If you can smell your pooch two rooms away, it's probably time for a bath. Choosing a shampoo can be daunting since most pet stores have as many types and varieties of pet shampoo as there are for humans. Look for a shampoo formulated for your doggy's type of skin and his special needs.
pH of Dog Shampoo
Human shampoo is not a good choice for your precious puppy. Dogs have more sensitive skin than humans; therefore, they need a pH level that is higher than human shampoo. If the pH is too low, shampooing can lead to dry, itchy skin, rashes and hot spots. Hot spots are red, irritated areas where the dog has chewed away the hair because of intense itching. Read the labels on dog shampoo. A quality dog shampoo will state that the shampoo is pH balanced.
Check your dog's skin type and choose a shampoo to match his type. If you see peeling or flaking on your pup's skin, he probably has dry skin. If there is an oil residue when you rub your fingers on his skin, he probably has oily skin. Normal skin will not have flakiness or oil. You can also talk to your veterinarian about your dog's skin type, if you are in doubt. Besides shampoos for specific skin types, some natural shampoos will provide relief for all skin types. Shampoos containing natural ingredients such as oatmeal, aloe, neem oil and lavender help provide moisture and prevent eczema and dandruff.
Flea infestation is not pleasant for your pet or for you. Flea shampoos can help with your flea problem, but only provide temporary relief for your pup. You will need a monthly flea prevention product to stop the flea cycle. Look for a shampoo that contains pyrethrin.
If your pup is suffering from severe dry skin or allergies that are making him bite his skin, consider medicated shampoos. Look for shampoos that have little or no scent. Hydrocortisone shampoos are formulated to relieve the itch of hot spots. Oatmeal and aloe vera ingredients in medicated shampoo can help soothe your pup's skin.
If you are fortunate to have a pup who doesn't have any skin issues such as dry skin, oily skin or allergies, you can create your own dog shampoo. It costs pennies to make and will clean your best buddy. Mix it in a liter bottle and always remember to shake it thoroughly before applying it to your pooch. The formula is 1/3 cup glycerin, 1 cup lemon dishwashing liquid, 1 cup white vinegar and 1 quart water, according to Paw Rescue.
Bathing your pup too often can dry out his skin and remove the natural oils. Bathing three or four times a year is enough, unless your pooch rolls in mud.
Rinse thoroughly when shampooing your pup. Soap residue can cause dry, itchy skin.
Pauline Gill is a retired teacher with more than 25 years of experience teaching English to high school students. She holds a bachelor's degree in language arts and a Master of Education degree. Gill is also an award-winning fiction author.