12 Dog Shampoos To Help Combat Dry, Itchy Skin
Your pup might know how to "speak" when treats are involved, but that doesn't exactly mean he knows how to talk. And since dry, itchy skin can be tough to pinpoint (unless it's your own, of course!), you'll need to pay attention to signs of potential skin issues.
Determining whether your dog has dry, itchy skin doesn't have to be difficult, as long as you know what to watch out for. That way, if your pup's dry skin becomes an issue, you can incorporate products like specially-formulated soaps and shampoos into his routine that provide some relief.
How To Tell if Your Dog Has Dry Skin
Symptoms of doggie dry skin are not that far off from how our human dry skin shows up. But unlike us, dogs can't just slather on lotion when winter weather chaps their epidermis! They need your help in noticing the signs of dryness, so you can address with vet-approved treatments and solutions.
Watch for visual clues that may mean your dog has dry skin, like itching, dandruff or flaky skin, pimple-like lesions, and even hair loss. Other signs that could mean your dog's dealing with dryness: excessive scratching, licking, or biting at their skin. It's also possible your pup will try to rub their face and body against furniture or the rug to get a good scratch in.
If you notice your dog exhibit these symptoms, talk with your vet. They'll be able to help determine the cause of their itchy skin and recommend treatment options if needed.
Reasons Dogs Might Have Dry Skin
Dogs can experience dry skin for a multitude of reasons. Cold, dry weather, harsh shampoos, or poor nutrition can all be factors. Another is allergies—canines get allergies just like humans do, from food, their environment, or seasonally. If left untreated, allergies can result in a skin condition called atopic dermatitis. If your pup is experiencing dermatitis, your vet may suggest giving your pet a weekly bath with a soothing shampoo to help remove allergens. Your vet may also recommend a treatment, like a topical ointment or medicine, to provide additional relief.
But even with specially-formulated shampoos, the "rinse" step in "wash, rinse, repeat" is key to keeping your pup's skin comfortable. "Keeping in mind when you wash with any kind of shampoo … [If you] don't rinse it thoroughly enough, it can actually cause more dry and itchy skin," Allison Brooks Sebastian, a professional dog groomer in Georgetown, Ky., says. Both the quality of the soap and the bathing technique play a role in combating dryness.
What To Look for in Dog Shampoo
Pet parents whose dog suffers from dry or itchy skin will want to be selective when choosing bath products. There are many options that are formulated to prevent itching. Paraben- and dye-free shampoos can help keep your pup's naturally-occurring oils in their skin and fur, and keep dryness at bay. Read on for our top picks for dog shampoo to soothe itchy, dry skin.
AdVet Hygienics Natural Cleanse Dog Shampoo - Groomer recommended!
“My number one for dry and itchy skin is AdVet! It’s medical-grade but available to anyone without vet care,” Sebastian says. “The owner of the company was tired of his personal dogs always being itchy and nothing working that was being recommended, so he decided to create his own and it’s truly amazing. It’s fixed my own pup’s itchy problems.”
Shop now: AdVet Hygienics Natural Cleans Dog Shampoo, $20; chewy.com
Pets Are Kids Too Oatmeal Anti-Itch Shampoo & Conditioner
If the name of the brand doesn’t win you over, the facts probably will. This shampoo works as a cleanser and as an anti-bacterial/anti-fungal treatment for sensitive pet skin. It also helps reduce shedding (for both dogs AND cats) and smells like a fresh oatmeal cookie. Does it get better than this?
Shop now: Pets Are Kids Too Oatmeal Anti-Itch Shampoo & Conditioner, $17; amazon.com
Burt's Bees Oatmeal Shampoo with Colloidal Oat Flour & Honey for Dogs
Already a Burt’s Bees fan? Look no further. Your favorite brand also makes products for dogs, and just like the human products, they’re made in the USA without artificial fragrances or animal testing. With colloidal oat flour to deep condition and honey for shine, this shampoo helps your dog retain moisture in their coat.
Shop now: Burt's Bees Oatmeal Shampoo with Colloidal Oat Flour & Honey for Dogs, $6; chewy.com
Veterinary Formula Clinical Care Antiparasitic & Antiseborrheic Medicated Dog Shampoo
“I've been fighting severe dandruff with my 13-year-old Chihuahua for a few years,” one reviewer says. “I tried this shampoo and even my veterinarian was impressed with how much my dog's coat cleared up after just the first use! After the third shampooing, the dandruff was almost completely gone, even a week later. Now she seems to feel better and her coat looks great!”
Shop now: Veterinary Formula Clinical Care Antiparasitic & Antiseborrheic Medicated Dog Shampoo, $9; amazon.com
Wahl Oatmeal Formula Coconut Lime Verbena Pet Shampoo Concentrate
Forget that wet dog smell because Wahl is here to save the day. Reviewers rave over the fresh coconut lime scent of this gentle hydrating shampoo. It’s a plant-based formula and ingredients includes aloe for extra soothing properties.
Shop now: Wahl Oatmeal Formula Coconut Lime Verbena Pet Shampoo Concentrate, $7; target.com
Douxo Chlorhexidine PS Dog & Cat Shampoo
For more advanced skin issues, try this shampoo by Duoxo that contains a mix of bacteria-fighting ingredients. Five-star reviews share stories of how this shampoo turned things around for their pet’s health conditions, and saved them money because they didn't have to keep buying more shampoos to find the right fit. The anti-inflammatory properties help eliminate itching—your pet will thank you.
Shop now: Douxo Chlorhexidine PS Dog & Cat Shampoo, $30; chewy.com
Paws & Pals Dog Shampoo & Conditioner for Pets
Paws & Pals boasts all-natural vegan ingredients in their dry skin shampoo. One reviewer writes, “I have bought several bottles of this dog shampoo. It's the only shampoo I have found that doesn't irritate my dog's sensitive skin, rinses easily, comes out of the bottle easily while I'm dealing with a wiggly dog, and [at] a very reasonable price.”
Shop now: Paws & Pals Dog Shampoo & Conditioner for Pets, $15; walmart.com
Critter Concepts Natural Dog Shampoo for Dry Itchy Sensitive Skin
A combination of ingredients such as tea tree oil, sunflower oil, shea butter, and vitamins E and B5 make this plant-based shampoo the perfect relief for any dog’s itching. The anti-itch shampoo is also meant to help soothe your dog's hot spots, fleas, bug bites, and burns (though you'll want to check with your vet before washing a pup with open sores or scratches).
Shop now: Critter Concepts Natural Dog Shampoo for Dry Itchy Sensitive Skin, $18; amazon.com
PL360 Soothing Shampoo For Dogs
Cleanse and soothe all the way down to the undercoat and skin with this conditioning canine shampoo. The naturally occurring honey almond scent smells almost as good as your dog will feel after a bath. Plus, the brand promises that the shampoo can be used alongside topical flea and tick treatments without affecting the results.
Shop now: PL360 Soothing Shampoo For Dogs, $10; target.com
TropiClean Hypoallergenic Gentle Coconut Puppy & Kitten Shampoo
A yummy coconut scent makes nuzzling into your pup even sweeter. This shampoo is specifically formulated for puppies and kittens and gently moisturizes and softens even the most sensitive skin. It’s also free from dyes and parabens. A win-win!
Shop now: TropiClean Hypo-Allergenic Gentle Coconut Puppy & Kitten Shampoo, $11; chewy.com
Oliver’s Choice Dog Shampoo with Oatmeal and Aloe
Countless five-star reviews talk about the delicious, long-lasting scent this soothing shampoo has to offer. One reviewer couldn’t stop gushing over it: “Do you have a dog with a mixed coat? Are you skincare obsessed? Do you [like] cookies? How about oatmeal cookies? Have you ever wanted your dog to smell like oatmeal cookies? [Then] this shampoo is for you! [My] dog both smells and feels good!”
Shop now: Oliver’s Choice Dog Shampoo with Oatmeal and Aloe, $14; amazon.com
Vet's Best Allergy Itch Relief Shampoo for Dogs
This shampoo is designed to provide relief for itchiness associated with allergies. The brand was developed by Dr. Dawn Curie Thomas in the ‘80s to promote pet wellness without harsh ingredients. The gentle formula washes away allergens and a touch of tea tree oil soothes irritated skin.
Shop now: Vet's Best Allergy Itch Relief Shampoo for Dogs, $16; chewy.com