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Even though our dogs enjoy perfuming themselves with yard garbage, most pet parents prefer a fresher scent when they lean in for a snuggle. Pet parents need to consider a few factors when picking a dog shampoo, like their dog’s coat type, activity level, and perhaps—just as important—what they want their dog to smell like. 

The shelves at your local pet emporium are overflowing with shampoos to choose from. While scent preferences are a personal choice, we think that the following selections are some of the best-smelling dog shampoo options out there.

What to Look for in a Dog Shampoo

If you’re wondering what makes a good dog shampoo, there are a few things we recommend looking for on the label and when using the product.

Where it’s made. As with all pet products, it’s best to look for USA-sourced and made products with minimal additives and chemicals. 

Ingredient list. Some of the ingredients in even the most natural dog shampoos can look downright scary! But “glycerol” and “phenoxyethanol” are actually dog-safe ingredients used for softening and preventing product contamination. Watch out for shampoos with long, complicated ingredient lists, or vague descriptors like “fragrance.” 

Formulated for dogs. Dog shampoos are pH-balanced specifically for dogs, which means that you shouldn’t substitute human shampoo no matter how gentle the formula. Save that baby shampoo for your human baby.

Rinsability. Finally, dog shampoo might have a thinner consistency than what you’re used to in the shower, and might not lather as much. That’s because rinsibility is an important feature in dog shampoo, as any product left on the skin or fur could lead to irritation. 

Best Smelling Dog Shampoo: 6 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.

If you want your pup to smell great (and have a clean and shiny coat), these shampoo options for dogs will do the trick. 

Great Pet Great Coat

Great Coat Dog Shampoo
Credit: @aryaandsamwell

Not only does this gentle dog shampoo have a delicious coconut-pineapple scent (Pina Colada fans, this one’s for you), the luxurious blend of ingredients also does double duty to soothe dry, itchy skin. Great Coat is a soap-free dog shampoo which means it won’t strip your dog’s coat and will leave your pooch clean, soft, and smelling great!

Highlights:

  • Excellent lather
  • Rinses clean
  • Great Coat is a best smelling dog shampoo that lasts

Things to Consider

  • It costs a little more than some of the options on the list.
  • Great Coat is an exclusive brand which means you can’t find it everywhere.

Buddy Wash Rosemary and Mint

Buddy Wash Rosemary and Mint dog shampoo

Get ready for a big hit of rosemary when you open the bottle because this shampoo smells very strong when you take the first whiff. While the initial scent is intense, the refreshing rosemary mint aroma fades to a lighter fragrance during the lather-up process, and leaves your dog with a clean, pleasant herbal scent post-bath. 

Highlights:

  • Concentrated scent.
  • Easy to lather.
  • It’s a shampoo plus conditioner so you don’t have to do two rinses.

Things to Consider:

  • The initial fragrance might be overpowering for some users
  • Rinsing can take a little longer 

Tropiclean Spa Comfort Shampoo

Tropiclean Spa Comfort Shampoo

The entire Tropiclean line is a favorite among groomers for its clean ingredients. This ultra-rich moisturizing dog shampoo scores extra points because it’s enhanced with lavender oil, which can help calm anxious bathers. And it doesn’t just smell great, the blend of oatmeal and kiwi is designed to keep your dog’s skin and coat feeling super smooth.

Highlights:

  • Safe for dogs with sensitive skin.
  • Recommended by groomers.
  • Long-lasting scent.

Things to Consider

  • Some users notice a lack of lather.
  • Dogs with longer fur might also need conditioner.

Earthbath 2-in1 Mango Tango

Earthbath Mango Tango Dog Shampoo

This 2-in-1 shampoo plus conditioner smells like a vacation in a bottle! Mango Tango might be celebrated for the fresh tropical scent, but this cruelty-free shampoo blends hardworking cleaning with conditioners to leave your dog smelling and feeling good!

Highlights

  • Money back guarantee if you or your dog aren’t satisfied.
  • The mild formulation is good for dogs with sensitive skin.
  • Great lather.

Things to Consider

  • The exact dog-safe preservative used isn’t listed on the bottle.
  • Some users think the post-bath scent is too faint.

True Blue Natural Balance Conditioning Shampoo

True Blue Dog Shampoo

This tear-free shampoo has a scent unlike any other. The light citrus aroma is so clean and refreshing that you just might want to steal it and use it yourself! True Blue was formulated by veterinarians and blends botanicals like grapefruit to wash without stripping and chamomile to soothe minor skin irritations 

Highlights:

  • Veterinarian formulated.
  • Long lasting scent.
  • Tear-free.

Things to Consider

  • Shampoo is gelatinous.

Kin+Kind Natural Dog Shampoo Almond + Vanilla

kin and kind almond dog shampoo

When you think fresh dog scents nutty almond might not be your top pick, but this cruelty-free shampoo can make your stinky dog smell like a morsel from the bakery. (Or should we say “bark-ery”?) Kin+Kind uses activated charcoal to remove impurities (even skunk smell) and can brighten coats from white to black and everything in between.

Highlights

  • Vet-formulated.
  • Hand crafted in a USDA-certified organic plant.
  • Vegan.

Things to Consider

  • This black shampoo might not sit well with traditionalists.
  • Rinsing can be challenging. 

Tips for Using Dog Shampoo

Woman using shampoo on dogs

Bath time doesn’t have to be a struggle! The following tips can make lathering up your pup more efficient:

Check Your Water Temperature

Think Goldilocks—not too hot and not too cold. The water should be comfortable enough for your hands to stay submerged in it.

Read the Instructions

While you might not think instructions for shampoo are necessary, some dog shampoos have steps to follow, like diluting the product before use, lathering in your hands before application or shaking the bottle.

Spray n’ Wash

If you’re using a hose or handheld shower nozzle, let your dog get used to the sensation by starting off the spray at your dog’s feet then slowly working up the tail end. 

Don’t Rinse Too Soon

Shampoo plus conditioner formulations might require a few minutes on the fur before rinsing. If you rinse these formulas off too quickly, the shampoo or conditioner may not have the desired effect. 

Watch the Eyes

Most dogs don’t like getting water or soap in their eyes, so be careful when washing your pup’s face, even if you’re using a tear-free shampoo.

Extend the Scent With Cleansing Sprays

Want to keep that fresh-from-the-bath scent even longer? Many dog shampoo lines also have cleansing sprays or waterless soap to keep the clean scent while skipping the tub. (Your dog will thank you!)