after bathing with human shampoo may react with irritation or even allergic changes.

How much is a dog shampoo?

The price of therapeutic shampoos on the market varies greatly, which depends on the composition, volume of the packaging, the manufacturer or the properties that the preparation is to fulfill.

The price of shampoos and conditioners with healing properties fluctuates between PLN 20 and PLN 90 for 200 ml.

However, it should be remembered that they are remedies with therapeutic effect and they are not preparations intended for everyday use.

Therefore, use them as recommended by your veterinarian.


When to use shampoo therapy?

In the case of dog skin diseases, it is very important to consult a veterinary doctor.

Shampoo therapy can only bring results if the correct diagnosis is made. Additional tests are helpful in determining the causes of the skin problem, such as:

  • skin cytology,
  • scraping the skin for parasites,
  • biopsy,
  • trichogram, i.e. microscopic examination of the hair,
  • swabs and cultures for bacteriology with an antibiogram and / or mycology with a mycogram,
  • blood tests for endocrine diseases,
  • intradermal allergy tests.

Eliminating the cause of skin problems, properly applied general therapy, the owner's determination and meticulous shampoo therapy bring spectacular treatment results.

However, these are often long-term therapies, and even lifelong therapies at certain intervals.

Skin lesions may be recurrent, so I emphasize once again the importance of the initial detailed diagnosis to know what we are treating and be able to prevent further relapses of the disease.

If you have any questions or your pet is struggling with skin problems and would like to seek advice in the field of shampoo therapy, do not hesitate and write to me!

I will try to answer your questions.

Sources used >>

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