Q: There are so many different types of shampoos in the market, how do I know which is suitable for my dogs? I have a Jack Russell Terrier, a Border Collie, and a Shih Tzu. Can I use the same shampoo for all three dogs?

A: There are many pet grooming products available in the market. Choosing the right shampoo or a conditioner for your dog is a constant learning process. As a rule of thumb, start with reputable brands which have a wide range of products that have been tried, tested and proven effective by many pet and show dog owners around the world. A well-established brand will usually have different types of shampoos and conditioners to suit different breeds of dogs.

First you need to understand the type of coat each dog breed is meant to have. Jack Russell Terriers have a double coat which is naturally harsh, close and dense. Border Collies have compact, weather-resistant double coats, with the top coat being straight or wavy and coarser in texture than the undercoat which is soft, short and thick. Shih Tzus have a long, luxurious, double-coat which is bushy.

Your three dogs actually require different shampoos because they have different coat types. For example, your Jack Russell Terrier will need something that can create a rough texture while keeping its coat flat on the body. Your Border Collie will require a shampoo that can create a harsh outer coat while maintaining the suppleness of the inner coat. Lastly, your Shih Tzu’s coat needs a product that will keep it smooth and glossy as well as weighted down.

Most importantly, a good shampoo must be able to completely remove oil, dirt and any hair products used on the coat. If these are not removed entirely, your dog may develop skin problems.

Establish a good hair care routine for your dogs by conditioning their fur after a bath. This will moisturise their skin and protect the freshly washed coat. Here’s a tip:  use an ear cleaner to clean the ear canal and remember to remove water trapped within to prevent ear infections.