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Dog shampoos are important canine care products that are geared primarily for the maintenance of their hygiene. Some products actually come with different formulations to help in the control and management of pests like fleas and ticks. However useful, some canine shampoos contain harsh ingredients that may pose a threat to your pet’s health. It is, therefore, important for you to learn how to choose the correct hair care product for your pet. We have researched the market for the best dog shampoo to help you get started.
Designed to be the best hypoallergenic dog shampoo, the Pro Pet Works Organic Oatmeal and Aloe canine hair care product comes enriched with vitamins to help improve the overall health of your pooch’s coat while also making sure it is safe for canines with allergies. It is both soothing and therapeutic, giving your pet’s skin to regenerate and its coat to grow to its optimum health. It’s ideal for restoring the natural oils in your pet’s coat, reliving itchiness and dry skin, conditioning and moisturizing its coat, and soothing its sensitive skin.
Veterinary Formula Clinical Care is a unique medicated shampoo for dogs that is specific for parasitic organisms, although it is also effective against bacterial and fungal species. Aside from its antiparasitic properties, Veterinary Formula is also formulated to treat seborrheic dermatitis which is often characterized by severe skin inflammation, waxy or greasy integument, and dry, flaky, scaly skin resembling dandruff. It’s also one of the top rated dog shampoo in the market today.
Looking for organic dog shampoo? Look no further as Earthbath is here. Earthbath boasts of a unique blend of all-natural ingredients that will not irritate your pet’s skin. Its formulation is 100% biodegradable ensuring safety in the environment. Earthbath is available in a variety of natural blends such as oatmeal and aloe, peppermint and eucalyptus, and tea tree and aloe, just to name a few. This gives your pooch a lingering fragrance that keeps your pet smelling fresh naturally.
Contains oatmeal, aloe vera, plant-derived cleaners, and vitamins
If you want your pooch to smell of fragrant lavender, this gentle shampoo from Honeydew is a must-have. Made with a blend of natural ingredients, the formula helps to reduce skin irritation. Oatmeal, jojoba, and lavender come together to form a hypoallergenic shampoo that even pooches with sensitive skin can enjoy.
Veterinarian recommended, the soothing blend removes excess oil, dandruff, and debris from your dog’s coat without drying it out or causing further irritation. Each bottle of this safe and effective shampoo is made to a high standard of quality in the USA.
Hypoallergenic dog shampoo
Made with naturally soothing ingredients, including jojoba, lavender, and oatmeal
If your mutt happens to have shedding issues, Furminator’s deShedding formulation is perfect for the job. The Furminator is enriched with essential fatty acids to help improve the luster and shine of your mutt’s coat while replenishing its natural oils, making each follicle healthier and stronger. This helps reduce shedding while promoting healthier coat and skin. It also includes a variety of natural ingredients making it a safe product to use on your pooch.
Sometimes you don’t really need to give your pooch a full bath. You will only need the convenience of Wahl’s No-Rinse Waterless Shampoo. It’s so easy to use as the formulation can be sprayed onto your pet’s coat. It doesn’t contain any harsh chemicals and boasts only of having lavender and chamomile as its fundamental ingredients.
Contains chamomile, lavender, and coconut oil
Easy to spray, pH-balanced, alcohol- and paraben- free formulation
Requires no rinsing, no bathing
Use for cleaning, conditioning, moisturizing, and detangling
For treating minor skin infections, this Chlorhexidine shampoo by Duoxo is the perfect solution. The antiseptic solution gently removes bacteria from your dog’s skin and coat, helping them recover from irritation.
Although it’s tough on bacteria, the shampoo is gentle on your dog’s skin. Thanks to a number of moisturising ingredients, the formula also locks in moisture to keep skin healthy, and prevent further irritation. If your canine companion suffers from pyoderma, and other issues, this shampoo is a convenient and drug-free management method.
Curaseb have also earned themselves a spot on our list, with this effective medicated shampoo. Thanks to the active ingredients – chlorhexidine and ketoconazole – the formula works to eliminate yeast, bacteria, fungus, pyoderma, and even ringworm.
As well as eliminating a wide range of skin issues, the shampoo deodorizes and gently cleanses your dog’s hair and skin. When the shampoo is rinsed away, it leaves behind a fresh melon and cucumber scent. Owners agree that the powerful shampoo clears up skin complaints fast, leaving behind a soft, healthy, and fresh-smelling coat.
Medicated shampoo for dogs
Active ingredients chlorhexidine and ketoconazole
Eliminates yeast, bacteria, fungus, pyoderma, and ringworm
For pooches that have skin problems, the Fieldworks antibacterial and antifungal canine shampoo is a great solution. You might even consider it as a medicated dog shampoo for allergies since it is primarily geared for the management and prevention of bacterial and fungal infections while also having exceptional antiseptic properties. Fieldworks also contains natural ingredients such as essential oils that promote healthier canine skin and hair while reducing the severity of skin allergies as well as dermatitis. It contains bentonite clay which aids in its antimicrobial properties.
Contains aloe vera, shea butter, coconut oil, and other natural ingredients
Contains bentonite clay, neem oil, and argan oil
Antibacterial and antifungal formulation
Completely biodegradable and hypoallergenic shampoo formulation
Ideal for dogs with hot spots, itchy skin, and skin allergies
TropiClean Shampoos for pets are a fantastic natural option when it comes to keeping your pet pooch clean and smelling lovely. The formula is designed to moisturize and condition your pet’s coat without the need for parabens, dyes, or soaps. All the ingredients are derived from nature and work together to create a rich lather that your dog will love. The formula is PH balanced and is suitable to use on dogs and cats from 12 weeks onwards.
Deep cleansing formula with coconut and berries
Moisturizes and conditions skin and coat
Pleasant fruity smell
PH balanced and free from soap, dyes, and parabens
One of the top rated dog shampoo and conditioner in the market, the Paws & Pals is especially formulated to improve the health of canine coat and skin. It contains essential oils like rosemary and chamomile as well as vitamin E and oatmeal to help replenish natural skin and hair oils while reducing many of the symptoms and signs of skin irritation in pets. The Paws & Pals is reasonably priced, too. The addition of conditioners helps moisturize both the skin and the coat, giving it a healthier glow.
Contains oatmeal, chamomile, and rosemary as well as other natural ingredients
Nootie’s oatmeal dog shampoo can also be regarded as one of the best smelling dog shampoo currently available. Its unique formulation is designed to help combat nasty odor by removing the source of the unwanted smell. Oatmeal, ordenone, and coconut oil work together to provide a mellow scent. The addition of aloe vera soothes itchy skin. Nootie is perfect for rejuvenating and invigorating canine skin and hair cells while relieving stubborn symptoms of skin irritation and hypersensitivity.
Contains coconut oil, oatmeal, aloe vera, and ordenone
Soap-free, SLS-free, and paraben-free formulation
Designed for dry and itchy skin as well as deodorizer
They might be better known for their unique beeswax lip balm, but Burt’s Bees have turned their attention to the petcare world with great success. The gentle yet effective formula acts to soothe and soften your pet’s coat and skin, leaving it healthy, smooth, and fresh.
The formula is made using a mixture of natural ingredients, including buttermilk and linseed oil. Both ingredients effectively moisturise your pooch’s coat, without making it greasy. It’s very gentle, too, suitable for dogs and puppies of all ages. Free from surfactants, sulfates, and fragrances, it’s perfect for mutts with sensitive skin.
Moisturizing Dog Shampoo
Natural formula features buttermilk and deeply moisturising linseed oil
This hypoallergenic shampoo formula from 4-Legger is another great option if your dog has allergies, or sensitive skin. The natural formula is 100% organic, fully approved by the USDA. Made with a blend of aloe and lemongrass, the shampoo gently cleanses and soothes itchy or flaky skin, leaving behind a subtle fresh fragrance.
The formula is free from detergents, parabens, and sulfates – it’s totally non-toxic, and safe for pets of all ages. Finally, the shampoo is eco-friendly, and totally vegan, so you can use it with a conscious as clean as your pet’s coat.
If you want your mutt’s coat to really stand out, you should consider Wahl’s Color Bright. This all-natural product is formulated to brighten white-coated pooches while also enhancing and making more vibrant the colored coat of other breeds. While it improves the appearance of your pet’s coat, it also helps remove dirt and other particles that may be present in your pooch’s coat without endangering the environment.
Containing limonene, oatmeal, and tea tree oil, Vet’s Best is a dog shampoo for itchy skin. It is recommended for use on pooches that have sensitive skin as well as possible allergies. Vet’s Best helps relieve itching by washing away allergens and other particles that may be causing the hypersensitivity reaction. Its natural ingredients help give it a gentle and pleasant scent to keep your mutt smelling fresh.
Contains all-natural limonene, tea tree oil, aloe vera, neem oil, chamomile, and oatmeal
Especially formulated for sensitive and itchy skin
Giving your pet pooch a much-needed bath can do a lot more than just maintaining its hygiene and health. It can also be a great way to manage and control common pest problems like fleas and ticks while also strengthening the bond between you and your mutt. It is thus, critical to know which shampoo to use on your dog as some of these may contain ingredients that may bring harm to our pets.
We understand that the subject can be quite intimidating and confusing especially to novice dog owners. While there are tons of online resources detailing the whole process of selecting the right product for your pet as well as providing answers to some of the more nagging questions that pet owners may actually have, we have decided to pool these resources and evaluated them for their intrinsic value, relevance, and validity. Hopefully, towards the end of this section, you will be more enlightened on how you can ensure better care for your pet by being able to properly choose the best pet shampoo for their needs.
Here’s the thing about pet care products – there’s just way too many of them that you simply don’t know which ones are really essential and which ones you can do without. Unfortunately, many pet owners don’t think a dedicated pet shampoo is necessary and that their human shampoos should already suffice. This is a very common occurrence especially among individuals who simply fail to realize the important differences between human and dog skin as this is where the issue whether it is safe to use ordinary human shampoo on dogs or not.
The Acid Mantle
Consider the acid mantle as a natural barrier between the external environment and the different structures of the skin. The outermost layer of skin is actually a collection of epithelial cells in various stages of cornification or hardening. The innermost layers are fresher and softer while the layer that we see on our skin is actually made of cornified tissues. That is why this is called stratum corneum.
Given the fact that the stratum corneum is made up of hardened skin cells, it would be safe to assume that this is enough to afford us or our dogs the protection we need against external threats. Unfortunately, this is far from the truth. These hardened skin cells can still be attacked by bacteria and viruses that can enter through the rest of the skin layers if there’s a cut or opening in the skin.
As such, as a supporting mechanism to this primary defense barrier, the body also produces a very thin layer that experts call as the acid mantle. The acid mantle keeps microbial contaminants from invading the skin by providing an acid environment which will help neutralize these microorganisms. Moreover, the acid mantle helps reduce the rate of evaporation and facilitates the more efficient absorption of water to keep the skin well-hydrated.
When we take a bath, this thin protective layer is inadvertently washed away. That is why many of the bath soaps and shampoos that we use contain ingredients that will help blanket the skin while it is in the process of renewing its acid mantle. These products also help to moisturize the skin.
So, the acid mantle is a very important protective layer of the skin. Its effectiveness is dependent on the correct balance of acids and bases on the skin. You know this as pH balance.
Here is where the main difference lies and one of the fundamental reasons why you cannot use human shampoo on your pet.
The normal pH of human skin is slightly more acidic, typically ranging between 5.2 and 6.2. You should know that the normal pH of the human blood is between 7.35 and 7.45, which is slightly alkaline if we take the conventional pH standardization of 7.0 as being neutral. Your dog, on the other hand, typically has a normal skin pH of 6.2 to 7.4 which is more on the alkaline side.
Using ordinary human shampoos on dogs can substantially disrupt their acid mantle. This leaves your mutt especially vulnerable to microbial invasion such as bacteria, viruses, and even parasites. Not only that, because the moisture from their skin has been essentially stripped away, they develop dry and flaky skin. This can be especially itchy, leading to incessant scratching and potentially cutting up the skin. As we have already said, any loss in the integrity of the skin will result in the entry of pathogenic microorganisms.
That said, you should never use your own shampoo on your mutt regardless of how ‘mild’ these products are formulated.
We did mention that our outer layer of our skin is actually composed of several sub-layers; 5 to be exact. When taken together, you are looking at 10 to 15 rows of skin cells. On the other hand, our canine friends only have 3 to 5 rows of skin cells.
Because their skin is essentially ‘thinner’ than ours, using hair wash products that contain harsh chemicals or ingredients can easily erode these layers. Again, this leads to skin rashes, drying, flaking, and even intense itching, which you already know what happens next.
Now you might think that this is bull since dogs can easily go anywhere without hurting or damaging their skin. This is where their coat comes in. Unlike the hair follicles in humans that grow as individual hair, the hair follicles in canines typically grow in clusters, providing ample protection for the skin beneath it. Unfortunately, if they do get a bath, moisture can easily get under this cluster of hair follicles, somehow trapping them in the process. This is also one of the reasons why it is a lot more difficult to dry their hairs after getting wet.
Giving your mutt a bath using your shampoo can lead to more severe skin irritation primarily because they have more sensitive skin.
Should you use your own shampoo on your dog? The straightforward answer is ‘NO’. If you’re not convinced, try bathing your mutt with your own hair wash product and you will see that the odor is not at all that pleasant. Many pet owners tend to repeat the washing believing that doing so will help remove the nasty smell. Unfortunately, it only gets worse because the acid mantle has already been severely disrupted and bacteria are already wreaking havoc on your pet’s skin. If you don’t mind the smell, sooner or later your mutt will be scratching incessantly and you’ll be wondering if it has fleas or ticks. Sadly, most pet owners will never think that it is their pet’s use of human shampoo that is causing the itching.
How to Choose theBest Dog Shampoos
Based on what we have already been discussing, it is important never to use human shampoo on your pet, no matter how ‘mild’ these products are being aggressively marketed. The important thing to do next is to understand how to choose the right canine shampoo. Here’s how.
Determine the type of skin that your pet has.
One of the best ways to help you choose the right product for your pet dog is by taking a closer look at its skin. If you are not familiar with the process of identifying the type of skin your pet has, your veterinarian can help you.
If your pooch has dry, itchy, and flaky skin and accompanied by a rather dull coat, you may choose a product that has a more gentle formulation. It should not be harsh to help prevent the worsening of the skin irritation. Similarly, a gentle hair product can aid in the restoration of moisture into your pet’s coat and skin, leading to less dry and less itchy skin.
If the main issue is sensitive skin, shampoos that are gently formulated and contain natural substances like oatmeal, vitamin E, and honey can help relieve the intense itching brought about by hypersensitive skin. Gentle shampoos also have a soothing effect on your mutt’s skin and coat.
Check if your mutt has fleas or ticks.
Pets that have flea or tick problems can benefit from a product that has certain ingredients intended for killing these ectoparasites. These pests are known to bring a variety of canine health problems such as fever, pest bite dermatitis, anemia, and many more. If your pet happens to have any of these problems, it is often wise to choose the best flea shampoo for dogs. However, it is important to take note that this should not be the only method of eradicating these pests. Environmental control and the administration of other flea medications and also collars should also be considered.
Just like humans, you need to choose pet shampoos that are appropriate to the age of your pet. For example, if you have a puppy, make sure to get only a specially formulated shampoo for puppies. These have different formulations relative to their adult versions to cater to the even more sensitive skins of pups. These lead to a reduction in the risk of skin irritations as well as eye irritations.
Check if you need waterless dog shampoo or dog wipes for instant baths.
You may not need it now, but sooner or later, you will. There are products that are specially designed for on-the-go and instant cleaning of your beloved furry pal without needing a bathtub and a shower hose. These waterless shampoos can be used for everyday cleaning especially in certain parts of your furry pal. For example, these are often used in cleaning the eyes, ears, teeth, paws, and even bottoms. These make excellent and convenient options if you’re traveling or when you simply need to give your furry friend a good cleaning.
If there are skin problems in your pet like redness, blotching, flaking, or even excessive dryness, you may want to buy a medicated shampoo for dogs. Like products that are specially formulated for fighting fleas and ticks, medicated products can contain substances that are geared specifically for managing the different signs of the skin problem. For instance, these can have antimicrobial properties such as what an antifungal canine shampoo provides. There are also products that contain anti-inflammatory substances to help reduce any skin inflammation and redness. There are also shampoos that come with antibacterial ingredients to help rid the skin of these pathogenic organisms and help reduce irritation and itching in the skin.
Consider products that help you control shedding.
Shedding is a natural phenomenon experienced by all living organisms with hair. The human hair, for example, undergoes a cycle of growth and shedding. While most hairs are growing, others are resting or are shedding. The same is true with our canine friends. They do shed.
Unfortunately, what most pet lovers are worried about is the danger that accompanies the shedding as these small particles can easily get airborne. If you don’t have any airway hypersensitivity or allergies to dander, then it’s not a big issue. However, if you have a family member who happens to be hypersensitive to such particles, a heavily shedding dog can be bad news.
Getting a canine shampoo that contains antioxidants, amino acids, and healthy oils can help reduce the amount of shedding in your pet. These pet care materials can also help improve your mutt’s coat by making it healthier and shinier.
Determine is your mutt’s coat requires some untangling.
If you have a pet that is more prone to tangling of its coat, you can use a combination of the best dog conditioner and shampoo to help restore the moisture in both your pet’s hair and skin. This will also make combing and brushing your mutt’s coat a lot easier. If your pet happens to have frizzy locks or really stubborn tangles, you can choose a separate conditioner to be applied after shampooing. This will help replenish the natural oils in your mutt’s coat while also aiding in the detangling process.
Consider getting a conditioner.
You might think that only humans need conditioner. On the contrary, our pet mutts also deserve a specially formulated dog shampoo and conditioner to help restore the moisture in their coats as well as replenish the natural oils that are often removed or washed away during shampooing. The active ingredients in these hair care materials covers and seals the hair shaft. This can help reduce the incidence of tangled hair, making it a lot easier to brush or comb.
Dog Shampoo Ingredients to Avoid
We have already said that one of the key factors that you need to consider when choosing the right pet shampoo is its safety profile. Unfortunately, some brands come formulated with very harsh ingredients that can cause various health concerns. In order for you to steer clear of these products, it is important to know which pet shampoo ingredients to avoid. Here, we are going to share with you 4 groups of ingredients that you need to watch out for in your choice of the best shampoo.
A majority of us consider preservatives as very important ingredients in lengthening the shelf life of many of the things we use and consume in life. These substances are inherently useful in preventing the premature spoilage of a lot of things including food. Sadly, research has shown that these substances can lead to various health issues in the long run.
One of the most common preservatives used in many applications today is formaldehyde. This substance has been shown to create problems in the brain and spinal cord. Moreover, it is a known carcinogen. It can also produce skin rashes.
Unfortunately, you will not see ‘formaldehyde’ written in the labels of many items. Instead, you will see various chemicals that are known to release or form formaldehyde. You may need to watch out for the following substances:
2-bromo-2-nitropropane-1,3-diol or bromopol
Quaternium-7, -15, -31, -61
Another preservative that you may want to be especially cautious are parabens such as methylparaben, propylparaben, and butylparaben. The major issue in parabens is that they are very potent estrogen disruptors which can adversely affect the reproductive functioning of affected canines. These ingredients are also known to produce certain types of cancers.
Sodium benzoate is also a popular preservative that is relatively safe when it is given by itself. However, if this substance is mixed with Vitamin C or ascorbic acid or even citric acid, the resulting chemical reaction leads to the formation of benzene. This is where the problem lies as benzene is known as a major risk factor in the development of leukemia as well as other disorders of the blood.
These are the ingredients that make shampoos and other personal and pet care products bubbly. There is this notion that the more bubbles an item produces the better it is when it comes to cleaning and washing away dirt, grime, and other particles. These are ingredients that are useful in making your pet’s hair shinier as these are effective in enveloping oil and grease for easier removal from the hair.
While you can easily identify these ingredients by looking at the word ‘sulfate’ such as sodium laureth sulfate, ammonium laureth sulfate, and sodium lauryl sulfate, there are some products that don’t explicitly label their formulations with sulfates. Instead, you may read ‘coconut based cleaners’, ‘coconut based surfactants’, ‘naturally extracted from coconuts’, or even ‘vegetable based cleaners’. So, be on the lookout for these ‘ingredients’ regardless of how ‘natural’ their manufacturers claim the item to be.
All versions of the sulfates can cause skin dryness, severe itching, and redness. These three substances are also highly reactive to both dioaxane and ethylene oxide which are known carcinogens. Ethylene is also toxic to the normal growth and development of tissues as well as the immune system. It is also a well-known allergen.
If you see three-letter combinations that end in ‘-ethanolamine’, stay away from these as these can be easily broken down into nitrogenous compounds known as nitrosamines. These are substances that are carcinogenic and have displayed considerable developmental toxicity, reproductive toxicity, and even organ system toxicity.
You need to watch out for the three very common ethanolamines: the mono-, di-, and tri- ethanolamines, more popularly known for their 3-letter acronyms MEA, DEA, and TEA, respectively.
Artificial colorings and fragrances
Just because you bought the best smelling shampoo doesn’t mean that it’s already safe for your pet. There are many products in the market that are filled with artificial fragrances as well as artificial colorings.
A very common ingredient that you will not likely to see in product labels is phthalates. These are substances that are used to bond the different molecules of fragrances together. Without phthalates, there’s no way your shampoo will remain as fragrant as the first day you opened it. Regrettably, phthalates are known hormone disruptors.
Artificial colorings, on the other hand, are mostly synthesized from petroleum products. These are believed to be factors in the development of allergic reaction, birth defects, organ damage, and even cancer.
How Often Should I Bathe my Dog?
One question that always pops out in pet grooming discussions is the frequency of bathing dogs. It is a question that can have a variety of answers. Ask any vet and he or she will tell you that it all depends on the most compelling reason behind the activity.
Bathing too often can irritate your mutt’s skin. It can also damage your pet’s hair follicles. And if worse comes to worst, the risk for bacterial and fungal infections can also be increased. Bathing infrequently, on the other hand, can also lead to the development of health concerns.
So, how often should you bathe your mutt?
The general consensus is that bathing on a weekly basis is beneficial as the process can help augment the natural grooming behaviors of canines. If your pet happens to venture into an area that gets it very dirty, you can easily clean the dirty parts with a waterless shampoo or wipes. If your canine friend happens to have short hair and is relatively clean, bathing it once a month should suffice.
How to Wash Your Dog Properly
Admit it. Bathing your pooch is a very time-consuming process, not to mention a struggle, especially if your furry pal happens to detest the idea of you bathing it. Canines are not afraid of water. Unfortunately, their earlier experiences can play a major role in the formation of an aversive or avoidant behavior. Here are some tips on how to wash your dog properly and make the experience less threatening and more fun.
Engage your furry friend in active play. Take it for a run. Play catch or fetch. The point is for you to tire it and drain it of excess energy so it will be a lot easier to bring to the bathtub.
Give your furry pal a good brushing of its coat. If you can remove any tangles, do so even before you hit the water. As much as possible, remove any matting as this can trap water which can irritate your pet’s skin.
Protect the ears from the possible entry of water. Insert a cotton ball inside the ear canals to help keep water out while also preventing ear irritation and infection.
Check the temperature of the water. It should be lukewarm, neither cold nor hot. If it’s too hot, you risk burning your dog’s skin. If it’s too cold, it might shiver. However, if your pet happens to be a large breed, you can use slightly colder water.
Calm your pet. Use a reassuring voice in encouraging it to go to the bath. Most canines will eventually learn that the whole bathing process is not a means of torturing them.
Always use the best soap for dogs. Never ever use a human shampoo even if it is for babies.
Don’t forget to rinse well. Any residue can irritate the skin. A good rule of thumb is to rinse your pet’s hair at least 3 times.
Air-dry your pet after the bath or you can use a specially designed blow-dryer for canines. Resist the temptation of using your own hair dryer as this can be extremely hot for your pet, even if you’re going to put it in the lowest speed and temperature setting.
Always reward your pooch right after bathing. Praise it, pet it, or even play with it so your dog learns that bathing is a very pleasant experience that brings about many positive things.