The Best Dog Shampoo Based on Their Coat Type
While a romp in something funky or a long, muddy hike will certainly necessitate an immediate grooming session, like their human counterparts, dogs need regular baths to stay healthy, clean, and—in some cases—tangle-free. "How often a dog needs to be bathed will depend on the breed, hair type, dog's activity level, and if there are any skin conditions," says Joe Vivas, groomer for HIT Living Foundation. "Typically, it's recommended to bathe your dog at least every four weeks, but if the dog lives an active lifestyle, it's okay to bathe every two weeks."
Bathing a dog too frequently could dry out their skin and do more harm than good, says Dr. Katie Billmaier, a veterinarian for Furry Friends, an animal rescue in Jupiter, Florida. "When a dog sheds, it naturally rids itself of dead skin cells and bacteria that could be harmful, so it's not necessary to bathe the dog frequently in addition to the natural shedding process," she explains. To keep your dog clean between baths, wipe down their paws after each outdoor play session to remove allergens and keep their bedding clean, says Lorraine Rhoads, environmental biologist for Dogtopia, a national dog daycare and spa. Then, use a damp microfiber rag to remove visible dirt, focusing on the face, neck, and tummy. Finally, run a brush through your dog's coat to keep their coat fresher, shinier, reduce matting, and remove dirt, loose fur, and oils, says Billmaier.
When bath day comes around, don't reach for any old shampoo—and definitely don't share your favorite formula with your four-legged friend, since human shampoo can be harmful to a dog's skin, says Dr. Billmaier. "Every pup has different needs when it comes to choosing the best shampoo," says Rhoads. "Your dog's age, type of coat, skin condition, and any potential allergies are all considerations to take into account and discuss with your veterinarian." Overall, it's good practice to read the label carefully, and look for a shampoo formulated with more natural ingredients—you want a product that's paraben- and dye-free, says Vivas. And always follow up with a quality conditioner. "It's important to understand that no matter the case, conditioner is very important to help replenish moisture that was stripped when you bathe your pet," says Vivas.
For help picking the right products for your pup, consult this list of the best dog shampoo, organized by coat type.
- Best for Thin or Smooth Coats: Earthbath Oatmeal and Aloe Fragrance-Free Dog Shampoo
- Best for Wiry Coats: Bio-Groom Groom 'N Fresh Odor Eliminating Dog Shampoo
- Best for Long-Haired Coats: IV San Bernard Passion Fruit Shampoo
- Best for Coats That Shed: Burt's Bees Shed Control Dog Shampoo
- Best for Odor-Ridden Coats: Nature's Miracle Odor Control Shampoo for Dogs
Thin or Smooth Coats
Dogs with thin or smooth coats need less frequent bathing than other pups, but when bath time does come around, use a mild soap and look for hypoallergenic formulas that contain colloidal oatmeal and vitamins, says Rhoads.
Shop Now: Earthbath Oatmeal and Aloe Fragrance-Free Dog Shampoo, $12.99, chewy.com.
Use a lightweight shampoo that won't over condition a dog's wiry coat, says Rhoads. "Overly conditioning this type of coat could make the fur look flat and too soft." This formulate hydrates your dog's skin while giving them a coat that's smoother and shinier.
Shop Now: Bio-Groom Groom 'N Fresh Odor Eliminating Dog Shampoo, $5.99, chewy.com.
For long-haired dogs—breeds like Sheepdogs or Irish Setters—focus on finding a mild cleanser that's easy to rinse and has moisturizing conditioners for their hair, says Rhoads.
Shop Now: IV San Bernard Passion Fruit Shampoo, $25.32, isbusa.com.
Coats That Shed
Deshedding shampoos typically contain vitamin E and omega fatty acids to improve skin and reduce shedding, but they have varying degrees of success, says Rhoads. For dogs who shed a lot or who have thick undercoats, regular grooming with a deshedding tool is a must to keep skin healthy and odor free, she explains.
Shop Now: Burt's Bees Shed Control Dog Shampoo, $8.99, amazon.com.
Dogs who have malodors may have an underlying health concern such as a bacterial or fungal infection that needs to be addressed with your veterinarian, says Rhoads. For mild doggy odors, consider this shampoo, since it has odor-neutralizing properties without heavy perfumes.
Shop Now: Nature's Miracle Odor Control Shampoo for Dogs, $5.71, walmart.com.