What can I bathe my dog ​​with?

Can I wash dogs with normal shampoo?

Shampoo? Yes, but one for dogs please © javier brosch - Fotolia.com.


Has your dog wallowed in something unsavory or taken a mud bath? Sometimes there is simply no getting around a bath with shampoo and some dog owners then resort to baby shampoo or their own shampoo, following the motto "What is good for babies can't be bad for dogs". Unfortunately, because dog skin is very different from human skin.

How is dog skin different from human skin?

Dog skin is actually structured very differently than human skin. For example, most parts of the body have no sweat glands and hair growth depends on the time of year (keyword change of coat). For skin and coat care with the help of shampoos, however, the following differences are particularly important:

  • Human skin has a natural skin pH of 5.5 during the The pH of the dog's skin is 7.5 lies. As a result, dogs have a different skin flora than humans.
  • Dog skin is thinner: The epidermis of humans is 10 to 15 cell layers thick, while the dog's skin has only 3 to 5 layers in this area. Active ingredients in shampoos penetrate the skin in a completely different way.
  • Dog skin regenerates faster than human skin. The dog's epidermis renews itself within just under three weeks, while the thicker human epidermis takes four weeks. Good news for all dog owners who have a four-legged skin patient at home.

Which shampoo is suitable for dogs?

In any case, shampoos are not for humans, because they are usually "pH skin-neutral", i.e. adjusted to the pH value of 5.5 of the human skin, so as not to disturb the skin barrier and the natural skin flora. They are poison for the protective skin flora of our dogs and they dry out the thin dog skin. If nothing else is on hand in an emergency, healthy dog ​​skin will be able to cope with a single wash with baby shampoo, but you won't do it any good with such a supposedly "mild" shampoo.

If your dog has healthy skin, a simple dog shampoo tailored to the characteristics of the dog's skin is sufficient. In the interest of your four-legged friend, however, you should make sure that it does not smell too strong.

Our tip: Many manufacturers of medical dog shampoos also have a nourishing "basic shampoo" or a skin-soothing shampoo for the mild cleaning of the dog's skin in their range. With such a dog shampoo, you can be sure that the composition corresponds to the current knowledge for optimal care of dog's skin.

Recommended dog shampoos for mild cleaning are, for example:

For dogs with skin diseases, you should always have a suitable shampoo in the house. Please discuss with your veterinarian which product is right for your dog.

For dogs with sensitive skin or allergy sufferers, you can find the following shampoos in Dr. Hölters online shop:


What should I watch out for when washing my dog?

Normally you do not have to and should not wash healthy dog ​​skin. However, if you need to clean a smelly, dirty four-legged friend, be careful of the following:

  • The surface must be non-slip. An anti-slip mat should be used in the shower or bathtub.
  • The temperature should be lukewarm, in summer the garden hose is enough for a refreshing bath. Especially with dogs that get excited, older dogs or dogs with heart problems, you can provoke circulatory problems with water at a temperature that is comfortable for us (38 ° C).
  • Do not comb the wet fur as this can easily break the hair.
  • If possible, do not blow-dry your dog as the blow-dryer air is usually too hot. Thorough drying and then a place in the warm area are sufficient for the four-legged friend to dry.

As early as possible, get your dog used to water in all forms (pond, garden hose, etc.) as early as puppyhood and carefully introduce him to washing. It is best to start with without shampoo and just playfully, without holding on ... This will avoid stress for both sides later.

You can find more helpful tips on how to wash your dog correctly, as well as shampoo recommendations, in the Virbac skin brochure and a "washing instruction video" for dogs with skin diseases on the Virbac company website.

Do I even have to bathe my dog?

In the United States, it is common to bathe every dog ​​regularly, and in this country too, many dogs are shampooed weekly. But is that really necessary? Does it harm the dog to bathe him regularly? Or does it hurt not to bathe your four-legged friend regularly?

In principle, a regular bath with a dog shampoo is not harmful for healthy dogs, but it is also not absolutely necessary. Unless your dog is of a breed that requires special grooming and you cannot keep his coat clean and untidy without regular bathing. Otherwise, bathing "as needed" is enough if your dog is really dirty.

tip: As a puppy, get your dog used to being bathed or showered so that the procedure is stress-free for everyone. A systematic "skin and fur check" from head to paws should be part of the daily routine. It can be done by the way while cuddling.

At Skin problems such as itching, dry, oily or flaky skin and allergies, regular bathing with special veterinary shampoos is an important part of the treatment. Special skin care products for dogs with sensitive skin can provide useful support for the shampoo treatment. And the right diet with special diets also makes an important contribution to optimizing the skin metabolism in skin diseases.