Best Dog Shampoos of 2021: Complete Reviews With Comparisons

Dogs have different skin types and sensitivities, which is why finding the best dog shampoo is not as easy as it seems.

While a dog shampoo removes dirt, excess oils, and foul odors, you’ll find products that offer more than just that.

Some even promise more than they can actually deliver.

To make things easier for you, we have compiled a list of five dog shampoos from reputable makers.

Take a quick look at our buyer’s guide below, and choose a shampoo that suits your dog’s needs.

Best Dog Shampoo Reviews

1. Veterinary Formula Clinical Care Medicated Shampoo for Dogs

Any list of the best shampoos for dogs cannot be complete without a general-purpose medicated variant.

As such, we begin our compilation with a product from SynergyLabs.

Since 1990, SynergyLabs has been innovating brands that essentially simplify the upkeep for beautiful and healthy pets.

One of its brands is the Veterinary Formula Clinical Care, which includes the Antiparasitic and Antiseborrheic Medicated Shampoo for Dogs.

Product Highlights

The Veterinary Formula Antiparasitic and Antiseborrheic Shampoo is the perfect solution for dogs with seborrheic dermatitis.

Seborrhea is a skin disorder that is either genetic or a result of fungal and bacterial infections.

It can also be a cause of pesky parasites that live on your dog’s skin and coat.

To identify seborrhea, look for symptoms such as greasy or waxy skin, inflamed scalp, red skin rashes, and scaly skin.

This shampoo combines salicylic acid, micronized sulfur, and coal tar as its top ingredients.

This combination provides a strong medication proven effective against fungi, bacteria, and parasites.

It comes in a 16-ounce bottle, but you can also purchase it in one-gallon containers.

If you need a different medicated solution, the brand also features Hot Spot and Itch Relief, Antiseptic and Antifungal, Flea and Tick, and Hypoallergenic variants.

Otherwise, if your dog’s skin is just too dry, you will find the Oatmeal and Tea Tree Oil Infuser a good option to try.

What We Like

The advantage of this dog shampoo is its added colloidal oatmeal and allantoin for healing promotion and skin hydration.

Even if it is a medicated shampoo that SynergyLabs designed to lessen the symptoms of multiple skin conditions, it doesn’t dry out the skin.

We also like that it doesn’t contain any parabens, soaps, or dyes, which is excellent if you also apply topical medications.

What We Don’t Like

You will have to use this medicated shampoo at least two times within a week to be effective.

Unfortunately, its recommended initial dosage is way more than the suggested monthly washing frequency for most dogs.

Too much bathing can remove skin oils that moisturize a dog’s skin and coat and will likely result in other unwanted disorders.

Pros:

  • Paraben-, soap-, and dye-free
  • Has a pH-balanced formula
  • Will not remove topical treatments
  • Powerful against parasites, fungi, and bacteria
  • Effective and affordable medicated shampoo
  • Recommended by vets

Cons:

  • Needs two to three applications during the first week
  • Not for general-purpose applications

2. Wahl Oatmeal Formula Dog Shampoo

Wahl has always been a forerunner in manufacturing and selling human and pet grooming equipment.

However, its product offerings do not end there. The brand also diversified into creating cosmetics, including dog shampoos.

Among its products for dogs is the Wahl Oatmeal Formula Dog Shampoo.

Product Highlights

The Wahl Oatmeal Formula is a dog shampoo concentrate with a 24-ounce capacity, about four to eight ounces more than competing brands.

You’ll also find it in half-gallon containers for pet owners who need more for several dogs.

Other Wahl pet cosmetics include formulas such as the 4-in-1 Calming, the Puppy Gentle, the Whitening Brightening, the Odor Control Purifying, and the Shed Control.

The Wahl Oatmeal Formula contains oatmeal, coconut, lime, aloe vera, and lemon verbena extracts for soothing itchy, dry, and irritated skin.

With plant-based cleansers, this shampoo is the perfect solution for owners who want to avoid harsh chemicals in their pet grooming products.

Additionally, the Oatmeal Formula is a shampoo and conditioner combo.

It moisturizes your dog’s skin to maintain a healthy coat and minimize shedding.

Furthermore, the shampoo creates a thick, gentle lather with just a tiny amount of concentrated formula. Even so, the residues rinse off clean.

After rinsing and drying, the shampoo leaves a coconut, lime, and lemon verbena scent on the clean coat of your dog.

What We Like

We like that the larger capacity of the Wahl Oatmeal Formula is not only more than competing products but also with a higher concentration.

It can provide 70 percent more baths compared to other brands with the same container capacity.

With its capacity, concentration, and easy-rinse properties, it’ll help you manage a multi-dog household with less effort.

Another outstanding property of the Wahl Oatmeal Formula is its lack of parabens, alcohols, and PEG-80 chemicals.

Because of this, you can expect to avoid harsh chemicals from getting into contact with you or your dog’s skin.

What We Don’t Like

The only downside to this shampoo’s high concentration is the guesswork that comes with its initial use.

You might want to start with minimal amounts, adding more little by little to avoid making too much suds.

If you begin with pouring copious amounts, you might end up using more shampoo and water than you actually need.

Pros:

  • Moisturizes dry skin
  • Relieves itchy skin
  • Lathers thick and rinses clean
  • Offers more washes than competitors
  • Leaves a coconut and lime verbena scent
  • Paraben-, alcohol-, and PEG-80 free
  • Safe, pH-balanced formula

Cons:

  • Contains SLES and CAPB
  • Not medicated

3. TropiClean Luxury 2-in-1 Pet Shampoo and Conditioner

TropiClean’s specialization is with natural eco-friendly solutions for pet grooming cosmetics.

It has been servicing 65 countries since 1992, providing hundreds of world-class products for families and their pets.

The company sells fresh breath solutions, natural flea and tick removers, spa treatments for dogs, medicated solutions, and tropical grooming cosmetics.

One of its fresh tropical fragrances is the TropiClean Luxury 2-in-1 Pet Shampoo and Conditioner.

It comes in 20-ounce bottles, but you can also find it in one-gallon and 2.5-gallon containers.

Product Highlights

The primary ingredients of the Luxury 2-in-1 pet shampoo are papaya and coconut extracts.

Of course, it also comes with other tropical ingredients. It contains extracts from kiwi, mango, yucca plant, pomegranate, chamomile, and aloe vera.

These natural ingredients pamper your pets in a luxurious cleansing lather guaranteed to remove dirt and moisturize the skin.

The Luxury 2-in-1 pet shampoo brings the benefits of coconut oils to the skin and coat of your dogs.

It then leaves the tropical scent of fresh papaya and coconut.

Other ingredients include sodium chloride, purified water, colloidal oatmeal, and hydrolyzed wheat proteins.

What We Like

The upside of the TropiClean Luxury 2-in-1 is the fact that it uses 99.3 percent all-natural ingredients.

Its remaining ingredients are proprietary components, essential for the quality and integrity of the formula.

Such components only account for about 0.7 percent of the total contents, ensuring the product’s chemical-free, all-natural property.

Also, this shampoo and conditioner combo is non-toxic, protecting your pets and allowing you to rinse it down the drain guilt-free.

We also like that the product doesn’t contain any parabens, soaps, and dyes, which means you can use it alongside topical creams.

Lastly, another feature beneficial to the environment is that its containers use 50 percent recycled materials.

What We Don’t Like

Be sure to use this shampoo for your dog in the recommended bathing frequency.

Over-bathing can eliminate the natural oils on your dog’s skin and coat, which may result in dry, itchy, and irritated skin.

Furthermore, we do not recommend this shampoo for dogs that shed fur excessively.

The natural components promote hair growth and replenishment, increasing the amount of hair during a dog’s natural shedding cycle.

Pros:

  • Non-toxic, all-natural
  • Paraben-, dye-, and soap-free
  • Has a pH-balanced formula
  • Leaves a fresh tropical scent
  • Contains vitamin E
  • Minimal preservatives and fragrances added

Cons:

  • No medications included
  • Promotes hair growth that may lead to excessive shedding
  • Frequent dog washing with this results in dry skin

4. Pro Pet Works 5-in-1 Shampoo Plus Conditioner for Pets

Pro Pet Works is a group of pet lovers who came together to create an all-organic, non-medicated solution for everyone’s pet bathing needs.

Although the company is relatively new, it continuously strives to explore new ideas to make the pet world a better place.

For now, the company’s portfolio is limited to a single product, the Pro Pet Works 5-in-1 Shampoo Plus Conditioner.

Product Highlights

The Pro Pet Works 5-in-1 comes in a 17-ounce bottle.

It’s easy to see that a lot of effort has gone into developing this shampoo.

For one, it only uses natural ingredients to safeguard pets and the environment from harmful chemicals.

This shampoo aims to condition, moisturize, restore natural oils, relieve drying and itchiness, and soothe a dog’s sensitive skin.

Aside from cleaning your dog after a single wash, this shampoo eliminates foul odors and detangles scruffy hairs.

You will also like that it is a hypoallergenic formula.

It contains a coconut shampoo base with aloe vera, almond oil, hydrolyzed oat proteins, and vitamins A, D, and E.

Pro Pet Works designed this special formulation with pet allergens in mind.

If your pets are allergic to grass, food, and flea bites, this shampoo is an excellent solution.

What We Like

We like that the Pro Pet Works is a 5-in-1 solution for various dog skin and coat problems.

It does not only moisturize and condition, but it also relieves your dog from the stress that comes with skin itch and irritation.

Moreover, it is excellent for maintaining sensitive skin because it restores the much-needed natural oils for maintenance and protection.

Another feature worth mentioning is this shampoo’s organic formulation.

If you use it on your pets, you can expect that they are far from the harsh chemicals present in other dog shampoos.

What We Don’t Like

However, being an all-natural solution takes a toll on this product’s market value.

It costs much more than other non-medicated products that can account for almost similar results.

Additionally, it only comes in small, 17-ounce capacity containers.

If you want to stock up on the product, you might have to purchase several bottles in one go.

Another disadvantage of the Pro Pet Works 5-in-1 is its use for dogs with excessively oily skin.

Much of the organic ingredients promote natural oil reproduction. At times, it may increase the amount of surface oils on your dog’s skin.

Pros:

  • Organic ingredients
  • Paraben-, soap-, and alcohol-free
  • Contains no animal by-products
  • Non-toxic, dye-free, no fragrances
  • Promotes a healthy coat
  • Relieves dry, itchy skin

Cons:

  • Not medicated
  • Most expensive among the options
  • Does not come in larger containers
  • Not advisable for use on dogs with oily skin

5. Arm and Hammer Super Deodorizing Pet Shampoo

We all know the Arm and Hammer brand as a proprietor of products that take advantage of the cleansing capabilities of household baking soda.

Baking soda, or sodium bicarbonate, is a versatile all-around cleaning compound.

You can use it as a mild abrasive or scouring agent, and it functions perfectly as a deodorizer.

Arm and Hammer encompasses a wide array of cleaning products, including pet grooming tools and cosmetics.

One of its best yet is the Arm and Hammer Super Deodorizing Shampoo with Kiwi Blossom Scent.

Product Highlights

The Super Deodorizing Shampoo uses a gentle cleansing formulation of baking soda and other natural ingredients to get rid of odors effectively.

Baking soda particles do a deep clean by dissolving around the skin and hairs of your pet, leaving only a long-lasting scent.

The scent comes from an infusion of rose, white tea, and kiwi fruit extracts.

These ingredients are highly capable of neutralizing unwanted smells and reducing shedding.

As a result of this, not only will you have a cleaner dog but also a cleaner house.

It only comes in 20-ounce bottles, though, so you might want to opt for a pack of six if you need more stocks at home.

What We Like

We like that this shampoo uses coconut-based surfactants instead of chemical-based soaps.

It adds to its gentle formulation and reduces the risks of harsh chemicals getting into contact with you or your dog.

We also like the unique infusion of sodium bicarbonate into the cleaning and deodorizing formula.

After all, it is a universal and milder solution than other harmful substances commonly found in other brands.

What We Don’t Like

The Arm and Hammer Super Deodorizing Shampoo lacks features for reducing and eliminating skin rashes and red spots.

Although sodium bicarbonate can hamper fungal and bacterial growth, it can be a bit harsh for sensitive skin.

Pros:

  • Incorporates sodium bicarbonate
  • Very effective for removing odors
  • No harmful additives
  • Reduces shedding
  • Long-lasting kiwi and blossom scent
  • Sterilizes skin and coat
  • Helps prevent bacteria and fungi growth

Cons:

  • May not be enough against skin irritants
  • Can be too much for sensitive skin

Dog Shampoo Buyer’s Guide

When shopping for dog shampoo, keep in mind that dogs live in different environments and have varying skin sensitivities.

Aside from choosing a dog shampoo that has mild and safe ingredients, it would help if you also consider your dog’s complaints and underlying conditions.

Make it a habit to identify your dog’s needs and the contents of every product you plan to use on them.

Identify Your Dogs’ Needs

More often than not, you will find physical symptoms that can help you narrow down your choice of dog shampoo.

Does your dog have dry or oily skin? Do you see any rashes or red spots?

It may be time for a shampoo change if your dog keeps scratching and if the odor doesn’t seem to go away even after frequent washes.

1. Odor Removal

You will find shampoos that can effectively deodorize your pets, such as the Arm and Hammer Super Deodorizing Shampoo.

However, stubborn odor problems are often a sign of other skin and coat problems on your dog.

Dry, flaky, or excessively oily skin is always ground zero for bacterial, fungal, and parasitic growth.

With these conditions, the organisms that proliferate leave wastes and debris that carefully amount to the stench discharge.

Look for symptoms of these conditions and choose a medicated shampoo to relieve your dog of such problems.

2. Anti-Itching

There is a plethora of anti-itching shampoos available in the market for your dogs.

Some itching conditions may only result from climate changes, but others can also be because of several other factors.

Like odors, itchiness can be a symptom of dryness, rashes, irritations, and parasites.

If your dog scratches round the clock, it is high time you identify the source.

With various other sources, though, an anti-itching shampoo may not be enough.

3. Antifungal and Antibacterial

Some over-the-counter medicated shampoos offer universal antimicrobial ingredients that should be enough to treat minor infections.

Nevertheless, it is always better to consult with your vet if you notice symptoms of bacteria and fungi.

Some infections may require strong medicine you’ll find in topical treatments, so much less in shampoos.

4. Antiparasitic

Combing the fur of your dog is the best way to look for ticks and fleas.

If you find some insects crawling on your dog, antiparasitic shampoos are your best bet.

However, pesky parasites that don’t go away after over-the-counter treatments might also require a vet’s recommendation.

5. Septic Soothing

Some dogs suffer from skin conditions that present red spots, inflammation, and irritation that do not point to other symptoms.

In this case, go for medicated antiseptic shampoos that do not contain harsh chemicals.

6. Conditioning, Brightening, and Nourishing

If your dog’s skin and coat are perfect, all you’ll have to do is maintain them.

Keep your dog’s skin and coat moisturized by using conditioners instead of shampoo-only products.

You can also go for brightening and nourishing formulas to keep the luster on your dog’s coat and to detangle any scruff.

Always Check the Product Contents

Aside from identifying your dog’s needs, it would be best if you also inspect every ingredient listed on the packaging.

Moreover, take advantage of reviews, as not all items listed on the packaging are truthful.

1. Balanced pH Levels

Keeping your dog’s skin and coat in excellent condition requires maintaining a pH level between 5.5 and 7.5 on the acid coating.

Only a product with a perfectly balanced pH can provide that for your dog.

2. Choose Organic and Biodegradable

Want to avoid harsh chemicals that can damage you, your pet’s skin, and the environment?

Go for shampoos with all-natural and biodegradable ingredients.

Dog Shampoo FAQs

1. Can I use human shampoo on a dog?

The pH levels of the acid coating on a dog’s skin are different from those on human skin.

As such, it is not advisable to use human shampoo on a dog.

2. What shampoos should dogs avoid?

Refrain from using shampoos with harsh chemicals that can damage or worsen your pet’s skin conditions.

Stay away from parabens, sulfates, formaldehyde, excessive sulfurs, dyes, and fragrances.

3. How often should you bathe a dog?

Different dog breeds have varying recommended bathing frequencies. Still, most dogs should take a bath at least once a month.

Bathing your dogs more than the recommended frequency rids them of the natural oils that keep their skin and coat healthy.

4. What can I bathe my dog in to stop itching?

An oatmeal bath is probably one of the most soothing baths you can give a dog to calm the skin and eliminate itching instantly.

Other home remedies include an apple cider vinegar and water solution, coconut oil, and a baking soda and water mix.

5. Is baby shampoo OK for dogs?

Baby shampoo is a suitable alternative to dog shampoo. It is milder and has far fewer chemicals than ordinary human shampoo.

It has a gentle formula that makes it the perfect replacement for shampoo if your pooch has sensitive skin.

Which Dog Shampoo Is Best?

The best dog shampoo can vary for dogs with different skin types and underlying skin and coat conditions. Hence, it is up to you to identify your dog’s needs.

We recommend the Wahl Oatmeal Formula as the best general-purpose shampoo and conditioner combo for most dogs.

However, if your dog has some skin disorders, go for the medicated solutions from the Veterinary Formula Clinical Care lineup.

If you have tried plenty of dog shampoos and your dog still has fleas and itchy skin, you might also want to try natural home remedies.

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