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What Type of Shampoo Is Best For Your Dog?

There are a lot of options when it comes to haircare products for your dog, so how do you decide? If you are like most of us, you choose based on how it smells. After all, you have to smell it during and after the bath. However, this is probably not the best criteria to base your shampoo and condition selection on.

Start With The Label

Organic Oscar's line of grooming products meets Marshalls criteria and then some, being organic as well as all-natural
Organic Oscar’s line of grooming products meets Marshall’s criteria and then some, being organic as well as all-natural

Like with most things, you should see what’s in the product you are putting on your pet. However, this can be difficult, as Marie Jeanjaques-Svet from Organic Oscar, a line of organic, all-natural, biodegradable pet grooming products, explains,

“It is rare when a company labels the full ingredient list in the back of their products as it is not mandatory for the pet grooming products. It will be hard to see all the ingredients,” she says.

If they do list them, she says to stay away from:

  • Sulfates
  • Parabens
  • Petroleum based ingredients
  • Dyes or artificial fragrances (strong scent indicates that the shampoo contains artificial fragrances)

Instead, Serena Marshall, owner of Shantel Mobile Salon and Spaw says to look for all-natural, biodegradable shampoos and conditioners.


A lot of brands will try to suck you in with their marketing. They will tell you they reduce shed, promote growth, etc. But Marshall says that most good shampoos are good for any skin type.

“That being said, if they do have a skin problem/allergy, generally a hypoallergenic of even an oatmeal is best for them,” explains Marshall. “Again, only an all-natural shampoo should be used.”

Do You Need Conditioner?

Jeanjaques-Svet says not all dogs need conditions, but they can all benefit from it. Conditioners help put moisture back into the coat and skin and usually are what give dogs that soft and snugly feeling we love.

“Dogs I use conditioner or moisturizer on, would be dogs with dry/itchy skin,” Marshall advises, “In combination with an oatmeal bath.”

When bathing show dogs, she leaves a light conditioner in to help promote coat growth. However, these dogs are also washed more often than non-conformation dogs, so they don’t get build-up from the left in conditioner.

Frequency of Bathing

Although it will depend on your dog’s lifestyle, Jeanjaques-Svet says a good average is every 2-3 weeks. She says bathing too frequently can cause dryness or itchiness to the skin.

Marshall has a few bathing tips for people to remember:

  • Do NOT use too hot of water
  • Rinse your dog thoroughly

About the Author

Based in Wilsonville, Ore., animal lover Kristina N. Lotz is a Certified Professional Dog Trainer – Knowledge Assessed (CPDT-KA) and works as a full time trainer. She also owns her own custom pet products company, A Fairytail House, where she makes personalized collars, leashes, beds, keepsake pillows and blankets, and anything else your imagine can think up. In her spare time, she trains and competes in herding, agility, obedience, rally, and conformation with her Shetland Sheepdogs. She smartly married a Veterinary Technician, who helps keep the fur kids happy and healthy, and provides a quick resource for articles.

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Written by Kristina Lotz
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