It’s your pup’s bathtime and you’ve just realized you’re out of doggie shampoo. It’s pretty late and odds are you won’t be able to get a fresh bottle until tomorrow. You’re eyeing your own shampoo and start wondering how different they can really be and if you can use it just this once. Well, your shampoo WILL clean your dog’s coat, but you shouldn’t give up on dog shampoo for good.
There’s a difference
Human skin is different from dog skin. Let’s start with the acid mantle, which covers the topmost layer of the skin, protecting is from viruses, bacteria, or other contaminants. When we use soap or shampoo on our skin, the acid mantle washes away. This is why those products are often rich with a moisturizer of some sort, to replace the acid mantle we washed off until it’s back. If our skin is left exposed with no acid mantle to protect it, environmental contaminants can harm it and cause irritation, dryness, rash, and more.
The acid mantle is also known as the skin’s relative pH balance. On a scale of 0-14, human skin has a 5.2-6.2 pH level, which is pretty acidic and requires products that will preserve it. Dogs’ pH levels, on the other hand, fall between 5.5 and 7.5, depending on the breed, climate, gender, etc. Using a product designed for a different pH level will result in a pH imbalance for your dog. The pup’s skin will soon become dry and itchy. And if the itch gets scratched, more contaminants can break through the skin, and nobody wants that for your precious pooch.
How to pick the right shampoo
When shopping for doggie shampoo, look closely at the labels. They should specify the pH levels they’re suited for. Generally, the pH level your dog would need is around 7, which is fairly neutral.
When reading the label, look for information about added colors or artificial fragrances that might be harmful to your doggo’s skin. You want none of those in the bottle you purchase. What you do want is some sort of natural moisturizer (aloe vera, tea tree oil, and vitamin E are a good place to start). Make sure the fragrances formulated into the shampoo are natural as well (lavender, chamomile, or citrus are general favorites, plus, they can double as an insect repellent).
How often should I use it?
Dogs need to be shampooed far less than humans do. Once every few months is good enough (you can just bathe your dog in water in between shampoo sessions). Because you won’t be using the shampoo very often, you can probably afford a high-grade quality shampoo bottle, because you know it will last long.