12 Dec pH Balanced Shampoo – pick a number, any number …
“pH balanced for your dog” – is this a big shampoo brands marketing department strategy to sell us on their particular shampoo? We think so – because scientific studies throw up some interesting facts.
Let’s start with the scientific basics. The pH scale measures how acidic or alkaline something is. The pH scale ranges from 0 to 14, and a pH of 7 is neutral.
Research has been done on the pH of dog skin with results ranging from acidic to alkaline – pH readings were taken over a variety of skin surfaces, at variety of times and on a variety of breeds. They ranged from 4.8 to 9.0.
When dogs were excited pH readings ranged from 6.6 to 9.0. When they were relaxed they ranged from 4.8 to 7.9. They also found some dog breeds had a more rapid increase in pH than other breeds.
Parts of their bodies showed different ranges of pH readings. The nose and foot area were quite stable – the nose moved from 7.1 to 8.5 whether the dog was excited or not. This relatively minor difference in reading is likely to be effected by the nasal glands and licking. The foot area was also quite stable with readings going from 6.5 to 7.9. It is believed that this stability is because of the eccrine gland secretions on paws. Some owners will have noticed their dog has damp paws, particularly if they are nervous or stressed. It’s thought this may be a natural defence mechanism as the damp paws provide more traction if they need to make a speedy getaway.
The abdominal region showed the most significant range with pH moving from 4.8 when the dog was relaxed to nearly double at 8.7 when the dog was excited.
This research puts a great deal of doubt on the need for ‘so called’ pH balanced shampoos for pets – you’d need to test the skin and have several different bottles of shampoo for different parts of the body just to manage the pH variations across the body of a single dog. We believe the whole pH debate is just marketing ticking off another feature with absolutely no benefits.