Can I use head and shoulders on my dog?. Sometimes there is no way around a bath with shampoo, and some dog owners then use baby shampoo or their own shampoo, according to the motto “What is good for babies can not be bad for dogs.” Unfortunately no, because dog skin is very different from human skin.
How does dog skin differ from human skin?
Dog skin is actually significantly different from human skin. For example, it has no sweat glands in most parts of the body and hair growth depends on the season. The following differences are particularly significant for skin and coat care with the help of shampoos:
- Human skin has a natural skin pH of 5.5, while the pH of the dog’s skin is 7.5. As a result, dogs also have different skin flora than humans.
- Dog skin is thinner: the human skin (epidermis) is 10 to 15 layers thick, while the dog skin has only 3 to 5 layers in this area. Active ingredients in shampoos penetrate the skin quite differently.
- Dog skin regenerates faster than human skin. The dog’s epidermis renews itself in just under three weeks, while the thicker human epidermis takes four weeks to do so. Good news for all dog owners who have a four-legged skin patient at home.
Which shampoo is suitable for dogs?
In any case, shampoos for humans are not, because these are generally “pH-skin neutral”, i.e. adjusted to the pH value 5.5 of the human skin, so as not to disturb the skin barrier and the natural skin flora. They are poisonous for the protective skin flora of our dogs, and they dry out the thin dog skin.
If nothing else is at hand in an emergency, healthy dog skin will be able to cope with a single wash with baby shampoo, but you will not do anything useful with such a supposedly “mild” shampoo.
If your dog is skin-healthy, a pure dog shampoo tailored to the peculiarities of the dog’s skin is enough. In the interest of your four-legged friend, however, you should make sure that it does not smell too strongly.
Our tip: Many manufacturers of medical dog shampoos also have a nourishing “basic shampoo” or a skin-soothing shampoo for mild cleaning of the dog’s skin. With such a dog shampoo, you can be sure that the composition corresponds to the current knowledge for optimal care of the dog’s skin.
Recommended dog shampoos for mild cleaning include:
- Albrecht DermaLite shampoo (hypoallergenic, fragrance-free)
- aniMedica Ermidra shampoo (for dry skin, with perfume)
- Almapharm DermaCalm Shampoo (for dry skin and tendency to skin infections, e.g. due to allergies)
- Merial Frontline PetCare shampoos (in the variants: odour-inhibiting, for de-felting, for white or dark fur)
For dogs with skin diseases, you should always have a suitable shampoo in the house. Please discuss with your veterinarian which product is right for your dog.
Can I wash my dog with regular shampoo?
There is no clear answer here. Basically, vets say no. Because dogs has an entirely different pH than humans. The additives contained in shower gels or shampoos for humans are also not suitable for the dog. Unlike cats, which literally clean themselves and in which a cat shampoo, even if it is unusual for cats, is not good and can destroy the natural complexion, the dog should still be cleaned after extensive walks.
As you know, a wet dog smells very unpleasant. This is why many people think that you shower your four-legged friend with a lot of good-smelling shampoos. But please remember, the dog has much better olfactory organs than we humans and what smells good for us can be penetrative for the dog.
Pay attention to the pH value.
As mentioned earlier, a dog’s pH is entirely different from that of a human. But what does pH actually mean? The pH value quantifies the acidity of liquids, i.e. it shows how basic or acidic a solution is.
The division goes from 0 to 14. Everything that is under seven is called acidic, seven is neutral, and everything above seven is alkaline. The average value of a dog is 7.5. A shampoo that is intended for humans has an average value of 5.5. So this is far too acidic and dries out the skin of your four-legged friend.
This can cause itching or even extreme rashes, which are, of course, very uncomfortable for the dog. If there is one exception, because maybe there is no dog shampoo at hand, that is not a problem. However, the above-mentioned problems can arise with increased applications.
Dog salons that specialize in dog grooming or dog washing, therefore, use grooming products that are precisely tailored to your darling. Appropriate dog salons or speciality shops can recommend the right shampoo for your dog. But you can inquire at the veterinarian, who can undoubtedly give tips and information.
The smell plays a significant role!
According to a measurement, the dog should smell a million times better than humans. It is enormous. This is ensured by the olfactory cells, which average between 125 and 220 million in a dog (depending on the size of the animal).
For comparison: humans have around 5 million olfactory cells. So a huge difference and you can only imagine if we walk past a bratwurst stand with our darling what the poor guy has to go through.
It is the same with care products. When we put on a perfume, it is much more intensive for the four-legged friend. The dog’s perception of the fragrant environment is extreme. So you should also do without shampoos with flavours. Unfortunately, many shampoos intended for humans contain fragrances that damage or impair the natural smell of your animal.
So use the shampoos provided for this purpose, especially for dogs. These are without scent flavours or odour-neutralizing, which contain only a few fragrances and do not harm your darling.
Conclusion Can I wash my dog with regular shampoo?
If you do not have a suitable dog shampoo on hand, it is no problem to distribute a small portion of shampoo to your dog and thus free it from dirt and bad smell. But it shouldn’t be a habit.
A dog’s pH needs different care than that of a human. It is therefore essential to pay attention to the appropriate care for your darling.
One should pay attention to
- PH-level neutral
- Hypoallergenic (especially for puppies)
- Care for the fur
- Little fragrance
And what is very important in our opinion is that the product was manufactured without animal testing. And here you don’t have to be a vegan or an extreme animal rescuer, because the idea of using a shampoo for which animals died is cruel and unimaginable.
There’s another way. Every product has a product-free test and can be inquired from specialist retailers. In the case of cleaning salons, you should also ask beforehand which products are used here.
So rather spend a few euros more, but be sure that your four-legged friend gets healthy and without problems from the care. So nothing stands in the way of a forest walk in wind and weather!
What should I watch out for when washing my dog?
Typically you should not and should not wash healthy dog skin. However, if you need to clean a foul-smelling, dirty four-legged friend, keep the following in mind:
- The surface must be non-slip. So there is an anti-slip mat in the shower or bathtub.
- The temperature should be lukewarm; in the summer, the garden hose is also enough for a refreshing bath. Especially for dogs that get upset, older or heart-sick dogs, you provoke circulatory problems with water at a temperature that is comfortable for us (38 ° C).
- Do not comb the wet fur as the hair will break off easily.
- Avoid blow-drying your dog, as the blow-dry air is usually too hot. Thorough drying and then a warm place is enough for the four-legged friend to dry.
If possible, get your dog used to water in all its forms (pond, garden hose and the like) as early as puppy age and gently guide them to washing. The best thing to do is without shampoo and just playfully, without holding on. This way, you can avoid stress for both sides later.
Do I have to bathe my dog at all?
It is common in the USA to bathe every dog regularly, and in this country too, many dogs are shampooed weekly. But is that really necessary? Does it harm the dog to wash him frequently? Or does it hurt not to bathe your four-legged friend regularly?
Basically, a regular bath with a dog shampoo is not harmful to healthy dogs but is also not absolutely necessary. Unless your dog belongs to a breed that requires special grooming and you cannot manage to keep its fur clean and unmatted without regular bathing. Otherwise, bathing “as needed” if your dog is filthy.
Tip: As a puppy, get your dog used to being bathed or showered so that the procedure is stress-free for everyone. A systematic “skin and coat control” from head to paws should be part of the daily routine. It can also be done while cuddling.
With skin problems such as itching, dry, oily or flaky skin and with allergies, regular bathing with special veterinary shampoos is an integral part of the treatment. Select skincare products for dogs with sensitive skin can be used to support the shampoo treatment. And the right nutrition with special diets also makes an essential contribution to optimizing the skin’s metabolism in skin diseases.