The 5 Best Dog Shampoos of 2024, According to Veterinarians

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You can keep your dog's skin and coat clean, healthy, and moisturized with one of the best dog shampoos. Some shampoos also kill fleas and ticks, and hypoallergenic shampoos can prevent and soothe irritation in dogs with dry, itchy skin. waterproof bathroom wall panels

We asked veterinarians what types of shampoos are appropriate for different types of coats and concerns. We then evaluated dozens of formulas according to their ingredients, ease of use, and intended use, from flea control to whitening. Our top pick, Earthbath Oatmeal and Aloe Shampoo, is the best cleansing and moisturizing formula for most dogs. It contains nonirritating ingredients, and vanilla and almond extracts give it a subtle, pleasant fragrance.

Since every dog has unique needs based on their skin, coat, and existing conditions, it's important to speak with your veterinarian about how often you should bathe your dog and what type of shampoo is best for their skin and fur.

Read more about how Insider Reviews tests and evaluates pet products.

Best overall: Earthbath Oatmeal and Aloe Pet Shampoo - See at Chewy

Best for fleas: Adams Plus Flea and Tick Shampoo with Precor - See at Chewy

Best dry shampoo: Begley's Waterless Pet Shampoo - See at Amazon Best for puppies: Earthbath Ultra-Mild Puppy Shampoo - See at Chewy

Best whitening: Chris Christensen White on White Whitening Treatment Shampoo - See at Amazon

Earthbath Oatmeal and Aloe Pet Shampoo is an organic, all-natural, hypoallergenic shampoo that soothes and moisturizes the skin without causing any additional irritation.

Earthbath Oatmeal and Aloe Pet Shampoo restores moisture to a dog's skin and leaves their fur feeling soft. It's gently formulated and safe for puppies at least 6 weeks of age, making it our top choice for the best dog shampoos.

The shampoo is especially beneficial for dogs with sensitive skin. Dogs with sensitive skin need a hypoallergenic shampoo, free of ingredients that could irritate the skin. Skin conditions like environmental allergies to dust and pollen can make a dog's skin itchy and extra sensitive. Other substances, such as synthetic fragrances, can also irritate a dog's skin and cause persistent itchiness. 

With ingredients like colloidal oatmeal and aloe vera, the shampoo relieves itchiness and restores the skin's moisture. It is free of ingredients like soap and synthetic fragrances that could cause additional skin irritation or allergy flare-ups. Its fragrance is from natural vanilla and almond oils.

The shampoo is 100% biodegradable, cruelty-free, and will not wash off topical flea and tick treatments.

Adams Plus kills fleas, flea eggs and larvae, ticks, and lice for up to 28 days while soothing dry, irritated skin.

Editor's note: This shampoo from Adams contains pyrethrins. Flea and tick shampoos that contain pyrethrins and permethrin are toxic to cats and can be fatal. With exposure, cats can develop symptoms such as tremors, twitching, and vomiting. If you have a cat, choose a shampoo free of pyrethrins and permethrin, like Sentry Flea and Tick Shampoo.

Although the best flea treatments for dogs are preventive medicines like spot-ons, shampoos can provide additional protection from these tiny pests. Adams Plus Flea and Tick Shampoo with Precor earned the top spot in our guide to the best flea and tick shampoo for dogs. It kills flea eggs and larvae, adult fleas, ticks, and lice for up to 28 days.

This shampoo contains the insecticides pyrethrins and S-methoprene. Pyrethrins are synthetic insecticides commonly found in flea and tick shampoos. It kills insects by disrupting their nervous system. S-methoprene is an insect growth regulator that prevents flea eggs from reaching adulthood. Because pyrethrins are highly toxic to cats, we recommend Sentry Flea and Tick Shampoo for households with felines. It is a shorter-acting shampoo that does not kill lice.

This formula includes oatmeal to soothe skin that's become red and irritated from scratching. It is safe for puppies at least 12 weeks of age. The shampoo should be left on for at least five minutes to work most effectively. If your dog has a heavy flea infestation, the manufacturer recommends washing your pup with it every seven to 10 days.

Keep in mind that flea and tick shampoos should be used only when directed by a veterinarian. Skin conditions often have similar symptoms, like redness and irritation, and what looks like a flea problem might be something else, such as a yeast infection. "I normally discourage using a medicated shampoo unless we know what we're treating," says Dr. Karen Todd-Jenkins, a relief veterinarian in Trenton, New Jersey.

Begley's Natural No-Rinse Waterless Pet Shampoo provides a thorough waterless clean with natural ingredients.

There are times when a full bath with one of the best dog shampoos isn't convenient or practical. Begley's Waterless Pet Shampoo is an easy-to-apply, lightly scented shampoo that cleans and deodorizes without drying the skin.

This shampoo for puppies and adult dogs contains a proprietary natural enzyme blend that provides a deep clean by removing the residues of protein, fat, and starch from a dog's fur and skin. It also contains naturally occurring biosurfactants, which are produced by microbes and boost the shampoo's cleaning power.

It is available in four natural, essential oil-based fragrances: lavender, citrus, oatmeal mango, and tea tree. The ingredients are biodegradable, making it a safe choice for dogs and the environment.

The shampoo distributes quickly and easily across a dog's skin and coat and doesn't leave any residue after it's wiped off with a towel. For the face, the manufacturer recommends spraying the shampoo on a damp cloth first and then gently rubbing the face, carefully avoiding a dog's eyes.

"Waterless shampoos are often helpful in specific situations, such as after surgery when a dog's incision site has to stay dry," says Dr. Cherese Sullivan, a relief veterinarian in Houston, Texas. Dogs that suffer from incontinence or don't like being bathed can also benefit from the quick cleaning provided by a waterless shampoo. These shampoos are also a good option when there's a long time between grooming appointments.

Be mindful that waterless shampoos might not provide the same level of cleaning that a bath with one of the best dog shampoos can provide. Todd-Jenkins says that bathing a dog with water and shampoo does a superior job of mechanically removing dirt and debris from the fur.

Earthbath Ultra-Mild Puppy Shampoo is a gentle, tear-free shampoo that contains natural and organic ingredients for cleaning puppies and detangling their coats.

Unlike other puppy shampoos we considered that contained synthetic ingredients, Earthbath Ultra-Mild Puppy Shampoo uses natural ingredients to clean, condition, and detangle, making it our top choice among the best dog shampoos for puppies.

A puppy's skin is more sensitive than an adult dog's skin. Because of this, puppy shampoos are formulated to be extra-gentle while still being effective at cleaning and moisturizing the skin and coat. This shampoo contains ingredients such as aloe vera and various vitamins to moisturize and nourish a puppy's skin and coat.

The shampoo is safe for puppies at least 6 weeks of age and does not wash off topical flea and tick treatments. For the first few weeks of life, puppies have trouble regulating their body temperature, so they can get cold easily. Because of this, it is recommended that puppies not be bathed until they are at least 6 to 8 weeks old when they're better at regulating their body temperature.

Earthbath Ultra-Mild Puppy Shampoo lathers well and rinses easily, which helps if you have a squirmy puppy that doesn't like to hold still for a long bath. The gentle, tear-free formula will not sting a puppy's eyes, but it's a good idea to take extra care to avoid the eyes, nose, and mouth when bathing a dog.

Chris Christensen White on White Shampoo for Pets is gently formulated to whiten and brighten a dog's coat.

Dogs with white fur need more than just regular shampoo. They need a shampoo that also removes discoloring stains, like urine and food, that are more obvious on white coats.

Chris Christensen White on White Shampoo for Pets whitens and brightens a dog's fur for four weeks without relying on harsh chemicals like bleaching agents. It also removes yellow stains and provides a deep clean. As a bonus, the shampoo can be used on dogs with any coat color to increase the fur's luster.

Whitening shampoos are primarily classified as bluing, enzymatic, or clarifying. Bluing shampoos, also called optical brighteners, contain blue or purple color enhancers that absorb and reflect light to hide stains. Enzymatic shampoos break down proteins that cause discoloration. Clarifying shampoos strip dirt from the hair cuticles.

This shampoo has a purple color that provides an optical brightening effect. It should be left on for up to 10 minutes; if left on longer, it may leave a slight purple tint on the fur.

Although the shampoo's formula is gentle, the manufacturer recommends testing the shampoo in a small skin area if a dog has allergies. It is safe for puppies at least 16 weeks of age and adult dogs.

When you're shopping for a dog shampoo, there are several things to keep in mind. 

We consulted with two veterinarians to learn more about dog shampoos. While they didn't provide specific recommendations, they shared their clinical expertise regarding how dog shampoos can be used for different purposes. We also researched how dog shampoos work. 

Here are the selection criteria that we used to evaluate the best dog shampoos:

The short answer is no. The skin has a pH, which indicates how acidic something is: the lower the pH, the more acidic. The pH of human skin is approximately 5, while canine skin pH is slightly higher (5.5 to 7.5), meaning that human skin is more acidic than canine skin. Shampoo for human skin is too acidic for a dog's skin and could irritate a dog's eyes. "In general, I advise pet owners to use pet-specific shampoos whenever possible," says Todd-Jenkins.

That depends on various factors, such as your dog's skin and coat health. For example, if your dog has dry and itchy skin from environmental allergies, a shampoo for sensitive skin would be a good choice. If you live in an area with abundant fleas and ticks, a flea and tick shampoo could accompany your dog's flea and tick preventive. Puppies need specific puppy shampoo that is formulated for their extra-sensitive skin. Your veterinarian can help you determine the type of shampoo that would be best for your dog.

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