Is Medicated Dog Shampoo Safe for Dogs?

June 22, 2019 3 min read

Is medicated dog shampoo safe for dogs? Safer alternatives that work

We recently got a message through Facebook from someone who bought medicated dog shampoo at the suggestion of her veterinarian.

She got home with the new bottle of shampoo and gave her dog a bath. Her dog started itching and scratching. She looked at the ingredients and contacted us.

The fact is, ingredients in medicated dog shampoo are not safe and non-toxic.

Below are some of the ingredients in medicated dog shampoo, their Environmental Working Group (EWG) ratings and why they got the rating. 

  • Artificial fragrance 
    EWG rating of 8 with links to organ system toxicity and may case skin irritation. 
  • DMDM Hydantoin
    Has an EWG rating of 7. It is a known human immune toxicant or allergen. It is a slow releasing form of formaldehyde with links to cancer.
  • Cocamidopropyl betaine
    EWG rating of 4. This ingredient has links to skin irritation, allergic dermatitis, is ecotoxic and may be contaminated with nitrosamines known to cause cancer.
  • Chlorhexidine digluconate
    EWG rating of 4 with links to skin irritation and allergies.
  • Ketoconazole
    EWG rating of 3 due to links with endocrine disruption.
  • Miconazole nitrate
    EWG rating of 1 but is known to bioaccumulate in the body where it may cause organ system toxicity.
  • PEG (polyethylene glycol)
    EWG rating of 3 has links to organ system toxicity and contamination concerns from 1,4-dioxane and ethylene oxide (both have links to cancer)
  • Benzethonium chloride 
    EWG rating of 6 due to strong links to allergies.

Would it surprise you to learn many of the ingredients used in medicated dog shampoo have been banned by other countries for use in human products? 

They have.

Solve the Skin Issues In Your Dog's Gut

We strongly urge pet parents to not use medicated dog shampoo.

When your dog's skin is in such bad shape that your veterinarian is considering a medicated shampoo it is time to support their immune system, not stress it out. 

The first thing we always ask if a dog that has lived with you at home suddenly has a yeast or bacterial skin issue demonstrated by excessive scratching and licking is: 

What are you feeding them? 

Many of the kibble dog foods on the market (and this is true for grain free dog food as well) are very high in carbohydrates. 

Carbohydrates break down into sugars. 

Sugar causes inflammation and yeast.

Long term inflammation causes disease. 

If you missed our article on inflammation and our tips on how to select a dog food that is less likely to cause yeast and inflammation - you can read it here

Medicated Dog Shampoo Causes Skin Irritation

Support your dog's immune system and they will heal. It is that simple.  

This review from Debra W says it all: 

Raising all paws!
My little guy is pink and has very short fur and no fur on his butt, belly, ears and armpits. He is very susceptible to irritation by so many things, and every irritation shows on him, which actually keeps my on my toes! The first time his poor head broke out in irritation, I listened to my vet and bathed him with a "medicated" shampoo especially for allergies and irritation. My baby's skin turned red as a tomato and he was in misery! By chance, I had the newest Dogs Naturally Magazine issue and there was a 4Legger ad in it. I quickly ordered the organic Soothe and Moisturize... I soaked my baby in the Soothe, and he came out his beautiful light pink! The irritation was GONE. I've brought this entire line into my small retail pet store and we use it exclusively in our grooming salon. Clients comment on how wonderful their babies look and smell! And the itches are all but gone! 

Supporting Your Dog's Skin and Body With Natural Products

A shelter at the Mexican border recently took in a pup that was covered in mange. 

After the foster mom fed him good food, bathed him regularly in 4-Legger shampoo and with lots of love,  this little guy transformed into the beautiful pup he is today. 

Results from using 4-legger on a dog with mange

 Real results from real dogs using a natural and holistic approach! 

Here are our best recommendations for medicated dog shampoo alternatives  that work: 

Dog Shampoo for mange, yeast or a bacterial infection here are our best recommendations.

If your dog's skin is sensitive, we recommend our most mild and gentle shampoos. You can see those here

Supporting Your Dog's Immune System

It is also important when your dog's immune system is stressed out to support it with essential oils. 

Here are our top three picks for all natural pet safe essential oils to support your dog's immune system. 

Any-Itis RTU to support your dog's immune system

Boost In a Bottle RTU to give your dog's immune system a boost! 

Calm-a-mile RTU to calm the immune system and support health

And yes... we have a top pick to support your cat's immune system too: Kitty Boost RTU 

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