The Best Dog Shampoos (Review) in 2021
- The Best Dog Shampoo
- 1. Pro Pet Works Oatmeal Pet Wash
- 2. PetPleasant Lavender Oatmeal Pet Shampoo
- 3. Wahl 4-In-1 Calming Formula Shampoo and Conditioner
- 4. Paws & Pals 5-In-1 Oatmeal Dog Shampoo
- 5. Fresh ‘n Clean Scented Dog Shampoo
- 6. Burt’s Bees Oatmeal Shampoo for Dogs
- 7. Pets Are Kids Too Premium Pet Oatmeal Shampoo
- 8. Fieldworks Moosh Natural Shampoo
- 9. 4Legger Dog Shampoo
- 10. PET HEAD Dirty Talk Yummy Orange Dog Shampoo
Dogs are mucky pups and even if you groom them on a daily basis, that regular dog time bath is a must. A good bath will remove deep-down dirt and grime, tackle pervasive doggy odors and help to manage fleas and ticks as well as any skin conditions or sensitivities. But simply using the nearest human shampoo will not do, as they are too harsh for your pooch. Getting the right shampoo specifically formulated for dogs is the only way to go.
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A good dog shampoo will clean without stripping the essential oils from their coat and skin. We’ve picked out 10 of the best dog shampoos so you can make a clean start when it comes to your pet’s bath time routine.
The Best Dog Shampoo
PH-balanced shampoo and conditioner
Organic oatmeal to moisturize
Aloe Vera soothes dry, sensitive skin
Added vitamins A, D and E
Gentle enough for a general dog cleanser, this organic oatmeal pet shampoo scoops our Best Choice as it’s such a multi-tasker. The shampoo and conditioner formula cleans deeply without over-foaming and is simple to rinse. The oatmeal is the ideal ingredient for gentle moisturizing to relieve dry, itchy skin while the aloe Vera along with almond oil soothes and hydrates. Made from natural ingredients with no alcohol, sulfates or artificial colors and fragrance, it is also PH balanced and leaves a delicate cherry almond scent on your pet’s coat. Formulated for sensitive, dry skin, this is our best dog shampoo for most dog coats and skin types as it is gentle yet effective enough to leave your pooch happy, fresh and clean.
Colloidal oatmeal to soothe and nourish
Pure lavender essential oils for a fresh smell
Added jojoba oil to moisturize
Gentle enough for puppies or sensitive skin
If you have a super-sensitive pooch or a mucky puppy who urgently needs a bath, this Lavender-scented oatmeal pet shampoo is a delight to use. With colloidal oatmeal – a fine-ground oat grain renowned as a soothing emollient – and enriched with calming lavender oil, this moisturizing dog shampoo cleans as its works to relieve dry or sensitive skin. Meanwhile nourishing jojoba oil moisturizes to leave their coat with a natural, healthy shine without weighing their fur down. Gentle enough to be used on puppies, the bottle is a little on the small size. However, you only need a small amount and the formula is sulfate, paraben and tear free to ensure bath time is stress free. And what we really like is that it deodorizes without over-powering, leaving your doggo with a fresh, just bathed smell.
Cleanses, conditions, detangles and moisturizes
Lavender scented; chamomile to calm
Coconut oil for hydration
Ph-balanced; alcohol and paraben free
With not one but four benefits, Wahl has come up with an effective all-round shampoo and conditioner that’s safe to use on all dogs. It cleanses, conditions, detangles and moisturizes, and is gentle enough to be used as a puppy shampoo. Made with lavender to cleanse and fragrance and chamomile to calm, this Wahl dog shampoo also contains coconut oil to condition their skin and coat. The PH-balanced formula foams up well but with no parabens, alcohol or harsh chemicals it’s skin-kind enough for dogs with allergies or sensitivities. This is a large bottle and as a little goes a fair way, is excellent value for money and the lavender scent has a decent staying power.
Organic oatmeal to tackle itchy skin
Also conditions and detangles fur
Aloe Vera to calm; natural oils to moisturize
Concentrated, tear-free formula
Oatmeal is known to soothe and as an emollient it gently moisturizes and hydrates. So, if your pooch is driven to some welcome relief. The nourishing formula is anti-itch but that doesn’t mean it will neglect the condition of their coat. Alongside oatmeal, you also get natural ingredients such as aloe Vera, jojoba and coconut oils as well as shea butter and rosemary. Working together your dog’s skin is calmed and moisturized, while the shampoo also detangles and conditions their fur. Tear-free and soapless, the result is a gentle, pleasant smelling shampoo for regular use, that effectively cleans as it tackles dry or itchy skin.
Aloe Vera and vitamin E to strengthen and repair
Long-lasting floral fragrance
Anti-static agents banish fur frizz
Soap-free and safe for dogs and cats
For a straightforward dog shampoo that both moisturizes and leaves them smelling sweet, we think that Fresh ‘n Clean is a pooch-bathing bargain. There’s nothing complicated about this shampoo and that’s why it works well as a general cleanser that isn’t going to dry their skin out. With vitamin E and aloe Vera for moisturizing, Fresh’n Clean also helps to strengthen and condition their coat. Plus, it’s a good buy for stinky pets as the fresh floral fragrance can last, says the makers, for up to two weeks. Simply wipe your dog’s coat with a moist towel to reactivate the fragrance. Soap-free and pet-safe, this is one of the best shampoo for dogs with no real skin issues.
Colloidal oatmeal to soothe and soften
Honey and beeswax for moisture and shine
Easy to lather and rinse away
Gentle enough for a puppy shampoo
With Burt’s Bees expertise, you get a healing, moisturizing cleanser for your dog. Using quality colloidal oatmeal, honey and beeswax, this delicious smelling shampoo is gentle for all dogs, including young pups. PH-balanced and free of artificial fragrances, sulfates and colors, this is a luxurious shampoo to moisturize and condition dry or delicate skin, adding a lovely shine to your dog’s coat with no residue. It’s also safe to use alongside your pooch’s flea and tick treatment. While not formulated for any specific skin conditions, this shampoo is hydrating, easy to lather and rinses cleanly. A quality shampoo and conditioner with all natural ingredients.
Formulated to soothe itchy, irritated skin
Oatmeal, baking soda and aloe Vera
Added vitamins and coconut
Hypoallergenic and tear-free
If you have a pooch that likes to scratch, you’ll want a shampoo that’s going to ease that itch. And this Premium Pet Oatmeal Shampoo is a quality cleanser for your dog’s skin. Made from oatmeal that hydrates and calms irritated skin, you also get cleansing baking soda, healing aloe Vera and coconut oil to moisturize. Working together, this formula targets dry and itchy hotspots while remaining gentle on sensitive, dry skin. Finally, you get a concoction of vitamins A, D and E to support their skin. Working like a professional dog shampoo, this is at the top end of our review budget, but you do get an effective cleanser for your money. And each bottle is a decent 17-ounce size to last you a long time.
100% natural and organic
Bentonite clay draws out grime
Argon oil, shea butter, aloe vera and herbs
Sulfate, paraben and cruelty free
If you would prefer to take an all-natural approach to bathing your dog, then check out this effective organic dog shampoo from Moosh. Using natural bentonite clay, this nicely foaming cleanser draws grime away from your dog’s skin and coat, to be easily rinsed away. Add in argon oil, to moisturize their skin and help heal any skin irritations or flaking, you also get aloe vera to soothe and soften, leaving their skin healthy and coat soft and super-shiny. With no sulfates or preservatives, there’s also a range of natural herbs, including rosemary and vetiver, which is a natural antiseptic. This formula is very concentrated, so a little goes a long way, but with the bottle’s special reducer neck, you can be sure there’ll be no waste, just one clean and sweet-smelling dog.
Made with certified organic oils
Hypoallergenic for sensitive skin
Natural flea repellent lemongrass oil
Long-lasting concentrated formula
With certified organic ingredients, 4Legger is a natural dog shampoo that smells delicious but doesn’t shirk on its pooch cleaning job. Hypoallergenic, its gentle on dry, itchy or allergic skin but is still effective as a general dog shampoo. With coconut oil and aloe Vera, it also has lemongrass oil, which acts as a natural flea deterrent and gives the formula – and your dog’s coat – a lovely fresh smell. The consistency is pretty concentrated, so you only need a small amount but it lathers well. It can be a little sharp if it gets into your dog’s eyes but is totally pet-safe and can quickly be rinsed away but perhaps not quite suited to young puppies. But if you want a shampoo that stands by its organic credentials, then this could be the dog shampoo for you.
Tackles dirt and doggy smells
Baking soda and neutralizing ordenone
Soy protein to condition their coat
Natural orange scent
If you can get past the super-cute bottle, then this deodorizing shampoo from Pet Head should be taken seriously when it comes to dealing with a stinky dog. It uses baking soda and an odor-encapsulating compound called ordenone to clean and neutralize those whiffy dog smells, leaving your pooch with a subtle orange scent. But it isn’t all about the dog smell, Dirty Talk also uses vegetable and soy proteins to condition your pet’s fur for a luscious, moisturized look and hydrated skin and coat. The shampoo is PH-balanced too so gentle enough for most dog’s skin and with no nasty ingredients, is totally pet-safe.
Best Dog Shampoo Buying Guide & FAQ
Why You Should Buy a Shampoo For Your Dog
As much as we love them, dogs are mucky pups and will always find a way to get dirty. Keeping them clean is an essential part of their grooming routine but it’s important not to over-bath them or use harsh cleansers that can irritate their skin. The key to a fresh-smelling pooch is to use a dog shampoo that's perfectly formulated to get them clean. Human shampoos are too harsh for pets and can contain ingredients that may actually be harmful to your dog. Buying a dog shampoo will not only keep their skin and coat healthy, it can also target conditions that are specific to dogs. From getting rid of parasites and fleas, to soothing sensitive skin, allergies and doggy dandruff, a dog shampoo is an essential for your dog care kit.
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Things to Look For in a Dog Shampoo
Before you decide on your new dog shampoo, there are some essentials to consider:
Your dog’s age – always check that the dog shampoo is age appropriate for your pooch. For example, puppies are going to need a very gentle formulation that won’t irritate their baby skin, while older and senior dogs may need extra moisturization to tackle dry and tougher spots.
Their skin and coat – just as the shampoo needs to be age-appropriate, it also needs to be the right formulation for your particular pet’s skin and coat. Long-haired breeds will need a more conditioning shampoo to help to reduce any tangles in their fur, while shorter haired breeds prone to shedding could benefit from a formula to reduce excessive fur loss.
Ingredients – go for as all-natural ingredients as possible in your new dog shampoo as artificial ingredients and fragrances, alcohol and petroleum by-products can be too harsh and irritate their skin. Check the label for pet-safe and non-toxic natural oils, herbs, vitamins and plant essences and go for organic if you can.
Specific issues – consider any specific issues your dog may have as many dog shampoos are formulated to help tackle a host of skin and coat health problems, such as:
- Hypoallergenic – made for pets with sensitive skin, a hypoallergenic shampoo uses mild cleansers and moisturizers to avoid skin irritation.
- Dry and itchy skin – oatmeal and aloe Vera formulations work well to soothe, calm and help heal and moisturize dry and problematic skin.
- Medicated – formulated for specific skin conditions such as dandruff and dermatitis.
- Deodorizing – designed to help reduce that distinct doggy smell if your pooch is pretty stinky.
- Flea and tick – for helping to tackle and protect your dog against flea and tick infestations.
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Ingredients to Avoid in Pet Shampoos
There are some ingredients to look out for which are too harsh or potentially toxic for your dog:
Artificial fragrances and colors - these may add a lovely smell or color to the product, but they can actually cause irritation and even an allergic reaction in your dog. Opt for no-dye shampoos that use natural products such as lavender or lemon to keep your pooch smelling fresh.
Mineral oils - any mineral or petroleum-based oils should be avoided as they are too thick for your dog’s coat and skin and can even prevent your dog from eliminating toxins from their own skin.
Preservatives - preservatives may extend the shelf-life but should be avoided in your dog shampoo as the negatives outweigh the positives in terms of your pooch’s health. One well known preservative is formaldehyde which is often listed under a host of other names. You should also be aware of parabens such as methylparaben, propylparaben and butylparaben.
Sulfates - these are often responsible for increasing the ‘bubble factor’ in soaps and shampoos but your pet doesn’t need a super-foamy shampoo, they need a shampoo that is going to safely get them clean.
Alcohol - alcohol can sometimes be used in both human and canine shampoos to smooth down the hair shaft for a sleek, glossy look. However, it can easily absorb into and then dry out your doggo’s skin.
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Our Top Pick
Gentle enough to be used as a general dog cleanser, Pro Pet Works Oatmeal Pet Shampoo Plus Conditioner is a great value multi-talker. Formulated for dry, itchy or sensitive skin, a little of this soap-free dog cleanser goes a long way and is easy to rinse, leaving your pooch's coat moisturised and their skin calm and happier. PH-balanced, there are no hidden nasties and can be used on all skin types, leaving a lovely fresh smell. Once to have in your dog grooming bag for quick and easy stinky dog cleaning!
Q: Are dog shampoos safe and what happens if it goes in my pet's eyes?
If the bottle says formulated for dogs, then you know it’s safe for your pet. Dog shampoos only use ingredients that are non-toxic and pet-safe and as dog shampoo is milder, it is also designed to be gentle on the skin, with a lower foaming level than human shampoo. This means that it shouldn't irritate if it accidentally gets into your dog’s eyes. If a small amount of shampoo does go into your pooch’s eyes, gently rinse with warm water and wipe dry.
Q: Can I use baby or human shampoo on my dog?
While baby shampoos have a mild formula, they are created to suit human PH levels, not dogs and so are not ideal to use on your pet. And adult human shampoos are a definite no-go as they are too harsh and may have ingredients that could be harmful for your dog. Always use a shampoo that has been specifically formulated for dogs.
Q: Do I need to treat my dog's fur with a conditioner?
Not all dogs need a conditioner as they have natural oils in their fur to lubricate their coat. But if your dog has a long coat or particularly dry skin, then a conditioner can help. Conditioning your dog’s fur reduces tangles and can put a lovely gloss on their coat so if you think your dog deserves a treat then a conditioner is a good way to go. However, only ever use a gentle conditioner that's formulated for canines, and don’t use your own. Many dog shampoos have a 2-in-1 formula that’s includes a conditioner, meaning your pooch doesn’t have to spend any longer in the bath than he needs to!
Q: What can I use instead of dog shampoo?
While you should always use a cleanser specifically formulated for pooches, there’s no harm in occasionally using an alternative if the dog shampoo has run out. Home detergents and human shampoos can really dry out your pooch’s skin and should be avoided however you may have suitable ingredients for a make-do shampoo around the house. A solid olive, coconut or vegetable oil-based soap is a safe alternative, ideally unscented, as it won’t irritate your dog’s skin. Alternatively, make your own doggy shampoo using baking soda (which is nice and alkaline) and water, or a mild baby shampoo mixed with water and a little white wine vinegar to cut through the doggy dirt.
Q: Some dogs smell worse after having a bath with shampoo. Is there a need to change the prescribed shampoo?
All dogs have that special ‘dog smell’ which is their natural odor. However, that stinky-ness can ramp up for a host of reasons, and it’s not just to do with how dirty they are. Infections, certain skin conditions, excess oil and blocked anal sacs can smell even if your dog is clean and bathed. So, if you think your dog’s current shampoo is not working or you suspect there is an underlying reason for that smell, have a chat with your vet so he can advise if you need to change.