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Dog Shampoo Selection Guide

Drs. Foster & Smith Educational Staff
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How to Choose Your Dog Shampoo

Your pet lays, rolls, licks and even chews on his hair, day in and day out. Can you imagine the kind of "bed head" you'd have if you did these things daily, and never washed? While your dog's skin and hair don't need to be washed as often as a human's - they do benefit from consistent cleaning.

A DOG'S SKIN differs from a human's: a dog's skin has a higher pH level. The hair growth is cyclical in both dogs and humans. Because your dog's skin and hair have different requirements than yours, it only makes sense to use a shampoo designed specifically for his needs.

Our veterinary formula shampoos are designed with an optimal blend of cosmetic-grade cleansing agents and conditioners. They are formulated to gently deliver the cleaning action your dog needs without drying the coat or destroying the skin's pH balance. Each formula contains a unique blend of ingredients which supply a rich lather, are easy rinsing, and promote the health of the skin and coat.

From breed-to-breed and pet-to-pet, your dog's skin and coat needs will vary greatly. If your dog's skin or coat does not appear healthy, talk to your veterinarian to determine the cause and suggested solutions. Veterinary dermatologists know that the correct shampoo and skin products are vital to the health of a dog's skin and coat. In deciding what is the best shampoo for your dog, it is often helpful to consider various categories based on needs:

How to Choose Your Dog Shampoo

NORMAL HAIR - for the fortunate dogs with a healthy skin and coat, your needs are simple. A pH-balanced formula designed to clean and shine. Look for an all-purpose shampoo with natural ingredients like calendula, chamomile, or oatmeal. These work just fine for dogs with normal hair.

DRY SKIN OR BRITTLE COAT - dull coats and dry skin may be due to either health issues or environmental factors. In addition to specific therapies for medical conditions, dogs with these issues can benefit from shampoos and conditioners that offer extra moisturizing for the skin and coat. Emollients and conditioning ingredients include silk, wheat and oat proteins, safflower oil, and wheat germ oil. These enriching moisturizers will help to rebuild dry damaged coats and keep skin supple. Leave on humectants, such as glycerin, help the skin retain moisture and are also highly recommended.

Your best solution? Try a shampoo like our Advanced Formula Premier System® Shampoo & Conditioner or Advanced Formula Oatmeal Shampoo & Conditioner.

DAMAGED OR ITCHY SKIN - some dogs suffer from sensitive skin, seasonal allergies, flea allergy dermatitis, hot spots, or skin infections. Conditions like these can wreak havoc on your dog's skin and coat. If your dog has itchy skin, he can benefit from shampoos that use ingredients like hydrocortisone and soothing oat protein. With sensitive-skinned dogs sometimes it is as much what is NOT in the product as what is. In cases like this a fragrance and dye free shampoo is recommended. When antiseptic action is needed, a shampoo containing chlorhexidine may be just what the doctor ordered.

Your best solution? Try a shampoo like our Septi-Soothe®, Hypo-Allergenic, Itch Stop, or Oatmeal.

SMELLY COAT - dog coats can differ depending on their breed and hair type. Sometimes dogs have oilier coats or skin and coat problems that create a more obvious smell than others. In other instances your dog may be a "roller" who loves to rub his back into the worst smelling item in the grass or woods, or on the trail. Whatever the case may be, there is help in an ingredient such as vegetable protein extract, which removes the offending odors. If the odor may be related to bacteria or yeast, chlorhexidine is a good choice.

Your best solution? Try one of our Deodorizing or Septi-Soothe® Shampoos.

PUPPIES - generally have a more sensitive skin and coat than adult dogs and are less used to bathing. Therefore, it is recommended that you use a shampoo created exclusively for puppies, in a tearless formula to ensure bath time is a pleasant (not painful) experience.

Your best solution? Try our Puppy Shampoo.
Drs. Foster & Smith Shampoo's


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