The Best Dog Shampoo

Your furry friend deserves proper care and nurture and the first step in providing it is maintaining their hygiene at a high level. Although dogs groom themselves to some extent, they still need bathing to help them stay clean and healthy. Bathing removes dirt and odor from their skin and coat, and it is necessary if your dog has damaged hair or suffers from infected or inflamed skin. If you’re pet is suffering from crusty scabs and bumps, our vets may be able to help.

In order to combat dirt and bacteria, you need a proper tool – a quality dog shampoo. Dog shampoos are specifically designed for our pet companions in order to suit their sensitive skin and prevent possible skin infections. We looked over dozens of dog shampoos aiming to find the highest quality products suitable for any budget, having in mind the nature of ingredients, Amazon ratings, flea control, and other considerations. We picked out top 5 of the best-rated shampoos you can buy for your four-legged friend.

Top Pick

4-Legger Certified Organic Oatmeal Dog Shampoo

Our big winner is this incredible organic shampoo from 4-Legger, which is the best and safest choice for your dog’s grooming sessions.

For maximum care of sensitive skin and coat, we’ve identified 4-Legger Certified Organic Oatmeal Dog Shampoo as a top choice. With a specialized formula made of oatmeal and aloe, which are particularly efficient in catering to the needs of dry and itchy skin, this shampoo is ideal for all skin types as it has a gentle effect on the skin and coat while removing dirt and odor efficiently. Its balanced pH and soap-free formula make it a safe choice for any type of dog skin that won’t cause irritation or inflammation.

The 5 Top-Rated Dog Shampoos

Editor’s PicksBrandRating
Best Overall4-Legger Certified Organic Oatmeal Dog Shampoo4.5
Runner UpFieldworks Moosh Natural Dog Shampoo4.6
Best Budget BuyFresh ‘N Clean Tropical Fresh 2-in-1 Oatmeal Dog Shampoo & Conditioner4.6
Best Flea Shampoo for DogsVeterinary Formula Clinical Care Flea and Tick Shampoo4.4
Best Hypoallergenic Dog ShampooHyLyt Hypoallergenic Shampoo4.7

*Ratings are from Amazon at the time of publication and can change

Our Top Pick: 4-Legger Certified Organic Oatmeal Dog Shampoo

4-Legger Certified Organic Oatmeal Dog Shampoo is a smart investment that won’t let you down, according to the reviewers. For around $15, you’ll get a USDA Certified Organic dog shampoo that’s specially formulated for sensitive skin. Its formula contains non-GMO oat kernel extracted oatmeal and a variety of gentle ingredients that soothe irritated areas and moisturize dry and sensitive skin. For example, you’ll find lavender essential oil, aloe vera, coconut, shea butter, jojoba, and olive oils in it.

As a 100% natural shampoo, it’s free of nasty ingredients that will irritate your dog, such as detergents, sulfates, and parabens. Apart from rehydrating the skin, the shampoo also leaves the coat well-nourished, clean, and soft with a pleasant lavender scent. This dog shampoo has already struck a chord with dog parents, who have awarded it an excellent average rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars. According to the reviews, 4-Legger Certified Organic Oatmeal Dog Shampoo is extremely efficient in relieving our pet friends of itchiness, all the while making their fur soft and lovely scented.

4-Legger Certified Organic Oatmeal Dog Shampoo Key Features:

  • USDA Certified Organic
  • Designed for dry and sensitive skin
  • Relieves of itch and allergies
  • 100% natural
  • Detergent-free, sulfate-free, and paraben-free
  • Money-back guarantee

Our Runner Up Pick: Fieldworks Moosh Natural Dog Shampoo

Runner Up

Fieldworks Moosh Natural Dog Shampoo

A super hydrating shampoo that is 100% natural and organic.

Fieldworks Moosh Natural Dog Shampoo is a fantastic choice if you’re looking for a dog shampoo that boasts some serious eco-credentials. This shampoo is 100% natural and organic, which is no mean feat considering that many dog shampoos on the market have chemicals and even more are made with non-organic ingredients. As if that wasn’t impressive enough, this shampoo is also cruelty-free, sulfate-free, preservative-free, and safe for lakes.

Of course, there’s no point buying a natural and organic dog shampoo unless it does the job. We’re happy to report that Fieldworks Moosh Natural Dog Shampoo definitely does! Thanks to it’s blend of argon oil, aloe vera, bentonite clay, nutmeg, rosemary, and essential oils, this shampoo will leave your dog’s coat soft, silky, shiny, and fully moisturized. You can pick up a 12-ounce bottle for around $14.50.

Fieldworks Moosh Natural Dog Shampoo Key Features:

  • Formulated for dry and sensitive skin
  • Made of non-toxic, vegan ingredients
  • Helps with itch and allergies
  • Soap-free and tearless formula
  • Cruelty-free and made of recycled materials

Best Budget Pick: Fresh ‘N Clean 2-in-1 Oatmeal Dog Shampoo & Conditioner

Best for Budget

Fresh ‘N Clean Tropical Fresh 2-in-1 Oatmeal Dog Shampoo & Conditioner

Removes tangles and creates a long-lasting scent that can be refreshed instantly.

Fresh ‘N Clean Tropical Fresh 2-in-1 Oatmeal Dog Shampoo & Conditioner is formulated to help strengthen, repair, and restore your dog’s skin and coat. It comes at a very affordable price of about $10 for an 18-ounce bottle. The calming tropical scent not only smells great, but it keeps odors at bay.

Its formula contains aloe vera gel that has a soothing effect on the skin. Reviewers love how long-lasting the scent is and how it keeps their dogs clean for days on end. Who says you need to spend a lot to keep your dog clean and smelling great?

Fresh ‘n Clean Scented Shampoo Key Features:

  • Creates a long-lasting tropical fragrance
  • Contains aloe vera gel
  • Helps to strengthen, repair, and restore dogs’ skins and coats
  • Available in 18-ounce
  • Gentle and easy-to-use

Best Flea Shampoo for Dogs: Veterinary Formula Clinical Care Flea and Tick Shampoo

Best Flea Shampoo

Veterinary Formula Clinical Care Flea and Tick Shampoo

Potent formula that cleanses and soothes the skin and coat.

If your furry friend has troubles with fleas and ticks, this shampoo is a top choice for combating them. Veterinary Formula Clinical Care Flea and Tick Shampoo has a formula containing pyrethrum, a natural insecticide that repels fleas and ticks. The shampoo is effective ingredients that clean your pup’s skin.

Veterinary Formula Clinical Care Flea and Tick Shampoo is suitable for sensitive skin and it provides thorough cleaning of both skin and the coat, restoring their former shine, silkiness, and a fresh smell. According to the reviews, apart from providing in-depth cleaning and a pleasant smell, the shampoo resolves itch and allergy issues and reduces excessive shedding as well. Customers seem to love it, as it has an average rating of 4.4 out of 5 stars from over 2300 customers.

Veterinary Formula Clinical Care Flea and Tick Shampoo Key Features:

  • Repels ticks and fleas
  • Vet-grade ingredients
  • Effective and potent ingredients
  • Paraben-free
  • Pleasant smell

Best Hypoallergenic Dog Shampoo: HyLyt Hypoallergenic Shampoo

Best Hypoallergenic Dog Shampoo

HyLyt Hypoallergenic Shampoo

A soap-free, hypoallergenic, soothing shampoo that’s ideal for dogs with dry or sensitive skin.

If your dog has a sensitive skin that is prone to allergies and you wish to ensure the best hypoallergenic product for their grooming sessions, we recommend using HyLyt Hypoallergenic Shampoo. It contains a mixture of emollients, protein, and essential fatty acids to moisturize and hydrate your dog’s skin and coat. It’s formulated to help control flaking and scaling, so you should notice a reduction in these problems after washing your dog with it a few times.

What’s more, this hypoallergenic shampoo is soap-free and pH-balanced to boot. Dog owners certainly seem happy with the results it offers, with 800+ customers giving it a very high average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars. The reason for the seemingly high price of this shampoo is that it’s a massive 1-gallon bottle. So you’ll be able to use this shampoo for many, many months to come.

HyLyt Hypoallergenic Shampoo Key Features

  • Helps control flaking and scaling
  • Includes essential fatty acids
  • pH balanced and soap-free formula
  • Can be used by humans as well
  • 1-gallon bottle

Who Should Buy a Dog Shampoo?

Any pet owner who wants to provide their loyal companion with maximum care and comfort should invest in a quality dog shampoo. As we all know, dogs are playful beings and can often get quite messy, so they need our help in staying clean and fresh. The right shampoo will do away with dirt and unpleasant smell, and prevent possible skin infections and other health issues.

Frequent bathing can eliminate parasites, bacteria, and other infectious organisms, so it is often necessary for dogs with bacterial and fungal infections, as it can minimize or even prevent the need for antibiotics and other medication. Also, if your dog has allergies, frequent shampooing will likely reduce the itch and make them feel much more comfortable. However, if your dog has particular aversion to water, you can always use a dry shampoo.

Top Pick

4-Legger Certified Organic Oatmeal Dog Shampoo

Our big winner is this incredible organic shampoo from 4-Legger, which is the best and safest choice for your dog’s grooming sessions.

Important Features to Consider

A dog shampoo should do several things well. Here’s what to consider when selecting a dog shampoo for your dog:

  • Type of skin and coat. Evaluate your dog’s skin and coat to determine what type of shampoo would be the best choice. Dogs with sensitive skin and smooth coat need a mild formula with oatmeal, aloe vera or rosewater, for example. If your dog has a furry coat, you might consider using a shampoo with a conditioner to make the coat more manageable. You can also use shampoos designed to reduce excessive shedding, if your pooch has troubles with it. For dogs with dry, itchy skin prone to allergies, hypoallergenic shampoos are a great choice that will soothe and nourish their skin. If your dog has normal skin, you can opt for general purpose shampoos or the ones that provide deep cleansing, if your dog spends a lot of time outside. If you’re unsure which product to use, consult the vet.
  • Odor. Dogs that spend a lot of time outside and have an adventurous spirit may pick up unpleasant smell along the way. Even if your dog spends most of their time on the couch, if you notice a particular “doggy” smell, you may want to consider using a deodorizing shampoo to get rid of bad odor.
  • Fleas and ticks. There are plenty of shampoos that are designed to repel or kill fleas, ticks, and other parasites. However, if your dog has troubles with them, it is likely that the use of shampoo alone will not be sufficient to solve the problem, so you will need to use them together with appropriate treatments. Your vet can also recommend the appropriate shampoo to be used while your dog is undergoing such treatments.
  • Age. If you have a puppy, it’s a good idea to use shampoos that are specifically designed for them. These products have a mild, tearless formula that won’t irritate or inflame their skin, nose, and eyes.
  • Natural ingredients. When choosing the best shampoo for your dog, it’s important to read the label and check the ingredients. Many typical chemical-based shampoos contain artificial colors and fragrances, alcohols, detergents, animal and petroleum by-products, and many other chemicals that can cause skin irritation, inflammation, and excessive hair loss. You should always opt for a more natural option. Natural products use more natural ingredients like oil essences, vitamins, and herbal proteins. However, even these products can feature some chemicals, so it’s important to read the labels carefully. You can also opt for using an organic shampoo certified by USDA. These products must be manufactured under strict rules that involve, among others, using ingredients that are raised using natural fertilizers and without the use of insecticides, and that don’t contain artificial chemical ingredients, like artificial fragrances and dyes. These products also state that they are safe for frequent use, which makes them a desirable choice for securing your pet’s wellbeing.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a dog shampoo and how does it work?

Dog shampoos are specially designed to cater to the needs of a dog’s skin, which is rather different than human. The main difference lies in pH balance, the topmost layer of the skin that protects us from bacteria and viruses. For humans, the pH scale falls under the range of 0-14, with levels less than 6.4 belonging to high acidity, and levels more than 6.4 belonging to high alkalinity. The normal range of pH levels for humans is 5.2-6.2, deeming them more likely to be on the acidic side, which results in shampoos being formulated in a way that doesn’t disrupt this balance. On the other hand, dog’s pH scale ranges from 5.5 to 7.5, which means that it tends to be more on an alkaline side. Therefore, dog shampoos are formulated in a way to maintain this balance and secure protection from bacteria and viruses.

Dog shampoos tend to have a milder structure that cleanses the skin and coat gently. These products are made to lather easily and retain moisture of the skin to prevent dryness, dandruff or scales. Additionally, there are shampoos that are specially formulated to target different problems, such as shedding, tangles, odor, flea control or different skin infections.

Can I use Dawn to wash my dog?

Dawn dish soap has the ability to remove oil quickly and it may be effective with stains, but it should never be used as a dog shampoo. This detergent contains plenty of harsh chemicals that can strip your dog’s skin of natural oils and cause irritation and inflammation. The best and the safest option is to use a dog shampoo, as they are specially formulated to meet the needs of a dog’s skin.

Can you use baby shampoo on a dog?

Although some vets recommend Johnson and Johnson Baby Shampoo for bathing dogs, it can still be hard to determine whether a specific human product is suitable for animal use. Baby shampoos tend to have a mild formula with natural ingredients, but they are still made to suit human pH levels, and not the ones of dogs. Dog shampoo is specialized for canines and it is always the safest choice.

How many times should you give a dog a bath?

The frequency of baths depends on several factors, including breed, health, and how active a dog is, as dogs that spend a lot of time outside are likely to need baths more often than those that spend most of their time indoors. Bathing is necessary if you notice dirt, debris or grease on their hair, or an unpleasant odor. If your dog is suffering from itch, allergies or other skin conditions and infections, frequent baths may be required and your vet will give you all the necessary information on the bathing schedule.

Ana Markovic