If you have a pup with sensitive skin, keeping him looking and smelling fresh can be a challenge. For some dogs, regular shampoos can cause discomfort and even skin irritation, which can make bath-time something to avoid at all costs!
Luckily, there are shampoos that are gentle enough that getting a bath can become an enjoyable activity for both you and your pooch once again! In this article we will discuss why some dogs need sensitive dog shampoo, and go over several shampoos for you to consider.
Wanna get straight to the suds? Check out our quick guide on the best dog shampoo for sensitive skin below, or continue to read for in-depth reviews.
There are a few different reasons why dogs develop sensitive skin. Major factors include:
As with humans, allergies are affecting more animals now than they have in the past. There are many theories about why this is, including over-vaccinating, diet, and environmental factors such as pollution.
Allergies can cause pruritus, or severe itching caused by various ailments. They can cause the skin to be very dry or very oily, or even a mixture.
Allergies can sometimes be improved by a high quality diet or medical treatments, but are often incurable. Using a sensitive shampoo can make a big difference in your pup’s level of comfort.
Oily or dry skin can cause your pooch’s skin to feel itchy. Dry skin is the most common of the two, and can be caused by environmental factors, such as living in a place with low humidity, and diet, among other things.
Commercial pet foods process out natural oils, and dry pet food has a dehydrating effect that can also cause your pup to develop dry skin. This can be improved by feeding your dog a quality diet and adding digestive enzymes and probiotics to his food.
If you aren’t sure how to tell if your pooch has dry skin, check his fur for signs of skin flakes! Dandruff in the undercoat is a good way to tell if your pup is scratching because of a skin condition.
Bacterial, fungal, or yeast organisms can cause skin irritation and itchiness as well. It is important to get the correct diagnosis in order to properly treat your pooch!
Sometimes, for unknown reasons, dogs just seem to lick, bite, and scratch certain areas of their skin. This can cause skin sensitivity, as well as more severe problems, and may require the use of a sensitive shampoo to avoid further irritation.
Humans and dogs both have an acid mantle covering their skin, also known as the relative pH balance of the skin. However, humans and dogs have different pH levels.
Humans have a range from 5.2 to 6.2, which is slightly acidic, while dogs lean to a more alkaline concentration with a range of 5.5 to 7.5.
For this reason it is important to not use human shampoo on dogs, as it causes an imbalance in the pH levels of their skin. This can cause your dog’s skin to become dry and itchy, and further washings with human shampoo will only exacerbate the problem. Disrupted pH levels can even create an environment that is more welcoming to bacteria and parasites.
The Pro Pet Works Hypoallergenic Shampoo and Conditioner is a vet recommended product that can be used for dogs, cats, ferrets, and rabbits. The all natural ingredients include oatmeal, aloe vera, almond oil, and vitamins A, D, and E. This product is cherry and almond scented and can also be used as a pet deodorizer.
This Earth-friendly product is a purchase you can feel good about making! It is made in the U.S.A. with recycled materials and is 100% biodegradable. Soap and alcohol free, this dog shampoo is non-toxic and made with no animal products. It is also paraben and cruelty free.
This shampoo comes in a 17 ounce bottle and is made for pets with food, grass, and flea bite allergies, as well as pets with sensitive, itchy, and dry skin.
Most users report that their pets have no negative reactions to this product and that they love the smell. Users also love the all natural ingredients and the money back guarantee.
Some owners don’t like the way this shampoo lathers and rinses. A few users also reported their dogs having skin breakouts or continuing to scratch after use.
Particular Paws Hypoallergenic Dog and Cat Shampoo is made from all natural ingredients with no toxins or allergens. This product contains aloe vera to moisturize and soothe, chamomile to improve skin texture, and rosemary honey extract to provide an appealing, natural aroma.
This product comes in a 12 ounce bottle and is made to heal and prevent itchiness, dandruff, and other skin conditions, as well as leave your pup feeling soft and clean.
Made in the U.S.A., this shampoo comes with a 100 percent satisfaction guarantee.
Users love the nice aroma and how this shampoo lathers. Owners also report how effective this shampoo is at reducing itchiness.
Some users report that this product didn’t work for their dog’s particular needs, but most owners were largely happy with it.
The Pet Head Feeling Flaky Shampoo is strawberry yogurt scented and good for pets with dry, sensitive skin. pH balanced for dogs, it’s natural ingredients make it safe even if your dog licks or swallows some of this shampoo!
Made with yucca, silk proteins, and chamomile, this product will soothe, nourish, and condition your pup’s sensitive skin! Pet Head products are made without DEA or petroleum derivatives.
This 16 ounce bottle is made in the U.S.A. to human standards.
Users love the smell and how soft their pooches feel after using this product!
Some users did not like how this product lathered, although most didn't mind too much.
Vet’s Best Hypoallergenic Dog Shampoo relieves itching and softens dry, brittle coats while also cleaning and moisturizing sensitive skin. This product is great for dogs with dry sensitive skin and seasonal allergies, and won’t affect topical flea or tick products.
The tearless, soap-free formula comes in a 16 ounce bottle and includes soothing aloe vera and vitamin E.
This product is not recommended for use on cats or nursing/pregnant dogs.
Owners say that this product really helped with itching and made a big difference with their pets’ sensitive skin. Users also note that their dog’s fur feels even softer after using this product.
Some users report allergic reactions in their dogs, while others say that the results only lasted for a few days.
Moosh Natural Dog Shampoo is a cruelty-free, 100% natural and organic product intended to keep your pup healthy and clean. This 12 ounce bottle of hypoallergenic shampoo comes with a reducer in the neck to prevent too much from coming out at once, ensuring that this product lasts you a long time.
Moosh shampoo includes neem and argan oil, which have anti-septic, anti-bacterial, and anti-fungal properties and are rich in skin-moisturizing emollients. Shea butter and aloe vera also help moisturize the skin, and leave your pup with soft, silky fur that smells great without the use of artificial perfumes.
This is the only shampoo we've come across that contains bentonite clay, which is known to bind with bacteria, fungus, toxins, and heavy metals to pull them away from the skin.
Moosh Dog Shampoo is made in the U.S.A. and contains no sulfates, preservatives, or chemicals. It's not recommended for cats - canines only!
PROS: Most owners report their pooches having healthier skin and regrowth of hair after using this product, as well as seeing less scratching afterwards. Users also love how the product lathers, rinses, and smells.
CONS: Some owners did not see a reduction in itchiness after using this product, and some also reported that their dog's’ skin seemed drier.
Depending on what types of allergies or skin conditions your pooch suffers from, some shampoos may work better than others. Whether your dog has dry or oily skin, or has irritated skin that he won’t stop scratching, there is a sensitive dog shampoo that is right for you!
Remember, it’s always a good idea to test out a new product on a small patch of skin, as some dogs may be allergic to certain ingredients!
Have you used dog shampoo for sensitive skin on your pooch before? Share your thoughts and stories in the comments section below.
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Ingrid Mangold lives in Burlington, Vermont and is taking classes to become a Certified Vet Tech. She is an aspiring dog owner who makes do at the moment by petting every dog she sees!