Connect with us.

Best Dog Shampoo: 8 Great Options for Every Coat Type

Pomeranian puppy bathing with bubbles of shampoo on head

Skip To

The pet industry has a big dirty statistic for dog moms and dads. By the year 2025, pet parents will spend at least $14.5 billion dollars on pet grooming products (1). That’s a whole lot of dog shampoo and grooming tools for our beloved pets. 

Like all products, no two dog shampoos are created equal. Every dog’s skin and coat has unique properties, so the shampoo that works for Fluffy may not perform as well for Mitzi. Your pet’s shampoo needs may also change if he or she is dealing with a pesky skin condition or other health issue. Rest assured, there are plenty of great dog shampoos out there for every coat type and need.

Can You Use Human Shampoo on Dogs?

Dog head tilt garden

Human shampoos differ from dog shampoos in many ways, and pH level is one of them. The pH scale measures how basic or acidic a substance is; in this case, shampoo. On the pH scale of 0 to 14, a dog’s skin is around 7.5, whereas a human’s is 5.5. Because a pH of 7 is considered neutral, you don’t want to use a more acidic product, like human shampoo, on a dog’s delicate skin. 

For this reason, you’ll want to look for the phrase “pH balanced for dogs” on a bottle of dog shampoo. Using human shampoo on your dog’s can strip away the oils and the hair’s protective qualities over time. Your dog will end up with an itchy, dry, irritated coat and skin with continued use of human shampoo. 

You should not use human shampoo on dogs.

How to Use Dog Shampoo

Close up of dog being shampooed

Perusing the thousands of available canine shampoo choices can be dizzying. Promises are one thing, but the proof is on the label. Turn the shampoo bottle around or look at the label image online to view the product’s ingredients.

Some shampoos need to set on the dog’s skin after lathering and massaging into his or her coat. Some require multiple shampooing sessions whereas others involve a one-and-done process. Always follow labeling instructions, and if your pet requires a medicated shampoo, talk to your veterinarian first. 

Cute puppy being washed in bathtub for animals

Keep in mind that some dog shampoos interfere with topical flea and tick preventatives. Most often, instructions for use are located on the pest preventative label. Some dog shampoos specify that they will not interfere with topical flea and tick treatments. 

Dogs don’t need to be bathed often, so it’s important not to overdo it. Many pet parents adhere to a set bathing schedule or have their pet’s groomer perform that task. However, at some point, your dog will roll in or step in something gross, be affected by fleas, or generally emit a stinky odor. 

There’s a dog shampoo for every need, including but not limited to oatmeal shampoo for itchy skin, dog dandruff shampoo, antifungal shampoo, dry shampoo, medicated shampoo, and even conditioners for dogs. 

Dog Shampoo: What to Look For

Dog being rubbed with a towel

“When shopping for dog shampoo, you want one that cleans well and rinses easily,” says Karen Osper, a professional pet stylist and preservation dog breeder of 30 years. “Specialty shampoos each have their place, and I’ve used many different ones quite often.”

Osper says even if you don’t own a show dog, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t treat their coat like a show dog. Using high-quality products will give you a positive result. The key, she emphasizes, is to rinse, rinse, rinse, and make sure your dog is completely dry. 

Puppy being shampooed

For example, some shampoos are better for heavy coats, and others are formulated for puppies. Osper likes a hypoallergenic shampoo that is safe to use on dogs under 1 year old. “Being recommended by a vet doesn’t matter to me when I’m selecting a quality dog shampoo,” she adds.

Ingredients to avoid in dog shampoos include propylene glycol, phthalates, parabens, methylparaben, formaldehyde, Cocamidopropylbetaine, and isopropyl alcohol. Famous veterinarian Dr. Jean Dodds warns pet parents that preservatives should be avoided if possible (2). Some can dry the skin, and others are listed as carcinogens by the U.S. Government, such as formaldehyde. 

Here are some of our favorite dog shampoo selections depending on your dog’s coat, skin type, and individual needs. 

Best Dog Shampoo: 8 Great Options To Try

All featured products are chosen at the discretion of the author. However, Great Pet Care may make a small affiliate commission if you click through and make a purchase.

Young woman owner getting her dog clean at home

OUR LIST

Best Oatmeal Shampoo For Dogs

Our pick: Great Pet Great Coat Oatmeal and Aloe Dog Shampoo

Great Pet® Great Coat Oatmeal and Aloe Dog Shampoo

Oatmeal dog shampoo is one of the most popular options among pet parents—and with good reason. The key ingredient in a high-quality oatmeal dog shampoo is—you guessed it—colloidal oatmeal. It’s an emollient that soothes and softens the skin thanks to vitamins, proteins, and minerals it contains. 

Not all oatmeal shampoos for dogs are created equal. Great Coat’s anti-inflammatory properties get right to the skin’s itch and irritation that many dogs experience. Ideal for dogs with sensitive skin or allergies, Great Coat can be used as often as necessary without stripping your pup’s coat. It is pH balanced and hypoallergenic but also safe to use with topical flea control products you put on your dog. Bonus points for infusing aloe vera gel into the oatmeal formula. 

Highlights

  • Made in the USA without harsh chemicals, soaps, or detergents
  • Lightly scented with a beachy piña colada aroma
  • Does not strip the dog’s coat of her normal luster and sheen 
  • Hydrolyzed oat proteins help relieve dry, itchy, irritated skin 
  • Gently moisturizes skin and coat with its rich, full lather

Things to Consider 

  • Available in one 16-ounce size, so multiple or big dog households may need more than one bottle for ongoing use
  • Piña colada scent is light but some pet parents may prefer unscented 
  • Shampoo should set on your wet dog for 5-10 minutes before rinsing
  • For best results, repeating the process is recommended

Best Dog Shampoo for Smelly Dogs

Our pick: PetAg Fresh ‘n Clean Scented Dog Shampoo

PetAg Fresh 'n Clean Scented Dog Shampoo

Stink happens. If your dog’s odor is extra pungent or he rolled in something disgusting, you’ll need a shampoo for smelly dogs. Rather than mask the odor, PetAg’s Fresh ‘n Clean Scented Dog Shampoo leaves a long-lasting scent behind that clings to hair for up to two weeks. 

Many odor-controlling shampoos don’t live up to the hype, but PetAg’s smelly dog shampoo smells amazing and truly lingers without being overpowering. Hundreds of reviews agree this shampoo gets the job done, removes dirt and grime, but keeps dogs sweetly scented for days to weeks at a time. 

Highlights

  • Gently cleans with soap-free, pH-balanced, plant-derived cleansers
  • Moisturizes the dog’s skin and coat with aloe and vitamin E
  • Reviews from groomers praise it as their “go-to” shampoo for smelly dogs
  • Made in the USA 
  • Reasonably priced 
  • Scent is described as fresh and clean without being overpowering 

Things to Consider

  • Designed for use on adult dogs only. 
  • Must be rinsed out extremely well, as with most dog shampoos
  • Repeat shampooing process if necessary after first round 

Best Dog Shampoo for Puppies

Our Pick: Earthbath Ultra-Mild Wild Cherry Puppy Shampoo

earthbath Ultra-Mild Puppy Shampoo and Conditioner

A puppy is a bundle of energy and a “wild child,” which means they also need a safe, pH-balanced dog shampoo designed for their skin and coat. This 3-in-1 formula from Earthbath cleanses, detangles and conditions, and features a dash of baby-fresh cherry fragrance. 

Earthbath suggests “once your puppy is slippery and wet, he is suddenly smarter and faster than you are.” The company’s commitment to quality products and money-back “happiness guarantee” are rare gems. Puppy skin deserves tender care, and this mild luxurious dog shampoo will help keep her smelling delectable and looking great. 

Highlights

  • Earthbath products are cruelty-free and contain no animal by-products or ingredients
  • Tearless, soap-free and pH balanced to use with delicate puppy skin
  • Blended with renewable plant-derived and coconut-based cleansers
  • Contains no sulfates, parabens, dyes, DEA, parabens, or alcohol
  • Made in the USA
  • Money-back guarantee imprinted on the bottle if you are not satisfied 

Things to Consider

  • May be diluted with 10 parts water to one part shampoo if desired
  • Leave lathered wet shampoo on for at least 90 seconds 
  • Some reviews indicate a strong scent 

Best Dog Shampoo for Itchy Skin 

Our Pick: Vet’s Best Hot Spot Dog Shampoo 

Vet's Best Hot Spot Itch Relief Shampoo for Dogs

A lot of dogs who have itchy skin wind up creating nasty hot spots. Whether your dog has a hot spot or itchy skin, Vet’s Best Hot Spot Dog Shampoo is a winner. It’s alcohol-free, no-sting formula provides fast relief from scratching without irritation. Pet parents who grow weary and distressed seeing their dogs constantly itching can take comfort in this shampoo. 

Always see your veterinarian for any ongoing itching or hot spot issues. In tandem with your dog’s regular vet-prescribed medications or treatment, Vet’s Best dog shampoo for itchy skin may help. Its key ingredients are tea tree oil, aloe vera, and chamomile for soothing relief. Because it is veterinarian formulated and recommended, pet parents feel safe using it in conjunction with topical flea control products.

Highlights

  • Simple ingredients of tea tree oil, aloe vera, allantoin, panthenol, and vitamin E
  • Bathe as often as needed to soothe itchy dry skin and hair 
  • Money-back guarantee printed on packaging 
  • Many reviews indicate dogs are not itching or biting in between baths
  • Moisturizes the dog’s coat and keeps it soft and shiny 

Things to Consider

  • Use on dogs and puppies 12 weeks or older
  • Must lather and massage into the dog’s coat for 5 minutes
  • Scented formula 
  • Not recommended for nursing or pregnant dogs

Best Flea Shampoo for Dogs

Our Pick: Sentry Flea & Tick Oatmeal Hawaiian Ginger Shampoo for Dogs 

SENTRY Oatmeal Flea and Tick Shampoo for Dogs

Imagine being able to kill fleas and ticks on your dog with a rich, conditioning, non-staining shampoo. Sentry’s flea shampoo for dogs cleans and deodorizes with a flea and tick-killing ingredient all-in-one formula. This product contains permethrin, which is designed to kill existing ticks and fleas on your dog. 

The Hawaiian ginger scent infused with oatmeal is perfect for dogs with sensitive skin. Sentry says their shampoo can even kill deer ticks that may carry Lyme disease. Ideal for dogs and puppies over 12 weeks of age, it is designed to clean your dog and eliminate unwanted pests from his skin and fur. 

Highlights

  • Sentry indicates a single application of this shampoo kills adult fleas and ticks for up to 10 days.
  • Economical and affordably priced
  • Product is pH balanced to promote skin and coat health
  • Cleans, deodorizes, and conditions while killing fleas and ticks
  • Oatmeal soothes and calms irritated or dry skin 

Things to Consider

  • You may want to check with your veterinarian before use to ensure there are no contraindications 
  • Certain medications can interact with pesticides
  • Do not treat your dog with more than one pesticide product at a time 

Best Organic Flea Shampoo for Dogs

Our Pick: Richard’s Organic Flea and Tick Shampoo for Dogs

Richard’s Organics Flea and Tick Shampoo for Dogs

Not everyone feels safe or comfortable putting a chemically-based flea shampoo on their dog. Richard’s Organics Flea and Tick Shampoo for Dogs protects against fleas, ticks, and mosquitos with five all-natural essential oils. Each ingredient is environmentally friendly and does not subject your dog to harsh chemicals. 

It’s five active ingredients are peppermint oil, eugenol (clove oil), cedarwood oil, cinnamon oil, and rosemary oil. When combined, Richard’s helps keep pests from hitching a ride on your dog. It contains no artificial colors or fragrances and is safe for use on dogs 12 weeks and older. 

Highlights

  • Formula is designed to kill fleas and repel mosquitos for up to four weeks at a time 
  • Can be used in conjunction with flea and tick treatments without removing them
  • Cedarwood oil is good for coat conditioning and skin dermatitis 
  • Made in the USA
  • Contains no harsh soaps or damaging detergents
  • Affordably priced 

Things to Consider 

  • Consult with your veterinarian if your dog has any pre-existing health issues first 
  • Do not get this product near your dog’s eyes
  • Scent is strong due to natural essential oils 

Best Dog Shampoo for Sensitive Skin

Our Pick: Zymox Enzymatic Dog Shampoo

Zymox Shampoo with Vitamin D3 Gallon by Pet King Brands

Zymox’s no-sting, tear-free shampoo is made without chemicals, detergents, or chlorines and is safe for dogs and cats. Their patented LP3 enzyme formula blends proteins with vitamin D3 to be safe and gentle on pets of all ages. It is mild and non-drying to soothe the skin without stripping it. 

It contains no antibiotics so it won’t cause unnecessary skin irritation. Sensitive, itchy, irritated skin is best served with a product like Zymox’s LP3 dog shampoo. Coupled with Zymox’s leave-on conditioner, dogs with more delicate skin are in for a treat.

Highlights

  • Naturally effective formula developed by veterinarians
  • Soothes, cleanses, and provides itch relief, too 
  • Curbs itching, allergy, and dandruff 
  • Supports healthy skin and protects delicate skin 
  • Made in the USA
  • Soothing relief from germs, fungus, yeast, itchy, or allergic skin 

Things to Consider 

  • Must be left on the dog’s coat for 3-5 minutes before rinsing thoroughly
  • Lightly fragranced
  • Consult with your veterinarian for more severe skin issues (i.e., atopic dermatitis) before use

Best Deshedding Shampoo for Dogs 

Our Pick: FURminator DeShedding Ultra Premium Shampoo for Dogs

FURminator Ultra Premium Deshedding Shampoo

Shed happens, and when dogs shed, it can be overwhelming to try and control the hair appearing in every nook and cranny of your home and clothing. A dog’s coat serves many purposes, and some pups will naturally blow their coat. A high-quality deshedding product like FURminator DeShedding Ultra Premium shampoo may help. 

This proprietary formulation is made in America and formulated to protect against excessive shedding. It promotes a healthy coat with omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, calendula extract, and papaya leaf extract. With over 10,000 reviews and a nearly 5-star rating on Amazon, pet parents love the efficacy of this product. 

Highlights

  • Promotes a healthy coat and skin while reducing loose hair from shedding
  • Free of parabens, artificial colors, and dyes
  • Made in the USA
  • Recommended for use every 4-6 weeks 
  • Safe for use on dogs over 6 weeks old
  • Makes the shed more manageable by reducing the amount of hair your dog loses to shed

Things to Consider

  • For best results, allow the product to set on your wet dog for 5-10 minutes before rinsing
  • Process may be repeated if needed
  • If your dog uses a topical flea and tick treatment, follow instructions on that packaging before use of this deshedding shampoo 

Dog Shampoo: Tips and Advice

Washing an American Cocker spaniel with a dog shampoo

It’s best not to use antifungal, antibacterial, or antiparasitic dog shampoos unless directed by your veterinarian. Because the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) doesn’t regulate pet shampoos, it’s up to pet parents to be their dog’s ally. 

Try to avoid artificial ingredients, dyes, and anything with harsh chemicals. The goal of dog shampoo is to clean and moisturize your dog’s skin and coat. Happy bathing!

Don’t miss the next pet food recall!

Stay up to date with pet-related recalls and alerts so you can help keep your dog or cat safe.

Don’t miss the next pet food recall!