Best Dog Shampoo of 2023 – Top 5 Vet Preferred Choices

Part of the responsibility of taking care of the dog that cares for you is to ensure they are clean. Dogs take care of parts of this themselves (in varying degrees by pup, of course), but not to the extent of cats, who largely groom themselves entirely. Dogs, on the other hand, need regular bathing to ensure both skin and coat health, as well as general cleanliness.

Since nobody likes a dirty dog, we’ve compiled the best of the best dog shampoo products available on the market today and ranked them for you in this handy list. We worked like dogs to make this list to save you from researching the wide variety of products out there and have a simple, go-to list to pull from. They say every dog has its day and today the following products get their moment in the sun. Start with whichever brand sounds best, as you can’t go wrong with any of our best dog shampoos, but be sure to dog-ear this page so you can come back and try another one next!

5 Best Dog Shampoos

1. Honest Paws – Top Dog – Best Overall Dog Shampoo

2. Buddy Wash – Doggone Dual-Action Dominance 

3. PetAg – Two-Week Fragrant Freshness

4. Burt’s Bees – Puppy Preening Perfection

5. Veterinary Formula Clinical Care – Medicated Cleansing & Relief

Best Dog Shampoo – In-Depth Reviews

1. Honest Paws – Top Dog – Best Overall Dog Shampoo


  • The 5-in-1 formula does everything your dog needs at once
  • Plant-based formula
  • For dogs of all breeds and all ages beyond 12 weeks


The Honest Paws 5-in-1 Dog Wash is the quintessential dog shampoo. The expectation of dog shampoos is that they clean your pooch and 5-in-1 accomplishes this, of course, but it also does a little bit of everything and does it well. 

First, Honest Paws’ dog wash cleans your pup with a proven formula that is gentle enough for your dog’s skin while being effective enough to lift the dirt off of his or her coat. Next, the conditioning element smooths your dog’s coat while detangling the fur for ease of brushing and petting. Third, Honest Paws dog shampoo deodorizes your pup to deactivate the various things he or she rolled around in or nosed through on their various travels. Dog owners know what we mean when we say there are a wide variety of smells your dog can bring home for which you don’t even want to know the source! 

Fourth on the list of Honest Paws product features is the moisturizing function. Including aloe vera extract and other moisturizers means this product helps your dog’s skin in a variety of ways. Dogs with irritated skin, dry and itchy skin, or even sensitive skin benefit from the natural ingredients in this dog shampoo. The plant-based formula is clever, in that it helps your dog’s skin flourish while also cleaning your pup’s fur and retaining the natural oils that your dog needs to keep your dog’s coat and skin healthy. 

The final feature in this 5-in-1 dog wash is a detangler. Any dog parent of a long-haired breed like an Afghan Hound, Shih Tzu, or Yorkshire Terrier knows that everyday grooming can be cumbersome and time-consuming. This is especially true if your pup’s long locks are in brambles. The detangler feature in Honest Paws is of particular value to long-haired breeds but helps your dog’s coat either way.

Tail Waggin’ Discounts and Deals

Since dog shampoo is something you need to use regularly, it’s helpful that the Honest Paws website offers a 15 percent discount for automatic refill orders. Honest Paws also has an adorably-named rewards program, called the Honest Paws Flea Market. Every purchase contributes points to your rewards cache and you can redeem those points for a variety of products or for straightforward dollars-off savings on your purchases. 

Why it’s One of Our Top Dog Shampoos

All-in-all, the five major features of the Honest Paws 5-in-1 Dog Wash cover the full gamut of your dog’s needs. Pair all of these benefits with a plant-based formula that dispenses with the extras and does its job fully and effectively without additives or synthetics, and you have a winning combination in every category. And that’s the dog’s honest truth about why Honest Paws 5-in-1 Dog Wash tops our best dog shampoo list.

Learn more about Honest Paws dog shampoo

2. Buddy Wash – Doggone Dual-Action Dominance 


  • Two-in-one formula 
  • Cosmetic-grade ingredients
  • Soap-free


At its core, Buddy Wash Original is a dog shampoo and conditioner in one product. But that doesn’t tell the whole story at all. The magic comes through in its natural line of cosmetic-grade ingredients, as it is coconut-oil based and made up of essential oils lavender and mint. These are joined by natural oils, aloe vera, sage, nettle, and rosemary. Wheat protein extract, vitamins E and C, and tea tree oil round out the ingredients. 

These ingredients combine to provide powerful, natural conditioners to balance out the cleaning properties and the natural deodorizer of wheat protein. Botanical extracts and essential oils sound like a day at the spa and that’s exactly what Buddy Wash is going for: a pampered pup who is clean, conditioned, and comfy.

Buddy Wash dog shampoo comes in a 16 oz. bottle, a one-gallon bottle, or a bundle of two 16-ounce bottles. Its natural ingredients are effective enough for a good, clean pup, but gentle enough for frequent use, even by puppies. Inclusion of aloe vera also specifically helps with irritated skin, so if you have a pup with itchy skin or sensitive skin, this is a great choice. 

Tail Waggin’ Discounts and Deals

Opting into the autoship option on saves you an extra five percent on each order and carries additional perks, including that you can cancel it anytime. 

Why it’s One of Our Top Dog Shampoos

Buddy Wash Original is a strong contender on our list of the best dog shampoo brands. Its dual-action is bolstered by natural ingredients that are made in the USA, are alcohol-free and with its essential oils is more reminiscent of a spa treatment than a simple shampoo. 

Learn more about Buddy Wash dog shampoo

3. PetAg – Two-Week Fragrant Freshness 


  • Fresh scent and odor control that lasts up to two weeks
  • Soap-free and plant-based cleansing agents
  • Moisturizes and shines a dog’s coat 

Hot Dog Product Review and Features

The PetAg Fresh ‘N Clean dog shampoo sets itself apart from others on this list with a long-lasting odor controlling and fresh scent feature. This unique feature keeps your pup smelling great for up to two weeks after use. The “classic fresh” scent of this dog shampoo is befitting of its name, with each sniff of your clean pupper resulting in the raising of your head to breathe in deeply and exhale with satisfaction at how great she or he smells. 

While the two-week freshness scent is a “cosmetic” feature, it is far from alone in terms of plusses from using Fresh ‘N Clean scented dog shampoo; Fresh ‘N Clean employs a plant-based cleansing agent that is soap-free to avoid irritants, itchy skin and allergies, while effectively removing dirt from your best friend. 

Your dog’s coat benefits greatly from this best dog shampoo as well, with moisturizers, vitamin E, coat conditioners, and aloe vera leaf juice combining to provide coat detangling. These ingredients lock moisture in and make your pup’s coat manageable, smooth, and lovely to the touch. 

PetAg Fresh ‘N Clean comes in 18 oz. bottles, 32 oz. bottles, and in a one-gallon size as well. 

Tail Waggin’ Discounts and Deals

At the time of writing, you could nab a full 49 percent off discount on for PetAg Fresh ‘N Clean and an extra five percent off by signing up for autoship orders. 

Why it’s One of Our Top Dog Shampoos

PetAg’s entry to our list of the best dog shampoos stands out from competitors chiefly with its long-lasting two-week fresh scent. You want your dog to be clean and it helps for your best friend to smell the part as well. In that sense, longer is better. Fresh ‘N Clean does the job on all counts and adds the unique scent length to put it over the top and onto the third place on our list.

Learn more about PetAg dog shampoo

4. Burt’s Bees – Puppy Preening Perfection


  • pH balanced specifically for puppies
  • Gentle cleansing for new pups
  • Made with buttermilk 


Burt’s Bees Tearless Puppy Shampoo is the only entry on our list made specifically for puppies. How does it differ from other formulas and what makes it special to puppies in particular? The answer lies in both pH balancing, the way the cleansing agents work, and the inclusion of special ingredients like buttermilk. 

The Burt’s Bees brand is known for its largely natural approach and this rings true in the formula, which is made from 99.7 percent natural ingredients. This dog shampoo is specially formulated with a pH balance made for young puppies and their new skin and coats’ special needs. A dog’s skin is less acidic than humans, so this pH balance matters and your pupper will thank you for it, as the proper balance keeps the formula from causing skin issues. Other non-puppy formulas could lead to dry and itchy skin, redness, flaking, and eventually might develop sensitive skin for your dog. 

The cleansers in this Tearless Puppy Shampoo are honey and buttermilk based, making it effective at removing dirt, while remaining especially light and easy on a puppy’s young, sensitive skin and pliably smooth on their coat’s hair follicles. 

Burt’s Bees takes great care with its ingredients and it shows. There are no fragrances and no sulfates included in the formula and there are no coloring agents, either. In fact, the balance of this formulation is so precise that you can use it freely without worrying about it washing off any topical flea or tick treatment you may have applied to your young dog’s coat. 

Buttermilk helps keep your puppy’s skin soft, helps it stay soothed and avoid irritants, and honey helps your pup’s coat retain moisture. These advantages lead to a healthier coat, better skin, better fur growth, and a healthier pup, overall.

Editor’s Note: The “tearless” factor also speaks to great ingredients and balanced formulation, but you should still avoid getting any of this shampoo in your puppy’s eyes. 

Tail Waggin’ Discounts and Deals

As of the time of writing, this puppy dog shampoo was on sale on for 37 percent off, plus an extra 25 percent off at checkout! This amazing deal is augmented even further with another additional five percent off if you sign up for autoship recurring orders. 

Why it’s One of Our Top Dog Shampoos

Burt’s Bees Tearless Puppy Shampoo with Buttermilk is the kind of product you can tell was made with care by people who have puppies of their own. This dog shampoo is specially formulated for young pups and is made with gentle cleansing ingredients to clean your puppy without overdoing it and to provide the benefits of a bath without any downsides. Here’s to your pup’s clean, fresh growth, and here’s to healthy puppy skin and coats!

Learn more about BURT’S BEES dog shampoo

5. Veterinary Formula Clinical Care – Medicated Cleansing & Relief


  • Medicated dog shampoo formula
  • Relieves dermatitis & pyoderma
  • Veterinarian recommended for bacterial and fungal conditions


Veterinary Formula Clinical Care Antiseptic & Antifungal Shampoo is your best bet for dogs who suffer from fungal or bacterial skin conditions. As you can imagine, a dog with such a skin condition as dermatitis or pyoderma has different needs than a dog with normal skin. Ingredients like benzethonium chloride and ketoconazole provide the antiseptic, antimicrobial, and antifungal properties of this medicated dog shampoo which also includes aloe vera to soothe irritated, dry skin. 

The Antiseptic & Antifungal Shampoo is veterinary recommended and paraben-free, adding to its immense value as one of the best medicated shampoos. Since this is a medicated shampoo with specific functions to relieve the symptoms of dermatitis and pyoderma, the application of this dog shampoo is different than others on this list. In particular, once you lather your pup, this product is intended to be kept on their fur for five to ten minutes. 

The concept here is similar to the great handwashing update of 2020 where, during the COVID-19 pandemic, many of the people of the world learned to wash their hands more effectively by letting the soap remain on their skin for longer. This is the same idea at play here, as the extra time on the dog’s skin and coat helps the formula fight fungal and bacterial infections. 

Furthering this concept and unique to this product is the cadence at which you should shampoo your dog. Puppers with skin conditions should be shampooed twice weekly until the conditions discontinue. Then you should switch to once per week. 

Due to the increased frequency of use, it’s helpful that the Antiseptic & Antifungal Shampoo comes in both a 16 oz. bottle and also a one-gallon bottle. 

Tail Waggin’ Discounts and Deals

Save 24 percent off the retail price at as of the time of writing, with an additional five percent off for automated reorder shipments. 

Why it’s One of Our Top Dog Shampoos

The Antiseptic & Antifungal Shampoo from Veterinary Formula Clinical Care made our best dog shampoo list because dogs with skin conditions need love and cleanliness too. This medicated dog shampoo provides the cleanliness and, by reducing your dog’s scratching and irritated symptoms, makes it easier for you to provide the love part more directly with less itchy skin and more belly rubs.

Learn more about Veterinary Formula Clinical Care dog shampoo

How We Selected Our Best Dog Shampoo Choices

It’s a dog-eat-dog world, and plenty of other dog shampoo brands ended up in the dog house rather than on our list. That’s because we put in the work to ensure you have before you here the very best dog shampoo brands that are sure to have you wagging like a dog with two tails. We built this list by judging each brand on effectiveness, availability, features, and brand reputation, and even took into account customer reviews so you have a full picture of what you’re getting.

How to Choose the Right Dog Shampoo for Your Dog

Choosing the right shampoo can be difficult. There are so many brands and types of dog shampoo to consider. But there are a few things to keep in mind when choosing which one to buy that will help narrow it down.

First, you need to think about your dog’s coat. Dogs with short hair don’t need a lot of shampoo, but dogs with long hair might need something that will keep their fur clean and smelling nice for longer periods of time. 

Next, think about how often you want to bathe your dog. If you want them bathed every week or two then you’ll want a shampoo that lasts for at least two weeks between baths. 

Lastly, consider the size of your dog because some shampoos come in different sizes based on weight or age (such as puppy or senior) so they last longer.

If you’re lucky enough to have a dog that never needs a bath, then you’ll probably want to stick with just one type of dog shampoo and the brand that your vet recommended. But if your pooch is constantly getting dirty, then you’ll want to find one that will keep them smelling good for a long time between showers. 

We also recommend that you choose a dog shampoo with a gentle formula because some can irritate a dog’s skin or eyes, aggravate sensitive skin, and all shampoos will dry out their coat, so find one that’s gentle enough for your dog.

Benefits of Regular Bathing for Your Dog

Regularly bathing your pet doesn’t have to be a chore. Not to mention there are actually a few good reasons to make it a habit in your routine between you and your pooch. Aside from giving your nose a reprieve from a stinky pet, bathing your dog regularly is beneficial to the health of man’s best friend. Maintaining a regular grooming and bathing routine can also be a great way to build trust and create a deeper and improved bond between you and your dog, especially if you have a new adopted member. 

The health benefits of bathing your dog start for you and your dog together. Bathing your dog regularly can help reduce allergens produced by your dog’s skin and fur. Reducing those allergens can relieve itchy skin for your pooch and sneezing or itchy watery eyes for humans in the household. Sudsing up Sparky can also reduce the risk for skin fungal infections as well as reduce the risk for other infections and gives the pet owner the opportunity to take the time to monitor your pet’s health by being able to observe your dog’s features while washing and rinsing from head to tail. 

Regular bathing of your dog can also reduce shedding which is fantastic news for any pet owner that is somewhat tired of wearing their dog’s coat as part of their wardrobe every time they leave their home. It also helps soften their fur and help keep your dog’s skin healthy, especially if a dog shampoo with added moisturizers like aloe vera or colloidal oatmeal benefits is regularly used. 

What is the Difference Between Dog and Human Shampoo?

Have you ever thought that because you wash your own hair with your favorite shampoo that surely it should be okay to wash your puppers with the same? Would you be surprised to find out that would actually leave your dog more susceptible to contracting harmful bacteria and viruses? 

Although you might sneak some of your snacks, share the same blanket while you snuggle and watch a movie, or even sleep together in the same bed, you and your pet are pretty doggone different when it comes to what kind of shampoo is needed to get your pooch the cleanest. 

Canines, whether purebred or mixed breeds, have more sensitive skin than humans. Only having three to five layers of skin cells, it is extremely easy to irritate and cause dermis disruption on our four legged friends. In comparison, humans actually have 10-15 layers of skin cells and are surprisingly more closely related to pig skin. 

The top layer of skin, canine or human, is protected by a thin layer called the acid mantle. Such a serious name means it has to have an incredible job, right? This thin layer not only absorbs water through the skin but actually helps protect the skin from bacteria, viruses, or other contaminants. Bathing and washing breaks down the acid mantle leaving the skin vulnerable but this is why using the proper shampoo is essential. Shampoos equip the skin, protecting it while the acid mantle rebuilds and helps keep the skin moisturized. Purchasing a shampoo that has moisturizing properties but also features less chemicals also helps maintain the pH balance for dogs and humans alike. 

The acid mantle is key to maintaining proper skin health but in order for the acid mantle to carry out its function, the pH level of the skin must be at the precise level and proper balance. Much like the layers of skin, humans and canines differ in these levels. Canine pH levels are considered to be neutral balanced between 6.2 to 7.4 whereas human pH levels are labeled acidic balance 5.5 to 5.6. 

Understanding the delicate balance of pH levels and the necessity of how they affect the acid mantle and its role in the protection of the skin is important because human shampoos and dog shampoos are made to cater to those differences. Using human shampoos on dogs can disrupt the delicate pH balance leaving the acid mantle unable to protect the dog’s skin, leaving your dog in an unhealthy and vulnerable position. Risks range from flaky dry skin, long-term sensitive skin issues, skin abrasions, bacterial infections, parasites, and even viruses.  

What Can I Use to Wash My Dog if I Don’t Have Dog Shampoo?

Did your tail wagger decide to do some muddy puddle jumping only for you to discover you were out of dog shampoo? Your first instinct may be to grab your human shampoo but try to avoid that so your four legged friend doesn’t get irritated skin. Don’t worry, our review team has some alternative options to help alleviate the wet dog smell and are a pawsitive option when out of dog shampoo.

If your dog just needs a quick cleaning, baby wipes are a great option. Baby wipes are produced for sensitive skin and are designed to use on even the most sensitive newborn skin. Baby wipes are relatively inexpensive and come in a clean, fresh can’t help but take a big whiff “ahhh” smell which will leave your pooch smelling nice and clean. Simply take a baby wipe and start wiping down your dog’s fur with a wipe until you are pleased with the quick cleaning job, keeping in mind to avoid the eyes as wipes might burn. Our review team wants to remind you again that this method is for a quick clean refresh for your pet and will take A LOT of wipes if this method is chosen for larger and dirtier needs. 

If you notice your dog’s coat might be a little lackluster for a play date and maybe you don’t have time for a bath, a natural alternative to dog shampoos to help absorb some shine is cornstarch. Our review team highly suggests trying this method outside to avoid a powdery mess inside your living space. This method doesn’t work well if your dog is wet or muddy or otherwise needs mud or other grime or debris removed from their fur but it does help with odor control. Simply shake some cornstarch into their fur and work it in with your hands, allowing it to absorb and sit for a few minutes before brushing it out with a dog comb or grooming brush. 

It is worth noting a similar natural alternative and another pantry staple is baking soda. The application method and technique is the same and suggestions of applying outside should also be highly considered. These two ingredients, working like natural dry shampoos, are great as backups when needing to bring some life back to your pet’s fur or wanting to control some real stinkers in your family’s wolf pack. Our review team doesn’t promise this will return them to being as clean as a hound’s tooth but it will help mitigate and control odor in the fur quickly and naturally if you find yourself in a fix without shampoo. 

If the situation is more urgent and does require a rinse in the tub then a great grab go-to is baby shampoo. Much like the baby wipes listed in the first option, this is a sensitive skin and gentle treatment cleaner that is more effective when dirtier clean-up is necessary. Our review team finds it important to remind our readers to not make a habit of this, as one of the best dog shampoos is always the best option for washing our furry friends. This is just a viable option when you are out of shampoo and need a quick wash to put the “adorb” back in “labradorable”. Baby shampoo is still human shampoo and even though it is made for a human baby’s sensitive skin and eyes, extended use for washing your dog can cause your dog to have dry or irritated skin. Using baby shampoo to bathe your dog is fairly simple. Just dampen your dog’s fur thoroughly with room temperature to barely warm water, so as to not burn your pet, apply the shampoo, lather, and rinse until the water runs clear and fur is no longer soapy. 

Last but certainly not least, is a homemade shampoo option if all else fails and your faithful companion really needs a good lather. Easy as can be to make, it is simply one quart of water mixed with one cup of dish soap and an optional one cup of apple cider vinegar if you keep that ingredient handy in your pantry. Word to the wise on this one: It’s a great, super easy, and super convenient shampoo that does help get your doggo clean in times of need but also expect soapy suds in excess in comparison to the baby shampoo or when thinking back to prior washes with dog shampoos you have used in the past. Our longer-furred friends are going to take a tad bit longer to be suds free with this homemade shampoo so give yourself a little bit longer for bathing time. 


Here we have covered the best dog shampoo options available on the market today. You have the best options overall, multi-benefit options, long-lasting freshness, and both a puppy-specific and medicated shampoo option to cover all the bases of dog shampoo cleanliness. The next step is deciding which one to try first! Best of luck out there and may all your puppy baths end in face licks and tail wags.

This article has been supplied by Originated Media, a paid advertiser. The editorial staff of Chicago magazine had no role in this post’s preparation.