In general, you should avoid using Head & Shoulders for dogs. Dogs have different needs, and the medication and ingredients in shampoos designed for humans are rarely suitable. Select a quality anti-dandruff shampoo for dogs and bathe your dog thoroughly, following the instructions on the bottle.
Head & Shoulders for dogs
Head & Shoulders is an anti-dandruff shampoo with the active ingredient pyrithione zinc, which has both anti-fungal and antibiotic properties. This ingredient is generally considered safe for dogs, and in some cases, such as when your pup has a fungal infection, your vet may recommend it.
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However, there are other concerns with using a shampoo designed for humans. The pH balance of human skin is more acidic than that of a dog, which tends to be more neutral. This pH imbalance can make your dog more prone to skin infection and dandruff. A dog's skin is also much more sensitive and can be easily irritated by human shampoo products.
Avoid using Head & Shoulders for dogs unless it is specifically recommended by your veterinarian. Instead, treat dandruff with shampoo formulated for dogs.
Causes of dandruff
Dandruff in dogs is fairly common and can be caused by dry skin or by skin that is excessively oily. Other conditions that may cause flaky skin include a skin yeast or bacterial infection, nutritional imbalances, insufficient grooming, exposure to chemicals and allergens, fleas, or mites. While it is similar in appearance to human dandruff, going straight to a shampoo like Head & Shoulders may not resolve the underlying issue.
Consult your veterinarian to treat fleas, mites, allergies, and skin infections. Discuss your dog's diet and make adjustments, such as adding omegas to his food if necessary. Finally, make sure you are grooming your dog regularly. How often you need to brush your pup depends on his coat. Some dogs need to be brushed daily, while others do well with a weekly brushing.
Select a dandruff shampoo
When you have addressed any underlying concerns that are contributing to dandruff, bathing your pup with a medicated anti-dandruff shampoo can help to resolve the condition. Be sure to ask your vet for recommendations so that you are getting the best shampoo for your dog's needs.
Check the active ingredients and select one that is suitable for your dog's skin. If your dog has very dry skin, consider ingredients such as iodine, systolic acid, or sulfur. If excess oil is the problem, opt for shampoos with ingredients like benzoyl peroxide, coal tar, or selenium sulfide.
Grooming and bathing
Before bathing your dog, be sure to give her a good brushing. This removes any knots and tangles as well as loose dirt and skin. Then, wet your dog's fur thoroughly before applying the shampoo according to the directions on the product label. Make sure you do not get any suds in your dog's eyes or allow her to lick or drink the soap.
After massaging in the shampoo, rinse your dog thoroughly. Any soap residue can irritate her skin and worsen dandruff, so make sure no shampoo is left in her coat. Finally, dry your pup with a towel.
Follow the recommendations given by your vet or those written on the shampoo bottle to determine how often to bathe your dog with the medicated shampoo. Once her dandruff is resolved, make sure to use a gentle dog shampoo for her regular baths.
- K9 of Mine: Best Dog Shampoos for Dandruff: Stop the Snowflakes on Your Dog’s Fur!
- Drugs.com: Pyrithione Zinc Shampoo
- American Kennel Club: Can You Use Human Shampoo on Dogs?
- Breeding Business: Dog Dandruff – Causes, Solutions, Prevention & Full Guide
- American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals: Dog Grooming Tips