There’s nothing quite like a freshly-bathed dog, though your pup probably has other things to say about it. If there’s one bath time no-no I hear about quite often, it’s that people scrub their dogs down with a squirt of their own shampoo. Our shampoos contain a lot of harsh chemicals designed to remove every last trace of dirt and oil, but they’re way too harsh to use on dogs. More often than not you’re left with a clean, albeit dry & itchy pup; dog shampoo exists for a reason—because it’s gentle enough to prevent those negative side effects. Take a look at 8 of my go-to choices.
Many a bottle of Earthbath has lived under my bathroom sink, and for good reason. It’s affordable, it keeps the itchies away, and it smells heavenly. My favorite is the Oatmeal and Aloe formula (which is also available in a fragrance-free version). It’s soap-free—a culprit for dry skin—biodegradable, and cruelty-free to boot.
Both oatmeal and aloe are well-known for being gentle, which makes this shampoo a prime candidate for use on puppies (and kittens!) as well as adult dogs and cats with sensitive skin. It’s even available as a conditioner to keep fur silky smooth and flake-free.
To be fair, at this moment this shampoo is priced exactly the same as the one above, but I take that as a good thing. Burt’s Bees does an equally fantastic job of providing a gentle bath experience for pups with sensitive skin or allergies to certain fragrances and ingredients.
We have here a cruelty-free, sulfate-free, dye-free, & pH-balanced shampoo designed to remove the stink and add softness and shine. It contains colloidal oatmeal to prevent dry and itchy skin, honey, beeswax, and green tea extract. And of course, it’s available as an equally awesome conditioner.
I adore all Tropiclean shampoos and think the scents are a huge plus if your pup isn’t sensitive to light fragrance. That being said, if your dog is a non-stop itcher I would highly recommend you visit your vet to rule out any food or environmental allergies before assuming it’s a bath-related issue. You get a little more bang for your buck in this medicated formula; oatmeal and tea tree oil work alongside a bit of salicylic acid (not as harsh as it sounds) to remove dead, flaking skin and help soothe dryness and itchiness.
Soap-free, detergent-free, cruelty-free, and used in my house for years among other brands. Reviewers laud this shampoo for its anti-itch powers after just one use. Even a dog has to be pretty happy about that despite all the bath time trauma, don’t you think?
Formulated with oatmeal, shea butter, and aloe vera, this shampoo gets rid of the grime while remaining gentle on skin and conditioning the coat. My favorite part is that it comes in a big ol’ 20oz bottle so you don’t need to replace as often. Pet Wash is also made with organic ingredients, and is paraben (a preservative used in many beauty products) and soap-free.
In addition to garden-variety itchiness, this shampoo targets allergies. Specifically, allergies to “food, grass, and flea bites.” Like many of our worthy counterparts above, it’s free of soap, fragrance, and harsh chemicals, and includes the added benefits almond oil, and Vitamins A, D, and E. The bottle itself is recyclable and completely biodegradable. Yay for the planet!
Let’s take it up a notch for the puppers who have to deal with those dreaded hot spots on top of everything else. Moosh is anti-bacterial and anti-fungal, and contains neem oil (a natural insect repellant), argan oil, shea butter, and aloe vera. It’s also the only shampoo with bentonite clay—a substance long known to lift dirt but keep essential oils close to the skin and avoid that terrible itch.
While not directly advertised for sensitive skin, I can’t help but be blown away by this brand’s amazing ingredients (as in, I know what they are and can pronounce every single one). The list contains: coconut shampoo base, aloe vera, essence of lavender, essence of mint, chamomile, sage, nettle, rosemary, and wheat protein extracts, tea tree oil, and Vitamins C and E. That’s it. Not to mention, users rave about the disappearance of their dogs’ itchiness and the awesome smell.
Most of the time we have no time, and hot water alone can induce itchiness after a bath. If you have a stinky dog but only a few minutes to spare, waterless shampoo is a great option. Wahl offers both Coconut Lime Verbena and Lavender Chamomile scents in a travel-friendly, foam-dispensing bottle. Just lather the foam into your dog’s coat, wipe off any excess, and brush them out for a quick bath that won’t leave skin stripped of natural oils.