Scan the dog show ring, or simply watch pets strut down the street in your neighborhood, and you realize what a wide variety of coats dogs have. Long, short, thick, thin, corded, double-coated — and the list goes on. Even dog breeds who are known to have minimal grooming needs have coats that need to be kept clean and healthy. How often you wash and shampoo your dog will depend on the breed and her coat’s specific needs, but when the time comes, what to use? The short answer is to look for a shampoo formula specifically designed to address the kind of coat your dog has.
Just as there is no one size dog, there is no one-size-fits-all option for dog shampoo. When shopping for your dog’s grooming supplies, it’s best to look for products that offer different options based on the density and other qualities of your dog’s coat. For example, Vetericyn FoamCare Shampoo comes in three coat-specific formulas and one medicated formula. The reason for offering this range, says Dr. Melinda J. Mayfield, Vetericyn’s Technical Services Veterinarian, is to provide a more thorough clean and rinse. Meanwhile, the medicated formula is designed to relieve flaking, drying, itching, and other skin ailments, and works with all coat types.
She’s So Fine: Thin Dog Coats
Dogs with a fine or thin fur or hair have a low-density coat. For example, this would include Chihuahuas, Basenjis, and Vizslas. Dogs in this category have a single-layered coat (no thick undercoat) and in some cases, it’s easy to see their skin through the coat. Specific breeds with thin coats may be more sensitive to hot and cold environments. So it makes sense that they would need a shampoo that’s designed for their fine coats, too. Often, single-coated dogs do not need to be bathed as frequently as other breeds with thicker coats. But when they do, a formula that will condition their skin and coat, repel dust and dirt, and leave them clean and shiny without any residue is the optimal choice.
Playing the Middle: Medium Dog Coats
Breeds that have medium-density coats include the Poodle, Rottweiler, and the Cavalier King Charles Spaniels. Some of these dogs may have an undercoat, but for the most part you would describe their coat as “normal to medium.” Not too thick, not too thin — these are the coats that need a shampoo that is just right! A formula that is a bit more robust than one you’d use for thin-coated dogs will ensure you get a nice lather on a moderate coat — and a thorough rinse.
In the Thick of It: Dense Dog Coats
The thick and fluffy breeds, and those with double coats, have a lot of coat to take care of, so they typically require frequent grooming with shampoo products that are able to penetrate easily through all that hair or fur, but still rinse well. Breeds with high-density coats include Bernese Mountain Dogs, German Shepherd Dogs, and even the petite Pomeranian. A shampoo that contains conditioning agents specifically designed for thick, full coats will ensure these dogs always look and feel their best.
Whatever texture your dog’s coat, you’ll want to ensure that the shampoo you choose is paraben and dye free, and formulated to prevent itching and help retain the coat and skin’s healthy essential oils.
Groomer Michelle Drummond, who owns Gloria’s Pet Spa in La Jolla, California, has been grooming dogs for 40 years, and says she has tried many different dog shampoo formulas over her career — mostly concentrated shampoos. But when a client brought in a sample of Vetericyn FoamCare for her to try, she fell in love with the foaming aspect of the product, which makes her job quicker and easier. Drummond also likes that FoamCare comes in four different formulas, “which is really helpful here because we have so many varieties of coat that we work on,” she says. “It leaves the dogs’ hair manageable, clean and shiny — and it conditions their coat and skin as well.”