Dog Shampoos: The Function of Common Ingredients

Lots of shampoos have been designed to care for various skin problems faced by cats and dogs. It may be difficult to understand how the ingredients actually work.
This table will help improve your understanding of why particular ingredients have been added to shampoo. Alongside discussions with your vet, this knowledge will help you choose the best product(s) for your dog’s skin problems.

The following table should help you understand why certain ingredients are included in a shampoo. This information can help you, with consultation from your veterinarian, select the right one for your pet’s skin condition.

INGREDIENTS
COMMENTS
INSECTICIDALS
For treatment and prevention of fleas, ticks
and some types of mange.
Pyrethrin
Pyrethroids such as
permethrin
Don’t use on cats.
ANTISEBORRHEIC
For the prevention and removal of scales and,
in many cases, to also get rid of excess oils.
For seborrhoea oleosa
Characterised by excess oil and scales.
Sulfur
Removes crust and scales and decreases the amount
of scales being produced.
Antifungal & Antibacterial.
Decreases the amount of itchiness.
Best used when combined with the same amount of concentration of salicylic
acid.
Salicylic acid
Removes scale and crust, and reduces scale production.
Decreases the amount of itchiness.
Antibacterial.
Works best when used with an equal concentration of sulfur.
Refined Tar
This is the most powerful ingredient for use in decreasing
the amount of scales being made.
Decreases the amount of itchiness.
Degreases
May be irritating to your pet.
Don’t use on cats.
Selenium sulphide

Removes scale and crust, and reduces scale production
Antifungal & Antibacterial. Degreases
Can irritate mucous membranes and scrotum.
Only use it for severe oiliness or yeast infections.
Needs to stay on for a minimum of 10 minutes for the antifungal properties
to work fully.
Don’t use on cats.

Benzoyl peroxide
Gets rid of crusts and scales.
May dry out your pet’s skin.
Antibacterial properties.
Flushes hair follicles.
Great degreaser.
For seborrhoea sicca
Characterised by dry scales.
Sulfur
Removes crust and removes and reduces the production
of scales.
Antibacterial.
Reduces itching
Is ideal when combined with the same amount of sulfur.
ANTIPRURITIC
To ease itchiness caused by problems such
as atopy and other types of allergies.
Colloidal Oatmeal
Decreases the amount of inflammation.
Hydrocortisone
Minimal side effects as compared to oral Steroids
Aloe vera
Pramoxine Hydrochloride
Topical anaesthetic
Diphenhydramine
Antihistamine that helps reduce inflammation
Menthol
Has a cooling and anaesthetising effect
Sulfur
Removes crust and removes and reduces the production
of scales.
Antifungal & Antibacterial.
Decreases itchiness.
Performs at its best when it’s combined with an equal amount of
salicylic acid.
Salicylic acid
Removes crust and removes and reduces the production
of scales.
Antibacterial.
Reduces itching
Is ideal when combined with the same amount of sulfur.
Cool water rinses
ANTIBACTERIALS
For treatment of bacterial infections such
as pyoderma, folliculitis, and impetigo
Benzoyl Peroxide
Gets rid of crusts and scales.
May dry out your pet’s skin.
Antibacterial.
Terrific degreaser and it flushes out the hair follicles
Chlorhexidine
Higher concentrations may dry out or irritate the
skin of some animals.
Povidone Iodine
Triclosan
Low potency
Ethyl Lactate
Helps flush follicles and helps to degrease
Sulfur
Removes crust and removes and reduces the production
of scales.
Antibacterial & Antifungal.
Reduces itching
Is ideal when combined with the same amount of
salicylic acid
May protect against Staph infections.
ANTIFUNGALS
To treat yeast infections and ringworm
Miconazole 2%
Cheaper than ketoconazole
Chlorhexidine 2-4%
Some activity against yeast and less activity against
ringworm.
Higher concentrations may dry the skin or be irritating in some animals.
Povidone Iodine
Not as effective and may be irritating
Ketoconazole 2%
Very effective
Selenium sulfide 1%

Gets rid of crusts and scales as well as reducing the production of
scale.

Antifungal/Antibacterial. Degreases. May irritate mucous
membranes and scrotum.
It’s better to only use it in cases of severe oiliness or yeast
infections.
Must be left on for a minimum of 10 minutes so its antifungal activities
kick in. Don’t ever use on cats.

EMOLLIENTS
Add oils to skin
Almond Oil
Corn Oil
Cottonseed Oil
Coconut Oil
Olive Oil
Peanut Oil
Persia Oil
Safflower Oil
Sesame Oil
Lanolin
Mineral Oil
Paraffin
EMULSIFIERS
Help distribute emollients
Cetyl Alcohol
Laureth-5
Lecithin
PEG-4 dilaurate
Stearic acid
Stearyl alcohol
HUMECTANTS
Rehydrate skin
Carboxylic Acid
Lactic Acid
Urea
Sodium Lactate
Propylene Glycol
Glycerine
Polyvinylpyrrolidone
SPECIAL FORMULATIONS
Microscopic particles that will have numerous
ingredients that stick to the hair and skin and slowly release their contents
Novosomes®
Release contents over a 7-10 day period.
Spherulites®
Release contents over an 8 day period.
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