Keeping Your Dog Clean: Top Dog Shampoo Options

Keeping Your Dog Clean: Top Dog Shampoo Options

It’s true that dogs are man’s best friend, and that your pet will follow you everywhere, sharing everything from your couch to your bed, and even the occasional bowl of vanilla ice-cream as a treat. Of all these things, there’s one you should never, ever share with your dog - and that’s your shampoo.

Your dog may display traits that are definitely human - showing you lots of love and affection, rewarding you with cuddles and hugs, but it still needs a different skincare regimen, one that doesn’t involve any human grooming products.

There’s literally no reason for you to use your own shampoo on your dog - there are hundreds of products in the market, specially tailored to meet your pet’s grooming needs. Yes, different kinds of dogs have different needs when it comes to shampoo - from dryness to sensitive skin, your furry friend too has its own share of skin and hair problems.

Small Dog Scratching Ear

Fortunately, the right dog shampoo can help solve your pet’s skin problems, but it’s important to pick the right product. Like you would do with your own hair, it’s always a wise idea to understand your pet’s coat and fur, as well as their skin conditions.

For example, if you use a highly-moisturizing shampoo when your pet has dandruff, you’re going to aggravate the problem.

It’s not enough to just pick up bottles of dog shampoo that use words like ‘natural’ and ‘organic’ - you actually need to familiarize yourself with what’s in that bottle, and whether that’s going to suit your dog.

Here are some shampoo brands that are favorites with dog owners, followed by a quick guide on how to choose the best shampoo for your dog.

Best Dog Shampoo For Dry Skin

Choosing the right shampoo becomes even more important if your pet is prone to dry, itchy skin. You will want to look out for a product that definitely cleanses, but is super gentle on the skin and fur. Shampoos with detergents are a terrible idea if your dog has dry skin.

Ideally, it’s best to opt for a shampoo that has all natural ingredients and includes moisturizing agents like vitamin E or aloe vera. Take your pick from the two products below – they are 100% safe, natural and gentle on your dog’s skin.

Winner: Earthbath Dog Shampoo

If there was a skincare routine made for dogs, this product would definitely be top of the list. The natural dog shampoo from Earthbath is 100% soap-free and uses natural ingredients like oatmeal and aloe vera to gently cleanse your dog, while also providing plenty of moisture and neutralizing odor of any kind.

Aloe vera is known to be extremely soothing on the skin and is a popular ingredient in skincare products.

This shampoo does not include any chemicals such as parabens or phosphates and uses plant-based and coconut-based cleansing extracts in place of harmful soap, which is usually one of the biggest reasons for irritated, dry dog skin.

If your furry friend has been scratching itself a lot after a bath, it’s a sign their skin is too dry. Earthbath’s dog shampoo will not only prevent scratching after a bath but also help to soothe and heal skin that has been scratched off.

Earthbath Dog Shampoo



After a few baths, you will notice that your pet is a lot more relaxed and calm since he or she isn’t scratching anymore. If you’re using topical ointments for a flea or tick treatment, you have no reason to worry – this shampoo won’t wash it off.

Pet owners swear by this product – they have seen a definite improvement in their pets’ allergies and dry skin after repeated use of this product. Another reason why it’s so great for dry, itchy skin or pets with allergies is that it washes off easily, leaving no product residue behind, as this can often cause dandruff.

Lastly, this product has a pleasant, not-too-intense eucalyptus and peppermint fragrance, which keeps your dog’s coat smelling fresh between baths. Plus, eucalyptus is known to repel fleas and ticks, and prevent fungal infections.

With a calm dog who isn’t scratching itself anymore, and a super soft, moisturized coat that also smells wonderful, there’s only one thing for you to do after bathing and drying your pet – lots of cuddles, and then some more.

Runner-Up: Pet Care Sciences Dog Shampoo

Sometimes, all you need is a go-to product that you can use without any worries. For pet owners whose furry friends have dry, irritable skin, this natural dog shampoo from Pet Care Sciences is a reliable, trustworthy product from a reputed brand.

This works the way baby shampoo does, doing a thorough job of cleaning your pet’s skin and fur, but leaving the skin soft and well-moisturized.

This product uses coconut and palm oil extracts and is 100% soap free. While it may not contain additional vitamins or moisturizers, it has absolutely no sulfates, phosphates or other chemical additives, eliminating any potential for allergic reactions.

Pet Care Sciences Dog Shampoo



The best part about this shampoo is that it is super cost-effective, as compared to the other shampoos offering the same benefits. While it’s true that you wouldn’t cut back on costs to give your pet the best skincare possible, it’s always a delight when a quality product doesn’t burn a hole in your pocket.

Long-time users of this product swear by how silky and soft it leaves their pet’s fur. In fact, a lot of users felt there was no need to use an additional conditioning product since the Pet Care Sciences dog shampoo takes care of both – cleansing and moisturizing.

This only means one thing – with this product, your pet’s bath is going to save you both, time and money, and what’s better than a happy pet owner and a happier pet?

Best Natural Dog Shampoo

What is the best way to make sure you’re giving your pet dog a great bath? Irrespective of your dog’s breed, coat, fur length, there’s one thing that all vets, pet care specialists and long-time dog owners will agree upon – that the fewer chemicals and synthetic ingredients your product has, the better it is for your pet’s fur.

The best product is ideally one that doesn’t use any of the harmful chemicals and additives mentioned above and uses naturally-derived compounds to do the job. These two products, both from really good brands should help you pick a natural shampoo for your pet’s next bath.

Winner: Paws & Pals Natural Dog-Shampoo

This product is top of the list when it comes to natural dog shampoos, and there are plenty of reasons for it. To start with, this dog shampoo from Paws & Pals uses absolutely no synthetic ingredients or chemical additives.

Its super-effective formula is made entirely of natural ingredients like aloe vera,  jojoba and coconut oil, all of which are known to soothe itchy, dry skin and bring your pet some much-needed relief from scratching itself all the time.

In addition, this product also has oatmeal, which cleanses gently without stripping your pet’s skin of its natural oils, shea butter which replenishes moisture and nourishes the skin and rosemary, which is known for its antibacterial and antifungal properties.

Paws & Pals Natural Dog Shampoo



Together, these powerful ingredients work to make this product extremely effective when it comes to caring for your pet’s skin. Pet owners have vouched for this shampoo-conditioner combination from Paws & Pals, saying that it can restore softness and shine to the most matted fur and dry skin.

The product is also highly recommended for dogs with particularly sensitive skin, or younger pets, particularly because of its tear-free, gentle formula. 

There’s one last reason to love this product – you won’t need additional conditioner, since this product packs in both a shampoo and conditioner in one bottle, making it an option that is not only effective but also economical.

Runner-Up: Pro Pet Works Natural Oatmeal Dog Shampoo

If your pet has extremely sensitive skin, and is prone to frequent allergies, finding the right shampoo can be quite the challenge. While most shampoos do a great job of cleansing the skin and fur, they also tend to leave it dry and more prone to allergies. Thankfully, with this 100% natural, hypoallergenic shampoo from Pro Pet Works, you won’t have to look any further.

This product is suitable for dogs with even the most sensitive skin since it is not only free of detergents and chemical substances like sulfates, parabens and phosphates, it also has zero alcohol, which is also responsible for zapping the moisture out of skin and fur. It is made of 100% natural ingredients, which also makes this product cruelty-free.

Pro Pet Works Natural Oatmeal Dog Shampoo



With oatmeal as a primary cleansing agent, you can be sure your pet’s skin will not be affected while this product cleans away dirt, dust and germs. In addition, this shampoo has a unique formula with aloe, almond oil and vitamins A, D and E, which will replenish the moisture in your pet’s coat, leaving it soft and shiny, and also well-nourished.

Unlike other natural shampoos which do make use of synthetic, food-grade extracts and fragrances, this product relies only on natural ingredients to leave your furry friend smelling fresh and odor-free between baths. If you have been using a shampoo labeled natural, but it still makes your dog scratch itself, added fragrances could be the culprit.

Users have some great things to say about this product – from how their pet’s scratching has significantly gone down after regularly using this product, to how it has saved them several trips to a dog spa or salon because of how much pampering  it adds to your dog’s bath, turning it from a stressful experience to a calming one. It’s true that pets with extra sensitive skin need extra care, and this product manages to pack all of it in a single bottle.

Best Shampoo For Dog Dandruff

If there’s one common skin and hair problem that troubles dogs as much as their owners, it has got to be dandruff. The first thing to know is that if your dog has dandruff, it isn’t the only problem and that you need to look more carefully at what products you’re using to groom your pet.

Shampoos meant for gentle cleansing will often leave behind dirt, dead skin and grease on your dog’s skin, but the answer to this isn’t switching to a stronger, harsher shampoo. Doing that is only going to make your dog’s skin drier, causing more dandruff. What you need, is a specially-formulated product that cleans without drying, and also leaves absolutely no residue behind.

Douxo Dog Shampoo

This anti-dandruff shampoo from Douxo is a product that is specifically formulated for pets who have dandruff in their fur. It has a medicated formula which includes chlorhexidine, phytosphingosine salicyloyl and lipoamide, all in the form of a gently foaming solution.

Of these ingredients, chlorhexidine has antiseptic properties, which helps to keep infections away from any wounds your pet might have given themselves by scratching.

Phytosphingosine salicyloyl is antiseborrheic, which basically means that it works to break up the buildup of oils on the surface of your dog’s skin – the same build-up which eventually binds with dead skin to form dandruff.

Douxo Medicated Dog Shampoo



This makes it easier to get the buildup and dandruff out of your pet’s fur in a single wash, as opposed to shampoos which need repeated applications resulting in stripping your dog’s skin of its moisture and natural oils.

If you’re worried that this product might be too harsh on your pet since it’s medicated, you have absolutely no reason to worry. The third primary ingredient in this formula, Lipacide is actually responsible for replenishing and retaining moisture in your dog’s skin, by creating a protective film which does not let the medicated formula rinse off moisture and shine.

Douxo’s medicated anti-dandruff shampoo is a great example of how even medicated formulas can provide moisture and nourishment. While it doesn’t have any of the fragrance or exotic ingredients as other natural dog shampoos, it does what it is supposed to do – gets dandruff out of your pet’s fur and keeps it from coming back.

Choosing The Right Shampoo For Your Pet

You know better than to use your own shampoo for your pet now and you’ve looked at some really good products. Here is a useful guide on what factors to consider before deciding on a dog shampoo, the different kinds of shampoos available in the market, as well as what each of these shampoos is good for.

Different Types Of Dog Shampoo

There a lot many different kinds of dog shampoos available in the market. The most ideal type is one that has natural ingredients, no chemical additives and does not leave your dog’s skin too dry. Apart from this, these are some of the most common types of dog shampoos:

Hypoallergenic Shampoos

These are specially formulated for pets with sensitive skin, and are free of alcohol or any fragrances, so as to avoid irritating the skin.

Flea And Tick Shampoos

If your pet’s fur is infested with fleas and ticks, these shampoos that help kill these pests. While there are many flea and tick prevention products available in the market, they are only a short-term solution and should be used along with other ointments or medication.

Flea And Tick Shampoo

Moisturizing Shampoos

These products are enriched with natural moisturizing agents like olive, jojoba, coconut oils, or shea butter and vitamin E oil. Opt for these if your pet’s coat looks listless and dull and if your pet has dry skin.

Medicated Shampoos

Medicated shampoos are formulated to heal and prevent certain skin conditions in your pet. Their formula often includes chemicals like salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide or selenium sulfide, each of which has specific antimicrobial or antifungal properties.

Shampoos For Colored Coats

These products help in maintaining the shine and luster of black or white coats, which tend to get yellowed or fade with time and bathing.

Pet’s Skin And pH levels

The first step to choosing the right kind of shampoo for your dog is to understand its skin and fur. Apart from the fact that different kinds of coats and furs need different grooming routines, it’s also important to look out for specific skin problems and conditions, since the shampoo you pick could either help to solve these problems or make it worse.

Is your dog prone to allergies? Does he or she have normal skin, or is it dry and itchy? If you aren’t sure about this yourself, get your dog examined by a vet, so you know exactly what the condition of its skin is.

Look for a shampoo with the right pH levels. Your dog’s skin has a pH level between 6.5 to 7.5, so make sure you find a product that’s within this range.

Tear-Free, Fear-Free

You might want to look for a shampoo that is tear-free, particularly if your pet is still a puppy. You can actually opt for a shampoo specifically designed for puppies, and make sure it has a no-tear formula. The last thing you want is for your pup to be petrified of bath time since this could also create anxieties and aggressive behavior in the future.

Coat: Shiny Or Dull?

Give your dog’s coat a good look before deciding on a product. If your dog has clean skin but a dull coat, you might want to look at a shampoo that also conditions, and has moisturizing and nourishing properties, and is packed with vitamins and other nutrients.

Does Your Dog Smell?

You may have gotten used to that wet puppy smell on your dog, but if your pet is giving off a really strong odor or foul smell, it could mean an infected wound.

If that’s the case with your pet, you will have to look for a specially medicated formula which deodorizes and keeps bacteria away. It’s best to consult a vet before using a medicated formula since these have chemical compounds.

Natural Or Not: Good And Bad Ingredients

If you look at the variety of dog shampoos available in the market, the list of ingredients will definitely leave you feeling baffled. From oatmeal, aloe vera, honey and added vitamins to a list of chemical substances with unpronounceable names – the ingredient list on dog shampoo bottles can be very tricky to understand.

Reading Shampoo Ingredients

There’s a basic thumb rule here – the fewer the chemicals and additives in your dog shampoo, the better it is, except for medicated formulas that are meant for specific conditions.

Good Ingredients

Look for ingredients that moisturize and nourish – aloe vera, shea butter, almond oil, oatmeal are all examples of ingredients that work wonders for your dog’s skin and hair. Look for natural fragrances extracted from herbs and essential oils (except tea tree oil, which is bad for dogs).

As a general precaution, if you’re unsure about a particular ingredient on the list, it’s always safe to run the product by your vet.

Harmful Ingredients: Avoid At All Cost

If you see a couple of these on the back of a dog shampoo bottle, put it down and look for trusted brands like those mentioned above.

Detergents And Foaming Agents

You are probably familiar with these names, and have probably seen them on your own shampoo bottle. Sodium laureth sulfate and sodium lauryl sulfate are synthetic detergent compounds, which are used for cleansing. They are really harsh on your pet’s skin and can strip its coat of shine and moisture, even in a single wash.

Don’t let a dog shampoo fool you with its promise of a rich lather. More often than not, these shampoos include foaming agents like Cocamide DEA and Lauramide DEA, both of which are harsh on the skin and are also known to have carcinogenic properties.

Artificial Dyes

Synthetic color additives are usually made from coal tar and can cause cancer. If a product is brightly-colored, avoid it. Chemical-free shampoos are usually white or pale yellow.

Artificial Fragrances

Manufacturers will often add chemically-derived fragrances to products, to save costs since herbal extracts are often expensive. Artificial fragrances can not only trigger skin allergies in your pets, they could also cause nausea and restlessness.

Instead, look for a product that has natural scents like citrus, lavender, chamomile or eucalyptus – not only will they keep odor away, they also have healing properties of their own.


Natural, chemical-free shampoos will usually have a shorter shelf life, but that’s actually a good thing. The problem with dog shampoos that promise to last you years is that they have parabens added to them as preservatives. Just like artificial dyes, parabens too are linked to cancer. If you see any ingredient that has the word paraben in it, steer clear of that product.

Dog Bathing

Mineral Oil

This is probably the worst ingredient that could find its way into any shampoo, whether it is meant for dogs or babies. A lot of cheap shampoo brands will usually swap natural moisturizers like almond, jojoba or vitamin E oil with mineral oil, (which is actually a petroleum by-product) to make your shampoo look oily or creamy enough.


It’s worth knowing all of this before you choose a shampoo for your canine companion - after all, it’s your responsibility to make sure that nothing comes in the way of their health and a simple choice like the right dog shampoo will go a long way in keeping your pet clean, healthy, well-groomed and most importantly, happy.

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