When bath time rolls around, you bring your dog to the bathtub, rinse them off, and use a thorough dog shampoo to clean away dirt, grime, and excess hair. But there is another product you could be skipping that your dog may benefit from — dog conditioner.
In fact, dog conditioner is an excellent general hair care product that many pooches enjoy, particularly if they have long fur. But what if you’ve never used dog conditioner before or don’t know what it is? Today, let’s break down dog conditioner and explore how it can make dog fur much easier to brush in no time.
What Is Dog Conditioner?
Dog conditioner is similar to conditioner products for human hair. In a nutshell, conditioner:
- Helps smooth out your dog’s fur
- May provide your dog’s fur with additional nutrients and vitamins
- Could help your dog avoid tangles in their fur
- Will make your dog’s fur seem silky and much softer than normal
If your dog has long hair prone to tangles, using conditioner for a few weeks should do wonders to minimize tangles, prevent matting in their hair, and make brushing your dog overall easier. In other words, using a little conditioner could cut down on the amount of time you spend untangling your pup’s fur significantly!
Dog conditioner is an excellent product for a variety of dog breeds, including long-haired dog breeds or breeds that are prone to tangles, such as poodles, certain types of shepherds, and more. Generally, the longer hair a dog has, the more likely they are to need dog conditioner at one point or another.
Shampoo vs. Conditioner
However, keep in mind the dog conditioner isn’t the same thing as shampoo.
Shampoo is primarily a cleaning product designed to:
- Wash away dirt and surface-level debris
- Help get rid of dead skin cells and excess hair that may build up over time
- Assist with removing certain types of bacteria and microbes
- Sometimes kill fleas or other parasites that may be bothering your dog
The difference is clear: shampoo is meant to clean your dog, while conditioner is meant to help keep your dog’s hair soft, smooth, and healthy. Both products should be used in conjunction with one another, but they aren’t meant to replace either.
This is even truer if your dog shampoo has a moisturizing element. Many shampoo products will accidentally dry out skin or hair if they are used too often. Conditioner, on the other hand, often helps to moisturize skin and hair to prevent dandruff or irritation.
Bottom line: don’t try to replace dog shampoo with dog conditioner. Ideally, you’ll use both products if your dog has long fur, for you need a little bit of help untangling their hair from time to time.
What To Look for in a Dog Conditioner
When selecting a conditioner for your dog, do not use a human product. Instead, you should only ever use a dedicated dog conditioner. Why?
Human hair conditioners may have certain chemicals or ingredients that could be toxic to your dog, especially if they ingest them. Remember that, no matter how thoroughly you rinse your dog after bath time, odds are some of the shampoo or conditioner particles will end up in their stomach as they lick themselves.
Because of this, you should not use any conditioner that isn't formulated specifically for dogs. Furthermore, a human conditioner can dry out your dog's skin or make them feel itchy.
Instead, look for a dedicated dog conditioner that uses gentle ingredients. Additionally, try to avoid dog conditioners that use some type of dangerous essential oils as their primary ingredients. Oils ranging from sunflower oil to almond oil to olive oil can sometimes weigh down your dog’s fur and attract dirt or leaves (although these oils are moisturizing).
Do All Dogs Need Conditioner?
Not at all. If your dog has relatively short hair, odds are you don't need to use conditioner at all unless specifically told to by your veterinarian.
Dog conditioner is best used for pups that have really long hair that is liable to get tangled or to trap dirt and debris. If your dog has really short fur, their hair probably doesn’t get tangled all that often or even at all. A good rinse and some shampoo should be enough to clean your dog’s fur of excess hair and dirt.
Your dog may need conditioner if you brush their hair regularly, however. Brushing your dog's hair when it constantly has tangles could lead to an uncomfortable experience. If you use conditioner regularly, each brushing session will be easier and more comfortable for your canine companion.
How To Use Dog Conditioner During Bath Time
Now let’s take a look at how you can apply dog conditioner to your pup for the best results.
Rinse Your Dog Thoroughly
Firstly, always rinse off your dog before applying any cleaning product, whether it’s shampoo or conditioner. Rinsing your dog gets rid of excess hair and dirt and helps the shampoo and conditioner products be more effective by working deeper into your dog’s coat.
Use Dog Shampoo
Next, use dog shampoo to clear away extra dirt and debris and to open up your dog’s undercoat layers for the conditioner. Dog shampoo should be scrubbed in vigorously and rinsed thoroughly to prevent irritation afterward.
Wild One’s Conditioning Shampoo is an excellent choice, as it can gently clean and condition your dog’s skin and hair coat without causing itchiness or dry skin. Like all of our other consumable products, it’s totally vegan, hypoallergenic, and is 99.8% natural. It’s a healthy, safe choice for your dog, no matter their age.
Then Use Conditioner
Only after you have already used shampoo should you apply dog conditioner. Dog conditioner only needs to be applied once per bath time and can be rinsed away just like shampoo.
Scrub Conditioner In Properly
Be sure to scrub the conditioner into your dog’s hair correctly. Don’t scrub it in the same way you would scrub shampoo into your dog’s fur, such as by rubbing back and forth and digging deep into the skin.
Instead, you’ll want to rub the conditioner into the fur in a single direction. Apply the conditioner generously to lather the moisturizing elements and minerals all around. Then allow the conditioner to sit in your dog’s hair for between two and three minutes.
Once this time has passed, you can rinse off the conditioner thoroughly so that your dog doesn’t ingest too much of it when they lick themselves. Be sure to rinse off the conditioner well since any missed spots could cause your dog’s skin to itch or become flaky.
Since conditioner quality and ingredients can vary wildly, it might be a good idea to use a little conditioner at first, then see how your dog reacts. You can check them for any negative reactions before applying more conditioner thoroughly during the next bath time session.
Keeping Your Dog Clean Between Baths
While a conditioner can help clean your dog during bath time, you'll also want to minimize how dirty their hair gets in between bathing sessions. Fortunately, you can do this fairly easily as long as you use rinseless shampoo or grooming wipes.
These are ideal for cleaning your dog when you take them on a hike or when they roll around in the mud right after a bath. You don’t always have time to give your dog a full bath, especially if they kick up a big fuss each time you turn on the faucet.
Instead, consider using a Rinseless Shampoo. This no-fuss cleanliness solution is easy to shake, spray, and rub into your dog’s hair for excellent cleaning results. Plus, it’s totally hypoallergenic and vegan and is free of parabens and sulfate. Finish things off with Grooming Wipes if you need to clean your puppy's paws after they get into something smelly or dirty.
Happy and Clean: The Pet Owner’s Dream
As you can see, finding and using dog conditioner to streamline the brushing process and make your dog’s fur much more comfortable is easier than ever. You can usually find a quality dog conditioner at pet stores or at online shops that prioritize healthy pet products.
Just remember to use a dog conditioner in conjunction with other quality products like shampoo. Wild One offers conditioning shampoo and a variety of other cleanliness products to help pups live clean and happy lives. When your dog loves their bath time, so will you. Wild One creates a powerful clean free of harmful chemicals.