You might be enjoying some time off right now, and think you’ll give your Morkie a bath.
Two really important things to remember:
- you can’t use your shampoo (not even baby shampoo)
- please – get dog shampoo that’s “Certified Organic”
Why the fuss?
Simple – a dog’s skin is much thinner than our’s, so anything harsh can harm him. That includes people shampoo which is much stronger than dog shampoo, and it includes poor quality dog shampoo.
“Cancer is the primary cause of death in dogs over the age of two years. Minimizing our dogs’ exposure to harmful environmental factors is critical.”
Just 5% of dog cancers are hereditary, while 95% are a result of environmental toxins.
Since skin is a dog’s biggest organ (and our biggest organ too), it makes sense to take special care in picking products like shampoo. Toxic shampoos are not what we want.
—from the well-regraded DogsNaturallyMagazine online.
What makes shampoo toxic for dogs?
People shampoos can be toxic because they are too harsh and contain chemicals dogs don’t need. Our skin is FIVE TIMES THICKER than a dogs, so we can handle stronger formulas to clean our hair. Dogs can’t.
Plus, the PH level of dogs skin is close to NEUTRAL (7.5) but our skin is ACIDIC (7.5)
Regular Dog Shampoo
Cheap or regular dog shampoos, even well known brands, can be deadly unless they are clearly marked CERTIFIED ORGANIC. That’s because they contain poisons like:
- preservatives, including those that release formaldehyde into the shampoo
- artificial colours and fragrances
- a group of ammonia-like proteins such as DEA, MEA and TEA,
- Isopropyl alcohol and mineral oil
Unless the shampoo you buy clearly states CERTIFIED ORGANIC, it’s garbage. Terms like natural, pure, green, naturally-derived and organic have no legally binding meaning.
The production of pet shampoos is a huge business and they are aggressively marketed. The more confused consumers are by labelling, the better.
But you can avoid all this by choosing “CERTIFIED ORGANIC.” These products undergo a great deal of scrutiny. They are verified by neutral third parties who determine that there are no GMO ingredients, no pesticides, herbicides, artificial colours, or artificial fragrance.
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Yesterday we looked at how to bathe your Morkie; now let’s explore the best (and worst) shampoos for your little dog.
First, how often should I bathe my Morkie?
If you’re combing your dog regularly, bathing isn’t necessary more than every two or three months. The ASPCA recommends bathing your dog once every three months. Your pet may require more frequent baths if she spends a lot of time outdoors, but as the ASPCA points out, most of us bathe our dogs too often.
However if your Morkie has a coat that’s more Yorkie-like, she may have the more oily skin and hair of the Yorkshire Terrier, and more dander. In that case, you can get a special dander-reducing shampoo for dogs from your pet store or ask your Vet about using something stronger like human-grade dandruff treatment. It contains sulphur or salicylic acid. You leave it on for about 5 minutes before rinsing. Usually these treatments are repeated every week or every two weeks until the dander is under control.
Generally, never bathe your dog more often than every 6 weeks.
Too much washing will actually harm your dog’s coat and skin rather than make it healthy – your Morkie’s skin can get very dry and flakey, and his coat can go dull when the natural oils are washed away.
Can you use human shampoo on dogs?
This is a question I hear quite often and the short answer is NO. Although it’s ok to use it now and then if you’ve run out of dog shampoo, real dog shampoo matches a dog’s natural PH levels. A dog’s skin has a pH balance of 7.5, versus our skin, which has a pH balance of 5.5.
It may not seem like much of a difference, but our shampoo is just not designed to clean a dog’s more alkaline skin. If you have to use people shampoo, be sure and dilute it with plenty of water before applying to your Morkie’s coat.
Plus, since people have skin that is 3X thicker than a dog’s skin, people shampoo is much stronger and will be harsh on your dog’s skin.
The only exception is a tiny bit of baby shampoo to use on your Morkie’s face if it’s exceptionally dirty… otherwise just rinse the face area with water. Don’t use the dog shampoo around their mouth or eyes.
Which TYPE of dog shampoo to pick?
There are at least 7 different kinds of dog shampoo:
- Medicated shampoo – for dogs with skin allergies
- Flea and tick shampoo – contains insecticides to kill the bugs
- Natural shampoo with essential oils – to control ticks and fleas
- Oatmeal shampoo – for dogs with especially dry and sensitive skin
- Sulphur shampoos – for dandruff, available over-the-counter at pet stores
- Dry powder shampoo – for in between big baths
- Waterless shampoo – usually a foam product
Match the type to what you need and always opt for the more gentle versions, for sensitive skin. And wherever possible, go for organic or all-natural, to avoid unnecessary chemicals.
Some good brands
Natural Chemistry Natural Flea and Tick Shampoo with Oatmeal for Dogs, 16.9-Ounce
Natural shampoo with essential oils; chemical Free – No Pyrethrins or Permethrins. Contains Cinnamon Oil, Cedar Wood Oil, Clove Oil and Vanillin. Also contains Colloidal Oatmeal to moisturize, nourish and revitalize dry skin & coat. Kills and repels fleas & ticks – effective on black flies and mosquitoes too! Available at Amazon.com for $7.99
Earthbath All Natural Shampoo, 16-Ounce
- Totally natural pet care, 100-percent bio-degradable and cruelty free
- Soap-free shampoo
- Safe, gentle and effective
- Available at Amazon.com for $8.99
TOMORROW: Make your own dog shampoos
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