SynergyLabs Veterinary Formula Medicated Shampoo
Dechra Miconahex + Triz Pet Shampoo
Nature's Miracle Oatmeal Shampoo & Conditioner
Doggy bath times can be a pleasure and they can be a chore but they are a fact of life for all dog owners! There is a huge range of shampoos that you can choose to get your pooch nice and clean and smelling a lot more pleasant. Sadly, it’s not just a case of squirting some of your own shampoo on your pooch and hoping for the best.
Dog shampoos have been very carefully formulated to suit various canine skin types. Some are highly medicated and are recommended for the treatment of particular skin infections and disorders. When used properly, they can be highly effective in combatting dry and irritated skin.
However, they can also cause damage to the natural balance of the skin so it is important that you are careful when you are selecting a product. Here is a comprehensive guide to what you should look for and to what you should avoid in dog shampoos.
The Best Dog Shampoo
Paws & Pals Natural Dog-Shampoo And Conditioner
Perfect for pooches with dry and sensitive skin, this natural dog shampoo is specifically designed to prevent irritation. It cleanses and moisturises at the same time by using a blend of all-natural oils that will work in harmony with your dog’s skin. The 100 per cent certified organic ingredients include Macrocystis Pyrifera (sea kelp) extract and kernel flour made from oats (Avena Sativa) as well as Panthenol (also known as Pro Vitamin B5). No ingredients are derived from animals and so this product is perfect for vegan doggy parents.
Because there are no harsh chemicals to cause irritation of the delicate eyes and nose, every bath time will be completely tear-free and fun! There are no parabens and the formula is totally non-toxic. There is no strong odour to put your pooch off bath time.
This oatmeal shampoo for dogs is a useful product for dogs suffering from skin irritation caused by fleas and dander. The aloe, jojoba and coconut oils provide instant relief. If your pooch has a brittle coat, the oatmeal and shea butter will provide enough moisture to restore it to good health.
Formula for dry, irritated skin and brittle coats
Contains natural ingredients including aloe and coconut oil
Paraben-free and non-toxic
Tear-free and has no odour
- BrandPaws & Pals
- Weight15.8 ounces
Pro Pet Works Natural Oatmeal Dog Shampoo + Conditioner
A totally safe and gentle shampoo that can be used on dogs with irritated skin. You can even use it on skin that is showing an allergic reaction to foods, flea bites or grasses. It contains only natural soothing ingredients such as almond oil and aloe vera and is totally paraben free. Many owners find that leaving it on the skin for a couple of minutes before rinsing it off provides maximum nourishment to the skin and coat.
This shampoo has no soaps, detergents or sulphates so you can use it as often as you like without worrying that you are disrupting the natural balance of the skin and causing damage. There is no alcohol and you can use it at the same time as flea treatments.
It’s very effective at getting rid of the offensive ‘wet dog smell’ and will even detangle your dog’s coat making it a lot easier to groom and maintain in top condition.
Suitable for dog’s skin that is reacting to allergens
Free from parabens and alcohol
Contains no soaps or detergents
Effectively gets rid of ‘wet dog’ smell’
- BrandPro Pet Works
- Weight1 pound
Wahl Dog/Puppy Shampoo
The four-in-one formula is a cleanser, conditioner, de-tangler and moisturiser all in one bottle! There is everything you need to keep your doggy’s coat in tip-top condition. Having everything that you need for bath time in one bottle is more convenient for busy dog owners.
The cleansers in the Wahl shampoo are totally natural, plant-based substances. They do not irritate or dry out even the most sensitive of skin.
The formula is pH balanced so it will work with your dog’s natural skin chemistry. The product contains no PEG-80 (a surfactant that can cause allergic reactions), alcohol or parabens and is completely safe to use. The lavender and chamomile in the formulation cleanse and soothes.
Because the product is concentrated, you have to use much less of it and one bottle lasts a lot longer.
Useful four-in-one formula
Contains natural, plant-based cleansing agents
No alcohol, parabens or PEG-80
Concentrated formula so it lasts longer
- Weight1.66 pounds
SynergyLabs Veterinary Formula Medicated Shampoo
You get a lot more than a simple dog shampoo with this product. It is an effective treatment for a whole range of canine skin conditions. It will help to prevent and control skin infections caused by fungi and bacteria. It can also be used alongside veterinary treatment for mange and other parasites and will bring instant relief from the discomfort.
If your pooch has seborrhoea (a type of doggy dandruff) it will help to control the flaking skin and build-up of grease. The overall result is a happy pooch and a great looking coat.
The active ingredients are micronized sulphur, salicylic acid and coal tar. It also contains allantoin and colloidal oatmeal which moisturises the skin by providing lots of hydration and helps it to heal. There is an odour to the product but it was not strong enough to put many owners off. Initially, its best to use it three times a week and then reduce to once a week as the skin condition improves.
Skin treatment and shampoo combined
Contains micronized sulphur, salicylic acid and coal tar for skin treatment
Allantoin and colloidal oatmeal to moisturise dry skin
Treats doggy dandruff
- Weight1.15 pounds
Dechra Miconahex + Triz Pet Shampoo
This is another medicated shampoo that can be used in the treatment of many skin conditions. It is useful for the treatment of fungal and bacterial conditions that cause dryness, itching and discomfort.
It contains two per cent Miconazole which is a man-made compound used to treat many fungal infections of the skin although it is also used to prevent them. It also contains two per cent Chlorhexidine gluconate which is highly effective against some (but not all) bacterial skin infections. The ceramides in the formula are highly effective at moisturising and repairing irritated skin. The lavender and lemongrass oils provide a natural, soothing action.
This product can be used several times a week to achieve maximum benefits and carries on working even after rinsing it off.
Contains an anti-fungal compound – Miconazole
Contains an anti-bacterial compound – Chlorhexidine gluconate
Contains natural lavender and lemongrass oils
Carries on working between washes
- Weight1.2 pounds
Furminator deShedding Ultra Premium Dog Shampoo to Reduce Shedding
A useful product that can be used on pups over six weeks old. If you have a doggy that sheds a lot then this will be the product for you.
It cuts down the loss of loose hair by reducing the undercoat whilst shampooing. Yet, it is a natural-based product and contains no parabens or chemical dyes and so is perfectly safe for you and your pooch.
The Omega three and six fatty acids together with the Calendula Extract and Papaya Leaf Extract work to replenish and nourish your dog’s skin. The other natural ingredients include sunflower seed oil and blueberry. It’s designed to be used about once a month and in conjunction with Furminator conditioner.
Cuts down on shedding by reducing undercoat
Contains Omega fatty acids for skin health
Contains nourishing Calendula extract and Papaya leaf extract
- Weight1.15 pounds
Fieldworks Supply Company Natural Dog Shampoo
For a totally natural choice, you can’t do better than this 100 per cent organic shampoo. There are no sulphates or chemicals of any sort including preservatives. You only have to use a small amount for each wash and it’s very easy to rinse off.
The main ingredient is Bentonite Clay which has been used for healing skin problems for hundreds of years. Because it is able to bind with many kinds of bacteria and fungi, as well as toxins and heavy metals, it is able to withdraw them from the skin and stop irritation very quickly. It also acts as a great flea deterrent.
The formula includes nutmeg which soothes the skin and rosemary which increases the circulation and so promotes healing. There’s also Neem and Argan oils which naturally fight bacteria and fungi as well as moisturising the skin and reducing flaking. They leave your dog’s coat beautifully silky and shiny. The shea butter and aloe vera are well known for their soothing properties.
Completely natural – no harsh chemicals whatsoever
Fights infections and deters parasites
Moisturises and reduces irritation
Promotes a beautiful coat
- BrandFieldworks Supply Company
- Weight12 ounces
Arava Natural Medicated Dog Shampoo
This is a completely safe and chemical-free shampoo for dogs that is manufactured under the strict FDA guidelines so you can have complete peace of mind. It’s been specially formulated to promote a healthy and shiny coat and smells lovely thanks to the blend of botanical essential oils.
There is nothing unnatural in the product at all, instead it relies on a combination of 28 natural elements to promote healing and a healthy skin and coat. There’s Ganoderma lucidum (also called Reishi) which is a natural anti-inflammatory but also controls allergic reactions and is both an anti-microbial and an anti-oxidant. There’s also Fucus Vesiculosus (more commonly known as Kelp) which boosts the immune system and encourages rapid skin healing. The Pomegranate is included because it strengthens the outer layer of skin and increases blood flow as well as supporting sensitive skin.
Of course, the main component of the product is the unique blend of minerals from the Dead Sea including calcium, sulphur, sodium and magnesium. As well as cleansing, this product will act as a medicated shampoo and can be used as part of a treatment regime for areas of irritation, hot spots and skin infections.
28 natural ingredients
Anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant
Packed with minerals from the Dead Sea
Totally natural and safe
- BrandArava – Dead Sea Pet Spa
- Weight10.4 ounces
4-Legger Certified Organic Dog Shampoo
If you are looking for a 100 per cent natural product that will be kind to your dog’s skin and that won’t damage the environment, then this one is for you. It is certified by the USDA as being a totally organic dog shampoo and hypoallergenic. It contains no detergents, sulphates or parabens, in fact there is nothing artificial or synthetic whatsoever.
This is one product that both veterinarians and groomers recommended for pooches with dry, sensitive or allergy-prone skin. It is perfectly safe for dogs of all ages, including young pups and it will never strip the coat of its natural oils which provide so much protection. Owners love it because it lathers and rinses well (there are no artificial thickeners) and it smells great.
The soap in the shampoo is produced entirely from organic oils including coconut, olive and jojoba oils and these are blended with rosemary, lemongrass (to deter fleas) and aloe vera. The formula is highly effective at soothing dry and irritated skin and promoting healing.
It’s kind to the environment too! All of the ingredients are sustainably sourced and it is completely biodegradable.
100 per cent natural
USDA certified organic dog shampoo
Soaps made from organic oils
Blended with essential oils
- Weight1 pound
Nature’s Miracle Oatmeal Shampoo & Conditioner
A brilliant choice for doggy Moms and Dads who want to control the doggy odour in their homes. This shampoo forms an ‘odour control complex’ which deodorises long-term yet does not rely on harsh chemicals to achieve that effect. The shampoo has a pleasant honey and sage natural odour.
The surfactant element of the shampoo is made from cocoa and cleans and conditions naturally so there is no soap and the product is paraben-free. It also helps to control static electricity so the hair stays softer and cleaner for longer. All of the odour control elements are plant-derived and the whole product is designed to protect the sensitive balance of oils on your dog’s coat.
It is safe to use alongside flea treatment and contains oatmeal and chamomile to soothe skin irritated by flea bites.
Plant-based soap ingredients
Oatmeal and chamomile to soothe skin
Reduces static electricity in the coat
- BrandNature’s Miracle
- Weight0.48 ounces
Best Dog Shampoo Buying Guide & FAQ
Things to Look for in a Good Dog Shampoo
If you are looking for a dog shampoo, one thing you won’t lack is choice! There are hundreds of products to choose from and most of them will probably do a fairly good job of cleaning up a mucky mutt after a long country walk. However, it is likely that you need much more than that from your shampoo. If you choose wisely, it can be an effective way of safeguarding the health of your dog’s skin. Here are some things that you may want to look for in a dog shampoo.
- Will it suit your dog’s skin?
Just like humans, every dog’s skin and coat are different and what suits one dog will not suit another. A quick analysis of your dog’s skin is needed before choosing a shampoo. If your pooch has ‘normal’ skin and no issues with irritation or flaking, you can choose for yourself. If your dog has a medical skin condition, it may be best to get some professional advice from your vet. Some dog shampoos are expensive and you don’t waste your money on the wrong product!
- Does it contain harsh chemicals?
Even if your dog has perfectly normal skin, the sad truth is that a shampoo that contains harsh chemicals could change all that! Always try to choose a product that is as natural as possible. Never use a shampoo that contains strong detergents (such as PEG-80), parabens or alcohol. Select a natural dog shampoo that will work in harmony with your dog’s skin. Natural oils and plant-based ingredients are preferable.
- Will it help irritated skin?
For dogs with dry, flaky or irritated skin, it is essential to choose the best dog shampoo for itchy skin. There are plenty of naturally soothing ingredients such as almond oil, oatmeal and aloe. They provide plenty of moisture to rehydrate the skin and soothe inflammation and itching. Many will bring instant relief for hotspots as well.
- Will it help the condition of their coat?
No one wants to see their pooch with a dull, lifeless coat. The condition of your dog’s fur is directly related to the health of their skin. Some shampoos are formulated to promote a healthy, shiny coat that you will be proud to show off! Oatmeal and shea butter are great for healing a brittle coat and bringing back its shine. Shampoos with plenty of vitamins and minerals also promote a healthy coat.
- Does it contain more than shampoo?
Bath time can take ages if you have to apply the shampoo, rinse and then do the same with a conditioner. Therefore, a combined shampoo and conditioner can save you a lot of time and effort. These will cleanse and moisturise at the same time and some contain a de-tangler which will help with removing knots from the coat.
- Is it medicated?
You may have been advised that the best product for your pooch would be a medicated dog shampoo. This will contain active ingredients that help to prevent and treat skin infections caused by bacteria and fungi. Typical examples are Miconazole and Chlorhexidine gluconate. A third active ingredient such as a ceramide is often included to provide an intense moisturising action at the same time.
- Will it help with flaky and scaly skin?
Flaky and scaly skin causes a lot of discomfort for doggies and looks awful. There are medicated shampoos available with active ingredients such as micronized sulphur, salicylic acid and coal tar which are highly effective at fighting this condition. Omega three oils and oatmeal are also very nourishing.
- Will it get rid of doggy odour?
As much as you love your pooch, you probably won’t be a big fan of doggy body odour which can be quite unpleasant and over-powering. Do not try to combat this by applying harsh artificial perfumes that could irritate your dog’s skin and upset its natural balance of oils. Instead, opt for a natural formula that has been specifically designed to limit odours. Natural products such as honey and sage work well.
- Is it suitable for your pup?
If you have a young pup, you have to be very careful about choosing a shampoo. Some are only suitable for dogs over six weeks old. Others can irritate the eyes and nose and these are not a good idea for a boisterous pup that likes to leap around during bath time and gets shampoo everywhere. A natural, ultra-gentle and tear-free formulation would be the best puppy shampoo.
- Will it ward off parasites?
Fleas and ticks are the enemies of all dog parents but are sadly very common. They cause a lot of discomfort and distress to your dog so regular flea treatment is a must. It is important that you choose a shampoo that can be used alongside flea treatment. This is because some flea treatments depend on the natural oils on a dog’s fur to spread the insecticide around the coat. If you remove the oils with an inappropriate shampoo, you stop the flea treatment from working. A shampoo containing harsh detergents and alcohol will sting flea bites and cause a lot of discomfort. Use a gentle formulation that will soothe and heal flea bites and allergic reactions caused by flea bites.
The best dog shampoo to repel fleas and ticks will have rosemary and lemongrass to ward off fleas in the first place.
- Will it maintain the coat colour?
Some owners have found that there are shampoos that will alter the natural colour of their dog’s coat. The last thing you want is for a bright, white coat to start to look yellow and faded. It may be best to choose a speciality shampoo for a particular colour coat.
- Will it help to get rid of tangles?
Are you finding that you are spending hours grooming your pooch to try to get rid of bothersome tangles? Many shampoos have added de-tangler which will leave the coat silky smooth and will cut down on grooming time. If the coat is very frizzy and prone to tangles, you could try using a separate conditioner that is left in for a while before it is rinsed off.
- Will it reduce shedding?
Some breeds are renowned for excessive shedding and this causes a lot of extra work for owners. You can get specific shampoo formulations that reduce the undercoat and so reduce shedding.
Related Reads: Ultimate Guide to Dog Grooming
Benefits of Using Dog Shampoo
You may have heard so many worrying accounts of adverse reactions to dog shampoos that you are wondering whether it would be best to not use them at all. This would be a mistake. There are plenty of benefits of using a good dog shampoo that has been carefully selected for the needs of your doggy’s skin:
- It’s an opportunity for a health check. Giving your pooch a good old rub down with some shampoo is a great opportunity to check the condition of their skin. You can spot lumps, bumps or parasites as well as dry or scaly skin and can seek help from your vet. While you are at it, you can have a quick check of their eyes, ears, and teeth.
- It helps deter parasites. Some shampoos contain natural substances such as lemongrass that help to deter fleas from setting up home on your doggy’s coat.
- It promotes a healthy coat. Shampoos are a good way of helping your dog’s coat stay silky smooth and healthy. You can buy shampoos that are specifically for poor, brittle and dull coats.
- It can cut down shedding. Washing with a special shampoo for dogs that shed a lot will reduce the undercoat and reduce the amount of vacuuming you need to do!
- It’s a medical treatment. For some dogs, a shampoo is a lot more than a way to keep clean. A medicated dog shampoo will contain active ingredients that treat bacterial infections and an antifungal dog shampoo is needed for other skin infections. Some products soothe seborrheic conditions that cause flaking.
- It soothes irritation. If your pooch suffers from hotspots or general irritation due to allergies, the best dog shampoo for itchy skin will contain soothing agents such as aloe vera which can be highly effective at combatting discomfort.
- It tackles dog odor. Shampooing is a good way of making sure that your pooch smells fresh. If you are looking for the best smelling dog shampoo, choose one with natural ingredients.
- It treats the coat. To reduce tangles and aid grooming, a nourishing shampoo coupled with a conditioner is very effective.
Ingredients to Avoid
Some shampoos include ingredients that have not been established as safe, or worse, have been shown to be potentially harmful to a dog’s health. The general rule of thumb is to try to stick to natural products if you possibly can.
There will be occasions when you have to follow veterinary advice and use a shampoo that has pharmaceutical ingredients because your pooch needs treatment. However, if no specific treatment is needed, stick to a natural dog shampoo and one of the non-toxic varieties. Here are some ingredients that it is best to avoid so read the ingredients label carefully.
Preservatives are added to many household products to prolong the shelf-life but research has shown that many preservatives are actually harmful to health and some may even be carcinogenic. Some preservatives are formaldehyde-based. Formaldehyde is a recognised carcinogen and can cause brain and spinal cord problems as well as rashes.
You may not see ‘formaldehyde’ written on the ingredients list. You may see it written as Diazolidinyl urea, DMDM hydantoin or Quaternium-7, 15, 31,61. Parabens, which you may see written as methylparaben, propylparaben or butylparaben should always be avoided as it can weaken the immune system and could cause cancers.
There is no need to add artificial preservatives to shampoo because natural products such as rosemary essential oil work just as well.
Surfactants and emulsifiers
Surfactants are a group of chemicals that help to remove dirt. They work by lowering the surface tension of a liquid. Emulsifiers make a shampoo foam-up when it is mixed with water. Typical examples are sodium lauryl sulphate and ammonium lauryl sulphate. Any ingredient that includes the term ‘sulphate’ is best avoided. They cause damage to healthy skin which can allow carcinogens to enter. They also cause dryness and itching which breaks down the skin’s natural defences to bacteria, fungi and allergens. Emulsifiers such as diethanolamine (DEA) can affect hormone production.
Surfactants and emulsifiers are not needed in dog shampoos. The product can clean effectively without foaming and there are many natural alternatives that will remove dust and dirt effectively.
The most common moisturising agents such as mineral oil and paraffin tend to coat the skin and clog up the pores. This stops the skin from renewing itself correctly and can lead to dry and flaking skin as well as irritation and itching - the exact opposite of what you were trying to achieve! The natural alternatives such as cocoa butter and fruit oil will do a better job and cause no damage.
Synthetic fragrances may be good at masking a doggy odour but they can also cause harm. They are often made from phthalates which can cause damage to the reproductive system and to the liver. Essentials oils, honey and herbs like sage do a good job of removing odours from your dog’s coat and are not harmful.
Your vet will be able to recommend a suitable medicated shampoo if your dog has a diagnosed bacterial infection.
However, if your pet does not have an infection, it is best to avoid anti-bacterial agents such as Triclosan. It is thought that this can cause problems in the endocrine and reproductive systems.
These are yet more artificial ingredients that shampoos do not need. Will your pooch really care what colour their shampoo is after all? Some shampoos contain artificial colours or ‘lakes’ which can be used in food and confectionary. However, there are concerns about the effect that artificial colours can have on the nervous system and some are thought to be carcinogenic. It is best to opt for a shampoo that has no artificial colours at all. Mineral oxides are a natural product and produce attractive colours.
Propylene glycol is a solvent that is added to many household goods. Unfortunately, it is also the main constituent of anti-freeze which illustrates how powerful a chemical it is. If it’s listed on the dog shampoo ingredients, it’s best to avoid. It has been linked to liver and kidney damage.
It has now been well-established that many pesticides are harmful to animal and human health and are bad for the environment. The negative health effects of products such as DEET have been widely publicised. There is even some evidence that it can be passed down through the generations and cause birth defects.
There are plenty of natural, safe alternatives that will deter pests from infesting your much-loved pet but which will not damage their health. Popular alternatives include citronella and lemongrass.
Related Reads: Best Dog Grooming Clippers
Best Dog Shampoo FAQ:
Q: Can I use human shampoo on a dog?
A: No this is not advisable. Whilst the detergent will help to clean your dog, it can also do some harm. Human shampoo has been very carefully designed to maintain the pH (acidity) balance of human skin but this is different for dog’s skin.
There is a slightly acidic, oily layer that covers the skin of both humans and dogs and which protects it from environmental toxins as well as micro-organisms that could cause damage. It is called the acid mantle. When the acid mantle on the skin (and fur in the case of dogs) is washed away, it can let in micro-organisms and other irritants and the result is dry, flaky and irritated skin. The acid mantle pH in humans is 5.2 to 6.2 but in dogs it is 5.5 to 7.5 which is more acidic. Therefore, an entirely different product is needed.
Q: Can I use my hair conditioner on my dog?
A: As is the case with shampoos, human conditioners are likely to be the wrong level of acidity to suit your doggy’s skin. This will upset the acid mantle and could let in infection. Human conditioners also contain a large number of additives and artificial ingredients that could cause irritation and allergic reactions in dogs. They invariably have a high oil content which is great for human hair but very bad for a dog’s skin and coat.
Q: How much shampoo should I use?
A: The amount of shampoo that you should use in each wash is usually indicated on the packaging for the particular product and it is important to read this carefully. Some shampoos are described as ‘concentrated’ so you only use a very small amount of the product and a bottle will last you for a long time.
Q: Are dog shampoos safe if my dog gets some of it in his/her eyes or mouth?
A: This varies by product. If you are very concerned that your pooch will get some shampoo in their eyes (perhaps because they leap around a lot during bathing) it is sensible to choose a tear-free formula. Natural products are not necessarily tear-free as some natural oils can sting the eyes so read the label carefully before use.
Q: Dog shampoo doesn’t foam as much as regular shampoo, why is this?
A: Human shampoo is usually thick and foams easily when added to wet hair. This is because it contains artificial foaming agents which actually serve no purpose other than to create a foam. They are not needed for cleaning hair at all. Dog shampoos do not contain these substances and many dog shampoos are made from 100 per cent natural products. Therefore, they clean effectively but do not foam.
Our Top Pick:
Paws & Pals Natural Dog-Shampoo And Conditioner
A great product which helps to soothe sensitive skin through a careful formulation of entirely natural ingredients. The natural oils soothe your dog’s skin and organic ingredients such as sea kelp help to keep the skin moist and healthy. None of the ingredients are derived from animals.
The formulation is tear-free and there are no parabens or any artificial chemicals. You can use it on doggies with irritated skin and flea bites.
- Can You Use Human Shampoo on Dogs?, PetMD
- The right shampoo for your dog, Cesar's way
- 9 Ingredients That Shouldn’t Be in Your Dog’s Shampoo, I heart dogs