This is our review of the best dog shampoo in 2021
When it comes to finding the best shampoo for dogs, it’s not simply a case of picking the first one that pops up in your online search or choosing one that smells like roses, there are certain things to consider.
You should never use human shampoos as even the mildest ones are way too harsh on a dog’s skin.
In this guide, we’ll be reviewing the following dog shampoos;
We will also:
- Get a groomer’s advice on what to look for when choosing shampoo for your dog.
- Ask how often your dog should be washed.
- Answer some frequently asked questions about bathing
Our Best Dog Shampoos
Dogs are part of the family and we love them but cuddles are not so much fun when they smell bad.
We’ve reviewed dozens of different brands available in the UK to bring you our list of the best shampoos that will have your best friend dirt-free and smelling fresh, so let’s take a look and see which ones will keep Fido clean as a whistle.
Here are a few reasons why this puppy dog shampoo is our favourite, not least the delicious, long-lasting fruity scent of berries.
Made from the highest quality natural ingredients, including
TropiClean deeply cleanses at the same time, moisturising the skin and conditioning your dog’s fur.
The safe soap-free formula is free from parabens and is PH balanced, making it gentle on your pup’s skin; just massage into the coat for 3-5 minutes, then rinse; even the dirtiest dogs will be squeaky clean.
- Some reviews mention the smell doesn’t last, but this is normal for most pet shampoos
You get three 1 litre bottles in this value pack and they come with a pump making this natural shampoo easy to use and a great buy as they have a 20.1 dilution ratio. The gentle formula is ideal for cleaning dirty dogs and it is PH Balanced for sensitive skin.
Made with water from the Lake District, England, this natural shampoo has a long-lasting scent of baby powder to get rid of the wet dog odour we are all familiar with, making it popular with pet owners and groomers alike.
- Most negative feedback is regarding the packaging.
Great for Westies, Bichon Frises and Springer Spaniels, this organic option by Wahl is the top dog shampoo for white coats. The formula blends extracts of passionflower, lemon, cucumber and lime and features enhancers to boost the natural pigments of the coat for a bright white finish.
The shampoo is not tested on animals and contains no harmful parabens or gluten, which may cause a reaction in some dogs. The dilution ratio is 15.1, so you get a lot of bang for your buck and if the reviews are anything to go by, it’s great value for money.
- Not really a negative, but some people are not keen on the smell.
We love this honey and oatmeal dog shampoo which has been specially designed to gently cleanse and at the same time soothe itchy skin; ideal for dogs that have dry and brittle coats, it has nourishing royal jelly and a pleasant fragrance that is not overwhelming.
The entire Groomer’s range is free from artificial fragrances, sulphates, and parabens using top-quality natural ingredients. It has a 15-1 dilution rate, so it goes a long way and this 2.5-litre bottle is perfect for big dogs or professional groomers.
- Doesn’t remove bad smells as effectively as some other shampoos
Cooper and Gracie do an excellent range of dog shampoos; in fact, I use this one on my itchy Frenchie, its the best medicated dog shampoo made with natural ingredients and the anti bacterial and antifungal properties make it ideal for our four-legged friends that have a skin condition or suffer from allergies.
It is rich in vitamin E, which is renowned for its skin healing qualities, plus spearmint, tea tree oil and cloves, which combine to give a pleasant smell after bathing and like all C & G products, it is made in the UK, comes in a recyclable bottle and has a 100% satisfaction money-back guarantee.
- Some reviews mention its a bit watery
Burts Bees are known for their luxury skin products rich in honey and beeswax and if you love the brand, you’ll be pleased to know they do dog shampoos too.
The vet recommended formula is made from premium ingredients, including honeysuckle and colloidal oatmeal; it’s anti-itch and PH balanced, making it gentle on your dog’s skin.
Like many others, this natural dog shampoo doesn’t lather up too much and doesn’t have a strong scent, but it does leave your dog’s coat sleek, shiny and in terrific condition.
- May get a bit pricey if you have a large dog that needs bathing a lot.
It wouldn’t be a list of recommended dog shampoos without an option from Pet Head and this is one of the best oatmeal dog shampoos we’ve found.
Combining natural ingredients like aloe vera extract, oatmeal, jojoba oil, vitamins C and E moisturise dry skin and help to soften the coat leaving it sleek and shiny.
Pet Head do a fantastic range of products from puppy shampoo to a de-shedding shampoo, so there’s something for every type of dog’s skin and they all have the Pet Head unique fragrances.
- The scent divides opinion
Chances are your furry friend will get fleas at some point during their lives and this is one of the best flea shampoos available; it contains neem and tea tree oil which washes those pesky parasites away whilst also soothing bites and sensitive skin.
Some reviews have compared the scent to a mint dog shampoo, much better than the normal medicated shampoo smell and like all the Animology range, it’s 100% vegan.
The pro-vitamin B5 and built-in conditioners in this dog shampoo leave your four-legged friends soft and fluffy and the easy rinse technology means less time spent grooming.
- Small bottle, so it won’t last long for bigger dogs.
This 5 in 1 dog shampoo with conditioner is not only a deodorising dog shampoo; it cleans, moisturises, conditions and detangles too, making it an ideal all-rounder. Made from natural ingredients with no parabens or sulphates, this gentle shampoo can help calm irritation and soothe sensitive skin.
It lathers up well and has a lovely clean fragrance so you won’t be left with a damp dog smell; it also comes with a 100% satisfaction guarantee, so when you choose dog shampoo from this company, you have peace of mind.
- May be a bit pricey for some dog owners
Bath time can take a while and sometimes you need to freshen up your furry friend in between washes, so this waterless dry shampoo is a great option, no rinsing; just apply to coat then brush through.
The soothing aloe vera and avocado foam removes dirt and stains, as well as conditioning and deodourising the coat, ideal if Fido comes in from a walk after rolling in fox poo.
Suitable for all types of fur and sensitive skin, this PH balanced professional formula contains no nasty ingredients and comes with a lifetime guarantee from this trusted UK brand.
- Some reviews mention it may leave the coat a little greasy
Things to Consider when Choosing the Best Grooming Shampoos for Dogs
We spoke to Dyane Fletcher, owner of Bright Eyes grooming salon in Leeds and asked her what she looks for in a good dog shampoo.
Most owners look for a natural shampoo these days but as well as looking for the ingredients it does have, you also need to check what it doesn’t. Many dog shampoos contain sulphates, parabens and mineral oils which can cause health issues or an allergic reaction.
“I tend to avoid anything with artificial colours or fragrances which may cause an allergic reaction instead, I would go for essential oils with a mild fresh lavender scent,” Dyane says.
Breed and Type of Coat
What breed of dog you have can also influence which shampoo you use; for example, a good oatmeal dog shampoo is great for Labs who often have sensitive skin, whereas if you have a Westie, you may prefer a whitening shampoo.
If you have a dog like mine that loves a roll in fox poo, a deodorising shampoo is a good idea. There are also different shampoos like the Choca-Doodle 2 in 1 shampoo and conditioner designed especially for a poodle cross’s curly coat.
“Choosing a shampoo tailored to your breed or coat type is a great idea as it will deal with the issues of that particular dog, i.e. you may need a detangling shampoo for a Lhasa Apso or a de-shedding shampoo for a Husky.” If you need shampoo for puppies, then see our other page as there are differences between adults and pups when it comes to shampoos.
Some dogs have issues that require a specific shampoo; for example, you may need a medicated shampoo for fleas or a hypoallergenic one if your pooch suffers from allergies. The big brands like Groom Professional, Cooper and Gracie, Tropiclean and Wahl all have a range of shampoos to tackle different problems, from the smell of fox poo to soap-free shampoos designed for puppies, ones to stop itching etc.
Dyane recommends having a couple of options in the cupboard, like a deodorising shampoo but buying an all in one shampoo like the Cooper and Gracie one is better value for money.
This is all down to personal choice; if you read reviews, there are those who love a gentle lavender scent, others prefer a strong fruity smell, whilst some dog owners prefer fragrance free. One thing Dyane mentioned, which we noticed a lot in the feedback for the shampoos above, is that any fragrance, even one from a strong medicated shampoo, will only last a while, don’t expect Fido to be smelling like a tropical rain forest 3 weeks after bath, we don’t and dog’s don’t either.
Dyane says, ” I use a shampoo with a baby powder fragrance as it seems to go down well with my customers.”
Budget is often overlooked when choosing dog products, but it does matter; for example, if you have 3 Golden Retrievers, the Burt’s Bees shampoo isn’t going to last nearly as long as a 2.5-litre bottle of Groomer’s shampoo with a 15.1 dilution ratio which is slightly cheaper.
Dyane says, “Obviously, as a groomer, I deal with 5-10 dogs a day, so I have to buy in bulk, but for those who bath their dogs at home, I recommend trying smaller bottles at first until you find one that both you and your dog love, some of the cheaper options are just as good.”
How Often Should You Bathe Your Dog?
Even if you use a gentle dog shampoo, dogs shouldn’t be bathed too often as it strips the natural oils which keep their coat moisturised. However, some dogs with longer coats show dogs and those with skin conditions need regular washing.
The good news is; dog shampoos have come on leaps and bounds in recent years and there are many gentle and mild options to be used weekly if needed.
What shampoo do vets recommend for dogs?
Several shampoos have the backing of being recommended by vets, for example, the Cooper and Gracie range, but as long as you choose an option that is free from harsh chemicals and is gentle and mild, you can’t go far wrong.
Can I use human shampoo on my dog?
Human shampoos have a lower PH level than doggy ones, so they may harm your dogs’ skin; they also have things in them that are better avoided, like artificial fragrances and parabens. Baby shampoo can be used as a one-off, but it’s always better to use a grooming shampoo for dogs designed especially for canine use.
Why does my dog still smell after a bath?
There could be several reasons your pup still stinks even after a bath; not drying them properly is one of the main causes, especially if they have long hair, so always make sure they are completely dry; use a dryer if necessary.
Other reasons they could still pong include ear infections, blocked anal glands, bad dental hygiene. Even if you purchase the best dog shampoo to remove odours, it won’t help for long unless you tackle the underlying issue.
My Dog Is Itching
If you are concerned by the amount of scratching your pet is doing, we would recommend viewing all the itchy dog shampoo options available to help reduce the issue and hopefully eradicate it together.
Conclusion and Top Pick
We’re a nation of dog-lovers, but all of us have experienced coming home from a walk with a particularly muddy hound that smells like a dead pigeon.
Don’t worry; using the best dog shampoo will quickly restore your best friend to his dazzling best in just a few minutes.
So what is the best dog shampoo? Our top pick is the TropiClean Shampoo for Pets. It has a fantastic fragrance and is gentle on your dog’s skin.
Whether it’s an all-natural organic formula enriched with argan oil or a detangling shampoo designed for dry skin, there is a shampoo to suit every dog, every owner and every budget