There is a common misconception that you shouldn’t bathe your dogs very often and that doing so can make skin conditions worse. Most veterinarians treat skin disease through a combination of steroids and antibiotics. But if you’re like me, you want to stay away from harsh drugs and try all natural courses of action first. The use of ‘shampoo therapy’ to treat skin conditions may be the most overlooked natural therapy for dogs with skin disease.
You might not realize it, but your dog’s coat acts like a magnet for all kinds of dust, dander, toxins, yeast, bacteria and allergens. A weekly bath is essential for removing these potential hazards; especially if your dog has allergies. These substances can actually CAUSE the allergies.
In addition, shampooing will also help to remove dead skin cells that linger on the surface of the skin. These dead skins cells can form the foundation for a breeding ground for all kinds of bacteria and yeast. Regular bathing may also decrease your dog’s need for oral antibiotics or anti-fungal medication.
You might be under the impression that bathing your dog so frequently will remove the natural oils from your dog’s skin and coat. This absolutely can occur. It is also why it is imperative that you exercise extreme caution when you are choosing the shampoo you will use for your dog’s weekly bath.
In order for shampoo therapy to be effective, you need to make sure you are using a shampoo that is natural, hypoallergenic and moisturizing. Oatmeal shampoos are an excellent choice. They will help to improve the condition of your dog’s skin and coat while providing relief from scratching. Look for products that contain colloidal oatmeal instead of the inferior oat extract that many dog shampoos use. Colloidal oatmeal is simply oatmeal that is ground down to a fine powder. And because the powder granules are so tiny, they will readily absorb water or moisture. This then acts as a ready made moisturizer, binding itself to the skin in a protective layer. Check out Comfy Dog, an oatmeal shampoo for dry & itchy skin.
Another thing to avoid is using human shampoo on dogs. Click here to find out why
When you choose a product to use for your dog’s shampoo therapy, it is not only important to pay attention to whether the product is all natural but also the ingredients that are used. The right formula will contain a full spectrum of all the most important ingredients to provide your dog with maximum healing. These ingredients include botanical extracts of peppermint that serve as a natural insect repellent, burdock for an anti-inflammatory agent, Indian frankincense and calendula, which have been used for centuries for soothing irritation and healing. Finally, it is important to make sure that the shampoo you use does not overly lather. Why is this important? Lather can be difficult to rinse out, resulting in soap residue that is one of the most common causes for canine itching.
When shampoo therapy is performed correctly and the right shampoo is used, you will notice that your dog has fewer allergic outbreaks and the condition of the coat and skin is greatly enhanced.
Photo by: Monika Szymanska