It’s not just about love, attention, and quality food! Caring for your dog means using the best dog shampoo you can for bathing your dog!
Dogs sometimes need grooming just like people do! But when I bathe my dog, I often ask myself “is this the right shampoo for my dog?” or “is this shampoo great for his skin and coat?”
When faced with all the dog shampoo out there, you probably wonder about the best dog shampoo for the health of your dog’s skin and coat.
You may read all the reviews and wonder: “Can I trust these? Are they telling the truth?”
Well, I am going to make your job easy for you! I have dogs and have tried and tested a number of dog shampoos and done my research on them. So if you have a few minutes, please take a look at my dog shampoo guide to decide, exactly, which is the right dog shampoo for your dog.
Remember, different dogs have different needs, so choosing the right shampoo for your dog is just as important as choosing the right shampoo for you! Your dog’s skin and coat health depend on it!
Why Should I Use Dog Shampoo for My Dog and Not Human Products?
A shampoo is a shampoo and my shampoo is good enough for my dog too, right?
No! It is not!
Human shampoo is not great for dogs and here is the reason why!
Skin, whether it is dog or human, has an acid mantle. This is a layer that covers the skin. It is slightly acidic and protects your top, porous layer of skin. This porous layer absorbs water, prevents too much evaporation, and keeps your skin hydrated – this goes for dogs and humans, so by the way.
Now, here is the thing! This acid mantle has a certain pH. The pH levels of human skin and dog skin are not the same. A human’s pH is between 5.2 and 6.2. Our shampoo and skin products maintain this slightly acidic balance.
A dog’s pH level, on the other hand, tends to be more alkaline, with a pH ranging between 5.5 and 7.5. This, of course, differs from one dog breed to the other, whether it is a male or female dog, and the climate they live in.
So, what happens if you use a human shampoo on your dog? Well, it will destroy this acidic mantle and create an environment that allows parasites, viruses, and bacteria to flourish!
When all these bacteria start flourishing, your dog starts to smell. Then you wash your dog with human shampoo again, which makes their pH level even more imbalanced while even more bacteria come along. Besides this, human shampoo can dry out your dog’s skin. He will start scratching himself and cause abrasions. These abrasions make it even easier for the bacteria to invade his skin, and you end up with a vicious cycle that results in a costly visit to the vet.
So what is the bottom line? Do NOT wash your dog with your shampoo! It is not made for his skin! It will cause much more damage than good.
Things to consider before choosing best dog shampoo
If you choose the correct shampoo for your best 4-legged pal, making the right choice ensures his skin is in great condition and his coat is healthy and shiny.
So, when looking for the best shampoo for your dog, think of the following factors before making your final choice:
- What is the condition of his skin?
If your dog’s skin is in great condition, wonderful! Then a normal, good quality dog shampoo is the way to go. If, however, he has dry, itchy, scaly skin, you need to buy a shampoo that deals with this so that you can rectify the situation.
Where possible, opt for dog shampoos that contain good, quality, natural ingredients like aloe vera, vitamin E, oatmeal, and honey. Stay away from those that are artificially scented. These scented shampoos, more often than not, contain chemicals that can damage your dog’s sensitive skin.
If your dog has any skin condition that worsens, even although you are using the best dog shampoo you can possibly find, it is time to consult your vet. He may prescribe a special medicated shampoo or even alternative treatment for the condition.
- When ticks or fleas are a problem
Although there are many dog shampoos that kill ticks and fleas, they are not a long-term solution to the problem. They only kill off the ticks and fleas that are on your dog when you wash him. They do not necessarily prevent him from getting them.
But all is not lost!
There are many tick and flea remedies available that can effectively see to it that your pooch becomes, and stays, clear of ticks and fleas for a long time! These come in all forms, including sprays, powders, dips, collars, and tablets. Choose one that is best for your dog’s long-term protection after washing him with a good quality tick and flea shampoo.
- When choosing the best dog shampoo for your puppy
Puppies are babies, and just like human babies, their skin is more sensitive than an older dog’s. Also, the shampoo made for adult dogs tend to burn their eyes. So, when choosing a shampoo for your puppy, you need to take this into consideration to make sure his bathing experience is a great one.
Puppy shampoos are formulated for them, are gentler on the skin, and usually have a no-tear formula that does not burn their eyes.
- Even the best cared for dogs smell sometimes
It is a fact that most dogs love getting into smelly things – mine loves rolling in anything that is rotten, for some reason. Your quick solution would be to wash him with a shampoo that has a great smell in order to cover up the stink. Do not do this! As mentioned, scented shampoos usually have harmful chemicals that do serious damage to your pooch’s skin!
Instead, consider buying a deodorizing shampoo. These shampoos do not cover up the stink. Instead, they eliminate it.
- When color fades
Some dogs love swimming, and the chlorine in pools can seriously affect the color of a light dog’s fur. Some dogs with white or light fur also have the habit of their coats getting dull or lackluster after a while.
Luckily, there are specially formulated dog shampoos on the market these days that looks at these issues. They not only brighten your pooch’s fur but add a glossy sheen as well. Look for the gentlest one possible.
- Longer fur that tangles
Besides two large German Shepherds, I have two smaller dogs, a Yorkshire Terrie and a Dachshund. The Yorkie has lovely long fur, but…it tends to get tangled all the time (it is he that loves rolling in all things that stink). Because his coat is very fine, it also tends to be drier than my other dogs’. This means his coat needs extra care and handling.
If I am describing your dog’s coat, do not despair. A good quality, all in one shampoo-conditioner does the trick admirably. It helps restore moisture and makes his coat easier to maintain.
If your dog has frizzy locks or very stubborn tangles, you can use a separate shampoo and conditioner. It will not only adds natural oils to his fur but help with the detangling part as well.
- When time is a problem
Sometimes, with the hectic lifestyle we have due to modern living, we just do not have the time for a shampoo. Humans can easily make do with a ‘dry shampoo’, but what about your dog?
The good news is that there are waterless shampoos and wipes on the market that make life easy – for you and your dog. They are very convenient to use when time is a factor or when your dog just hates water.
My dachshund has really short hair, so I find the wipes are ideal for keeping her coat clean when I am in a hurry. For the Yorkie and two German Shepherd girls, I find that a waterless shampoo does the trick. You simply sprinkle it on, work it into their coats, and give them a good brush. Nobody will know you cleaned your pal up in a matter of minutes…except you and your dog, of course.
- When durability is an issue
There are times when you need a more durable dog shampoo. This cannot be helped. We often go on long walks or hikes with the two large German Shepherd dogs and mud, dust, dirt, and grime tend to stick to them like leeches.
In these cases, I tend to wash them using a heavy duty shampoo that gets them clean. I do not use this every time I bathe them, though, as these shampoos tend to dry out their coat and skin if used too often.
- When they shed more than usual
Most dogs shed when the seasons change. This is perfectly natural. But if your dog is like my one German Shepherd, they tend to shed almost constantly.
Luckily, there are now shampoos on the market that help with this problem. They are made with certain amino acids, oils, and antioxidants that curb excessive shedding, saving you much time having to vacuum the house and furniture.
Ingredients to look out for when buying the best dog shampoo for your dog
What needs looking out for depends on your dog’s coat and skin. Trying to go organic is usually the best way to ensure your dog’s coat is cleaned and conditioned without having to worry about synthetic chemicals that may damage his skin and coat.
Organic shampoos and conditioners tend to be pet-friendly and are usually mild, ensuring no damage to your dog’s skin while it reduces the chances of irritation and inflammation.
Ingredients to look out for include:
- Aloe Vera – has a soothing effect on skin and is great for dogs with dry or sensitive skins or who are prone to rashes.
- Oatmeal – cleans and softens your dog’s coat, is a great moisturizer, soothes itchy skin, and helps to relieve symptoms associated with hot spots, ticks and fleas, allergies, and dry skin.
- Honey – is both an antiseptic and an antibiotic. It is great for dogs that are prone to allergies, dry skin, and eczema
- Essential oils – essential oils such as orange, lavender, peppermint, lemongrass, citronella and tea tree have antiseptic, calming, and healing properties. Additionally, they smell great. Citronella, lavender and tea tree oils, besides these properties, are also great at keeping ticks and fleas away.
- Vitamin E – helps reduce flakiness, moisturizes the skin, and helps to keep your dog’s coat healthy and shiny.
- For dogs prone to allergies: some dogs, like humans, are prone to allergies. If your pooch is one of these, use a hypoallergenic dog shampoo. These shampoos are specifically formulated not to cause any of the usual conditions that give rise to skin problems associated with allergies.
Ingredients To Avoid
There are many different dog shampoos available at the pet store, all of them saying they are good for this or good for that. But the problem is, not all of them are as good as they say they are, and many have ingredients that can irritate or harm your dog’s sensitive skin.
Before buying a shampoo for your dog, make sure you take a look at the ingredients on the bottle. What you need to avoid like the plague are shampoos that have dyes and artificial fragrances. These can irritate your dog’s skin, causing him to scratch and get skin infections, or damage his eyes. Rather, look for shampoos that have natural fragrances due to essential oils. Great choices are lavender, citrus, and eucalyptus.
An essential thing to remember, however, is that you should never bathe your dog with a shampoo meant for humans. Their skin is much more sensitive than ours. It will strip their coat of its natural oils while drying their skin.
The best shampoo for your dog is one that has natural ingredients. If in doubt, however, or if your dog has a problem skin, rather ask your veterinarian for his professional advice on the matter.
Toxic chemicals found in many dog shampoos
When buying dog shampoo, make sure to read the list of ingredients! Many of the ingredients in dog shampoo are easily absorbed by your pooch’s skin. So of course, you need to make sure they are not toxic!
Unfortunately, many of these labels have ingredients that we know nothing about. Many of these ingredients not only cause skin irritations but can cause cancer as well. Fortunately, I have made a list of ingredients explaining why each is bad for your dog.
Avoid shampoos if the following are on their labels:
- Polyethylene glycol (PEG)
This ingredient causes skin irritations and is a carrier for chemicals. This means that it helps other harmful chemicals from crossing through your dog’s skin into his bloodstream.
- PEG-40 Lanolin
This is a kind of polyethylene glycol made from lanolin and works much the same way.
- Propylene glycol
It is also a carrier oil that helps other chemicals move through the skin into the bloodstream. Additionally, it may affect your dog’s immune system and is believed to be a neurotoxin.
- “Propriety blend of coat and skin conditions and moisturizers”
This may be a term and not a chemical, BUT when a manufacturer has this on his label, it means he does not want you to know what the ingredients are.
- Formaldehyde preservatives
Formaldehyde, in shape, is bad for your dog’s skin, causing itching, burning, and scaling. It is often camouflaged under the names of Diazolidinyl urea, DMDM Hydantoin (DHDH hydantoin), Quaternium, Bronopol, and Sodium hydroxymethyl glycinate
- Paraben, butylparaben, methylparaben, or propylparaben
These are just different names for the same dangerous chemical causing a hormone imbalance and cancer in dogs.
- Cocamide-MEA and Triethanolamine
These chemical are believed to cause cancer and are toxic to your dog’s internal organs.
- Fragrance (phthalates)
This causes a hormone imbalance and damages a dog’s endocrine system
- Artificial fragrance
There are thousands of chemicals that could be used to make an artificial fragrance. If the ingredients are not listed, you have no idea just what the ‘artificial fragrance’ contains. Some of these artificial fragrances may cause cancer or harm your dog’s reproductive system.
- Mineral Oil
Mineral oil is a by-product of crude oil. It is toxic to your dog’s skin and may cause allergies and damage his eyes.
You are careful what you put on your skin and what ingredients your shampoo contains. Why should it be different when it comes to your best 4-legged friend?
Best Dog Shampoos 2017 – Top 10
I have included a list of what I believe to be the top ten shampoos out there. Yes, the prices may vary, but then, you do not count pennies when buying a great quality shampoo for your own hair, do you? Besides, each pick has its own, unique properties that suit a dog with an individual skin type or problem.
|Particular Paws Oatmeal Shampoo
|Dog and puppy
|Earthbath All Natural Pet Shampoo
|Dog and puppy
|Perfect Coat Natural Oatmeal Shampoo
|Mountainview Oatmeal Baking Soda Pet Shampoo
|Dog and puppy
|Tropiclean Hypo-Allergenic Pet Shampoo
|Dog and puppy
|SynergyLabs Veterinary Formula Clinical Care Antiparasitic & Antiseborrheic Medicated Shampoo
|Douxo Chlorhexidine PS Shampoo
|Nature's Specialties Plum Silky Pet Shampoo
|Dog and Puppy
|Shampoo and conditioner combined
|Dechra Miconahex + Triz Pet Shampoo
|Shampoo and conditioner combined/medicating/hypoallergenic
|4-Legger Certified Organic Dog Shampoo
|Dog and puppy
Our pick for the best dog shampoo 2017
Our editor’s choice for the best dog shampoo is the Particular Paws Oatmeal Shampoo for Dogs and Cats with Shea Butter, Aloe Vera, and Chamomile.
What we particularly like about this shampoo is that it is safe for dogs and cats, as not many dog shampoos are formulated for puppies with problem skins. Not only is it kind to sensitive puppy skin, but is gentle enough not to burn their eyes as well.
The oatmeal boosts your puppy’s skin and fur retain its natural oils while the all natural ingredients supplies cooling relief for problem skin right from the outset.
This is most definitely our first choice!
Here are top 10 detailed reviews
Our team and I spent a lot of our time researching different shampoos in order to come up with what we consider the top ten shampoos for dogs. We have tried to include different types of shampoos that cover the whole spectrum of dogs and skin types, including puppies.
We were looking, as far as possible, for shampoos that were natural, effective, and added value to a dog’s coat and skin without stripping them of their natural oils.
1. Particular Paws Oatmeal Shampoo for Dogs and Cats with Shea Butter, Aloe Vera, and Chamomile
Particular Paws Oatmeal Shampoo is wonderful at relieving the signs, and the symptoms, of your pooch’s damaged skin. Not only does it do this, but the great formula also helps with the cultivation of a thick, lustrous, full coat – something that always gets damaged when your dog has skin problems.
This shampoo is formulated using only natural ingredients. The oatmeal soothes, the shea butter moisturizes, the honey has an antiseptic, antibacterial, and antibiotic action, and the aloe vera not only benefits the skin, but also keeps it in tip-top condition. There are no toxins in this shampoo. It is also safe enough for use on not only adult dogs, but cats and puppies as well, no matter their skin condition.
2. Earthbath All Natural Pet Shamp
This shampoo contains no soap, and, therefore, is not only gentle, but will also not irritate your puppy’s sensitive eyes. This is a great plus factor.
Our feedback on this shampoo is great! We love the fact this not only is this shampoo made with good quality natural ingredients, but it is cruelty-free and has biodegradable packaging as well. Not only is this shampoo kind to your dog’s fur and skin, but it is kind to the environment as well.
The all-natural ingredients means there are none of the adverse reactions normally seen with other, more conventional shampoos, while the moisturizing action keeps the coat in great conditions.
Biodegradable packaging would have been a nice touch as well as the addition of a deodorizing agent.
3. Perfect Coat Perfect Coat Natural Oatmeal Shampoo – French Vanilla
This product contains natural oatmeal and moisturizers that calm dry, itchy, irritated skin. This is great as dogs that have skin problems tend to scratch, causing lesions that tend to get infected. The addition of these ingredients, however, have a calming effect on the skin which means less scratching which, in turn, allows the skin to heal naturally
It comes in a large bottle so is great for those with larger dogs. As you know, large dogs require quite a substantial amount of shampoo, so this product certainly is value for money. Feedback received also indicates that is has a smoothing, softening action on the fur of long-coated dog breeds which is definite plus!
The soft action and great, long-lasting smell make this one a value for money bargain and is a great option for those who own large breed dogs. Owners of smaller dogs, of course, have exactly the same benefit.
4. Mountainview Pet Products Oatmeal Shampoo for dogs and cats
Mountainview Pet Products Oatmeal Shampoo certainly deserves to be in our list of the top ten dog shampoos. Not only is it 100% natural, but safe for use on adult dogs, cats, and puppies. What makes this product stand out is that it contains baking soda, a natural deodorizer that does not mask smell, but actually gets rid of it entirely.
Because this product contains no paraben, soap, or chemicals, it is great for dogs with a highly sensitive skin. An added bonus is that it is great at reducing shedding, meaning less time spent vacuuming pet hairs off sofas and carpets.
The recyclable packaging is definitely encouraging making it an environmentally friendly product ticking all the boxes on the checklist.
5. Tropiclean Hypo-Allergenic Pet Shampoo
If your dog or puppy has a sensitive skin prone to allergy breakouts, but it is under control, then Tropiclean-Allergenic Pet Shampoo makes an excellent choice. The shampoo boasts a no-tears formula, making it suitable for even the most sensitive eyes.
Because of the lack of added chemicals, this gentle shampoo is a wonderful option for dogs that have dry, sensitive skins, as it will not dry out their skin or strip their coat of its natural oils. To add to the allure, however, the shampoo contains whitening ingredients that ensures that white and light coats lose their dullness, getting back their brightness and shine.
Not only does this shampoo leave your dog clean and smelling wonderful, but it strengthens the coat, while the moisturizing action leaves it in the best condition possible.
6. SynergyLabs Veterinary Formula Clinical Care Antiparasitic & Antiseborrheic Medicated Shampoo for Dogs
This is one of our top picks for medicated dog shampoo. While it contains some chemicals, the largest part of the shampoo is mostly made out of natural ingredients. While in most instances, however, I would not recommend a shampoo with certain chemical ingredients, this one, in my opinion, is for those special cases in which medical intervention is really needed. But once again, the addition of so many natural ingredients, to a large extent, does make up, somewhat, for their addition.
The Coal Tar, Salicylic Acid and Micronized Sulfur all combat skin conditions such as seborrhea, relieves mange and parasitic infections and is great for both fungal and bacterial skin infections. Sometimes, unfortunately, man-made medication is a necessity.
7. Douxo Chlorhexidine PS Shampoo
Douxo Chlorhexidine PS Shampoo is a medicinal shampoo formulated with a specific purpose in mind. It is not meant for dogs that do not have severe skin problems such as seborrhhoea or pyoderma. The shampoo containsChlorhexidine. This chemical has extremely strong antiseptic properties, which, of course, ensure no infection to damaged skin. Another chemical is phytosphingosine salicidylol which fights seborrhea and controls cutaneous disorders that are associated with pyoderma. This is a very fast working medicinal shampoo.
The downside of this shampoo, however, is indeed the fact that it contains chemicals and is not an all-natural product. But, when certain medial circumstances present themselves, you have to overlook this in order for your dog to get well. His health, after all, is your major concern.
8. Nature’s Specialties Plum Silky Pet Shampoo
Nature’s Specialties Plum Silky Pet Shampoo – the name almost says it all! This shampoo is the perfect option for dogs with long fur. The aloe vera, vitamins, and silk proteins in the ingredients list leaves your long-haired dog’s coat shiny, manageable, and beautifully conditioned.
Although this is an extremely mild shampoo and suitable for all dog types it comes in a highly concentrated formula. This means that a little, indeed, goes a long way. Certain of the active ingredients, as a bonus, add highlights to your dog’s long stresses. The downside, though, is that I would not recommend this one for dogs that have short hair, as there is a possibility of the shampoo leaving him with an oily coat and skin. If his skin is prone to dryness, however, do consider this option.
9. Dechra Miconahex + Triz Pet Shampoo
Although great for the purpose it is intended, I would not recommend this shampoo for everyday use of if your dog has relatively few skin problems. The shampoo contains a number of chemicals that, under normal circumstances, I would not recommend. It is, however, excellent for the treatment of topical fungal and bacterial skin infections in adult dogs.
I would not advise using this product on a puppy, however, unless specifically prescribed by a veterinarian due to the toxic substances in the shampoo. A bonus, though, is the presence of ceramides, which are great for restoring moisture as well as repairing and restoring dried and damaged skin.
This product is highly toxic, so take precautions when using it and do not get into your pet’s eyes or mouth.
10. 4-Legger Certified Organic Dog Shampoo
This is a great, natural shampoo that is certified to organic food standards. This means that all the ingredients are considered safe for use on your dog. There are no aritificial or synthetic additives to this product, while the amazing essential oil blend has a great moisturizing and conditioning action.
Because of the moisturizing qualities of this shampoo, it is a great choice for dogs with sensitive skin. Amongst the ingredients are aloe vera, coconut oil, jojoba oil, and olive oil. Then there are the essential oil, namely lemongrass and rosemary. What I like about lemongrass is that it is a tick and flea deterrent, which I find is an added bonus, as is the fact that the shampoo contains no artificial colors and fragrances.
Best Shampoo for Dogs – Wrapping it Up
A dog is not only man’s best friend. He is your protector and family member too! He needs the same care and consideration as other family members, and this includes his personal hygiene.
There are hundreds of different shampoos on the market, and making the correct, informed decision about which one is the best shampoo for YOUR dog is often a difficult task.
We have done the legwork for you in compiling this list, saving you a lot of time having to do the research yourself. We do hope you like it and find it complete.
If you have found our list and reviews helpful in any way, would you please let us know and leave a comment? Any suggestions would also be most welcome. We could use them in future articles.
Please feel free to share this article with any friends who have pets – sharing, after all, is caring!
See you next time!