The fact that your dog loves to roll in the foulest smelling things they can find doesn’t mean they hate good hygiene or good smelling dog shampoo. Dogs do groom themselves, but as any pet owner knows, they need a little extra help and regular baths to stay clean and healthy. Yes, healthy.
When you bathe your dog you’re not just getting rid of dirt and bad odors, you’re helping them find relief from damaged fur and infected or inflamed skin with that good smelling dog shampoo.
It’s not just a luxury, it’s much needed aspect of good pet care. A good bath soap removes toxins, parasites, fleas, bacteria, and other dirt and odors that can lessen quality of life and negatively impact the health of your dog.
In order to combat dirt and bacteria, you need a proper tool – a quality dog shampoo - not any old soap. Dog shampoos are specifically created and tested to ensure they work for the sensitive skin of our pets. The shampoo you love and use may smell great on your best furry friend, but it may not be the best for them.
The best smelling dog shampoo often includes the very things human shampoos don’t like skin treatment, essential oils, oatmeal, tearless soap, and a wide range of natural, dog friendly ingredients. Amazon ratings, flea control, and other factors are important considerations. We picked out the top 5 of the best smelling dog shampoos you can buy for your four-legged friend. Many of the best smelling dog shampoos contain natural ingredients such as aloe vera, tea tree oil, and vegetable glycerine.
What’s that Ingredient in my Dog’s Shampoo?
If you read the average label on any pet shampoo, the unpronounceable ingredients can seem scary or dangerous. What do they do? Should you worry? Should you only use shampoos where you can pronounce all the ingredients? That’s up to you, but understand that all the ingredients listed have been tested, reviewed, and deemed safe when used as described.
Many of the ingredients are natural but have long chemical-sounding names. Here’s a list of the most common ingredients in pet shampoos and what they are, what they do, and why they’re in your dog’s shampoo. Do not use chemicals you don’t understand on your dog. Remember, your dog cleans and grooms by licking. Make sure you’re using only 100% safe ingredients.
Dispersants: Dispersants are ingredients that help dissolve essential and other oils completely into water since oil and water do not naturally mix. When you don’t dissolve essential oils completely, you run the risk of irritating or burning the skin or causing an unhealthy reaction in you or your pet.
Surfactant: Surfactants are compounds that lower the surface tension (or interfacial tension) between two liquids, between a gas and a liquid, or between a liquid and a solid. Surfactants may act as detergents, wetting agents, emulsifiers, foaming agents, and dispersants.
Sodium Laureth Sulfate: Used primarily as a detergent cleansing agent, Sodium Laureth Sulfate Can be derived from coconut. It’s considered gentle and effective as typically used in cosmetic products (typically facial or body cleansers and shampoos). Despite the name similarity, sodium laureth sulfate is NOT the same as sodium lauryl sulfate. The former is a milder cleansing agent due to a higher amount and different chemical structure of the fatty alcohols required to manufacture this cleansing agent. The safety of sodium laureth sulfate has been reviewed by numerous industry experts and deemed safe as used.
Lauryl glucoside is a dispersant or surfactant that is made from coconut or palm oil and glucose from corn. Surfactants also have foaming qualities that are important to disperse toothpaste while brushing.
Cocamidopropyl betaine (CAPB)
Cocamidopropyl betaine (CAPB) is a mixture of closely related organic compounds derived from coconut oil and dimethylaminopropylamine. CAPB is available as a viscous pale yellow solution, and it is used as a surfactant in personal care products. The name reflects that the major part of the molecule, the lauric acid group, is derived from coconut oil.
A close relative to glycol stearate and glycol stearate SE, glycol distearate is a white to cream-colored waxy solid used to condition skin, to increase the thickness of certain cosmetic products (like creams and lotions), and to reduce the clear or transparent appearance of cosmetics, such as in makeup concealers. Glycol distearate in particular is often used as a “pearlizing” agent in body washes, to give the formula that pearlescent look that seems so inviting.
The chemical may be derived either from animal sources (cow or hog-derived) or vegetable sources, such as soybean oil and canola oil. It can also be produced synthetically through processing stearic acid.
Cocamide DEA, or cocamide diethanolamine, is a diethanolamide made by reacting the mixture of fatty acids from coconut oils with diethanolamine. It is a viscous liquid and is used as a foaming agent in bath products like shampoos and hand soaps, and in cosmetics as an emulsifying agent.
Laureth-10 is a polyethylene glycol ether of Lauryl Alcohol (q.v.). It is a surfactant and emulsifying agent.
Aloe Barbadensis (Aloe) Leaf Juice
Aloe, aloe vera, and aloe barbadensis are all anti-inflammatory agents. In almost all texts aloe barbadensis and aloe vera are mentioned as synonyms. Chemically, in the aloe genus there are variations like some species have anthraquinons ( naturally occurring laxative ), and in some species it is absent.
PEG-12 Dimethicone is used as a humectant and solvent. Humectants prevent water loss and act as stabilizers. PEG-12 is a silicone-based polymer used to give formulas a smooth feel, promote spreadability, and add lubrication. Because of PEG 12 Dimethicone's low molecular weight, it is minimally absorbed by the skin.
Avena Sativa (Oat) Kernel Flour
Avena Sativa (Oat) Kernel Extract is an extract of the kernels of oats, avena sativa, and is used as an antioxidant; a skin-conditioning agent, an emollient; and a skin-conditioning agent.
Panthenol (Pro Vitamin B5)
Provitamin B5 is a member of the powerful B-complex vitamin family. When your skin absorbs Provitamin B5 from a skin care product, the provitamin transforms into vitamin B5 (also known as pantothenic acid). It’s also a humectant, known for its hydrating or moisturizing properties.
Tocopheryl Acetate or Alpha-tocopheryl Acetate
Alpha-tocopheryl acetate (ATA) is a specific form of vitamin E that’s often found in skin care products and dietary supplements. It’s also known as tocopheryl acetate, tocopherol acetate, or vitamin E acetate. Vitamin E is known for its antioxidant properties. Antioxidants help to protect your body from damaging compounds called free radicals. Normally, free radicals form when your body converts food into energy. However, free radicals can also come from UV light, cigarette smoke, and air pollution.
Borago Officinalis Seed Oil
Borage seed oil has one of the highest amounts of γ-linolenic acid (GLA) of seed oils — higher than blackcurrant seed oil or evening primrose oil, to which it is considered similar. Borage seed oil may therefore have anti-inflammatory and anti-thrombotic effects, and it has been studied for its potential to treat inflammatory disorders, arthritis, atopic eczema, and respiratory inflammation.
In herbal medicine, borage seed oil has been used for skin disorders such as eczema, seborrheic dermatitis, and neurodermatitis; it has also been used for rheumatoid arthritis, stress, premenstrual syndrome, diabetes, attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), alcoholism, pain and swelling (inflammation), and for preventing heart disease and stroke.
Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Oil
Rosemary is derived from an aromatic Mediterranean shrub. Better known for cooking, rosemary is also used for its purifying, cleansing and antiseptic properties. It is a potent source of essential fatty acids that promote circulation and tone the skin.
Macrocystis Pyrifera (Sea Kelp) Extract
Macrocystis Pyrifera (Sea Kelp) is an extract of a giant brown seaweed found in the Antarctic. According to research, sea kelp as a whole is thought to be useful in skin care products thanks to its high iodine, vitamin and mineral content.
Methyl Chloro Isothiazolinone
Methylchloroisothiazolinone is a preservative often used in cosmetics and beauty products for its antibacterial and antifungal effects, according to Wikipedia. It's most often seen in shampoos and other rinse-off products. This is a very effective preservative and can be used safely.
Methylisothiazolinone, MIT, or MI, is a powerful synthetic biocide and preservative within the group of isothiazolinones used in numerous personal care products and a wide range of industrial applications. These common preservatives are found in many liquid personal care products, and while they don’t affect most users, they have been linked to lung toxicity, allergic reactions and possible neurotoxicity in some users.
How Often Should I Bathe my Dog?
Vets recommend you bathe a dog with normal skin once a month with dog shampoo or human baby shampoo if you don’t have dog shampoo. While the baby shampoo will get them clean safely, most dog shampoos are formulated to address issues like itchy skin, to kill fungus and parasites, and to nourish your dog’s coat and skin. But in a pinch, baby shampoo will work. If you want to bathe more often than once a month, use a soap-free or moisturizing shampoo to prevent the skin from becoming dry.
That said, dogs are like people. Some get dirtier and stinkier faster than others. It’s okay to bathe your dog when they need it, if they need bathing more frequently. Keep a close eye on their coat, their level of scratching, and other signs your dog’s skin is drying out from too much bathing.
Short-haired breeds may do fine with less frequent bathing, while breeds with an oily coat like Basset Hounds may need bathing as frequently as once a week. Dogs with short hair and less oily skin don’t need bathing and frequent bathing may dry their skin and create problems where there were none.
Some recent, forward thinking veterinary conferences suggest that there are benefits for some dogs to bathe weekly. Weekly bathing in some dogs has been shown to reduce their allergies (and yours), help treat skin infections, reduce the itching and scratching, and keep your pet calmer.
Tricks to Make Bathing your Dog Easier
Some dogs love a good bath, others hate it. Anytime your dog fights bath time, it’s stressful for you both. Here are some things you can do to make bathing your dog easier:
- Put a small piece of cotton in each of your dog's ear canals to prevent water from getting inside; just make sure you take it out after the bath.
- Put a towel in the bottom of the tub to help your dog get traction and feel more secure. The wet towel gives them a surface their nails can dig into, and their body weight will hold it in place.
- Brush your dog before a bath. Not only do most dogs love this extra attention, the brushing helps the shampoo get into the coat and works out mats before they get set in by the water.
- Stock your wash area. Make sure you have all the towels, treats, leashes, soap, and items you need to give your dog a bath before you start bathing them.
- If you bathe your dog in a tub, fill the tub with warm water before you bring them into the bathroom. The sound of running water can cause many dogs undue anxiety.
Top Best Smelling Dog Shampoos
Paws & Pals Natural Dog-Shampoo And Conditioner - 20 oz Medicated Clinical Vet Formula Wash for All Pets Puppy & Cats
This pet wash shampoo is a premium coat and skin treatment that comes directly to you and your pet without sacrificing vegan and organic principles or quality. Our delicate balance of essential oils forms the foundation of a veterinarian recommended coat care regimen.
Paws & Pals is a fully vegan and organic pet wash shampoo. Your dog deserves the best when it comes to caring for their coat and skin, and this shampoo is one of the highest rated shampoos on Amazon.com.
Paws & Pals has developed an all-natural and organic shampoo that not only respects the environment, but ensures that in doing so, your pet has the best possible skin care and coat treatment available. This tear-free, soapless formula makes bath time less stressful and more fun. This formula is the result of natural oils and extracts that don’t irritate or inflame your dog’s eyes or nose. The delicate balance of essential oils form the foundation of a veterinarian recommended coat care regimen.
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)
Pro Pet Works Natural Oatmeal Dog Shampoo + Conditioner Dogs Cats-Hypoallergenic Soap Free Natural Oils Aloe Allergies & Sensitive Skin-Organic Blend 17oz
This oatmeal dog shampoo and conditioner is recommended by vets and specially formulated for pets with allergies to food, grass and flea bites. Although this good smelling dog shampoo is great for dogs, it can also be used for cats, ferrets and rabbits. It is PH balanced for sensitive skin in all pets. It has a cherry almond smell. It contains no alcohol, no sulphates, no added colors, no harsh chemicals, and no artificial fragrances. It’s made from all natural ingredients and is one of the top “itchy dog shampoos.”
The organic oatmeal offers soothing relief for animals with dry, sensitive and itchy skin. The organic aloe vera and almond oil in the shampoo are therapeutic and soothing for your pet’s skin and coat. Using this shampoo at home can save you a trip to the groomer and will keep your pet smelling fresh. Works well as a pet deodorizer.
A special formulation in Pro Pet Works Natural Oatmeal dog shampoo has mixtures of organic aloe extracts, almond oil and vitamins A, D & E that won’t irritate your dog's eyes, nose or skin while bathing. It’s tough on dirt, not on your dog. It also makes for a soft, easy to brush coat that will make your pet feel clean and smell clean several days after bathing.
The company is committed to mother earth, and its products are 100% biodegradable and made with recycled materials. This dog shampoo is non-toxic and non-alcoholic with no animal by-products. It’s paraben and cruelty free and promoted as a "soapless shampoo - and a dog shampoo for dandruff."
INGREDIENTS: Deionized water, surfactant blend derived from natural derivatives (coconut base), organic aloe vera extract, almond oil, hydrolyzed oatmeal proteins, vitamin A, D, E; glycerin (soothes the skin); glyceryl 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, DMDH Hydantoin ( a preservative).
Keep your pet itch-free and smelling great with Wahl Oatmeal Formula great smelling dog shampoo. This plant-based cleansing shampoo is naturally plant derived and formulated with oatmeal to soothe dry, itchy or sensitive skin. It’s PEG-80 free. It comes in a fresh coconut, lime and verbena scent or a lavender and chamomile scent. Either will make your dog smell fresh and clean. It can also be used on cats.
INGREDIENTS: Purified Water (Aqua), Sodium Laureth Sulfate (Cleanser from Refined Coconut Oil), Soyamide (Cleanser from Refined Soy), EGMS (Pearlizing Agent), Cocamidopropyl Betaine (Cleanser from Coconut Fatty Acids), Polysorbate-20 (Sugar Cleanser), Glycerin (Vegetable Glycerin), Aloe Vera, Oatmeal Extract, Fragrance, Potassium Sorbate (Freshness Assurer), FDA Approved Colors.
Nature's Miracle Supreme Odor Control Natural Oatmeal Shampoo & Conditioner - Honey Sage Scent - 32 oz
Nature’s Miracle Supreme Odor Control is formulated with an odor neutralizer and deodorizer for those really tough pet coat odors. It’s a natural cocoa surfactant shampoo that cleans and conditions. It maintains essential pet skin oils and is soap-free. It’s safe to use with spot-on flea and tick products and contains no dyes or parabens. This is one of the best shampoos for supreme odor control:
- Neutralizes a wide variety of odors on contact by forming and odor control complex.
- Provides long-term odor control acting as a deodorizer.
- Neutralizes odor.
- Cleans pet skin and coat.
- Conditions pet skin and coat.
- Formula is soap-free, safe with spot-on flea and tick products.*
- Contains oatmeal to soothe and hydrate the skin.
- No dyes or parabens.
- Natural Cocoa Surfactant Shampoo.
- Exceptional cleaning and conditioning.
- Helps eliminate static electricity.
- Hair stays cleaner longer.
- Enhances hair softness.
- Helps maintain skin’s essential oils.
INGREDIENTS: Water, plant-derived surfactants and odor control system, rinsing and conditioning agents, colloidal oatmeal, fragrance, extract of chamomile, vitamin B, preservatives, and salt.
If you have a dog who sheds excessively, this shampoo should be on your list to try. Dogs naturally shed old or damaged hair to keep their coat fresh and healthy, or to gain/shed a new coat of fur with the changing seasons. But with some dogs, the amount of hair loss can seem overwhelming. Even though shedding is a natural process and varies in the amount of shed hair and frequency of hair loss base on the health, age, and breed of your dog, owners are right to look for ways to reduce the shedding.
Most users report seeing a difference in the amount of shedding after one or two uses. It contains calendula extract and papaya leaf extract, but no parabens and no chemical dyes. It’s safe for dogs over six weeks old. It smells great, but its primary popularity comes from its ability to reduce excessive shedding and to promote a healthier skin and coat.
The manufacturers say it’s the Omega 3 and Fatty Acid blend formula that helps to improve the condition of the pet's coat and thereby aid in helping to reduce shedding. They encourage owners to use it at least once a month to see the best results. Brushing daily can help reduce shedding, as can adding a teaspoon of olive oil to your dog’s food every day. And of course, using this shampoo to future nourish your dog’s coat will help as well.
INGREDIENTS: Water, mild surfactants, omega 3 & 6 fatty acids from cranberry, sunflower and safflower seed oils, extracts of calendula, papaya leaf, chamomile, malva flower, blueberry, aloe vera and kava vitamin E, vegetable protein extract, hydrolyzed wheat and oat proteins, fragrance, preservative and salt.
SynergyLabs Veterinary Formula Clinical Care Antiparasitic & Antiseborrheic Medicated Shampoo for Dogs (16 oz)
Is your dog suffering from skin parasites that are driving you both crazy? This great smelling dog shampoo is medicated with coal tar, salicylic acid and micronized sulfur to treat skin scaling caused by Seborrhea. This is a veterinary formula, medicated shampoo for dogs only (no cats) and is paraben, dye, and soap free. It will not remove topical spot-on flea and tick treatments and has been proven to safely treat fungal and bacterial skin infections, including mange. It also helps relieve other parasitic infections. It’s effective against a wide variety of fungal and bacterial skin infections, including inflamed scalps, greasy or waxy skin, red skin rashes and scaly skin similar to human dandruff.
It’s fast acting too. SynergyLabs’ antiparasitic and antiseborrheic medicated dog shampoo works fast to help relieve dermatitis, mange, seborrhea, parasitic, and bacterial infections. To use, shampoo two to three times per week initially and then less frequently as skin improves.
INGREDIENTS: Coal Tar, Salicylic Acid & Micronized Sulfur, Colloidal Oatmeal and Allantoin.
Concentrated-Organic by Moosh, Natural Dog Shampoo. Anti-Bacterial-Anti-Fungal- Anti-Itch , Promotes Healthy Hair and Skin, Helps Hot Spots. Shea Butter, Neem and Argan Oil, Aloe Vera and Bentonite.
Don’t wash your dog in a bucket of chemicals. When this company says “natural and organic,” they mean it. This shampoo is 100% natural and organic. No sulfates. No preservatives. No chemicals. Hypoallergenic. It’s easy-to-rinse and concentrated. A little goes a long way. It’s the only shampoo with Bentonite clay, known for centuries for its natural healing abilities.
And it is a great contender for the best smelling dog shampoo.
Bentonite clay naturally binds with bacteria, fungus, toxins and heavy metals, pulling them away from your dog’s skin and leaving squeaky clean hair and calm, soothed skin behind. If your dog has allergies, they have both Neem and Argan Oil. Both are sought after for natural antiseptic, antibacterial and antifungal properties. Rich in emollients, both oils help reduce dandruff and flaking.
Shea butter and aloe vera in this shampoo help soothe, soften and moisturize, leaving your dog’s hair soft and shiny. Essential oils leave him/her smelling naturally great without the use of fake perfumes. It’s not only safe for your dog, but for lakes, streams and waterways.
- Neem Oil soothes and moisturizes dry, itchy skin and helps keep away fleas and other skin-irritating pests.
- Argon Oil gives your pet's coat a healthy, silky shine.
- Bentonite Clay naturally draws grime away from the skin and keeps fleas at bay.
- Vetiver is a natural-born antiseptic with the fresh scent of the great outdoors.
- Nutmeg soothes skin.
- Rosemary is great for circulation.
INGREDIENTS: Organic Aloe Vera Juice, Saponified Oils of Coconut , Olive and Sunflower, Glycerin (Vegetable), Bentonite Clay, Neem Oil, Argan Oil, Guar Gum, Lime Essential Oil, Shea Butter, Nutmeg Essential Oil, Vetiver Essential Oil, Rosemary Extract, Citric Acid.