Guide to the Best Dog Shampoo for Itchy Skin – An Introduction
When it comes to our dogs, it’s safe to say that they love getting muddy, running around and making a real mess. However, dogs don’t have the same skin or hair as humans. In fact, their skin often itches like crazy because it’s too sensitive. Thus, it’s obvious what we have to do — in order to bathe a muddy pup, we’ll need the best dog shampoo for itchy skin.
But, hold on. How do we know which brand is the best? Are we sure our dogs will like the shampoo? More importantly, is there a chance we might harm them by bathing them with shampoo filled with all sorts of chemicals?
All those questions are valid. Most of us see our dogs as children, and we want to do our best and give them a life they deserve. Because of that, here’s a nifty guide to brands, shampoos, and ingredients — in essence, everything a dog owner should know but probably never considered.
We’ve dug deep to find the best smelling dog shampoo and the best dog shampoo for an odor that just won’t go away. But before we move on to the reviews, let’s see why human shampoo is a no-go for dogs.
Reasons to Use Dog Shampoo And Not Household Products
If we only use household products to bathe the dog, such as liquid soap and our own shampoo, there’s a good chance we will harm the dog’s skin and make it more susceptible to infections.
Dog skin is way different from human skin. We have anywhere from 10 to 15 layers of skin cells. In contrast, dogs have only about 3 to 5, so they are not as protected from harsh chemicals as we are.
Sure, we can use the wrong shampoo on ourselves and possibly get dandruff. Dogs, however, don’t have that luxury. They may develop a rash and all sorts of infections. That’s why most dog owners should be on the lookout for the best dog shampoo for itchy skin. These usually have gentle ingredients, so even if the pup’s skin isn’t itchy, it sure won’t start to itch anytime soon.
Another thing to note is that our pH balance is also different from a dog’s. Ours is more on the acidic side while theirs is a bit more neutral. Thus, when stripping away the acid mantle, i.e., the thin layer that protects the topmost layer of skin, we ought to moisturize again, which is only possible with the right shampoo. The wrong shampoo can easily disrupt the pH balance.
How Often Should You Bathe Your Dog?
The answer to this question cannot be more unclear — it just depends. If our dog tends to roll in the grass and mud often, we cannot just let it live in its own filth. What’s more, it might catch some ticks or fleas along the way, but we won’t know that if we don’t bathe it. Thus, we might have to bathe it every other week with an extremely gentle shampoo, or even better, the best dog shampoo for itchy skin.
In general, though, we should try to avoid bathing our dogs often, purely because we don’t want to harm them. As mentioned, they don’t have the same number of skin cell layers as we do. So stripping their natural oils and protectants often could do more harm than good. It can lead to extreme dryness and itchiness, not to mention impede natural hair growth.
Therefore, aim for once every two to three months, and remember to keep the dog away from mud and dirt.
PLAN - PRICE
Pro Pet Works Oatmeal Pet Wash
Also Works for Allergies And Sensitive Skin
Colloidal Oatmeal Dog Shampoo
Can Provide Dogs Instant Dry Itchy Skin Relief
Arava Natural Medicated Dog Shampoo
Contains Antibacterial Properties for Healthy Skin
Friends Forever Natural Dog Shampoo
Blend of Organic, Tea Tree, Flaxseed and Lavender Oil
Different Types of Dog Shampoo
General Purpose (standard shampoo)
If you are looking for the best dog shampoo for odor removal, then a general purpose shampoo could do the trick. These aren’t meant to treat any particular condition, but they won’t harm the dog’s skin. Plus, they come in many different scents!
Now, if you know that your dog is allergic to a bunch of ingredients, then you are probably on the lookout for the best hypoallergenic dog shampoo. Luckily, there are plenty of options on the market — look for the most natural formulas. Although manufacturers pay attention to ingredients, hypoallergenic shampoos often contain gentle, natural substances that won’t strip away the natural oils. As such, one of them could very well be the best dog shampoo for itchy skin too.
Dogs that suffer from itchy infections that sort of look like psoriasis should be bathed with either the best dog shampoo for itchy skin that contains a strong but safe medicine or with the best antifungal dog shampoo. The antibacterial and antifungal properties found in these are able to de-grease the coat, but not remove the natural oils. However, they usually don’t have a scent, so we cannot say one of these will be the best smelling dog shampoo on the market.
Flea and Tick Shampoo
Although these aren’t as often used as other types of shampoo, they are the first line of defense if the dog has fleas or ticks. However, they’re a bit tricky to use because we would have to thoroughly clean the tub after the bath. In addition, these can leave a residue on the skin in order to combat the infestation, so it might not be a good idea to let the dog sleep on the bed afterward.
Leading Shampoo Brands for Dogs
Right now, the pet care industry is saturated with brands. However, for the purposes of this guide, we’ve decided to give you a brief overview of the leading ones. Later on, we will get to see what the best dog shampoo for itchy skin is by reviewing their products.
Pro Pet Works
Known for its natural and 100% safe pet care solutions, Pro Pet Works is a company that has found its way to many “best dog X” lists. As stated on their website, there’s nothing more they care about than pets, so they’re doing everything in their power to provide them with nothing short of the very best. Natural ingredients, as well as safety, are their main concerns, so dog owners can rest easy — this is a brand that loves your dog as much as you do!
Honeydew prides itself on their natural products, but the company also states that they love the environment. Thus, they are careful not to harm Mother Nature while thinking of new formulas for some of the best dog shampoos on the market. In fact, you’ll find that they have the best oatmeal shampoo for dogs, which we have reviewed below.
When it comes to natural medicated shampoos for those pesky infections and rashes, there’s no brand better than Arava. We could instantly feel how much they love dogs just by looking at the ingredient lists, which include dead sea minerals apart from other natural substances. They believe in the healing powers of minerals and in getting the maximum out of nature so that the end product is not just beneficial but 100% safe too. Thus, many hail their shampoo as the best dog shampoo for itchy skin; the minerals don’t just soothe — they resolve the core issue, i.e., the infection.
At Friends Forever, the selection of grooming products is just the tip of the iceberg. This Amazon-based brand goes the extra mile for pets, so they have a wide range of products, including furniture, collars and much more. Still, we could say their most famous product is their natural dog shampoo with antifungal and antibacterial properties.
Lillian Ruff is one of those brands that has thought of everything. They started with just five products, but soon expanded their selection to help professional groomers get the best possible results. Now, they are a vegan as well as gluten, sulfate, tear and paraben-free brand that caters to dog owners who need pet care solutions not just for grooming but for oral hygiene too.
Wahl has been creating trimmers, shavers, and clippers for decades now. However, they also make shampoos dogs and their owners will love. Down below, we’ve reviewed one of their best products — an oatmeal shampoo that prevents shedding and helps keep ticks and fleas under control.
Finally, we have Strawfield Dogs, a family-owned business that has found its place in our guide due to the quality of their products and their sheer love for pets. They believe that every pet should lead a healthy life, and they are sharing their knowledge and expertise with the world every day. Plus, all their products are made in a federally regulated facility, so it’s evident quality is their main concern. This brand’s best dog shampoo for itchy skin has 4% of chlorhexidine gluconate, a chemical that’s relatively safe yet powerful enough to treat various conditions.
Top Shampoos For Itchy Dogs
1 – Pro Pet Works Oatmeal Pet Wash Review – (Also Works for Allergies And Sensitive Skin)
Proudly made in the USA, the Pro Pet Works Oatmeal Pet Wash is not just the ultimate solution for itchy skin. It is also a product that works well for allergies and dogs with sensitive skin, as it’s made from all-natural ingredients.
This special formula has gotten a lot of praise by the vets, which is a sure sign Pro Pet Works is doing something right. Apart from dogs, we can use this formula to bathe our cats, rabbits and even ferrets. It won’t harm them, as it’s specially made to balance out the pH level of sensitive skin. So even if the dog isn’t sensitive at all, the wash is so gentle that it will keep the skin in top-notch condition.
Why it’s Good
Many dog owners report that the wash does exactly what it says, which is why they believe it’s the best dog shampoo for itchy skin. It moisturizes the dog’s coat but cleans it thoroughly at the same time. It eliminates the wet dog odor too, and it stops the itching with regular use.
As far as the scent goes, both the dog and the owner will love its cherry almond smell. Furthermore, due to the all-natural formula, the wash can be used with flea treatments, as it doesn’t have any alcohol, harsh chemicals, colors or sulfates.
In fact, the two main ingredients are aloe vera and almond oil, which work wonders when it comes to dog skin. In addition, the wash also contains vitamins A, D, and E, and it serves as a deodorant too. So if you were also looking for the best dog shampoo for odor removal, this is the true winner!
Finally, we ought to mention that the wash also helps detangle the dog’s coat and that it is soap, paraben, and detergent-free, as well as hypoallergenic. Plus, the company offers a 100% money-back guarantee in case the product doesn’t work out for us.
All-natural, organic ingredients
Can be used on rabbits, ferrets, and cats too
Won’t lower the effectiveness of flea treatments
Free of soap and harsh chemicals
The fruity scent might not be everyone’s cup of tea, especially if the dog dislikes it
It should be sampled first, as some dogs might not react well to it
Some say that the formula is a bit thin, so you’d need to use a lot of it for a bigger dog.
2 – Colloidal Oatmeal Dog Shampoo Review – (Can Provide Instant Dry Itchy Skin Relief)
If our dog is itching like crazy and we need something to soothe its skin as soon as possible, the Honeydew Colloidal Oatmeal Dog Shampoo may be our best choice. In essence, this shampoo can be used both on adult dogs and puppies, as well as dogs that are prone to infections due to their sensitive skin. The results? Soft fur, so there’s no need to use a conditioner with it, and no itchiness whatsoever.
Why it’s Good
The formula of this shampoo is hypoallergenic, so it shouldn’t cause any issues — it will effectively relieve the itching and prevent flakiness. It is also 100% safe and recommended by vets because it is not just gentle but completely natural.
Made in the USA, this shampoo is filled to the brim with natural ingredients. The manufacturer incorporated jojoba, known for its soothing properties, as well as lavender essential oil. These two ingredients together can provide instant dry, itchy skin relief and comfort the dog. What’s more, the shampoo can also eliminate odor. How? It all comes down to colloidal oatmeal.
The one used for this shampoo is the real deal, so it will effectively eradicate odors, scaling and itching. In addition, it can relieve psoriasis-like symptoms, which are quite common in dogs with sensitive skin.
We should also note that the formula is tear-free. Therefore, even if it gets into the dog’s eyes, we can just rinse it out without having to stop the bath time. Also, since it’s a natural formula, don’t expect to find any parabens in it. In fact, it’s also cruelty-free, and the company offers a 100% money-back guarantee if we’re not satisfied.
What bothers us, though, is that it doesn’t have that fresh scent, and it doesn’t really make the dog’s fur shinier. Also, some users say it caused a reaction, so it’s better to do a patch test beforehand.
Provides instant relief
Has a hypnotic lavender scent that calms the dogs
Natural formula with no parabens
Won’t lead to any tears
Recommended by vets
The scent doesn’t last on the dogs
Might cause a reaction if the dog has particularly sensitive skin
Doesn’t make the fur shiny, only softer
You don’t get much product for the price, so it might not be the most cost-effective solution
3 – Arava Natural Medicated Dog Shampoo Review – (Contains Antibacterial Antifungal Properties for Healthy Skin)
Now, if you are someone who’s looking for the best dog shampoo for itchy skin that will also have some antifungal and antibacterial properties, then Arava could be a winner for you.
This shampoo treats infections and is an anti-yeast solution. However, the most interesting part of the ingredient list is the fact that the company uses dead sea minerals in the formula. Thus, this shampoo is also therapeutic, as the minerals can heal the skin, reduce inflammation, treat infections and even hot spots.
Why it’s Good
The shampoo won us over due to its incredible list of 28 natural ingredients. In addition, it allows us to clean the dog thoroughly. Even though some types of dirt require harsh ingredients, this shampoo does it all with natural ones. It goes deep into the fur and de-greases it, leaving the dog with a dandruff-free shiny coat.
Now, the scent is also important when we’re talking about dog shampoo. That’s why we would recommend this product to dog owners who want to avoid harsh smells. The shampoo has a mix of essential oils that give it a natural, soothing fragrance, which won’t irritate the dog or the owner.
The dead sea minerals found in this shampoo also play a huge part in healing the dog’s wounds. If it has a scrape or two, you’ll see that this product can also help speed up the healing process. In addition, it effectively fights seborrhea, mange, ringworm, and dandruff, and it can even help keep the skin folds (like those in Bulldogs) soft and clean.
The best part? The shampoo doesn’t allow bacteria to spread, as it cleans so well that it eradicates potential issues fast. After using it for a while, you’ll notice that the dog’s skin is a lot healthier than before and that the pup is much more comfortable now that nothing itches.
The only real disadvantage here is that it’s not the cheapest shampoo on the market. Also, some owners might worry that it will cause an allergic reaction. The more ingredients in a product, the more likely a reaction will happen, so keep that in mind.
Heavy-duty shampoo, suitable for deep-cleaning
Has antifungal, anti-yeast and antibacterial properties
Dead sea minerals help heal scrapes and wounds
Gives the coat a nice shine
Not as affordable as some other shampoos
Owners have to be careful with it, as dogs might be allergic to some of the many ingredients found in this shampoo
4 – Friends Forever Natural Dog Shampoo Review – (Made With Unique Blend of Organic, Tea Tree, Flaxseed and Lavender Oil)
Sometimes, the simplest solutions could very well be the best solutions for itchy dogs. Thus, it’s no wonder Friends Forever has found its way to our list. Their Natural Dog Shampoo provides both dogs and cats with much-needed relief, and it stops them from scratching and biting themselves.
The all-botanical extracts found in this shampoo are the real reason why it delivers great results. There aren’t many ingredients in the formula, so it is unlikely dogs will have a reaction to it (but it can happen).
Why it’s Good
It contains lavender, tea tree and flaxseed oil, which are all known for their soothing and anti-itch properties. In fact, they don’t just soothe the skin — they ease the mind too! Thus, even if the dog isn’t that big on bath time, it might become a fan after you use this shampoo on it.
The formula also has organic coconut, as well as aloe vera and oatmeal, which all can relieve the discomfort the itchy dog is feeling on a daily basis. In addition, the shampoo is hypoallergenic, anti-tear and anti-dandruff, and it has antifungal and antibacterial properties.
Oh, and the smell? It just might be our personal favorite. It has a slight green apple scent that’s quite different from anything else we’ve encountered on the market. We all know that most dogs love apples, so this shampoo might help them relax even more. The formula includes chamomile extract too. Those two ingredients together help the dog smell nice and fresh for a while — or at least until it gets muddy again!
Although not as important as the formula, we would also like to praise the packaging. Indeed, the company thought about marketing their product perfectly, so even the packaging is eye-pleasing. Plus, it seems this shampoo is a fan-favorite for many dog groomers too — if anything, that almost but proves its effectiveness.
Overall, the unique blend of organic ingredients is what made us give this shampoo a positive review. However, know that it’s not for every dog out there. In some dogs, it caused even more itching, and some owners even say that it dries out the fur.
Has a nice apple scent to it
Therapeutic properties — the essential oils calm the dog down
Can be used on cats too
May dry out the dog’s fur
Might not be strong enough to remove heavy odor
5 – Lillian Ruff Dog Oatmeal Shampoo and Conditioner Set review – (It Is Soothing for Pets With Normal to Sensitive Skin)
We haven’t really talked about conditioners in this guide, as most dogs don’t need them. However, it’s the same with human hair. Those who need even more hydration and moisture will rely on a conditioner as well. Thus, the fifth place on our list of best dog shampoos for itchy skin belongs to a set by Lillian Ruff.
Why it’s Good
Meant for dogs with normal to sensitive skin, the Lillian Ruff shampoo will gently cleanse the fur and calm the skin. The main ingredients found in the formula are coconut and lavender oils, which are famous for their soothing properties. Apart from those, there are also oatmeal and aloe vera, which are must-haves in most dog shampoos. In addition, the shampoo also ensures no fleas or ticks touch the dog. It naturally repels them!
What we particularly like about this product is the fact that coconut oil also heals the dog from within. It seems everyone is using this today to combat inflammation, so it’s only natural to use it on our pets as well. The oil can boost the immune system, while the lavender can reduce stress and pain in dogs.
Furthermore, the shampoo is fairly easy to use, as it lathers well. However, the company says we should avoid the eye area, so it probably isn’t completely tear-free, although the packaging says it is. You never know what might cause a reaction, so with any shampoo, it’s better to be safe than sorry!
As for the conditioner, it works as a convenient supplement to the shampoo. It’s able to restore shine and luster. In addition, it smooths out the fur and allows the coat to look well kept. Plus, just like the shampoo, it’s paraben, sulfate, dye and gluten-free. Best of all — it’s vegan!
The only thing we don’t really like is how overpowering the scent is. Granted, the dog will smell fantastic. But for some, it might linger too much in the nose, and if you don’t really like lavender and coconut, there’s a good chance you won’t like this set either.
A great mix of coconut and lavender oils, as well as oatmeal and aloe vera
Good value for money for the whole set
The soothing scent reduces stress in dogs
30-day money-back guarantee
Repels fleas and ticks
Could lead to tears, even though the packaging says it’s tear-free
The scent might be too strong for some dogs and their owners
6 – Chlorhexidine Shampoo for Dogs Review – (Suitable For Treating Itchy And Ringworm Skin)
Now, we know some dog owners would like to avoid using strong medicated dog shampoos. After all, our dogs are like children to us, and any chemical out there could lead to an allergic reaction. Still, Strawfield Pets is a small business that has created a broad spectrum veterinary formula that’s just too good not to try.
Why it’s Good
What sets this product apart from all the rest on our list is the fact that it contains 4% of chlorhexidine gluconate. Because this is its main active ingredient, the shampoo is not just great for itchy skin, but it also has antimicrobial properties. In essence, it can treat various conditions and help cleanse wounds too.
If the dog has dermatitis, acne or ringworm skin, this is the shampoo that will most likely get rid of those. Furthermore, it is powerful enough to eliminate bacteria. If you have a dog with lots of rolls (the cutest ones!), then you know these are a breeding ground for all sorts of infections. However, when treated with this shampoo, we can kiss our worries goodbye.
What’s amazing about this product is that it’s not just for dogs. Indeed, we can use it on horses and cats too. What’s more, the age and the size of the pet doesn’t matter. It’s gentle enough to soothe itchy dry skin in both small, medium and large breeds, as well as in puppies and senior dogs.
Skin conditions like seborrhea, dandruff, redness, and rash can also be treated with this shampoo. The ingredients are powerful enough to combat various issues, but they won’t disrupt the skin’s pH balance. Additionally, this is also the best dog shampoo for itchy skin that also removes and prevents foul odor.
Still, one disadvantage is that it just doesn’t lather well. You’d have to use a lot of the product to get the dog clean, which means the shampoo won’t last too long. In addition, the scent isn’t that pleasant, so it might repulse some dog owners.
Treats itchy dry skin, as well as a variety of other skin conditions, including Pyoderma
Has a powerful active ingredient
Can be used on cats and horses too, as well as dogs of all ages
Provides instant relief, but has to be used regularly to maintain the results
The formula is thick, so it doesn’t lather well
7 – Wahl Dog/Puppy Shampoo Review – (Natural Oatmeal Formula To Help With Shedding, Itching, Plus Flea And Tick Control)
The final product on our list is a fan-favorite for many, possibly because Wahl is an expert on human and pet grooming.
The main purpose of this oatmeal formula is to relieve the itchiness caused by dry skin. However, its effects don’t end there. It is also able to gently clean the dog, leaving its fur nice and soft. Furthermore, it moisturizes the skin and keeps its pH balance under control.
What we especially love is that the shampoo doesn’t contain parabens and alcohol. It also has a pleasant, fresh scent to it — a mixture of lime, coconut, and verbena.
Why it’s Good
So what makes this formula different from the rest? Well, unlike some other low-quality shampoos, it doesn’t leave a greasy residue behind. It also forms a good lather that can be easily rinsed out. Thus, the bath time won’t take too long, which is a huge plus if the dog doesn’t like water.
The best part is that the shampoo is actually highly concentrated. Therefore, a little bit goes a long way; one bottle will last for at least a few months. In addition, the scent lingers a bit after the bath, so that wet dog odor probably won’t be an issue anymore.
As far as the shedding goes, you will love how soft the dog’s fur will be after using this shampoo. Due to its natural ingredients, it doesn’t damage the hair follicles, so it prevents shedding or at least minimizes it in heavy shedders. Also, it can repel fleas and ticks too and keep the flea/tick-induced itching under control.
However, one thing to note here is that some users claim it has caused hives and a serious allergic reaction in their dogs. There might be something in the formula that doesn’t suit all dogs, so it’s essential to do a patch test first if possible, just to be safe. Other than that, most dog owners are pretty happy with it, albeit it’s not the best shampoo for sensitive skin. If the dog has normal skin and no allergies, it could be a good choice.
Keeps flea and tick infestations under control
Has a refreshing scent to it
Made by a reputable company that specializes in grooming
Highly concentrated, so you only need a little bit of it to bathe the dog
Can lead to an allergic reaction, although it’s rare
Mostly suitable for normal and dry skin, not great for sensitive skin
The Right Way to Bathe Your Dog
Get your supplies
Before doing anything at all, we first have to gather our supplies. We’ll need:
A dog brush
Shampoo (as mentioned, the best dog shampoo for itchy skin is the most convenient choice)
Some treats and a few rubber toys (if the dog gets nervous)
Brush out the dog’s coat
It’s vital to remove any twigs, leaves and all the other things dogs love to roll in. Not only will this allow us to give them a proper bath, but it will also save us time on cleaning the tub afterward.
Mind the water temperature
We can get the dog into the tub once we’ve filled it with water. But before that, we have to check the temperature. If the water is cold, they can get ill, especially if there’s draft nearby. However, even if it’s hot, we might harm them, as no one loves getting burned.
Lather from feet up
If we start to lather from the top, the shampoo might reach their delicate areas. Thus, it’s best to start at the feet and avoid any trouble. Once that’s done, we can rinse them out starting from the top and going all the way to the bottom.
Most dogs are afraid of hair dryers, so if that’s the case with your dog too, then use a towel to get rid of the excess water. Otherwise, use the mildest setting and dry their coat thoroughly.
Final Thoughts on the Best Dog Shampoo for Itchy Skin
PLAN - PRICE
Lillian Ruff Dog Oatmeal Shampoo and Conditioner Set
It Is Soothing for Pets With Normal to Sensitive Skin
Chlorhexidine Shampoo for Dogs & Cats
Suitable For Treating Itchy And Ringworm Skin
Wahl Dog/Puppy Shampoo
Natural Formula To Help With Shedding, Itching, Flea & Tick Control
Veterinary Formula Clinical Care
One of the Best Pet Shampoos to Treat Parasitic Infections
And there you have it — our top contenders for the best dog shampoo for itchy skin and flakiness. As you can see, there are many formulas on the market, so it might be a bit tricky to choose the right one.
However, it all comes down to the type of skin the dog has, how severe the itching is and how often you bathe the dog. No matter how great the shampoo is, it could be a total disaster if you wash the dog every other day.
Thus, it’s important to keep the bathing to a minimum and use a formula that’s extremely gentle and suitable for itchy skin. Of course, if the dog has a more serious skin condition, the best dog shampoo for itchy skin would probably be the one that has a strong, active ingredient (either a chemical or dead sea minerals, for example) or is recommended by vets. Otherwise, any other shampoo we’ve reviewed would do a fine job.