Shampooing dog – probably best not!
Today’s blog is the culmination of a frustrating problem we see all too frequently
at AlphaPet – excessive bathing of dogs and bathing with the wrong products.
Dogs were never designed to be bathed! When was the last time you saw a wolf
on a David Attenborough program turn up for a wash and blow dry?
Many owners of certain breeds seem to feel that it is a mandatory part of the care
of that breed to bath them monthly or sometimes even weekly! This is simply not
the case in most instances.
Dogs naturally secrete a substance called sebum to coat their skin and fur. As
well as being protective from disease, it also forms a great barrier to dirt and
smells. As long as it is allowed to build up properly, then just rinsing your dog off
with water can turn a completely mud-‐caked mutt back into a shiny-‐coated,
odourless family pet again.
The problem is that every time you bath your dog, you are using detergent
agents which remove this sebum layer. That allows dirt and smells to stick to
your pet’s coat and, guess what, you’ll probably need to wash him/her again
Of course, occasionally dogs will do doggy things and adorn themselves with
“Chanel-‐au-‐Fox” or similar. Rinsing off with water is not going to be sufficient
here so, in these cases, you should use the mildest, gentlest dog specific shampoo
you can. Please, please, please, DO NOT use human shampoos. Baby shampoos
may be fine for human baby’s skin, but they are pH balanced for human skin. If
you apply them to a dog’s skin, they will change the pH of your pet’s skin and this
is a common reason why we see skin infections (superficial pyodermas) a few
days after dogs have been bathed with human shampoos.
The other time dogs will need to be shampooed is when they have a skin
condition that necessitates treatment under veterinary supervision.
If you are in any doubt about whether or not to bath and what you should be
using, talk to one of our vets or nurses