Best Dog Shampoos: Fresh Smelling, Clean And Healthy Coats

Finding the best shampoo for your pup can be quite a difficult task. Is it OK to use the cheapest shampoo you can find? Or, are more expensive shampoos better and worth the extra cost? What are the benefits of specialty shampoos, like whitening or medicated shampoo? Let’s look into the best dog shampoos of varying types.

Product Details

Winner

Featured Best Dog Shampoo

Fresh 'n Clean By Lambert Kay

  • Good Value
  • Long-lasting Scent
  • All-purpose shampoo with antistatic

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Best Moisturizing

Featured Best Moisturizing Dog Shampoo

Nature's Specialties Plum Silky

  • Shampoo And Conditioner With Silk Proteins
  • Dilutes 24:1
  • Popular Choice With Groomers

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Best Oatmeal

Featured Best Oatmeal Dog Shampoo

Pro Pet Works All Natural Oatmeal

  • Made In The USA
  • Organic Ingredients
  • Soap And Detergent-free

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Best Hypoallergenic

Featured Best Hypo Allergenic Dog Shampoo

Vet's Best Hypo-Allergenic

  • Veterinarian-formulated
  • Gentle, Soap-free
  • Won’t Affect Topical Flea And Tick Products

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Best Puppy Tearless

Featured Best Puppy/Tearless Shampoo

Isle of Dogs Tearless

  • Sulfate And Paraben-free
  • Safe To Use On faces
  • Can Be Diluted

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Best Medicated

Featured Best Medicated Dog Shampoo

Zymox Itch Relief Shampoo

  • Gentle Enough For Puppies
  • Contains No Harsh Detergents, Chlorine, or Petroleum
  • Uses Enzyme System

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Best Flea and Tick

Featured Best Flea and Tick Dog Shampoo

Wahl Flea and Tick

  • Plant-derived
  • Repels Fleas And Ticks
  • Formulated With Eucalyptus And Cedar Oil

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Best Organic

Featured Best Organic Dog Shampoo

4Legger Certified Organic

  • Certified Organic
  • Hypoallergenic
  • Biodegradable, Sustainable And Eco-friendly

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Best Skunk Smell Removal

Featured Best Skunk Smell Removing Dog Shampoo

Thornell Skunk-Off

  • Neutralizes Odors
  • Gentle Enough For Face
  • Safe For Puppies

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Best Deshedding

Featured Best Deshedding Dog Shampoo

FURminator deShedding Ultra

  • Promotes Healthy Skin And Coat
  • Helps Reduce Shedding
  • Enriched With Omega-3 And 6

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Best Whitening

Featured Best Whitening Dog Shampoo

Lillian Ruff Brightening & Whitening

  • Whitens, Brightens, And Moisturizes
  • Vegan
  • Made In The USA

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Best Tear Stain Remover

Featured Best Tear Stain Removing Dog Shampoo

TropiClean SPA Tear Stain Remover

  • Gently Removes Tear Stains
  • Safe To Use Around Eyes
  • Soap-free

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What Makes a Good Dog Shampoo?

When looking into what makes a good dog shampoo, it might seem like the primary consideration should be: does it get my dog clean? While this is important, there are so many other things a good dog shampoo should do. It should:

  • Moisturize or at least not dry out your dog’s skin and coat
  • Smell good but not be overpowering
  • Not cause an allergic reaction

What to Look For in Dog Shampoo

So, what should you look for in dog shampoo? First, you should decide what type of shampoo would be best for your dog’s needs. Then, consider other factors, like what scents you like or hate and how long you want the scent to linger on your dog after their bath.

The next thing is to check the reviews of the products you’re interested in. Is there a ton of complaints from people whose dogs had allergic reactions to the shampoo? Are most people praising how effective it is at the task it’s designed for?

Shampoo is arguably one of the most important dog products on which to rely on reviews, since the manufacturer is unlikely to tell you if a certain percentage of dogs had an allergic reaction or that many people hate the way it smells. This is the type of information you can only get from reviews.

Types of Dog Shampoo

In addition to this list of things that all dog shampoos should do, there are many specialized shampoos with special purposes. Here are some of the most common types:

  • Oatmeal: Many dogs have dry skin and oatmeal is a common ingredient to help soothe dry skin and relieve itching. Oatmeal shampoo is usually gentler and less drying than your average, everyday shampoo.
  • Medicated: Some dogs have skin problems that can’t be fixed by oatmeal shampoo. Medicated shampoo can help with a variety of skin conditions, like allergies, mange, seborrhea, and more. Some conditions require medicated shampoo that’s prescribed by a vet, but over-the-counter medicated shampoos can help many dogs avoid that trip to the vet.
  • Hypoallergenic: For dogs with extremely sensitive skin, the best thing you can do is get a hypoallergenic shampoo. These shampoos are usually much lighter on fragrances or harsh chemicals than other shampoos. As a bonus, they also tend to help prevent allergic reactions in people washing their dogs.
  • Moisturizing: For dogs with straight, fine hair, like Yorkies and Maltese, a shampoo with extra moisturizing ingredients helps keep their hair smooth and silky better than ordinary shampoo. Deep moisturizing shampoos can also help reduce static and improve dry skin.
  • Deshedding: Did you know that certain types of shampoo can help your dog shed less? Some shampoos have ingredients that help release your dog’s undercoat, making it come out in the bath and during the first brushing after they’re dry, so that less fur is shed around your home.
  • Whitening: While any good shampoo can get a white dog clean, whitening shampoos usually contain ingredients like optical whiteners that help get coats as white as possible. It can make a big difference between a dog looking “clean” and looking “white”.
  • Organic: Concerned about the ingredients in your dog’s shampoo? Organic shampoos use natural ingredients and avoid harsh chemicals, like sulfates and phthalates.
  • Skunk: While nothing completely removes the stench of a skunk in one bath, skunk shampoo removes more of the smell than normal shampoo or homemade remedies, especially if you already have the shampoo on hand and can wash your dog immediately after they get sprayed.
  • Flea and Tick: Some parts of the world have massive problems with fleas or ticks and spot-on treatments may not be effective enough on their own. Flea and tick shampoos can help kill and repel fleas and ticks for up to a week. They usually work best in conjunction with other flea and tick products, rather than as the sole method of controlling fleas.

Product Reviews

#1 Fresh ‘n Clean By Lambert Kay:

Best Everyday Dog Shampoo

  • Affordable
  • Long-lasting scent
  • All-purpose shampoo with antistatic ingredients

PROS:

  • Affordable
  • Dogs smell clean longer
  • Many people love the scent

CONS:

  • Some don’t like the smell
  • No safety seal, so it may leak in the box during delivery
  • Makes some dogs itchy

This shampoo smells very strongly. Most people either love or hate the smell and you won’t know until you try it. For better or worse, the smell lasts anywhere from a few days to a few weeks. It may dry some dogs’ skin, but it’s an all-around good dog shampoo.

#2 TropiClean Papaya and Coconut:

Runner Up Everyday Dog Shampoo

  • Cleanses and conditions
  • Detangles
  • Soap-free

PROS:

  • Shampoo and conditioner in one
  • Mild, tropical scent isn’t overpowering
  • Can be diluted
  • Won’t wash off spot-on flea and tick treatments

CONS:

  • Can dry out some dogs’ skin
  • Doesn’t lather much

This is a great shampoo that is good for most dogs and doesn’t cost an arm and a leg. Some dogs experience dry skin or allergic reactions, but most dogs come out of the bath with shiny coats and healthy skin. This shampoo is gentle enough not to wash off spot-on flea and tick products.

#3 Nature’s Specialties Plum Silky:

Best Moisturizing Dog Shampoo

  • Shampoo and conditioner with silk proteins
  • Dilutes 24:1
  • A popular choice with groomers

PROS:

  • Leaves coats feeling soft and silky
  • Lightly scented
  • Gentle on skin

CONS:

  • Seems expensive (although it is so concentrated that one bottle lasts a long time)
  • Works best when followed by conditioner

Unless you have a dog breed with wiry or curly hair, this is one of the best shampoos you can get. It leaves dogs’ coats feeling soft and silky and doesn’t dry out their skin. You can dilute it up to 24:1, so one bottle goes a long way. This is a favorite standby for professional groomers around the world.

#4 Isle of Dogs Jasmine & Vanilla Silky Coating:

Runner Up Moisturizing Dog Shampoo

  • Moisturizing shampoo
  • Detangles
  • Affordable

PROS:

  • Many people love the smell
  • Leaves dogs’ coats feeling silky
  • Detangles better than other shampoos

CONS:

  • Very strong scented
  • May cause an allergic reaction

While some people dislike the smell and some dogs are allergic, this is still a great shampoo that leaves dogs silky enough that you may not need to follow up with a conditioner (although you may prefer to). If you’re looking for a wash-and-go shampoo, conditioner, and detangler, this shampoo fits the bill.

#5 Pro Pet Works All Natural Oatmeal:

Best Oatmeal Dog Shampoo

  • Made in the USA
  • Organic ingredients
  • Soap and detergent-free

PROS:

  • Relieves itching in many dogs
  • Coats are soft and shiny afterward
  • Most people love the smell

CONS:

  • May cause eye irritation
  • Can cause dry skin and excessive shedding

While many dogs experience less itching after using this shampoo, some deal with more itching afterward. It’s impossible to know how your dog will react until you try it. All in all, the positive reviews far outnumber the negative reviews, so we think this one is worth the money.

#6 Earthbath Oatmeal & Aleo:

Runner Up Oatmeal Dog Shampoo

  • Soap-free
  • Cruelty-free
  • 100% biodegradable

PROS:

  • Great for dogs with sensitive skin
  • Relieves itching
  • Leaves fur soft and shiny

CONS:

  • The scent doesn’t last
  • May cause allergic reactions

#7 Vet’s Best Hypo-Allergenic:

Best Hypoallergenic Dog Shampoo

  • Veterinarian-formulated
  • Gentle, soap-free
  • Won’t affect topical flea and tick products

PROS:

  • Most dogs with sensitive skin or allergies do well with this shampoo
  • Rinses out well
  • Leaves dogs shiny

CONS:

  • May not improve itchiness
  • Bottle breaks easily

While you can never guarantee that your dog won’t have an allergic reaction to a shampoo, this one is hypoallergenic for most dogs. Many dogs with chronic itchiness and allergic reactions have reduced symptoms after being washed with this shampoo. This is your best bet for a hypoallergenic shampoo.

#8 Burt’s Bees Hypoallergenic:

Runner Up Hypoallergenic Dog Shampoo

  • All-natural ingredients
  • Tearless
  • Veterinarian recommended formula

PROS:

  • Coats feel soft and look shiny
  • Few dogs have allergic reactions
  • Improves itching

CONS:

  • Doesn’t lather well
  • Doesn’t improve dog smell
  • Packaging may leak during delivery

This product is more hypoallergenic than most other products on the market, but the lack of scent bothers some people who want their dog to smell clean after a bath. This product also doesn’t lather very much, so you may need to use a lot. If you have a dog with truly sensitive skin, this shampoo is a good choice, but if you like your dog to smell extra nice after a bath, you should try something else.

#9 Isle of Dogs Tearless:

Best Tearless/Puppy Shampoo

  • Sulfate and paraben-free
  • Safe to use on faces
  • Can be diluted

PROS:

  • Doesn’t irritate eyes
  • Rinses out well
  • Easy on skin

CONS:

  • Doesn’t lather well
  • Some find the scent overwhelming
  • The bottle can be tough to squeeze

This shampoo is gentle enough to use on your dog’s face, but powerful enough to clean their whole body. Since it’s sulfate-free, it doesn’t lather well and the thick formula doesn’t come out of the bottle easily, but all in all, it’s a great product.

#10 Earthbath Ultra-Mild Puppy Shampoo:

Runner Up Tearless/Puppy Shampoo

  • Made in the USA
  • pH-balanced
  • Tearless

PROS:

  • Great for dogs with sensitive skin
  • Relieves itching
  • Leaves fur soft and shiny

CONS:

  • The scent doesn’t last

Most dogs with sensitive skin or allergies do well with this shampoo, but some dogs are allergic to it. The bottle tends to open and leak during the delivery process, but the bottle of shampoo is shipped inside a bag, so leaked shampoo won’t get on other products.

#11 Zymox Itch Relief Shampoo:

Best Medicated Dog Shampoo

  • Gentle enough for puppies
  • Contains no harsh detergents, chlorine, or petroleum by-products
  • Features the patented LP3 Enzyme System and only the mildest plant surfactants

PROS:

  • Most dogs experience itch relief
  • Conditioner can be used between baths as a spot treatment
  • May work better than a vet-prescribed medicated shampoo

CONS:

  • Supposed to be used twice a week
  • Technically not medicated

While not all dogs benefit from this shampoo, most dogs experience immense improvements, as far as reduced itching, redness, dander, and even scaly skin goes. While it’s a little on the expensive side, most people find it well worth the money.

#12 Veterinary Formula Medicated:

Runner Up Medicated Dog Shampoo

  • Contains coal tar & salicylic acid
  • Helps relieve inflamed spots
  • Veterinarian recommended

PROS:

  • Most dogs show improved symptoms
  • The foul smell of the shampoo doesn’t linger on the dog’s coat once they dry
  • Skin and coat both usually improve with continued use

CONS:

  • Very strong, unpleasant smell while applying

While some dogs react poorly to this shampoo, most dogs experience great benefits. While the shampoo itself smells awful, dogs smell clean once they’re dry, so the shampoo odor doesn’t linger. Many people report this shampoo replacing other expensive treatments for their dog’s skin issues.

#13 4Legger Certified Organic:

Best Organic Dog Shampoo

  • Certified organic
  • Hypoallergenic
  • Biodegradable, sustainable ingredients, cruelty-free, vegan, and eco-friendly

PROS:

  • Rinses easily
  • Most dogs have improved skin
  • A little bit goes a long way

CONS:

  • Strong smell some find unpleasant
  • Very thin consistency
  • Some dogs have negative reactions

Some people hate the strong lemongrass smell of this shampoo, but most people like it and most dogs show improved skin and coats after use. The shampoo has a water-like consistency, which can be wasteful if you aren’t prepared for it, but a little bit of the shampoo goes a long way.

#14 Wahl Flea and Tick:

Best Flea and Tick Shampoo

  • Plant-derived
  • Repels fleas and ticks
  • Formulated with eucalyptus and cedar oil to naturally repel fleas and ticks for up to 1 week without the use of toxic chemicals

PROS:

  • Gentler than other flea and tick shampoos
  • Works best in conjunction with other flea and tick repellants
  • Most people like the smell

CONS:

  • Some dogs have allergic reactions
  • Doesn’t kill existing fleas (it’s intended to repel, not kill)

This shampoo isn’t really intended to be your sole method for killing and preventing fleas, but it works well in conjunction with other methods and doesn’t contain harsh chemicals. Most people enjoy the smell and most dogs do not have negative reactions.

#15 Paws & Pals Flea and Tick Shampoo:

Runner Up Flea and Tick Shampoo

  • Contains all-natural ingredients
  • Made in the USA
  • Contains a variety of essential oils to kill and repel fleas and ticks

PROS:

  • Smells good
  • Cleans dogs well and leaves coats shiny
  • Good for young puppies and dogs with sensitive skin

CONS:

  • Not always effective at killing fleas
  • Needs to sit for at least 5 minutes before rinsing

This is a great shampoo for regular use, but it may not work much better than regular shampoos for killing or repelling fleas or ticks. You may need to use it repeatedly or with other products for best results.

#16 Thornell Skunk-Off:

Best Skunk Shampoo For Dogs

  • Neutralizes odors
  • Safe for puppies 8 weeks and older

PROS:

  • Works better than most other products to remove skunk smell
  • Gentle enough to use on the face, where most dogs get sprayed
  • Works best if you have it on hand and can use it immediately

CONS:

  • Has a very strong smell of its own, possibly worse than the skunk smell
  • The shampoo has a very thin consistency

Virtually no product is capable of removing all of a skunk smell the first time you wash your dog, but this is one of the best products on the market, especially if you keep it on hand and can wash your dog immediately after they get sprayed. The product itself has a very strong smell that some people don’t care for, but the upside is that this skunk shampoo, unlike many others, can be used on the dog’s face, where they’re most likely to get sprayed.

#17 FURminator deShedding Ultra:

Best Deshedding Dog Shampoo

  • Promotes healthy skin and coat
  • Helps reduce shedding
  • Enriched with omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, calendula extract, and papaya leaf extract

PROS:

  • Helps most dogs shed less
  • Most people like the smell
  • When used with the conditioner, dogs have soft, shiny coats after bathing

CONS:

  • Some dogs experience allergic reactions
  • May not reduce shedding any more than other shampoos
  • Shampoo must be left on for at least 5 minutes for best results

While nothing can stop a dog from shedding entirely, the Furminator line of products can reduce shedding as much as possible, when used according to directions. The shampoo and conditioner combination helps to release more hair during the bath, as well as loosen it up for easier brushing, once your dog is dry.

#18 Lillian Ruff Brightening & Whitening:

Best Whitening Dog Shampoo

  • Made in the USA
  • Vegan
  • Whitens, brightens, and moisturizes

PROS:

  • Whitens most dogs well
  • Leaves hair soft and shiny
  • Safe to use on the face

CONS:

  • May dry skin
  • Not very deodorizing
  • Must be left on for 10 minutes for best results

While some people felt this shampoo doesn’t whiten enough, most are thrilled with its whitening capabilities. There were a couple of reports of dogs having dry skin afterward, but most dogs do really well and come out with soft, shiny, whiter hair.

#19 Veterinary Formula Snow White:

Runner Up Whitening Dog Shampoo

  • Whitens without bleach or peroxide
  • pH balanced
  • Won’t wash off spot-on flea and tick treatments

PROS:

  • Works well to whiten most dogs’ coats
  • Coat comes out soft and shiny
  • Most people like the smell

CONS:

  • Dogs may have allergic reactions

While this product may not be quite as gentle as the Lillian Ruff shampoo, it seems to whiten better on dogs that aren’t sensitive to it. There are quite a few complaints about the bottle being damaged during shipping, so keep that in mind.

#20 TropiClean SPA Tear Stain Remover:

Best Tear Stain Removing Shampoo

  • Gently removes tear stains
  • Safe to use around eyes
  • Soap-free

PROS:

  • Works well for most dogs, especially with repeated use
  • Lightly scented
  • Gentle enough to use daily

CONS:

  • Needs to stay on for 3 minutes for best results

This isn’t a miracle product – dark stains won’t magically disappear after one use. But consistent use with this product will generally help lighten tear stains, over time. Every once in a while it may irritate a dog’s eyes, but it’s generally very gentle. This product is a favorite for professional dog groomers to safely remove eye goobers.

Frequently Asked Questions

What should I do if my dog has an allergic reaction to a shampoo?

Unfortunately, you can never predict when and if your dog will have an allergic reaction to a shampoo. Some dogs are so sensitive that they’ll suffer an allergic reaction from even hypoallergenic shampoo.
If your dog starts scratching more, their skin turns red, or you notice any other signs of an allergic reaction, the first thing you should do is to rinse your dog with nothing but water. Even the tiniest bit of shampoo left in the coat after a bath can cause a reaction, so you want to be 100% certain the reaction isn’t the result of leftover shampoo.
If your dog is still having problems after a thorough rinse, take them to the vet for further treatment.
It’s key not to wait too long to address any skin reaction after a bath. What starts as a little extra itching can eventually turn into hot spots or a bacterial staph infection, so takes steps sooner rather than later to help your pup feel better.

Why is my dog’s skin so flaky after being bathed?

There are two reasons your dog might be flaky after a bath, if they weren’t flaky beforehand:
1. There may be shampoo residue left behind. As well as you think you rinsed your dog, it’s possible to leave a little shampoo behind, which will become flaky and may irritate your dog’s skin. Try rinsing your dog again without shampoo and see if that helps.
2. It’s possible that the shampoo itself dried out your dog’s skin. If you rinse them again and they’re still flaky, you should try a different shampoo next time, maybe one with oatmeal or another moisturizing agent.
If your dog is always flaky, regardless of their bath and shampoo routine, they may have dry skin, allergies, or a more serious medical condition. If a moisturizing shampoo doesn’t help, try adding fish oil to your dog’s diet or changing their food entirely. Food allergies are more common than you might expect. If nothing seems to help, it’s time for a trip to the vet.

What if I get shampoo in my dog’s eyes?

While you should only use tearless shampoo on your dog’s face, even that can be irritating if you get it in your dog’s eyes. The best thing you can do to keep your pup’s eyes safe is to buy a regular saline solution and flush your dog’s eyes with it before and after the bath.
If your dog’s eyes seem irritated after a bath, take them to the vet as soon as possible, because eye irritation can become very serious very quickly.

Final Thoughts

Even with all the advice in the world, you will ultimately just have to try a shampoo to see how well it works for you and your dog. But, hopefully, this article helped narrow down your choices and improve your odds of finding something that will work on the first try.

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