They’re furry, fluffy, and friendly, and can usually get into a whole lot of mess in no time at all.
Our pets are like children to us so it’s our responsibility to make sure we take care of their fur and skin the right way, by choosing the best dog shampoo to treat them with.
These pets have unique needs for their haircare and with a medicated shampoo, you can make sure they’re met to the highest standards.
Dog shampoo has certainly come a long way in the last 20 years, and there are now products like organic dog shampoo and oatmeal-based washes for a gentle touch.
For owners, that means our hunt for the best shampoo for dogs has gotten even harder as it seems there is now even more of a selection to choose from.
This buying guide will make that selection easier for you with recommendations for the top rated dog shampoo products as well as what you should be looking for in hair care for your pet.
With the right product, it’ll take less effort to get your dog clean and fresh, and you’ll spend less time on their beauty routine than you’ve ever had to before.
The Top Picks For The Best Dog Shampoo
Lillian Ruff Oatmeal Dog Shampoo
Bio-groom Super White Pet Shampoo
Agatha’s Organic Dog Shampoo
Earthbath Pet Shampoo
Pro Pet Works Oatmeal Dog Shampoo
Dogs don’t have to wash their hair nearly as often as humans, so when we do it for them, we want to make sure it’s right.
The hunt for the best dog shampoo is important for this reason and choosing one that suits their needs and specific requirements for skin and fur is easy to do with our recommendations.
Let's now review each shampoo individually:
Best Overall - Lillian Ruff Oatmeal Shampoo
Taking home the prize for the best oatmeal shampoo for dogs and best overall is the Lillian Ruff Oatmeal Shampoo in the one-gallon size.
This is a natural but effective shampoo made with lavender and coconut oil for a delicious smell, and a skin treatment that will work just as well as the shampoo does at cleaning their fur.
Although technically not made to be diluted, plenty of customers have remarked how this formula is more like a concentrated shampoo.
You’ll only need the tiniest amount to get a good lather on your dog and with a whole gallon to get through it could easily last you for years.
It has a strong smell that will cover any dog odors, but without being too synthetic in its fragrance.
According to reviews, this shampoo isn’t really about softness, but more a deep clean and soothing the skin underneath.
Some people thought they were getting the best dog shampoo and conditioner that would add some fluff and softness to their pet’s fur, so were disappointed when it really didn’t change this at all.
The ingredients in Lillian Ruff Oatmeal Dog Shampoo also act as a natural flea repellant and is free from irritants. Even if it gets into your dog’s eyes or ears they won’t be bothered so you can give them a pretty deep scrub.
The product is 100% vegan, cruelty-free, and paraben and sulfate free as well, just to add to its amazing natural features.
If you’ve been looking for a great soap free dog shampoo that won’t do your pooch any harm, the Lillian Ruff Oatmeal Shampoo is available through Amazon for around $35 per gallon.
Considering how much use you’ll get out of it and the deep clean it’ll give to your pet, it’s easy to see why it’s our top pick.
Runner Up - Bio-Groom Super White Pet Shampoo
Anyone who’s owned a pet with white hair will know the struggles of keeping their coat bright, but Bio-Groom Super White Pet Shampoo seems to be an easy way to achieve it.
This shampoo comes in gallon size and dilutes 4:1 so it’ll last you a very long time. The formula is designed to make their coat white but also condition and add body, making it very similar to a human’s haircare routine.
Customers who love this product found it wasn’t just great for washing their dog's hair but also to keep some in a spray bottle for easy cleaning. When their paws get dirty or they return from a walk looking less than fresh, you can spray some on and give them a wipe for an instant clean.
For deeper cleans, add some to their bath and watch the color of their fur improve almost instantaneously.
Although powerful at whitening, it seems this could be pretty irritating if it gets in a dog’s eyes. If you’d rather something natural then this isn’t for you.
There are natural ingredients and it’s free from soap and parabens, but there are still plenty of chemicals that have the potential to irritate, especially on those dogs with sensitive skin.
This USA owned and operated company takes pride in the ingredients and manufacturing process, as well as being totally cruelty free against other animals.
There are no dyes present in the formula but it still manages to add shine and whiteness, so it’s pretty amazing just how powerful this stuff can be for a product with lots of natural goodness.
Priced at around $40 for the gallon, and given the fact that it can be diluted 4:1, this is one of the better-priced dog shampoos on the market.
If you have a dog with a lighter coat who’s in desperate need of some whitening up, the Bio-Groom Super White Pet Shampoo will work wonders on your pet of any size.
Best Organic - Agatha’s Organic Dog Shampoo
If you believe your dog deserves the best and you want to prove it to them, choosing a natural and organic shampoo like Agatha’s Luxury Lather Organic Dog Shampoo is the way to do it.
Made with all natural ingredients like sunflower, aloe leaf, oatmeal, and coconut, it’s great for sensitive pups and has restorative properties that can also heal their damaged skin as it cleans their fur.
This would be a top choice for the best puppy shampoo because of how gentle it is, and you never have to worry about whether you’re putting any harsh chemicals on their skin.
Humans loved the natural bergamot and lavender smell that it left on their dog when they washed them and the way it was totally gentle, even if it came into contact with their eyes.
On the downside, this shampoo is incredibly expensive and should only be used in the smallest amounts.
For the high price, it also doesn’t seem to condition the fur very much, instead working on the skin underneath and cleaning off dirt from their hair. If you want something with conditioning powers, you’ll have to continue your search.
Aside from this lack of softness that your pet’s fur will be left with, there’s nothing else to fault with Agatha’s Luxury Lather. The ingredients are natural and premium quality so even most humans would be tempted to give it a try for themselves.
The shampoo is made with multiple organic ingredients, is cruelty-free, has no artificial fragrances, and even comes with a 100% money back guarantee if you and your dog don’t completely love it.
As one of the more expensive shampoos on the dog market, you can expect to pay around $24 for just 12oz of this product. According to the makers of Agatha’s Luxury Lather Dog Shampoo, just half a teaspoon is all you need for great results, so it’s definitely worth giving a try.
For people with money to spend and a desire for the best organic ingredients, this is one of the premium products.
Alternative - Earthbath All Natural Pet Shampoo
For a basic organic dog shampoo without all the frills, the Earthbath All Natural Pet Shampoo is a great choice.
Reasonably priced and with some basic key ingredients, this is an organic shampoo that comes in a pack of two 16oz bottles, giving you plenty to last your dog’s haircare routine for years to come.
This is a favorite for customers whose dogs need some extra attention and it’s our pick for the best dog shampoo for dry skin.
The natural ingredients like aloe vera and coconut oil will hydrate their skin and not dry it out as others have been shown to do, which also results in less itching and irritation for your dog.
If your dog has suffered from other shampoos in the past, this one will solve that problem for good.
However, according to customers, you’ll need a fair bit of shampoo to get a good lather going on your dog. Some also found that it left an oily residue on their dog which might well be for their skin, but it ends up making the whole dog feel a bit greasy.
Weigh up how important their need for conditioned skin is versus how their fur might end up, and consider what your main priority is.
The Earthbath All Natural Pet Shampoo is totally biodegradable, cruelty-free, soap-free, and free of any harsh chemicals and fragrances. You’ll have no guilt using this on your pet and won’t have to worry about irritating even the most sensitive dog.
It has a natural scent of vanilla and almond that will stay with your dog for weeks, no matter how dirty they manage to get.
For a completely organic approach to washing your dog’s hair and giving them a conditioning boost, Earthbath All Natural Pet Shampoo is a more basic and budget-friendly option.
You can purchase the two pack on Amazon for around $27 and save yourself quite a bit of money, but keep in mind how much you’ll need to lather them up.
Alternative - Pro Pet Works Oatmeal Shampoo and Conditioner
If you’ve been looking for a shampoo and conditioner in one with organic ingredients to treat your pooch gently, Pro Pet Works Oatmeal Shampoo is the way to go.
Combining cleansing ingredients like oatmeal and aloe vera with the soft touch of vitamin E it does two jobs of cleaning and conditioning, for an all in one solution.
According to customers, this shampoo and conditioner showed immediate results on their pets, including less itchy skin and irritation.
It cleansed and conditioned which not many can do, so rather than having to buy two separate organic products for your dog this one will do it all. Dogs with allergies or usually sensitive skin will get the best results from this because it’s pretty gentle on all parts of their body.
People weren’t too impressed with the smell of this shampoo and for an organic product, it tended to smell a bit synthetic. If you’d rather one with a less obvious smell or something natural, the Pro Pet Works Shampoo won’t impress.
Another downside was the price because it only came in a 17oz bottle and still needed quite a bit to work well. This shampoo is probably better kept for smaller breeds that don’t require a lot to get clean.
The packaging is made with 100% recyclable materials and is totally biodegradable, so it’s perfect for those who care about the planet.
Pro Pet Works promises this is a soap-free shampoo that’s ideal for sensitive dogs as well and they offer a money back guarantee if you don’t love the results. There’s no added sulfates, chemicals or fragrances, and it’s full of natural ingredients.
Pro Pet Works Oatmeal Shampoo is a great choice for an organic shampoo and conditioner combination that costs a little more than most.
Priced at around $18 for 17oz, it’s not the most budget friendly, but it will definitely give your pet thick and soft fur while treating any issues they have underneath at the same time.
Dog Shampoo vs Human Shampoo: What’s the Real Difference?
You might have found yourself with an empty bottle of dog shampoo before and wondered if a quick wash with your own hair products would be just as good?
When it comes to the difference between dog shampoo and human shampoo there are some key things to keep in mind that would make this not a very smart move.
The most important difference between us and our dogs is our skin, and it’s this skin that reacts most to shampoo, and not the hair or fur that we’re washing.
All skin is covered with something called the ‘acid mantle’ and this is a very thin acidic layer that covers us and protects us from pollution.
Another common way to define it might also be the pH balance, and both dogs and people have their own levels for what’s good and bad.
When we wash our hair or gives our dogs a bath, we’re essentially removing that layer of protective acid and restoring the pH balance.
If we use dog shampoo on ourselves or treat our dogs with our own shampoo, we throw out that balance and cause a lot of disruption and irritation to the skin.
When the skin is irritated, it’ll itchy, and cause our dogs to scratch more than usual will leads to infections and broken skin.
In addition to having completely different requirements for our skin and pH balance, the difference between our hair and a dog’s fur is again quite obvious. What we require to cleanse our hair and condition will be nothing like what a dog needs, and using the two products interchangeably will no doubt cause some damage.
The general consensus is that you should never opt for human shampoo when it comes to washing your dog. However, if you’re in a total bind you might be able to use a soap-free, fragrance-free, and chemical free natural human shampoo for your pet.
This should only be a once off though, as having their own dedicated dog shampoo will yield far better results for their fur and skin.
FAQs About Dog Shampoo That You Need Answered
Washing your dog is a huge part of pet ownership and just as important as the shampoo you choose is the way that you do it.
We’ve answered some frequently asked questions about keeping your dog clean and the dog shampoo that you use, to help you get equipped with everything you need to know.
Can You Wash Cats With Dog Shampoo?
Cats don’t need to be bathed as often as dogs, and will often do a good job of cleaning themselves. However, you should never be tempted to use dog-specific shampoo for felines, especially if it contains flea killing ingredients as these can be harmful.
There are some shampoos made for both pets so if you plan on cleaning a cat and dog, choose one that’s safe for both animals.
Can I Use Dog Shampoo On Myself?
The pH levels of dogs and humans’ skin are entirely different, so it’s never advisable to use dog shampoo for yourself.
The ingredients of dog shampoo are formulated to treat their fur and the conditions of their skin, and it can end up doing damage to your own hair as well as irritating the skin. Likewise, you should never use human shampoo on a dog otherwise it could cause irritation.
Does Dog Shampoo Kill Lice?
Not all dog shampoos have been formulated to kill lice, but those that feature ingredients like organophosphates or pyrethrins may be able to do so.
Lice killing shampoos contain ingredients like imidacloprid which can have a more direct impact on lice and is better used for serious infestations, but otherwise, your regular shampoo should do a good job of keeping them clean.
How Often To Bath Your Dog?
According to Pet MD, we only need to give our dogs a bath with specialized shampoo every couple of months.
This might be more frequent if they’re gotten particularly dirty or are starting to smell, but otherwise, regular water baths will be all that they need.
How To Teach Your Dog To Showers?
In some households, it’s easier to have a shower with your dog rather than try to bathe them, and you can train your dog to come into the shower if this is your goal.
Start with a slow water flow and lukewarm temperature to make it more comfortable for them, and consider investing in a detachable shower head that helps with cleaning.
Caring For Your Pet’s Hair with the Best
Our dogs are lovable creatures, but they tend to get messier faster than we’d like. Although washing your pet isn’t never one of the most fun chores it’s something that can’t be avoided, so choosing a quality dog shampoo that makes it easier is the smartest move.
Dogs have very specific needs when it comes to their skin and fur which makes it essential to choose a shampoo made just for them.
Whether you want to take the organic approach or just want a deep clean that will condition their fur at the same time, there are plenty of great options out there for pet owners.
With the right dog shampoo, you’ll only have to give them a bath every couple of months and the pleasant smell should stick around for a few weeks.
Any of these dog shampoos are ideal for cleansing your dog's skin, reducing irritation, and conditioning their fur, so all you have to do is choose the perfect fit.