When selecting the best shampoo for your dog, there are a number of factors to consider before just grabbing whatever is on the shelf or in the grooming supplies box.
Just like people, dogs have different hair types, skin sensitivities and grooming needs, so it is important to address these different needs with the right shampoo.
So Many Dog Shampoos…
When it comes to deciding on the right pet shampoo, you will probably feel overwhelmed by all the different products on offer, particularly when trying to determine which one in particular is best for your pet.
There is a dog shampoo for everything today, whether it is marketed as a puppy shampoo or a dog shampoo for itchy skin; whether it is all natural, made to whiten the coat or enhance color, there is a shampoo for it.
There are multiple types of dog flea shampoo as well as mange shampoo, shampoo for specific skin conditions and even dry shampoo for dogs that don’t like a bath (or waterless dog shampoo). A dry dog shampoo can definitely come in handy in between bathing.
Some of these products seem to do what they are supposed to do, too; others just seem like every other shampoo out there.
Knowing this, groomers and dog owners should understand that in order to choose the best dog shampoo they must realize that a dog’s skin is much more sensitive than a person’s is; whatever the dog is washed with, it should be as gentle and natural as possible.
Gentle vs Natural Dog Shampoos
There are shampoos that claim to be “gentle” for dogs, but they are not necessarily natural products.
Preventing damage to the hair coat and skin is a primary consideration when choosing a dog shampoo since chemicals – even those contained in regular shampoos without insecticides – cannot only dry out the coat, but also affect the pH of the hair and skin, destroying natural resistance to normal skin conditions like staph and yeast infections.
Where there are health issues, it is always wise to ask your vet about the best medicated dog shampoo currently on the market.
Dog shampoos with chemicals can also cause itchiness from skin reactions, which is the exact opposite of what any dog owner wants, of course, and all of this even from “gentle” products made for dogs.
Using products that are all-natural and contain only natural, plant-based ingredients are a more favorable option than shampoos with chemicals, no matter how gentle they are said to be.
Conversely, when picking out a natural dog shampoo or an organic dog shampoo, keep in mind as well that different essential oils and plant extracts can do different things, so “all natural” does not always mean “gentle”.
It is therefore important to understand what each type of natural shampoo does, and how it affects the hair and skin. Along these lines, it should also be noted that while oatmeal shampoo for dogs is popular as a moisturizing and itch-reducing shampoo, these shampoos should not be used on dogs that have grain allergies since these dogs will likely react to the oatmeal. In these cases you could consider an hypoallergenic dog shampoo.
Flea and Mange Shampoos
Insecticidal shampoos and antifungal shampoo for dogs, though sometimes a necessary evil, should be chosen with extreme caution since some of the chemicals used can make dogs very sick, or worse, if they are particularly sensitive to these chemicals.
Also, there are a number of insecticide shampoos and other products on the market today that are deadly to cats; even though this may not be the case with dogs, it certainly does raise questions.
Some mange shampoos are sulfur-based, which is a natural substance, but there are other chemicals present which should be taken into account. Whether treating fleas or a type of mange, it is highly recommended to understand what chemicals are included, the risks involved, and perhaps what alternative products might be available.
Pyrethrin (not to be confused with permethrin) shampoos are generally considered safe for most dogs since pyrethrin is naturally derived from the chrysanthemum flower. Tea Tree Oil is said to both repel fleas and act as a treatment for mange in dogs, as well; however there are conflicting views regarding toxicity so you need to study the label closely and any precautions given.
Some Good Dog Shampoos to Try
With all of this in mind, it is safe to say that the best dog shampoo is going to be the most natural one with the least amount of chemicals possible, that actually gets the dog clean. Here are some highly-rated dog shampoos that you can try on your dogs:
- Buddy Wash – 100% natural, coconut-based soap-free shampoo and conditioner in one containing essential oils and botanicals in a variety of formulas for different conditions such as dry skin, itchy skin and more. A very good dog shampoo for dry skin. Highest rated dog shampoo on Amazon.com.
Cloud Star Lavender & Mint Corporation Buddy Wash, 16 oz, Pack of 1
- Earthbath – 100% natural, biodegradable dog shampoos that contain no harsh detergents, alcohols, chemicals, toxins, dyes or phosphates and available in numerous essential oil formulas for a variety of hair and skin types, and different conditions. Second-highest rated on Amazon.com.
Earthbath Oatmeal & Aloe Shampoo, Vanilla & Almond, 16 Ounce
- EcoPure Flea and Tick Shampoo – Herbal, pH-balanced shampoo containing eucalyptus, cedarwood and other essential oils for all natural flea and tick killing and repelling properties. Best flea shampoo for dogs, best combination flea and tick shampoo as rated on Amazon.com.
ecoPure 8-Ounce Flea and Tick Shampoo
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You can read best dog shampoo reviews as well as reviews on the best puppy shampoo here: Dog Shampoos as Featured on Amazon.
Let’s hear your opinion on the best shampoo for dogs. Perhaps you are using a homemade dog shampoo. If so, and if you have had a lot of success with it, please share your favorite dog shampoo recipe.
Disclaimer: Nothing in this article should be taken to constitute professional advice or a formal recommendation, but rather a discussion of what other pet owners and groomers have found. If you have any concerns or questions about products that you are using for your pets, please consult your veterinarian before doing so.