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The 12 Best Dog Shampoos and Conditioners

Is there really a difference when it comes to dog shampoos? Yes! Here’s how to find the best one for your fur baby.

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The golden retriever taking a bathChendongshan/Shutterstock


Whether you’re the proud owner of a canine that loves rolling around in the mud or you simply want to make sure your pup always looks (and smells) clean, dog shampoo is a must. But choosing the right one isn’t quite as simple as heading to the pet store and picking any old thing off the shelf. “There is not a single shampoo or conditioner that will work well for every pet,” says Chris Roth, DVM, the in-house veterinarian at Pets Best Health Insurance. “Like people, different pets and breeds will have different hair coats, and some need more or less care than others. You may have to experiment with different shampoos and conditioners to find the best dog shampoo for your particular pet.”

Not sure where to start? You’re in the right place! These are the best dog shampoos and conditioners you can buy for your pup’s specific needs. And by the way, this is how often you should be bathing your pet.

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Best all-around pick: Nature’s Miracle Supreme Odor Control Oatmeal Dog Shampoo & Conditioner


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“This dog shampoo is gentle and safe for dogs, and it works well on almost all breeds,” says Dr. Roth. He notes that this soap-free formula soothes skin with oatmeal and boasts the ability to neutralize a wide variety of odors on both skin and fur. Bonus: It’s really affordable. Here are another 10 easy ways to get rid of pet odors in your home.

burts bees dog shampoovia

For puppies: Burt’s Bees Tearless Puppy Shampoo with Buttermilk


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While many dog shampoos will work on puppies, too, sometimes it’s just easier to grab one that’s formulated specifically for young canines so you don’t have to worry about one more thing. Usually, stronger formulations should be avoided since puppy skin is far more sensitive than adult dog skin. Burt’s Bee’s Tearless Puppy Shampoo with Buttermilk for Dogs is very mild. It utilizes honey to moisturize and foster hair growth and buttermilk to soothe, and it won’t negate tick and flea spot treatments. And while we’re talking about puppies, do yourself a favor and scroll through these adorable puppy pictures that will make you melt.

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For allergy-prone dogs: Vet’s Best Allergy Itch Relief Shampoo


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If your dog could talk, he’d be the first to tell you that itching and scratching from allergies is the worst! One of the best dog shampoos to remedy this issue is made by Vet’s Best. It provides instant relief via a natural formulation and is particularly ideal to use during high-allergy seasons. And a word to the wise from Dr. Roth: “When giving a bath to your dog with any shampoo, make sure to read the label and follow the instructions. Some shampoos [like this allergy shampoo] will need to be left on for a few minutes for optimal effectiveness.” If you’re the one with allergies, look into adopting one of these 18 best hypoallergenic dog breeds.

adams flea and tick shampoovia

For fleas and ticks: Adams Plus Flea & Tick Shampoo


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Maybe you and your pup love to frolic regularly in the great outdoors, or perhaps pests just have a thing for your sweet pup, no matter what you do. Fortunately, you can curb the issue with an over-the-counter solution. One of the best flea shampoos for dogs is Adams Plus Flea & Tick Shampoo, which is made with an ingredient called precor that helps regulate insect growth. It kills fleas, ticks, lice, and eggs, and it’s even approved for puppies. It’s also made with calming oatmeal, hydrating coconut oil, and lanolin, so it won’t irritate your pet’s skin. To keep the rest of your family itch-free, try these 12 home remedies for fleas.

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For dry, itchy, sensitive skin: Petology Coconut Dog Shampoo for Dry, Itchy Skin


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If you’ve ever dealt with a dry, itchy, or sensitive scalp, then you know just how frustrating it can be. Now imagine if you had that problem all over your body! For pups with this issue, try Petology’s Coconut Dog Shampoo. Coconut oil seriously hydrates the skin, while vitamin E and coconut water soothe. It also contains a blend of botanical ingredients that are mild but nourishing and won’t interfere with tick or flea medications. Of course, it’s also important to figure out what’s causing this issue. Here are 9 possible reasons your dog is so itchy.

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For hairless dogs: Earthbath Hypo-Allergenic Natural Pet Shampoo


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For dogs that have little to no hair, it’s best to choose a dog shampoo that focuses on improving skin health. A great option is Earthbath’s Hypo-Allergenic Natural Pet Shampoo. Its 100 percent biodegradable formulation is all-natural, so it won’t irritate your dog’s skin. Other shampoos on this list also work for hairless dogs—just make sure you choose one that’s gentle and targets your pup’s specific needs. Plus, says Dr. Roth, it’s best to dilute any product before rubbing it directly onto your pet’s bare skin.

natural dog shampoovia

Eco-friendly formula: 4Legger Organic Dog Shampoo


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If you prefer a holistic approach to dog shampoo, this product by 4Legger is a great option. Only 2 percent of all dog shampoos are certified organic, and this is one of the 2 percent! It’s made with organic lemongrass oil (a natural flea repellent), as well as organic coconut oil and aloe vera to help soothe your pup’s skin. If you’re a DIY kind of person, check out these 15 clever pet products you can make at home.

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For skin ailments: Veterinary Formula Clinical Care Antiparasitic and Antiseborrheic Medicated Shampoo


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This veterinarian-recommended product is one of the best dog shampoos for pups dealing with skin ailments. It utilizes colloidal oatmeal, allantoin, coal tar, salicylic acid, and micronized sulfur to handle issues like seborrhea, parasitic infections, fungal infections, and bacterial infections. Of course, a visit to a professional is always a good idea when dealing with a problem like this, especially if it’s the first time your pup is experiencing it; after all, you’ll want to make sure you have an accurate diagnosis. Plus, says Dr. Roth, “if your pet is experiencing a particular skin or hair-coat condition, the veterinarian may have suggestions for medicated shampoos that can provide better results than over-the-counter brands.”

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For shedding: Earthbath Shed Control Shampoo


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Though a good brushing is always required for pups who shed a lot, a shampoo that works in your favor can help alleviate some of the dreaded fur balls that lurk in your home. Earthbath’s Shed Control Shampoo is made with shea butter, green tea leaf extract, ginseng, awapuhi, and other humectants and emollients that nourish skin while also helping to control excessive shedding and dander. To tame this hairy problem, also try these 12 pet hair removers that really work.

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Best conditioner: Everyday Isle of Dogs Silky Coating Dog Conditioner


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With more than 500 positive reviews on Amazon and a near-five-star rating, this conditioner from Everyday Isle of Dogs is a clear winner. The deep-penetrating formulation helps detangle and smooth your pup’s coat, as well as make it super silky and shiny. It’s also scented with jasmine and vanilla. Only the finest for your fine pooch! Did you know that if your dog is this color, it could live longer?

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Best shampoo/conditioner duo: Cloud Star Buddy Wash 2 in 1 Dog Shampoo Plus Conditioner


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If the struggle is real just to get your pet to sit for a shampooing, good luck moving onto a second product to condition! This product from Cloud Star Buddy Wash combines shampoo and conditioner to make both of your lives easier. In addition to cleaning and moisturizing, it soothes your pup’s skin (and makes him smell good, to boot) with lavender and mint.

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Best leave-in conditioner: Warren London Hydrating Butter Leave-In Conditioner


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Can’t deal with a conditioning round but want to make sure your dog’s coat is the shiniest in town? This guava and mangosteen leave-in dog conditioner by Warren London is a sure thing. It helps de-matt, condition, and hydrate without any of the greasy or oily mess. It’s also helpful to dogs with itchy or dry skin. Before your pup’s next primping session, check out these 26 secrets pet groomers wish they could tell you.

Wendy Rose Gould
Wendy Rose Gould is a freelance lifestyle reporter covering pets for Reader's Digest, Healthy Paws Pet Insurance, and Rescue Pop. She's also a regular contributor to NBC, Real Simple, Brides, Business Insider, and other outlets. Based in Phoenix, Arizona, by way of the Indiana countryside, Wendy holds a journalism degree from the Franklin College Pulliam School of Journalism and another bachelor's degree in Philosophy. Follow her on Instagram or Twitter @wendyrgould.