Well, you got your new dog and you’re excited to take care of it! You looked at some grooming tips, but you got a little overwhelmed because of the number of shampoo choices for your dog. What even is the big deal about puppy shampoo that’s different from normal shampoo or even other dog shampoos?
In case you’re new to dog grooming and need to learn about shampoos from scratch, here’s a little bit about dog bathing in general. Dogs are sensitive to several different products because they have a different skin pH from us. Our skin is more acidic than theirs so our soaps will harm them. So, all dogs need special skin and coat products.
And while all dogs have sensitive skin to chemicals, puppies need even more protection. They are more susceptible to rashes and dry skin problems from seemingly benign chemicals that produce nice smelling scents. Gentle shampoos without strong smells are a good go-to. It’s also important to know how old your puppy is. If it’s younger than two months, it might be wise to wait before shampooing and conditioning your dog’s skin and coat.
Benefits of Dog Shampoos
All good dog shampoos are careful with their ingredients. They let you clean your dog but without the harsh chemicals or ingredients. Especially good shampoos contain essential oils, marshmallow root, camelina oil, and moringa oil. These ingredients contain important vitamins and omega proteins your dog needs! They also help nourish your puppy’s skin and hair while also giving its coat a shine.
While looking for a shampoo for any dog, avoid shampoos that contain paraben, as it can cause dermatitis. It’s a condition which causes itchy and dry skin and, in some cases, can even cause blisters. Other things to avoid are any bleaches. Bleaches technically brighten your dog’s hair color but they are terrible for its hair and skin.
But there are other ingredients in adult dog shampoos that are perfectly fine which you might not want to put on a young puppy. And it’s not because these dog shampoo ingredients are bad but because they are stronger ingredients. One such ingredient is Sodium Bicarbonate which is alkaline (like your dog’s skin) but it’s a potent (natural) soap. So, it’s usually left out of puppy shampoos
Benefits of a puppy shampoo traditional dog shampoos
Since puppies have even more sensitive skin, puppy shampoos use less potent ingredients. These softer ingredients make sure puppy shampoos are gentler on puppy skin than the other dog shampoos. For example, some dog shampoos have fragrances in them to help your dog smell better. Puppies should not have these fragrances in their soaps because they will cause skin irritation and rashes.
Puppy shampoos also have tear-free ingredients which help your furry friend not burn its eyes. Between tear-free shampoo and gentle ingredients, puppy shampoos will make your new friend less anxious during bath time. Which is a good thing because bath time and grooming is already a stressful time for dogs! But if you introduce them to grooming early, puppies might not have any trouble. However, don’t feel bad if your doggy is a little stressed even if you are gentle at first. It’s common for dogs to feel stressed during bath time until they get used to the new situation.
The need for gentleness doesn’t stop with your ingredients. It continues into bath time. Don’t immediately start using your new puppy soap either if you haven’t already shampooed your puppy before. It’s better to go slow and give your puppy time to adjust. Use a warm wet rag the first couple of bath times. Something else to keep in mind, when you wash an adult dog, you don’t have to be as gentle with their body. You just need to be careful around its head, ears, and face. But with puppies, you need to be gentle everywhere. Hard scrubbing can cause skin irritation and stress out your dog. Once your puppy is old enough for shampoo, still use a warm cloth on their face and scrub gently.
And don’t forget to use a conditioner! Shampoos strip the oils and moisture out of your dog’s coat. Conditioners keep your dog’s coat nourished so it doesn’t become rough and coarse. Then, after a good bath and grooming, give your puppy some treats. It will help ingrain a grooming routine early on in your dog’s life and keep it from getting stressed during bath time later in life.
Sensitive Shampoos for Sensitive Puppies
In short, your puppy needs special protection because it is just a baby after all! A consistent grooming routine and gentle shampoos should make your puppy’s bath time experience a little better. And consistent puppy bath time should make your house smell better.
If you must wash your dog right now and you don’t have puppy shampoo on hand, you can use gentle adult dog shampoos. But if you don’t have doggy shampoos, it’s best to wash your puppy with water and, if that doesn’t work because your little friend has soiled himself, isolate the puppy in a crate or something else so you can get an emergency dog shampoo from the store. However, it’s better to prepare before you get your puppy, so it doesn't become an emergency to procure some.