Top Dog

The pH in Dog Shampoos – Myths and Truths

What is pH?

Based on its definition, pH is the negative logarithm of the concentration of hydrogen cations (H +). Since this might seem tricky, practically the pH is a scale that shows how many times a mixture, solution, material, etc. is more acidic or more alkaline than neutral deionized water (pH 7). Do not be fooled by the seemingly small scale of pH (1 to 14). Taking into account that the base is pH 7 then its difference from pH 6 is not 1 unit as may be shown in the table but is essentially 10 times more acidic than the pH base 7. Correspondingly pH 5 is 100 times more acidic than pH 7 while pH 4 is 1000 times more acidic and so on. Exactly the same logic prevails as we go up the scale. If a mixture has a pH of 8 then it is 10 times more alkaline than pH7, pH 9 is 100 times more alkaline, pH 10 is 1000 times more alkaline, and so on.

Essentially, pH indicates us how many times a mixture is acidic or alkaline rather than if something is corrosive or irritating to the skin and to what extent. For example, honey has a pH of 3.5 and lemon 2.5. Although both of them are very acidic they are not irritating. However, SLS (Sodium Lauryl Sulfate) has a pH of 7.2 which is very close to the base pH 7 but can cause serious irritation on the skin. To summarize, it is important that a product is being produced taking into account the pH of the skin, but it is wrong to consider that pH is the only sole factor in assessing a product targeting animals.

The pH of the outer skin of dogs ranges from 6.0 (e.g., Maltese) to 8.0 (e.g. Labrador) with an average pH of 7.0, whereas in the human skin the pH is in the range of 4.8 to 5.8. Also, it should be mentioned that the pH differs according to sex, race, body, diet, hormones and any existing skin conditions.

However, the major difference with human skin is not the pH itself but the fact that the skin of the dogs is much thinner and at the same time that the so-called acidic mantle is absent. The acidic mantle surrounds the human skin externally and protects it from the growth of fungi, yeasts and bacteria while making it more resistant to their attacks. Our skin is directly exposed to environmental factors without any effect, while in dogs the whole body is covered with fur and basically all of the skin is totally protected from it. Therefore, the utmost importance of maintaining the skin barrier on dog skin should be taken into account.

Human shampoos as well as cheap toiletries are mostly designed to make more frequent bathing with rich foam, have a stronger irritating profile, and contain the sulphate sodium salt (SLS, ASLS) that offers too much cleaning which can become irritating. These products are economical enough and their purchase seems more attractive. Their pH can range from 5.0 (creamy soaps or shower gel) to 6.5 (the so-called baby shampoo for human use). Although the pH of human shampoos is slightly less acidic than the pH of dog shampoos, what makes them dissuasive is the very strong irritating profile of the cleansers they contain.

The use of human shampoos on dog skin can lead to disruption of sensitive and delicate skin barrier from first use resulting in skin exposure to harmful bacteria, fungi or yeasts immediately after bathing and can lead to long-term skin sensitization substances. At the same time, the cleansers are so powerful that they completely remove the thin oily substrate secreted by hair sprouting leading to faster and more sebum growth and intense smells. This creates an ugly vicious circle of problems that unfortunately extends in the future. So what distinguishes a right dog shampoo from cheap grooming products and human shampoos is primarily the non irritant profile and the ability of the shampoo to thoroughly cleanse and eliminate odors. At the same time, dog shampoos should be differentiated according to the type of coat (hard mantle, long and silky, short, double, atopic and irritated skin, unpleasant odors), while the last parameter is pH which simply represents a comparison of the acid and alkaline profile of a system and not an indication of how irritating a product is.

Top Dog Shampoos are designed in the pH range of 5.8 (Keratin Complex) to 7.0 (Green Clay) with an average pH of 6.5 while pHs greater than 7.0 may have a negative effect on hair health. They are highly condensed and contain a high proportion of very mild, qualitant and hypoallergenic raw materials having zero irritating profile in the huge actual dilution (1 part shampoo 20 parts water). Indicatively, a bottle of 250ml corresponds to 5 Lt of actual product. The choice of this particular pH range was based on the needs of the different coats and the skin in order to provide the ultimate balance of cleansing and final hair texture. These features classify our products to the professional level with the safety and guarantee of Top Dog.

Top Dog shampoos have high content in natural raw materials that ranges from 88% to 96% while they do not contain SLS and ASLES. They provide excellent textures based on the need of each hair type. They can be safely used often while some products such as Green Clay and Derma Equilibrium that are focused on specific skin needs, are suitable even for everyday use. All these features make Top Dog products the essential tools for safe grooming and with astonishing results that can impress even the most demanding user. With Top Dog, you become the professional at home.