13 Best Dog Shampoos and Conditioners with 2 DIY Homemade Options

we found the best dog shampoos on the market

It’s a fact of life that dogs get dirty and smelly. Even the most precious prince or princess needs a bath occasionally. In this article we’ll tell you everything you need to know about dog shampoos and conditioners, plus:

  1. We’ll tell you the overall best dog shampoo.
  2. Our top-rated shampoos.
  3. Tips to giving your dog a bath so he won’t run away and hide!
  4. The health features of different dog shampoos.
  5. We’ll also give you a couple of DIY homemade shampoo options.

Let’s get started!

If you’ve spent even five minutes looking at dog shampoos and conditioners, you have probably figured out that there are hundreds of products. How are you supposed to determine which product would be best for your dog? Whether you’re looking for puppy shampoos, medicated shampoos, a soothing shampoo for itching, a deodorizing shampoo for a stinky dog, or just a good all-around shampoo to get your pup clean, we can help. We have carefully examined the shampoos and conditioners available today, looked at the ingredients, and read the reviews and customer comments. We can tell you the best dog shampoos and conditioners and which one should suit your dog’s needs.

No matter what kind of shampoo, conditioner, or grooming product your dog needs, we can give you some tips about different kinds of products, too.

So, get comfortable and let us give you the lowdown on dog shampoos and conditioners.

Overall Best Dog Shampoo

Buddy Wash Original Lavender & Mint Dog Shampoo & Conditioner

Buddy Wash Original Lavender & Mint Dog Shampoo & Conditioner is a favorite with customers. It’s a 2-in-1 shampoo and conditioner so you don’t have to apply a conditioner after you rinse it out. It uses natural, cosmetic-grade ingredients such as botanical extracts and essential oils instead of harsh cleansers. It’s all natural and soap-free. Even though it contains no soap, it still makes a rich lather that rinses out easily. The lavender and mint formula includes aloe vera and tea tree oil to help soothe irritated skin. Buddy Wash Original Lavender & Mint Dog Shampoo contains no alcohol so it won’t burn your dog’s skin and it’s okay to use it often. The company uses no animal testing. Made in the U.S. And it’s not expensive. This is our pick for the overall best dog shampoo if your dog doesn’t need a medicated shampoo or another special shampoo. Also available in a Relaxing Green Tea & Bergamot formula.

12 More Top-Rated Dog Shampoos

Earthbath Oatmeal & Aloe Dog & Cat Shampoo

Earthbath makes lots of good dog shampoo and conditioning products and many of them are popular with customers.  Their Earthbath Oatmeal & Aloe shampoo is very popular with dog lovers who have all kinds of dogs. It’s especially good for dogs with itchy or dry skin. It’s soap-free and it has ingredients to re-moisturie and soothe dry skin, cracked skin, and to reduce itching. Plus, it won’t irritate your dog’s skin or wash off topical flea products. This formula is 100 percent biodegradable and it’s free of parabens, pthalates, and phosphates. It contains no synthetic dyes or perfumes. Made in the U.S. One of the best shampoos so we can happily recommend it.

Veterinary Formula Clinical Care Antiseptic & Antifungal Shampoo

Veterinary Formula Clinical Care has a good line of products for dogs that need medicated shampoos. This Antiseptic & Antifungal Medicated Shampoo relieves skin infections such as dermatitis and pyoderma (hot spots). It’s formulated with Benzethonium Chloride to help eliminate bacteria that cause irritation and odor and Ketoconazole to treat fungal infections. Aloe vera soothes the skin and helps speed healing of the affected area. Per the directions, you should shampoo twice weekly until the skin condition clears up. Afterward, you can shampoo once a week to prevent any flare-ups. This formula is 100 percent paraben-free.

Jax n Daisy Antifungal & Antibacterial Dog Shampoo

Another good choice for fungal and bacterial skin problems is Jax n Daisy Antifungal & Antibacterial Dog Shampoo. It relieves itchy, irritated skin. This shampoo is specially formulated to help relieve dermatological conditions caused by allergies, flea bites, environmental conditions, and more. It has a unique combination of essential oils coupled with a mild antiseptic that offers a gentle yet effective cleaning solution. It won’t dry your dog’s skin. Lemon oil, witch hazel, lavender, rosemary, and chamomile are blended with hemp and grapeseed oils to work together with chlorhexidine. These ingredients help speed healing and comfort for your dog. Made in the USA.

Vet’s Best Allergy Itch Relief Shampoo for Dogs

Vet’s Best Allergy Itch Relief Shampoo for Dogs is for dogs with sensitive skin or itch and irritation due to seasonal allergies. It uses essential oils and natural ingredients such as oatmeal, D’Limonene, and tea tree oil to calm skin irritations. It moisturizes skin that has suffered from constant itching; and washes away allergens that can be attached to the fur and skin. It leaves your dog smelling fresh with an herbal spa fragrance. You can use it as often as needed without drying your dog’s skin. Will not affect topical flea and tick products.

FURminator DeShedding Ultra Premium Shampoo For Dogs

If your dog is a shedding monster, you might want to try FURminator DeShedding Ultra Premium Shampoo For Dogs. This shampoo has a proprietary formulation to help reduce shedding. It helps enhance the effectiveness of deshedding tools when you use them, making it easier to remove dead hair so your dog won’t shed all over your house and furniture. Promotes healthy skin and coat to help reduce shedding. Enriched with Omega-3 and 6 fatty acids, calendula extract and papaya leaf extract. All FURminator shampoos and grooming products are free of parabens and chemical dyes. Made in the USA.

Earthbath 2-in-1 Mango Tango Conditioning Dog & Cat Shampoo

If you like 2-in-1 shampoo and conditioners, Earthbath has a very good one with their Mango Tango Conditioning Shampoo. Keeps your dog’s coat soft, easy to manage, and smelling good. Detangles the coat and leaves it clean and plush. Adds luster and shine to the coat. It won’t wash off topical flea treatments. The tropical mango scent is a favorite with many dog lovers and it gets rid of unpleasant doggy odors. This shampoo and conditioner is 100 percent biodegradable. It’s paraben and phosphate-free.

4-Legger Organic, Hypo-Allergenic, Lemongrass & Aloe Dog Shampoo

4-Legger Organic, Hypo-Allergenic, Lemongrass & Aloe Dog Shampoo is all natural and certified organic so it should appeal to anyone looking for an organic shampoo. It’s free of many of the chemical ingredients that can be problems. It’s non-toxic, biodegradable, vegan, and cruelty-free. Made in the USA. It has no detergents or sulfates and no synthetic ingredients. It’s also naturally deodorizing and naturally moisturizing. This is a very natural shampoo for your dog. It has lemongrass and aloe vera as cleansers which can help dogs with all kinds of skin issues including dry, itchy skin and allergies. Plus, it has organic oils and essential oils to soothe your dog’s skin. It won’t strip away the natural oils in your dog’s skin and coat. It lathers and rinses out easily and it won’t remove topical flea treatments. This is a concentrated formula so it only takes a little to bathe your dog. No one can guarantee that a shampoo that claims to be “hypoallergenic” won’t trigger a reaction in your dog if he is allergic to a certain ingredient, but 4-Legger is, by all accounts, a very good shampoo. If you are concerned about chemicals in shampoos, 4-Legger is probably your best bet.

Isle of Dogs Tearless Puppy Shampoo

There are a number of good puppy shampoos available, including some that are tearless. We like Isle of Dogs Tearless Puppy Shampoo. This formula is gentle and you can use it on any coat type. It’s ideal for sensitive skin and it won’t irritate your puppy’s eyes or skin. It’s free of sulfates and parabens. It has a signature cotton & fresh orchid scent. It won’t remove topical flea and tick applications. Made in the USA.

Veterinary Formula Clinical Care Hypoallergenic Shampoo

For dogs with sensitive skin we also like Veterinary Formula Clinical Care Hypoallergenic Shampoo. It won’t irritate sensitive skin so it’s ideal for dogs with allergies, sensitive, or dry skin, especially if they are bothered by fragrances or cleansing agents. It’s free of harsh chemicals, dyes, and fragrances. It contains no sulfates or parabens. This is a mild, tearless formula with gentle ingredients. This formula contains lactic acid to help maintain moisture in the skin. Won’t wash away flea and tick treatments. Helps heal and soothe your dog’s irritated skin.

Richard’s Organics Moisturizing Shampoo

With oatmeal, echinacea, and sweet almond oil, Richard’s Organics Moisturizing Shampoo promotes the healing of dry, irritated skin. It’s formulated to leave a protective layer on your dog’s skin to slow down moisture loss and encourage cell repair. This formula is made to soothe itching and skin irritation so it can prevent excess scratching and inflammation that can lead to other skin problems. Sweet almond oil and echinacea are used to relieve dryness and promote the healing of chronic wounds. Highly recommended by customers.

Oster Oatmeal Naturals Extra Soothing Dog Shampoo, Country Apple

Oatmeal shampoos are often used to help dogs with dry, itchy skin. Oster Oatmeal Naturals Extra Soothing Dog Shampoo in Country Apple contains colloidal oatmeal, aloe, and chamomile extract to soothe and moisturize your dog’s itchy skin. It’s pH balanced and it contains no dyes, parabens, phthalates, or alcohol. It’s gentle enough for regular use. It has a country apple scent. Safe to use with topical flea treatments. Oster has been making good quality shampoos for decades and we think this is a good shampoo if you are looking for a soothing oatmeal shampoo for your dog.

Isle of Dogs Silky Oatmeal Shampoo for Dogs

Isle of Dogs has some very good products favored by dog groomers, people who show dogs, and pet lovers. We like Isle of Dogs Silky Oatmeal Shampoo for Dogs, especially if you are looking for a good oatmeal shampoo that you can use frequently. This shampoo is mild and gentle and will give the coat a soft, silky feel. You can use it on any breed or type of coat. It contains oatmeal and jojoba to soothe and moisturize dry skin. It also contains odor neutralizers to keep the coat smelling fresher, longer. This shampoo has a signature jasmine and vanilla scent. It’s free of sulfates and parabens. Made in the USA.

9 Tips to Giving your Dog a Bath

Giving your dog a bath is often an unwelcome chore, both for you and your dog. Here are some tips that can make bath time go more smoothly.

  1. Start young. Dogs are not born hating baths. They learn to hate them. If you have a puppy, try to introduce your puppy to baths at a young age and make it fun. Don’t wait until your dog is sprayed by a skunk late at night and you’re in a life-and-death struggle to wash him. Instead, throw on a bathing suit, run a little warm water in your bath tub, and splash around in it with your puppy. Bring some toys! Show your puppy that the bath tub and getting wet are nothing to worry about. If you do this a couple of times when your puppy is young, you won’t have any problems when you start introducing a little shampoo.
  2. Brush your dog’s hair before you give a bath. This will help loosen and remove any dead hair and skin and get it out of the way.
  3. Use the bathtub instead of washing your dog outside. If you have a little toy dog, you can even use the kitchen sink. It’s much easier to bathe your dog indoors than it is to try to wash him outdoors unless you have a booster bath and most dog owners don’t have booster baths. If you give your dog a bath in the bath tub, you can use the shower nozzle/hose, towels are easier to access, and you can control the bathroom door. Outside, if your dog jumps away, you’ll probably have to chase him down and start over.
  4. Bathe your dog with warm water. This is another reason why you should bathe your dog indoors instead of outside. If you use the bath tub, you can adjust the water temperature. If you wash your dog outside, your dog will be getting a cold bath. Here’s a newsflash: Dogs don’t like cold baths. Your dog will be much more likely to cooperate with you if the water is a comfortable temperature.
  5. If you are bathing your dog in the bath tub, we recommend using a fur strainer or snare over the drain. This will help prevent dog hair from clogging your drain. Just remove it and empty it after the bath. You can often find something simple and inexpensive at a hardware store or one of the big box stores.
  6. If you bathe your dog often you might want to invest in a few things to make bath time easier. In addition to a strainer or hair trap, some people like to use shower attachments to make it easier to spray their dogs. Or you might like to buy a tether with a suction cup that attaches to your bath room wall. These tethers make it easier to keep your dog in place while you bathe him. You can find many of these products at local hardware stores.
  7. Have all of your shampoo products, towels, and other things gathered together before you start. Any dog worth his salt will leap out of the tub if you have to start looking around to try to find something you forgot.
  8. Shorthaired dogs can easily air dry but if you have a longhaired dog, think about blow drying your dog after the bath. This is for your sake more than for your dog. Your dog doesn’t care. He’s happy to shake himself and send water flying. And most dogs will rub on furniture, bedspreads, and people to try to dry themselves off. You can cut down on having water sprayed all over your house with a longhaired dog if you use lots of towels to dry your dog and use a blow dryer on your dog for a few minutes. Mot dogs enjoy the warm air of the blow dryer once they get used to it.
  9. Shorthaired dogs have it easy but again, if you have a longhaired dog, we really like detangling products. These products are easy to apply after you have finished shampooing and rinsing your dog. With most of these products you can simply spray them on your dog’s coat. (Some products are gels). There’s no need to rinse them out. They make it easy to comb out your dog’s hair and are good at preventing the long coat from matting. Of course, you do have to brush your dog regularly, but these products are helpful. It only takes a very small amount of these products to use on the coat. Otherwise your dog can have hair that feels slick or greasy, so go easy with them.

Shampoo Health Features

Most shampoos will do the basic job of cleaning your dog’s fur. Some shampoos have added features, depending on their ingredients. These are the health features you will often come across when looking at dog shampoos and what they mean. You should be aware that there is often a lot of overlap among these categories so one shampoo might be categorized as being good for itching and redness, sensitive skin, and for other things.

  • Itch & Redness: Dog shampoos for itching and redness can be good for dogs with dry, itchy skin. They can moisturize and help stop a dog from scratching and making his skin worse. They may contain ingredients such as oatmeal and tea tree oil. Other causes of itchy, red skin include seasonal allergies and flea bites.
  • Skin & Coat Health: Shampoos for skin and coat health cover a wide range of products. Almost any kind of dog shampoo can claim to be good for your dog’s skin and coat. Some of these shampoos are hypoallergenic and good for dogs with very sensitive skin. Other shampoos for skin and coat health are intended to improve a dog’s ordinary coat and help it look more lustrous and luxurious. Most of these shampoos are suitable for dogs that don’t have specific skin or coat problems.
  • Sensitive Skin: Shampoos for dogs with sensitive skin are usually for dogs that have irritated skin or allergies. Many of these shampoos are soap-free and may use natural ingredients such as aloe vera and vitamin E. These products can be especially good for dogs with dry skin and seasonal allergies.
  • Antifungal/Anti-Bacterial: Antifungal, anti-bacterial dog shampoos are usually considered to be medicated shampoos. There are many of these products available today. Some are more specific than others. In many cases, a good antifungal/anti-bacterial dog shampoo should be suitable for treating a wide variety of minor skin problems such as hot spots, ringworm, and others. If your dog has a skin problem that doesn’t clear up, you should talk to your veterinarian. Your vet can identify the problem and recommend appropriate treatment. In some cases dogs require more treatment than simply using a medicated shampoo.
  • Shedding Control: Anti-shedding dog shampoos can loosen fur and make it easier to remove the hair with deshedding tools after bathing.
  • Color Enhancing: Color enhancing shampoos brighten light coat colors and intensify darker colors. Many of these shampoos have optical brighteners to brighten dull, dingy coats. Some shampoos have enzymes to remove organic stains such as urine.
  • Dander: Anti-dander shampoos are made to lessen the amount of dander your dog produces. They are usually purchased by people who are allergic to dog dander. All dogs produce dander, even so-called “hypoallergenic” dogs so whether these shampoos work or not is questionable. Simply bathing your dog often with any shampoo should cut down on the dander he distributes in your home.
  • Calming: “Calming” shampoos generally refer to products that calm and soothe irritated skin. Some products refer to themselves as “calming” because they contain essential oils such as lavender that humans usually find calming. Whether your dog finds these scents calming or soothing is unknown.

Different Types of Dog Shampoos

Along with various health features, you may also see other claims on dog shampoo labels. Here are some of the most common and what they mean.

  • Cruelty Free: Dog shampoos that claim to be “cruelty-free” have not been tested on animals.
  • Medicated: A medicated shampoo refers to shampoos that contain some anti-bacterial and/or antifungal ingredients to treat mild skin problems such as hot spots, irritated skin, ringworm, and other common problems. If your dog has a skin problem, we recommend seeing your veterinarian, especially if the problem does not clear up quickly. Your vet can recommend an appropriate treatment, perhaps in addition to a medicated shampoo.
  • Deodorizing: For dogs that like to roll around in things that smell bad or a dog that gets sprayed by a skunk, a deodorizing shampoo can be a life saver. These shampoos remove the offending odor. Some people recommend bathing with an odor neutralizing shampoo first, then following with a deodorizing shampoo.
  • Waterless: Waterless shampoo cleans and freshens your dog’s coat without using water. They are useful for cleaning up your dog between baths and keeping him smelling nice. They are often a good choice for elderly dogs and dogs that are recovering from illness.
  • Tearless: Tear less dog shampoos are especially good for puppies. They don’t sting your dog’s eyes if he happens to get any shampoo in them. Whether your shampoo claims to be tearless or not, we suggest checking the label to see if it contains any alcohol. Even soap-free shampoos can sting your dog’s eyes if they contain alcohol.
  • Hypoallergenic: Hypoallergenic dog shampoos are made for dogs with sensitive skin or contact allergies. The term “hypoallergenic” is misleading since any product can contain some allergens that might trigger your dog if he’s allergic to them. However, if you are looking for a shampoo that has fewer dyes, fragrances, and other chemicals, look for one that is labeled “hypoallergenic.” You usually have a better chance of finding a shampoo that is relatively free of ingredients that might trigger your dog’s allergies.
  • Whitening: Whitening dog shampoos are one of the color enhancing shampoos. They usually contain optical brighteners. Many of them also contain enzymes to help remove organic stains such as urine and grass. They are very good at making white and light-colored dogs look brighter.

2 DIY Homeade Dog Shampoos

If you prefer to make your own dog shampoos at home, we have two do-it-yourself recipes for dog shampoos. These recipes are simple and easy to make.

Print

Homemade Dog Shampoo

Ingredients

  • Dish Soap
  • Apple Cider Vinegar
  • Water

Instructions

Recipe #1 (Edited)

  1. Add 1 cup Dish Soap to a jar or container You may want to use an organic dish soap such as JR Watkins, Method, etc. Most dish soaps will be too harsh to use on a dog’s skin.
  2. Add 1 cup Apple Cider Vinegar It’s supposed to be a natural flea repellent.
  3. Add 2 cups of water to the mixture

Now add 2oz of glycerin to your mixture. Glycerin can be found in the baking aisle of Walmart or craft stores or you can purchase it from Amazon. The glycerin helps to moisturize and will hopefully help with any dander.

OPTIONAL– add 1-2 drops essential oils. Please use a therapeutic grade oil so it will be safe for your dog.

Mix together in a jar and it’s ready to use.

Print

DIY Dog Shampoo

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup of distilled white vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon of coconut oil
  • 5 tablespoons of castile soap
  • 10 drops of essential oil
  • 2 cups of warm water

Instructions

Mix together and it’s ready to use.

Depending on the scent of the castile soap or the essential oil, that’s how your dog will smell.

FAQ Regarding Dog Shampoos and Bathing

  1. Is it OK to use baby shampoo on my dog? – No, don’t use baby shampoo on your dog. It may be gentle for human babies but it’s still too harsh for dogs. Humans have an acidic skin pH compared to dogs. Shampoos that are made for us will strip the oils from your dog’s skin and irritate it.
  2. Can I use human shampoo on a dog? – No, don’t use any human shampoo on a dog. Human shampoos are much too harsh to use on dogs. They will strip the oils from your dog’s skin, leaving it irritated.
  3. Can I use Dawn dish soap to wash my dog? – No, don’t use Dawn dish soap to wash your dog. Dish soaps are too harsh to use on your dog’s skin.
  4. Can you use vinegar to get rid of fleas on a dog? – It’s not recommended. However, some holistic practitioners do suggest using a solution of 50 percent apple cider vinegar and 50 percent water as a flea spray. Be careful not to spray this solution around your dog’s eyes or face. Vinegar stings! Even apple cider vinegar.

Some holistic practitioners and veterinarians also suggest using apple cider vinegar in small amounts ( a teaspoon per quart) in your dog’s drinking water. (Note that some dogs don’t like the taste.) The idea is that you are making your dog taste less appealing to fleas.

Remember that apple cider vinegar is not the same as vinegar so if you’re going to try these methods, make sure you use apple cider vinegar. If you use apple cider vinegar to keep fleas away, it has to be resprayed/reapplied often.

Conclusion

There are a multitude of dog shampoos and conditioners today. When choosing one for your dog, try to decide what kind of shampoo your dog needs before you start looking. That will help narrow down your search. Most shampoos will do the basic job of cleaning your dog. You just need to decide if you need a shampoo that does anything extra.

Our 2018 Picks for Best Dog Shampoos

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