16 Best Dog Shampoos for Dry Skin

best dog shampoo for dry skin
Dry skin can be a real challenge in taking care of our dogs because it doesn’t have the same cause in every dog. For some, it’s over-bathing, allergies, dietary issues. Due to this, the impact of shampoos is not always what people expect. Looking deeper into the ingredients benefits and concerns we can help you to determine the best dog shampoo for dry skin.

Top 16 dog shampoos for dry skin

Friends Forever Natural Dog Shampoo for Dry Itchy Skin

Friends Forever Natural Dog Shampoo for Dry Itchy Skin

Our Rating:

4.6/5

Price Range: $$

Ingredients:
  • Water
  • coconut-based cleansers
  • oatmeal extract
  • aloe vera extract
  • flaxseed oil
  • tea tree oil
  • lavender oil
  • chamomile extract
  • rosemary extract

What We Like About It

  • The coat comes out feeling clean by not dry.
  • The smell generally comes across light and clean.
  • Users have noted this to be exceptionally easy to rinse.
  • Many pet parents of white dogs found this to be particularly whitening.

What We Don't Like

  • It did not resolve the scratching for some dogs.
  • Tea tree oil can be an irritant for some dogs.

This shampoo is hypoallergenic and moisturizing. Extracts are concentrated solutions from the plant and they do act as irritants to some dogs and the smell is very overwhelming for a lot of sensitive people. The tea tree oil can be too drying. I have seen it used in dogs to good effect but I have seen irritation from it as well so I would keep a close eye on them for a couple of days after using this to make sure it’s compatible with their skin. The shampoo has a light apple scent.

This product has a short ingredient list (though be aware that the coconut-based cleanser is a range of chemicals made from coconut, not just one thing). The shorter the list the easier it is to avoid irritants and identify them.
It is manufactured in the U.S and the company offers a 100% satisfaction guarantee. This is a great thing to take advantage of because of the individuality of a dog’s skin all the right ingredients can’t guarantee the dog will do well with it, so why not get your money back.

Wahl 4-In-1 Calming Pet Shampoo

Wahl Dry Skin & Itch Relief Pet Shampoo for Dogs

Our Rating:

4.8/5

Price Range: $

Ingredients:
  • Purified Water (Aqua)
  • Sodium Laureth Sulfate (Cleanser from Refined Coconut Oil)
  • Soyamide (Cleanser from Refined Soy)
  • Cocamidopropyl Betaine (Cleanser from Coconut Fatty Acids)
  • EGMS (Pearlizing Agent)
  • Polysorbate-20 (Sugar-Based Emulsifier)
  • Glycerin (Vegetable Glycerin)
  • Guar Hydroxypropyltrimonium Chloride (Guar Based Conditioner)
  • Chamomile Extract
  • Fragrance
  • Potassium Sorbate (Freshness Assurer)
  • FDA Approved Colors

What We Like About It

  • It rinses out well on a heavy or double coat.
  • For many dogs, the scent lasts for a full two to four days.
  • A small amount of shampoo covers a lot of dog so the bottle will last through many baths.
  • It cleans and softens the coat very well.

What We Don't Like

  • Some users found the shampoo did not resolve dryness well.

A shampoo ingredient list that looks a bit more daunting, but a lot of it is they are listing out all of the botanicals instead of simply saying product derived from … So this really is not full of more than the average shampoo. The product is designed to be a detangling and moisturizing shampoo so good for long-haired or double-coated dogs. It has lavender essential oil for a calming effect, which is a scent you just have to smell and decide on. The product is a concentrate and I have found it’s much easier to distribute it by mixing a small amount in half a cup of warm water and distribute that over the dog. Otherwise, you tend to get a dense soapy spot that takes half an hour to rinse out.

The company manufactures the shampoo in the U.S. so there is some quality assurance. Unfortunately, there is no warranty stated. Perhaps you should call the company to look into that if you want to try this, or if you buy it and are not happy with it. Wahl is a long-standing company in the pet care industry (though best known for the quality clippers they make.)

A quick tip from the Vet!

Brushing your dog regularly with a rubber tips brush or rubber curry will help distribute natural oils and decrease itching.

Pro Pet Works Oatmeal Dog Shampoo + Conditioner

Pro Pet Works Oatmeal Dog Shampoo + Conditioner

Our Rating:

4.7/5

Price Range: $$

Ingredients:
  • deionized water
  • surfactant blend made from natural derivative (coconut base shampoo)
  • organic aloe vera extract
  • almond oil
  • hydrolyzed oat protein
  • vitamins A, D and E
  • glycerin (soothes the skin)
  • glycerol stearate (emulsifies, makes foam, conditions)
  • wheat germ glycerides
  • blend of cherry botanical extracts
  • EGDA (conditioner)
  • EDTA (aids ingredients in blending)
  • proprietary blend of coat and skin conditioners

What We Like About It

  • It’s clean rinsing and easy to use.
  • A lot of pets are getting a reduction in itching up to a month in some dogs.
  • Many dog parents found the scent to be clean and not perfume like.

What We Don't Like

  • The smell right out of the bottle is overpoweringly strong, though it dissipates quickly after bathing.

A shampoo designed to relieve dry itchy skin. It is soap and detergent free which helps to decrease drying. The company labels it as being organic as well as biodegradable and hypoallergenic. The shampoo does not have any added fragrance which is a big bonus for some scent sensitive folks and generally more acceptable to dogs. I’ve never seen a dog approach something heavily perfumed, they usually avoid it. The almond oil in addition to being a moisturizer generally has a very pleasant and mild scent.

Manufactured in the U.S. using recycled materials and produced cruelty-free shows that this company has a distinct social mission. This is a big plus if you are concerned with animal welfare and environmental management. The company offers a 100% money-back guarantee if you aren’t satisfied with how this works on your dog. There’s no better way to know then use it and ask the dog.

Bodhi Dog Oatmeal Shampoo

Bodhi Dog Orange Citrus Dog Shampoo Coconut and Aloe Vera

Our Rating:

4.4/5

Price Range: $$

Ingredients:
  • oat protein
  • aloe vera
  • fruit extract
  • baking soda
  • vitamin A, D, E
  • coconut-based surfactant
  • glycerin
  • glycerol stearate
  • DMDH hydantoin (preservative)
  • EGDS conditioner
  • deionized water

What We Like About It

  • The shampoo lathers well and rinses clean and soothes itchy skin.
  • Small amounts needed per bath are a good value and easy to use.

What We Don't Like

  • For some dogs, it didn’t provide any benefits.
The shampoo has oat protein to moisturize and fight allergens as well as other moisturizing agents including the aloe vera which will help to calm irritated skin. Baking soda acts as a deodorizer and the cleaning agents are derived from coconut. This is all botanical (plant-based). The shampoo is hypoallergenic and should be soothing to most dog skin. It is an apple-scented product that is meant to be light and easy on the nose.
The shampoo is made in the U.S. and offers a 100% satisfaction guarantee. This gives us some positive idea of quality control and the option of money back if it doesn’t agree with your dog. The packaging is recyclable and they strive to use only sustainable ingredients. The product is cruelty-free. The company has a strong social mission. The best test of a product for your dog is them, no two dogs are the same, which dog lovers understand.

Paws & Pals Natural Oatmeal Dog Shampoo and Conditioner (Medicated Clinical Vet Formula)

Natural Oatmeal Dog-Shampoo and Conditioner - Medicated Clinical Vet Formula Wash for Relieving Dry Itchy Skin

Our Rating:

4.6/5

Price Range: $$

Ingredients:
  • Water
  • Sodium Laureth Sulfate
  • Lauryl Glucoside
  • Cocamidopropyl Betaine
  • Glycol Distearate
  • Cocamide MEA
  • Laureth-10
  • Polysorbate 20
  • Aloe Barbadensis (Aloe) Leaf Juice
  • PEG-12 Dimethicone
  • Avena Sativa (Oat) Kernel Flour
  • Panthenol (Pro vitamin B5)
  • Tocopheryl Acetate
  • Borago Officinalis Seed Oil
  • Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Oil
  • Macrocystis Pyrifera (Sea Kelp) Extract
  • Methyl Chloro Isothiazolinone
  • Methyl Isothiazolinone
  • Disodium EDTA
  • Fragrance (Perfume)

What We Like About It

  • The shampoo relieved odor in some dogs for up to two weeks.
  • The scent is pleasant but mild so it doesn’t overpower owner or pup.
  • The moisturizers are very effective on the skin and the coat.

What We Don't Like

  • Some users found the shampoo thick and hard to work with without dropping a bunch in the tub.

This is a soap-free all-natural shampoo. The term medicated is misleading because there isn’t actually any medication in it. It contains oatmeal for allergies and moisturizing. The company labels it as a vegan. The company lists all of the natural products by their chemical names which can be confusing or overwhelming for some people trying to be cautious of chemicals on their dog. The ingredients are all plant-based. It’s recommended to let the shampoo stand on the coat for a minute or two for the product to have its full effect. There is an added bonus of the product being labeled for safety in a very wide range of species if you happen to have a menagerie at home you could use it all around.

The shampoo is made in the U.S. cruelty-free and the bottle is made with certified recycled materials. There are a lot of strong points of social mission with this company. Unfortunately, there is no warranty stated though it would never hurt to contact them and ask if you are dissatisfied.

Earthbath

Earthbath All Natural Pet Shampoo

Our Rating:

4.6/5

Price Range: $$

Ingredients:
  • Purified water
  • renewable coconut-based cleansers
  • colloidal oatmeal (3%)
  • aloe vera
  • almond and vanilla essences
  • olive oil squalene (natural preservative)

What We Like About It

  • The almond scent is very appealing to many pet owners, it’s light and clean.
  • It does a great job soothing the skin for many dogs.
  • The biodegradable feature and social mission of the company resonate with many pet parents.

What We Don't Like

  • Some users were not satisfied with the odor control.
This shampoo has a pretty simple ingredient list of natural products, remember though the coconut-based cleansers include multiple things. The company also says it only uses organic ingredients. The shampoo is soap-free and biodegradable. Colloidal oatmeal is great for soothing skin and fighting allergies, aloe helps to sooth and almond oil has a great scent as well as being a moisturizer. The simple ingredient list helps to be clear about what you are putting on your dog and to avoid anything you know has been irritating to them in the past. This is a good mild product for dogs that get dirty and would need more than the average bathing.
The shampoo is manufactured in the U.S. and offers a 100% satisfaction guarantee. The company states a strong social mission and has a community giving program as well as offers support for local non-profits. (It’s a California company).

Curaseb Antifungal & Antibacterial Chlorhexidine Shampoo Bexley Labs

Curaseb Antifungal & Antibacterial Chlorhexidine Shampoo for Dog Veterinary Formula

Our Rating:

4.8/5

Price Range: $$

Ingredients:
  • CHLORHEXIDINE GLUCONATE 2%
  • KETOCONAZOLE 1%
  • lauramine oxide
  • polyacrylate-1 crosspolymer
  • cocamidopropyl betaine
  • decyl glucoside
  • glycolic acid
  • fragrance
  • tetrasodium EDTA
  • METHYLCHLOROISOTHIAZOLINONE
  • METHYLISOTHIAZOLINONE

What We Like About It

  • Dog parents like the strong social mission specifically the cancer support program.
  • It leaves the skin and coat beautifully moisturized.
  • The simple ingredients make pet parents more comfortable.

What We Don't Like

  • A larger number than average dog parents report a lack of itch control

Pet Oatmeal Shampoo & Conditioner : Natural Ingredients & Hypoallergenic

Pet Oatmeal Anti-Itch Shampoo & Conditioner In One Natural Ingredients & Hypoallergenic

Our Rating:

4.8/5

Price Range: $$

Ingredients:
  • Oat Proteins
  • Baking Soda
  • Coconut Based Cleanser (plant-derived)
  • Deionized Water
  • Glycerin
  • DMDH Hydantoin (natural preservative)
  • Vitamins A, D, & E
A natural and plant-based shampoo that is detergent-free, and hypoallergenic. It contains oat protein to help with itching and fight allergies. The baking soda is a good natural odor neutralizer. The shampoo has a pretty simple ingredient list which makes it easier to double-check ingredients so you can be very precise about what you buy. This has a good non-drying formula. The ingredients are labeled as 100% organic.
The company has a very strong social mission. They offer a lifetime money-back guarantee. This is a strong claim and it’s great that you could use the shampoo multiple times and still get your money back if you found over time you weren’t happy with how your dog feels. They have a program with an option to participate in a donation program for pets with cancer if you send a photo. The shampoo is made in the US using sustainable ingredients and cruelty-free.

What We Like About It

  • Dog parents like the strong social mission specifically the cancer support program.
  • It leaves the skin and coat beautifully moisturized.
  • The simple ingredients make pet parents more comfortable.

What We Don't Like

  • A larger number than average dog parents report a lack of itch control

Vet's Best Hypo-Allergenic Shampoo for Dogs

Vet's Best Hypo-Allergenic Shampoo for Dogs   for Sensitive Skin

Our Rating:

4.4/5

Price Range: $

Ingredients:
  • Aloe vera
  • allantoin
  • panthenol
  • vitamin E

What We Like About It

  • Dog parents that have sensitive skin dogs who require frequent bathing found this gentle enough to do the job.
  • A gentle natural smell that is good for everyone was a common response to this shampoo use.
  • Clean, soft and shiny is the most common result of bathing with this shampoo.

What We Don't Like

  • It has a watery consistency that many people don’t like when trying to apply it to their dogs.
This shampoo is soap-free and hypoallergenic. The ingredient list is very small which always helps with dogs that have sensitive skin. The less that is there, the less they have to react to. The allantoin is keratolytic, which means that it removes the dead skin layers that tend to harden and stick to the skin when the natural shedding process is not working. Here I’m talking about natural skin cell shedding, not hair coat shedding. Aloe vera is a good natural soothing agent. Vitamin E acts as a natural preservativeץ
The shampoo is made in the U.S. and the company offers a money-back satisfaction guarantee. This supports some good quality control and the fact that the company stands behind the product. Nothing judges the quality of a product for your dog then actually using it, and nothing is better than a refund if it doesn’t give you the results you need.

A quick tip from the Vet!

When using your mild dry skin shampoo massage it really well down to the skin.

Vital Pet Life

Vital Pet Life Shampoo for Dogs

Our Rating:

4.7/5

Price Range: $$

Ingredients:
  • Water
  • Natural Plant-Based Surfactant Blend
  • Oatmeal
  • Certified Organic Aloe Vera
  • Chamomile Extract
  • Yucca Extract
  • Certified Organic Jojoba Oil
  • Vitamin E
  • Wheat Germ Oil
  • FDA-Approved preservative

What We Like About It

  • Bathing with this shampoo brings tremendous softness to the coat.
  • The shampoo has a mild scent that is very appealing.
  • A simple natural ingredient list that pet parents feel comfortable with.

What We Don't Like

  • Though it doesn’t mean it’s not natural the lack of disclosure about the “FDA approved preservative is bothersome.”
A natural shampoo that is hypoallergenic. The ingredient list is simple and easy to evaluate. The oatmeal will soothe the skin along with the Aloe vera and also will bind allergens and decrease symptoms. The jojoba oil is also a good moisturizer. This has a lot of moisturizing products in it so the dogs that truly have dry skin without other issues this could be a great starter pick. The shampoo is also fragrance-free which is usually more comfortable for the dog but also great for people with scent sensitivities.
The shampoo is manufactured in the U.S. The company has a 30-day satisfaction guarantee but only if the product is not opened. This is not as effective for you to be able to asses that the product is effective and satisfying for your dog. Unfortunately, this is a product you would just have to decide to try and pass it along to a friend if it wasn’t the best product for your dog’s skin.

Critter Concepts Dog Shampoo for Dry Itchy Skin

Critter Concepts Dog Shampoo for Dry Itchy Skin

Our Rating:

4.8/5

Price Range: $$

Ingredients:
  • tea tree oil
  • sunflower oil (Vitamin E)
  • shea butter
  • allantoin
  • panthenol (Vit B5)
  • D-limonene

What We Like About It

  • The shampoo mixes easily, lathers well and works into the coat easily.
  • The ingredient list is very simple and easy to evaluate.
  • The concentrated solution makes the product last through a very large number of baths.

What We Don't Like

  • Not diluting the shampoo correctly can result in severe skin irritation.
This is another shampoo that has a very short ingredient list so it’s less likely to aggravate some dog’s skin. Tea tree oil is a strong astringent, meaning it really dries the skin. This may not be the best choice for dry skin. I have found the tea tree oil to be unpredictable in dogs. Some of them do well with it and some itch terribly. I definitely recommend when using this you pay attention to how your dog is feeling in the first 24 hours after the bath.
This shampoo is extremely concentrated and it’s critical that you take note of the mixing ratio to dilute it. The tea tree full strength to most dogs would be highly irritating. Due to this, I would not make this a first-line pick for a dry skin normal grooming shampoo.
The shampoo is made in the U.S. and cruelty-free. The company offers a100% money-back guarantee if you aren’t satisfied with how it works. This is really important because of the unpredictable response to tea tree products.

WashBar

WashBar Natural Dog Shampoo Bar for Dry Itchy or Sensitive Skin

Our Rating:

4.6/5

Price Range: $$

Ingredients:
  • Neem Oil
  • Lemon-Scented Tea Tree Oil
  • Manuka Pure Essential Oil and Neem Leaf in a vegetable-based soap

What We Like About It

  • This soap will remove heavy-duty dirt from your dog’s coat.
  • The bar form is preferable for some folks when bathing.
  • The lack of plastic packaging appeals to eco-friendly homes.
  • Some pet parents found the bar was better with dry skin in their dogs sensitive to shampoos that have a lot of chemicals.

What We Don't Like

  • Tea tree oil may be over-drying for some dogs and worsen dandruff.
This is a super simple bar soap for bathing your dog. The tea tree oil can be very drying (it’s an astringent) so it’s not going to be the right choice for every dog. I’ve seen it work well for some and not others. My biggest recommendation here is if you try it, then just keep an eye on your dog’s skin and comfort level for about 24 hours. If they start itching more I wouldn’t use it again. The soap also contains alike lemon oil scent and moisturizing oils.
One benefit for environmentally consciousness consumers is the product is not in a plastic bottle. The soap comes in a recyclable cardboard box. The company promotes that they have a sustainable and ethical mission. They offer a 100% satisfaction guarantee for 30 days so I would be sure to get some baths done during that time so you can decide if it will work for you.

Nootie Dog Shampoo

Nootie dog Shampoo

Our Rating:

4.3/5

Price Range: $$

Ingredients:
  • Purified water
  • Sodium C12-14 alpha-olephin sulfonate
  • cocamidopropyl betaine
  • ammonium lauryl sulfate
  • ethylene glycol distearate
  • disodium cocamido MIPA sulfosuccinate
  • polyquaternium -7
  • glycerin
  • fragrance
  • colloidal oatmeal
  • ordenone
  • coconut oil
  • kathon Cg
  • sodium chloride
  • aloe vera gel

What We Like About It

  • For a sensitive skin shampoo, it still gives a really deep clean.
  • The scent is light to neutral which is better for the dog and owner.
  • This shampoo leaves the coat very soft and shiny.
  • It’s gentle enough for dogs that need a bath multiple times a week.

What We Don't Like

  • It’s not going to stop itching for every dog.
  • It doesn’t resolve odor issues for all dogs.
This is a soap-free, all-natural shampoo that has colloidal oatmeal which helps to moisturize and avert allergens. Aloe vera helps to soothe irritated skin. This shampoo will be gentle, non-drying and moisturizing. The fragrance is promoted as light and in my experience, the oatmeal really keeps a good scent on dogs. Everyone has their own scent preferences though. Ordenone is a compound that binds odor-producing molecules and neutralizes them. The recommended bathing process for this product is to wet the coat, apply the liquid, lather, and rinse.There is not any recommended leave on time. Be sure to massage right down to the skin though to get your pup clean.
The shampoo is manufactured in the U.S. which helps with quality control questions. It also comes with a 100% satisfaction guarantee. I would definitely plan on giving a bath in the first week or two after you buy it so you can assess how your dog reacts to it. If you aren’t getting what you want, send it back and get your money back.

A quick tip from the Vet!

Most importantly don’t wait too long to consult your veterinarian if your dog is uncomfortable. There may be reasons hiding there you just don’t know about.

Odie and Cody Natural Dog Shampoo

Odie and Cody Natural Pet Shampoo Soothes Dry Skin

Our Rating:

4.3/5

Price Range: $$

Ingredients:
  • Saponified organic oils of coconut
  • olive and jajoba
  • natural essential oil blend including lemongrass and rosemary oil
  • rosemary extract
  • organic aloe vera

What We Like About It

  • This shampoo makes a good lather and easily rinses out of the coat.
  • The decrease in itching lasts for days.
  • Many people are having positive customer service experiences.
  • The lemongrass and rosemary scent is light and fresh.

What We Don't Like

  • The essential oil scent is too much for some folks.
  • The lid seems to be poorly made and often breaks off.
This product is listed as organic but the country of origin is not listed so this is difficult to confirm. It is also listed as vegan, biodegradable, cruelty-free and made from recycled materials for the packaging.
This is a moisturizing shampoo that uses a gentle coconut based cleaner and a blend of oils to condition the skin and coat. Some people will find the scent strong when this many oils are present. This is simply a sensitivity issue for some folks.
A satisfaction guarantee is offered and it is stated that the product ships from the US but it is unclear where it is actually made. Though this company makes some great social consciousness claims I am concerned about the country in which it’s made being absent and why they point out that it’s shipped from a U.S. location. If these qualities really matter I would either go to another company or do a lot of digging.

How can a product be called all-natural with all these chemicals?

Some products list the common names we are familiar with and some use the technical chemical name. Every known substance has a chemical name and this has nothing to do with chemicals. A better term would be natural versus synthetic, but unfortunately, the term natural has been overused and lost its meaning.

Understanding dry skin on dogs

In order to do this, we need to look at a variety of causes. They are diverse and unrelated, though many pets will have several of them at once. Something else to realize is that itching is not necessarily associated with dry skin. Another common issue is oily skin with infection under it.
A mild and safe grooming shampoo will generally not make things worse, but it would be best for your dog to have your veterinarian examine your dog’s skin before considering any medicated product.

Allergies

Dogs can express their allergies through the skin the way humans do through their airways (think hayfever, bronchitis, and asthma). Dogs can have atopy (environmental allergies: pollen, grass, etc.), food allergy (which is not the same as food sensitivity causing diarrhea) and flea allergies (not just flea bites but being allergic to their saliva).
These can be helped by different types of shampoos depending on how your dog’s skin is reacting. For general grooming, oatmeal has a positive effect on allergies because it actually binds allergic agents as well as moisturizing.

Systemic disorders

These most commonly entail endocrine diseases such as Cushing’s, Addison’s, diabetes among others. The hormones that are not properly regulated in these conditions affect skin and hair maintenance and there is a variety of skin disorders that can appear.

Nutritional problems

For dogs eating a commercial diet, this would be nearly unheard of. For dogs eating homemade or boutique diets, a huge variety of deficiencies could occur.

Parasites

This is a hugely common issue. Fleas cause bite irritation as well as saliva allergies. Mites cause localized irritation when they migrate above and below the skin. There are other less common parasites in dogs but those are the everyday ones.

Skin infections

These are almost exclusively secondary to some other disease. Skin infections need to be managed by a veterinarian and the primary cause needs to be discovered and resolved or the infections will tend to keep coming back.

Grooming

Using products that have excessive drying agents in them for routine grooming can cause skin damage and chronic dryness and irritation to your dog.

pH balance

This is primarily an issue of using human products. Pet products are generally made balanced for animals by reputable companies. Human pH is generally under 5 and dogs usually 6.5 to 7, therefore repeat exposure to human skin products can be very irritating.

Bacterial and fungal infections

These are almost always secondary to some other disease. Most infections are very easy to treat but they will come back over and over if the primary problem is not dealt with. One of the few fungal issues that is primary is ringworm, though this also can occur more in that case of immune deficiency issues.

Breed Specific

Most breeds of dogs have some unique skin issues. Whether it’s the dramatic predisposition of Retrievers to allergies or structural abnormalities in the skin of Shar Pei’s this is a factor that has to be viewed with each breed independently.

Symptoms

Dandruff: This is actually a defect in the shedding of dead skin cells that occurs for many reasons.
Hair Loss: This occurs with endocrine (hormone type) diseases like thyroid disease, excessive scratching, and some parasitic infections.
Scabs: This would be due to any trauma to the skin surface.
Scaly Skin: This is essentially the same as dandruff, though scales are sometimes considered to be large pieces of dead skin.
Oily Coat: This is caused by many things and will often cause dogs to itch.
Bad Odor: This can come from excessive oils on the coat going rancid, infection and debris that is trapped in sebum (oil/wax layer)
Readness: This is a hallmark of inflammation, or your child found your lipstick (very common).
Inflammation: Inflammation can cause pain, itching and lead to other problems. This is the body’s response to irritants and disease so the list of causes is massive.

Skin problems caused by dry skin

  • Itching commonly occurs with dry skin. Scratching can lead to trauma and wounds such as hot spots.
  • If the skin is not healthy it’s not protecting the underlying tissue and infections can occur. These will usually be very superficial infections but very disconcerting for your dog.

Dry skin on dogs: Prevention

  • Using skin protective shampoos containing products like oatmeal and aloe vera can help to remove debris and moisturize the skin.
  • Avoid routine grooming with strong astringents such as medicated shampoos containing (chlorhexidine, tea tree oil, or strong soaps).
  • Leave on conditioners can be used in between bathing times to moisturize the skin. Oatmeal products are my favorite because they have a little extra edge against any existing allergies.
  • Effective flea and tick control. Avoiding irritation and inflammation will help to avoid dryness.
  • Avoid over-bathing (1 to 2 times a month are enough for general grooming, weekly is okay with a very mild shampoo like colloidal oatmeal).

Dry skin Vs. allergies

Allergies are a specific disease of the immune system. Dry skin can be due to multiple causes like endocrine disease, inflammation and parasites. Dry skin can lead to a lot of other issues but is usually much more easily managed. Allergies are a primary disease that requires more tailored therapies. Managing both at the same time can bring your dog a lot of comfort while trying to deal with the allergy.

How shampoos for dry skin can help my dog?

Colloidal oatmeal

Because dry skin is often associated with allergies this is a double therapy. It will bind allergens decreasing the inflammatory response of the skin as well as being a moisturizer. I have also found it has a great scent that beats out wet dog for days.

Moisturizing the skin layers

When the skin is very dry it isn’t healthy and can lead to other problems. Moisturizers such as oatmeal, aloe vera, almond oil and others can improve the health of the skin which will make your dog more comfortable. This is just like our skin issues in the winter when the heat first comes on, everything is very dry and we reach for the lotion.

Improves the healthy environment of the skin

By removing excessive debris, oil and balancing pH the overall health of the skin is improved. This leads to less secondary disease and more comfort. Picture the feeling of a good scrub in the shower after working outside on a long hot day. Immediate comfort!

Improves that natural oil barrier on the skin

This is part of our immune system. When debris, dead skin and unhealthy wax build up are piled up on the skin it doesn’t work well. Once this is removed with routine grooming the skin is healthier.

Things dry skin shampoo cannot help with

Treating severe skin disease

This could lead to severe illness and pain and should never be addressed with grooming shampoo. Always consult your veterinarian if your dog has serious skin lesions. The earlier treatment starts the quicker things are resolved.

Treating skin infection

If your dog has a skin infection grooming shampoo will not help and is not the right approach. Due to the fact that infections are almost always secondary it is critical not only to treat the infection properly but also figure out why it occurred. The faster this is done the less your dog will be in discomfort.
What should I take into consideration? This is a darn good question. The number one issue I would focus on is the quality of the company making it. It’s unrealistic that you will study all of the factors involved in the making of shampoo, so it’s equally unrealistic that you can decipher every detail on a bottle or website.
Start with a reliable company with a strong positive reputation and look for an attitude that is consistent with yours. Now we’ll take a look at some of the common details that will help you out.
Alcohol-Free: Alcohol is very drying, this is rarely present in shampoo today.
Hypoallergenic formula: This can’t hurt, but since we don’t know every possible allergen out there it can’t always be guaranteed. It’s a good feature, but your dog can still be sensitive to the product.
Organic formula: If this meshes with your social mission it’s great, but be careful to look at the reputation of the company that makes it. If the product is made in a country that doesn’t regulate organic crops it doesn’t mean much.
Healing formula for rashes or infections: You should never use something like this for routine grooming or guesswork in treating an infection on your own.
Antiparasitic ingredients: In grooming products, this usually means essential oils which are ineffective in managing parasites.
Planet-friendly: A lot of companies are working with a social mission, recyclable products, donating to charities or care programs. Look for these details if you want to work with a socially conscious company.
Ingredients to avoid: Medicated products are some of the most dangerous. They should not be used for grooming. There is an endless list of toxins that I could not do justice to and won’t try. The biggest thing to realize is that natural only means derived from nature so many ‘chemicals’ are natural. The best thing to do if you are concerned about chemicals is to buy a product with few ingredients and study them individually. Don’t be fooled though by short ingredient lists that say things like ‘proprietary blend’. There’s no way to know what is in that product.
Natural oil and pH balance: Remember the skin is an organ and the oil layer and natural pH is part of how that organ works. By removing excessive debris from the coat it can work correctly. For most dogs routine grooming 1 to 2 times a month really helps.

Commercial shampoo vs. Homemade

I like to look at it this way. You were born and raised in America, you don’t have a lot of cooking experience but you went to a Turkish restaurant and had a beef dish you loved. You know there was beef and tomato in it. Would you run home and make it without a recipe? Even if you had the recipe are you confident it would turn out right? It’s the same with making homemade shampoo. There are a lot of stabilizers and moisturizers and it’s actually hard to duplicate. Also, most people don’t have a pH meter so you have to trust the mix and that doesn’t always work. If you are going to make something at home, keep it simple.

How often should you bathe your dog?

For the average dog, 1 to 2 times a month is good for general grooming. Who has just an average dog right? 1 to 2 times a week for clean ups is okay as long as you use a very mild, non-drying shampoo like some of the ones we will be reviewing here today.

How to Bathe a Dog Easily?

  • Determine what your dog will tolerate. Most of us don’t have a grooming tub at home so we are using a shower, hose, tub, baby pool to get this done.
  • Place cotton in the dog’s ears. This will help minimize water in the canal but can’t entirely prevent it.
  • Wet the dog thoroughly using your hose, shower nozzle, or a cup if you are tub bathing. Make sure the water is a good temperature for your dog’s comfort as well as the environmental temperature.
  • Apply soap to your dog’s coat and massage it in thoroughly. Never apply soap from the bottle to the face, it will get in the eyes. The term tearless shampoo is meaningless no cleaning product is safe in the eyes. The face is best washed with a small amount of product on your hands and a cloth.
  • Use the recommended sit time if there is one for your shampoo. Be sure the dog is not licking it off continuously while you wait, at the very least it will often give them GI upset.
  • Rinse the dog very thoroughly. Rinse until the water all runs clear and then do it again. I have treated a dog that had 1/3 of its torso with second-degree burns from shampoo that was not rinsed out of his double coat.
  • Be sure to wipe the face down thoroughly or use a very soft water mist depending on what you have. Never spray anything around the eyes.
  • Be sure to wipe the face down thoroughly or use a very soft water mist depending on what you have. Never spray anything around the eyes.

Natural Remedies To Help Your Dog With Dry Skin

  • If you want to keep things ultra-simple and avoid chemicals this is not a bad starting point. Oatmeal has excellent soothing properties for the skin.
  • Grind the oatmeal in a food processor and mix it into the water.
  • Now, this is not a shampoo, you aren’t cleaning your dog, this is a soothing rinse.
  • Don’t let your dog get too carried away eating this because there could be a little GI upset, but some licking of the coat is totally safe.

homemade dog shampoo for dry skin

  • 1 cup ground uncooked oats
  • ½ cup of baking soda
  • 1 quart of warm water
  • Mix the three ingredients and wet the dog, apply shampoo and work into the skin then rinse well.

Can I use human shampoo on my dog?

I don’t recommend this for two primary reasons. The first is pH. The human pH is around 5 and the dog around 6.5. This is actually a huge difference in acidity and can cause some real irritation to your dog. The second reason is ingredient choice. When they make human shampoo it’s not safe to ingest, but dogs will lick, there’s no avoiding it. It’s important to use a non-toxic shampoo made for dogs.

4 tips to treat a dog with dry skin:

  • One of the first things you can do is look at your grooming program. Is the dog getting a full bath at least once a month? If not a mild oatmeal shampoo can really help.
  • Don’t over-bathe. Daily and even every other day is generally too much for your dog’s natural oil coating.
  • A veterinary approved supplement with omega fatty acids will dramatically improve the moisture retaining ability of your dog’s skin.
  • If these simple steps don’t make the difference get a consult with your veterinarian before the problem gets out of hand. Knowing what you are managing makes things far more affective.

F.A.Qs

How do you moisturize your dog’s skin?

  • Omega fatty acids in the diet improve the natural oil of the skin.
  • Moisturizing shampoos such as the ones reviewed here.
  • Leave on conditioners and sprays. These can be great but some do leave an oily residue that can be tough on the furniture. There are some great ones out there though.

Can I put coconut oil on my dog for dry skin?

  • Coconut is not known to be a toxin for dogs but it also doesn’t have any magical properties. It will moisturize the coat as well as vegetable oil.
  • Unfortunately all this will likely leave you with is a very greasy dirty dog.
  • It’s not the most effective option.

Can I put olive oil on my dog’s skin?

  • Olive oil is also not known to be toxic to dogs.
  • It is also not magical and would be very messy.
  • There are much better ways to moisturize the coat.

Why is my dog’s skin so dry?

  • Very much like people there are a variety of reasons.
  • There could be a hormonal or systemic disease.
  • It could be environmental associated with a dry climate or the onset of central heating in cold weather.
  • It could be secondary to a parasitic or infectious problem.

Can you give a dog benedryl to stop itching?

  • Many veterinarians recommend Benedryl.
  • You should never give a medication to your dog without a specific recommendation for the product and the dose from your veterinarian for that specific pet.
  • It does not work all the time because histamine is not always the problem.

Can I rub vitamin E oil on my dog’s skin?

  • Though vitamin E is non-toxic the oil on the skin is nothing more than a very greasy way to put a moisture layer on the skin temporarily.
  • There are much more effective and clean options.

Can I use hydrocortisone cream on my dog?

  • You should never apply a product like this without the recommendation of your veterinarian. One of the most horrific skin infections I ever saw was the result of a client putting hydrocortisone on an itchy dog for a month before coming in. The dog had an immune disorder and the hydrocortisone weakened the immune system further.
  • Human products are not safe for ingestion in dogs and they always lick. We will never be as good in yoga as the twists and turns a dog can do if it wants to.

Conclusion

There is no question that there is a lot to consider when choosing a dry skin grooming shampoo. It’s very important to remember your best friends’ dog shampoo that they love may not work well for your dog at all.
The top pick Best shampoo for dogs with dry skin is the Vital Pet Life Shampoo with Oatmeal, Aloe Vera, Chamomile, Jojoba Oil, Vitamin E. This is a very mild, soothing product that makes a great starter shampoo if you don’t know much about your dogs skin. It has multiple natural moisturizers and a very mild scent as well as a simple ingredient list. The oatmeal will throw in an added kick of reducing allergy itching if your pet has that.
My only frustration with this product is the lack of a satisfaction guarantee. If that bothers you, then move on to the runner up which also had high marks in quality and function. They both perform well.
The Woof On The Street
the woof on the street
Share your experience with the products mentioned throughout this review in the comments below or Feel free to share your own product recommendations as well.

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