No matter how wet and wild grooming sessions go at your house, choosing the right shampoo is a great way to keep your pet naturally clean!
I know grooming is sometimes a dreaded chore when you don’t have a dog that cooperates. Most of us cat owners don’t even attempt this chore. Let me tell you about a time my greyhound slipped out of the tub mid-suds. It always amazed me the strength my greyhound would have when it came to bath time. Those extra long legs gave him the advantage over me winning this battle. I always attempted to do bathing during the warmer season so they could go outside, dry off, warm themselves, and well, find the next pile of dirt to re-season their five seconds worth of cleanliness. I would do baths all in one day as if I had an assembly line of washing dogs. If I’m going to get soaking wet then it might as well be all at the same time!
It was Mikey’s turn. He was my black greyhound who turned out to be my shadow and heart dog. Until the bathtub water turned on, that is. Instinctively I think dogs know when the water turning on is for them or for us. The daily routine of me getting ready was what he expected. After luring him off the couch and shutting all doors to the bedrooms, he knew he was next for the tub. Into the bathroom he was corralled. With much muster, I got his whole body into the tub. As I started the routine of wetting down his coat, getting shampoo on him and lathered, he decided to try for an escape. The escape was successful out of the tub but thankfully not out of the bathroom. Did I mention I ended up soaking wet this day? Getting a 90 lbs. lanky dog back in the tub that is slippery with suds could have been well worth one of those “funniest videos” I’m sure.
No matter how grooming sessions go at your house, there are a few things to think of when you're getting ready to bring on the bath!
Why is choosing the right shampoo important?
For starters, there are all types of shampoos on the market. Some are gimmicky, some deal with ailments, some are veterinary formulas, and plenty are all-natural. We always encourage you to pick a natural shampoo that is free of toxic chemicals and one that is formulated for your cat or dog. Everything that you apply topically (shampoos, sprays, flea prevention, etc.) soaks into the fat layer of your pet which could, in turn, cause a series of reactions from skin irritation all the way up to chemical burns or glandular disruption. The last thing you want to create is an unpleasant bathing experience.
What to avoid in shampoos and conditioners?
Sodium Lauryl Sulfate or SLS is a surfactant found in many beauty products including shampoos. It is used to emulsify the ingredients or rather keeps them combined without falling out of the solution. It also mimics soap by creating a nice “suddings”. Where the confusion begins is the difficulty to differentiate the natural form versus the synthetic chemical equivalent. The synthetic component is petroleum based with lots of concern over cancer as well as the dioxane contamination to our environment from its manufacturing process.
You may have already heard of this next ingredient, triclosan. Just recently, this overused ingredient often found in hand sanitizer, as well as “antibacterial” hand soaps, was in the news for its effect on our human health. The FDA recognizes that when this product was used on animals, it decreased thyroid hormone activity.* Other countries have already banned this naughty ingredient but the FDA still allows its use in many products that we use on a daily basis - toothpastes, laundry detergent, cosmetics, just to name a few. This ingredient should be easy to spot as it should be labeled in the ingredient panel.
Synthetic Fragrance is another ingredient that is best to avoid. Why? Well, it’s synthetic. Most often these are carcinogenic (or cancer-causing) and they are also petroleum-derived. We bathed our dogs to get rid of the “dog” smell or if they rolled in something horrid. But it’s not worth lathering them up with a synthetic fragrance that could be bothersome to their super snout detector. Plus our skin is our largest organ system where all of those chemicals get absorbed.
According to the EPA, Formaldehyde is a colorless, flammable gas at room temperature and has a strong odor. Exposure to formaldehyde may cause adverse health effects.** This ingredient has gotten such a bad rap that they have relabeled it under the following ingredient names: Bronopol, Diazolidinyl urea, DMDM Hydantoin, Imidazolidinyl urea, Quaternium-7, -15, -31, -61, and Sodium hydroxymethylglycinate.
Is Grooming or Bathing Necessary?
This skin is our body’s largest organ. It is best to maintain and take care of the skin and coat which grooming and bathing support. However, this can be a loaded question. Some dogs have more coat maintenance than others. Most often short-haired dogs are easier to bathe and take care of than those with long coats. I would also suggest bathing your pet after a swim in the lake to reduce bacteria or algae that could fester into larger problems. If you live in a neighborhood where the lawns are sprayed with chemicals frequently it would be good to wipe and wash the feet on a weekly basis especially if the dog is walking on those sprayed areas. Most often pet owners bathe their dogs to reduce dander, allergens, skin flare-ups, and smell.
If you haven’t paid much attention to the ingredients in your pet shampoo, then now is the time. We have plenty of all-natural options here at our store. Even if you don’t groom your pet, many groomers are happy to use your own shampoo if you take it with you when you drop off your dog for their appointment. Remember, there is always a way to make your pets life better and healthier when you become more informed.