Humans spend literally billions of dollars every year on skin and hair care. The vast number of products available covers the gamut from shampoos, cosmetics, hairdressings, creams and treatments. The same is true for our pets. As the market as grown, so has concerns about the chemicals and compounds used in these products.
As more ingredient information has been available to consumers, many questions are being raised about overall product safety. Concerns about chemical exposure and possible health risks are driving the market in a different direction.
Many established producers have responded by changing the formulation of some products, while new companies have entered the market. The marketing of products that contain natural and botanical ingredients is a growing trend in the skin and hair care market. Many pet owners are discovering the value of replicating what animals instinctively do to care for their skin and coats.
Concerns about human exposure to various chemicals have spilt over to the pet care industry. Part of multi-billion dollar market segment, many pet grooming products are also changing. Professional pet groomers have responded to the concerns of their customers by switching to natural shampoos and other grooming products.
For example, many dog breeds are prone to skin irritations. Traditional grooming products often contain harsh chemicals that can make these conditions worse. Shampoos and conditioners that adversely alter the pH balance of the animal’s coat are of particular concern. Like humans, animal fur and skin has naturally occurring oils that can strip away, leaving the skin dry and the coat brittle. Some animals, like their human counterparts, may develop allergic reactions to the ingredients in certain shampoos and conditioners.
An old school of thought about bathing our dogs was that daily bathing would dry the skin. Given the fact that many dog shampoos contain compounds such as butyl acetate, ethyl acetate and toluene, the old school thinking was right. For example, butyl acetate is a chemical solvent often used in shampoos as a foaming agent. Butyl acetate is also used in products such as nail polish and upholstery shampoo.
Toluene is another chemical solvent that has found its way into many products like dog shampoo. These and many other chemicals are not only skin irritants but may actually contribute to increased rates of cancer and organ disease.
What to do
Routine grooming is one of your dog’s best defences against skin irritation and infection. From daily brushing to regular bathing, our dogs depend on us. Daily brushing is a natural way to stimulate glands in the skin that produce essential oils needed to maintain a healthy skin and coat. Daily brushing helps to remove dead skin cells, dirt and other debris from the fur. The other benefit to daily brushing is that most dogs really enjoy it.
Most of us like a good massage or having our back scratched, and our canine companions are no different. The time spent grooming contributes to the bonding and trust that develops between dogs and their humans.
Brushing and grooming on a daily basis give us a chance to be on the lookout for rashes, hot spots and other skin irritations. Once certain skin conditions, such as a yeast infection, take hold, the condition is harder to treat. Left unattended, skin irritations can quickly become a pathway for infection, jeopardising the over the health of your dog.
As dog owners, we have a very important responsible and our canine friends look to us for proper care. Take the time educate yourself about grooming products that are made without harsh chemicals. Taking a natural approach to preventing and treating skin irritation in dogs is one way we can keep our dogs healthy, well groomed and happy.
Article by Mitch Endick.
Mitch Endick is a short article writer for the popular pet site: www.petpages.com. He provides informative advice on all pets including dogs, puppies, cats, fish, reptiles, birds, ferrets, rabbits, mice and even pet bugs. Petpages.com also has an extensive pet classified ads section.