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Reasons to bathe pets

Dogs and cats are bathed for many reasons. The most common are to keep a clean and healthy coat in a normal animal and to treat a skin problem. In Hong Kong many pet owners will send their pets to a shop for grooming and bathing regularly, as often as once a fortnight. There’s no doubt that the pets look better after their bath, trim and blow dry but is this good for them?

Pets in Hong Kong

The small flats in Hong Kong mean that we live very closely with our pets, so any smells or skin disease are a real problem. Our dogs and cats can’t easily go out for a run, a swim or a roll in the yard as they might do in the US or Australia. This means we need to take good care of their coats and skin to keep them happy and comfortable. So it is necessary to bathe pets more often here, simply to keep the skin clean and healthy.

Pets' skin is not the same as human skin!

Dog and cat skin is quite different to ours. We do not have thick hair all over our bodies. This fur protects pets and means that the actual skin layer is much thinner. The acid level or pH is different too; our skin has a higher level of acid (lower pH). In fact our skin pH level is about pH 5.6 while a dog's skin is pH 6.2-7.2, so our skin is actually at least 10 times more acidic than dogs! All this means our pets skin is much more sensitive than our own and so we cannot use human shampoos, even baby shampoo on our pets!

Bathing to treat skin disease

Skin problems are one of the most common reasons to visit the vet. They can be very irritating for pets who suffer severe itchiness and owners who have to live with the constant scratching, licking and rubbing that is seen with many skin problems. It is often not possible to cure skin disease and the vet will aim to control and minimise the symptoms. Bathing pets regularly is one of the most important parts of the treatment plan.

Which Shampoo?

There are many different shampoos and each one has a different way of helping your pet. The vet will examine your pet and decide which shampoo is going to help the skin problem and advise how often and how long to use the shampoo. The choice of shampoo will depend on the cause of the skin problem.

Different skin diseases

Almost every skin problem can be helped by using a shampoo as part of the treatment. Skin disease has many different causes and alters the skin in many ways

  • Skin allergies are very common cause of skin disease. The skin becomes red and itchy with scale or dandruff forming and may become infected by bacteria as well. The pet will scratch a lot and may pull the hair out causing patchy hair loss.
  • Allergies to food will also cause similar signs. Infections can be caused by bacteria yeasts or fungi and we often see red itchy skin
  • Parasitic infections will also cause severe itchiness in different parts of the body resulting in redness, infection and hair loss.
  • Hormonal disorders often are less itchy but can cause scale hair loss and infection as well.
Why Shampoo?

The different types of medicated shampoo have very different active ingredients which help to treat your pet’s skin. Most skin problems affect large areas of the skin. Our pets’ skin has a thick coat of fur over most of their bodies which means it is not practical to apply creams or ointments to treat the affected areas of hairy skin. The result would be messy and uncomfortable for the pet. A shampoo is applied to treat the whole skin and is rinsed off after treatment leaving a cleaner soothed skin. The choice of shampoo depends on the cause of the skin problem.


If your pet has a SKIN PROBLEM, please visit our clinic and ask for a shampoo as part of the treatment. We will help you care for what matters, your pet’s health, happiness and well being.

More info
How to bath your dog?
Which Shampoo to choose?
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