Dog Shampoo for Sensitive Skin

Selecting the right dog shampoo can help your pet’s sensitive skin feel better, but there are so many choices on the market. First, we’ll look at some of the causes of sensitive skin in dogs, then we’ll examine the ingredients to avoid and the ingredients to choose to soothe your dog’s sensitive skin.

How Dogs Get Sensitive Skin

A dog's skin is naturally more sensitive than a person's, in part because it is considerably thinner. Where people have 10 to 15 layers of skin, a dog has only 3 to 5.

A number of causes can be behind your dog's skin sensitivity, including allergies, other skin problems, overly dry air in your home or poor-quality food that does not supply enough of the essential fatty acids your dog needs for skin health.

What Ingredients to Avoid if Your Dog Has Sensitive Skin

Dogs with sensitive skin should steer clear of shampoos that contain synthetic ingredients, such as deodorants, dyes or fragrances. Other chemicals found in some shampoos, such as alcohol, paraben, phosphate or salt, may also irritate your dog’s skin.

What Ingredients Will Soothe Your Dog’s Skin

Try to select an all-natural shampoo for your dog’s sensitive skin to minimize possible reactions caused by chemicals. You can find all-natural shampoos at your local pet supply store or by shopping online.

The following ingredients—aloe vera, glycerin, honey, jojoba oil and oatmea—have been shown to help heal irritated canine skin and to reduce the accompanying scratching.

The Big Three of Canine Skin Care: Aloe Vera, Jojoba and Oatmeal

Aloe vera is a versatile plant whose juice can be used to treat skin disorders, minor burns and infections. The juice contains a pain-relieving agent that soothes your dog’s irritated skin after lengthy bouts of scratching. It also has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties that can help your dog’s skin heal.

Originally found in California, the jojoba bean releases an oil that has natural antioxidant agents. Oil made from the bean helps moisturize and soften dry skin while controlling bacterial growth naturally.

Oatmeal’s skin-healing properties were recognized in ancient times by the Arabians, Egyptians, Greeks and Romans. Two chemicals in oatmeal help alleviate itching and skin inflammation, and it can also help control skin pH, which makes it an effective treatment for psoriasis or eczema. Colloidal oatmeal, which is a powder that remains suspended in bath water, is used as a skin treatment for both people and pets.

Other Important Ingredients in Sensitive Skin Shampoo

Among the other ingredients you  may want to look for in your dog’s sensitive skin shampoo are glycerin and honey. Glycerin is a humectant that rehydrates dry skin and helps your dog’ skin hold in moisture, while honey helps your skin attract water and also serves as a natural agent to kill microbes and bacteria.

A good sensitive skin shampoo should also have a high pH level and contain fatty acids, along with vitamin E and some of the B-complex vitamins. A high pH level (about 7.5 on average) is normal for your dog's skin, and fatty acids and vitamin E help rebuild damaged skin.