When you go to bath your dirty pooch and find that you’ve run out of your pet-friendly products it may have crossed your mind to reach for your own shampoo. But we have more than one reason why this is not a good idea, and here’s why!
THE ACID MANTLE
The acid mantle is a lightly acidic layer that covers the skin and protects it from environmental factors, such as bacteria and viruses. It is also important for keeping the skin well hydrated by stopping excessive evaporation through the stratum corneum, or outermost layer of the skin. If the stratum corneum is left unprotected by the acid mantle then dry, flaky, irritated, peeling skin or rashes can occur. The acid mantle is what is washed away when we bathe, but our human shampoos and soaps are formulated with moisturisers to replace it until it reforms about 12 hours later.
The acid mantle is also defined by PH. The normal PH balance of a human is around 5.2 to 6.2, which is leaning towards an acidic PH, and our products are designed to maintain this balance. For dogs, the normal PH balance of the skin is between 5.5 – 7.5, which is more alkaline.
In short, a product designed for human skin with a PH of between 5.2-6.2 will not be suitable for a dog’s skin PH of 5.5-7.5, therefore will disrupt the acid mantle. This means micro organisms, bacteria, parasites and viruses are allowed access, and continued washing with human grade shampoos will make this problem worse and worse. Most likely, a smell will start to emanate from your pet’s coat that bathing won’t remedy. Furthermore, the dry skin caused by this problem will make your pet incredibly itchy and will likely form red rashes and “hot spots” that are very uncomfortable for them.
THE CORRECT PRODUCTS TO USE
Dog shampoos are ideal if they are in the neutral PH range, which is 7 specifically. If the shampoo you are buying does not specify the PH range, then most manufacturers will at least identify their product as being PH-balanced for dogs.
Ideally look for shampoos that have no artificial fragrances or colours added. Aloe vera, honey, vitamin E, tea tree and oatmeal are all wonderful ingredients that will help your pet’s skin. Natural fragrances like chamomile, lavender, eucalyptus and citrus are excellent additions which can also act as insect repellents. Natural and organic shampoos are also advised, but always check the label before buying!
Washing your dog more than once a fortnight isn’t necessary and if you must clean them more often use only water so the acid mantle of their skin can stay healthy. Using pet-friendly shampoo once or twice a month will mean your bottle will last a long time, so we always recommend buying the best! Check out our wonderful range of pet shampoos and conditioners HERE.
DISCLAIMER: The advice given in this article is of a general nature. Pet Guardians Australia recommends a health check with your local vet at least once a year for advice pertaining to your pet's individual circumstances.