Why Is Dog Shampoo Expensive?

Bath time can be fun time.
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The ASPCA recommends bathing your dog only once every three months -- unless of course your pup has been rolling in mud and you have no other option than getting him in the water. If you're only bathing doggie a few times a year, the cost of shampoo shouldn't be much of an issue. If you're still wondering why your dog's shampoo costs more than your own, it might help to know there's usually a reason behind it.

Medicated Shampoos

The most expensive type of shampoos you can buy are prescription shampoos. These shampoos have been especially designed to treat certain skin conditions. For example, the ingredient miconazole is sometimes added to shampoos to help treat skin conditions such as dermatitis in dogs. Other expensive ingredients include ethyl lactate, used to treat skin infections, and some antifungal products.

Hair-Specific Shampoo

Shampoos sold for a specific breed or type of hair can also be more expensive. For example, shampoos made for a specific type of hair -- such as curly poodle hair or silky cocker spaniel hair -- are more expensive than standard shampoos any dog can use. That's because those specialty shampoos contain additional ingredients to untangle, condition or preserve a type of color or hair texture, while standard shampoos only contain basic cleaning ingredients. Color-specific shampoos, such as those made for black or golden dogs, are also more expensive because they contain special ingredients that help keep the coat lustrous and healthy.

Don't Fall for the Hype

One way to save money in dog shampoo is to ignore marketing and buy plain dog shampoo. That means a shampoo made for dogs with normal skin and no special extras. If you have a dog with long hair, it might be cheaper to buy a regular shampoo and a separate conditioner you can apply after the bath to avoid tangles and knots. Flea-and-tick shampoo is more expensive than regular shampoo and not as effective as other pest prevention products -- such as collars or spot-on treatments. If you want to save money on shampoo, use something else to prevent ticks and fleas and buy regular shampoo instead.

Homemade Options

If cost is still an issue, try some homemade options. Keep in mind that this only a good idea if your dog doesn't need a medicated shampoo and has healthy, normal skin. Although there are dozens of homemade dog shampoo recipes available, the basics of homemade shampoo is usually liquid anti-bacterial soap, cornstarch or essential oils. You can also add apple cider vinegar to the recipe, although the smell might not be everybody's cup of tea. Vinegar kills fleas, removes strong smells and adds shine to the coat.