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So I was browsing the internet and reading about pet shampoo (I know, i'm super cool), and one forum was talking about how PH doesn't actually affect us physically (I'm not sure if they meant when ingested, or just topically)... and I was just wondering if anyone could explain this to me, if it's true? I'm pretty uneducated on PH and all the 'knowledge' I have is hear-say, minus what I learned in highschool about the PH scale and such. Don't be afraid to drone on like a an old college professor and explain fully, I will happily read every word c:

Here's the link to the thread... you can see two people said that PH was essentially a myth, but they didn't explain why.
http://www.petgroomerforums.com/chat/showthread.php?31354-Selsun-Blue

So; PH... important or not?
 

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ph in dog's shampoo is extremely important and is certainly not a myth. pH is the measurement of how acidic or alkaline a substance is. Dog's have a different pH level than humans, which is one of the reasons why human shampoo can not be used on dog's skin. The skin has a layer known as an acid mantle, which is a slightly acidic layer covering the skin. The acid mantle is used to serve as barrier for bacteria and viruses and is meant to be the first line of defense against harmful things in the environment. A dog's acid mantle is balanced to the pH level of 5.5 to 7.5. When a shampoo that is not balanced to the pH level of dog's skin is used, this barrier will be disrupted and the dogs skin will become vulnerable to bacteria, leading to skin irritation, itching, dryness and other skin problems.
 

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Wouldn't the pH of the rinse water be more important than the shampoo's pH? It is in contact with the skin for much longer after all. Could that be why a vinegar rinse after a bath is a good thing?
 

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A dog's acid mantle is balanced to the pH level of 5.5 to 7.5.
That's a huge range! Hundredfold difference in abundance of hydrogen ions. All it says, really, is not strongly acidic or basic. Same range as tolerable pH for garden soils (though 7.5 is too alkaline for many plants). I'd guess most human shampoos are in the same range. Do you have any data?
 

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Eh, when I worked as a dog bather for a groomer, they used human whitening shampoo for all of the white dogs, with absolutely no negative effects. I'd be interested in hearing what some of the professional dog groomers in the forum think on this.
 

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My groomer has been in business for 20 years and is also a breeder. I asked her what shampoo she recommended and instead of suggesting a brand she uses in the salon, she insisted that Johnson & Johnson baby shampoo was the best thing to use. No idea what the ph is but I would imagine it's very gentle.
 

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Wouldn't the pH of the rinse water be more important than the shampoo's pH? It is in contact with the skin for much longer after all. Could that be why a vinegar rinse after a bath is a good thing?
That is a keen question. I went searching for answers, and here's what I found by way of fact and data:

1. Chemistry basics: PH values range from 0 (very acidic) to 14 (very alkaline). The PH of pure (purified) water is 7 or "neutral" (right smack in the middle of the range). Question: Would it be bad to bathe our dogs in purified/neutral PH water before we test our dog's skin to ensure its PH is right around 7?

2. Rain water in the US ranges from PH 4.3 to 5.3 (see map in ref. link 1). [Which, as a side note, literally means all rain is "acid rain".] Question: how many dogs develop skin problems from rain exposure (since their skin PH falls completely outside this range)?

3. "The normal range for pH in surface water systems is 6.5 to 8.5 and for groundwater systems 6 to 8.5." (ref. link 2). Question: again, since that doesn't exactly match K9 skin PH, how many dogs with skin PH unmatched to surface water get a skin rash from dipping in a river or a lake?

4. Optimum PH for a swimming pool is 7.4 (ref. link 3). Question: If you have a dog that loves to swim in your pool, danger, danger, or don't care?

5. Water treatment (plants, home filters, etc.) seek to neutralize PH, but acceptable ranges of drinking/tap water are in the range of 6-8.5 (ref. link 4). Question: Since this is most likely the range of PH in water we use to bathe our dogs... well, we really don't need to keep asking, do we?

So, while I'm not a shampoo expert, based on the facts and data above, I'm leaning toward the mythology of importance of PH in shampoo. So long as you're not bathing Fido in sulfuric acid or alkaline concentrate, I think you should be OK. I'm guessing "PH" in marketing terms stands for more than acidity or alkaline qualities in the shampoo, as in, what else is it doing to strip or preserve your dog's natural skin protection?
 
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