Why Is My Dog Scratching After A Bath?

June 27th, 2021

If your dog is scratching after a bath, you must first examine the shampoo you are using. Secondly, you have to ask yourself if you rinse your dog coat properly.

Make sure the shampoo you use has the balanced pH 

As you probably remember from your school days, the pH scale ranges from 0 to 14, with levels less than 6.4 considered high acidity and levels more than 6.4 considered high alkalinity. The usual range of skin pH levels for humans is 5.2 to 6.2, which means it tends to be acidic. Human shampoos and other skin products are formulated specifically to maintain this balance. Relative pH balance for dogs ranges from 5.5 to 7.5, tending toward a more alkaline concentration (depending on breed, gender, climate, and anatomical size).

Acid mantle

When we wash our dog with shampoo, like it or not, we wash away the acid mantle. The acid mantle is a very fine, slightly acidic film on the skin surface, and it works as a barrier to protect the porous top layer (the stratum corneum) from bacteria and viruses. The stratum corneum keeps the outer body well hydrated by absorbing water and not allowing excessive evaporation.
This is why manufacturers formulate most human and dog shampoos, as well as soaps, with moisturizers. To replace the protective layer that we wash away when bathing. This is at least until the skin can replenish itself around 12 hours later. If the stratum corneum is left unprotected without its acid barrier, it will be open to a host of microorganisms. This may show up as dry, flaky, irritated, or peeling skin and perhaps even as a rash of itchy lumps.

Perfumes and some preservatives can be irritating

In general terms, perfumes and preservatives are responsible for most skin irritations when using pet care products, like shampoos.
For example, sulfates are components of many shampoos – sodium lauryl sulfate and sodium laureth sulfate. It is important to check your dog’s shampoo label when your dog is scratching after a bath.
Fragrances are also associated with skin irritation on many occasions.
The term fragrance can be used for any number of aromatic chemical combinations. Fragrances don’t have any therapeutic value; they are added to products to make them smell better. Sometimes, it creates a natural aroma, luxury feel, or just to cover up an unpleasant scent of the product.

What we don’t use

In Vita Canis products, we never use artificial fragrances or hide ingredients from you behind the term “fragrance” or “perfume.” We use essential oils in most of our products ( apart from Soothing Antiseptic Spray and Calm cat – they contain only hydrosols) for their therapeutic properties, and the pleasant scent is a bonus.
You’ll always be able to identify exactly what we use by checking the labels. And if your dog has allergies or sensitivities, you can easily avoid any triggers.

Rinse, rinse and rinse again.

Any shampoo residue left in your dog’s coat and on the skin can irritate your dog’s skin once he is dry. Therefore a proper rinsing is so necessary.
First of all, rinse the head first. Then place the showerhead on the back of your dog’s head, and with fast sweeping moves, rinse the body. So by putting the showerhead on the body, you pushing the shampoo suds away from the coat and skin. By starting on the neck, you are using the gravity of water to help you with the rinsing.
Watch my video on how to bath your dog like a pro:

Does bathing make your dog itchy? And what do you do?

Jitka xx

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What People Say...

Hi Jitka, I contacted you about your Skin Relief Spray and your Hand Butter about a week ago as my 89-year-old mum suffers from terribly itchy skin. We’ve tried almost every skin product from the usual chemists and have resorted to antihistamines after checking they are okay with mums other atrial fibrillation tabs.

Unfortunately, these can cause nose bleeds so a new remedy was required. We’ve been using the Vita Canis Soothing Antiseptic Spray for thee days and her back is no longer driving her mad with itching. The Hand Butter has been applied to her feet with the same excellent results. We will continue using the spray and butter and I will give you another update next week but things are looking promising.
Jenni Owen