Finding the right shampoo for your dog can be a challenge. You want to find something that will not only keep your dog clean, but will also soothe any itchy skin and of course, leave your dog smelling fresh. Whether your dog just needs a quick freshen up or they have sensitive skin or skin allergies, the top 5 of the best dog shampoo brands will be sure to help out.

What Makes Dog Shampoos Different

There are several thousand pet shampoos on the market and guess what, they are all different. Besides the promises to get rid of fleas, dry skin, or a certain smell, the ingredients in the shampoos are what differentiates each brand’s bottles.

Depending on what the purpose of the shampoo is will determine what ingredients are the most active. For example, if you need a flea and tick removal shampoo, you will see high amounts of pyrethrins, a combination of pyrethrin and permethrin, or pyrethrins plus and added synergist.

If your dog is suffering from a serious skin condition, vet’s will most likely give you a prescription strength shampoo to help their skin heal. This is seen in severe cases of mites, demodex, scabies, ringworm, and other harsh skin conditons.

There is also of course the mention of dyes and perfume. Most often seen in low cost shampoos there will be added dyes and perfumes in the shampoo formula. Dyes are not useful to your dog in any way, yet they make the shampoo a brighter color such as pink, blue, or green.

Perfumes can help to mask any odor your dog is experiencing, but they are also a cheap scent masking ploy. Not only will perfumes just cover up the scent instead of removing it entirely, they can irritate a dog’s sensitive skin. If all smelly dogs just used perfume to ‘fix’ the problem, their smell would never go away.

And of course there are brands that understand that natural products are what is best for dogs skin. They are gentle and will not irritate your dog’s skin or fur.

How to Choose the Best Dog Shampoo for Your Dog

When it the time comes to choose a shampoo for your dog, keep in mind the purpose of why you need to bathe them in the first place. A few factors to consider before deciding upon a shampoo would be:

  • Does your dog have itchy skin?

  • Does your dog have sensitive skin that is easily irritated?

  • Does your dog have fleas and/or ticks?

  • How old is your dog? (some shampoos are not suitable for puppies younger than 6 months)

  • Does your dog have any serious skin conditions?

  • Is your dog covered in mud or dirt?

  • Does your dog need a simple freshen up or groom?

  • Does your dog smell bad?

  • Will you need to dilute the formula before use?

  • Do you need to remove tear stains from your dog’s face?

  • Is your dog suffering from allergies?

  • Does your dog need a full bath or will a dry shampoo do the trick?

  • Is your dog shedding profusely? ( a bath will help rid your dog of unwanted hair)

After giving consideration to these questions, your search for the perfect dog shampoo will be much easier since you will know exactly what to look for. No matter which shampoo you end up choosing for your dog, you should always read the label.

The label will contain a full list of active and inactive ingredients as well as instructions for use. It is important to always read the label to ensure you are not placing harmful chemicals on your dog. In addition, you should always follow the instructions as well so you can get the full benefits of the shampoo.

Some shampoos require more than one lather or to be left on for 5-10 minutes, and others do not. Finding out how to properly use the shampoo will ensure you do not waste your time when you are bathing your dog.

Top 5 of the Best Dog Shampoos that Keep Your Dog Fresh and Clean

1. Particular Paws Oatmeal Shampoo

Particular Paws Oatmeal shampoo is a gentle formula that is suitable for all dogs and even cats. The gentle cleansing and moisturizing ingredients include shea butter, aloe vera, and oatmeal. The combination of these gentle ingredients can soothe any dry or itchy skin without causing further irritation or allergies.


Leaves the dogs skin and fur moisturized and feeling soft


May take a few repeated uses before results are seen

2. Particular Paws Dry Shampoo

Particular Paws Dry Shampoo is an efficient and easy way to leave your dog smelling fresh and feeling clean. Since the Particular Paws dry shampoo is able to be used without water, this is a great alternative to use on dogs who are highly stressed by baths or for to use in the times in between baths.

The formula is all natural and will be gentle enough to use on any breed of dogs from bulldogs to Chihuahuas, to Great Danes. It is also suitable for any age of dog as well which is great for those with young puppies.


Great for owners who are unable to bathe their dog on their own


Does not treat skin conditions such as dry skin, itchy skin, or more serious skin conditions

3. Oster Oatmeal Naturals

Oster Oatmeal Naturals shampoo is a gentle yet powerful formula that is great for regular bathing and helping to treat and soothe any allergies or skin conditions your dog may have. The Oster Oatmeal Naturals formula contains extra vitamins which will improve your dog’s skin and coat.

In addition, the Oster Oatmeal Naturals shampoo contains conditioners which will leave your dog’s skin and fur moisturized and feeling silky soft. Not to mention the Oster Oatmeal Naturals is 100% free from: alcohol, parabens, phosphates, dyes, and phthalates which is great for dogs with sensitive skin or are a young age.


Scent is not overpowering


Some owners do not enjoy the scent of this shampoo

4. Wahl 100% Natural Shampoo

The Wahl 100% Natural Shampoo is a gentle and safe shampoo formula that is as the name suggests, 100% Natural. Since the formula is derived from plants, there will be no toxic or harsh chemicals that can put your dog at risk.

The Wahl 100% Natural Shampoo is great for making the dog’s fur silky soft and very shiny. This formula cleanses the fur and skin very well which is great for removing tear stains or cleaning dogs that have white fur.


Lathers easily and quickly


Does not remove ticks

5. Nature’s Miracle Supreme Odor Control Dog Shampoo

Nature’s Miracle Supreme Odor dog shampoo is an excellent choice for smelly dogs. Although the scent derives from honey and sage, it will help to knock out any unwanted odors from your pet, and it does so with a gentle formula.

The special formula in this dog shampoo will neutralize and deodorize nearly anything your dog has gotten into. Not to mention, your dog’s fur and skin will be left feeling soft and well moisturized due to the essential oils present in this conditioning formula.

Another great thing about Nature’s Miracle Supreme Odor Control dog shampoo, is that it is soap free. Since the formula is soap free, it will not remove any topical flea and tick medications upon use.


    • No dyes

    • No parabens

    • Gentle formula

    • Great natural scent

    • Great for tough pet odors

    • Great for white fur and for tear stain removal

    • Works well for itchy and dry skin

    • Leaves fur silky soft after use

    • Lathers easily

    • Do not have to dilute

    • Will not irritate your dog’s skin

    • Great for removing dirt and mud from the paws

    • Thinner shampoo formula which can penetrate even the thickest of coats without using too much

    • Rinses easily

    • Soap free and will not remove topical flea and tick medications

    • Essential oils help with multiple skin conditions


    • Scent is not long lasting

    • Can strip the natural oils from the fur

    • May need to leave on your dog for at least 5 minutes before rinsing

    • Does not remove skunk smell from dog’s who have been sprayed by a skunk

    • Not ideal for dog’s younger than 12 weeks

The top 5 best dog shampoo formulas have all proven to be gentle and great for cleaning up your dirty and even smelly dogs. However, the Wahl 100% Natural dog shampoo stands out against the rest.

The Wahl 100% Natural dog shampoo is a powerful, yet natural formula that will leave your dog’s fur and skin moisturized and feeling soft. Since this formula is so gentle, it will not irritate your dog’s skin and will help with a variety of skin ailments including dry skin, itchy skin, and irritated skin. If your dog has allergies or a skin condition, the Wahl 100% Natural dog shampoo will help to remedy their skin issues after just one use.

And since the Wahl 100% Natural dog shampoo formula is so gentle, it will no remove any topical flea and tick medications. In fact, the formula contains natural flea fighting ingredients which can help you remove any fleas from your dog.

Choosing the right dog shampoo for your dog is important for your dog’s health and well-being. With the help of the top 5 best dog shampoo formulas, we hope to have made your job of choosing the right shampoo for your dog’s needs just a little easier.

Alayna Mayer Ph.D. has accrued more than ten years of professional veterinary experience. She emphasizes homeopathic care in her practice, but she makes all options known to her patients’ humans so that they can make well-informed decisions about their pets’ health. Email: [email protected]

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