As we all know a good bath can be very beneficial for a dog to keep their skin and coat healthy. How often to bathe your dog is completely dependent on the type of breed you have and the quality and texture of the dog’s coat – long haired, short, curly or smooth, if your dog sheds a lot and of course if your dog likes getting mucky or rolling around in some fox pooh! Therefore we would love to give you some further tips and advice.
For starters, we have to make sure to not wash our dog too very often. Dogs’ coats contain oils that are naturally designed to keep them warm, help repel water and shield from dirt. Very often a regular brush of the coat will already keep their coats healthy. On top of this, the coat and skin of a dog are completely different from our own skin so we need to make sure we adjust the bathing to their needs. A small technical side step – dog skin has a pH level of anywhere between 5.5 and 7.5 (more alkaline) whereas human skin has a pH level of between 5.2 and 6.2. As a dog’s skin is protected by a layer of coat their skin is also much more sensitive with the upper layer of the skin (epidermis) only being 3-5 cells thick in comparison to a human skin being 10-15 skin cells thick.
As a result of all of this, it is important that we use a shampoo that has specifically been designed for dogs and not one that is designed for ourselves or maybe even our babies. Unfortunately however, despite being developed for dogs there are still many shampoos on the market that contain chemicals hurtful for your dog’s skin. So before using a shampoo look carefully at the ingredients and make sure they don’t contain:
- dyes or colorants (natural shampoo usually has an opaque white to yellow/ orange colour)
- added fragrance or perfumes derived from chemicals, use instead shampoos that contain organic essential oils
- parabens (used by many manufacturers as a preservative) - some of the words used to state parabens on the ingredient list are methylparaben, propylparaben, ethylparaben, butylparaben benzyl-parahydroxybenzoic acid, parahydroxybenzoate
- sodium laureth sulfate and sodium lauryl sulfate (used as a detergent)
- DEA, Cocamide DEA and Lauramide DEA (used as foaming agents)
All of these chemicals can create serious skin irritations to your dog especially if your dog is already suffering from itchy skin, dry skin or any other skin condition. When buying a shampoo try and look for ingredients that actually work with the skin instead of against it and have a naturally proven ability to support the skin, nourishing and conditioning it. Look for shampoos that contain ingredients like olive oil, coconut oil, lavender oil, chamomile oil, oatmeal or other naturally fatty oils.
In the end, it is all really very simple, the more chemical the ingredients list looks and the more unpronounceable the word, the better it is to probably avoid that shampoo. Knowledge is power and knowledge will give you a happy and healthier dog!
Bella & the Anicura Team