You want to go the extra mile to make sure your senior dog is as healthy and comfortable as possible. After all, your best friend deserves the extra attention during his golden years. You may have made adjustments to his diet and exercise routines to accommodate the changes that have taken place. The right diet is essential for supplying the nutrition to optimize the functions on the inside of his body. But don’t overlook the changes that are going on with the outside of his body as well. To keep its coat as healthy as possible, you need to find the best shampoo for your senior dog.
As a dog ages, his immune system weakens and the precision of his organs decline. His immune system becomes compromised, making him more vulnerable to a number of health conditions. His coat and skin are his first line of defense against the elements and parasites that could make him sick. His circulation and muscle tone have also diminished. There are two things you can do to help. One is to massage his coat regularly to improve circulation. The other is to perform a regular grooming routine that includes the right shampoo.
What to Look for and What to Avoid
The same shampoo that you have always used probably isn’t the best shampoo for your senior dog. The changes in your dog mean that he has different needs.
- Avoid Flea and Tick Shampoo – Chances are that you are already using collars or medications to keep fleas and ticks off your dog’s fur. You should never use flea and tick shampoo in combination with these products in any dog. In addition, the chemicals in these shampoos are much too harsh for senior dogs. They can easily irritate sensitive skin and cause allergies.
- Instead, Look For Shampoos with Soothing Oatmeal – Colloidal oatmeal is a natural ingredient that relieves itchy skin and makes coats shiny. It contains phenols and avenanthramide to soothe irritated skin. The ingredient can also restore pH balance to the skin to prevent the growth of bacteria and fungi that can lead to skin infections.
- Avoid Human Shampoos – Even the gentlest of human shampoos aren’t good for use on dogs. The reason? Our normal pH level is more acidic than that of a dog’s skin. Since human shampoos are formulated based on a normal pH for us, it can disrupt the dog’s pH balance. As in so many other areas, this is especially troubling to a senior dog. The disruption to the pH of the skin makes the dog more susceptible to bacteria and viruses.
- Instead, Look For Shampoos Formulated for Senior Dogs – And only dogs! Some pet shampoos recommend use on a variety of animals including cats or horses. These are not likely to be the best choice in a shampoo for senior dog. Instead, limit your selection to those made exclusively for canines.
- Avoid Dyes and Colorants – These are typically listed in the ingredients as D&C Yellow, Blue, etc. There is simply no reason to make your dog’s shampoo more colorful. They are also known to cause a number of problems from migraines and allergic reactions to cancer. Brightly colored shampoo usually contains synthetic colorants.
- Instead, Look For All-Natural Shampoos – These are usually a white or light yellow color and they should specify “all natural” on the label. You should never put any chemical on your senior dog’s skin that doesn’t serve an important purpose.
- Avoid Over-the-Counter Medicated Shampoos – Medicated may sound like a “cure-all” for anything that might be irritating your dog’s skin. The problem is that the ingredients may cause more problems than it cures. A dog that has red rashes or inflammation of the skin may be experiencing allergies or symptoms of a different type of skin condition. Some dogs simply can’t tolerate the medicated ingredients. Never put medicated shampoo on your dog unless the vet has diagnosed the cause of his distress and recommended a shampoo or treatment.
- Instead, Look For Aloe, Vitamin E, and Colloidal Oatmeal – All of these natural ingredients help to soothe skin irritations without aggravating the condition that caused them in the first place.