Last updated: September 3, 2021

Surely there is not a day that goes by where your dog goes out for a walk and comes back covered in mud, dirt, leaf litter or just wet. Dogs usually has the best time, a moment of greatest happiness is when they get dirty. That's why a question often comes to the minds of dog owners: should I buy dog shampoo?

Dogs love to go out and enjoy nature, play with their other four-legged friends or interact with humans. One of the most important responsibilities of being a dog owner is keeping your dog healthy, and that means taking care of our dog's hair. Today we are going to talk about everything you need to know about dog shampoo.

Key Facts

  • Dog shampoo is essential because it keeps your pet's coat clean. We know that when they're happy, they are covered with dirt and grime. To prevent health problems, as well as the bad smell, it is advisable to wash your your dog at least once a month and brush them every day, depending on the amount of hair they have.
  • Dogs have a different skin pH than us, so never use human shampoo with your dog. If you do, it's likely to hurt your dog and cause many problems in the short and long term.
  • You should also take into account certain events, such as, if your dog is losing a lot of hair, if your dog is moulting or if your dog has fleas. If this occurs, in addition to the shampoo, you should take your dog to the vet, so that a professional can tell you how to proceed.

Our selection: The best dog shampoos

In this section you will find a list of the best dog shampoos on the market. To help you out even more, we have taken the trouble to perform an analysis and a brief summary of each one, as well as its main characteristics. This will make it easier for you to buy one of these products for your furry friend.

Shopping Guide: Everything you should know about dog shampoo

It is very important that, before you look for a shampoo for your dog, you know and are informed about what you should buy, such as: the ingredients, type of coat, hair loss, allergies, topical problems, among others. That's why we're going to answer the most frequent questions (which I'm sure you have) when it comes to buying a dog shampoo.

Relaxing bath foam to a Golden Retriever dog

After going to the vet and buying pipettes or anti-parasitic tablets, it is highly recommended to get a good anti-flea shampoo as well. (Source: Diaz: 34381746/

What is dog shampoo and what are the advantages?

Dog shampoo is a liquid soap specifically made for our four-legged friends. It is very surprising that many people believe, although less and less, that to wash a dog you can use a human shampoo. This is a mistake, as you will most likely give your dog a skin disease because dogs and humans have different pHs.

Also, there is never a lack of the salesmen who try to convince us that there is a "general" shampoo for all kinds of breeds or coats.That's why it's necessary to invest in a good shampoo that is specific for your pet's hair. Besides cleaning your pet's coat well to protect it from undesirable elements, dog shampoo gives your pet's coat a soft feel and a very pleasant smell, making it a lot nicer to play or spend time with your dog.

Here's a summary of the benefits and drawbacks of dog shampoo:

  • Keeps hair clean
  • There are specific types for different skins types
  • Multitude of odours to choose
  • Protects your pet from bugs and parasites
  • The hydrolipidic layer (which provides protection to the coat) is restored 24 hours after bathing
  • A large amount of natural fat can be removed from the hair after each bath
  • Special attention must be paid to the needs of your pet, as a product error can lead to health problems


What are the differences between human shampoo and dog shampoo?

There are a number of myths and legends about whether our personal  shampoo at home is fine for our dogs. We can definitively say no, for two key  reasons: the type of composition (ingredients, thickness or concentration), the degree of acidity of the skin (a tissue between the dermis and epidermis that all mammals have).

Let's look at the two main differences in a bit more detail:

  • Composition. This is one of the main differences between these two types of shampoos, as the coat and skin of dogs require a greater concentration of soap, but this may be lowered with water to a certain extent. The higher concentration of soap is required because the skin of the dog is usually more exposed than ours to all kinds of factors such as weather, dirt or insects.
  • pH. The pH is the factor that indicates the level of acidity of the skin. While the acidity of human skin is 5.5, the acidity of dogs tends to range, depending on the breed, between 7 and 7.5. So if you use of a human shampoo on your pet you can actually cause long-term injuries.

Dog in basket

Some people don't see the importance of dog shampoos, however they are critical to keep your pet healthy. (Source: Thalhofer: 96989706/

We hope we were able to convince you not to use your own personal shampoo on your pet. We've explained the two main reasons for buying specialised dog shampoo, but we still have a lot more information for you. If you're interested, read on to find out more tips and useful information on dog shampoos.

What types of dog shampoos are there?

When we go to buy a special shampoo for our pet's coat, we may get overwhelmed by the number of types, models and specific characteristics that exist today. We have classified the available shampoos, so that you can decide which type of dog shampoo is best for your dog:

Age of our pet Coat (short, long or white) Special needs (atopic skin, allergies or parasites)
Puppy Short coat Antiparasitic
Adult Long coat Hypoallergenic
Elderly White coat Soothing


At what age can puppy shampoo be used?

It's totally normal that you want to use puppy shampoo as soon as possible, especially since puppies always seem to get dirty. However, proceed with caution! It is recommended that you only start to use dog shampoo when the your puppy is at least 3 months old because there will be less chance of getting sick from temperature changes.

Also, you shouldn't just use any old kind of dog shampoo because your puppy needs a suitable shampoo for their delicate skin and hair. So, if you have a cute little puppy, look at the label that indicates it is suitable for young dogs. Remember: try to adapt the purchase to the type of hair and special needs of your dog. Even if it doesn't seem important, everything matters when it comes to using dog shampoo.

Does the type of hair influence the purchase of dog shampoo?

Definitely. It is very different to have a dog with long hair than one with short hair, mostly because of the problems caused by knots or tangles in the hair. For that reason, if your dog has a dense and long coat, it is advisable to brush it every day, which will reduce the level of dirtiness.

What about aesthetics? When there are knots in your dog's hair, in addition to leading to skin problems in the long run, your dog will look poorly kept. With a good shampoo for your dog, you will be able to them out and show off your that soft, shiny and silky hair to the neighbourhood. It's true that caring for your dog can take a lot of time, but it's definitely worth it.

My dog has fleas, what dog shampoo do I need?

It's normal for your dog to bring home one of these undesirable bugs, especially if they have been rolling around in the grass at the parque or running around at a farm or in the bush. In addition to fleas, it's not uncommon for ticks, worms and other pests to be brought back after an outing. This is a totally normal for your dog, but don't stress, there's always something you can do about it.

Now, how do you proceed if your four-legged  friend has contracted fleas? First of all, you should put on some latex gloves and investigate all over their body to find out where the fleas are. As soon as you see one, don't panic but it means there are more. However there's no point in complaining, but you have to act as soon as possible.

Dog in forest

Keep in mind that a puppy doesn't have the same needs as an adult. (Source: Thalhofer: 66292843/

After going to the vet and purchasing pipettes or anti-parasitic tablets, it is highly recommended that you get an anti-flea shampoo that serves as a repellent (in case the infestation is not very large). With this, more than just preventing, you will be making all the fleas and ticks you already have in your dogs hair die.

Once you've brought your dog home, with warm water, you can bathe your pet and wash it with two or three rounds of this shampoo. Afterwards, dry your dog well and keep them indoors for a few days. We also strongly recommend that you put all their toys, blankets and beds in the washing machine with hot water as well as cleaning your house thoroughly.

What dog shampoo do I need if my pet scratches a lot?

You really need to find the root cause of the scratching as it could be necessary to contact a veterinarian for consultation. You should pay close attention if the scratching lasts for a long time, if you start to see blood or your dog whines for no apparent reason. One or more reasons are usually identified for the scratching:

  • Delicate skin: atopic, sensitive, prone to irritation or dry.
  • Allergies: allergic to materials put on their skin, to other shampoos or to insect bites.
  • Skin infections: scabies or pyoderma, among others.

In most cases, we strongly recommend that in the event of aggressive and long-lasting scratching, that you contact your vet as soon as possible. Only a trained professional will be able to advise and tell you exactly what the issue is and what the treatment options are.

How to apply dog shampoo correctly?

So you've made it to the point of washing your dog. You have the shampoo bottle in your hand and you've managed to prevent the dog from jumping out of the bath. Now what? Well, first of all, organise the temperature of the water, making sure it is warm, so that your dog is comfortable and calm. The idea when washing a dog is that they relax and are not always looking for a way to escape.

Once you've given your dog the first pass with the water, it's time to give them a first coat of shampoo. Use a sufficient amount, but don't overdo it: more product will make them cleaner. In fact, if you overdo it with the shampoo, it is likely that there some will remain in the animal's hair, which increases the chances of scratching.

Girl owner is grooming the fur of retriever puppy after shower

The shampoo you purchase must be specifically created for your pet's age and hair type. (Source: Iurii Sokolov: 38593822/

It is best to massage your dog's coat vigorously so that the shampoo reaches right to the roots of the hair. Pay special attention to the areas around the ears and eyes because they are delicate and your dog might be a bit uncomfortable when washing these areas. Anyway, the challenge usually is keeping your dog still throughout the entire process, which, from experience, is very difficult.

Finally, you need to rinse your dog with plenty of water and then apply a second coat of dog shampoo if your dog has long hair. Try to think of this time as an opportunity to bond with your pet, as they usually love it when you stroke them and give them  all your attention.

Shopping Criteria

You've come this far. That means you are very interested in getting a quality shampoo for your dog. Now we will review what you need to keep in mind when you buy one for your furry friend. We hope you understand that it's not just about buying the first one you find online. We can identify 5 key criteria:

  • Pet Lifestyle
  • Soap quality
  • Shampoo Composition
  • Odour
  • Frequency of use

Pet Lifestyle

Dogs jump, run, lick, roll around on the ground among many other movements. Even though dogs always seem to get dirty when outside, leaving the house is an important activity for a dog's wellbeing. That's why you should always take your dog for a walk even if it means returning with a dirty animal. That being said, a dog that lives in the city has a very different lifestyle to a dog that lives in the countryside or on a farm.

The shampoo you buy must be specifically created for your pet's lifestyle and characteristics. Think about your dog's needs and lifestyle, and if in doubt, consult your vet for advice.

Wet dog

Dogs give off a bad smell if they eat poor quality food. (Source: Lopez: 44662045/

Soap quality

The soap quality of shampoo for dogs is a factor that is highly recommended to investigate. The shampoo that you use for your hair always contains the best products, so this thinking should also apply to your pet in the same way. It is a common mistake to think that dogs are made of steel and any old shampoo will keep them clean.

To verify the quality of the shampoo, it is important to read the label on the bottle (ingredients, mode of application, frequency of use, etc.) and not only take into account the brand. We also recommend observing the opinions of professionals or other consumers.

Did you know that dogs are estimated to be one of the first domesticated animal species.

Shampoo Composition

Does your dog have skin problems? If this is the case, avoid shampoos composed of elements such as colorants, parabens, deodorants, salt or phosphates. These ingredients can severely damage or irritate your dog's skin, causing many long-term problems.

Instead, choose soaps that tend to include natural components, such as aloe vera, oats, glycerin, honey, soy or jojoba. This way, you will provide nutrients both to your pet's hair and skin, calming itching and avoiding excessive scratching infections.

Canine hairdresser in a beauty clinic with Chow Chow

Remember that it is important to dry your dog after washing. (Source: Gonzales: 43714961/

One of the beneficial properties of aloe vera is its antibacterial composition, which protects the dermis of our dog whilst also providing anti-inflammatory benefits. Jojoba is a plant whose oil revitalises the coat to repair and regenerate the skin. As for oats, these have powerful healing properties for your dog's skin and coat.


Not all dogs smell the same. There are some dogs that tend to have a milder smell while there are other dogs that, even without staining themselves, give off a particular smell. It is important to choose a good dog shampoo that addresses these needs. Just like people, not all dogs smell the same.

On the market there are many options however shampoos with fruit extracts such as watermelon, strawberry, peach or banana offer the best smelling coats. These types are the richest and longest-lasting, giving the hair and skin of our pet a pleasant smell for longer.

Frequency of use

You can also analyse how often you have to bathe your pet. This depends on the dog's age (as a puppy doesn't have the same needs as an adult), skin type, hair quantity, size and breed type. If you're taking your pet for a walk several times a day or if your dog is very active or tends to be quieter. These factors will contribute to how often you will be washing your dog.

There are some dogs that can last a long time without being washed due to their physical characteristics or lifestyle. Some dogs can stay clean for up to 6 months without needing to be washed. However on the other hand, there are other dogs that need to be washed at least once a month.


Properly caring for you dog is important to be a responsible dog owner. Simply feeding them and taking them for a walk is not the only responsibility you have. Keeping your dog clean is a responsibility that cannot be ignored as a dog owner. After reading this article, something as simple a dog shampoos are actually important decisions for the day-to-day coexistence with our pets.

We are delighted to be able to bring you the analysis and buying guides of the best products that exist today on the dog shampoo market. We sincerely thank you for the time you have invested in reading our article and we encourage you, if you liked it, to comment below and share the article on social networks.

(Source of featured image: Susan Richey-Schmitz: 43621352/