Pet Shampoos

Written by Sarah Provost
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Pet shampoos don't just get rid of dirt and odors. They also moisturize and condition the skin and coat, soothe irritated, itchy skin, eliminate fleas and other parasites, and even reduce hairballs in cats. A regular bath will keep you and your pet happier.

Medicated pet shampoos contain insecticide to fight ticks and fleas. It's important, especially with long-haired animals, to get the lather all the way down to the skin, or it won't do any good. Keep a wet washcloth handy, because if your pet is badly infested, the fleas will swarm toward his face in an attempt to escape the insecticide. Wipe his face frequently, dip the cloth in the bath water to get rid of the fleas on it, and rinse with cool water before using again. Many pet shampoos also contain colloidal oatmeal to soothe itchy skin.

Cats are notoriously not fond of being immersed, and usually do a good job of keeping themselves clean, unless sick or injured. Sometimes, though, a flea shampoo is necessary, and your cat will (eventually) be grateful for it. Other shampoos have an ingredient that smoothes the hair shaft to reduce hairballs. For long-haired cats, there are detangling and freshening sprays. Allergy wipes remove surface dander and excess hair, lessening the chance of an allergic reaction in those with sensitivities. My personal favorite is a foam that you just rub into your cat's fur. No need to rinse, or get the cat wet at all, and the foam doesn't frighten cats the way sprays do.

Choose Pet Shampoos Carefully

It is absolutely crucial that you read labels carefully on pet shampoos. There are formulations for kittens and puppies that are gentler than those for adult cats and dogs. Also use a breed-specific product, since cat shampoos, for instance, can be lethal to rabbits.

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