There’s nothing quite like the feel of your dog’s coat after a bath (well, after she finishes the zoomies and dries off).
Even if your dog normally sports a soft and silky coat, it undoubtedly feels and looks its best after being lathered and rinsed with a good shampoo specifically designed for dogs.
But there’s one way to make her coat feel even better: Follow up the shampoo with a high-quality conditioner! This will not only make her feel even softer than normal, it’ll help keep her coat looking and feeling its best for longer too.
We’ll talk about dog conditioners below and explain the kinds of things you want to look for when making your purchase. We’ll then finish up by recommending five of the best conditioners on the market.
Quick Picks: Best Dog Conditioners Around
Are Dog Conditioners Really Necessary?
No, your dog doesn’t need a conditioner in the same sense that she needs food, vaccinations, and a good dog bed.
She isn’t going to get sick or lose all of her hair because you don’t use a conditioner. She’ll still get clean when you bathe her, and her fur will still feel pretty good once you’re done.
But that doesn’t mean conditioners aren’t worthwhile. Conditioners help make your dog’s fur feel even softer and look even shinier than normal, and they’ll also help her skin feel softer too. Most conditioners will make her smell nicer as well as reduce the prevalence of mats, knots, and tangles.
While there are some shampoos designed to be gentle for dogs with dry, itchy skin, some owners may notice that their dog’s skin stops itching after simply adding a conditioner to their dog’s bathing routine, while others may note that their dogs don’t shed as much.
Can I Just Use Human Conditioner On My Dog?
A human conditioner probably won’t cause your dog to spontaneously combust or anything, but it won’t be good for her either.
Your shampoo and conditioner are designed for the pH of human, rather than canine, skin. This means they will strip away the oils from her skin, dry out her coat, and potentially lead to irritation.
Sure, some owners can probably get away with doing this (some dogs simply have more resilient skin and coats than others). But it is slightly risky, and the upside is pretty limited – your conditioner is probably more expensive than your dog’s anyway.
Things to Think About: Picking the Best Conditioner for Your Dog
Don’t just go out and pick the first conditioner you see. Consider the kinds of things you and your dog need in a conditioner, and give some thought to the following:
→ Consider the scents available. You’ll want to pick a scent that smells good to you, but keep in mind that specific scents may irritate your dog’s nose. In these cases, don’t hesitate to make a change, and try to keep track of which scents cause the most adverse effects for your pup.
→ When possible, look for products that are made in the USA. US-made products are generally going to be safer and more effective than those made in countries with poor safety- and quality-control standards. Conditioners produced in Canada or Western Europe are probably also fine.
→ Decide whether a standalone conditioner or a combination shampoo-conditioner is better for your pet. If you’re a low-maintenance kind of owner and you have a dog with a low-maintenance coat, a two-in-one product may be a good choice. On the other hand, if you have very particular tastes or your dog has particular needs, separate products are probably the better option.
→ Look for an eco-friendly option if you bathe your dog outdoors. Many shampoos and conditioners can cause problems for local stream and river critters, so opt for an eco-friendly option if you use an outdoor tub or dog-washing hose attachment outside to wash your pet.
The Best Dog Conditioners Around
If you’ve ever looked for a dog conditioner before, you’ve likely noticed that there are dozens of products on the market. This often causes owners to throw up their hands and just pick one randomly.
But because the differences between high- and low-quality conditioners are substantial, this is a bad idea. Many low-quality conditioners are essentially worthless, and they’re unlikely to improve your dog’s coat health. Some may even exacerbate any skin or coat problems she already has.
Instead, just try to choose from the five listed below. Each of these are safe and effective products which should help make your dog’s fur feel its best.
1. Isle of Dogs Everyday Jasmine & Vanilla Conditioner
Features: Isle of Dogs Everyday Jasmine & Vanilla Conditioner is designed to smooth, moisturize, and protect your dog’s fur, while also making it easier to brush through tangles. It is made with Isle of Dogs’ signature Warm Floral Jasmine and Vanilla Fragrance to help ensure your dog smells great after each bath.
Work a small amount of Isle of Dogs Everyday Conditioner into your dog’s fur after shampooing her. Let the conditioner sit for a few minutes, and then rinse it out completely. Finish by brushing her thoroughly to eliminate any tangles and to help her fur feel as soft as possible.
- MOISTURIZING CONDITIONER FOR DOGS: This deep-penetrating conditioner gives noticeable softness,...
- SILKY COAT: This conditioner will help lay the coat down flat on short & long coated breeds &...
- CLEAN PUPS: A clean, shiny & fresh coat is a good indicator of a healthy, well-loved pup & a...
- HELPING YOUR DOG SHINE: We understand the power of wellness to help dogs shine from the inside out....
Most owners who tried Isle of Dogs Everyday Conditioner were very pleased with the product and rated it very highly. Several noted that it made their dog’s fur feel softer, and most owners seemed to like the conditioner’s scent. Additionally, it appears to work well for all coat types.
Complaints about Isle of Dogs Everyday Conditioner were pretty rare, and primarily related to one-off packaging or shipping problems. However, a few dogs appeared allergic to the formula, and several owners found the scent to be off-putting.
2. Earthbath Oatmeal and Aloe Conditioner
Features: Earthbath Conditioner is designed to condition and detangle your dog’s fur, and because it is made with colloidal oatmeal, it’ll also moisturize your dog’s skin. It smells fantastic too, as it is made with food-grade vanilla and almond extracts.
Earthbath Conditioner is an environmentally friendly, 100%-cruelty free, biodegradable product (meaning that it is completely safe to use outdoors). Also, unlike some other pet shampoos and conditioners, it will not wash away your dog’s topical flea treatment.
- HELPS RELIEVE ITCHING & DRY SKIN: This pH-balanced conditioner with colloidal oatmeal detangles...
- NATURAL & ORGANIC INGREDIENTS: Blended with the finest ingredients, such as vegetable-derived...
- SAFE & EFFECTIVE: Our products are designed with the health of your beloved, furry friend in mind....
- MADE IN USA & CRUELTY FREE: We at earthbath have a genuine love for pets and concern for the...
Most owners loved Earthbath Oatmeal and Aloe Conditioner. Several praised its pleasant scent, and most owners found that it made their dog’s fur feel silkier and softer, while also improving their coat’s shine. A few even noted that it appeared to reduce their dog’s itchy skin problems.
Most of Earthbath’s negative reviews related to packaging or shipping problems, although a few complained that the product seemed watered-down. Also, according to the manufacturer, a small percentage of dogs may be allergic to this product.
3. Burt’s Bees Oatmeal Conditioner for Dogs
Features: Burt’s Bees may be most famous for producing chapsticks and other products for people, but they also make a number of high-quality pet products, like their Burt’s Bees Oatmeal Conditioner for Dogs.
Made with colloidal oat flour, this conditioner will not only make your dog’s fur feel great, it’ll moisturize her skin too. And, unsurprisingly given the manufacturer, this conditioner also contains honey, which will help maximize the shine of your dog’s coat. Burt’s Bees Conditioner for Dogs is pH-balanced to suit your dog’s skin and a 100% cruelty-free product.
- SOOTHES AND SOFTENS — Burt's Bees Oatmeal Conditioner moisturizes, soothes, softens, and...
- MADE WITH THE HIGHEST QUALITY INGREDIENTS — All natural ingredients include colloidal oatmeal,...
- USE REGULARLY — After using our Oatmeal Shampoo, apply liberally to your dog's wet coat and let...
- SUITABLE FOR ALL DOGS AND PUPPIES — This mild tearless shampoo is pH balanced especially for all...
Most owners were pretty pleased with Burt’s Bees Oatmeal Conditioner for Dogs. It appears to be very gentle, and it worked well for most dogs – especially those with sensitive skin.
A number of owners were disappointed that the product didn’t leave their dog smelling particularly great. Several owners also complained that it seemed unusually thin, which can make it difficult to work with.
4. Warren London Guava & Mangosteen Hydrating Butter Leave-In Conditioner
Features: Warren London Guava & Mangosteen Conditioner is designed for dogs and owners who appreciate boutique-style beauty products. Made with guava, mangosteen, and butter, Warren London Conditioner will remoisturize your dog’s coat and skin, helping her fur to look and feel its best, while also helping her smell fantastic.
Unlike many other conditioners, which need to be rinsed out shortly after being applied, you can just leave Warren London Conditioner on your dog’s fur and then follow up with a good brushing.
- Premium non-oily leave-in conditioner that hydrates, conditions, de-matts, and moisturizes. It will...
- Dog Itching Skin Relief - Adds Vital Nutrients while Moisturizing and Conditioning. Helps combat dog...
- Works On All Coats & Breeds - Penetrates, conditions, and detangles the coat on long haired dogs...
- Aromatherapeutic Fragrance - Leaves even smelly dogs fresh and deodorized. This moisturizer can be...
Warren London Leave-In Conditioner received a lot of really positive reviews from owners. Most raved about the way it made their dog’s coat soft and silky, and the fragrance also received a ton of compliments too. A few owners even reported that it soothed their dog’s itchy skin.
Most of the complaints about this conditioner related to allergic reactions, but these didn’t seem any more common for this conditioner than all of the others we looked at. A few owners also noted that Warren London Leave-In Conditioner may be a bit expensive for large dog owners; it is priced reasonably, but the bottle isn’t very big.
5. Wahl Four In One Shampoo and Conditioner
Features: Wahl Four-in-One Dog Shampoo and Conditioner is a fantastic pet product that proves you don’t have to spend a lot of money to obtain a great conditioner. And because it includes a shampoo and conditioner, this completely plant-based product will save you a few bucks and make it easier to bathe your pet.
Wahl Four-in-One Shampoo and Conditioner isn’t only designed to help smooth and detangle your dog’s hair – it is also designed to help calm your dog through the inclusion of lavender and chamomile (which will also make your dog smell great).
- Made in the USA - Our lavender chamomile pet shampoo is pH balanced, alcohol free, paraben free,...
- Calming Formula – This lavender scented pet shampoo is great for cleaning dirty coats, coat...
- Less is More - Wahl has a higher concentrate of coconut derived sodding agent, which means you...
- Allergy Friendly - Our dog icon, Rocket, was designed in the image of our family dog Cooper – a...
This combination shampoo and conditioner drew a lot of praise from owners. More than one owner actually used the word “surprised” when describing Wahl Shampoo and Conditioner – the implication being that this economy-priced, combination shampoo-conditioner was surprisingly effective. In addition, you don’t need to spend any extra money on a shampoo since this product cleanses and conditions. A few owners specifically praised the conditioner’s ability to keep their dog’s white fur looking as bright as ever. Several also praised the product’s scent, which was characterized as pleasant, without being overpowering.
Since this is a 2-in-1 shampoo and conditioner, it isn’t a good option for those who already have a good shampoo. There were also a fair number of owners who complained of allergic reactions after using this product, but that doesn’t distinguish it from any of the other conditioners we reviewed.
Getting your dog her own fur conditioner may seem like a bit of an extravagance, but you’ll likely love the way it makes her look and feel. Conditioners aren’t expensive, and a single bottle will probably last you months, so they’re definitely worth checking out.
Do you already use a conditioner for your dog’s fur? We’d love to hear about your experiences. Do you use one of the five products we recommended above? Let us know how it (or any other conditioner) has worked for you!
Need more bathing tips? Check out our articles on: