Selsun Blue

When I first got my Border Collie as a puppy, I shampooed her with Tearless Puppy Shampoo by Lambert Kay. She itched constantly until my vet told me to use Selsun Blue because it has selenium sulfide in it. We have not had an itching problem since. I just have to ask.... What is it about Selsun Blue dandruff shampoo that stops the itching?

Your dog has what is known as "seborrhea oleosa". Dogs with this condition have an oily skin and coat and get a sort of scaly, greasy, yellowish flaking dandruff. They often smell a little bit "off" (I agree that most Border Collies have very little "doggie odor". Even when wet, my dogs don't really smell. A large proportion of the rescues don't smell either after being cleaned up and put on healthy diets) and will feel..... ummmm... "sticky" or "icky" (I don't really know how to describe it quite right) to the touch. It comes from the overproduction of fat by the skin cells and oils by the hair follicles. This is what accumulates, flakes off, and smells pretty ripe. This accumulation becomes itchy to the dog (ever not wash your hair for a couple of weeks?) and the dog begins scratching.

Selsun Blue, as you noted, contains selenium in it. Selenium is a type of degreaser and removes this layer of accumulated "grease", getting rid of the scaling skin and odor. No more irritant and no more scratching.

By the way, there are dog shampoos that contain selenium (and other degreasers) too. If Selsun Blue, or any other human shampoo (for those that keep noting that they use human shampoo without incident) works for you, then fine. I'm not going to pound down your door or report you to the ASPCA. All I'm saying is that there are better alternatives to using human shampoo and they are properly formulated for your dog. Use what you want but if you want to use what's best for your dog, use dog shampoo.

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