We all love to keep our pets clean and tidy. Dog need hygiene a lot like we do, including the use of soaps, wash and shampoo. Shampoo is useful to keep their fur clean of oils and dead skin, keeping them germ free and smelling nice.
However, dyes, fragrances, and detergents in many shampoos can cause allergic reactions or burning eyes in dogs, just like for humans. Thankfully, we have a number of options when it comes to shampoo. “Free and clear” varieties or those formulated to be “tearless” for babies are designed not to cause eye irritation or allergies. Always be sure to look at the ingredients, though, because whether a shampoo is truly “tearless” is subjective.
Most of the time the ingredients like surfactants, fragrances, colorants and preservatives are the common reasons for eye irritation. Nonetheless, the pH of most soap is 9.0-9.5, which is much more basic than water, and due to the natural saponification process, the pH of hard soaps is not adjustable. You have to use it in the manner it is produced. Though you can tweak the formulations of the detergents to some extent, shampoos and soaps pH level is hardly going below 9.0 and this can be quite irritating to the canine eye. Therefore, consider soap to be a bad choice around the eyes and the facial region for your dogs.
How a shampoo can cause eye irritation in dogs
Shampoo is a basic – the opposite of acidic – solution, which means it might cause inflammation to tissues used to a neutral pH. Shampoo also contains other eye-irritating ingredients, such as fragrance oils, colorants, or surfactants. We know that soaps are harsh but then again, they are intended to seek out lipids and emulsify them into a solution to wash away. This makes soap an effective degreaser, but it’s just as likely to attack delicate tissues of the eyes. An especially harsh surfactant used in many shampoos is Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS). Other surfactant ingredients are measured in their harshness aginst SLS.
However, it is not the harshness alone which determines how irritating a shampoo can be. It is also the concentrations of the surfactants that helps to determine the specific formulation of the product. You will find that the foaming products are highly diluted and so will cause less eye irritation. One can easily dilute shampoo with water, neutralizing the pH a bit, by putting it through a foaming pump or nozzle.
How to tell if your dog is having an allergic reaction?
The following signs can indicate an allergy in dogs:
- Red or itchy skin
- Running eyes
- Frequent sneezing
- Constantly licking or chewing on paws
- Heavy snoring
In order to conquer canine allergies, follow a few easy steps:
- Discuss the symptoms with the vet
- Use vet recommended hypoallergenic shampoos
- Clean your dog’s bedding weekly, to avoid any dirt entering from the bed in the midst of the eye irritation
- Ask your vet about mild wipes to help you clean your dog’s eyes
- Consider allergy testing and medication under advice of a vet