Pet Care Resources Bathing Recommendations for Dogs with Allergic Skin Disease


Bathing Recommendations for Dogs with Allergic Skin Disease

Allergic skin diseases affect a lot of dogs and bathing may be recommended as a part of the treatment plan. Bathing may reduce allergen exposure, treat infections, reduce itch, or support the epidermal barrier.

Follow these six bathing steps to help your furry friend control allergic skin disease.

1. Soaking

Always use warm to slightly cool water to wet the entire coat. Then apply any shampoo. Warm/hot water may irritate some dogs with infected or inflamed skin.  

2. Bathing

For dirty pets, use a maintenance shampoo to remove dirt and then apply medicated shampoo. Lather lesion areas first. Some shampoos require a specific contact time with the skin/lesion to get the full therapeutic effect. Aim for 10 minutes of lather time. But remember, a five-minute bath is better than skipping a bath. 

3. Rinsing

Rinse shampoo thoroughly until the water runs clean. Focus on areas where shampoo may get trapped (armpits, groin, under tail, or between toes). Residual medicated shampoo left on your dog’s skin may be irritating.

4. Conditioners

Depending on the condition being treated, your veterinarian may recommend a cream rinse or conditioner. Most are applied, worked into the skin and hair coat, then rinsed thoroughly. Some are intended to be left in.

5. Drying

We recommend towel drying. Warm blow dryer air will dehydrate the skin and may irritate dogs that have allergies or an infection affecting their skin. If air is needed, you should not use heat and be sure not to over dry.

6. Clipping

For medium- to long-haired dogs, clipping the hair coat facilitates successful bathing programs. Shorter hair allows topical medications and shampoos to penetrate to the skin and do their job. 

By Lauren Pinchbeck, DVM, MS, Diplomate, ACVD |
December 17, 2016