Home > Why pH is Important
• Horse's skin is normally in the range of pH 7.0 to 7.4.
• Dog's skin is normally in the range of 6.2 and 7.4.
• Human skin has a lower pH of about 5.5. (That's why shampoos formulated for humans are much more acidic than those for dogs or horses, and can upset the balance of their skin.)

Equine Organix shampoo and detangler are pH neutral at 7.0, so they work perfectly for horses and dogs.

More about Why PH is Important to You and Your Horse

by Eric Witherspoon, DVM

Basically, pH scale measures the concentration of H+ (hydrogen ions) and OH- (hydroxide ions). More simply put, it is the measure of how acidic or alkaline a solution is.  The pH scale ranges from 0, very acidic, to 14, highly alkaline, with 7 as the neutral number.  Even though some products may have a slightly higher or lower number than 7 and could be considered ‘neutral’, e.g. a pH of 6.5 to 7.5, the scientific fact is that neutral pH is 7.  Period.

The internal pH of most living cells is close to 7, and the pH of a healthy horse’s skin and hair is 7.0 to 7.4, essentially neutral.  This neutral pH provides a barrier to both unfriendly funguses and bacteria.  In fact, equine skin pH actually increases as a horse sweats, creating an environment more conducive for harmful bacteria and fungus to ‘set up shop’ dermatologically, so to speak.  Because of this, it is very important to try to bring the pH back to normal, as close to neutral as possible.  Everyone who has ever purchased shampoo for themselves as heard or read the term: pH-balanced.  This is simply stating that a particular product, shampoo, conditioner, moisturizer, whatever it may be, has been balanced for a particular pH.  As an example, the pH of human skin and hair is around 6.7 to 6.9, slightly lower than a horse’s.  So, a pH-balanced shampoo will have a slightly acidic pH so it will rinse more cleanly, not leaving chemical residues behind.

Because the pH scale is so ‘compact’, ranging only from 0 to 14, it’s important to understand how it works.  Each pH unit represents a tenfold difference of the H+ (hydrogen ion) and OH- (hydroxide ion) concentration.  That means that a solution of pH 2 is not twice as acidic as a solution of pH 4, but rather a HUNDRED times more acidic.  If a horse’s skin and hair has a pH of 7, an alkaline solution with a pH of 10 is actually 1000 times MORE ALKALINE than normal or neutral.

The most important lesson to learn about pH and your horse’s skin and hair is simply this:  it’s always best to try to bring the pH back towards neutral or normal.

Remember that sweating and dirt can raise the pH toward the alkaline side, so a neutral to slightly acidic pH product works best for cleaning and protecting the horse’s skin and hair.  Although a more alkaline product may seem to clean better, it simply strips away all natural oils and opens up the cuticles, possibly causing hair shaft damage and making an environment in which funguses and bacteria can more readily establish themselves.

 If there’s a question about a specific product, it’s best to contact the manufacturer and ask for a copy of the MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheet), which should contain the pH of the product in question.  Or, you can test any solution or substance with a simple pH meter or litmus paper test.  Also, the term ‘pH-balanced’ can, unfortunately, be twisted to mean what the manufacturer wants it to mean.   Unless a reference point is provided, pH-balanced may be misconstrued.  As an example, since horse’s hair and skin is normally around 7 to 7.4, a pH-balanced shampoo should be close to neutral to ‘balance’ the pH back to normal.