You want your dog to be squeaky clean, especially if Fido spends a lot of time outside. On the market today are a variety of shampoos that fill this need, including organic and synthetic soaps. Just be sure never to bathe your dog in shampoos designed for humans.
A Shiny Coat
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Want a dog with a lustrous coat? Look for shampoos containing humectants -- a common ingredient in dog shampoos. Humectants contain glycerin that rehydrate skin and hold moisture. The honey element of humectants help a dog's skin attract water. It also serves as an agent to stave off microbes and bacteria. If you're reading the shampoo label carefully, check for these humectant ingredients: carboxylic acid, lactic acid, urea, sodium lactate, propylene glycol, glycerin and polyvinylpyrrolidone.
Emollient shampoos are formulated to aid in the restoration of natural luster to a dog's coats. Non-lipid emollients rehydrate and soften a dog's skin. They also reduce dog odors without the greasy effect. Their active ingredients contain a high molecular weight that serve as a surface protecting agent. These active agents can be combined with moisturizers such as colloidal oatmeal extracts and aloe vera gel. (Note: aloe vera gels is fine to use on your dog, but never apply aloe straight from the aloe leaf, as this could be harmful if the dog licks it. Pure aloe contains saponins, which can be toxic if ingested.)
Mixing Non-Mixable Substances
Emulsifiers are used to help distribute emollients -- those ingredients that aid in restoring the natural luster of a dog's coat. Emulsifiers contain cetyl alcohol, laureth-5, lecithin, PEG-4 dilaurate, stearic acid and stearyl alcohol. The function of an emulsifier is to encourage the suspension of one liquid in another, as if mixing oil and water.
Go for the Organics
Organic dog shampoo is a trendy product for health conscience pet owners who want their best friends to smell good and look dapper. Pumpkin, sugar cane, almond, shea butter, buttermilk and oatmeal are just some of the varieties on the market used for their aromas and ability to moisturize and brighten coats. The variety of scented organic shampoos available for pampered pooches is enough to make any human jealous. These products are sold at pet stores and online.
By Crystal Owens
Vetinfo: Dog Shampoo for Sensitive Skin
Royal Pet Club: Natural Pet Spa and Wellness Products
Encyclopedia Britannica: emulsifier
About the Author
Crystal Owens is the managing editor at a Northern Virginia newspaper with more than 10 years experience in journalism. She has worked as a reporter in Florida, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and Georgia, covering various topics from crime to politics to health care. She studied communications at the University of North Florida.