Bath For Dogs

Shampoo therapy: a safe and effective way to combat skin conditions in dogs

Skin conditions are common in dogs especially during warmer seasons. May it be seasonal allergies (from pollen, plants, dust etc.), pests or microbes, the causes are many. And while long term medication and consultation from professionals is unavoidable in such cases, medicated bathing is often recommended as an aid prescribed to be done several times a week, even daily at first, with gradual reduction in its frequency over time depending on the improvement in condition.

While pet owners may mull over it and try to avoid it thinking of the cumbersome washing and drying process, shampoo therapy is considered one of the safest and most effective ways to prevent and treat dermatological conditions in dogs. Shampoo therapy reduces the need for antibiotics and is beneficial to the pets’ health condition in the long term.

A medicated shampoo can contain antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, moisturizing, emollient and anti-seborrheic ingredients in addition to aromatic ingredients and components that clean the skin and coat. It directly targets the skin and provides a host of benefits including dandruff, accumulated old hair and debris removal, allergen eradication and soothe skin to remove discomfort due to itching and inflammation.

Approving of its positive exploits, the Canadian Academy of Veterinary Dermatology and recently released a handout to advocate the correct way to shampoo therapy in order to reap its full benefits.

As put forward by the Academy, following 10 steps should be followed for proper medicated bathing of dogs: –

  1. Prepare the bath: Ready a walk-in shower, sink or tub; a hand-held shower nozzle or jug and a non-slip mat for safety and you’re done with the basic prep.
  2. Wet – apply – lather: Use appropriate amount of shampoo on the most severely affected areas first and then on the rest of the skin.
  3. WAIT: Often 5-10 minutes.
  4. Massage continuously: It helps lift debris and scabs.
  5. Rinse with cool or lukewarm water.
  6. Towel-dry.
  7. Apply after-bath spray, rinse or conditioner. Rinse and towel-dry again unless it is a leave-in product.
  8. Gently comb long haired dogs to prevent matting.
  9. Air-dry.
  10. Between baths, use sprays, mousses, or wipes as prescribed.

Apart from these simple steps, the Canadian Academy Veterinary Dermatology also put forward some bathing tips: –

  • Consider professional grooming to clip hair short for very hairy dogs with skin conditions.
  • Pre-washing is recommended with non-medicated shampoo to remove greasy, dirty or crusty accumulated debris.
  • Start with most severely affected areas to increase contact time with shampoo components.
  • Always use cool or lukewarm water and towel dry.
  • Time the bath.
  • Use treats and praise to make bath time enjoyable.
  • A “medicated bath” is meant to be a bath, not a shower. Avoid standing water in tub.
  • Spaces between the toes, top and bottom should be washed too.
  • Outdoor baths in summer months.
  • Protect eyes, ears and nose from water.

The Academy’s Handout for Shampoo therapy also mentions that dogs like to throw themselves on the ground, roll around and act goofy after bath. This is normal dog behavior and should be differentiated from signs of itching. Apart from this, rare adverse reactions may occur if the pet’s condition worsens after bathing and should be reported to the veterinarian immediately. Lastly, it also emphasized that shampoo therapy is only a supportive tool and should be limited to aiding the treatment. It is neither mandatory nor a solitary cure.