If you’re a dog owner, you want your furry friend to be as happy and comfortable as possible. When your pet suffers from skin allergies or has itchy skin, it can be hard to see them so uncomfortable.
A good shampoo can provide your dog with relief from their allergy symptoms, as well as other benefits for their skin and coat.
We cover questions about dog shampoos, why your dog might have itchy skin, and how to help your pooch.
At the middle of this article we list 5 top picks for the best dog shampoo for itching – plus declare one a winner for the best dog shampoo for itching!
What is Making My Dog Itch?
One of the biggest factors in choosing a product for your dog is knowing what’s causing their itching. Whether it’s a flea and tick problem, allergies, or other conditions, you should always consult your vet to find the best treatment.
Finding out what causes your pet to constantly itch their skin is serious business. Once you know the reasons, helping your dog stop itching will be much easier. It isn’t always clear from the itchy skin alone as a symptom and it could take some investigating and a visit to your vet.
The most common cause is parasites, such as fleas and ticks. In this case, a shampoo could possibly help, but it’s more effective to invest in a flea and tick treatment of some form, either medication a specialized collar, or a topical flea and tick treatment.
Another common cause of itching in dogs is dry skin. Some dogs get dry skin simply from living in areas with low humidity or from eating dry dog food. Both of these things dry out a dog’s skin by stripping the dog’s coat and skin of essential oil.
Shampoos with anti-itch ingredients often remedy dry, itchy skin caused by food or humidity.
Look for dry skin by parting your dog’s coat, which may have dandruff flakes giving you clues to the dry skin which is beneath. The skin itself will probably look tough, cracked, or flaky.
Check with your vet in case the dry skin is a symptom of allergies, infection, or a more serious problem.
Allergies are also a frequent source of a dog’s itching. Dogs can be allergic to things such as pollen, grass, food items, or environmental things like dust or mold.
These allergies in dogs can lead to atopic dermatitis that makes the dog s skin itch.
Some dogs even suffer from seasonal allergies, as humans do. The indicator that your dog has an allergy will often be itchy skin. However, you should always consult with your vet if you think that your dog has allergies that are causing the itchy skin.
Depending on how your dog was exposed to the allergen – either by inhaling, ingesting, or touching it – a good medicated dog shampoo could be a good option to relieve their symptoms.
Even a regular dog shampoo could help if the allergen is sitting on their skin.
Some bacterial infections can cause skin inflammation or other skin problems in dogs. Some diseases cause itching as a symptom, while others can lead to secondary things like yeast infections that cause itchy skin.
As always, you should consult your vet to find a treatment for the underlying issue, but a good shampoo can provide relief for your dog while they heal.
The dog shampoo could soothe irritated skins and wash away bacteria from the infection which often has a putrid smell. A good dog wash can help with the germs and the smell while the pup heals.
Your vet may even give you a medicated shampoo to deal with a skin infection.
More Serious Conditions
Though it’s less common, itchy skin can be an indicator of a more serious condition, such as an immune disorder or even skin cancer.
While a shampoo won’t treat these conditions, it could be a good tool in making sure that your dog is comfortable while undergoing other treatments. Talk to your vet to make sure that you’re doing your best for your dog.
Our Picks for The Best Dog Shampoo for Itching
1. Vet s Best Allergy Itch Relief Shampoo For Dogs
Vet s Best Allergy Itch Relief Shampoo for Dogs is a well-known dog shampoo that is formulated with skin-soothing essential oils such as tea tree oil and natural ingredients like oatmeal to help you provide relief to your dog.
It’s specifically designed to remove allergens on your dog s skin, so it’s a good choice for dogs that suffer from reactions to topical allergens. The product is made in the United States.
- Will not interfere with topical flea and tick treatments
- Contains aloe vera and neem oil (source of vitamin e)- both of which are naturally good for dry, itchy skin
- Formulated with natural ingredients
- Suitable for all breeds
- Made with tea tree oil, so it’s unsafe for your dog if ingested – particularly in larger amounts. However, if the product is used correctly, there are no concerns with tea tree oil as an ingredient.
- Not suitable for dogs under 12 weeks old
- Cannot be used on cats
2. Earthbath Oatmeal & Aloe Fragrance Free Dog & Cat Conditioner
If you’re looking for a fragrance-free option to soothe your dog’s itchy skin, Earthbath Oatmeal and Aloe Fragrance-Free Dog and Cat Conditioner is an excellent option.
The formula contains oatmeal and aloe, which contain little scent and are proven to soothe dry, irritated skin. It also detangles and revives your dog s coat and moisturizes skin.
- Fragrance-free and safe for sensitive skin – including human sensitivities
- Combines oatmeal and aloe vera for coat and skin health
- Conditioner as a separate product to shampoo – making it more purpose-made for moisturizing
- Moisturizes skin and detangles coat, making it ideal for dogs with longer, harder to handle fur
- 100% biodegradable and free of parabens and phosphates, so it’s safe for the planet as well as your pup
- Also safe for use on cats
- Safe to use with flea and tick treatments
- Not suitable for pets under 6 weeks old
- Can damage your eyes if it comes into contact with them
- Rinse out only; it is not a leave-in conditioner
3. Paws & Pals Oatmeal, Shea Butter & Aloe Vera Shampoo
Looking for a vegan option? Paws and Pals Oatmeal, Shea Butter, and Aloe Vera Shampoo have you covered.
The shampoo is formulated to be gentle and non-toxic while still soothing irritated skin. It uses a blend of natural oils to moisturize the skin and coat and soothe dry itchy skin.
- Ingredients are all-natural, vegan, and organic, so you know it’s safe for you and your dog
- The formula is tear-free, which means that it won’t irritate your dog’s eyes or nose and make bath time more pleasant
- Detangles mats in fur and moisturizes coat with jojoba and coconut oils
- Safe to use on all pets, including cats and smaller mammals as well as dogs – however, it is only recommended for use on dogs.
- Utilizes natural essential oils that are known to be good for dogs coats and skin grooming routines.
- Not recommended for use with flea and tick treatments
- Some reviewers didn’t like the smell or felt it was not strong enough to leave a nice scent on the dog
4. Buddy Wash Original Lavender & Mint Dog Conditioner Rinse
There are a lot of shampoos that can treat itching, but Buddy Wash Original Lavender and Mint Dog Conditioner Rinse can actually prevent itchy skin by preventing over-drying. The formula is pH balanced for pets; animal skin is often less acidic than ours is, so some products can make their skin dry and irritated.
Buddy Wash has a calming mint and lavender scent and is filled with botanicals and essential oils to moisturize your pet’s coat and reduce shedding.
- pH balanced for pet’s skin, so it will prevent over-drying
- Uses botanical extracts and natural oils to gently clean and moisturize the skin and coat
- No animal testing is used in production
- The formula is ideal for pets with thick or curly fur
- No harsh ingredients – it’s even safe for use on people
- Safe to use with flea and tick treatments
- While ingredients are very gentle and can be soothing, this shampoo has fewer ingredients in it that will actually treat itching
- Not recommended for cats
- This shampoo is scented, so it could be irritating for those who are sensitive to scented products
5. TropiClean Luxury 2 in 1 Papaya and Coconut Pet Shampoo and Conditioner
If you’re the kind of person who likes a tropical scent, look no further than the TropiClean Luxury 2 in 1 Papaya and Coconut Pet Shampoo and Conditioner.
This product is designed to be a one-stop-shop for bathing your pet; it’s both a shampoo and conditioner to eliminate extra steps. The best thing about this shampoo is that it’s soap-free, so it will not interfere with flea and tick treatments.
It also has interesting, natural ingredients like mango, kiwi, and papaya to not only make it a tropical smelling dog shampoo but also to use the fruit’s skin-healing properties. It also has calming aloe vera and chamomile.
- Doesn’t interfere with flea and tick treatments so you can use both without worry
- pH balanced to suit dogs sensitive skin.
- Suitable for both cats and dogs – if you have more than one pet, this could be quite convenient
- Kiwi and papaya fruit are in the shampoo to nourish dry skin
- Contains coconut to help moisturize and untangle the dog’s coat that helps to reduce matting.
- Aloe vera and chamomile gently soothe and clean
- Contains colloidal oatmeal which is known for its anti-inflammatory properties.
- Not hypo-allergenic so it might not be the best choice shampoo for dogs with allergies or very sensitive skin
- Some reviewers found that the packaging leaked, during shipping or after and during use.
What is the best shampoo for itchy dogs?
The best shampoo for your itchy dog might depend on the reasons they are itchy, as described above.
However, there are some general guidelines to think about when choosing a dog shampoo for your dog if reducing their itchiness is your aim.
To start with, dogs have sensitive skins. A dog s skin is even more sensitive than humans, despite dogs being covered in fur. So the best dog shampoos for itchy skin are the shampoos that are formulated to be gentle on the dog.
Products with natural ingredients such as aloe vera and that are soap-free are normally a good starting point. This way they are gentle on the dog s skin and shouldn’t cause further irritation.
Another factor is to choose a moisturizing shampoo. These dog shampoos are sometimes listed as two-in-one dog shampoo and conditioners. However, it can also be a dog shampoo that has conditioning ingredients such as natural oils like neem oil that contains vitamin e – nourishing for the skin!
Keep in mind, however, that your dog could still be allergic to natural ingredients. This makes it tricky at times. Some breeds of dog may be more prone to have sensitive skin and therefore, itchy skin. Your vet may be able to help, otherwise, it might be a case of trial and error until you get the right match dog shampoo for your unique dog.
So in a nutshell – choose a product that is anti-itch, made for dogs, and for sensitive skin. Look out for natural, conditioning ingredients to soothe and moisturize the dog s skin too. If your dog is still itchy, it could be allergies to the shampoo ingredients too.
How often should you bathe a dog with itchy skin?
There is no definitive answer to how often you should use dog shampoo and bathe your dog.
If dogs have bacterial infections, the vet might recommend a more regular bath to keep the dog s skin clean. They would likely suggest a special medicated dog shampoo too. However, they may also suggest simply cleaning the infection site, and not going all-in for a dog bath.
Dogs can become smelly when they have an infection or dry, flaky skins so you might want to bathe them more regularly. This might be more for your own benefit than theirs at times because it is hard to cuddle your dog when they smell bad.
Yet, you need to keep in mind their sensitive skin. Some suggest most dogs only need a bath every 2-3 months, while others say every 3 weeks. Of course, it is different if your dog is filthy or has rolled in something and you do not have much choice but to get out the dog shampoo.
Too regular bathing can lead to the dog s skin being stripped of its natural oils too often, so it doesn’t return to its natural balance. This can lead to more itching for your poor dog which is not the aim.
So overall, too much can be a bad thing when it comes to giving your dog a bath. However, if you use a soap-free dog shampoo for sensitive skin, it should be fine to have fairly regular baths for most dogs. Not all dogs are the same, just like people, and different dogs may require different bathing schedules.
Does oatmeal shampoo help dogs with itchy skin?
In short, yes oatmeal shampoo can help dogs with itchy skin.
If the dog shampoo ingredients include colloidal oatmeal, then it should provide some anti-itch benefits for your pet. This is because oatmeal is not only good for people, but it also has anti-inflammatory properties, along with antioxidants which can soothe and restore your pet’s sensitive skin.
The oatmeal component can reduce inflammation, and redness as well as help with seasonal allergies by cleaning and calming the skin.
So an easy way to get skin-soothing ingredients like oatmeal on your dog s coat is in a pet shampoo. It is certainly easier than grinding up oatmeal yourself and making a gooey mess.
How Should I Pick My Dog’s Shampoo?
Once you know what is causing the itching, you’ll know if an anti-itch shampoo will be an effective treatment.
Again, your vet may prescribe the best shampoo for your pet, but here are some factors to consider if you need to pick the shampoo yourself.
If your pet has been diagnosed with a health issue like an infection, or skin allergies, they will need a medicated shampoo. You would have likely seen a vet who will give you the best advice on the dog shampoos available with the active ingredients to treat the condition – if needed.
This is common for treating dermatitis and infections.
If your dog has sensitive skin, a badly formulated shampoo full of fragrances and harsh chemicals could only make things worse. Always consult your vet to make sure you pick a good shampoo for your dog. Never use human shampoos, as these are far too acidic for any dog and may make itchy skin worse.
You will often find reviews for the dog shampoo you are looking at purchasing. Even if it claims to be anti-itch, it can be worth checking out what the reviewers had to say in regards to their pet.
Keep in mind, almost every product comes with some negative reviews. As we mentioned before, even good, natural pet shampoos can still cause allergies for certain dogs. So look at the overall picture on the reviews page, and consider if most people were happy with the dog shampoo and if it helped stop their pet from itching.
Check out the review content for clues such as if their pet was similar in size or breed, or if the dog s coat was close to what your pet has. You want to at least be comparing similar dogs to fairly gauge if it is the best shampoo choice.
We have tried to help by doing our own review of 5 dog shampoos for itchy dogs below, to give you some options.
Remember, these may or may not be available in your country if you are outside the US. However, hopefully, this guide has provided some insight into what you should look for when it comes to pet shampoos for itchy skin.
So which of the 5 shampoos is the best dog shampoo for itching?
Overall, all of the above 5 choices are good dog shampoos with many happy customers.
Yet, we have chosen one based on it being the best, all-around dog shampoo for an itchy dog. In this case, the most important factor was how effective the shampoo is for dogs itching issues. That is, without discussing a flea shampoo – as this is more about general itching.
So… (*drum roll*), the best choice shampoo is: actually a conditioner. The Earthbath Oatmeal ; Aloe Fragrance-Free Dog and Cat Conditioner. To start with, it contains the icon of itchy skin relief: oatmeal. It also contains aloe vera in a super gentle, fragrance-free product.
All of this is perfect for adding moisture and relief back into sensitive, irritated skin. It is also good for sensitive humans too. A huge bonus is that it will make your pet’s coat so soft and fluffy!
It does need to be used with shampoo first, however. Any of the shampoos on the above list could be a good choice, or check out the product services from Earthbath and stick to something super gentle and scent-free from them.
From this list though, the Buddy Wash option is probably a nice match. It is also compatible with flea and tick treatment as well as boasting gentle, natural ingredients.
Vet s Best allergy shampoo is also good, however, some dogs may find the tea tree oil too much. In small amounts, tea tree definitely has healing properties. A little bit too much for dogs and it is not good. So, if you bathe your dog often, the most gentle may be the best choice.
On a side note- the Earthbath conditioner was out of stock at one of the retailers at the time of writing – which could be a testament to its popularity. However, there is an email address option to get notified when it’s restocked. So pop in your email address if this is the case and hopefully, you won’t miss out when it’s back in stock.
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