By Nancy Cope
If you browse online or in your local pet store, you will quickly discover that there are literally hundreds of dog shampoos and bathing products. Beyond simple shampoos, there are conditioners, detanglers, colognes for dogs, medicated shampoos, shampoos and conditioners for every skin condition, flea and tick shampoos, whitening shampoos, and color enhancing shampoos, and the list goes on and on.
How are you to know which products to buy for your dog? It can be hard to know what to buy. Here is an overview of the products available which should help you narrow down your choices and make a decision.
Shampoos for luxurious coat
Most dogs with normal skin can use this kind of shampoo. These shampoos may contain ingredients such as jojoba oil or have coconut oil in them. They usually have a nice fragrance. They will make your dog’s coat look and feel good. There may be some slight differences between brands but most of these shampoos will be good for your dog’s coat as long as he has no skin problems.
Shampoos for skin problems
Shampoos for dogs with skin problems are usually made for dogs with sensitive skin, dry skin, allergies, or irritated skin. They can have ingredients like oatmeal and other things to soothe the skin in them. These shampoos may also be moisturizing.
Medicated shampoos are usually obtained from your vet or by prescription. They can contain ingredients such as chlorhexidine. These shampoos are usually effective but you have to follow your veterinarian’s instructions.
Flea and tick shampoo
Flea and tick shampoos can range from products with natural ingredients to products with harsher chemicals. If you have a preference for natural ingredients you should be sure to read the label or the web site to make sure what the shampoo contains. If your dog has a heavy flea infestation you may need to use a shampoo with some of the stronger chemicals or talk to your vet about other flea control methods.
There are many coat whitening shampoos today. Some of them use enzymatic cleaners and some of them bleach the coat. Read the label or web site to find out what each shampoo does. Whitening shampoos are primarily made for white or light-colored dogs but some of them will brighten other colors, too. Some whitening shampoos can be a little harsh on the coat so they are not recommended if your dog has sensitive or irritated skin.
Color enhancing shampoo
Color enhancing shampoos intensify colors other than white. There are shampoos for black coats, brown coats, red coats, and so on. They are generally safe but they should probably be avoided if your dog has sensitive or irritated skin.
Shampoo for stinky dogs
If your dog frequently smells bad from rolling in trash or getting into things he shouldn’t, then a shampoo for smelly dogs would be a good choice. These shampoos don’t quite get rid of skunk odor but they will make your dog smell better as a result of just about everything else. On the other hand, if your dog smells bad because of a skin condition, he should see a vet. A medicated shampoo is probably needed.
Many terrier breeds are supposed to have crisp hair instead of soft or fluffy hair. Their coats are “plucked” instead of clippered, traditionally, and they do not shed much. In order to help the coat stay rough and crisp (which protected them from the weather originally), you can use a texturizing shampoo on their coat. Many terrier owners don’t bother to do these things today, but there are texturizing shampoos available. When terrier breeds are shown at dog shows, they are prepared this way so they look correct.
There are almost as many conditioners as there are shampoos and probably one to match each coat type. In most cases it is fine to use a conditioner that is made to work with a particular shampoo (i.e., if you buy Peachy Keen Shampoo for Pretty Dogs, Peachy Keen Conditioner for Pretty Dogs is probably a good choice). However, it is not always necessary to use conditioner on your dog. If you have a shorthaired breed with a hard, smooth coat, for example, your dog might not need a conditioner. Wirehaired dogs don’t use conditioner. But dogs with medium and long coats usually need some conditioner.
Detanglers are often used on dogs with medium and long coats who are prone to getting tangles and mats. The detangler is usually sprayed on the dog when he is still wet from the bath. Then you comb through the coat and let it dry. The coat will usually resist tangling and knotting afterwards.
You can also buy cologne for your dog to make him smell nice. If you have taken your dog to a professional groomer then you know that your dog smells very nice when you pick him up. Groomers usually spritz dogs with some cologne when they finish grooming them. Some dogs don’t like the cologne so it’s up to you whether you try it or not.
Nancy Cope is the owner of four rescue dogs and Pampered Dog Gifts.