Dogs don’t groom themselves like cats do so, once in a while, you’ll have to do it for them. Bathing your dog can be quite an ordeal if your dog doesn’t like to get wet, but it is a necessity sometimes.
Whether your dog spent the afternoon rolling in mud or his coat is just starting to look a little dull, a good bath can fix him right up. What really makes the difference, though, is having the right dog shampoo. It is not a good idea to use human shampoo on your dog because it may contain ingredients that could irritate his skin.
So, how do you choose the best dog shampoo?
It depends on your needs. There are different dog shampoos for different purposes! Keep reading to see our top 10 picks for the best dog shampoos of different kinds. You’ll also receive tips for shopping for dog shampoo and a step-by-step guide for bathing your dog.
Here are our top 10 picks for the best Dog Shampoos:
#10 Furminator deShedding Ultra Premium Dog Shampoo
If your dog tends to shed a lot, you may want to consider a deshedding shampoo to help save you from all that brushing and combing. The best deshedding shampoo on the market is this Furminator deShedding Ultra Premium Dog Shampoo. This dog shampoo is made by the producers of the Furminator deshedding tool which helps remove dead and loose hair from your dog’s coat. When paired with this shampoo, you can greatly reduce your dog’s shedding while also keeping him clean and fresh.
This Furminator deShedding Ultra Premium Dog Shampoo tackles your dog’s shedding problem at the source and can be used once a month to reduce shedding while also promoting skin and coat health. It is made with a blend of omega fatty acids as well as beneficial extracts like calendula and papaya leaf. These extracts help your dog’s skin release his undercoat while also soothing and improving skin condition. This shampoo is one step in the process – you should follow it with a good brushing to take advantage of the deshedding benefits.
Pros: Helps to reduce shedding when used monthly, contains omega fatty acids, beneficial extracts help release undercoat, pleasant fragrance
Cons: Some dogs don’t like the fragrance, may be difficult to rinse out
#9 Synergy Labs Medicated Dog Shampoo
If your dog is suffering from a skin infection, your veterinarian may recommend bathing him with a medicated shampoo like this Synergy Labs Medicated Dog Shampoo. This shampoo is designed for parasite infections as well as bacterial and fungal infections – it also works against skin conditions like seborrheic dermatitis.
This shampoo contains active ingredients like salicylic acid and micronized sulfur as well as natural ingredients like oatmeal and coconut oil. In addition to soothing your dog’s condition, it also leaves his skin and coat fresh and clean.
Pros: Works for parasite infections, effective against fungal and bacterial infections, gentle healing formula, natural and active ingredients, fast-acting relief
Cons: Not approved for puppies under 12 weeks, some dogs may not tolerate chemical ingredients
#8 Adams Plus Flea & Tick Shampoo
If you’re looking for a flea shampoo that works on contact, nothing is better than Adams Plus Flea & Tick Shampoo. This dog shampoo works against both fleas and ticks, helping you get an infestation under control quickly. It contains natural pyrethrins to skill adult fleas, ticks, and lice in addition to an insect growth regulator called Precor which helps keep eggs from developing.
In addition to these active ingredients, this Adams Plus Flea & Tick Shampoo contains natural ingredients like oatmeal, aloe vera, and coconut extract to soothe and moisturize itchy and irritated skin. Best of all, the formula works into an easy lather and if you let it soak into your dog’s skin properly it will provide a full 28 days of protection. This formula will also leave your dog’s coat feeling silky smooth.
Pros: Kills fleas and ticks on contact, provides 28 days of protection, contains active ingredients pyrethrins and precor, contains natural ingredients, soothes and softens skin and coat
Cons: Not recommended for very young puppies, may have a strong odor
#7 Buddy Wash Original Lavender & Mint Dog Shampoo
With this being a 2-in-1 wash you don’t have to spend so long at bath time, something your pooch will be thankful for. The shampoo and conditioner formula uses botanical grade ingredients to ensure it is gentle on your dog’s fur and skin.
This makes it well tolerated by most breeds and the lavender and mint scent is a pleasant break for that doggy smell. The essential oils included are a good addition as it means the scent stays around longer so you won’t have to prep your dog for bath time again too soon.
The fact that it is alcohol-free means it will be easier on the eyes should any creep in and it has a pleasant lather that is easy to work with. The wheat protein ensures it is a natural deodorizer so it is fine for constant use, and it is ok to use on puppies.
Pros: Alcohol free, essential oils smell great, shampoo and conditioner formula, botanical garden ingredients
Cons: Not everyone enjoys lavender smell
#6 Douxo Chlorhexidine PS Dog & Cat Shampoo
A cat and dog shampoo with a difference, this is antibacterial and helps to keep fungi populations to a minimum. This is all down to the combination of chlorhexidine and climbazole.
To regulate inflammation, it uses lipacid to restore healthy skin and form a protective barrier whilst moisturizing the skin. It also protects against irritation and loss of moisture so your dog’s fur is always strong and healthy, something we don’t often see enough of in dog and cat shampoo.
If your pet has itchy skin, then this is one of the best shampoos available. It is well thought out formula treats itchiness so your pet doesn’t damage their skin whilst ensuring they are comfortable. It is fine to use on light and severe skin irritations and for a lot of pets, it is a saving grace.
Pros: Dog and cat shampoo, antibacterial, good for itchy skin, moisturizes the skin
Cons: Can irritate eyes
#5 Oatmeal, Shea Butter & Aloe Vera Shampoo
If you’re looking for a product made with all-natural ingredients and guaranteed to leave your dog smelling fresh and clean, consider Oatmeal Shea Butter, Aloe Vera Shampoo. This shampoo contains natural ingredients like aloe, jojoba, coconut oil, and oatmeal to not only clean your dog’s fur but to soothe and moisturize his skin.
This premium skin and coat treatment contains a delicate balance of essential oils to support skin and coat health in addition to adding a pleasant natural fragrance to the equation. Plus, this tear-free formula won’t irritate your dog’s nose and eyes which makes the entire bath-time experience more pleasant for both of you.
Pros: All-natural ingredients, contains essential oils, tear-free formula, works for cats and dogs, soothes and moisturizes skin and coat, subtle fragrance, lathers and rinses well
Cons: Fragrance may be too subtle for deodorizing, fairly expensive
#4 Synergy Labs Veterinary Formula Triple Strength Dog Shampoo
While most dog shampoos are fine for the occasional bath, if your dog is really dirty and smelly, you may need something stronger – something like Synergy Labs Veterinary Formula Triple Strength Dog Shampoo. This triple-strength dog shampoo contains 3 times more of the active cleansing ingredients than you’ll find in normal shampoo and it features an exclusive dirt-repel formula to help keep your dog clean after bathing.
This shampoo contains several foaming agents for a deep clean in addition to natural ingredients like shea butter and aloe vera to soothe and moisturize your dog’s skin. All in all, it is free from chemical and artificial additives and it has a nice green apple and white tea fragrance.
Pros: Triple the active cleansing ingredients, contains a dirt-repel formula, multiple foaming agents for a deep clean, natural ingredients like aloe vera and shea butter, subtle green apple white tea fragrance
Cons: Formula may be too strong for dogs with sensitive skin, scent may wear off quickly
#3 4-Legger Certified Organic Dog Shampoo
While many dog shampoos advertise being made with natural ingredients, many of them contain chemical ingredients as well. If you have a dog with sensitive skin and you need something that is all-natural, consider this 4-Legger Certified Organic Dog Shampoo. This dog shampoo is USDA-certified organic in addition to being hypoallergenic and free from all chemical and synthetic ingredients.
In addition, it is 100% biodegradable and sustainably sourced, so you can feel good about using it for many reasons. When it comes to using this shampoo on your dog, you’ll find that it doesn’t irritate his skin, nose, or eyes and it is easy to lather and rinse. Plus, with the essential oils it contains, it has a pleasant fragrance to leave your dog smelling fresh.
Pros: USDA-certified organic, all-natural ingredients only, hypoallergenic formula, contains essential oils for subtle fragrance, easy to lather and rinse, safe for dogs of all ages
Cons: May not lather enough for every thick coats, constancy is thinner than some shampoos
#2 Zesty Paws Oatmeal Anti-Itch Dog Shampoo
Oatmeal is an ingredient often found in a lot of human-grade shampoos so it is not surprising to find it in this product. This, combined with Aloe Vera ensures it is anti-itching and soothes irritation. We like the shine that it provides as it makes coats look more vibrant and because of the inclusion of vitamins E and C, it helps to reduce shedding and improves brittle fur.
We like the scent as it’s more subtle than overbearing and stays on the fur for a while. The vanilla fragrance is pleasant and helps to stop tangles from becoming an issue. It’s only for dogs as some of the ingredients are not so suitable for other pets and it is made in the USA in an FDA registered and GMP facility.
Pros: Oatmeal formula, anti-itching, reduces shedding, pleasant vanilla fragrance
Cons: Only for dogs
#1 Earthbath Oatmeal & Aloe Natural Dog Shampoo
With its pleasant vanilla and almond fragrance, this Earthbath Oatmeal & Aloe Natural Dog Shampoo is not your average dog shampoo. It is an all-natural recipe that comes in a concentrated formula to power through even the most extreme messes. This shampoo works on all coat types and it helps to condition and detangle, leaving your dog’s fur cleaner and softer than ever. Plus, the combination of aloe vera and colloidal oatmeal soothes and moisturizes dry, itchy skin.
This Earthbath Oatmeal & Aloe Natural Dog Shampoo will leave your dog’s coat fresh and clean, but it won’t disturb whatever topical flea and tick treatment you may have applied. Plus, it is a soap-free formula that won’t irritate your dog’s nose and eyes. You’ll also love that it is properly pH-balanced which is good for your dog’s skin and it helps to deodorize his coat as well.
Pros: All-natural ingredients, soothes and cleans, good for all coat types, vanilla and almond scent, soap-free formula, 100% biodegradable, won’t interfere with flea and tick products
Cons: May not lather as much as some shampoos, may not be powerful enough for strong odor
Would you use the same shampoo if you had curly hair as you would if you had short, straight hair? What about beauty products? Would someone with sensitive skin use the same product as someone with very dry or oily skin?
These are the kind of questions you ask when purchasing personal hygiene products for yourself, but they are also the kind of questions you should ask when shopping for your dog.
Dogs have different types of skin and fur which means that not all dog shampoos are a one-size-fits-all kind of deal. Not only are there different shampoos for different coats and skin types, but some types of shampoo offer additional benefits like killing insect pests or soothing damaged skin.
Keep reading to learn more about the different types of dog shampoo and how to choose one. You’ll also receive a step-by-step guide for bathing your dog.
Things to Think About When Shopping for Dog Shampoo
When shopping for dog shampoo, the first thing you need to know is what kind of shampoo to look for. There are many different types of dog shampoo, so consider your dog’s individual needs before you look around. Here is an overview of the different types of dog shampoo:
All-Purpose – This is the most common type of dog shampoo and what you’ll be looking for if you’re just trying to give your dog a bath to clean him up.
Hypoallergenic – These shampoos are made for dogs with sensitive skin – they usually use mild cleansers and natural ingredients to avoid triggering a skin reaction.
Puppy – A puppy has finer fur and more delicate skin than an adult dog, so you need to be careful with it – puppy shampoos are gentle enough for your puppy.
Flea and Tick – If your dog has a flea or tick infestation, this is the type of shampoo you need – some shampoos only kill existing pests while others provide long-lasting protection.
Medicated – There are a variety of medicated shampoos out there to soothe irritated skin or to resolve specific skin conditions.
Aloe Vera – This type of shampoo is great if your dog’s skin is dry or irritated – it is a natural ingredient that soothes and cools a variety of skin ailments.
In addition to thinking about the type of dog shampoo you’re looking for, you should also be thinking about the ingredients. Generally speaking, it is best to choose a product made with natural ingredients because chemicals can irritate your dog’s skin or even cause a dangerous reaction.
For flea/tick and medicated shampoos you might have to allow some chemicals or medications, but make sure they are in a safe dosage and combined with other safe and natural ingredients.
How to Give Your Dog a Bath
If you need to give your dog a bath, it may be tempting to simply take him into the shower with you. While this is certainly an option, it could end up being a little more of a hassle than you realize, and you’ll be getting your dog’s eyes and ears wet which is something you want to avoid.
Follow these steps to properly bathe your dog:
1. Start by brushing or combing your dog’s coat to remove dead and loose hairs – you don’t want them clogging your drain or getting all over your hands during the bath.
2. Place a shower mat or towel on the bottom of your tub to give your dog something to stand on so his feet don’t slip.
3. Fill the tub with a few inches of lukewarm water – you don’t want it to be too hot or too cold, so test it while you’re filling the bath to make sure it’s okay.
4. Place your dog in the tub and wet down his fur (keeping his head dry) using a handheld sprayer or by pouring water over him.
5. Squeeze a little bit of dog shampoo onto your dog’s back and work it into a lather in his coat.
6. Work the shampoo into your dog’s fur all the way down to his skin, working in sections of his body – start at the base of the neck and move down the back then down the legs.
7. If you’re using a flea shampoo or medicated shampoo, you may need to let it sit for a few minutes – read the instructions on the bottle to determine whether this is necessary.
8. Thoroughly rinse all of the shampoo out of your dog’s coat using the same method you used to wet it down.
9. Towel your dog dry to remove as much moisture as you can then either let him air dry or finish the job with the blow dryer on the low heat setting.
10. Give your dog a treat and a healthy dose of praise for being a good boy then let him go play!
The most important thing to remember when bathing your dog is to keep his head dry. You don’t want to get soap in your dog’s eyes because it could irritate them and you don’t want to get his ears wet because wet ears are a breeding ground for infectious bacteria. To wash your dog’s face, it is best to use a damp cloth and very little shampoo, if any at all.
How Often Should You Bathe Your Dog?
Dogs are not like people – they don’t need to bathe every day. In fact, if you bathed your dog on a daily basis you would end up drying out his skin which could lead to a variety of skin problems. Generally, you should plan to bathe your dog about once a month.
Dogs with long or very fine fur may need to be bathed more often to prevent tangles and active or working breeds may need additional baths when they get dirty on the job.
Now that you know everything there is about dog shampoo and how to use it, you’re ready to head to the pet store! Take what you’ve learned here to find the perfect dog shampoo to fit your needs and then follow the instructions above to bathe your dog. Best of luck!