Dogs can suffer from a number of skin ailments, conditions or even infestations that can be fixed with a medicated shampoo. Medicated dog shampoos come in a wide variety to treat a number of different ailments. Most contain chemicals that help clear up the condition, while some will also include natural ingredients, like aloe vera, vitamins and minerals, to enhance the coat and skin.
Each type of medicated shampoo serves a specific function. Insecticidals get rid of and prevent fleas, ticks and sometimes treat some types of mange. Antiseborrheics prevent and remove scales on the skin. Antipruritic shampoos alleviate itching from a variety of causes, such as allergies. Antibacterial shampoos treat bacterial skin infections while antifungals work to rid of yeast infections and ringworm.
Medicated dog shampoos often contain common ingredients to treat the specific ailments, according to Holly Nash, DVM. Insecticials often include pyrethrin, pyrethroids or carbaryl. Sulphur and salicylic acid, which work in tandem to get rid of scales and crusty skin, are common in antiseborrheic and antipruritic shampoos. Benzoyl peroxide, which removes scales as well as bacteria, is an ingredient in some antiseborrheic and antibacterial shampoos. Antifungal shampoos commonly contain very low doses of miconazole, ketoconazole or selenium sulphide. Shampoos will usually contain several other ingredients, such as moisturisers or other chemicals, to serve their purpose.
How you use your dog's medicated shampoo depends on the function it serves. You can use some flea and tick shampoos, certain antibacterial shampoos and moisturising shampoos regularly to keep your dog's skin and coat healthy and free from ailments. Others, like antifungal shampoos, are meant to be used to treat a specific ailment and their use discontinued after the ailment is cured. Each medicated shampoo includes specific instructions for its particular use.
Manufacturers and Prices
A number of different manufacturers make medicated dog shampoos. Some are major pet product companies that include medicated shampoo in their line of items, such as Hartz and Eight in One. Others specialise in shampoos and other health specific pet items, such as Vet's Best, Vet Solutions and Virbac. One more option is a generic brand, manufactured by the pet store or company that sells a host of different pet products. Prices vary depending on the brand and type of shampoo, with a 473ml bottle of medicated shampoo priced anywhere from about £4 to £13 or more in 2010.
Certain ingredients can be hazardous or produce side effects, says veterinarian Nash. Benzoyl peroxide can dry out the skin. The antifungal selenium sulphide can irritate your dog's mucous membranes and scrotum. Never use a medicated dog shampoo on other animals unless the label specifically notes it is safe to do so. Selenium sulphide and the flea fighting pyrethroids, for instance, are safe to use on dogs but harmful to cats.