Does Deshedding Shampoo for Dogs Work? (Vet Explains)

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does deshedding shampoo for dogs work

Most dogs shed. It’s more often more pronounced during the transitional seasons of spring and fall when our furbabies lose hair from their undercoats to prepare for temperature changes. For some breeds like Golden Retrievers, German Shepherds, and Huskies, the hair may come out in large clumps. This can make it more difficult to keep the home clean. 

When I was in practice, pup parents would sometimes ask if there was any way to control excess shedding. My first recommendation was bathing their pups with a shampoo that helps to loosen shedding hair and nourish the skin and coat. I would explain that deshedding dog shampoo formulas can help to control shedding and make it more manageable. Then I would discuss other mitigation efforts.

In this article, we’ll investigate the effectiveness of deshedding shampoo and discuss how frequently you can use it and how long it takes to work. We’ll go over the potential risks and benefits of using these formulas and whether they can be used on puppies. 

To help you understand how the products work, I’ll describe the common active ingredients that you might find in a deshedding shampoo. Once we walk through these details, we’ll evaluate some common deshedding dog shampoo products and look at which active ingredients they contain. 

After that, I’ll share a homemade recipe that you can try to control your pup’s shedding, and we’ll talk about some alternative methods you can use to treat excessive shedding.

Let’s get started.

How Does Deshedding Dog Shampoo Work?

In some ways, “deshedding shampoo” is a misnomer. The purpose of these products is not really to prevent or stop shedding but to make it more controllable. 

By including ingredients like omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids and vitamin E, deshedding shampoos nourish the skin and promote a healthy coat. The formula works to clear clogged pores and remove dead skin and hair.  As a result, the coat and skin will be healthier, and that helps to reduce excess shedding. 

Summary: De-shedding shampoo includes omega-3 and -6 fatty acids and vitamin E to help nourish the skin and promote a healthy coat. These products are designed to reduce excess shedding while helping you to remove loose hairs in a more controllable manner.

How Often Should I Use a Deshedding Shampoo on My Dog?

By regularly applying a deshedding shampoo and using some conditioner, you can moisturize your pup’s skin and coat. But what is regular? Can you over bathe your pooch? In a word, Yes. When you bathe your dog too frequently, you can dry out the skin and cause damage. That’s because bathing removes the protective surface oils, and it takes time for the skin to produce a new layer. 

Whether you’re dealing with deshedding shampoo or another dog wash, you should avoid overbathing. However, the recommended frequency for baths can vary by dog breed, health condition, coat type, hair length, and other factors. A rough rule of thumb is every 4-6 weeks, but you should also check the label recommendations and consult with your veterinarian. 

Summary: As a general rule, you can bathe your pup with deshedding shampoo as often as every 4-6 weeks. The actual frequency can vary depending on your dog’s hair, breed, health, and other factors, so it’s wise to consult with your veterinarian for a more specific bathing rate. 

How Long Does It Take for Deshedding Shampoo to Work?

When it comes to deshedding shampoo, contact time is important. Once you lather up your pooch, you should leave the solution on for at least 5-10 minutes, depending on the label instructions. That will allow the ingredients in deshedding shampoos to penetrate the undercoat. Working to remove dead skin and loosen old hair, these formulas remove shedding hair during the bath. The nourishing omega fatty acids and vitamins help to extend the results of the shampoo by rejuvenating the skin and promoting a healthy coat. As a result, there should be less shedding in your home. 

Summary: Because the ingredients in deshedding shampoo penetrate the undercoat and help to remove dead skin and loose hair, you should leave the formula on your pooch for 5-10 minutes, depending on the label instructions. With vitamins and omega fatty acids to nourish the skin and promote a healthy coat, there should also be lasting effects.

Deshedding Shampoo Risks

The risks associated with deshedding shampoo are similar to those for other types of shampoo for dogs. Although these formulas contain healthy ingredients like omega fatty acids and vitamins, they may also contain harmful substances. Always review the label to ensure that the rest of the ingredients are compatible with your pup’s hair type and skin. Avoid:

  • Harsh chemicals – Ingredients like alcohol can strip healthy oils from the skin’s surface and cause dryness and itching. 
  • Harmful substances – Substances including formaldehyde, parabens, and sulfates are suspected carcinogens. 
  • Allergens – If your pooch has allergies or sensitivities, it’s also important to make sure there are no ingredients that could trigger a reaction. In particular, make sure the product is dye and fragrance-free.

Summary: Even though there are nourishing vitamins and omega fatty acids in deshedding shampoo, some formulas may also contain dangerous substances. You should always check the label for harsh chemicals, allergens, or other ingredients that could harm your furbaby.

Deshedding Shampoo Benefits

While deshedding shampoo is not intended to replace regular brushing of your dog’s coat, it offers some benefits beyond helping to reduce the amount of hair your dog sheds. 

  • It removes damaged and dead hair which allows healthy new hair growth.
  • The ingredients clean clogged pores and help to remove dead skin.
  • Omega fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals moisturize and nourish the skin and promote a healthy coat.
  • Soothing substances like aloe vera, calendula extract, and oatmeal reduce skin itching and inflammation.
  • The formula helps to remove excess oils and dirt so that less hair is shed.

Summary: The ingredients in deshedding shampoo combine to offer many benefits to your pooch. Using these products not only helps to reduce shedding, but it also promotes healthy skin and hair, can reduce itching, and serves to moisturize the skin and create a softer coat.

Is Deshedding Shampoo Safe for Puppies?

 Puppies are born with a soft, single-layer of hair. Around 4-6 months old, the first coat will come out allowing the adult layers to grow. Youngsters generally shed the first coat gradually, but a few breeds may lose their hair more rapidly. If that happens with your pup, you may wonder if it’s safe to use deshedding shampoo on your juvenile dog. 

The answer to this question may depend on the formula that you choose. Puppies have more sensitive skin than adult dogs, so you need to check the ingredient list. Avoid anything with harsh detergents, chemicals, or alcohol. If the product you choose is fragrance and dye-free, has no harsh ingredients, and has a gentle formula, it’s probably safe to use on your puppy as long as he’s at least three months old. However, regular brushing to remove shedding hair is preferable.

Summary: We recommend brushing your young canine companion to remove shedding hair, but a gentle deshedding formula that has no dyes, fragrances, or harsh ingredients is probably safe to use on puppies over 3 months old. Puppies usually start to shed their first coat around 4-6 months of age. 

Deshedding Shampoo Active Ingredients Overview

Most deshedding shampoos include key ingredients that help nourish the skin and encourage healthy hair. The common active substances in these formulas are:

  • Omega-3 and 6 fatty acids from coconut and other plant-based materials moisturize and nourish the skin.
  • Vitamin E and Provitamin B(Panthenol)- These vitamins work as antioxidants and humectants that protect the skin and help it to retain moisture. Panthenol also strengthens the hair shaft so that the coat stays healthy. 
  • Oatmeal and wheat protein work to cleanse the hair, moisturize the skin, and soothe irritations. 
  • Aloe vera is a plant-based ingredient that helps to moisturize and heal damaged skin.

You should choose a shampoo that relies on natural, plant-based ingredients because artificial substances can irritate the skin or put your pooch at risk for allergies or cancer.

Summary: Deshedding shampoo contains active ingredients that work together to moisturize and protect the skin and promote a healthy coat. Some common substances in these types of formulas include omega-3 and 6 fatty acids, vitamins, oatmeal, wheat protein, and aloe vera.

Overview of Popular Deshedding Shampoo Brands

If your pup sheds excessively, you may be considering a deshedding shampoo. How do you find a product that’s safe and effective? Start with the label. It’s best to choose a formula that contains no artificial ingredients. For the best possible results, look for a product that includes the active ingredients we described in the section above, especially omega fatty acids, vitamins, and a moisturizer like aloe vera or oatmeal that helps to soothe and protect the skin. Let’s talk about some of the popular deshedding brands for dogs:

FURminator deShedding Shampoo

With plant-based omega 3 and 6 fatty acids, this formula helps to moisturize the skin and keep it healthy. It also contains wheat and oat proteins to gently cleanse the pores and hair. Including vitamin E and aloe vera, the product has ingredients that protect the skin and help to ensure a healthy coat. Chamomile extract and aloe vera help to soothe the skin and prevent itching. There are no parabens or chemical dyes in the formula, but it does contain a light fragrance.

Earthbath Green Tea & Awapuhi Pet Shed Control Shampoo

Natural ingredients in this formula provide antioxidant activity to protect skin cells and moisturizers to promote healthy skin and coat. Gentle, coconut-based cleansers help to remove dead skin and debris along with old hairs. Omega-6 fatty acids nourish the skin while aloe vera helps to lock moisture into the skin. Panthenol in the formula strengthens hair follicles for a healthy coat and reduced shedding. Additionally, extracts of green tea and awapuhi help to control shedding and provide a naturally fresh scent. This product is pH balanced, safe for puppies over 6 weeks old, and free from harsh detergents and artificial ingredients. 

Top Performance Shed Patrol De-Shedding Dog 

Made to revitalize the coat and boost its shine, this formula includes wheat germ oil to reduce shedding. Vitamin E and Panthenol protect the skin cells and support healthy hair follicles. With aloe vera, this product should be soothing and healing for your pal’s skin. The label lists generic amphoteric surfactants and fragrance oils, so it’s hard to determine whether these ingredients are natural or artificial. It does contain a synthetic dye which could potentially be irritating for some pups.

Espree Simple Shed Shampoo

Espree Simple Shed Shampoo includes organic aloe vera to moisturize and repair the skin. WIth vitamin E to protect skin cells from oxidative damage and panthenol to strengthen hair follicles, this formula promotes healthy skin and hair. Oat protein soothes irritated skin and helps to gently cleanse the coat. This product contains no dyes or harsh chemicals. It includes a refreshing plum fragrance. 

Burt’s Bees for Dogs Shed Control Shampoo with Omega 3 and Vitamin E

With beneficial ingredients like omega-3 fatty acids to nourish the skin and coat and vitamin E to protect cells from oxidative change, this shampoo from Burt’s Bees is designed to reduce shedding in your dog. There are no artificial ingredients or dyes in the product that could cause irritation. Mild coconut-derived cleansers are soothing for the skin and help to prevent allergic reactions. The formula does not have a strong scent, but it should leave the coat clean and help to remove loose hairs.

Shed-X Shed Control Shampoo for Dogs

This product from Shed-X is designed to loosen dead and shedding hair and exfoliate the skin, so it’s not the best option for pups with sensitive skin. With oatmeal and wheat protein to provide amino acids and other nutrients, this product helps to moisturize and strengthen the skin. Vitamins A, D, and E boost your pup’s ability to lock in moisture and protect the skin. Flaxseed and grapeseed oils provide omega fatty acids to support healthy skin and coat. Panthenol in the formula strengthens the hair shaft to help reduce shedding. In addition to the active ingredients, there are some artificial substances in this product that could be irritating for your pooch.

Nature’s Miracle Natural Shed Control Dog Shampoo & Conditioner

Formulated to both reduce shedding and deodorize your pup, this formula from Nature’s Miracle includes aloe vera to soothe and heal irritated skin and panthenol to strengthen hair follicles. Mild surfactants cleanse the coat and remove dead skin. The product includes keratin protein to promote a healthy coat and jojoba oil as a natural moisturizer. The ingredient label includes fragrance and an odor control system which are not clearly defined, so it’s hard to determine whether they are potentially irritating or harmful to some dogs.

TropiClean Lime & Coconut Deshedding Dog Shampoo

With a mild coconut cleanser, this product from Tropiclean is made to be gentle on the skin. It includes colloidal oatmeal and hydrolyzed wheat protein to help soothe and nourish the integument. Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids support healthy skin and coat while vitamins B5 and E work to protect cells from oxidative change and to strengthen hair follicles. A botanical blend of plant-based ingredients moisturizes and heals the skin. 

Clearly, deshedding shampoos have some common ingredients like omega fatty acids and vitamins that nourish the coat and strengthen the hair. But there is also some variation. When you’re checking product labels, look for soothing, gentle cleansers, natural ingredients, and active substances that help to control shedding. Avoid formulas with harsh or artificial chemicals that could irritate the skin or be harmful to your furbaby.

From the list above, our top recommendation is Earthbath Green Tea And Awapuhi Shampoo. This product contains natural, nourishing ingredients. With a mild cleanser and soothing aloe vera, the formula should help to prevent dry, itchy skin. It includes omega fatty acids and panthenol to nourish the skin and strengthen the coat. The overall combination of substances helps to strengthen the coat and prevent excess shedding. This product should be safe to use on dogs of all ages.

Homemade Dog Shampoo for Shedding

Rather than buying a commercial product, you can make a homemade formula for your pooch. The key when creating shampoo to control shedding is to use natural ingredients that supply omega fatty acids, vitamins, and other nutrients to support your dog’s skin and coat. Below is a recipe that you can try:

Aloe Vera Shampoo


  • 2 cups water
  • 2 teaspoons Castille soap
  • 1 teaspoon aloe vera gel
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil


Pour 2 cups of water into a spray bottle and add 2 teaspoons of Castille soap. Close and shake the bottle vigorously to mix ingredients. Add aloe vera and olive oil and shake again to blend. Apply the mixture to your dog’s wet coat and massage it in. Leave the formula on for 5-10 minutes then rinse thoroughly and towel dry your pooch. When your pup is dry, brush the coat thoroughly to remove loose hair.

This recipe features both aloe vera and olive oil which provide important nutrients. Aloe vera gel is an excellent source of vitamins A, E, and some B vitamins as well as minerals and amino acids. These nutrients nourish the skin and protect the cells from oxidative change. Olive oil also provides vitamins, and it is a source of omega fatty acids. Combined, these ingredients offer the active ingredients you desire in a deshedding shampoo. Castille soap is a plant-based, gentle cleanser.

Summary: When making a homemade deshedding shampoo, look for a recipe that calls for materials that provide active ingredients to support the skin and coat. We have included an aloe vera recipe with olive oil and a gentle, plant-based cleanser. This blend offers omega fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals to benefit your furbaby’s coat and skin.

Other Ways to Treat Shedding

A good bath with a supportive shampoo helps to loosen and remove excess hair. However, it’s not the only option available to treat excess shedding. Here are some other alternatives that you can try, or you can combine a few to deal with extra heavy shedders.

  • Brush your pooch with the right type of brush. You may want to invest in a slicker brush or deshedding tool to help loosen old hair and remove it before it comes out all over the house. You may also want to schedule a trip to the groomer for a coat blowout.
  • Adjust your pal’s diet and add supplements. Depending on the reasons for your dog’s shedding, you may want to change his diet. Try adjusting the carb to fat ratio or increasing the water content to prevent dry skin. You also may want to supplement the diet with vitamins, fish oil, or coconut oil to provide skin and hair-boosting nutrients.
  • Schedule a visit with your veterinarian. Sometimes hair loss is abnormal. If your pooch is losing clumps or excessive amounts of fur, check in with your veterinarian. There may be an underlying condition that’s triggering hair loss.
  • Vacuum your dog’s coat. As long as you have an attachment that diffuses the suction, you can vacuum your dog to remove loose hairs but use caution. The normal suction level of most vacuum cleaners will hurt your dog.
  • Be aware of seasonal shedding. Although some dogs shed year-round, many tend to lose more hair around the spring and autumn equinoxes. You can adjust your routine accordingly to deal with extra shedding by increasing grooming/brushing sessions or shampooing your dog during these seasons.

Summary: Deshedding shampoo isn’t the only way to address excess shedding. You can use other alternatives or combine approaches to help minimize your dog’s hair loss. Regular brushing, dietary supplementations, or a visit to the veterinarian may all help control shedding in your pooch.

The Final Woof

Deshedding shampoo for dogs is not a miracle cure-all, but it can help control your dog’s shedding. Most formulas contain key active ingredients like omega fatty acids, vitamin E, and panthenol. These substances work together to moisturize the skin and promote a healthy coat. With gentle cleansers and soothing materials like aloe vera and oatmeal, these formulas also help to remove dead skin and hair and prevent itching. When selecting a product, check the label to ensure it doesn’t contain potentially harmful ingredients.

Deshedding shampoos can be used as frequently as every 4-6 weeks depending on the label recommendations and your pup’s needs. When you bathe your pooch, you should massage the formula into the coat and leave it on for about 5-10 minutes to allow the active ingredients to work. Then you can thoroughly rinse your pooch and towel dry. It’s best to follow up with a thorough coat brushing to remove any loosened hairs. Other ways you can help to decrease shedding include brushing with a slicker or deshedding tool, adjusting your pup’s diet, adding supplements to the food, and talking to your veterinarian about any potential skin diseases.

Photo of author
Dr. Libby Guise earned her DVM from the University of Minnesota in 1994. After working in private practice in Wisconsin for two years, she joined the USDA as a Veterinary Medical Officer. In 2011, Libby came home to focus on raising and teaching her adoptive daughter. She lives in Wisconsin with her daughter, husband, and two furbabies: Charis, a lab-mix rescue pup, and Chesed, a Springer Spaniel.

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