You almost certainly shower at least once every day, and probably wash your hair a few times each week. However, our doggy friends don’t need to be washed anywhere near as regularly and in fact, washing them too often can actually be bad for their skin and coat. Whether you usually bathe your dog at home, or they usually visit a professional groomer, if a muddy walk has led to an emergency bath scenario, one thing you’ll need to decide is what shampoo to use to get your furbaby clean again.
Many people think that in some ways, dogs are a lot like humans. After all, they can eat some of the same things that we do, and some dog medications are exactly the same as those prescribed for us too. However, when it comes to keeping your canine clean, can you use your own shampoo?
The dangers of using human shampoo on dogs
If you don’t have any doggy shampoo at home and your furry pal desperately needs to get clean, using human shampoo may seem tempting, but the reality is that you should never use human products on your canine friend, not even ‘gentle’ or ‘baby’ shampoos/bubble bath.
You can’t see it, but the very top layer of both human and dogs’ skin is protected by a very thin layer known as the acid mantle. The acid mantle is essentially a protective barrier that stops the skin from coming into contact with bacteria, viruses and other harmful substances. It also supports natural hydration by absorbing water. When you bathe your dog, or yourself for that matter, it strips the acid mantle, which then naturally regenerates.
Dogs and humans have very different pH balances. pH is a term used to describe how acid or alkaline something is. The pH of the outer skin of dogs’ ranges from around 6.5 (on a Maltese) to 8.0 (on a Labrador). In contrast, the pH of human skin ranges from 4.8 to 5.8 – significantly lower. Human bathing products are designed for to protect and moisturise the skin until the human acid mantle regenerates. However, they are not designed to support the regeneration of a canine acid mantle and they can disrupt the PH levels on your dog’s skin enough to cause irritation, dryness and flakiness. Without an effective acid mantle, your dog’s skin is also more vulnerable to viruses, bacteria, infection and other nasties. This means that doggy shampoo really is the best product for keeping your furry friend clean and healthy.
How often should I shampoo my dog?
Every dog is different and so there’s not a ‘one-size-fits-all’ answer to this question. You can choose to bathe and shampoo your dog once every few months, or every week if they regularly become dirty or smelly! For example, some dogs will happily roll in mud or other animal poo when they go for walks, leaving you with the job of cleaning them up! However, we recommend that you don’t bathe your canine pal any more often than once a week unless you absolutely have to as washing your dog too often will strip the natural oils in their coat, and instead cause dryness and skin irritation.
Since you don’t need to bathe and shampoo your dog very often, a bottle of shampoo can last a long time. Owners with dogs who require expensive or medicated shampoos often choose to have their dog bathed by a professional groomer so that they don’t have to buy – and potentially waste – products that simply won’t get used in optimal time.
How do I know which shampoo is right for my dog?
Just like human shampoo types, there are also countless different doggy shampoos, many of which are designed to best suit certain breeds and coat types. There are also some medicated shampoos which are specially formulated to help provide relief from certain skin problems, such as those for treating here., and those with ingredients that keep parasites like . Your vet should be happy to point you in the direction of the shampoo that best suits your dog, but you can also check out our handy guide
The best way to deal with any dirty dog scenarios is to keep at least a small bottle of veterinary-approved doggy shampoo at home that you can use, and as soon as the bottle gets low, replace it with another! In the meantime, check out our comprehensive range of dedicated doggy shampoos and other pampering products.