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Best dog shampoo: Keep coats clean and smelling fresh

Dog being bathed in bath with best dog shampoo
(Image credit: Getty Images)

When your furry friend is whiffy and in need of a wash, the best dog shampoos are ideal. While it’s tempting to use your scented, human-grade shampoos to lather up a storm, these often contain harsh formulas not suited to your dog’s skin and coat. But with so many different types on the market, it can be tricky deciding on the right one to buy. From deodorizing to hypoallergenic, there's literally a shampoo to suit every furkid.

If your pooch has sensitive skin, we recommend a gentle formula that's been designed with soothing ingredients like coconut oil, oatmeal, and honey.  For dogs who love a bit of rough and tumble, and enjoy getting dirty, you’ll find plenty of deodorizing shampoo options that contain baking soda mixed with botanicals. The baking soda works by penetrating the skin and coat, eliminating even the strongest odors, while the botanicals will leave your pup smelling lovely and fragrant!

In addition, some shampoos can be used safely with one of the best flea treatments for dogs. So even if your pup has fleas, they’ll still have clean, fresh coats. Just be sure to check the shampoo bottle first.  What’s more, it’s worthwhile investing in one of the best dog conditioners after shampooing for soft and shiny coats. 

In the meantime, we’ve rounded up a great selection of the best dog shampoos to leave your pooch so fresh and so clean!

PetsRadar's pick of the best dog shampoo

  • Best overall dog shampoo: Earthbath Oatmeal and Aloe Natural Pet Shampoo in Vanilla and Almond
  • Best 2-in-1 shampoo for puppies: Burt's Bees 2 in 1 Tearless Shampoo & Conditioner
  • Best dog shampoo for sensitive skin: 4-Legger Dog Shampoo
  • Best deodorizing dog shampoo: Arm & Hammer Super Deodorizing Shampoo for Dogs
  • Best natural shampoo: Buddy Wash Original Lavender and Mint Dog Shampoo and Conditioner
  • Best medicated dog shampoo: Veterinary Formula Clinical Care Antiseptic and Antifungal Medicated Shampoo
  • Best hypoallergenic dog shampoo: Vet’s Best Hypo-Allergenic Shampoo
  • Best smelling dog shampoo: TropiClean Luxury 2-in-1 Shampoo and Conditioner
  • Best waterless dog shampoo: Bodhi Dog Waterless Shampoo
  • Best overall shampoo for puppies: Burt's Bees for Dogs Natural Tearless Puppy Shampoo

A bottle of Earthbath Oatmeal and Aloe Natural Pet ShampooBest buy award

(Image credit: Earthbath)

Earthbath Oatmeal and Aloe Natural Pet Shampoo in Vanilla and Almond

Best overall dog shampoo

Ingredients: Clean, no soap, parabens and cruelty free | Scent: Vanilla and almond | Lather: Excellent

Excellent for itchy, dry skin
Lathers well with all fur types
Clean, cruelty free ingredients
Smell could be better

Earthbath Oatmeal and Aloe Natural Pet Shampoo is a classic dog shampoo that owners have been using and loving for years. That's why it's our best overall dog shampoo to buy for your furry friend - it's stood the test of time. 

The ingredient list in Earthbath Oatmeal and Aloe Natural Pet Shampoo is simple and full of clean ingredients that are biodegradable, phosphate-free, paraben-free, and soap-free. Plus, it's not tested on animals, so you can rest easy knowing no animal cruelty was involved in creating this shampoo. While the almond and vanilla scent isn't groundbreaking, it's simple and fresh and won't be too overpowering for those who may not love a strong-smelling pooch. 

Those who have bought Earthbath Oatmeal and Aloe Natural Pet Shampoo report that it helps dogs with skin allergies, dandruff, and bacterial dermatitis, which can seriously bother your pooch and cause them to incessantly itch. If you don't keep on top of your pup's skin issues, they can easily irritate their skin further or make the problem worse by scratching until they injure themself, so getting a product like Earthbath will certainly help. 

And Earthbath is great even if your dog has great skin, as it lathers well for especially dirty pooches or those with long coats, which helps clean and detangle impressive manes. The quality of the lather also means this product will last you a long while, as you won't need to use tons to get your dog clean. 

If you happen to own a cat as well, you'll get even more bang for your buck, as Earthbath can be used on cats as well! 

Burt's Bees 2 in 1 Shampoo and ConditionerPets Radar Approved Award

(Image credit: Amazon)

Burt's Bees 2 in 1 Tearless Shampoo & Conditioner

Best 2-in-1 dog shampoo for puppies

Ingredients: Clean and transparent | Scent: Fragrance Free | Lather: Good lather

Natural, transparent ingredients
Good for sensitive skin
Soothes and softens 
Slightly watery formula
No strong scent

Burt's Bees 2 in 1 Shampoo and Conditioner is a great value for the price point, with clean and transparent ingredients you'll feel comfortable putting on your pup's skin. It's great for dogs and puppies, and great for owners with sensitive skin too! 

This 2 in 1 formula is fragrance-free but will leave your pup smelling clean and fresh. The ingredients are simple and free from harsh chemicals and sulfates, and include soothing and softening ingredients such as oatmeal and cocoa. Its formula is veterinarian recommended, so you can be sure it's safe for your dog (or your puppy, as it's gentle enough for young pooches, too). 

Whether you're looking for a shampoo that will clean your Golden Retriever's luxurious coat or a gentle shampoo for your Pit Bull's sensitive skin, you can't go wrong with this dog shampoo formula. While the lather will be somewhat lighter than other dog shampoos, that's to be expected considering it's a natural shampoo, so don't fret if you don't see a ton of suds when you start scrubbing, as it's perfectly normal (and healthier). The conditioner will also leave your dog's mane silky soft, making it much easier to brush and will keep it from tangling between washes. 

With a great price point, gentle ingredients that soothe even the most irritated skin, and vets' approval, Burt's Bees 2 in 1 Shampoo and conditioner is one of the best value dog shampoo on the market.

A bottle of 4-Legger Dog ShampooPets Radar Approved Award

(Image credit: 4-Legger)

4-Legger Dog Shampoo

Best dog shampoo for sensitive skin

Ingredients: USDA certified 100% non toxic | Scent: Lemongrass | Lather: Easy to lather

Organic and safe
Great for sensitive skin
Safe for dogs of all ages
Smell can be strong for some

The 4-Legger Certified Organic Dog Shampoo is a fantastic choice for those pooches who have sensitive skin. You have to be extra careful when buying shampoo for your sensitive dogs, as the wrong type can easily irritate their skin further, making them uncomfortably itchy. All-natural shampoos are the safest option for dogs with seasonal allergies or itchy, scratchy skin, and this shampoo is the perfect option. 

The 4-Legger Certified Organic Dog Shampoo is the best sensitive skin dog shampoo because all of its ingredients are USDA-certified hypoallergenic, free from synthetic or chemical ingredients, and organic. The ingredients include recognizable things like coconut oil, aloe vera juice, olive oil, lemongrass essential oil, rosemary extract, and jojoba oil, which are all great things for a pup with sensitive skin! It's also widely approved by vets and groomers, so you know it's good.

This shampoo lathers easily and rinses off well, and has a strong lemongrass scent (which might be too much for some people who are sensitive to strong smells) that acts a natural flea deterrent. Those who have used the 4-Legger Certified Organic Dog Shampoo report it does wonders for their dog's skin, especially those who have incredibly sensitive skin that's prone to flare-ups. If you have a dog with sensitive skin (like greyhounds or pit bulls) or a dog who has suffered from demodex mange or other skin issues, this is absolutely the best dog shampoo for you and your canine.

Best dog shampoo: Arm and Hammer Deodorizing dog shampooPets Radar Approved Award

(Image credit: Amazon)

Arm & Hammer Super Deodorizing Shampoo for Dogs

Best deodorizing dog shampoo

Ingredients: Honey, rose, kiwi, white tea, baking soda, coconut-based surfactants | Scent: Kiwi blossom | Lather: Rich later

Lovely kiwi blossom fragrance
Rich lather
Deep clean
Not suitable for very dry skin

Have a stinky doggy on your hands? Then it’s time to unleash the power of baking soda and natural botanicals to have your hound clean and smelling sweet once more. 

This powerful advanced odor control formula from Arm & Hammer effectively gets rid of unwanted smells from the coat and skin, with the baking soda particles penetrating deeply to dissolve and remove odor.

Infusions of honey, rose, kiwi, and white tea extracts are used to neutralize odors and reduce shedding and the beautiful blossom scent rests lightly on the coat after washing, leaving your hound smelling heavenly. 

Suitable for all dogs over the age of eight weeks, this shampoo is also safe to use in conjunction with topical flea and tick treatments. While it’s not a tearless formula, it’s been designed to be gentle and non-harmful around sensitive areas. 

We'd recommend avoiding this product if your dog has very dry skin due to the baking soda, but other than that, this is a powerful shampoo. Free from harsh chemicals and containing no parabens or Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) this natural dog shampoo is gentle on the skin and coat but tough on those strong and unwanted doggy odors.

A bottle of Buddy Wash Original Lavender and Mint Dog Shampoo and ConditionerPets Radar Approved Award

(Image credit: Buddy Wash)

Buddy Wash Original Lavender and Mint Dog Shampoo and Conditioner

Best natural shampoo

Ingredients: Pure botanical extracts and natural conditioners | Scent: Lavender and mint | Lather: Rich lather

Great ingredients
Lovely smell and natural deodorizer
Great price
Smell can be strong

Not only is Buddy Wash Original Lavender and Mint Dog Shampoo and Conditioner a great price, but it's a fantastic product for your pooch, too.

It's made from natural and pure ingredients that naturally clean and condition your dog's fur and skin, including sage, aloe vera, rosemary, green tea, and chamomile. The liquid is coconut-based with no alcohol in it, and natural deodorizers like wheat protein for a gentle, great-smelling wash that will last at least a week, according to reviews. Since Buddy Wash is soap-free, it won't harm your dog's eyes or upset their stomach if it gets in their mouth, but it still lathers easily and rinses off quickly for an effective wash. 

Some owners even suggest that the lavender scent helps soothe their dogs during bath time, which can often be a stressful experience for your pup (especially if they aren't too fond of water). Many report their dogs' coats felt smooth, incredibly soft, and tangle-free after using the Buddy Wash, and that's likely because it's both shampoo and conditioner! For such a low price and with such simple and effective ingredients, Buddy Wash Original Lavender and Mint Dog Shampoo is a great purchase for your pooch, whether you've got a big old Husky or a tiny Chihuahua. 

Best dog shampoo: Veterinary FormulaPets Radar Approved Award

(Image credit: Amazon)

Veterinary Formula Clinical Care Antiseptic and Antifungal Medicated Shampoo

Best medicated dog shampoo

Ingredients: Coconut oil based cleansers, Benzethonium Chloride, Ketoconazole | Scent: Lavender and mint | Lather: Rich lather

Excellent for allergies and fungal and bacterial infections
Paraben free
Gentle smell
May not work for every dog

If your pooch is dealing with some skin problems, you'll need a shampoo that's vet-approved. Veterinary Formula Clinical Care Antiseptic and Antifungal Medicated Shampoo is a fantastic option for any pet dealing with bacterial or yeast infections.

The shampoo has benzethonium chloride, an anti-bacterial that can treat skin infections like pyoderma, and ketoconazole, an anti-fungal which will treat yeast infections. Despite all the medicated ingredients, this shampoo is free of soaps and parabens, and won't remove spot-on flea or tick treatments.There's also aloe vera in the formula, which will help soothe irritations, and lanolin, which will moisturize and help decrease itching and flaking issues, both of which are side effects of allergic dermatitis. 

Veterinary Formula Clinical Care Antiseptic and Antifungal Medicated Shampoo is for both dogs and cats, so the fairly cheap bottle will go a long way. It's safe for dogs and cats over 12 weeks of age, and you can use it twice a week while fighting off a skin condition, then once a week to keep all those skin nasties at bay. 

Veterinary-grade dog shampoo can be expensive or difficult to get without a prescription, and that's why Veterinary Formula Clinical Care Antiseptic and Antifungal Medicated Shampoo is so great. You can help take care of your pet's needs without breaking the bank, which we can all appreciate.

The only downside is that this may not be the right formula for your dog's skin conditions, which is why you should consult your vet before using this shampoo and reach out again if it seems like your pup's condition isn't improving. 

Best dog shampoo: Vet’s Best Hypo-Allergenic Shampoo

(Image credit: Amazon)

Vet’s Best Hypo-Allergenic Shampoo

Best hypoallergenic dog shampoo

Ingredients: Plant-based ingredients such as Aloe Vera and Vitamin E | Scent: Tea tree | Lather: Easy to lather

Specifically formulated to soothe dry, brittle skin
Works alongside other treatments 
Relieves itching
Very watery

If your dog has sensitive skin or is prone to itching, the Vet’s Best Hypo-Allergenic Shampoo is a must-have. It’s specially formulated with natural, plant-based ingredients such as aloe vera and vitamin E. Designed to moisturize and soothe dry skin, it also relieves itching to keep your pooch content after bathtimes. Best of all, it’s free from harmful parabens, dyes or sulphates. 

Simply lather and massage for 3-5 minutes to get the full benefits of the quality ingredients. Rinse well and repeat if necessary. However, it acts quickly and gives great results. While it doesn’t have a strong fragrance, it does have subtle hints of tea tree and essential oils. 

What’s more, the shampoo can be used alongside other treatments like the best flea treatments for dogs. So you won’t have to worry about your pup missing out on a revitalizing bath! It’s worthwhile noting that the consistency is rather watery, so you may need to use more. However, you won’t be disappointed with the excellent results!

best dog shampoo for smell tropiclean

(Image credit: Tropiclean)

TropiClean Luxury 2-in-1 Shampoo and Conditioner

Best smelling dog shampoo

Ingredients: Purified water, mild coconut cleanser, colloidal oatmeal | Scent: Papaya and coconut | Lather: Easy to lather

Soap and chemical free
Heavenly lasting scent
2-in-1 formula
Not tear free
Some may find formula too thick

If you're looking for the best dog shampoo for scent that's also a gentle, moisturizing formula then look no further than TropiClean Luxury 2-in-1 Shampoo and Conditioner.

This luxurious lather features a bright tropical scent without being too overpowering with coconut. Even once bathtime is over, you're still likely smell a subtle hint of fresh coconut on your dog's fur, although some pet owners may find the strength of the scent is affected by factors such as the length of type of your pet's hair and environmental conditions. It's pleasant enough for owner without being too strong for pet. 

The shampoo features a conditioner built in, which is a great timesaver for dogs who hate baths, but also it allows the product to detangle the hair as well as clean. The formula is pH balanced and is free of soap, parabens and dye so expect a formula that's kind to your dog's skin but you'll want to avoid around the face and eyes as it's not specifically tear free.

This shampoo does typically work well for dogs with dry, itchy sensitive skin, helping to soothe the skin and create shine in the fur, however you may choose the brand's medicated Oatmeal option instead if this is a particular problem with your pooch. 

Bodhi Dog waterless dog shampooPets Radar Approved Award

(Image credit: Bodhi Dog)

Bodhi Dog Waterless Shampoo

Best waterless dog shampoo

Ingredients: No parabens, sulphates, SLS or Ethyl alcohol | Scent: Lavender, Lemongrass and Oatmeal | Lather: Spray-on

Easy to use
Great for dogs who are afraid of baths
Lovely scents
Safe ingredients
Not easy to spray in hard to reach places 
Doesn't replace the need for a bath in all cases

If your dog hates baths, then Bodhi Dog Waterless Shampoo is simply a must-have investment. This convenient spray comes in three gorgeous scents: Lavender, Lemongrass and Oatmeal that not only cleans, but works as a detangler too.

You'll likely be pleasantly surprised by the results on their coat, even without lathering it in. The shampoo features a long-lasting smell that will linger even after a few days and their coat looks soft and shiny. Added bonus is the fact is dries quickly and can work well on dogs that have sensitive skin. 

Many pet owners appreciate that the shampoo's ingredient list features no alcohol, detergents, parabens, sulphates or dyes making it a great option to reach for even with dogs who have allergies.

The product is generally very easy to use as a spray formula, but the design could be updated to allow for better coverage over a dog's body. Sometimes, when you spray it, it comes out in one hard stream. Some pet owners may also find that it doesn't completely replace a bath entirely, rather that it's a light refresher between baths depending on how dirty your dog gets. 

Burt's Bees puppy shampoo

(Image credit: Burt's Bees)

Burt's Bees for Dogs Natural Tearless Puppy Shampoo

Best overall shampoo for puppies

Ingredients: free of fragrances, sulfates, colorants, and harsh chemicals | Scent: Buttermilk, honey and beeswax | Lather: Lathers well

Gentle formula
Soft, clean fur
Lathers well
Not strongly scented
Caution should be applied to tearless messaging

While it's tempting to reach for dog shampoo intended for older canines, Burt's Bees for Dogs Natural Tearless Puppy Shampoo is a much better option owing to its gentle formula. The product is by and large tearless but you should still exercise caution when using near your pup's eyes (using your fingertips can be a great option) which is likely to cause some confusion for pet owners. 

Nevertheless, dog owners should expect a soft and shiny coat with this product, and a subtle fresh scent. Anyone familiar with the Burt's Bees brand will know what to expect here: the shampoo features natural products such as buttermilk, honey and beeswax which may make some users expect a stronger smell once applied to your pup. 

However, you'll likely be more than impressed with the ease of lather here. The shampoo applies easily to the coat and lathers well making bathtime a breeze. 

How to choose the best dog shampoo

It's important that you choose the best dog shampoo for your specific pooch, and for you as well. If your dog has dry, sensitive skin, then lean towards getting an all-natural, soap-free, gentle shampoo. And if you're vegan or concerned with animal testing as well, then make sure that whatever all-natural shampoo you choose is cruetly-free. 

If your dogs' skin issues go beyond some dryness or itchy patches and they're dealing with yeast infections or other fungal issues then you'll need a heavy duty veterinarian-approved antiseptic or anti-fungal shampoo. You'll want to make sure those ingredients are safe and as gentle as possible for your pooch, but still effective. 

If your pup has fairly normal skin but an incredibly thick coat or is a big fan of rolling in mud puddles and frolicking in fields, then you'll want a great-smelling dog shampoo with a scent that will linger for a little while. Dirty dogs, dogs with lengthy hair, or pooches with plentiful fur will need shampoo that lathers and rinses well and smells great. 

In short, think about your dog and what they need when buying dog shampoo and factor in your personal purchasing preference, as well. You and your pooch will be happy and smelling great in no time with these shampoo options, especially with the ones we've laid out. Whether you need all-natural shampoo, extra-clean shampoo, or a special medicated shampoo, there's a ton of options for you and your canine – and make sure you check the ingredients! Getting the best dog shampoo is relatively easy, especially with this guide, so don't fret!