Your dog’s coat is as unique as he is. From flat to fluffy, short to long, a dog’s coat makes up a huge part of his personality, and it’s up to us to keep it in tip-top shape.
While it is always important to pick out dog-specific shampoo, not all dog grooming products are created equal — especially if Fido has skin allergies.
Some dogs are prone to itchy skin that can leave them suffering if not managed properly.
In this article, we’ll go over some of our favorite sensitive dog shampoos to help give them some relief as well as common signs of doggy skin allergies.
The Best Dog Shampoos for Allergies: Our Favorite Picks!
Without further hesitation, here are our favorite dog shampoos crafted for pups with allergies.
1. Pro Pet Works All Natural Oatmeal Dog Shampoo + Conditioner
About: Pro Pet Works Oatmeal Dog Shampoo + Conditioner is designed to ease a variety of skin conditions, from flea bites to outdoor allergies.
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Features: This pH balanced shampoo contains no artificial colors or alcohol.
Its active ingredients are organic aloe vera and almond oil which work to nourish and soothe Fido’s sensitive skin.
Pro Pet works produces their shampoo in the USA and this product is gentle enough to be used on a regular basis. The added vitamin A, D, and E help promote healthy hair growth for your pooch.
To use this shampoo properly, make sure to let the shampoo sit for at least 5 minutes before rinsing thoroughly. Pro Pet Works recommends repeating the process at least once, though this step is optional.
Owners noted that a little bit of the shampoo goes a long way. Even with small amounts of product, users could achieve a surprising amount of lather making this shampoo a great value. Notably, this shampoo seemed to work well in households with multiple pets, even on cats. A couple of users noted reduced itching after incorporating this product into their doggo’s care routine.
Some users found the scent of this shampoo overbearing, though they noted that it was mainly the smell of the product itself and that the scent faded immensely once they dried off their doggo. A couple of owners also found the anti-itch effects to be somewhat temporary, lasting for about two days or so. Therefore, you may be better off with a stronger shampoo should your pup have a severe level of discomfort.
2. Hypoallergenic Dog and Cat Shampoo
About: This Hypoallergenic Dog and Cat Shampoo by Particular Paws is perfect with pups suffering from mild environmental allergies and is made to reduce hives and redness.
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Features: Particular Paws’ shampoo features chamomile and honey extract, which are both thought to reduce inflammation, redness, and swelling from hives.
To use this shampoo, simply lather the product into your pup’s hair and let it sit for five minutes before rinsing thoroughly. You can also use this shampoo on cats and puppies.
This shampoo is also made in the USA and Particular Paws offers a 100% satisfaction guarantee up to a year after purchase so you’ll receive a full refund should this shampoo fall short in any way.
This product seemed to noticeably reduce itching for many doggos and users loved the gentle smell of this shampoo. A couple of users noted how well this product worked for environmental-related allergies and loved that it was gentle enough to use on other pets within the household.
A couple of users found the shipping to be insecure, and had to inquire about replacement bottles as the top of the shampoo bottle doesn’t appear to be very sturdy. Be careful when unpacking this shampoo, just to be safe.
3. Vet’s Best Hypo-Allergenic Shampoo for Dogs
About: Vet’s Best Hypo-Allergenic Shampoo is a soap-free shampoo best for pups with dry, brittle coats.
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Features: This shampoo features a veterinarian formulated blend of aloe vera and vitamin E, used to nourish dry, itchy skin. Notably, this shampoo does not affect the potency of topical flea and tick products.
Vet’s Best products are made in the USA. This shampoo has a tear-less formula to keep your pup safe, though proper washing procedures should keep the product out of your pup’s eyes completely.
To use this shampoo, wash your dog normally, then lather and massage this shampoo into your pup’s coat for 3-5 minutes before rinsing thoroughly.
Dog owners loved the light but effective smell and saw reduced itching within the first couple of uses. The shampoo was gentle enough to use a couple of times a week, and its moisturizing ingredients left pup coats soft and shiny.
While this wasn’t common,a couple of owners were disappointed to find that this shampoo caused their dogs to break out in a light rash after usage. To be safe, test out this shampoo on a small portion of your dog’s body before committing to regular use.
4. Pet Oatmeal Anti-Itch Shampoo & Conditioner
About: This Pet Oatmeal Anti-Itch Shampoo and Conditioner is perfect for pups with flea-related itches with its anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties.
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Features: Pets are Kids Too crafts this shampoo with soothing aloe vera and baking soda to protect against odor. The shampoo is 100% organic and made in the USA.
As an added bonus, you can help donate a portion of the profits to pups with cancer by snapping a pic of your pooch and the shampoo and sending it to Pets are Kids Too.
This shampoo also comes with a lifetime money-back guarantee should you be unsatisfied in any way.
Dogs seemed to love the anti-itch properties of this shampoo, and owners felt great about their purchase knowing a portion of the profits were going to a good cause. It seemed to work best for adult pups with dandruff or hair loss issues.
The vanilla-reminiscent scent seemed to be pretty polarizing. While some customers loved it, others found it overbearing for a pet product. Make sure to sniff this shampoo beforehand to ensure it’s favorable for you and your dog.
5. Earthbath Hypo-Allergenic Dog & Cat Shampoo
About: Earthbath Hypo-Allergenic Dog & Cat Shampoo is made without added colors or fragrances to keep it as mild and gentle as possible for your pup’s sensitive skin.
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Features: With active ingredients coconut oil and aloe vera, this shampoo is made to nourish Fido’s dry skin without leaving behind harsh residue. Earthbath’s formula is 100% natural and tearless.
The shampoo is gentle enough to be used with topical flea or tick medication and is safe for all doggos over 6 weeks. Earthbath products are made in the USA and this product can be used on cats as well, making it great for households with multiple pets.
Pet owners loved the gentle, nourishing nature of this product and noticed a softer touch to their dog’s coat when compared with traditional doggie shampoos. Customers also noted the biodegradable nature of this product, making it easy to wash their pup outside.
Some customers noted having to use a good amount of this product to get their pooch 100% clean. If you have a dog with a thicker coat, you may want to consider opting for a product with a stronger lather.
6. Perfect Coat Gentle Hypoallergenic Dog Shampoo
About: Perfect Coat’s Gentle Shampoo is a mild, fragrance-free product made for pups with sensitive skin.
- Very mild formula ideal for dogs with sensitive skin
- Gentle Ingredients cleanse and condition
- No dyes or fragrances
Features: This shampoo contains soothing aloe vera to help hydrate your pup’s dry skin. It should be noted, however, that this product contains added sulfates unlike some of the other hypoallergenic, completely natural options.
The shampoo has no added dyes and lathers well for an easy clean. Notably, this shampoo is fragrance-free, unlike many hypoallergenic alternatives.
Owners love that this shampoo doesn’t leave a strong lingering scent after a wash. Many customers saw their pup itch less after a couple of washes and found the product easy to lather properly.
Some customers found this shampoo’s consistency to be a bit runny. Moreover, a couple of users found the manufacturer’s bottle difficult to squeeze out of and ended up transferring this product to another container for ease of use.
Signs Your Dog Needs a Shampoo for Itchy Skin or Allergies
Do you suspect your pooch has sensitive skin? In which case, here are some key behaviors and signs to look out for.
Note that although these symptoms are often tell-tale signs of itchy skin, you should always consult with Fido’s veterinarian before proceeding with a specialized skincare routine.
Some of the most common signs and symptoms of itchy skin include:
Scratching and Chewing
Possibly the most obvious sign of skin allergies is excessive itching. Though this could signify allergies, it’s important to note that scratching and chewing could also be a result of fleas, ticks, or mites.
To prevent this, make sure you and your pup are making regular trips to the vet and keeping up to date with any prescribed parasite medications or treatments. While some of these shampoos will help deter parasites, they should be used in conjunction with other pest preventatives.
It’s also good practice to check your pooch’s fur thoroughly for ticks every time you come back from a long walk.
However, if your pup is pest-free, it is possible that they are itching due to seasonal allergies, or in response to something that they are eating. In general, if you notice your dog engaging in unusual behavior, it’s always a good idea to go to the vet for a professional diagnosis.
Shedding is normal and healthy for dogs, but excessive hair loss in dogs is not. If you notice your pup is losing more fur than usual, it may be a sign that he has sensitive skin.
If you’re having trouble determining how much hair your pup is losing, try to brush him on a regular schedule and pay close attention to how much hair comes out on the brush.
Should you notice the hair progressively coming out in thicker bushels, it may be time to take your pup into the vet for an evaluation.
These usually go hand in hand with hair loss but are easier to notice on short-coated breeds. While these can be triggered by parasites, they can also be an indicator of sensitive skin.
Over-the-Top Wiggling when Scratched
If your pooch is super squirmy when scratched, it may be a sign that they have especially sensitive skin. You may even notice your dog wiggling a bit extra when rubbing his belly or laying on his back as an attempt to itch the irritated fur.
When in doubt, go to a vet to check it out.
Reasons for Itchy Skin in Dogs
Remember, itchy skin does not always indicate allergies, though that could be a cause of scratchy skin.
Here are a couple of possible reasons as to why your pup may benefit from using sensitive or hypoallergenic dog shampoo.
1. Environmental and Seasonal Allergies
Just like us, pups are sometimes sensitive to the seasons changing. Monitor your pup’s behavior carefully as the climate changes and look out for any signs of irritation.
This is also another thing you should keep in mind when moving with your dog — new environments of any kind can bring upon new allergens and irritations, so be extra vigilant while transitioning.
Though medications and a high-quality diet may improve your dog’s allergies, they’re unfortunately incurable in some cases. Sensitive shampoo can help nourish your pup’s skin and offer them a form of regular relief.
2. Food Allergies
It’s possible that Fido is itching in response to a food allergen. It’s always a good idea to monitor your pup closely while switching to a new food, and you may want to consider hypoallergenic dog foods if you suspect your dog has a food allergy.
You should also make the transition as gradual as possible to help your doggo adjust as well as proactively be on the lookout for any signs of irritation or unusual behavior.
Note that these shampoos won’t cure food allergies, but they may offer some relief while you adjust your dog’s diet appropriately.
Just like human medicine, dog medications can have some unfavorable side effects. If you notice your pet itching excessively in response to a new or preexisting medication, be sure to consult with your vet as soon as possible.
While specialized shampoo may ease your pup’s itching temporarily, your vet may recommend a new medication entirely depending on the severity of Fido’s reaction.
Certain types of fabric can irritate your doggo’s skin, so be on the lookout when introducing a new piece of furniture or rug into your home. Also, consider what products you’re using to clean your pup’s bed. Fabric sheets, certain detergents, and sprays can all potentially irritate your dog.
5. Fleas and Other Parasites
Fleas, ticks, mites, and other parasites can make your pup’s skin irritated, so make sure you’re staying up to date on Fido’s treatment plan proactively discussed with your vet.
Specialized shampoos may help ease your dog’s parasite-induced skin irritation and deter pests, but they should as a part of a dedicated parasite treatment routine, not a sole treatment.
Believe it or not, stress can cause your pooch to itch. If your pup starts itching when introducing a new behavior or around a certain type of stimulus, he may be scratching in direct response to the stressful stimulus.
Try to pinpoint exactly what triggers your pooch and work on healthy familiarization to reduce your pup’s itching. For example, if your pup itches every time he has to take a bath, he may not have been properly introduced to water.
Our beloved pups sometimes come with skin conditions as unique as they are, so finding the perfect shampoo for them can be an arduous process.
However, through trial and error and a little patience, you’re sure to find a product that soothes your pup’s skin and leaves him smelling as fresh as a daisy.
Has your dog found any relief from these products? What do you do to keep your pooch as comfy as possible? We’d love to hear all about it in the comments below!