We hear this question all the time– “what’s the difference between my shampoo and my dog’s shampoo?”
You may be surprised to learn that a lot is different. Of course, if you run out of Fido’s shampoo and you use your own to wash your dog a couple of times, nothing will happen. Your dog’s hair won’t fall out and life will probably go on as normal.
But there are areas in which human and dog shampoos differ. You may not notice the ill effects of human shampoo if used only a couple of times, but after repeated use, you’ll start to see.
1. Ingredients. Dog’s have different problems that humans do. We usually don’t sit around and scratch our heads as much as dogs scratch. This is because dog’s eliminate toxins differently than we do. We can sweat them out. Since dogs really don’t sweat, their toxins are eliminated through their kidneys and bowels. Try an all natural herbal detoxifier that you add to your dog’s food. As a topical solution to relieve itchy skin and soothe skin inflammations try products with colloidal oatmeal , boswellia, burdock and comfrey. The best shampoo to help relieve itchy skin is Comfy Dog Oatmeal Shampoo for Dry & Itchy Skin.
2. Ph Balance. A dog’s skin is about 7.5 while human skin is about 5.5 (to put it in perspective, water is about 7.0). Therefore, a dog’s skin is more alkaline so ideally a dog’s shampoo should be between 6.5-7.5 or it could be irritating to the skin. Highly acidic shampoos may also diminish the hair’s protective qualities, removing valuable oil from the coat and skin. the result is dry, irritated skin and a dull coat. Of course it’s a vicious cycle because the dog will scratch which only makes the problem worse.
3. Dog’s have sensitive skin– A dog only has about 3-5 cell-layers thick while we have about 10-15 layers thick. So, harsh shampoos with lots of chemicals and those that aren’t PH balanced will be irritating.
The case for conditioners – Shampoos by design are used for cleaning- removing unwanted grime from the skin and coat. But shampooing, without sealing the coat afterwords, leaves the hair shaft open– at that point residue can enter and oils and hydration escapes.
What you can do is use a conditioner after shampooing to close the hair cuticle and restore hydration, moisture and elasticity.
Conditioners also fill in the damaged hair that drying, brushing, dematting and rubbing causes. Just normal wear and tear chips away at the hair cuticle. Conditioners can help to remove the cuticle to a smooth state and one that gives a more lustrous appearance and feel.
The best deep conditioner I’ve used is Fur Butter (or Fur Worse). It’s an oatmeal based ultra rich conditioning treatment for dry, damaged and long coats. It’s the richest conditioner I’ve used and leaves the dog very soft & silky.
So now you know the difference– there really is one!