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Dog Skin pH & Picking the Right Products

Dog Skin pHWhile one of your friends uses just about anything on her retriever, another does a litmus test on every substance that gets within a mile of his dachshund. With all the conflicting information out there about dog skin pH, you could be left wondering just how important it really is. The truth is that dog skin pH is relevant because dogs have more sensitive skin than people, and understanding what’s under those fluffy layers of fur can help you keep your pup’s skin and coat happier and healthier.
So, what pH levels are safe for dogs? First, you have to know what each level means in terms of acidity and alkalinity. The pH scale ranges from 0 to 14. Levels less than 6.0 are considered acidic, while 7.0 is basic or neutral, and levels more than 7 are considered alkaline. For reference, the human range of skin pH is typically 5.2 to 6.2.
Next, when it comes to the pH of dogs’ skin, many factors, such as gender, breed, climate, size, and even sterilization, will come into play. For instance, Muller and Kirk's Small Animal Dermatology notes that“In a dynamic study of skin surface pH in dogs, pH values even varied at different sites on the skin and varied from day to day.”
In general, pH levels of dogs’ and cats’ skin is thought to range from 5.5 to 7.5, but some breeds are even higher (studies have shown up to 9.1!). It’s true that canine skin is more alkaline than human skin, but there doesn’t seem to be a consistent pH number or even a specific range that is “perfect.”It is becoming clearer, however, that the pH of a species exists as a range, and dogs skin pH seems to be a rather wide one. For this reason, there is no exact pH that dog skin products must hit to be perfect for their skin, but some ranges will be more appropriate than others.
We performed a third-party lab analysis of top competing flea and tick sprays to understand the industry benchmarks. Of the samples taken, the pH ranged from 4.8–9.4. The target pH range for Wondercide Flea & Tick for Pets + Home is a narrow 6.0–6.5 pH, slightly more alkaline than products designed for human skin. Our mixologist meticulously tests each batch to ensure proper pH levels.
Because the pH level of your dog's skin can vary widely, the best approach is to be in tune with your pet's skin and health, and only use brands you trust. Keep an eye on skin sensitivities, conditions that might need specialty ingredients and any unexpected reactions to skin products. Be sure to consult a holistic veterinarian as needed if your dog seems to react to any skin products.
So, while dog skin pH may not be an exact science, it’s important to use products specifically designed for pet skin’s pH range, rather than just grab any old product off the shelf. While grooming your dog or cat may not seem too complicated, there’s more going on under their fur than meets the eye!
Scott, DW, Miller, WH, Griffin, CE, Muller & Kirk’s Small Animal Dermatology, 6th Ed., 2001, W.B. Saunders (US).

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