Dog skin conditions are no walk in the dog park. When your four-legged friend is suffering with itchy skin, painful hot spots or a flaky coat, you want to ease his discomfort—stat. One of the best ways is with a dog shampoo that’s formulated for his particular situation.
Many dog shampoos address symptoms, such as flaky or dry skin on dogs, says Katie Williams, owner and groomer at Stinky Dog Grooming in Roseburg, Oregon. Other shampoos, like the medicated kind you get over-the-counter or from your veterinarian, target the cause of the skin condition, like a bacterial infection causing hot spots on dogs, she says.
To help you choose the best option for your dog’s skin condition, we’ve listed some common problems and shampoo solutions below. If your pal shows severe signs of skin disease, however, be sure to talk to your veterinarian who can best diagnose and treat the problem.
Dog Shampoo for Dry, Itchy Skin
Itchy, dry skin on dogs can be caused by all sorts inflammatory triggers, says Stephen David White, DVM, a professor of medicine and epidemiology at the University of California, Davis, School of Veterinary Medicine in California. Airborne or food allergies, for instance, can make a dog’s skin itchy, red and swollen, as can burns or trauma and bacterial, fungal or parasitic infections.
Other factors that can cause itchy skin include cold weather, poor diet and harsh shampoos. It’s important to keep in mind that when your pet scratches the itch, he can cause flaky skin, wounds, scabbing, skin infections, hair loss and scaling.
To soothe dry skin on dogs and the itchiness, try using dog shampoos and conditioners that are rich in emollients. Products that contain emollients like oatmeal, aloe vera and olive, shea or almond oil, are formulated to help moisturize and reduce water loss from the skin.
To help relieve itchiness and dryness Williams uses a coconut hypoallergenic shampoo with aloe like TropiClean hypo-allergenic coconut dog shampoo, which contains oatmeal, aloe and coconut and is made specifically for itchy, dry skin on dogs.
Note: If you see signs of secondary skin infection, such as boils, pimples, crust or other bumps, take your pet to a veterinarian, who can direct you to a medicated shampoo formulated to will help reduce bacteria and speed healing.
Dog Shampoo for Flaky Skin
Flaky skin—also known as seborrhea—can be caused by hormonal disorders or allergies, Dr. White says. It can create excessive scaling and dandruff, greasy skin and coat, and hair loss.
If your pooch’s flaky skin is associated with allergies or fleas, he might be itchy, too. That that can lead to secondary infections, such as bacterial and yeast infections with pus-filled inflammation.
You can try treating the flakiness with a hypoallergenic dog shampoo formulated to control scaling. Williams recommends HyLyt hypoallergenic shampoo with essential fatty acids for dogs. This soap-free formula contains essential fatty acids to soothe the skin and retain moisture.
If your pal’s seborrhea progresses to a secondary infection, talk to your veterinarian about a medicated shampoo formulated to decrease the number of bacteria and yeast on the skin surface and to lower the level of itching.
Dog Shampoo for Hot Spots
Does your pal incessantly lick a spot—maybe a flea bite or other inflamed area—causing a sore that won’t heal? When a secondary bacterial infection like pyoderma or a fungal infection sets in, hot spots on dogs and similar wounds can worsen and make your pet’s life miserable. The sore can become itchy, painful and lead to boils, scabs, scales or blisters, Dr. White says.
For hot spots, Williams recommends a hypoallergenic shampoo. Earthbath hypo-allergenic dog shampoo, for example, is designed to soothe irritated skin and is soap- and fragrance-free.
If hot spots on your dog become inflamed or infected, visit your veterinarian for a more aggressive treatment.
Dog skin conditions can be frustrating for you and uncomfortable for your pet. Keep your pup’s skin and coat healthy with a quality diet and veterinarian-recommended supplements, regular grooming and coat maintenance, and a gentle dog shampoo formulated to keep his skin moisturized and protected.
By: Wendy Wilson