Normal Healthy Skin
A dog with normal healthy skin can use a mild, soap free shampoo to clean his fur and leave it soft and shiny. Make sure you rinse all the shampoo out after bathing, so he doesn’t lick any of it. You may prefer to use a shampoo specifically for your dog’s coat color – these claim to enhance the color of black or white coats.
If his skin is greasy or flaking, or if you often find him scratching a lot, then you may need a medicated shampoo. These products contain antibacterial or antifungal agents to control infections, and soothing ingredients to ease the itch and take the redness out of his skin. It’s a good idea to seek veterinary advice before using a medicated shampoo because the wrong one can make his skin problems worse. Medicated shampoos often need to be left on the coat for up to ten minutes, just to let the active ingredients do their job.
Don’t rely on a shampoo to control fleas.
When the lather is rinsed off, any flea killing action is gone, and the fleas can just jump straight back on. If you need flea control, combine a mild shampoo with an effective product such as Comfortis, Frontline Plus or Advantage. Any flea control regime should include killing the fleas in the environment, such as your dog’s bed or your carpet. This will stop him picking up more fleas when you’ve worked so hard to kill the ones that are on him.
You can also apply a conditioner to your dog’s coat after his shampoo, to soften his fur and add shine. Make sure you use the conditioners as directed. Some are designed to be rinsed out after a few minutes, while others can be safely left in the coat.
How often should you wash your dog?
That depends on why you are washing him. Dogs with normal healthy skin don’t need washing often at all, because too much bathing can dry their coat. If you can leave it at least two weeks between baths, that’s ideal. If you are using shampoo as part of a treatment program for skin disease, then you can expect to bathe your dog more frequently, even as much as two to three times a week. You may just need to bathe the affected area of his skin rather than lather up his whole body.
Choosing the wrong shampoo for your dog can lead to a dry coat and itchy skin. If you’re unsure about how to bathe your dog or what products to use, ask your vet for advice.