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Is your dog dealing with dry, flaky skin? A bath with a good dog shampoo should help, but not all dog shampoos help with dry skin. In fact, some shampoos can actually cause dry skin.
That’s why we’ve made a list of the best dog shampoo for dry skin and dandruff.
Best Dog Shampoo for Dry Skin and Dandruff
Oatmeal shampoo doesn’t have to smell funky. Pet Pleasant Natural Dog Shampoo with Colloidal Oatmeal includes lavender essential oil, which has a soothing effect on dogs, and most people enjoy the smell. This shampoo is hypoallergenic and tear-free.
- Hypoallergenic medicated shampoo
- Includes lavender essential oil, which smells great and relaxes your dog during the bath
- Tear-free, cruelty-free, paraben-free, sulfate-free
- Ingredients restore essential oils while combating skin irritants
- Made in a state-of-the-art facility in the USA which exceeds all GMP standards
User Reviews: Despite being labeled as hypoallergenic, some dogs do experience bad reactions to this shampoo. However, there are far more reviews saying the shampoo is “great for sensitive skin.” Many dogs experienced itch relief and had shiny coats after being washed in this shampoo.
Bottom Line: While there is a minimal chance your dog could have a reaction to this shampoo, it’s our top pick because most dogs experience improved skin and coat, and owners love how their dog smells after being washed in this shampoo.
Wahl is a brand that has been making professional dog grooming supplies for decades. Now, you can bring home a dog shampoo trusted by professional groomers. This coconut lime verbena shampoo contains 100% natural ingredients and rinses clean.
- pH balanced, paraben-free, alcohol-free, PEG-80 free
- Great for moisturizing dry skin, providing itch relief, and cleaning dirty fur
- Concentrated, so a little bit of shampoo goes a long way
- Made in the USA
User Reviews: Some people don’t like the smell, and some dogs still itch after being washed in this shampoo. However, most people like the light scent and most dogs experience less itching and flakiness after being washed in this shampoo.
Bottom Line: Wahl is a great value shampoo. You get a lot for the money compared to some of the other shampoos on our list. There’s a chance your dog may have an allergic reaction or won’t have any less dandruff. Probably, though, your dog will have moisturized skin, a shiny coat, and a nice smell.
From the Bed Head brand for humans, Pet Head now offers a natural oatmeal shampoo for your fur child. This gentle shampoo is “People tested; pet approved” and safe if your dog likes to lick themselves clean while you’re bathing them.
- Ingredients include oatmeal, aloe vera, vitamins C and E, and jojoba oil
- pH balanced for dogs and safe if licked or swallowed
- Free of petroleum derivatives and DEA
- Natural shampoo is excellent for dogs with sensitive skin
- Made in the USA
User Reviews: The smell of this shampoo is really controversial. People either love it or hate it. The scent has been described as everything from syrup to pancakes to “Waffle House.” A few people also report the bottle spilling during shipping. Otherwise, people say it leaves their dog soft, shiny, and not itchy.
Bottom Line: If you don’t want your dog to smell like “breakfast food,” you should stay away from this shampoo. Otherwise, it’s a good choice for an oatmeal dog shampoo for dry skin and dandruff.
This soap-free shampoo uses oatmeal and aloe to hydrate your dog’s dry skin, but it also includes cucumber essence and melon extract for a great scent. It’s even gentle enough to use on cats, kittens, and puppies (some shampoos should only be used on adult dogs).
- Soap-free and hypoallergenic with natural ingredients
- Infused with cucumber essence and melon extract
- Oatmeal and aloe soothes dry skin and leaves fur shiny and smooth
- Veterinarian approved
- Made in the USA
User Reviews: The few negative reviews were all for different issues (including shipping problems). There is great consistency in how many people said their dog stopped itching after using this shampoo, though. Even dogs with allergies felt better after being washed in this shampoo.
Bottom Line: This shampoo is a great choice to help improve your dog’s dry skin and dandruff, even (or especially) if they have allergies. The scent is light and pleasant. Being soap-free, this shampoo is extra gentle.
Fresh’n Clean’s regular dog shampoo has been a popular choice with pup parents for many years. This 2-in-1 oatmeal and baking soda shampoo and conditioner is another excellent option. It’s soap-free and biodegradable.
- Protein infused 2-in-1 oatmeal and baking soda conditioning shampoo
- No need to let it sit before rinsing it off
- Made in the USA
User Reviews: Most of the complaints are that the scent doesn’t last very long. There were also a few shipping problems. On the other hand, many of the positive reviews raved about how much they loved the smell. Some dogs also showed improved skin and coat after being washed in this shampoo.
Bottom Line: If you’re looking for a cheap, basic oatmeal shampoo, this should be your top choice. The scent may not last long, but you’ll probably enjoy the smell while it lasts, and this soap-free shampoo is unlikely to bother your dog’s skin.
Earthbath’s popular Oatmeal and Aloe shampoo now comes in a gentler fragrance-free version. This product is 100% biodegradable and not tested on animals (apart from regular baths on dogs).
- Animal cruelty-free
- Relieves itching and dry skin
- Now available in a fragrance-free version
- Made in the USA
User Reviews: The bulk of the complaints were about shipping issues rather than the shampoo itself. Many dogs (and several cats) have experienced relief from their itchy, dry, or irritated skin after one or more washes with this shampoo. Since it’s fragrance-free, it’s perfect for dogs or people who are allergic to scents.
Bottom Line: This is one of the best fragrance-free oatmeal shampoos you will find for dogs. If you prefer fragrance, Earthbath’s original Oatmeal and Aloe shampoo has a pleasant vanilla almond scent.
This medicated shampoo is formulated to treat dry, itchy skin with a variety of causes. It includes veterinary-grade ingredients at a price that most pet parents can afford and is available without a prescription.
- Paraben-, dye-, and soap-free
- Colloidal oatmeal soothes flaky, dry, itchy, and irritated skin. Tea tree oil helps relieve the sting and itch of insect bites.
- Won’t relieve topical flea and tick treatments
- Made with veterinary-grade ingredients
- Made in the USA
User Reviews: Like most shampoos, some dogs did have adverse reactions to this shampoo. However, most dogs saw improvements in even extreme skin problems. Many dog owners report almost instant itch relief. The tea tree scent lasts for about a day.
Bottom Line: As long as your dog isn’t allergic to tea tree oil (or any other ingredients in this shampoo), it’s an excellent medicated shampoo that you can get without a vet appointment. It should help improve your dog’s skin after just one wash.
This reformulated shampoo is gentle enough to use on animals as small as guinea pigs and rabbits. It’s backed by clinical trials and is veterinarian recommended. It’s labeled as a “homeopathic natural and organic pet medicine.”
- Organic ingredients including oatmeal, aloe, coconut, and tea tree oil
- Vet recommended
- pH balanced
- Made in the USA
User Reviews: While this shampoo did cause some dogs to itch, it stopped itching and helped regrow the coat of many dogs. A common word seen throughout the reviews is “amazing.” This shampoo is thin and lathers easily.
Bottom Line: You may find the shampoo to be too watery, or it may not help your dog. However, there is a very good chance this shampoo will improve your dog’s skin from the very first wash. It may even help regrow hair in bald spots where your dog has scratched out all their fur.
This antibacterial and antifungal dog shampoo from Pet MD includes active ingredients like 3% benzoyl peroxide, 2% sulfur, and 2% salicylic acid. This shampoo is touted as being able to treat everything from dandruff, seborrhea, itch relief, acne, folliculitis and mange in dogs.
- Formulated with effective antiseptic, antibacterial and antifungal ingredients
- Soap and paraben-free
- Citrus scent
- Designed to treat various skin conditions
- Made in the USA in federally regulated manufacturing facilities
User Reviews: Some owners stated their dog found no relief from their itching while using this product. Others found the smell to be unappealing. However, the positive reviews are filled with people thrilled with how this is the first shampoo that’s helped their dog’s skin, regardless of what condition they started with.
Bottom Line: This shampoo might result in a lingering smell, but it’s more likely to be the shampoo that finally clears up your dog’s dry skin and other skin conditions where others have failed. You have to use a lot to get a good lather, and it’s a little expensive, however.
If you’re looking for a natural oatmeal shampoo for your dog, Burt’s Bees has been creating natural products since 1984. This gentle pH balanced shampoo uses colloidal oat flour to hydrate your dog’s dry skin and honey to add shine to your dog’s fur.
- Includes ingredients like honey, colloidal oatmeal, and beeswax for sensitive skin
- Mild, tearless, pH balanced
- 7% natural
- Free of fragrances, colorants, sulfates, and harsh chemicals
- No parabens, phthalates, or petrolatum
User Reviews: This shampoo is unscented, which some people loved, and others hated. It doesn’t lather well, so some people felt like they needed to use a lot of it. There were tons of comments about how dogs with dry skin or allergies got relief after a bath with this shampoo.
Bottom Line: For better or worse, your dog won’t smell like anything but a dog after being washed in this shampoo. However, it is very moisturizing and gentle on dry, itchy, or irritated skin.
Why Do Dogs Get Dry Skin and Dandruff?
There are a lot of different reasons your dog may have dry skin and dandruff. The right dog shampoo should help, but if you can find the underlying cause, you have one more way to improve your dog’s skin.
Environmental or food allergies may cause dry skin and dandruff. If your dog has other symptoms, like excessive itching or chronic ear infections, you may want to talk to your vet about testing your dog for allergies.
Low humidity/dry weather
Does your dog’s dandruff get worse in the winter – at the same time you start using more lotion for yourself? Dry weather (or running the furnace) can dry out your dog’s skin the same way it dries out your skin.
The problem is, it’s a lot harder to apply lotion to your dog’s skin. That’s why a bath with a good shampoo designed for dogs with dry skin and dandruff is a great way to help your dog.
If you think your dog’s dry skin is the result of dry weather, try running a humidifier in whatever room(s) your dog spends the most time in.
Dogs can suffer from skin infections caused by either excessive bacteria or an overgrowth of yeast. Skin infections can cause dry skin and dandruff. However, they’re usually accompanied by other symptoms like excessive itching or a foul smell.
If you think your dog may have a skin infection, it’s time for a trip to the vet. Only the vet can diagnose what type of skin infection your dog has. Then, they’ll prescribe medicated shampoo and/or oral medication to treat the infection.
Fleas and lice can look like dandruff. They can also irritate your dog’s skin and cause dandruff. Mites are a type of parasite that cause dry, flaky skin leading to baldness, a condition called mange. Intestinal worms can also cause your dog’s skin and coat to be dry because they’re sucking the nutrients out of your dog.
If you can’t find an explanation for your dog’s dry skin, it’s never a bad idea to head to the vet to rule out parasites.
One quick tip, though – if your dog’s “dandruff” looks grey, brown, or black rather than white, it could be flea “dirt” (poop). Put a few flakes of your dog’s dandruff on a damp paper towel. If the flakes appear to bleed, that means your dog has a flea infestation that you must treat before their skin will improve.
Immune System or Hormone Problems
Many health conditions affecting your dog’s immune system or hormones can cause dry skin and dandruff. Cushing’s syndrome, Addison’s disease, and hypothyroidism are just a few health conditions that can cause dry, flaky skin in dogs. If your dog has any other symptoms, especially unexpected weight gain, a vet check may be a good idea.
Many commercial dog foods lack enough nutrients for your dog to properly thrive, such as omega-3 fatty acids or certain vitamins. Switching your dog to a premium dog food with better nutritional composition and high-quality ingredients may help improve their dry, flaky skin.
How often do you brush your dog? Even short-haired dogs need to be brushed regularly because it helps stimulate your dog’s natural oil production and spreads those oils around.
Brushing your dog a few times a week may help reduce how much dandruff your dog has – or at least you can remove a lot of dandruff with a brush rather than your hand.
Bathing your dog too often (more than once or twice a month) can actually cause your dog’s skin to dry out and become flaky. On the other hand, occasional baths are necessary to help remove dander. Ideally, you should bathe your dog every one to three months.
Key Components to Dry Skin Dog Shampoo
When looking for the best shampoo for dogs with dandruff, check for these things:
- Mild cleansing ingredients. Soap-free or all-natural ingredients are ideal.
- pH balanced. Humans and dogs have different acidity levels on their skin. Never use human shampoo on your dog, because the pH balance is wrong and may contribute to dry skin and flakiness rather than treating it.
- Moisturizing ingredients like oatmeal, vitamin E, and aloe vera.
- Easy to rinse. Shampoo left behind in your dog’s coat can cause dry skin, dandruff, and even infections.
Wrapping Up: Best Shampoo for Dogs with Dandruff
Hopefully, you’ve found the perfect shampoo on our list to help improve your dog’s dry skin and dandruff. Now, you tell us – did we leave off a shampoo that you just love for your pup? Let us know in the comments so other pet parents can try it, too.