Do Hypoallergenic Dogs Need Special Shampoo?

Is your dog scratching and fussing more than normal? And are skin lesions starting to show where it chews and licks at itself?

And, does the dog’s facial expression tell a story – in other words, it’s not the normal expression of bliss that accompanies these actions. You know the one I mean. But rather, it’s an expression of frustration and often accompanied by small yelps of irritation.

This needs your attention. Your dog’s skin may be irritated, or the discomfort could be from any of a variety of skin disorders dogs are often prone to.

Suffice to say – the distress can be HUGE!

To help you out, we’re going to have a quick look at why this might be happening, and then give you a few ways to relieve the discomfort.

And, face it, when you watch your dog itch and scratch, it only takes a few minutes before you start itching too, right?!

The causes of the itch

A dog’s skin is incredibly sensitive. We sometimes miss that because of all the hair. There can be several reasons a dog develops dry or itchy patches, and we’re going to go through a list of the most common ones real quick.

However, if the dog’s licking, self-biting, or scratching is excessive, you really should have a chat with your vet as soon as possible.

The dog’s skin is simply dry

Dry skin can simply indicate basic deficiencies in nutrition or even a little dehydration. Usually, you’ll see cracked skin, and maybe white flakes.

Your dog’s having an allergic reaction to something

Dogs are much like humans in this way. If we ingest something our system doesn’t like, it often lets us know by producing welts, red spots, and irritated skin.

It’s the same with dogs. A food allergy could typically cause this. And these come on suddenly. Even if your dog has been eating the same brand of food for years, the repeated exposure to the same nutrition may cause a sudden allergic onset.

Triggers in the environment are another biggie. Pollen is a seasonal thing and is often the culprit. So are mold and mites.

Do Hypoallergenic Dogs Need Special Shampoo?

Fleas, fleas, fleas …

You may not see them, but that doesn’t mean they’re not there. These parasites actually lay their eggs around your house. They may spend as much as 90% of their lives away from your pet, and return just to feed.

Mite, or mite not

Mites are one of the most common parasites around. They’re so small they can’t be seen without a microscope. Typically, mites will eventually cause mange – you’ll recognize this by severe hair loss in certain spots, inflamed patches on the skin, and sores that won’t heal.

Your pup is stressed or anxious

Scratching is a natural doggie reaction to stress. Just like you might run your fingers through your hair, or rub the tip of your nose when you’re in a stressful situation.

This is often most noticeable in the dog when it wants to play, or walk, and is a sure-fire indicator of pure doggie frustration.

If the anxiety is severe, the scratching action may become compulsive. This is a reason to be concerned. Discuss it with your vet, as this kind of scratching can do nasty damage in a really short time.

Those infernal hormones

Dogs have hormonal imbalances just like we do. If the levels of thyroid hormone drop, for instance, the dog’s skin will dry out and itch.

Nutrition is not up to scratch

If your dog lacks essential nutrients, skin health can be adversely affected. This is usually due to the quality (or lack thereof) of the dogfood. Proper supplements are usually a quick and painless solution.

Remember, your dog also gets older and goes through stages and phases. All of this can affect the animal’s ability to absorb certain hormones.


Skin infections are common, depending on where you live and what the dog gets up to.

Yeast infections, for example, will manifest around the ears or toes. Impetigo (this is an infection that causes folliculitis and blistering) is also common.


This is a breed-specific thing. Some breeds are more susceptible than others. Your bet will give you the best advice here.

Do Hypoallergenic Dogs Need Special Shampoo?

So, what do you do?!

Obviously, the treatment will depend on the cause. And a vet should be your first stop.

Most of these skin irritations, even if they’re caused by a disease, are easily treated. And you should be able to provide real interim relief for your dog at home.

Here are common ways these conditions are treated:

  • Prescribed meds – this is your vet’s domain.
  • A low allergy diet – The simple switch of a brand of dog food, may not relieve allergic reactions. These reactions are often related to specific ingredients, and they may be universally present in different brands. Instead, switch to a food with limited ingredients or to a raw diet. Your vet will give you the best advice.
  • Explore the environment – The scratching may be directly caused by something like smoke, air freshener, perfume – you get the picture. Your vet can do an allergy test that will help you to isolate the culprit.
  • Kill all parasites – A regular flea treatment is a must. But, remember, flea eggs are miracles of survival. They will remain viable for months and months. So, treat your whole house, and don’t forget the other pets.

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  • Check airborne allergens – Things like dust mites, pollen, and mold spores are just about impossible to control. If you install filters in your home and vacuum with a HEPA filter, it would go a long way to limiting these.
  • Make it hard to reach – While the dog is healing, you want to protect vulnerable areas. This is really important if areas become red and infected. A special collar will make it impossible for the dog to reach these areas while they heal.
  • Use a hypoallergenic shampoo – Using a shampoo like this is a fantastic way to remove whatever allergens stick to the skin. A bathing schedule will also help to get rid of excess loose hair. And this kind of shampoo also does wonders for treating skin issues.
  • Use an Omega-3 supplement – Omega-3 is often great for managing inflammation. It can provide significant relief, and even eliminate the need for any kind of antihistamine.

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A parting shot

The causes of itchy and irritated skin in dogs can be varied. And they can be simple or complicated.

Dry skin and food allergies are most often the culprits. But genetic conditions, allergies, and parasites also cause major discomfort.

Your vet is your friend when it comes to your dog’s health, and skin irritation is no exception. Try to avoid home remedies until you’re sure of the cause of your dog’s itching and scratching.

Your steps are really simple. Visit your vet to get the proper diagnosis. This is step one. Then, in step two, follow the vet’s instructions to the tee.

The important thing is to limit the dog’s discomfort as much as possible, even during the treatment. A hypoallergenic shampoo may work just fine for this. It may even sort out related issues.

But, again, discuss it with your vet first.

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