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7 Best Dog Shampoos for Dry, Itchy Skin

After living with your dog for ten days or maybe ten years, you might have noticed them occasionally scratching themselves. If you suspect that your pet is scratching themselves more often than is normal, keep an eye on them. Do they scratch the same spot over and over without stopping?

Poor pooch! Your dog might be experiencing the effects of dry or itchy skin.

What Causes Dry and Itchy Skin in Dogs?

Take a look at the skin in the area where they are regularly scratching. Does that spot appear to be red, swollen, or overly dry? If so, there might be an underlying condition going on.

Dry skin is very common for both dogs and people at different times of the year, but here are some possible explanations:

  • Allergies
  • Dry air
  • Cold weather
  • Fleas or ticks
  • Skin infection
  • A hormone imbalance

If your dog is experiencing an allergy, try to remove the allergen whenever possible. Some dogs are allergic to types of meats, the material of their dog bowls, or certain cleaning supplies. Dogs can also experience dust allergies, so be sure to often clean surfaces in your home.

If you spot fleas, ticks, or other pests on your dog’s skin, that might require separate treatments and shampoo. Your dog’s health is of paramount importance. If they’re experiencing other health issues or their itching doesn’t calm down, it is time to bring them to the vet.

How Do You Decide What Shampoo Is Best for Your Dog?

One remedy pet parents have to help their dogs overcome their itchy skin is a bath. As long as your dog is not scratching due to an infestation that requires its own special shampoo, you are best off using a product made to address itchiness.

Here are a few of our favorite brands and types of dog shampoo specifically formulated to soothe itchy skin:

1. Skout’s Honor

Skout’s Honor is a brand that is fully dedicated to dog wellness. They utilize probiotics to help your dog feel better, look better, and be better.

This shampoo contains beneficial ingredients such as avocado oil and topical probiotics. Skout’s Honor promotes a healthy microbiome, soothing your dog’s skin quickly.

2. Dog Shampoos Containing Oatmeal

Dog shampoos that contain oatmeal have been a go-to for itchy skin sufferers for many years. Pet parents and veterinarians both flock to this remarkable ingredient for its anti-inflammatory properties. Some of the itchiness and discomfort that dogs feel due to allergies or irritation comes from inflammation.

By utilizing oatmeal, a layer of moisture is also being locked into your dog’s skin, keeping them moisturized and comfortable for longer.

3. Dog Shampoos With Shea Butter

Not only does shea butter do wonders on a dog’s skin, but it also helps their fur look better than ever. Since shea butter is so moisturizing, it adds shine and luster to a dog’s coat as well. They will feel much better due to shea butter’s inherent soothing properties, but they will also look better (and smell oh-so-nice).

4. Dog Shampoos With Aloe Vera

Much like shea butter, aloe vera is a natural ingredient that has been used for centuries to treat dry skin. This ingredient is safe for humans as well as dogs, so both species can experience its soothing effects. According to research, aloe vera can improve dogs’ skin.

If your dog experiences allergies, gets dandruff in the winter, or simply experiences occasional itchiness, check out products with aloe vera.

6. Shampoos That Do Not Contain Dyes

Added dyes are generally only put in products for aesthetics and serve no actual purpose. In fact, rather than benefiting your dog, they can even lead to increased irritation. If your dog has sensitive skin, it is best to skip this unnecessary additive.

7. Formulas That Are Free of Parabens

Parabens are a nuisance for dogs, people, and creatures of any species. Due to this, products containing these pesky endocrine disruptors should be avoided whenever possible. Parabens are artificial preservatives used to increase the shelf life of a product, but they can do real harm in the process.

Parabens contribute to various possible ailments having to do with the production of hormones. Scientists are now suggesting that parabens negatively affect our dogs’ health.

All of this is to say that they are an ingredient that should be avoided at all costs. Parabens aren’t man’s best friend or dog’s best friend.

How Does Bathing Support Canine Health?

Even dogs who are not experiencing any skin discomfort can still benefit from the occasional bath. The process keeps them free of dirt and grime that could be irritating and makes them smell much better for their pet parents.

Giving your dog an occasional bath is just another way that you can help your dog thrive. The frequency and intensity of their spa treatments are contingent on regular activities, health conditions, and breed type.

Do Different Dogs Require Different Shampoos?

Not all dogs are built the same, so it stands to reason that some dogs would need specific kinds of shampoo. For example, if you look at a Pomeranian’s coat versus a Rottweiler’s, they are going to have completely different requirements. (That, and you are likely to go through much more shampoo with a Rottweiler.)

Puppies Often Need Special Shampoo Just for Them

Dog parents know that puppies require specific toys made just for puppies.

Not to make it about us all the time, but it’s not just puppies; children use their own kinds of shampoo too. Puppies (and children) often need shampoos that are specially formulated for them.

So what are the differences between dog shampoo for adults and puppy shampoo?

Well, puppy shampoos typically use gentler ingredients, as their skin might be more sensitive. The formulas are also more likely to be no-tear to avoid any discomfort.

Can You Use Human Shampoo on Dogs?

Nope! Human shampoo is not appropriate for dogs largely because of our skins’ different pH levels. Human skin has a pH balance of 5.5 to 5.6 and is more acidic than the pH of dogs’ skin which is a more neutral 6.2 to 7.4.

Human shampoo will wreak havoc on your dog’s acid mantle (the thin layer on top of the skin). It’s too harsh for our pooches. Luckily, unlike your hamburger, your dog won’t be begging for you to share your shampoo with them.

How Do You Bathe High-Shedding Dog Breeds?

One of the most effective ways to get ahead of the shedding process is to bathe your dog. By properly giving them a bath, you will remove any dirt and dead hair before it has the opportunity to fall out around the house. If you have a high-shedding dog with longer hair, tools can be beneficial to truly get the most out of bath time.

Use Tools To Ease the Process

Ease any knots or mats out of your dog’s hair before going into the bath. The brushing can still continue even after they are in the bath, as long as the right tool is used. Long-haired dogs can benefit greatly from using a brush to distribute the shampoo throughout their coats.

That is why KONG has the Zoomgroom™ Boysenberry to massage your dog’s skin and promote natural oil production. These natural oils moisturize your pet, easing discomfort from itchiness. The massage will help them feel better, just like an extra-special cuddle session.

An Itch To Scratch

If you think that your dog is suffering from dry or itchy skin, you might not know what your next steps should be. After identifying redness, dryness, or irritation on the skin, a soothing bath can be just what the veterinarian ordered.

Use the right kinds of shampoo with proper ingredients and the right tools in the process. Once you do, your dog will be feeling better before you know it.


The Therapeutic Efficacy of Aloe vera Gel Ointment on Staphylococcal Pyoderma in Dogs – PMC | National Institutes of Health

Study Links Skin Allergies in Dogs to Problem Behaviors | American Veterinary Medical Association

Biomonitoring Parabens in Dogs Using Fur Sample Analysis | ScienceDirect

Evaluation of the effect of pH on in vitro growth of Malassezia pachydermatis | NCBI