How to Choose the Best Pet Shampoo for Your Pet’s Needs

Natural shed control

Just like their human companions, pets need regular bathing and grooming in order to stay happy, healthy, and clean. And just like humans, some pets are tolerating of the experience while others hate it! But regardless of how your pet feels about getting a bath, it’s important to know how to choose the right products for the job, such as pet shampoo for bathing and combs or brushes for grooming. Because just like their human owners, pets can experience dry skin, itching, dandruff and other skin disorders that can be exacerbated by the kind of pet shampoo and products that are used on them.

If there’s anything that pet owners should keep in mind, it’s that shampoos formulated for human skin and hair should never — ever — be used on a pet. This can cause itchy skin in dogs and cats in addition to skin irritation on dogs and cats as well. While you may think using human shampoo on your beloved pet is a fairly harmless thing to do — it’s just soap after all, right? — it’s important to keep in mind that human skin is much different than pet or animal skin in general.

Not only are there differing numbers of layers, but animal skin has much higher pH level than that of human skin, meaning your cat or dog’s skin is much less acidic than yours. As such, shampoos made for humans — even all natural and organic ones — can be far too harsh to use on your pet’s delicate skin. Using a human shampoo as pet shampoo, even if it’s been diluted with water, can cause flaky, dry skin on cats and dogs, especially for dogs and cats that have dog or cat skin allergies. So remember — always use a pet shampoo and don’t put your pet’s health at risk!

But how do you choose the right one? After all, there’s a variety of pet shampoos available and with all those choices, it’s easy to become overwhelmed. Here are a few things to keep mind.

Shampoos for pets with dry, sensitive skin

If your pet suffers from flaking, dry, or itchy skin, then it’s best to stick to a gentle moisturizing shampoo. All natural or organic pet shampoos free of harmful chemicals and synthetic ingredients are best for all pet skin types, but especially for pets with sensitive skin. Be sure to consult with your veterinarian in order to determine why your pet has sensitive, dry skin, and what products are best to use on it. Products that contain natural and organic ingredients such as aloe vera gel, honey, vitamin E, and oatmeal are highly effective in soothing sensitive skin while getting your pet clean.

Avoid scented shampoos when possible, as scents have been known to act as an irritant or trigger. After bathing your pet with a shampoo specifically made for dry or sensitive pet skin, follow up with a soothing moisturizer such as coconut oil and maybe even a bit of hydrocortisone cream to prevent itching and keep your pet comfortable.

Shampoos for getting rid of fleas and ticks

Aside from getting pets squeaky clean, some shampoos also have specific ingredients for killing or repelling pests such as fleas and ticks, both of which carry disease and can have a negative impact on pet’s health. The pest killing ingredients in these kinds of shampoos only provide short-term protection and can only kill parasites in and on your pet’s fur and skin and not in their living environment. As such, it’s important to keep in mind that flea and tick shampoos must be used in tandem with other means of flea and tick control.

Shampoos for getting rid of funky pet odors

For all those times when a regular shampoo for pets just ain’t cuttin’ it in terms of getting rid of stubborn pet odors, it’s time to up the ante and use a shampoo for pets that’s specifically meant for deodorizing. This is great for dogs and cats that spend a lot of time outdoors and may come into contact with stale, stinky stuff such as mud or garbage. These shampoos are tough on odors!

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