Is your friend scratching non-stop, shaking and chewing on his/her skin? Is his/her constant agony driving you nuts? These are the common symptoms of atopic dermatitis in dogs, a big word that refers to an inflammation of the skin caused by an allergen. These symptoms do get worse with time and may become more apparent during specific seasons.

dog scratching shampoo

The two usual suspects that may trigger allergic reactions in dogs are food-related allergies and flea bites. To a lesser extent, it may include environmental allergens like pollen, dust, and grass. 

Bathing Plan for Atopic Dermatitis in Dogs

Your veterinarian may discuss with you a full hyposensitization treatment. This requires injecting allergens into the skin to identify the allergen(s) causing the sensitivity.

During the treatment, we recommend a regular bathing plan in cold water to help alleviate symptoms. By using high-quality shampoos and conditioners you can bathe your pal as often as 3 times a week. This allows you to provide as much comfort and relief as possible without causing excessive dryness or damage to the coat.

Best shampoos and conditioners for atopic dermatitis include tea tree (melaleuca oils) and eucalyptus.

Your veterinarian may also prescribe some type of medicated shampoo depending on the severity of your pal's condition. This may include an antiseptic-based shampoo like chlorhexidine. If so, twice a week baths are recommended. 

It is critical that you stick to your prescribed bathing plan. You can halt noticeable progress by skipping just one session or not following thru until the end.

Flea Bites

We follow a simpler approach for flea-bite induced dermatitis. First, we recommend you discard and/or disinfect all bedding materials. Second, we proceed to bathe your dog with a high-quality shampoo that is free of toxins and chemical agents.

Our full bathing process includes a thorough skin evaluation. This helps us identify where the fleas may have laid larvae and eggs and on which areas we need to concentrate on. After working in a natural-based solution of citrus shampoo for around 10 minutes, we follow up with a hydrating conditioner to revitalize the skin. This formula also rejuvenates the coat since citrus can strip away natural oils.

It is important to consider the use of pest-control devices like collars and environmental sprays to prevent reinfestation.


photo credit: Donnie Ray Jones

AuthorTammy W

How can you get oil and water ingredients to mix in dog shampoo? If for example a manufacturer wishes to add an essential oil to their product, they would use this stabilizing agent to allow the oil to dissolve with other ingredients, including water.  

animal dog shampoo ingredients

This is where polysorbates enter the picture. In its natural form, a polysorbate is a harmless sugar alcohol (a sorbitol). However, it becomes a dangerous agent when it is treated with ethylene oxide. 

The name you see in a dog shampoo's ingredients list will have the word "polysorbate"  followed by a number. This number is critical as it informs how much ethylene oxide was used to treat the natural sugar in its original form.  The higher the number, the more parts of ethylene oxide it has been treated with and therefore higher toxicity. 

The main concern arises as 1,4-dioxane is created as a by-product of this treatment with ethylene oxide. 1,4-dioxane is a known animal carcinogen that can be absorbed thru the skin and result in developmental and reproductive toxicity, not to mention irrevocable skin damage and allergies. 

Avoid buying dog shampoos and conditioners that contain any reference to polysorbates or "ethoxylated" ingredients.

AuthorTammy W