Nothing breaks your heart like knowing that your dog is suffering. Unfortunately, dogs are just as prone to health problems as humans, and sometimes their curiosity gets them into things that can make them sick. Knowing what to do when your dog gets sick is half the battle.
When your dog is suffering from skin and coat problems, you may be at a loss for what to do. You can’t just run to the drug store for an over-the-counter remedy – you need to know what’s going on and what is the best product to treat it. That’s why your veterinarian’s office should be your first stop when your dog develops skin problems.
Once your vet makes a diagnosis of your dog’s skin problem, you can start treatment. In many cases, treating dog skin conditions is fairly simple – you just need the right medicated shampoo. Medicated shampoo works wonders for all kinds of skin issues, as long as you choose the right one. Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about medicated shampoo and to see our top 6 picks.
What is the Best Medicated Dog Shampoo?
What is Medicated Dog Shampoo?
Shampoo is shampoo. Or is it? There are all kinds of dog shampoos on the market designed to cleanse and moisturize your dog’s coat as well as conditioners to keep it smooth and shiny. Medicated shampoos are a category all their own, designed to resolve various skin conditions and other problems that affect a dog’s skin and coat.
Simply put, medicated shampoos are made with specific active ingredients and other additions to treat disease, resolve symptoms, and improve skin and coat condition while supporting the healing process.
8 Reasons Why A Dog Might Need Medicated Shampoo
Bathing should be part of your dog’s grooming routine for several reasons. First and foremost, it helps you control that “doggy” odor that many dogs develop over time. They can’t help it – the urge to roll in something foul is sometimes overpowering. Bathing also helps remove excess oils from your dog’s skin as well as dander, dirt, dust, and other allergens that can accumulate in his coat.
But what about medicated shampoo? When does a dog need medicated shampoo?
Medicated dog shampoo exists for all kinds of skin conditions ranging from simple skin allergies to bacterial and yeast infections. Here are some of the conditions medicated dog shampoo can help with:
- Bacterial skin infections
- Yeast (fungal) infections
- Skin allergies
- Dry and itchy skin
- External parasites (fleas, ticks, and mites)
- Hot spots and lesions
- Food allergies
- Environmental (contact) allergies
Things to Look for in a Good Medicated Shampoo for Dogs
Before using a medicated shampoo on your dog, you need to be sure that it is the right kind and that your dog needs it. If your dog displays symptoms of skin problems such as itching, dryness, irritation, inflammation, lesions, hair loss, or discharge, you need to see your veterinarian before you do anything. Your vet will be able to diagnose the underlying cause of your dog’s skin problems and recommend a course of treatment which may include medicated dog shampoo.
As we’ve already mentioned, medicated dog shampoos exist for the treatment of all kinds of skin and coat issues. So, how do you choose the right one?
Choosing a medicated dog shampoo is something that should be done with a veterinarian’s guidance. In addition to making a diagnosis of your dog’s skin problems, your vet will also be able to recommend specific active ingredients or a certain type of medicated shampoo to look for. In some cases, you may simply need a dog shampoo designed to treat general skin problems such as itching and dryness. In other cases, however, you may need specific active ingredients to treat an infection.
Generally speaking, here are some of the things to look for in a medicated dog shampoo:
- Hypoallergenic – The term hypoallergenic simply means that the product doesn’t contain ingredients likely to trigger an allergic reaction. Unfortunately, dogs can be allergic to a wide variety of different things, so there are no guarantees. If your dog is suffering from skin problems, however, it’s a good idea to look for a hypoallergenic shampoo, so you don’t make those problems worse by accidentally exposing him to a harsh or harmful ingredient.
- Active Ingredients – If you’re trying to treat a specific skin condition, you’ll need to look for active ingredients that work for that condition. For example, antifungal dog shampoo works well for yeast infections and antibacterial shampoo for bacterial skin infections.
- pH-Balanced – Your dog’s skin has a different pH than your own, so it’s important to find a product properly balanced for his skin to avoid making his skin problems worse.
- Moisturizers – Dry, itchy skin is a symptom of many skin problems in dogs, so you’ll want to find a medicated shampoo that also contains natural moisturizers. Things like aloe vera, shea butter, coconut oil, and oatmeal are all excellent options.
- Conditioners – In addition to moisturizing your dog’s skin, you’ll want to condition his coat to help protect it between baths. Some medicated shampoos act as 2-in-1 shampoos and conditioners, though there are also leave-in conditioners and conditioning sprays.
- Cooling Agents – Many skin problems cause redness and inflammation which can make your dog very uncomfortable. Cooling agents like aloe vera can help soothe inflammation while also restoring the natural moisture of your dog’s skin to speed the healing process.
- Deodorizers – Some skin conditions cause odorous discharge which can make your dog smell pretty rank. Even if that’s not his problem, finding a medicated dog shampoo that contains natural deodorizers will help keep your dog smelling fresh between baths.
Remember, different medicated shampoos are designed for different purposes. If your dog has a bacterial skin infection, you’ll need a medicated dog shampoo for bacterial infection. If he has been diagnosed with a fungal yeast infection, he’ll need a medicated dog shampoo for yeast infection. Ask your doctor for recommendations of specific ingredients to look for before you start shopping.
6 Best Medicated Shampoos for Dogs
With your doctor’s guidance, you should have some idea what kind of medicated shampoo you’re looking for before you start shopping. When you’re ready, keep the elements from the previous section in mind as you shop. If you’re still not sure where to start, here are our top 6 picks for the best medicated shampoo for dogs:
Overall Best Medicated Dog Shampoo: This shampoo is among the best antibacterial and antifungal dog shampoos on the market, and it treats a wide variety of skin and coat problems. SynergyLabs Veterinary Formula Clinical Care Antiseptic & Antifungal Medicated Shampoo is formulated to relieve a variety of bacterial and fungal skin problems including dermatitis and pyoderma. It features active ingredients like benzethonium chloride and ketoconazole as well as natural deodorizers, moisturizers, and cooling agents. This shampoo contains aloe vera to soothe the skin and speed healing while coconut oil gently cleanses and moisturizes the skin. It is gentle enough for regular use and is 100% paraben-free.
- Pros: Powerful active ingredients, natural ingredients, tearless and soap-free formula, relieves itchy skin, moisturizes skin and coat, improves coat condition, won’t affect flea control products
- Cons: Contains some artificial color and fragrance, may require multiple uses to resolve condition
5 More Top Rated Medicated Shampoos for Dogs
If the medicated dog shampoo above isn’t the perfect fit for your dog’s skin problems, don’t fret – there are plenty more options to choose from. Here are five more top-rated medicated shampoos for dogs:
If you’re looking for a medicated dog shampoo that treats a wide variety of skin conditions, this Douxo Chlorhexidine PS Dog Shampoo may just fit the bill. This shampoo features a powerful combination of active ingredients including chlorhexidine, lipacide, and phytosphingosine salicyloyl to resolve both superficial and acute skin conditions. Made with a variety of natural moisturizers, this shampoo also soothes and relieves dry, itchy, and irritated skin and coats it with lipoprotein to protect against further irritation. It also helps control bacterial and fungal skin infections.
Designed to treat seborrheic skin conditions in dogs, DermaBenSs Benzoyl Peroxide Shampoo for Dogs features a soap-free formula with natural moisturizing agents. This shampoo contains ceramides that gently moisturize, repair, and restore dry and damaged skin while the active ingredient benzoyl peroxide offers antimicrobial, keratolytic, comedolytic, and degreasing benefits. This formula promotes healthy skin regrowth for recovery from a variety of skin conditions including mange, mites, and staph infections. It also opens the pores to flush out contagious bacteria.
With a unique combination of antibacterial and antifungal agents, Malaseb Medicated Shampoo for Dogs also contains coat conditioners for a therapeutic benefit. This fragrance-free shampoo is designed to descale and degrease the dog’s coat without stripping its natural oils, restoring shine and condition in a gentle way. It features active ingredients that are powerful against bacterial and fungal infections but gentle on skin to kill pathogens without making your dog’s skin problems worse. It also helps maintain the skin’s natural barrier and provides complete coat therapy.
This shampoo features a combination of miconazole and chlorhexidine to treat moderate to severe fungal and bacterial infections. MiconaHex+Triz Shampoo for Dogs is a powerful antimicrobial, antifungal, and moisturizing shampoo that will help treat your dog’s skin condition while also restoring the natural moisture in his coat. It contains ceramides to moisturize, repair, and restore dry and damaged skin while also fighting dandruff, yeast, fungus, bacteria, and ringworm. Plus, you’ll be glad to know that it is made in the USA and is fragrance-free.
For a medicated dog shampoo that treats a wide variety of skin problems, consider this SynergyLabs Veterinary Formula Clinical Care Antiparasitic & Antiseborrheic Shampoo. This shampoo treats everything from dermatitis and mange to parasite infections, seborrhea, and bacterial skin infections. It contains natural moisturizers like oatmeal as well as allantoin to hydrate the skin and promote healing with other ingredients to eliminate scaling, rashes, and inflammation. It is gentle enough to be used two to three times per week, and it is free from soap, parabens, and artificial dyes.
Medicated dog shampoo is a godsend when your dog is suffering. The right shampoo can soothe itchy, irritated skin and restore the natural moisture balance. Just remember to always consult your veterinarian before using medicated shampoo and shop smart for the right product. When in doubt, try one of our top 6 recommendations reviewed above!