Best Dog Shampoo in 2022 – Top 5 Gentle Formula Choices

Keeping your dog clean and healthy is an essential aspect of your role as a responsible dog owner. Your dog may be the type that loves a good bath, or he may be the type that takes off the moment you start running the tub. But no matter how he feels, a good dog shampoo is a vital part of your arsenal to keep him in top shape. When you’re providing the right nutrition, enough cuddles and playtime, and brushing tough coats, the only other responsibility you have left is to bathe your pup on a regular basis to prevent dry and itchy skin and hair loss.

Just as there are unique formulas that cater to different requirements for humans, there are dog shampoos with special formulations that have different sets of ingredients for sensitive or irritated skin, and medicated dog shampoo options are powered with ingredients that solve flea and tick problems. We found the five best dog shampoo options to keep your four-legged friend happy, clean, and smelling amazing.

Top 5 Dog Shampoos

  1. Buddy Wash – Editor’s Choice
  2. Burt’s Bees – Close Second
  3. PetAg – Worth Mentioning
  4. Veterinary Formula Clinical Care – Vet-Approved
  5. Richard’s Organics – Organic Focus

How Did We Choose These 5 Dog Shampoo Brands?

When deciding on which brands belonged on our best dog shampoo list, we realized we needed to identify the factors that make them worth the purchase. Our only interest is to provide an unbiased review, incorporating several important pieces of information that help you decide which is the right product for you and your pup. Here’s what we considered.

  • What customers say.
    Dog people are honest. They share their true experiences with the products and give details not included in the product descriptions. We are given a better picture of the dog shampoo product when we consider what verified customers say.
  • The total cost of the product.
    We wanted to include options that consider every budget. No matter what you intend to spend on a good dog shampoo, you’ll find one that works for your needs! Plus, we selected options that include savings, so you don’t have to search online for coupons.
  • Unique features for different needs.
    Every dog is different – we incorporate formulas that are gentle for pups with sensitive skin, formulas packed with extra conditioners to tame unruly fur coats, and formulas with and without fragrances to suit your dog’s needs and your preferences.

5 Top Dog Shampoo Brands Reviewed

1. Buddy Wash – Editor’s Choice

Pros:

  • Soap-free
  • Shampoo and conditioner
  • Coconut oil based
  • Cosmetic-grade ingredients

Cons:

  • This product may not be suitable for dogs with a wheat allergy

Verified Customer Feedback
Customers love the lavender and mint scent of this best dog shampoo and appreciate how gentle it is on their dogs’ sensitive skin. Many customers are lifetime users and recommend this dog shampoo and conditioner to their friends and family. One recent customer noted that the shampoo worked wonders on her two puppy mill survivors – both of which smelled awful, despite being groomed. After using Buddy Wash, they both smell amazing, and their fur is super soft and silky.

Price Point and Notable Features
The list price of Buddy Wash Original Lavender and Mint smelling Dog Shampoo and Conditioner is $12.99 for the 16 ounce bottle. With Chewy, you save 18%, which results in a final price of $10.59. You can also choose to enroll in Autoship, which saves you an additional 5%. You can buy a bundle of two 16 ounce bottles or go for the one gallon bottle! Along with the botanical extracts and essential oils in this formula, aloe vera is included to help calm irritated skin. It’s gentle for all size breeds and contains both shampoo and conditioner in one soothing formula.

Why This Shampoo is a Top Pick
This dog shampoo plus conditioner makes the top of our list because the formula is soap-free, making rinsing easy while it leaves skin super soft and coats clean and shiny. It incorporates naturally soothing conditioners, like sage, aloe vera, rosemary, green tea, and chamomile, it’s an all natural shampoo. The formula is alcohol-free and uses a coconut-based liquid infused with lavender and mint, so your pup can enjoy a gentle bath time experience while you experience the soothing and refreshing scents of this unique formula.

Summary
Snuggling up with your furry best friend has never felt or smelled better! Dogs are mischievous and can get caught in all kinds of sticky situations. When you need to clean and moisturize your dog’s coat, Buddy Wash has the perfect ingredients in their shampoo and conditioner, like organic aloe vera, to create a spa-like bath experience for your pup. The scent is calming, and can help soothe dogs that aren’t big fans of bath time. Since it’s made with natural herbs and oils instead of harsh chemicals, you can rest easy knowing it’s gentle on your dog’s skin.

Learn more about Buddy Wash

2. Burt’s Bees – Close Second

Pros:

  • Tearless
  • Cruelty-free
  • Free of sulfates and colorants
  • Features buttermilk

Cons:

  • Formula does not have a strong scent

Verified Customer Feedback
Customers comment that they appreciate how subtly scented this best dog shampoo is; there are no fruity or flowery scents, which means clean pups just smell like clean pups! The formula is non-irritating, non-drying, and it lathers well, cleans well, and rinses out well, too! One dog mom reports the shampoo is ultra-gentle and her dog doesn’t sneeze when being bathed. The fact that it’s natural and free of harsh chemicals is what keeps customers coming back, especially when their dogs have sensitive skin that needs a gentle cleanser.

Price Point and Notable Features
The list price of Burt’s Bees Tearless Puppy Shampoo with Buttermilk for Dogs is $10.99 for the 6 ounce bottle but with Chewy, you save 46%, with a final price of $5.63. If you enroll in Autoship, you can save an extra 5% too! This formula uses nature’s finest ingredients to keep your pup clean and fresh, never using any sulfates, colorants, or fragrances. It’s a gentle cleanser that incorporates buttermilk to both soothe and soften your pup’s skin. If your pup is using flea and tick treatments, you’ll be happy to know that this cleanser does not wash off those treatments. Just be sure to follow the bathing instructions of the tick treatment as each works differently.

Why This Shampoo is a Top Pick
This shampoo made the runner up position on our list of best dog shampoo options because it offers a tearless, cruelty-free, gentle formula that’s perfect for soothing and softening your dog’s skin. Free from any fragrance, it uses buttermilk along with honey as another key ingredient, which helps to regulate and retain moisture in your dog’s fur. Additionally, it strengthens hair follicles to encourage healthy growth. It’s pH balanced, keeping your best bud’s skin from over drying – the perfect choice for growing puppies.

Summary
Burt’s Bees practices responsible sourcing of their ingredients and creates a 97% natural shampoo formula that soothes and moisturizes, softens fur, and nourishes delicate puppy skin. It’s tearless and fragrance-free, so your pup can enjoy a relaxing bath time without tearing up or sneezing. This is a high quality pet shampoo that feels good on your pooch’s skin and washes out well, which means you can spend less time rinsing.

Learn more about Burt’s Bees

3. PetAg – Worth Mentioning

Pros:

  • Soap-free
  • Cruelty-free
  • Plant-derived cleansers
  • Classic fresh scent

Cons:

  • Some customers report the scent is too strong

Verified Customer Feedback
Verified buyers love this dog shampoo not only because it’s affordable, but because it works well on dogs with sensitive skin. It’s described as having a light and refreshing scent that keeps dogs smelling fresh for weeks after their bath. After using this product, one customer reports that it’s a lot easier to brush her pup’s coat. It’s ideal for stinky pups that need extra support staying fresh and clean for days and weeks after their baths. It allows you to space bath time out and permits your dog’s natural skin oils to do their work.

Price Point and Notable Features
This best dog shampoo is available in three sizes: an 18 ounce bottle, a 32 ounce bottle, and a one gallon bottle. The list price is $16.99 but Chewy offers 41% off, for a final price of $9.99 for the 18 ounce bottle. This shampoo formula is soap-free and uses plant-derived cleansers so you can easily wash off any dirt and grime and get your dog looking, feeling, and smelling fresh. It also incorporates special coat conditioners like vitamin E and aloe leaf juice to lock moisture into your dog’s coat. You’ll notice his coat, no matter how unruly, becomes softer, tangle-free, and a lot more manageable.

Why This Shampoo is a Top Pick
PetAg’s product is worth including because it’s ideal for dogs that have a less-than-pleasant smell, no matter how often you bathe them. You can work the formula into a luxurious lather and create a spa-like bath for your pup while the plant-based cleansers get to work. It can be used on puppies, adult dogs, and senior dogs to keep them clean and soften their fur with nourishing ingredients and extra conditioners. You’ll be surprised by how effective it is at keeping your pup smelling fresh for days and weeks on end. 

Summary
PetAg Fresh ‘N Clean smelling Dog Shampoo is a lifesaver. Using only natural cleansers along with special coat conditioners, it helps you clear dirt and debris from your pup’s fur while nourishing his skin and coat. Brushing is made easier because of the conditioning ingredients and cuddle time is made enjoyable because he smells fresh and clean. It’s soap-free and pH balanced, made especially for your pup – the ideal anytime shampoo that cleans, nourishes, and freshens with every bath!

Learn more about PetAg

4. Veterinary Formula Clinical Care – Vet-Approved

Pros:

  • Medicated shampoos
  • Relieves skin infections
  • Eliminates bacteria
  • Treats fungal infections

Cons:

  • Shampoo must remain on pet for five to 10 minutes before rinsing

Verified Customer Feedback
Customers are both excited and relieved that this medicated dog shampoo works to soothe their dogs’ skin. One customer shares that her white lab mix had developed redness and flaking skin that she scratched at day and night. After using this vet-approved medicated shampoo twice per week, her skin is a lot better and she has even decreased use to once per week. One shocked dog mom is thrilled because this best dog shampoo has changed the quality of her dog’s life. Dealing with environmental allergies and sensitive skin, her pup had redness and swelling-after using this shampoo, she’s made it her ultimate go-to to keep her pup happy and healthy.

Price Point and Notable Features
The list price of Veterinary Formula Clinical Care Antiseptic and Antifungal Shampoo is $8.99 for a 16 ounce bottle but when you purchase from Chewy, you can save 13% for a final price of $7.82. If you want to keep more of this best dog shampoo on hand, you can invest in the one gallon bottle for a cost of $59.99. This is one of the best medicated dog shampoo options and can relieve skin infections like dermatitis and pyoderma. It also includes benzethonium chloride to eliminate bacteria and ketoconazole to treat fungal infections.

Why This Shampoo is a Top Pick
This medicated shampoo made our top five because of its effectiveness combined with its affordability. Happy customers have saved $300+ that they would have spent on vet bills to treat some of the issues this aloe pet shampoo tackles. All ingredients in this formula have been thoroughly researched to provide you with a high-quality product that’s paraben-free. The active medicines deliver swift, effective relief and additional ingredients, like wheat germ oil, oatmeal, keratin, coconut oil, and aloe vera work to soothe and nourish your dog’s skin.

Summary
This over-the-counter medicated dog shampoo is made with eco-friendly ingredients, like aloe vera, that are 100% safe, non-toxic, and always cruelty-free. Treat your pet’s dermatological concerns at home with a vet-strength skin care formula that offers itchy skin relief, ear therapy, dandruff, and hot spot relief, all while your pup enjoys bath time. Simply work into a thick lather and massage thoroughly onto your pup’s skin, letting the formula sit for a few minutes. You can use this formula twice a week until symptoms dissipate and switch to once per week as a preventive treatment.

Learn more about Veterinary Formula

5. Richard’s Organics – Organic Focus

Pros:

  • Kills fleas and ticks
  • Repels mosquitoes
  • Contains cedarwood oil
  • 100% naturally derived

Cons:

  • Product can’t be shipped to California due to state regulations

Verified Customer Feedback
Customers are calling Richard’s Organics Flea and Tick Shampoo the best dog shampoo ever. Not only does it have a pleasant smell, but it also works as described. It deters pests, leaves dogs’ hair soft and shiny, and even helps to reduce and eliminate dandruff. Customers have shared this natural medicated dog shampoo with their friends and family because it works as intended and leaves their pups smelling fresh long after their bath.

Price Point and Notable Features
The cost of this dog shampoo is $7.07 for a 12 ounce bottle. Remember that with Chewy, if you select Autoship at checkout, you also get 5% off along with easy, regular deliveries. This shampoo offers natural protection against fleas and ticks with ingredients like peppermint oil, clove oil, cedar oil, cinnamon oil, and rosemary oil. These are naturally effective solutions that allow you to help your pet without the use of any harsh chemicals. Plus, when you keep harsh chemicals off your pet, you keep your family safe from exposure as well.

Why This Shampoo is a Top Pick
This dog shampoo made our list because it’s a natural medicated shampoo treatment that treats your pup safely; killing ticks and fleas while warding off other pests, all without exposing your pup or your family to harsh chemicals. It’s safe to use around your children and any other pets and your dog will experience massive relief. It’s safe for use with dogs 12 weeks and older and the cedarwood oil included in this formula is great for skin and coat conditioning. It doesn’t have any artificial colors or fragrances and it harnesses the power of five all-natural essential oils.

Summary
Use this natural dog shampoo on small, medium, and large breeds, whether they’re puppies, adult dogs, or senior dogs, they can relish in the benefits of this affordable flea and tick treatment shampoo. Keep in mind that when you first begin treating ticks, they rise to the top of your puppy’s fur. If you’re seeing more after his initial bath don’t worry, that’s expected. It means the shampoo is working! Just keep applying, as it may take up to 30 days to break the entire flea life cycle.

Learn more about Richard’s Organics

What to Consider When Deciding on a Dog Shampoo?

Choosing the best dog shampoos requires you to consider your dog’s coat and skin without any ingredients your dog doesn’t need, like all harsh chemicals. To choose the best dog shampoo for your pup, keep the following in mind:

Address any skin issues your pup has
Dog shampoos are often formulated to treat specific skin issues. Know upfront what kind of skin issues your pup may have, and then select a product that is geared toward treating that specific ailment.

Make sure there are no ingredients your dog is allergic to
Before purchasing a pet shampoo, make sure that the ingredients list is clear of any ingredients your dog may be allergic to. If you’re not sure if your dog is allergic to any one of the ingredients listed, do a small patch test to see how your dog’s skin reacts.

The best dog shampoos maintain the perfect skin pH
Your pooch’s skin requires a specific pH balance around 7.52. Make sure that any shampoo you purchase accomplishes its objective while protecting your pup’s skin pH.

Pay mind to your canine’s skin sensitivity
Dogs with extra sensitive skin require a more focused product that includes antibacterial properties. Dog shampoos designed for sensitive skin can also help to relieve itchy skin and irritation.

Always be aware of your dog’s skin type
Depending on the type of breed, your dog may require special attention. For example, a Dalmatian can enjoy many benefits from whitening dog shampoos that easily remove stains that show up throughout their body, mainly around their paws. Additionally, you can determine whether your dog has normal skin, oily skin, or dry skin. Choose a best dog shampoo that is formulated to work with their specific skin type.

Consider organic and biodegradable options
Choosing organic best dog shampoos and biodegradable formulas can help your pup enjoy a cleaner feel without the use of any harsh chemicals. Organic and biodegradable dog shampoos help to get your dog clean without any irritation.

Confirm shampoo is FDA approved
If you do choose an organic option, make sure that it is certified organic. It should have a relevant label to confirm. You should also purchase products that are approved by the FDA. This way, you know that it is truly a best dog shampoo that has been thoroughly checked for efficacy and safety.

How Often Should I Use Shampoo on My Dog?

This is a great question that can have different variables, which means there will be a different answer depending on your dog’s unique needs. The type of coat your dog has is one important factor, his daily activity is another consideration, and whether he has allergies or skin conditions can impact how often you use shampoo on your dog.

Generally speaking, and assuming your dog doesn’t have any allergies or skin conditions, a good shampoo and bath monthly should suffice. You can even stretch out the time to three months but that should really be the maximum you wait to bathe your dog with pet shampoo. Dogs only need to be thoroughly washed when they’re smelly or dirty, and if your dog is not extremely active and outdoors a lot then he may not get as dirty or stinky as other dogs.

Your pup has natural oils in his fur, which can be disrupted if you bathe him with shampoo too often. To prevent dry skin and irritation, bathe a maximum of twice per month. Listen to your dog’s needs and bathe him as frequently or infrequently as he requires.

Dogs that spend a lot of time outdoors, in the woods camping alongside you, or dogs that work out on the field will require a lot more attention than a lapdog. Similarly, if you have a dog that sheds a lot, daily brushing will help-but if you really want to tackle the main issue, bathing can pull out the loose fur from your dog’s coat. Therefore, bathing prevents all the shedding throughout your house. If it’s shedding season, you may want to pay more attention to bathing with dog shampoo.

Remember that your dog’s coat may require special care. Dogs that have medium to long coats may entail bathing them twice per month to properly maintain their coats. There are also dogs that don’t have long coats that require regular bathing with dog shampoo to prevent oil buildup. Some of these breeds include the Peruvian Hairless dog and the Chinese Crested breed!

Along with tailoring your bathing schedule to your dog’s activity level and his coat type, you should also pay attention to any skin conditions he may have, as that will also dictate how frequently you should use dog shampoo. If your pup has any skin conditions or allergies, be sure to use a dog shampoo that caters to his needs. Even if you choose not to bathe your dog yourself, you should still supply your groomer with the appropriate dog shampoo that expertly cares for his skin.

Can You Use Human Shampoo on Dogs?

You might not think twice about it and decide to use human shampoo on a dirty dog. The fact is, human skin is a lot less sensitive than dog skin and you could be irritating your pup’s skin and coat, inadvertently hurting him for the convenience of using something you already have.

Your dog has a completely different pH balance than you do. Your skin’s normal pH balance is somewhere between 5.5 and 5.6, which lands on the acidic side of the scale. The pH balance of your canine’s skin is somewhere between the 6.2 and 7.6 range, which lands on the neutral part of the scale.

When you use human shampoo on a dog, you completely destroy the acid mantle, which is a thin layer of skin that protects your pup’s body by keeping it hydrated while it wards off any bacteria and viruses. If the acid mantle is disrupted by human shampoo, your dog’s natural skin defense becomes vulnerable to different bacteria, viruses, and parasites. Additionally, it completely dries out their skin, which creates a dry, flaky, uncomfortable layer that your pup will scratch at and fuss with.

You’ve seen your dog scratch himself – he’s not exactly gentle. And if he’s experiencing exceptionally itchy skin, he’s likely to create small abrasions throughout his skin, which leaves him even more susceptible to bacteria invasions. In a pinch, a small amount of human shampoo won’t hurt your dog, but you should plan to have dog shampoo on hand at all times for whenever your pup needs a bath. You can plan for a monthly bath time, but dogs are unpredictable and can sometimes come home with muddy paws or an odor that tells you he spooked a skunk.

Another important consideration for when you wash your dog with dog shampoo Is the rinse. Rinsing dog shampoo off of your dog’s body will take significantly longer than lathering him up. Make sure that you are taking enough time to thoroughly rinse the dog shampoo out of your dog’s coat so that your dog’s skin can be completely cleaned and clear of any debris and dog shampoo residue.

Benefits of Regular Bathing with Dog Shampoo

Just like you keep your dog’s nails trimmed and make sure to brush out his hair, bathing also has several benefits that keep your dog in a healthy state. Some of those benefits include:

Preventing painful matting
Especially when your dog has a medium or a longer coat, matting can occur on any part of their body. Matting is when the hair tangles and knots to such an extent that it begins pulling on the skin. They can be an extremely painful experience for your dog and removing matts may also require a professional groomer’s assistance. Regular bathing is an act of love that prevents conditions like this from occurring.

Loose hair removal
Your pup sheds and that’s made evident by all the loose fur found throughout your house. Especially on their favorite blanket, you can always find a good patch of loose fur that your dog has shed. To help prevent excessive shedding, regular bathing allows for the removal of loose fur and keeps your pet more comfortable and your home tidier.

Exfoliates the skin
Bathing helps to exfoliate your pooch’s skin, which keeps it in a healthy state. You can prevent the development of uncomfortable skin conditions by regularly keeping up with your pup’s bathing schedule.

A coat free from dirt and debris
Dogs will be dogs and that means sometimes they like to roll around in the dirt. Regular bathing with good dog shampoos keeps your dog clean and pulls out any loose debris from his coat.

The final benefit is ultimately yours, because when dogs are cleaned regularly, they are a lot happier, more grateful, and they smell a lot better. You can enjoy cuddle time without having to pinch your nose or breathe away from them and can relish in knowing that your dog is clean and healthy.

Conclusion

Your dog has different needs throughout his lifetime; this is made obvious when he suddenly stops touching his favorite foods, when his activity levels change, and when his grooming needs shift. Sometimes, he needs a good bath after a dip in the river or ocean and sometimes, he needs more care because he’s dealing with itchy skin following an allergic breakout.

No matter what he needs, there are some great dog shampoo brands out there that can deliver the care he requires – neatly packaged into a small bottle. There are many actions you can take to improve the quality of your pup’s life, and one of those actions is regular bathing with a quality dog shampoo. Sometimes, a happy wagging tail is all you need to know you’re doing the pet parent thing right.