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We know from our own experience, having dry, itchy skin is unpleasant and if your dog is suffering you naturally want to help them with the best dog shampoo for dry skin. Of course, each dog is different and what might be best for one dog wouldn’t necessarily be best for another. That said, certain formulas and ingredients (such as Oatmeal) are more effective and healthier than others.

We’ve looked at over 20 different dog shampoos for dry or itchy skin and narrowed them down to five that we would recommend. They are:

Earthbath All Natural Pet Shampoo
4-Legger Certified Organic Dog Shampoo
Professional All-in-One Natural Dog Shampoo for Healthy Skin & Coat
Pro Pet Works Natural Oatmeal Dog Shampoo + Conditioner In One For Dogs And Cats
Natural Dog Shampoo Oatmeal & Aloe For Dogs With Allergies And Dry Itchy Sensitive Skin

A Guide to Choosing the Best Dog Shampoo for Dry Skin

Before we explain what why we recommend these shampoos it would be useful to understand a little more about what causes dry and itchy skin in dogs. If you’re short of time and just want to go straight to our analysis of each shampoo you can click here.

Why do dogs get dry skin? 

Some dog breeds are more prone to dry skin than others (Shar-Peis and Bulldogs among them), but there are other reasons why dogs get dry skin. Weather conditions, plant and food allergies and irritable products are among the reasons why your pet might be experiencing itchy and dry skin.

Allergies

Just like us, dogs can have allergies which result in dry, uncomfortable skin. Certain plants and pollens can cause inflammation and allergic reactions, as can certain foods. Fleas are also bad news for dogs with allergies as their saliva can be a major trigger.

Flea-saliva allergies are common so the best way to deal with that is to take all measures to prevent fleas. Consult the vet if you suspect your dog has allergies, they can test him and offer the best advice on how to go forward.

Weather

Changes in seasons can cause dry skin for your dog. Dry, cold weather is often the cause of flaky skin so it’s a good idea to take extra measures during the Winter. You may have an air-conditioning unit in your home during the Summer, this can also affect your pup’s skin if it’s drawing too much moisture from the air.

Unsuitable Products

Dogs can be allergic or averse to certain products. Shampoos with soap or artificial ingredients can be very irritable to the skin, causing dryness and even a reaction.

What are the symptoms of dry skin?

Excessive Shedding

Excessive shedding, (outside of the normal seasonal shed) can be a sign of dry or irritated skin. When the skin is dry and unhealthy, the follicles do not hold onto the fur as effectively, resulting in lots of hair loss.

Excessive Scratching

Dogs tend to scratch at their skin if it’s itchy, and itchy skin is usually a sign of dry skin. If your dog is constantly scratching at his skin and appearing to be uncomfortable, it’s most likely a dry skin condition.

Bald patches and red skin

Due to scratching and shedding, patches of fur can actually come out altogether. This reveals sore and red skin beneath. Redness and bald patches can also be a sign of an irritation or allergy. Take note of which products you are using on your pup to figure out if they are causing the irritation.

Ingredients to look for in dog shampoo for dry skin

Oatmeal Extracts

Oats are a starchy ingredient which contain Vitamin E and anti-inflammatory properties. The starchiness is what makes oats a great ingredient for trapping moisture onto the skin. The moisturizing, anti-inflammatory abilities of oats make them the best ingredient to look out for in a shampoo for dogs with dry skin.

Aloe

A natural gel from the Aloe Vera plant known for its cooling properties for burns and irritated skin. Many dog shampoos include aloe-related ingredients to sooth dry, itchy skin.

Coconut oil

Coconut oil is a gentle cleanser which doesn’t strip the skin of natural oils. With antibacterial and antifungal properties, coconut oil is the perfect ingredient for cleansing your dog’s coat and skin. Used by many humans as a moisturizer, your dog will find their skin reduces in dryness and will hold moisture.

Almond oil

Almond oil is an easily-absorbed oil containing fatty acids which help to soothe dry skin. Many dog shampoos contain almond oil for its moisturizing and sweet-smelling properties.

Vitamins

Many dog shampoos have added vitamins in their ingredients lists. Vitamins A, E and D are among the most common added vitamins.

A note on “tear free”

The term “tear free” is often used by companies to draw customers in, assuming that the product is not harmful for their dog’s eyes. It’s easy to be fooled by this, but in fact, it doesn’t really mean much. Shampoo and products shouldn’t be going near the dog’s eyes or ears, so the claim of it being “tear free” becomes redundant. What’s more, if a product is natural and uses high-quality, soap-free ingredients such as oats and aloe, a little bit in the eyes is not going to be harmful. Don’t get too caught up on whether or not a product is “tear free”, instead focus on the ingredients themselves.

Best dog shampoo for dry skin

Earthbath All Natural Pet Shampoo
Key ingredients
  • Oatmeal
  • Aloe
  • Vitamins A, B, D & E
  • Vanilla and almond extracts
  • Purified water
Why we recommend it

This shampoo has been formulated especially for dogs with dry skin, and contains soothing and moisturizing ingredients. Oatmeal and aloe are the superstar ingredients of this shampoo as they help to heal broken, raw skin and replace lost moisture. With no soaps, parabens or other harmful ingredients present, this is a gentle-yet-effective shampoo for itchy pups. The lovely vanilla scent and coconut-based cleansers leave your dog clean and deodorized as well as comfortable and happy.

Pros
  • Contains oats and aloe for soothing dry, itchy skin
  • Designed especially for dogs with dry skin
  • Does not contain soaps or other harmful ingredients such as parabens
  • pH-balanced to clean your dog safely
  • Leaves a gentle vanilla scent
Cons
  • Might not be strong enough deodorize very dirty or smelly pets
  • The scent is not very long-lasting
4-Legger Certified Organic Dog Shampoo
Key ingredients
  • ­Coconut oil
  • Jojoba oil
  • Olive oil
  • Aloe Vera
  • Rosemary extract
  • Lemongrass essential oil
Why we recommend it

The wide mixture of oils used in this shampoo makes for a moisturizing and nourishing clean. While the oils do cleanse the fur and skin, they also restore moisture to the skin and provide protection against dryness. We love that this shampoo is all natural and contains no nasty additives. Lemongrass oil not only smells delicious but it makes fleas want to stay well away.

Pros
  • Designed for dogs with dry, sensitive skin
  • 100% natural
  • USDA certified organic
  • Hypoallergenic
  • Deters fleas with lemongrass oil
  • Does not contain thickeners
  • Does not contain sulfates
  • Vegan, cruelty-free and sustainably sourced
  • Moisturizes and cleans while restoring moisture
  • Soothes irritated skin
  • Leaves a pleasant aroma
Cons

–       The smell could be too strong for sensitive dogs and owners
–       Some users have noted that the consistency is too runny for their liking

Professional All-in-One Natural Dog Shampoo for Healthy Skin & Coat
Key ingredients
  • Coconut oil
  • Palm oil
  • Oats
  • Aloe Vera
Why we recommend it

This is a 5-in-1 shampoo which cleans, deodorizes, moisturizes, conditions and detangles. The key ingredients (especially coconut oil and palm oil) help to trap water close to the skin to ensure maximum hydration. Aloe and oats sooth irritated skin, while the thick lather easily removes dirt and dander.

Pros
  • All natural
  • pH-balanced
  • Thick, creamy texture
  • Pleasant smell
  • Gently cleanses without stripping moisture
  • Soothes irritated skin
  • Traps moisture to rehydrate dry skin
  • Helps to detangle knots and mats
  • Moisturizes, cleanses and deodorizes at the same time
Cons
  • The thick texture might not suit dogs or owners who prefer a runnier, thinner consistency. If your dog has trouble handling baths and tends to run away, the thick lather may prove an issue to wash away.
Pro Pet Works Natural Oatmeal Dog Shampoo + Conditioner In One For Dogs And Cats
Key ingredients
  • Aloe Vera
  • Almond oil
  • Oats
  • Vitamins A, D and E
Why we recommend it

This shampoo has been designed especially for pets with irritated skin from flea bites, allergies or simply dryness. The gentle ingredients are all natural, with no added soaps or additives. The added vitamins ensure your pet’s skin is treated to therapeutic properties as well as getting a gentle cleanse.

Pros
  • Designed for irritated, dry skin
  • Will not strip natural oils from the skin
  • Contains added vitamins for extra nourishment
  • All-natural ingredients
  • Soap-free
  • Softens the fur
  • Smells pleasant
Cons
  • Some consumers have noted that they do not like the smell.
Natural Dog Shampoo Oatmeal & Aloe For Dogs With Allergies And Dry Itchy Sensitive Skin
Key ingredients
  • Oats
  • Aloe Vera
  • Melon
  • Cucumber
Why we recommend it

This shampoo has been designed and approved by vets who know a thing or two about dogs with dry, irritated skin. The ingredients and formula has been designed to get the maximum amount of moisture to the dog’s skin, using “proprietary liposome technology”. This fancy-sounding technology helps the key ingredients “stick” to the skin and absorb effectively.

Pros
  • Designed by vets
  • Easily and effectively absorbed into the skin
  • Pleasant smell
  • Does not contain soap
  • Natural ingredients
  • Soothes rashes, bites and irritated skin
Cons
  • Some consumers have noted that the pleasant smell does not last as long as they would prefer

Final thoughts

If your dog is showing signs of dry skin, it’s best to consult your vet to see if there’s any underlying issues to be dealt with. In the meantime, a gentle and moisturizing shampoo can really soothe the pain and itchiness associated with dry skin. Take note of any changes in weather or your dog’s diet as they could be contributing to the dreaded dryness. Dog foods rich in fatty acids can also be very effective at treating the skin from the inside out.

 

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