Of all the crazy inquiries people are making about their dogs in my “Why Do Dogs ____?” post, the most prevalent question people are asking is ‘why do they smell?‘ The people at Vet’s Best saw my post and contacted me to put their products to the test.
They offer a “Super Deodorizing Shampoo” with Baking Soda, Yucca Extract, Rosemary Oil and Chamomile for the really smelly dogs, but none of my dogs is a super stinker. After consulting their specialist we determined that Mercury’s “dorito toes” and general yeasty smell was probably the result of allergies and that a more moderate approach might be effective. They sent along their Hypo-Alergenic Shampoo and a Seasonal Allergy Support supplement. When they heard that Celeste was blowing her coat due to her heat cycle they also sent a bottle of Healthy Coat Shed + Itch supplement.
I tested the products over the last month and I’m pleased with the results.
The hypoallergenic shampoo is a fantastic product. Other shampoos I’ve used on the dogs have too much fragrance, leave their skin dry and flaky, and usually evoke an immune response. The day after I bathe the dogs with other products they almost always have dandruff and the when the oils return to their skin they react with the fragrance and create a smell even more potent than when I was bathing the dogs. Not so with the Vet’s Best Hypo-Allergenic shampoo.
The shampoo is soap and sudsing agent free, which will be a new experience if you’re used to shampoos that foam up excessively (the truth is, the suds in shampoo and toothpaste perform no real function except to make you think the product is working). This means that it’s easier to use the correct amount of product and not over or under apply the shampoo.
The directions say to work in the product for 5 minutes and this is probably longer than you think. I timed it and it was quite the work out for the fingers. I made sure to work some product in between the toes and rinsed for as long as I lathered.
I bathed the dogs once a week for a month and then waited four weeks to see if that old yeasty smell would return. It hasn’t, even when Mercury decides to cuddle my face when I’m asleep, my gasps for air smell nice and fresh and decidedly unlike corn chips. The dogs’ coats look great, they haven’t had any bouts of dandruff, the level of shedding is down, and they never smell like the perfume counter at the mall.
Vet’s Best Hypo-Allergenic Shampoo delivers on being gentle and soothing for sensitive skin and destinkifying a mildly yeasty dog. Four out of four paws.
They also sent along two daily supplements to try out. These are obviously difficult to evaluate given that their effects are subtle and require time to observe. The one nice thing about both of them is that although they are large, too large to shove down your dog’s throat, both of the pills were readily chewed up and consumed by all the dogs. I gave them like treats every day and didn’t have to worry about finding them on the rug with my bare feet like I do their pills if I don’t get them far enough down their throats.
While the Seasonal Allergy Support pill is large and flat with a center line division making it easy to break in half if your dog requires a partial dose, the Healthy Coat pill’s shape doesn’t make it easy to divide.
Effectiveness of allergy relief is an evaluation by exclusion since I can’t read the dogs’ minds and ask if they feel better, I waited for the unmistakable sound of the inward sneeze the dogs make when they get allergies. Two months and no horrendous sounding snorkel of doom. The amount of crust in the corners of their eyes is also diminished. Celeste’s coat is coming in nicely, but I’ve always promoted healthy coats with fish oil and raw eggs, so I wasn’t expecting any miracles there because I didn’t really have a problem.
Supplements are generally something I’m skeptical about given that they are not regulated like most drugs and very few are given a scientific level of scrutiny. Natural doesn’t mean safe nor effective and the use of unrefined plant products means that you’re often giving hundreds of more compounds than are needed even in the effective treatments.
If you’re a believer in supplements, the photo above lists the ingredients and you’re welcome to compare them to available science on the included compounds. I’d rather see the science behind the formulation rather than just a “Formulated by a Vet” marketing plug given that the effects are better analysed in a lab. The effects of MSM are disputed but it might help inflammation; Citrus Bioflavonoids are believed to effect the biological response mechanisms and have anti allergic, inflammatory, microbial, and cancer activity; Nettle leaf is an anti-inflammatory that also helps the urinary tract; Quercetin is an anti-oxidant; Perilla Leaf has been documented to treat allergic nasal inflammation; Yellow Dock Root is included as a blood purifier pulling heavy metals out of solution; Oregon Grape Root is believed to have anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties; Burdock Root is used as a scalp and hair treatment; Red Clover contains isoflavones which mimic estrogen; many of the other ingredients are antioxidants and B vitamins.
Without a glaring problem to fix and given the awkward shape of the shed and itch pill I can’t award 4 paws. The supplements were easy to administer given that my dogs fell in the single pill range and ate them like treats. The visible metrics I could measure and observe were also positive if not overwhelming.
I’ll continue to use the Hypo-Allergenic shampoo and think that the allergy supplement is worth reevaluating when one of the dogs is exhibiting allergies more severely.
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