Medicated Bath


Montgomery Pet Skin and Ear Clinic
Dr. Louis N. Gotthelf
(member American Academy of Veterinary Dermatology)
3310 Atlanta Highway
Montgomery, AL 36109

Shampoo therapy can be very important in the successful management of many skin conditions. Although shampooing may be time-consuming, it can provide many benefits, including: decreasing the length of time needed for antibiotic therapy; reducing the numbers of bacteria and yeast on the skin, and decreasing the number of allergens that can be absorbed from the skin surface. In addition, baths are soothing and can often reduce itching, odor, dandruff and discharge from the skin significantly.


First make sure the room air temperature is warm to avoid chilling during the bath. Heavily coated, long-haired or matted haircoats should be clipped short by a groomer to ½ to 1 inch of hair, including face, ears, area around the anus and skin in between the toes. If your pet’s hair is dirty or greasy, they should be washed first with a gentle cleansing shampoo before any medicated preparation is applied (baby shampoo, oatmeal shampoo, grooming shampoo). Remember, medicated shampoos are not cleansing shampoos! They are more like creams meant to treat the skin problem, not clean the haircoat.

Use cool or lukewarm water and an attachable hose-sprayer to facilitate rinsing and wetting down the entire skin. After rinsing the cleansing shampoo, a small amount of the medicated shampoo should be worked into the skin and haircoat thoroughly with the hands starting in the infected areas or bacterial/ yeast carriage sites (armpits, groin, underside, around the anus/ under the tail, neck folds, paws/ in between the toes) to allow for the greatest contact time in these areas.

Once completely worked in, the shampoo should be left on for 10 minutes (time it with a kitchen timer, don’t “guesstimate”) before thoroughly rinsing completely for 10 more minutes. If a medicated cream rinse was prescribed, it can be applied at this time to the wet haircoat. Some cream rinses are made to be left on the skin and not rinsed off. Again concentrate on the infected areas and carriage areas noted above when applying the cream rinse.

The pet should be dried with a towel or cool hair-dryer on a low setting, and kept in a warm environment until completely dry to prevent chilling. The frequency of bathing varies with the type and severity of the skin problem. Dogs with deep severe skin infections often require daily baths, while most allergic, superficially infected, or seborrheic dogs do well on twice weekly shampoos initially. As the condition responds to therapy after 2-4 weeks, the frequency of bathing can be decreased to once every 7 days in most cases to help prevent infection from recurring and to decrease itching.

Bathe your pet every 2-3 days for 2 weeks, then every 7-10 days for preventative maintenance.

At Montgomery Pet Skin and Ear Clinic, we can provide therapeutic bathing services for your pet at a reduced cost from our regular grooming fees. We have Hydrosurge bathing technology, which does a high pressure skin cleansing as well as removing loose hairs that are shedding. If the doctor has prescribed a special medicated shampoo for your pet's skin, please bring it along and we will do the baths as prescribed.

Please schedule a recheck appointment to check the skin in 14 days. Call us at 272-2200. This is very important to determine the next step in diagnosing and managing your pet’s skin condition.

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