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Dog Shampoos – Choosing the Right Shampoo for Your Pet

wet terrier crossbreed dog in bathtub with soap suds all over head and dog shampoo

Most pet owners periodically use dog shampoos even if they have their dogs groomed regularly, while other pet owners always shampoo their pets at home. In either case, it’s important to know what kind of shampoo is best for your dog. There is a wide range of dog shampoos available, with each kind formulated to address specific needs. Whether your dog suffers from dry, itchy skin, has a coat that gets tangled easily, or has trouble with excessive odor, there is a special shampoo sure to meet his needs and yours.

Bathing your dog is important, but using the wrong product can cause more problems than bathing solves, so be sure to be sure to check out all the different types of shampoos for dogs and get the right kind before you buy.

Use a Dog Shampoo, Not a Human Shampoo

The one thing you should never do is bathe your dog with a shampoo meant for humans.  The ingredients are made for a completely different pH and skin type and will only aggravate your pet’s skin and dry out their fur. Some may even trigger an allergic reaction.  Most kinds of shampoo for people will also be difficult to rinse out, which will cause itching and scratching even after your dog’s skin dries off. Instead, buy a shampoo designed for dogs to ensure your pet’s comfort and good health.

Flea Shampoos

Dog flea shampoos contain ingredients that kill flea eggs and control active flea populations, washing them away.  They can also soothe the discomfort of hot spots and protect your home from possible flea infestations.  These medicated dog shampoos can be purchased online or at your local veterinarian’s office.

Dog Shampoos to Control Odors & Dandruff

It’s normal for every pet to occasionally have a bit of “doggy” odor, but if you notice that yours is getting a really strong or pungent odor, try one of the deodorizing dog shampoos that will neutralize the scent once your pet dries and, in some cases, leave behind a light fragrance. If dry, itchy skin or dandruff is a problem, you’ll want to try bathing your dog with one of the many specialty pet shampoos containing emollients to condition the skin and soothing conditioners to tone down the itch to encourage healing.  Look for dry skin or dandruff shampoos and containing ingredients like coal tar (to reduce the flaking) and colloidal oatmeal (to reduce the itching).

Other Dog Shampoo Formulations

There are also medicated dog shampoos that target the causes of more serious problems such as mange (a serious skin condition that causes pets to lose their fur), yeast infections and dermatitis. If your pet has a severe skin condition or needs a strong, medicated shampoo you may need to take your dog to a veterinarian for a prescription shampoo. Be sure to follow the directions on prescription shampoos carefully and keep the suds away from the delicate eye area to avoid possible irritation.

Of course you want your dog to look his best, and bathing your dog properly is one way to ensure this.  Dog and puppy specialty shampoos have been developed in various formulas to enhance almost any type of dog coat, including formulas for detangling, to enhance shine and to remove dulling residues.  If you have a dog with a white coat, there are dog whitening shampoos and for darker coats, color enhancing shampoos that are favorites with the owners of show dogs.

Obviously, you should be able to find a dog specialty shampoo that is perfect for your best friend.  Simply decide what you most want to accomplish beyond just bathing your dog, whether it is improving skin health, getting rid of fleas or improving coat appearance. If you’re not sure what kind of dog shampoo you should be using for your pet, ask your veterinarian or groomer for recommendations.


Top Dog Tips is currently sponsoring a dog shampoo giveaway. If you would like to enter the Andis Grooming Brush ad Happy Dog Zone Shampoo Giveaway, visit their Facebook page.

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