Do dogs really need dog shampoo? Which one is the best?

Alright, mates! Let’s talk about one of the most essential things for our furry friends – dog shampoo! You must keep your pooch clean and healthy as a responsible pet parent, starting with the right shampoo.

Before we begin, let me tell you I’ve tried and tested a bunch of dog shampoos on my dog over the last few years. As a result, I’ve got some paw-some recommendations that’ll leave your pooch smelling like a garden of flowers.

But it’s not just about smelling good; the right dog shampoo can help with everything from dry, itchy skin to fleas and ticks. There’s a suitable choice for every condition, whether your dog has sensitive skin, is prone to allergies, or just loves to roll in the mud.

Which dog shampoo is the best and healthiest in the UK?

best dog shampoo 2023

Veterinary Formula Clinical Care Antiparasitic & Antiseborrheic Medicated Dog Shampoo is the healthiest dog shampoo recommended by most vets in the UK. It treats various skin conditions and parasites such as mange, mites, and lice.

The shampoo is made with all-natural ingredients like salicylic acid and coal tar, which are gentle on your dog’s skin but tough on skin irritations and infections. It also contains micronised sulfur, which helps to remove dead skin cells and soothe inflamed skin.

Best Veterinary Formula Clinical Care on Amazon

Top # Dog Shampoo in the UK

1. Groomers Oatmeal and Honey Shampoo

best dog shampoo uk 2023

Groomers Honey and Oatmeal is the best natural shampoo for dogs with sensitive skin prone to calluses. This soap-free product uses natural ingredients to soothe and moisturise your pet, leaving them with healthy skin and coats.

The shampoo is ph-balanced and contains vitamin-rich honey and rejuvenating oatmeal to relieve their skin. Groomer’s Oatmeal and Honey is an environmentally friendly shampoo free from all the nasty chemicals we recommend avoiding.

Buy Groomers Oatmeal and Honey Shampoo on Amazon

2. Groom Profesional Baby Fresh Shampoo

best dog shampoo uk 2023

Groom Professional “Baby Fresh” shampoo is the most excellent option for a long-lasting scent on your dog’s skin and coat. The shampoo contains aloe vera, which acts as a natural conditioner and helps to nourish dry skin.

After using this product, you will notice that the coat is soft and fresh, and the skin smells incredible. An ideal shampoo for puppies aged 8 weeks and over.

Buy Groom Profesional Baby Fresh Shampoo on Amazon

3. ProGroom Natural Oatmeal Dog Shampoo

best dog shampoo uk 2023

ProGroom’s Natural Oatmeal is the best vegan and natural dog shampoo. This is ideal for dogs with sensitive skin. The stand-out feature of this product is how it contains essential oils from lavender, orange peel, oatmeal and aloe vera extract, to name just a few.

This natural dog shampoo is excellent for dry skin as it contains a unique formula of colloidal oatmeal, which increases the oil and water binding capacities and helps moisturise the skin.

Buy ProGroom Natural Oatmeal Dog Shampoo on Amazon

4. C&G Pets Dog Shampoo For Itchy Skin

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C&G Pets Dog Shampoo is the best for dogs with itchy skin. This cruelty-free, 100% natural shampoo is made with the highest quality essential oil blends, resulting in a superb coat shine and itch-soothing experience for your pooch. It’s also safe for puppies.

Used by professional dog groomers, this unique handmade shampoo is perfectly pH balanced and paraben-free, ensuring the very best anti-fungal coat. With a vitamin E-rich, non-toxic, and non-irritant formula, you won’t have to worry about harmful treatments for your dog’s coat and skin.

Buy C&G Pets Dog Shampoo For Itchy Skin on Amazon

5. Animology “Fox Poo” Deodorising Dog Shampoo

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Animology’s deodorising dog shampoo removes bad smells from your dog’s coat and skin. It’s designed to give genuinely smelly and dirty dogs a deep clean, from their fur to their skin. It combats fox poo, dead fish, and other nasty smells your dog might have picked up. 

It’s 100% vegan, anti-bacterial and made using materials that protect your dog’s pH-balanced levels. Animology’s shampoo includes pro-vitamin B5, which acts as a natural conditioner.

Buy Animology “Fox Poo” Deodorising Dog Shampoo on Amazon

6. DermOpt 6 in 1 Dog Shampoo and Conditioner

best dog shampoo uk 2023

The DermOpt shampoo is good if your pet is suffering from itchy skin. This is a concentrated dog shampoo that needs diluting to suit whatever needs your dog has: be it a thick furry coat, dry, itchy skin, saliva-stained fur or a flea-bitten coat. 

A little goes a long way with this concentrated pH-balanced product, which is also great for the money. DermOpt uses medical-grade ingredients that work by your pet’s skin to lift and remove impurities, thus promoting healthy, pH-balanced skin and a silky glowing coat.

Buy DermOpt 6-in-1 Dog Shampoo and Conditioner on Amazon

7. Chambers and Co Natural Shampoo with Essential Oils

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This Chambers & Co natural dog shampoo with essential oils is a coconut-based product making this option one of the nicest smelling and freshest shampoos I have tested.

Thanks to its formula, the aroma is top-notch, and it’s easy to lather in and rinse out of their skin. Natural ingredients such as camomile and calendula have been used to relieve and treat itchy skin and prevent dryness following a wash, an excellent product for sensitive skin.

Buy Chambers and Co Natural Shampoo on Amazon

8. Vet’s Best Hypo-Allergenic Shampoo for Dogs

best dog shampoo uk 2023

“Vet’s Best Hypo-Allergenic Shampoo for Dogs” is the best hypoallergenic dog shampoo in the UK. With a veterinarian-formulated blend of natural, plant-based ingredients like Aloe Vera and Vitamin E, this soap-free shampoo will comfort your pet’s sensitive skin and relieve allergies.

It’s gentle enough to use as often as necessary and won’t dry out your dog’s skin. It won’t affect treatments like topical flea and tick control products. Pair it with Vet’s Best Moisture Mist and Vet’s Best Ear Relief Wash & Dry for total care.

Buy Vet’s Best Hypo-Allergenic Shampoo for Dogs on Amazon

9. Pretty Pooch Gentle Touch Dog Shampoo & Conditioner

best dog shampoo uk 2023

Pretty Pooch Gentle Touch Dog Shampoo & Conditioner is a deep-cleaning shampoo that ensures your pup’s gentle yet effective cleanse. With organic wheat proteins, this shampoo provides natural conditioning to help maintain your dog’s luscious locks.

It has a pleasant baby powder scent will leave your pooch smelling fresh and clean. Additionally, it helps to detangle knots for a stress-free bath experience. No more struggling with a tangled-up pup. This conditioner makes brushing a breeze.

At a generous 2 litres, this shampoo is perfect for pampered pooches of all breeds and coat textures. It’s safe for puppies over 6 weeks old and can be used regularly for a healthy and happy pup.

Buy Pretty Pooch Gentle Touch Dog Shampoo & Conditioner on Amazon

How to choose a dog shampoo?

Choosing the right shampoo for your dog can be daunting, especially with the overwhelming number of available options. However, using a product specifically formulated for your doggo is crucial. Here are some factors to consider when choosing a dog shampoo:

1. Skin Type

Dogs have different skin types, just like humans. Some have dry skin, while others have sensitive skin or oily skin.

Choosing a shampoo that suits your dog’s skin type is essential. For instance, if your dog has dry skin, look for a product with moisturising ingredients like oatmeal or aloe vera.

Read More: Can you wash a dog too much?

2. Coat Type

Dogs also have different coat types, ranging from long and silky to short and wiry. A shampoo that works for one class may not suit another.

If your dog has a long, silky coat, look for a shampoo that will help detangle and condition the hair.

3. Purpose

Some shampoos are designed for specific purposes, such as flea and tick control or medicated shampoos for dogs with skin conditions. Make sure you choose a shampoo that serves your and your dog’s needs.

Additionally, for show dogs or those with jet black/pearl white fur, there are colour shampoos that bring out their natural colour after a wash. It’s niche and a little expensive, but for some owners, these are ideal to use before a show.

4. Ingredients

Always read the ingredients list to ensure that the shampoo you choose does not contain harmful chemicals that could irritate your dog’s skin. More importantly, check for allergens for the health and safety of your pooch.

Avoid artificial colours, fragrances, alcohols, detergents, and animal and petroleum by-products.

Look for natural ingredients such as coconut oil, chamomile, and tea tree oil. Using dog shampoo isn’t “natural” in the first place, so use a product with only natural ingredients.

5. Scent

While a pleasant scent may be vital to you, it’s not as crucial to your dog.

Dogs rely on their sense of smell, and strong fragrances can overwhelm them. Choose a shampoo with a mild scent or no scent at all.

6. Great Reviews

In this day and age, most things have been tried and tested. So why not use that information to make the best decision possible. 

In conclusion, choosing the right dog shampoo involves considering your dog’s skin and coat type, purpose, ingredients, and scent. By taking these factors into account, you’ll be able to find a shampoo that suits your dog’s needs and keeps them looking and feeling their best.

How to use dog shampoo properly?

Now that you’ve chosen the perfect dog shampoo for your furry friend, it’s time to give them a bath! Here’s a step-by-step guide to giving your pooch a proper bath.

Step 1: Tire them out.

I always say that a tired dog is a good dog. Take a long walk or play with your dog before the bath.

Step 2: Prepare the bathing area.

Choose a suitable area to bathe your dog. It’s best to use a bathtub or a wash basin as it’s relatively easier to clean.

Place a rubber mat or towel at the bottom of the tub to prevent your dog from slipping. You’ll also need a few supplies, such as a hose, bucket, shampoo, towels, and a brush.

Step 3: Brush your dog.

Brush your dog down to make their coat smoother and to help remove any loose debris from their fur or skin before you wash them.

Use a brush that’s suitable for your dog’s coat type. For example, use a slicker brush for curly coats and a pin brush for long coats.

Step 4: Fill the tub with lukewarm water.

Check the water temperature like you would when running a baby’s bath. You want it warm, tepid almost, but definitely not hot, as dogs don’t like the hot or the cold, despite what people may think.

The water level should be deep enough to cover your dog’s legs. Avoid getting water in your dog’s ears, which can cause ear infections.

Read More: Do dogs feel cold? Is it okay to walk your dog in cold weather?

Step 5: Wet your dog’s coat.

Use a hose or a bucket to wet your dog’s coat thoroughly. Start from the neck and work your way down, careful not to get water in their eyes or nose.

Run your fingers through the fur to ensure all the hair and skin are wet. This ensures that when the shampoo is applied, it will attach and lather properly, allowing the skin to be thoroughly cleaned.

Step 6: Gently apply the dog shampoo.

Apply a small amount of dog shampoo to your dog’s coat. Massage the shampoo into the fur, covering all areas, including under the legs and belly. Avoid getting shampoo in your dog’s eyes or ears.

Tip:  Scratch their skin where they like whilst washing them to make it feel like a pamper session to be enjoyed.

If you have a separate dog conditioner, you’ll need to rinse their fur and skin, add the conditioner, and then rinse them again.

Interestingly, I have also written a guide on how to wash a dog without shampoo.

Read More: No Dog Shampoo? What can you use to wash a dog?

Step 7: Rinse thoroughly.

Rinse your dog’s coat thoroughly with warm water. Remove all the shampoo, as leftover residue can irritate the skin.

I recommend using a shower head or a hose to rinse, as a bucket may not work evenly and will take a long time. Remember to keep your dog calm here.

Step 8: Dry your dog.

Leaving a dog to naturally air dry will give you a wet, smelly house because of the scent created when your dog’s skin is damp.  Use a towel to dry your dog’s coat, rubbing gently to remove excess water.

You can also use a hairdryer on a low setting, but be careful not to burn your dog’s skin. If your dog has long hair, use a brush to prevent tangles. You’ll never get their skin bone dry like we can after a bath, but just make sure your dogs aren’t dripping running out of the house.

Step 9: Apply positive association.

This point is one to consider throughout the process. Give your dog treats throughout when they are displaying desirable behaviour. If you’ve been keen on dog training throughout their lives, they will associate the treats with having a good time and pleasing their owners.

Remember, it’s important to bathe your dog regularly, but only as directed by your vet. A few too many times can strip their coat of natural oils.

Most dogs only need to be bathed every three to four months, which can vary depending on breed and activity level.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. How often should dogs be bathed?

The frequency of bathing your dog depends on its breed, coat type, and activity level. Generally, it’s recommended to bathe your dog every 4-8 weeks. However, some breeds may need to be bathed more frequently, while others can go longer between baths.

2. Do dogs need to be washed?

A dog’s skin and coat effectively keep dirt away and functioning long before washing. However, everything piles up after a time, and an unhygienic pet may suffer from problems such as bacterial, fungal and skin issues if left too long without a bath.

3. Do dogs really need dog shampoo?

Dogs need suitable dog shampoo. It helps maintain the health and hygiene of coat and skin. It also removes dirt and unpleasant odours that accumulate over time. Dog shampoos are made for sensitive skin, pH level, and coat type, making them gentler and less likely to cause irritation or dryness.

4. Can I use human shampoo on my dog?

You cannot and should not use human shampoo on your dog. Human shampoos are not formulated for the pH level of a dog’s skin. They can cause dryness, irritation, and other skin issues.

5. Can I use a conditioner on my dog?

You can use a conditioner on your dog along with a suitable dog shampoo. A conditioner can help moisturise and detangle your dog’s coat, making it easier to brush and maintain. However, make sure to use a conditioner specifically formulated for dogs.

6. What should I do if my dog gets shampoo in their eyes?

If your dog gets shampoo in their eyes, rinse their eyes with lukewarm water immediately. If your dog’s eyes appear red or irritated after rinsing, contact your veterinarian for further advice.

7. Can I use essential oils on my dog’s coat?

Essential oils can be toxic to dogs if not used correctly. Consult your veterinarian before using essential oils on your dog’s coat to ensure they are safe and properly diluted.


  • Jonathan Spaeth

    I'm a professional business person who loves dogs. I'm motivated by a passion for dogs and a deep understanding of pet care and behavior. I have more than 10 years of experience in animal healthcare—my lifelong passion for helping dogs.

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