Consumer Alert: Shampoo you use could make your dog sick - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Consumer Alert: Shampoo you use could make your dog sick

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We have a consumer alert for all you pet owners, especially if you have a dog and give it baths on occasion: the shampoo you are using could make your dog sick!

"It happens to be more prevalent in short-coated dogs," says veterinarian Dr. Ashley Gallagher of Friendship Animal Hospital in D.C. "Especially if people get real vigorous scrubbing their back. That's where we see the lesions more commonly."

Gallagher's colleague Nicola Moore says her 4-year-old pit bull Remy got very sick after getting a bath.

"He was very uncomfortable when you touched his back," says Dr. Moore. "And the skin infection didn't show all of its signs right away. It kind of evolved over several days."

Moore says Remy got a nasty skin infection from bacteria that was growing inside a bottle of pet shampoo.

"It's pretty terrible," she says. "We do everything we can to try to keep grooming utensils clean and shampoo bottles clean, but these things happen. Particularly if it's an older shampoo."

Dr. Moore and Dr. Gallagher say the staff at Friendship treat cases of post-grooming bacterial infections more often in summertime when people bath their dogs outdoors.

"And there's a particular type of bacteria that like to live in water," Gallagher says. "So they get in the shampoo bottle or on the shampoo bottle and then just kind of grow and go crazy. You put the shampoo away, you don't think about it. Couple of months later, you bring it out and wash your dog again and the bacteria are there ready to kind of set up camp on your dog."

So what can you do to avoid getting your pet sick? The pros say make sure the shampoo you are using hasn't been sitting around too long. And don't add water to the bottle to try to make it last longer.

"Don't buy the jumbo bottle of shampoo," Dr. Gallagher says. "Maybe get a smaller bottle and base that on how often do you bathe your dog. If you're bathing them frequently, then there's probably a very low risk because you're going to go through a bottle of shampoo pretty quickly."

More information:

Charity Dog Wash:
Date: Saturday, July 19th
Time: 9am-12pm
Location: Fur-Get Me Not Dog Wash, 1722 Florida Avenue, NW Washington, DC 20009

Volunteers from Homeward Trails Animal Rescue ( will be here ready to wash your dog for you. Baths are $20 and all bath proceeds will benefit Homeward Trails.

Homeward Trails Animal Rescue is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization that provides pet adoption in Virginia, Washington, DC and Maryland. We find homes for dogs and cats rescued from high-kill animal shelters or whose owners could no longer care for them or were found as strays. (

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