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Dog Grooming at Home: Comprehensive Guide

It's dog time of year again! When the scorching heat wears out your furry friend's energy and coat too. A well-groomed pup will look, feel great and shine from inside out. While you may want to be adventurous and take your pooch swimming, the summer and rainy seasons require more care for your pet. Bathing them from time to time is not enough. It’s best if you used appropriate dog shampoo and conditioner to groom your dog.

There are many options available in the market, such as allergy & itch relief, anti-fungal, anti-dandruff, and deshedding shampoos. The bountiful options make it quite overwhelming for dog parents to purchase the right product for their pets. Let's look at these grooming products and also learn how you can groom your dog at home.

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How to select the perfect dog shampoo and conditioner

Whether you have a fluffy, long-haired canine or hairless chines crested, every dog needs grooming. Bathing your pup regularly will keep its coat shiny and make them look clean, healthy, and fresh. There are many dust mites, dead cells, excess oils, fleas, and substances on your dog's coat that can cause allergies. Proper grooming helps get rid of all this and keep your puppy safe and healthy.

Searching for dog shampoo and conditioner that is tailored to per your pet's coat needs is imperative. There is no need to buy trendy and/or advertised options. You need to find one that suits your pooch and provides the best results! It will help enhance the beauty of your dog's coat, ease the grooming process, and most importantly, keep your dog’s coat and skin healthy. Read more to learn how to choose best dog shampoo.

Choose the shampoo as per specific needs of your dog's coat

Pets have varying needs when it comes to pet hygiene throughout their lives. Essential pet hygiene products include dog conditioner and dog shampoo. Shampoos can remove dirt from coats and nails while providing healing properties to your dogs coat and skin. Conditioners can detangle hair, restore a natural sheen to coats and extend the life of a groom which means less grooming for you!

It is important to note that basic hygiene shampoos will not maintain pet wellness for an extended period. Therefore, to ensure the wellness of your dog's coat and skin, you need to invest in hygiene products based on their specific needs. When researching shampoo and conditioner for your dog, look for the best  ingredients such as natural actives and pure essential oils that help gently moisturize the coat and the skin beneath.

Just like humans, different canines require different grooming needs because they have different coats. Not all products are formulated to deliver the same results. For instance, a dog with light-colored fur gets more prominent dirt stains on their coat. Therefore, a 2-in-1 shampoo will be advised for pets who don't like to bathe for long periods.

Fur that shed a lot

Tackling hair shedding issues is not a daunting task with the right dog shampoo. You can shop for shampoos formulated with anti-oxidants, healthy oils, Omega 3, and amino acids like All-natural shedder shampoo. These ingredients help control the excessive shedding of fur by releasing the undercoat DURING the bath.

Light-coloured Pooch

If you have a dog with white or light-colored fur, you should buy shampoo specifically formulated for white hair. These dog shampoo and conditioners contain brightening agents that help keep your dog's fur & hairbright and shiny. It also prevents the yellowing of fur. However, it is advisable to do a patch test before bathing your pooch with a new product.

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Select a product based on their skin condition

A moisturizing shampoo is a way to go if your dog's skin is dry, itchy, or flaky. Instead of scented shampoos, which often include chemicals that irritate the skin, look for shampoos with natural components like oatmeal, honey, and vitamin E.

Consult your veterinarian about medicated shampoo and extra therapy if your dog's skin issue worsens, persists, or develops red lumps.

Medicated Shampoo

A medicated wash for your pooch with itchy or dry skin might be beneficial. Before purchasing this sort of product, consult with your veterinarian because price may be high, and there is a chance of making the skin issue worse if improper shampoo is used. A medicated shampoo helps reduce irritation, heal, manage, and get rid of fleas and other skin issues.

Flea and tick products are available on the market to repel and kill fleas, ticks, and other parasites. However, these shampoos can only provide short-term protection. Therefore it's vital to use it only in conjunction with other flea and tick preventative methods. Talk you your vet about all your options. There are pills, collar, sprays and even vaccines available. 

Non-medicated Shampoo

The easiest dogs to pick a shampoo for are those with hair instead of fur and have no skin sensitivities. Shampoos differ in price from low-cost alternatives to more costly medicated versions.

Many shampoos and conditioners smell very sweet (like cotton candy) or like chemicals. Since our dogs live in our homes and often sleep on our beds, it’s important to smell before you buy! Additionally, numerous shampoos are especially beneficial for dogs prone to odor. Therefore, search for product reviews before making a decision.

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Pay attention specifically to the product's label


The majority of pet parents do not check the product label of pet care items on purpose. A good brand  will include a clear and COMPLETE list of ingredient for full transparency. Trendy options in 2022 should also be checked, regardless of the opinion of others! 

Critical and mandated information must be shown on product labels. Due to low regulatory standards and customer ignorance, several companies do not include everything in their product. Look for trigger words like “fragrance” or “sulphate” which can hide many harmful ingredients. Thousands of dogs and cats are subjected to hygiene-related problems due to inaccurate or insufficient product label information and claims.

Similarly, required information such as manufacture date, manufacturing plant location & address, serial numbers, and product expiration date reveals a lot about a dog shampoo.

You should be aware of the products and substances suitable for your pet's sensitive skin and coat as a Pet Parent. In sensitive dogs, products with high quantities of toxic surfactants and parabens might induce allergic responses.

Additional information on the label concerning product usage and quality system certification might reassure pet owners concerned. As there are some ingredients categories, that potentially can be not the best fit for your furry-friend!

It is also beneficial to have contact information or other local support to help with this vital information if you have questions. Pet parents may find answers to their inquiries and learn more about the product.

Say no to human shampoos

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It may feel smart to bathe your dog with human shampoo if it gets dirty outside, but this is never a smart idea. It’s very easy to fall into the “if it’s safe for me it must be safe for my dog” philosophy. This is not true! Most human shampoos are far too abrasive for a dog's delicate coat and skin. To prevent unwanted problems, it is better to wait purchase proper dog shampoo and conditioner created with your 4-legged friend’s best interest in mind.

Human shampoos can be harmful to dogs' coat and skin. Manufacturers of dog shampoo claim that their products are mild enough not to strip the natural oils in a dog's hair yet powerful enough to remove grime. Shampoos for humans may include chemicals that are harmful to your puppy’s coat and skin. Dogs and humans have a different pH balance. Thus, using the same shampoo you use on your dog, might dry out a dog's delicate skin, causing discomfort and irritation.

Because human products often contain stronger detergents, certain shampoos made for human hair may irritate your dog's skin even if your dog does not have what would be considered “sensitive” skin.

Your dog's skin is thinner and more alkaline than human skin, necessitating the use of shampoos designed specifically for a dog. Use shampoos designated particularly for dogs. If for some reason you MUST use a human product, opt for a mild baby shampoo recommended by your veterinarian. 

Here's all you need to know about dog shampoo.

What ingredients to look for and to avoid as per your dog's coat

Ingredients to Avoid

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Whatever your dog's requirements are, your local pet store's shelves will have a wide selection products - some suitable and some not! Not all dog shampoos are created equal, and some include substances that might irritate and hurt your pup's coat and skin.

Before investing in a dog shampoo, be sure to read the contents list on the container. Artificial aromas and colors may irritate your dog's eyes and skin. Choose natural scents like chamomile, lavender, eucalyptus, and citrus.

One thing to keep in mind is that you should never use shampoo or conditioner meant for people. Human shampoos are meant to remove the natural oils and waxes from our skin, which is less sensitive than a dog's skin. We have made a list of ingredients to avoid that you should check before buying grooming products for your fluffy friend.

  • Artificial Fragrance and Colors

Organ damage, cancer, congenital disabilities, and allergic responses have all been connected to artificial colors made from petroleum. Chemicals used in artificial hues aren't "pure." Many are polluted with waste and are utilized by the maker to improve the product's aesthetic appeal.

Thousands of different components can be used to create the artificial scent, none of which is required by law to be stated on the label. Some synthetic perfumes have been related to cancer and developmental and reproductive harm.

  • Phthalates

The presence of phthalates or similar categories are unlikely to be specified on the label. If you notice the word "fragrance," pthalates are undoubtedly present. They are utilized to keep the aroma from separating from the rest of the chemicals. Phthalates are hormone disruptors, which create problems with the endocrine system.

  • Cocamide-MEA

Cocamide-MEA is a surfactant with a significant risk of contamination from nitrosamines, making it unsuitable for use in cosmetics. Nitrosamines are pollutants in specific environments, such as high temperatures or an acidic pH. (3-5 or lower).

They're a group of compounds that are suspected of being carcinogenic and having reproductive, developmental, and organ system toxic effects.

Nitrosamines can potentially contaminate wastewater. If you believe the nitrosamine indication is too cautious, reconsider.

  • Skin conditioners and moisturizers

Coat and skin conditioners and moisturizers in a “proprietary combination”. "That isn't an ingredient!" you could be thinking. You are correct, those are not related to ingredients! That said, it is regularly featured on the labels of dog shampoos. Do not buy this product if you see this statement. When a company doesn't want you to know what's in the bottle, they say often use words like “propriety” because it sounds exclusive and high-end. Do not be fooled.

  • Paraben preservatives

Preservatives containing parabens are considered "stored" in the body, bringing health dangers such as hormone disturbance, cancer, and reproductive difficulties. They may be labeled as butylparaben, propylparaben, or methylparaben on the container.

  • Mineral oils

Mineral oil in dog shampoo acts as a protective layer over the skin, allowing it to maintain its natural moisture which sounds fantastic! It also prevents the skin from producing natural oils and removing impurities, which isn't ideal.

It's a liquid hydrocarbon combination derived from crude oil and a toxin that can cause allergies. Many articles on the internet recommend putting a drop of mineral oil in your dog's eyes before giving them a wash, claiming that the mineral oil would prevent the eyes from stinging if you get detergent or soap in them. DO NOT DO THIS!!!!! 

Contaminants such as complex hydrocarbons and benzene have only been removed from pharmaceutical-grade mineral oil. Other types of mineral oil aren't entirely free of contaminants.

  • SLS (Sodium Lauryl Sulfate)

It is a surfactant and emulsifier that may be found in a wide range of goods. SLS is a recognized skin irritant in powder form that can lead to organ system poisoning.

Toxic chemicals from the production process might pollute SLS. It's easily absorbed into the eyes, which can irritate the eyes and harm the proteins in the eyes. SLS has been demonstrated to stay in a person's system (brain, heart, and liver) for 4 to 5 days, even at meager amounts.

Add in the fact that SLS is a recognized penetration booster and the risk of exposing the eyes to potentially harmful compounds, and you have a recipe for disaster if that wasn't enough to scare you away from SLS, the production process known as ethoxylation.

  • Polysorbates

Polysorbates are fragrance ingredients, surfactants, emulsifiers, and stabilizers. This chemical begins as sorbitol, a sugar alcohol often obtained from corn syrup. Ethylene oxide is then used to treat it.

The polysorbate's namehas a number attached to it depending on how much ethylene oxide was utilized. For instance, Polysorbate needs equal parts of ethylene oxide to be treated thoroughly. The finished product is contaminated with a recognized carcinogen if the ethylene oxide isn't removed.

Ingredients to Look For

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Nowadays, many canines suffer from skin allergies and fleas issues. Most vets recommend using dog conditioner and shampoo with all-natural ingredients as artificial ones can irritate their skin more and make the condition worse. Therefore, you can search for the products containing the following ingredients if your dog has a skin condition or sensitive skin.

  • Oatmeal
  • Herbal proteins
  • Citrus extracts
  • Aloe vera

 

How to Groom Your Dog at Home

Grooming your dog is something that not every pet parent is experienced with doing. Grooming is MORE than just washing your dog.Just as with humans,  hygiene is a very important part of helping your dog live his best and longest life.

Grooming is a broad term that refers to various techniques and practices. We've got you covered if you want to learn more about this and how to prepare for it. Don't worry, and we'll be there to help you every step of the way!

  • Combing & Brushing

Brushing and combing are essential for long-haired dogs and cats alike. If you can't get to a groomer, you'll have to brush your long-coated dog more frequently to avoid matting. Long-haired dog breeds require more brushing and regularly combing than short-haired dog breeds.

Breeds with double coats, such as the Golden Retriever, Siberian Husky, and Bernese Mountain Dog, are especially susceptible to matting and shedding. For long-haired dog breeds, a smooth metal pin brush should be used to remove dirt, grass, and more.

A rubber curry or a brush should be used instead for short-haired dogs. Then use a comb to complete your grooming routine. If you are going to  bathe your dog, it’s important to brush BEFORE you wash as any remaining knots often transform into mats as soon as the dog gets wet.

After a bath, it's recommended to trim nails with pet clippers or professional shears rather than scissors, as scissors are more likely to cause an accident.

  • Bathing

Bathing your dog may be done in a variety of ways. A washing tub is an excellent option. You can also try hooking a hose to the faucet and extending it out a door or window for larger dogs. Have a mechanism to tie the dog's leash or have a helper hold it, so you don't end up with a wet, drippy, soapy dog. This will save you a lot of hassle and time. It will also allow you to focus on calming and washing your dog as opposed to wrangling it to stay still.

Be sure you have everything you'll need ahead of time.The proper dog shampoo and conditioner, one or two large dry towels (depending on the size of your dog), and, most importantly, some treats!!  You will also need your bush brush and comb if necessary for your dog breed. Use treats to distract, praise and calm your pooch. If you don't have a lot of expertise with dogs of any size, having assistance is always a smart option.

A non-skid mat in the tub will help your dog from sliding on the slippery bottom of the tub. Warm water should be used, but not to the point of streaming out of the faucet as the noise and motion can be scary to a dog. Be careful not to get water in the pet's eyes or ears while washing.

Wet the dog and apply shampoo to the coat, rubbing it well before rinsing. This can be a very pleasurable experience for some dogs. Use it as a time to bond, gently massaging them while also getting them clean. Be sure to rinse thoroughly to avoid hot areas caused by the remaining shampoo.

  • Fur trimming

Focus on the fur on the back end, the fur beneath the stomach, the feathers on the legs, and the fur on the upper side of the paws while trimming the coat after a bath.

Don't overcut; just enough to give the groomer something to work with until you can take your dog to a salon.

If you haven't done it before, don't try to clip your dog's nails. The dog will bleed if you cut the quick that passes through each nail. Instead, try filing your pet's nails using a nail file.

  • Cleaning ears

Check the insides of your dog's ears regularly to ensure they don't become infected, especially if you have a dog with floppy ears like a Cocker Spaniel. An unpleasant odor and your pet scratching his ears and head are signs of an infection. Some dogs are prone to ear infections. A call or visit to the vet may be required.

You'll need an ear cleaner for dogs and sterile gauze or cotton balls to clean the ears. Never use Q-tips since they might harm the eardrum if pushed too far.

Wipe the inside surface of the ear flap with cleaner on a pad. After that, pour the cleaner into the ear and massage the ear's base. Take a wet pad and carefully press it into the ear, as near the canal as possible, and wipe.

If your pad remains very dirty, repeat the process. If this continues, your dog should consult a veterinarian since he may have an ear infection that requires medication to treat.

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DIY dog shampoo & conditioner at affordable price

Dog grooming should not be a daunting task if done right. The end result is worth it as not only will you be please with your dogs soft coat and amazing smell but it’s beneficial to a dog’s coat and skin. 

Making your homemade dog shampoo for DIY dog grooming may be fun if you are so inclined. You may create these homemade dog shampoo recipes with your family and friends in the comfort of your own home. There's one for every need, every budget, and every amount of free time you have.

Most of the ingredients for homemade dog shampoo are readily available in stores and cost you no additional price, and most methods are for single-use, eliminating the need for storage containers.

Each time you wash your dog, you may try a new one. While convincing your dog to take a bath can be a difficult task, making homemade dog shampoo is, thankfully not difficult at all.

  • For Flea Treatment

There are various recipes for homemade dog shampoo for flea control online, one of which is not only easy to make but also perfect for dogs with sensitive skin! 

This DIY flea shampoo for dogs requires the following ingredients, that are calculated for a smaller dog or puppy, try this lower volume flea fighting shampoo: 

  1. half a cup of water 
  2. 1 spoon of white or apple cider vinegar 
  3. 1 spoon of NON TOXIC dish soap or baby shampoo (we do not recommend dish soap for dogs so please be careful and do your research before you dump some on your dog). 

BE CAUTIOUS!! Mix a bit of the ingredients and test them on a small area of the dog's skin. You should make sure your pup does not have an allergic reaction to these substances.

To reduce waste, use a spray bottle or a well cleaned-out condiment container to apply either solution. Allow the homemade dog shampoo to soak in for at least five minutes before rinsing, especially around hard-to-reach places such as the spine, the base of the tail, the chest, and under the forearms. During this time, comb or brush your dog to remove any dead fleas.

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  • For Dry Skin

If you bathe your dog more regularly, or if your dog has sensitive, itchy, or dry skin, you might want to consider making a homemade dog shampoo to provide some comfort. Itchy and dry coat can be relieved by using components like aloe vera gel or glycerine.

Glycerine is indeed a sugar-based, water-soluble alcohol molecule that is far less common in the home than vinegar or baking soda but is readily available at medicine shops, pharmacies, and online.

A common recipe for dogs with sensitive skin includes the following ingredients: 

  • 1 cup of water 
  • 1 spoon of castile soap
  • 1 spoon apple cider vinegar or white vinegar 
  • a third of a cup of glycerine 
  • 1 tbsp aloe vera juice 

Glycerine and aloe vera is used in this mixture to give soothing components for dogs with sensitive or dry skin.

  • Homemade Dry Shampoo

Bathing a dog too regularly, more than once a month or so runs the danger of drying out the skin. A dog's natural hair and skin chemicals reaffirm themselves between bathing, and you should allow them to do so. A DIY dry shampoo for puppies might be a good alternative to regular bathing.

Baking soda, another material accessible in most households and easily obtained at any grocery shop, is commonly included in these DIY dry dog shampoos. Massage a dry shampoo into your dog's skin to give him the feeling of being patted and cared for without the resistance you'd get with a regular wet bath.

Baking soda is used in several DIY dry shampoos for dogs. These usually entail: 

  • baking soda, 1 cup 
  • corn starch, 1 cup 
  • Few drops Essential oil (Lemon or lavender)

Not all essential oils are healthy for dogs, so only use one that is veterinarian advised as dog-safe and in moderate quantity.

FAQs

What are the best shampoos for dogs that are affordable?

Pride and Groom's shampoo are the perfect value for money, the ingredients are plant based, ethically sourced, cruelty free and contain beneficial properties.

Pride and Groom has a variety of coat-specific dog shampoos:

Plus, they have a complementary conditioner, that extends the life of the groom by sealing in the amazing smell & ensures long-lasting shine.

What are some good alternatives for a dog's shampoo?

Human shampoo is essentially off the question, but there are a plethora of other options to consider.

Of course, for your dog's grooming requirements, it's nearly always wise to invest in a professional dog cleansing product. While these options might get the job done in a pinch, excessive usage can lead to dry skin and other minor concerns. Here are some alternatives to dog product for bathing that you may use at home:

  • Waterless dog shampoo
  • Baking Soda
  • Baby Shampoo (a little drop with allergy test before using it!!!)
  • Corn starch

How to get back my dog's natural oils?

There's nothing quite like a lovely, gleaming coat to signal good canine health, but keeping your fur baby's coat hydrated and attractive might take some effort. So, if you're looking for the best ways to reintroduce oil to your puppy's skin, here are the six most effective techniques:

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  • Bathing should be carefully managed.

Never use human products on your dog since it can cause major PH imbalances in their skin, leading to skin disorders. Puppies are sensitive and are significantly more fragile than humans, despite their thick coats. As a result, always use a high-quality dog-specific bath product.

Establish a schedule, and once it's in place, check the shampoo. By softening and hydrating your dog's skin after a bath, the correct sort of after-bath conditioning spray can aid.

  • MC3-T Oil

Using MC3-T oil is another option to support and put oils back into your puppy angel's skin. This oil, which is manufactured from highly organic cold-pressed coconut oil, is helpful for brain functioning and helps create robust immune systems.

  • Purchase a humidifier.

Low humidity levels, both indoors and out, can exacerbate dry skin. So, keep the weather in mind while bringing your dog out for his regular walk.

Cold weather may cause dry skin, so keep an eye on it if it gets frigid, and consider getting your tiny canine a coat to keep him a little warmer on his walks. If your dog's skin is dehydrated on cold days, it may be worth reducing walks to the bare minimum.

Are human shampoos safe for dogs and cats?

Human shampoos should not be used on dogs. Artificial aromas, perfumes, and colors are frequently used, which can be irritating and induce allergic responses. They frequently contain irritating substances that can remove the skin and coat of the pet's natural oils.

What is the hardest part of dog grooming?

Pet grooming might be one of the most frustrating aspects of owning a pet. Grooming a dog may be difficult for a dog owner in various ways.

From washing, brushing, and matting to regulating the dog's behavior while grooming, dealing with these difficulties may be a real pain.




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