Best Dog Shampoo: Keep Your Pet Clean And Shiny

Dog with shampoo
Wyatt Robinson
Written by Wyatt Robinson

There are many dogs who do not mind avoiding baths, scrubbing and shampoo. They love to stay dirty and stinky; however, their owners would disagree and object to sharing their living space with a dog rolled in mud or something worse. You have probably seen many humorous videos and clips in which dog owners must trick or run after their beloved doggies in order to put them into bath. As long as you know how to do it and which shampoo to use, a compromise can be made between humans and their pets in order for them to live together peacefully.

If you wonder how often to bathe your dog, you should take into consideration that your dog does not have any skin problems. Additionally, there are breeds that get stinky faster and they require a shampoo more often than other breeds which do not need a bath at all. It all depends on your dog’s sensitivity and breed.

However, avoid bathing your dog too often because in that case you can destroy the surface of his skin, dry out the skin and remove the healthy oils from the coat. All of these can lead to scratching, irritation or even infections. If your dog spends a lot of time outside or engage in various outdoor activities, he may require more bathing than some dog which spends all the time at home.

It is recommended for double-coated and curly-coated breeds to get a bath three times a year, while the smooth-coated breeds can go longer without a bath. If you have a puppy, wait until it is at least five weeks old before giving him a bath. Do not forget to brush your dog regularly between the baths because in that case he will stay clean longer and his coat will be shiny and beautiful.

How to make a homemade shampoo

There are many commercial dog shampoos out there; however, if your dog’s skin is sensitive or he is allergic to the ingredients, you can try to make your own homemade shampoo. It is also fun and cheap. You can see some simple recipes in this article that will fit your budget and contain the ingredients which are easy to acquire.

Also, some of these recipes are for one use only, which means that they do not need to have any storage containers or other suspicious ingredients. You can make a new homemade shampoo every time you bath your dog and in that way you will see which one is the best for him.

Dog bath

Some of the most common ingredients such as vinegar and baking soda can be found in any home. Others like olive-based castile soap and glycerine can be also found easily. Some owners also add essential oils into their homemade shampoos which can be great since these oils are moisturizing and you have probably used them for your skin too. If you use coconut oil, be careful because the fur can turn out to be greasy, so avoid putting a lot of it. So let’s check out some of these recipes.

Rosemary shampoo recipe

  • 5 cups of water
  • 1 Rosemary stem
  • 1/2 cup of distilled white vinegar
  • 1 spoon of Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil
  • 5 drops of Lavender Essential Oil
  • 5 spoons of baby liquid soap or shampoo of your choice

Firstly, boil five cups of water on the stove. Then put a rosemary stem into it and when the water boils, remove it from the stove and let it cool down until it is as warm as room temperature approximately. Rosemary is known for having amazing moisturizing properties so it is great for dogs that have problems with dry skin.

Nature's Way Extra Virgin Organic Coconut Oil

Once the water is ready, remove the stem and pour the water into a bottle of your choice. Then add 1/2 cup of distilled white vinegar, which is great for odor removing. After that you should add one spoon of Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil, which is used for moisturizing too. Then add five drops of Lavender Essential Oil and five spoons of baby liquid soap or shampoo of your choice. You can also use the essential oil of your choice or change them if you think they are not right for your dog.

Recipe for dry doggie skin

  • 5 cups of water
  • 1/3 cup of glycerine
  • 1 cup of white vinegar or apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons of Aloe Vera gel
  • 5 spoons of baby liquid soap or shampoo of your choice

This recipe is perfect if your dog has sensitive, itchy, or dry skin. Aloe Vera gel and glycerine can bring a relief to the dogs who scratch after a bath and it also smells wonderfully.

Firstly, boil five cups of water on the stove and when the water boils, remove it from the stove and let it cool down until it is as warm as room temperature. After that, add 1/3 cup of glycerine, one cup of white vinegar or apple cider vinegar and two tablespoons of Aloe Vera gel. In the end, add five spoons of baby liquid soap or shampoo of your choice.

Goodbye itchy skin recipe

  • 5 cups of water
  • 1/3 cup of glycerin
  • one cup of apple cider vinegar
  • 5 spoons of baby liquid soap or shampoo of your choice

The term for itching is dermatitis, and sometimes the cause is some kind of allergy, the insect’s bite or sensitivity. Sometimes even the diet cause the itching, and sometimes it is the shampoo. That is why making a homemade shampoo can help you get rid of this trouble and relieve your pet of pain. Besides Aloe Vera, adding essential oils like lavender, lemon, rosemary, tea tree oil or olive oil can help you in the battle against itchiness. This mixture should have a nice consistency so you can pour it into a bottle.

Goodbye fleas recipe

  • 2 cups of water
  • 1/3 cup of pure castile soap
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 30 drops of essential oils (peppermint and rosemary)

Try out this amazing, natural and homemade anti-flea recipe. If you have noticed that your dog has been scratching himself like crazy, it is time to do something about it. Some of these essential oils are great for destroying fleas and making them go away, especially rosemary. Make sure to shake these ingredients before using them and they can be kept for a longer time.

If you’re looking for more recipes, we have even more in our article on homemade dog shampoos.

If you wonder whether you can use human shampoo on dogs, then you should know that you must not. That is because dogs have different pH levels than humans and the ingredients in human shampoos can make them itchy and destroy the coat and skin. Avoid human shampoos and just stick to the homemade or commercial dog shampoos or soaps. Your beloved pet will be thankful and you will see how shiny and pretty his coat is.

Dog bathing tips

If you do not have time or interest to make your own homemade shampoo, then make sure to buy a shampoo which is gentle and effective at the same time. Avoid busying popular brands which have aggressive ingredients. Make sure that they do not contain parabens, sodium laurel sulphate or harmful petrochemicals that can be often found in some of commercial shampoos.

Make sure to bathe your dog as infrequently as possible, as it has already been said, it all depends on your dog’s breed and skin sensitivity. However, any vet will tell you that once a month is more than enough. You can wash your dog with plain water or soda in between, if he gets dirty, but when it comes to shampoo, do not bathe him every week.

Before bath

Make sure to brush thoroughly and to remove any tangles which would turn into an even bigger mess when the fur is wet. If the fur is so dirty and tangled that you cannot brush it, then snip them with scissors, but carefully so you do not hurt your dog. If the dog’s fur is painted or there is any other sticky substance in it, remove it with petroleum jelly or soak the area with vegetable or mineral oil for a couple of hours before the bath. Do not use the detergents, fabric softeners, paint strippers or solvents, since these can damage your dog’s skin, plus they are toxic.

If here are any ticks, fleas, insects or foxtails, you should remove them before the bath. The tweezers are used for this, which means that you must check the dog’s skin before the bath.

Dog before bathing

Make sure that the door of your bathroom or any other room that you picked is closed, so the dog cannot escape. This probably sound funny, but you probably would want to have your wet or half-bathed dog run through your house or backyard. After that prepare all the items that you will need: towels, a shampoo, sponge, brush and lay them close so you can get them fast and avoid being splashed by your dog.

Remove the collar and do not use a leather collar since it can shrink and leak dye. It is for best to use a bathing tether or a nylon collar and leash. Also, if your dog tends to bite in a bath, use a muzzle.

In order to protect your dog’s ear, put the cotton balls in his ears, large enough so as not to get into the ear canal. In order to protect his eyes, apply some petroleum jelly or mineral oil around them and put a drop of mineral oil in each eye so they do not get irritated. You can also wipe around your pet’s anal area with a baby wipe and cut or clip the long fur around it.

If you have a small dog, you can bathe him in a smaller storage bin or you can purchase a smaller metal washtub from a store.

During and after bath

When you put your dog in a bath, make sure that the water is warm, but not hot. After that fill the water to the knee level and stabilize your dog with a nylon leash if there is any need for that. Spray your dog with the water so you can get used him to it. Some dogs actually love to bath, but most do not so prepare yourself for a lot of splashing – which means that you should wear appropriate clothes.

Firstly start by washing the dog’s head but never spray into his face, eyes or nose! Use your fingers or a sponge to move the water around his eyes, nose and mouth. After that you should apply the shampoo into the coat and start rubbing and massaging the coat, especially if it long and fluffy. In any case, do not get the soap into the dog’s eyes or mouth. You can buy a special rubber brush for the dog with shorter hair or longer hair, and rubbing the shampoo will be easier than doing it with your hands.

During bath

Do not forget to reward your dog with a snack during and after the bath! In that case he will remember and relate the bathing to something good and it will be easier for you to shampoo him. Never force your dog into the bath or forcefully bath him, because you can hurt your dog and yourself and you do not want something as bath to be associated with torture. Always be patient.

After you have rubbed your dog with the shampoo, rinse the dog with lukewarm water, never with hot water. Always rinse the dog’s head and rear gently. Cover the dog’s eyes and mouth with your hand when you are rinsing.

After the bath, squeeze the excess water from your pet’s fur. This is not needed if the coat is not long. Wrap the dog in a large towel which is meant for him and start gently rubbing him until he is dry. You can also use a special conditioner in order to comb through the fur easily but never use the human conditioner!

Do not forget to comb and brush your dog between the baths too and to check for fleas, ticks and debris. If you decide to blow dry your dog, you must be very careful – use a pet dryer, never aim at the dog’s face and always check that the temperature is appropriate.

We have an article that goes into even more depth on the proper washing procedures for bathing your dog.

The benefits of homemade shampoos

  • You know exactly what kind of ingredients you are putting into your dog’s shampoo;
  • Your dog’s coat and fur will become soft and shiny;
  • The odor will disappear but will not remove the important oils from the dog’s skin;
  • You will be able to cut and remove the excessive tangles and dirt from the fur;
  • Your dog may stop scratching for ever;
  • You will keep your dog’s skin moisturized and it will not dry out;
  • Your dog’s coat will not start being greasy;
  • It is cheap, effective and fun!

As you can see, there are many benefits of homemade dog shampoos. The most important thing is that they are natural. Just think of it this way – if you avoid putting suspicious chemicals in your hair and skin, why would you do that to your pet? Their pH level and sensitivity is different and they should be treated with the same care. If you use essential oils, which can be great, make sure to research and test on some part of your dog’s skin in order to see whether there is some kind of reaction.

The vinegar is great for removing the odor; however it can sting so make sure that vinegar does not make its way into the dog’s eyes or mouth. Make sure to cover open wounds, if there are any, because in that case, any kind of ingredient will irritate it, make it worse and it won’t heal properly.

To sum up, depending on your doggie’s coat, skin and breed, you should see when the right time for the bath is. If the dog has long and fluffy coat, then you should probably bathe him more often. However, do not bath too often, because in that case you can destroy the surface of the skin and the infection is inevitable.

Puppies in the bath

Never use the human shampoo or conditioner! They can harm your dog’s skin! You can easily make your own homemade dog shampoo, as you can see above. Homemade shampoos for your pets are affordable, they contain ingredients that are easy to acquire and you can change them as much as you want, as long as they do not irritate your dog’s skin. It is recommended to use essential oils and a bit of baby shampoo since it does not contain any aggressive elements.

All in all, it is possible to wash your dog with a nice shampoo and turn his fur and coat into a shiny and pretty bliss. In this way both of you will be satisfied – your dog may even find the bath amusing, especially if you reward him, and you will get rid of odor and dirt.

And if you want your dog to look his best, depending on the breed, you could try your hand at grooming! We take the fear out of the process by showing you how to properly groom your dog.

About the author
Wyatt Robinson
Wyatt Robinson

Wyatt Robinson had a great 25-years career as a veterinarian in United Kingdom. He used to be a member of British Veterinary Association and worked in 3 pet hospitals in London and Manchester. He is shining when he sees his pets healthy and full of energy and it is his duty to help other dog owners to keep their best friends full of life.