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Medicated Dog Shampoo: Do You Need It?

Medicated Dog Shampoo: Do You Need It?

You most likely have already heard of a medicated dog shampoo. But you may be wondering if your dog really needs it? Well, the answer is — it depends.

Medicated dog shampoos are used to help the treatments of different conditions in dogs. Such as dry and itching skin or fleas. However, while many dogs can fall victim to these conditions, not all dogs do. That’s why for most of our canine friends a regular dog shampoo will be the way to go.

However, if you feel as if your dog could benefit from a medicated dog shampoo, ask your veterinarian. He will know best if your dog has some skin or coat issues.

Another really important thing that we would like to point out is that you should never use human shampoo on your dog. Dog and human skin has different pH levels. That’s why different types of shampoos are needed. Human shampoos can be drying for dogs and your dog may even need a medicated shampoo after using that due to irritations and itchiness.

For what conditions could a medicated dog shampoo be useful?

Medicated shampoos for canines are used to treat different conditions in dogs such as allergies, infections or skin irritations.


Medicated shampoos are often used in the treatment of environmental allergies. They remove the allergic triggers but also contain ingredients that could possibly reduce the allergic reactions and inflammation.

The most common symptoms of allergies in dogs are:

  1. Itchiness
  2. Excessive licking, scratching and rubbing
  3. Hair loss
  4. “Hot spots”
  5. Chronic ear and skin infections


Fungal and bacterial infections of your dogs skin or coat are almost always treated topically — with medicated shampoos.

They can be quite uncomfortable, so a dog shampoo designed to ease these symptoms will make it easier for dogs to fully recover.

Your vet will likely recommend an antibacterial and antifungal shampoo. The ingredients may contain chemicals such as chlorhexidine and ketoconazole. They don’t only get rid of the existing infections, but also prevent future ones.

Very often, bacterial and fungal infections of the skin are the result of a weakened immune system. This is especially common if your dog’s immune symptoms is busy dealing with allergies.


The most common parasites affecting your dog’s skin are mites and fleas. We have to separate articles for these concerns. To read more about getting rid of fleas — click here. However, if you want to learn more about mites on dogs — click here.

Medicated shampoos can help with both of these annoying and uncomfortable skin conditions in dogs.

Dog fleas are the most common parasites your dog could possibly get. Flea bites cause an allergic reaction in your dog’s skin which is responsible for the itching and irritations. However, a medicated shampoo alone won’t help. The shampoo can quickly kill and remove adult fleas but there will still residuals left in your home. That’s allowing new fleas to quickly reinfest your dog.

Mites are small parasites that burrow into your dog’s skin and eventually cause irritation and inflammation. They cause “mange”. That’s a skin condition that causes different symptoms from flaky skin to hair loss. Dog mites most commonly live in the ears or in the fur.

Hair loss, scabs, body sores and sometimes itching are common symptoms associated with mange.

Topical treatments such as a medicated dog shampoo can help in the treatment. However, as there are different types of mange, topical treatments won’t be useful to all of them.

Ask your veterinarian if a medicated shampoo would be useful in your dog’s case.

Dry skin and irritations

Dry and irritated skin isn’t only highly annoying for humans, but for dogs as well. It can stem from many different causes, including low humidity levels, dietary imbalances and excessive bathing.

The best treatment for your dog’s skin depends on what is causing the irritation. However, a medicated bathe with some moisturizing and soothing factors in it could help tremendously.

Always make sure to follow the guidelines on the label when bathing your dog. Make sure that the shampoo has a gentle ingredient list with good humectants and calming factors.


The best way to know if your dog needs a medicated dog shampoo is to ask your vet about it. They will inform you about the condition of your dog’s skin and coat, and the possible benefit of medicated shampoos.

Don’t bathe your dog in medicated shampoos for no reason. It’s useless and wasteful.