9 Best Oatmeal Shampoos for Dogs plus our Best Itchy Skin Pick

Most of us have probably had a dog with itchy skin at one time. When your dog is miserable, so are you. If your dog has itchy skin, especially if it’s dry, a good oatmeal shampoo can be a lifesaver. Let us help you find the 9 best oatmeal shampoos for dogs plus our itchy skin pick! In this article we’ll discuss:

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  1. The benefits of oatmeal shampoos.
  2. What you need to look for in a good oatmeal shampoo.
  3. What you need to avoid in shampoos!
  4. Our pick for the best oatmeal shampoo or your dog’s itchy skin!
  5. Plus 8 more good oatmeal shampoos.

Is your dog itching? Keep reading!

Dogs have surprisingly sensitive skin compared to humans. The pH of their skin is different than ours meaning you can’t pull out your Head & Shoulders or even the expensive shampoo from your salon to bathe your dog. Even if you wash your dog regularly with a good dog shampoo, your dog can end up clean but itchy, with dry skin. What are you supposed to do to help him? The answer is often a good oatmeal shampoo. Oatmeal shampoos for dogs can be a terrific choice for any dog with itchy, dry, or extra sensitive skin. Even dogs with allergies often respond to oatmeal shampoos. Luckily, there are a lot of good oatmeal shampoos available.

Oatmeal Dog Shampoo Benefits

Oatmeal, especially colloidal oatmeal, has long been used therapeutically to soothe and heal the skin. It contains chemicals called avenanthramides and phenols. These chemicals help relieve itching and skin irritation. Oatmeal also helps to balance skin pH levels which is why it’s been used to relieve the symptoms of psoriasis and eczema in humans.

For dogs, oatmeal shampoos can moisturize and sooth itchy skin. They also work on the following problems:

  • Relieve the symptoms of allergies;
  • Moisturize dry skin;
  • Help heal hot spots;
  • Help sooth and heal the effects of flea and tick problems;
  • Clean and soften a dog’s fur.

Pets with skin allergies and superficial infections get immediate relief from oatmeal – Dr. Patty Khuly @ petmd.com

If your dog is itching, there can be an underlying health cause. Dogs can itch due to environmental allergies, food allergies, dry winter weather in the home, or some health problems. Bathing your dog with a good oatmeal shampoo can help alleviate his itching but it won’t solve any underlying problems. So, if your dog has continuing problems with dry or irritated skin and itching, it’s a good idea to take him to the vet and see what’s causing the itching.

5 things to look for in a Good Oatmeal Dog Shampoo

Along with colloidal oatmeal, there are some other things to look for in a good oatmeal dog shampoo. You should read the ingredient list carefully to see if the product has other ingredients that can help soothe your dog’s skin. Ingredients to look for include:

  • Colloidal oatmeal
  • Vitamin E
  • Tea tree oil
  • Aloe
  • Jojoba oil

An oatmeal shampoo may contain a couple of these ingredients. They won’t usually contain all of them.

Products that are labeled for dogs with sensitive skin or that are hypoallergenic are often a good choice.

Many oatmeal shampoos say that they are natural or use natural ingredients. Take this with a grain of salt. They may contain colloidal oatmeal and aloe, plus some botanicals, but they usually contain chemical ingredients as well. Very few shampoos are all natural.

Terms like “hypoallergenic,” “natural,” and other things that sound good are largely unregulated when it comes to dog shampoos so you should be cautious about believing label claims. These are basically marketing terms. The FDA regulates ingredients in human cosmetics and personal care products but dog shampoos are generally considered to be “grooming aids,” unless they make some kind of medical claim. The FDA doesn’t regulate “grooming aids.”

We usually look for shampoos that have had a lot of positive customer reviews. It also helps if a company has been in business for a long time and has a good track record. However, we don’t like to shut out new companies that use plant-based and greener ingredients – but we do expect them to measure up. If we’re not familiar with a new company, we try to do a little online investigation before recommending their products. It’s always helpful if we can read interviews or articles about a company and their products. With shampoos and grooming products, we especially like to know what professional dog groomers are currently using since they work with so many different dogs.

What you need to avoid in an oatmeal shampoo

Here are the things we suggest that you avoid in any shampoo. Try to avoid shampoos that have questionable or lower quality ingredients such as formaldehydes (Bromopol, Doazolidinyl urea, DHDH hydantoin, Methylaldehyde Quaternium-7, -15, -31, -61, Oxomethane Formalin, Phenol Formaldehyde and Oxymethyline); parabens (methyl, ethyl, propyl and butyl parabens); paraben alternatives (Methylchloroisothiazolinone and Methylisothiazolinone (MCI/MI)); fragrances from phthalates; surfactants such as Sodium Lauryl Sulfate and others; solvents such as Isopropyl Alcohol; and colorants.

If your dog has irritated skin, you should also try to avoid shampoos that contain alcohol since it can sting his skin.

Many dog shampoos today, including dog shampoos, claim to be “soap-free.” This is true in the literal sense. Sulfates and phosphates are the chemicals that make shampoos lather. They create suds. However, if you overuse shampoos that contain these ingredients, they can leave your hair – and your dog’s fur – dry, frizzy, and faded. They can dry out your dog’s skin and cause him to itch. Using shampoos that don’t contain sulfates and phosphates is often recommended, especially for dogs that have itchy skin. Many oatmeal shampoos are free of these ingredients. This also means that these shampoos probably won’t lather very much so don’t be surprised if they don’t produce a lot of suds.

Surfactants – the ingredients that clean hair and fur – are a somewhat complex topic and they cover a lot of different ingredients. There is a lot of chemistry involved in how they work which you can read here. For our purposes, there are four basic kinds of surfactants. Some lather a lot, some are harsh, some are used in conditioners, and some are mild enough to be used in baby shampoos. These mild surfactants are useful in decreasing the irritancy of shampoo formulations. They are often used today. You are likely to see ingredients such as cocamido propyl betaine and cocamido betaine in oatmeal dog shampoos.

Note that the sites linked in this section are for human hair but the scientific information is still appropriate for dog shampoos.

Overall Best Oatmeal Dog Shampoo for Itchy Skin – with PRO’s and CON’s

Earthbath Oatmeal & Aloe Dog & Cat Shampoo

Earthbath Oatmeal & Aloe Dog & Cat Shampoo is our top pick for dogs with itchy skin. This formula is far and away the bestselling oatmeal shampoo on Chewy.com. It’s soap-free and made specifically for dogs with dry, itchy skin. It will not wash off topical flea products. Contains colloidal oatmeal and organic aloe vera to moisturize and heal itchy skin. Free of parabens and phosphates. Contains no phthalates. On the con side, it does contain “Renewable Plant-derived & Coconut-based Cleansers” which might fall under the coconut surfactant category. Some people say not to worry about these cleansers and others say you should avoid them. They are very common, even in hypoallergenic dog shampoos. Truthfully, it’s hard to avoid everything that might possibly be harmful. We think this is a good oatmeal shampoo for dogs and most customer reviews are very favorable. The 16-ounce bottle is available for $8.59 on Chewy.com.

8 more Really Good Oatmeal Dog Shampoos

All of the oatmeal shampoos in this section contain colloidal oatmeal. We have tried to avoid shampoos that contain harsher surfactants such as sodium lauryl sulfate and other questionable ingredients. However, it’s almost impossible to avoid all controversial ingredients.

Vet’s Best Oatmeal Medicated Dog Shampoo

Another very popular oatmeal dog shampoo is Vet’s Best Oatmeal Medicated Dog Shampoo. Along with soothing and moisturizing your dog’s skin, this shampoo eliminates dandruff and flaking. It cleans with a mixture of salicylic acid and natural ingredients including colloidal oatmeal and tea tree oil. It does not affect topical flea and tick control products. Of course, this is a medicated shampoo so if your dog is not experiencing dandruff and flaky skin, this product is probably not suitable. You would be better off buying a simple oatmeal shampoo. Available from Chewy.com in a 16-ounce bottle for $7.96.

Veterinary Formula Clinical Care Antiparasitic & Antiseborrheic Shampoo

Veterinary Formula Clinical Care Antiparasitic & Antiseborrheic Shampoo is a good oatmeal shampoo that’s formulated with salicylic acid, coal tar, and micronized sulfur. It treats symptoms of dermatitis, seborrhea,  mange, and other parasitic and bacterial infections. It’s good for soothing and eliminating scaling, rashes, and inflammation. Oatmeal and allantoin hydrate the skin and promote healing. It’s free of parabens, dyes, and soap. This is a medicated shampoo so, again, if your dog has simple itchy skin, this shampoo may be too much. You might be better off with a basic oatmeal shampoo. A 16-ounce bottle is available from Chewy.com for $7.39. Depending on your dog’s problems, Veterinary Formula Clinical Care also has an oatmeal shampoo for hot spot and itch relief.

Burt’s Bees Oatmeal Shampoo with Colloidal Oat Flour & Honey for Dogs

If you’re looking for a basic oatmeal shampoo, you might like Burt’s Bees Oatmeal Shampoo with Colloidal Oat Flour & Honey for Dogs. With no sulfates or colorants, this oatmeal shampoo is a gentle cleanser that features colloidal oat flour and honey to moisturize dry skin and relieve itchiness. The formula is pH balanced for dogs. According to Burt’s Bees, honey helps regulate and retain moisture in your dog’s coat. Green tea extract strengthens the hair follicles. It’s 97 percent natural. The downside? According to one site we checked, colloidal oat flour won’t help your dog’s skin the same way that colloidal oatmeal will. However, this seems to be a complicated subject and I’m not prepared to say that other shampoos are using colloidal oatmeal that is better or different than this shampoo without more evidence. A 16-ounce bottle is available from Chewy.com for $5.19. If you like Burt’s Bees, you might also like another oatmeal shampoo from them that soothes itching.

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. Highly recommended by customers. On the down side, this shampoo does use Tetrasodium EDTA. This is a water-soluble stabilizing agent and preservative. It’s become very commonly used in cosmetics and other products. There have been some concerns expressed about it though after studying research, the FDA concluded that cosmetic uses (including use in shampoos) were safe. If you have pregnant or nursing dogs, you might want to avoid this shampoo since ingesting Tetrasodium EDTA could be harmful in large amounts – such as a small puppy licking any shampoo residue. Be aware that Tetrasodium EDTA is a common ingredient in lots of personal care products under various names. You can buy Richard’s Organics Moisturizing Shampoo on Chewy.com for $6.21 for a 12-ounce bottle.

Veterinary Formula Solutions Soothing & Deodorizing Oatmeal Shampoo for Dogs & Cats

Veterinary Formula Solutions Soothing & Deodorizing Oatmeal Shampoo for Dogs & Cats contains baking soda, zinc, and aloe, along with colloidal oatmeal to help soothe your dog’s itchy skin. It will not wash away topical flea and tick treatments and it’s pH balanced for your dog’s skin. It neutralizes odors instead of masking them and it restores natural moisture to your dog’s skin. Works on skin irritations and hot spots, too. This formula also contains Tetrasodium EDTA and it contains FD&C Blue #1, FD&C Yellow #5. This formula is $7.88 for a 17-ounce bottle from Chewy.com. If you like Veterinary Formula Solutions, you might like their ultra oatmeal moisturizing formula that has even more oatmeal.

PL360 Extra Gentle Fragrance Free Dog Shampoo

PL360 Extra Gentle Fragrance Free Dog Shampoo is a favorite with dog groomers. It’s hypoallergenic and made with natural ingredients. It’s fragrance-free and tearless. The plant-based ingredients soften and protect your dog’s coat. It’s also dermatologist-tested so it’s safe for dogs with sensitive skin and allergies. This formula has no parabens, sulfates, phthalates, toxins, lanolin, soap, or alcohol. It will not remove flea and tick treatments from your dog. The cleansers are olive and coconut-based. Contains colloidal oatmeal to soothe your dog’s skin, along with aloe and other botanicals. The only drawback – and it’s not really a drawback – is that PL360 has only been around since 2015 when the company was created from two companies merging. But we do like their natural products. PL360 Extra Gentle Fragrance Free Dog Shampoo is available from Chewy.com in a 16-ounce bottle for $9.99.

Oster Oatmeal Naturals Extra Soothing Dog Shampoo, 18-oz bottle, Country Apple

If you like a company that’s been around for a long time, that would be Oster. Oster has been around so long that they probably invented dog shampoos. That doesn’t stop them from having some good shampoos, like Oster Oatmeal Naturals Extra Soothing Dog Shampoo in Country Apple. This formula 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 does have a country apple scent. Safe to use with topical flea treatments. We do wish that the ingredient list was a little more specific. “A blend of coconut-based cleansers,” “thickening agents,” and “preservatives” are all vague phrases that leave room for questions. However, 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. Available from Chewy.com in an 18-ounce bottle for $5.97.

Only Natural Pet Pure & Clean Itch Relief Dog Shampoo

Made with human-grade ingredients, Only Natural Pet Pure & Clean Itch Relief Dog Shampoo soothes your dog’s irritated, itchy skin using colloidal oatmeal and aloe. The formula is gentle and uses plant-based cleansers to wash away dirt. It is pH balanced for your dog. Natural essential oils such as eucalyptus and rosemary help your dog smell clean and fresh. It has no synthetic perfumes, parabens, sulfates, phosphates, phthaltes, synthetic dyes, or DEA. Again, this is a small company or one that’s not well-known, at least in the eastern U.S. This looks like a good oatmeal shampoo to try but it is pricey. Available in a 12-ounce bottle from Chewy.com for $19.98.

Conclusion

Dogs can have itchy skin for many reasons. If your dog is itching because of fleas or other parasites, or if he has allergies, it’s important to take care of the underlying problem. However, bathing your dog with a good oatmeal shampoo can help soothe your dog’s itchy, irritated skin while you are working on the cause. Soothing his skin can give it a chance to heal and make both of you feel better.

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