Has your dog has been licking or grooming more often recently? Maybe you’ve noticed more than the typical amount of dandruff or thought that your dog’s coat looked patchier than usual?
Allergic Dermatitis, or Canine Atopic Dermatitis, is one of the most common skin conditions across all dog breeds. Because this condition can have many potential causes, from flea infestation to food intolerance, it can be difficult to diagnose at first.
However, as the condition worsens, dogs can develop severe, painful ear infections and even turn to self-mutilation to escape the discomfort.
The first thing you should do if you notice any signs of skin sensitivity or allergies in your dog, is to make an appointment with your veterinarian. However, in the meantime, there is a simple switch you can make that may help to ease uncomfortable symptoms: hypoallergenic dog shampoo.
Many of the dog shampoos on the market are formulated to make pets smell nice and soften their curly coats. While this might make cuddle time more pleasant for owners, fragrances, preservatives, and mysterious ‘proprietary blends’ do absolutely nothing to minimize allergic reactions.
Hypoallergenic dog shampoo formulas use fewer known allergens and irritants than regular shampoo brands, helping to cleanse, soothe, and nourish the skin without aggravating it further. Using hypoallergenic shampoo to bathe your sensitive dog can help to reduce discomfort and inflammation.
Best Hypoallergenic Dog Shampoo – Top Picks!
We’ve spent many hours researching the market for hypoallergenic dog shampoo and finally chosen our top 5.
Today, we’re going to be reviewing them all to help get your poorly pup on the road to recovery.
Best OverallNo products found.
Our top pick for the best overall hypoallergenic dog shampoo is Vet’s Best Hypoallergenic Shampoo for Dogs.
Vet’s Best is one of the most widely trusted brands in pet care products, so owners everywhere can feel confident turning to its products.
This formula is packed with aloe vera and vitamin E, both of which are antioxidants and have been proven to help in reducing inflammation and irritation, as well as promoting general dermatological health. Additionally, aloe vera has antibacterial properties, so it may help to tackle bacterial skin infections.
As a whole, the shampoo is highly moisturizing, which has the effect of relieving dry and itchy skin.
Another great thing about this shampoo is that it’s completely compatible with other skin treatments. This means that it can be used alongside the application of ointments or creams for skin conditions. So, you can start using this shampoo while waiting for a diagnosis and after treatment begins.
The only downside to this shampoo is that it has a fairly watery consistency, which makes it difficult to work up into a lather. You may need to spend a little longer applying the Vet’s Best Shampoo than you would with other brands, but it’s definitely worth it for the soothing, cleansing results.
- Trusted brand – Reputable, consistent, and reliable
- Contains aloe and vitamin E – Antioxidant and antibacterial properties
- Compatible with other treatments – Can be used alongside flea or allergy treatment
- Intensely moisturizing – Relieves dryness and itching
- Watery consistency – Difficult to lather
Best Soap-Free FormulaNo products found.
Next up, we would also recommend K9 Pro’s Hypoallergenic Aloe & Oatmeal Cucumber and Melon Shampoo.
This is a soap-free shampoo blend that doesn’t contain any of the potentially harmful chemicals in most soap-based shampoos.
Instead, K9 Pro uses Proprietary Liposome Technology to deliver a thorough fur and skin cleanse. Nano Liposome particles in the formula, drive the key ingredients through the layers of the skin for in-depth cleaning action.
Additionally, the formula contains an optimal blend of oatmeal and aloe. Both of these ingredients are highly effective moisturizers as well as soothing agents, so the formula combats dryness and itchy skin while refreshing the coat.
The application is super easy. Just add warm water, lather well, and rinse thoroughly.
Although many customers feel that the cucumber and melon scent is pleasant, some dogs do not like it and are reluctant to allow themselves to be bathed in it.
If your dog is particularly sensitive to smell and stubborn when it comes to bath time, you may be better off with one of the other products on our list.
- Soap-free – No harsh chemicals or detergents
- Propriety Liposome Technology – Permeate skin for thorough cleaning
- Contains oatmeal and aloe – Moisturizing and soothing
- Works with warm water – Easy application
- Strong scent – Unpleasant for some dogs
Best Fragrance-Free FormulaNo products found.
Artificial fragrances in shampoos are some of the main culprits when it comes to skin irritation and sensitivity in dogs. Sometimes, even natural fragrances can be too much for dogs with super sensitive skin.
If you know that your pup’s skin reacts badly to fragrances, the best thing you can do is opt for a fragrance-free, hypoallergenic shampoo – just like this one!
Earthbath’s Pet Hypoallergenic Fragrance-Free Shampoo is completely free from harmful, artificial chemicals, including parabens, sulfates, and phthalates.
And harmful substances aren’t the only things this shampoo is free from. The formula is also 100% cruelty-free, so you’ll be benefiting potential laboratory animals as well as your own pet with this purchase.
Plus, you’ll be making a small yet important contribution to reforming the drug and cosmetics industries by voting with your dollar for cruelty-free practices.
Additionally, if your dog is sensitive to gluten, this shampoo will help you to keep your pet extra safe from any potential irritants. The blend is gluten-free, eliminating any chance of itchiness or rashes developing from contact with gluten.
The Earthbath shampoo can be used on both cats and dogs if needed. This formula is even suitable for use on puppies over the age of 6 weeks old, although it should not be used on any animal younger than 6 weeks.
- Fragrance-free – No artificial chemicals, parabens, sulfates, or phthalates
- Cruelty-free – Ethically produced
- Gluten-free – Safe for gluten-sensitive dogs
- Suitable for dogs and cats – Multipurpose
- Not for animals under 6 weeks – Unsafe for use on very young puppies
Best Organic FormulaNo products found.
If you want to go a step further than eliminating fragrances and unnecessary chemicals from your dog’s bath ritual, why not try an organic shampoo formula.
The best organic, hypoallergenic dog shampoo, in our opinion, is 4Legger’s Organic Dog Shampoo and Conditioner.
This shampoo has been formulated to be organic by human food standards. This means that all ingredients in the formula have been grown, harvested, and processed according to the same USDA federal regulations that organically labeled food would be subjected to. Therefore, you can trust that this shampoo is 100% non-toxic and completely safe for your pet.
4Legger’s Organic Dog Shampoo contains aloe vera and peppermint, and eucalyptus essential oils. Both peppermint and eucalyptus, like aloe, have antibacterial properties which help to combat bacterial infections. Moreover, eucalyptus is a natural cleanser, and peppermint has a soothing, cooling effect on irritated skin.
The formula also contains cedarwood essential oil, which is a natural pest repellent. Since allergic dermatitis in dogs is often caused by fleas or other pests, this is an excellent addition to the hypoallergenic shampoo.
Even better, although this shampoo doesn’t contain any artificial fragrances, it’s an effective deodorizer. The natural essential oils keep your pet’s fur smelling fragrant for days without any harmful chemicals.
The 4Legger Organic Dog Shampoo also doubles as a conditioner. So, in addition to cleansing the skin and fur, it will gently condition your dog’s fur for a soft, healthy finish.
Just make sure to rinse this shampoo out very thoroughly. Otherwise, it can dry into a waxy layer on your dog’s fur that is difficult to remove.
- Organic to food standards – 100% safe and non-toxic
- Contains aloe, peppermint, and eucalyptus – Antibacterial, cleansing, and soothing
- Contains cedarwood oil – Keeps pests at bay
- Doubles as a conditioner – Keeps fur soft and healthy
- Difficult to rinse out – Can leave a waxy film if not properly removed
Best For PuppiesNo products found.
Last but by no means least, we’d like to talk to you about the Hypoallergenic Oatmeal Anti-Itch Shampoo & Conditioner from Pets Are Kids Too!
This shampoo is suitable for dogs of all ages, including puppies. Hypoallergenic formulas are even more important for puppies than they are for adult dogs, because puppies have more sensitive skin types.
Pets Are Kids Too has been endorsed by veterinarians, so you can feel safe entrusting this company’s products and advertising with your beloved pet’s health.
The formula itself contains all-natural ingredients, including oatmeal, aloe vera, baking soda, and coconut. Therefore, the shampoo combines the soothing, moisturizing effects of oatmeal and aloe with the conditioning properties of coconut and the natural cleansing power of coconut.
Even better, a portion of all proceeds from Pets Are Kids Too shampoo goes towards helping pets with cancer, so it’s an excellent cause as well as an excellent product.
Unfortunately, this is the most expensive hypoallergenic shampoo on our list today, so it’s not great as a budget-friendly option. However, for this kind of quality and to help a worth cause this shampoo is absolutely worth paying for.
- Suitable for puppies – Safe for the most sensitive skin types
- Endorsed by vets – Trusted and recommended brand
- All-natural ingredients – Natural, plant-based moisturizing, soothing, cleansing, and conditioning
- A portion of proceeds goes to pets with cancer – Contributes to a good cause
- Expensive – Not very budget-friendly
Buyer’s Guide: Choosing the Best Hypoallergenic Dog Shampoo
Choosing the best hypoallergenic dog shampoo for your pet is a big decision, especially if your dog is actively suffering from sensitive skin.
Don’t leave your choice up to chance! Keep reading to learn how to choose a suitable hypoallergenic shampoo for your furry friend.
It’s crucial to pay close attention to the ingredients listed on hypoallergenic dog shampoo bottles. Unfortunately, just because a product says that it’s hypoallergenic, doesn’t always mean that it will be safe for your dog’s sensitive skin.
The most important thing is to avoid all artificial chemicals and substances as far as possible. Sulfates, phthalates, parabens, preservatives, and dyes should not be present in hypoallergenic shampoos, because they are all potential irritants.
Additionally, some dogs experience gluten sensitivity. Often, this can be responsible for skin sensitivity. If you know or suspect that this is the case for your pet, make sure to choose a gluten-free shampoo brand.
As an owner, we understand you might be worried about the cleansing performance of hypoallergenic shampoos. Without all the ingredients used in regular shampoo blends, will a hypoallergenic formula really do the job?
Luckily, the answer is yes! Many natural, plant-based ingredients like coconut, oatmeal, and cucumber (amongst many others) have impressive cleansing properties.
Moreover, as K9 Pro’s Hypoallergenic Shampoo demonstrates, hypoallergenic shampoos can make use of advancing technology, such as Liposome Technology, to deliver more effective cleansing even than some regular shampoo formulae.
Moreover, these natural ingredients also actively soothe and repair sensitive skin, whereas the ingredients in regular formulae are often more harmful than helpful. Aloe vera and oatmeal are both great moisturizers for tackling dry, flaky skin, while the soothing effect of aloe helps to reduce inflammation.
The bottom line is, dog shampoo can be just as effective as regular shampoo, and often, it can be far superior.
Technically, fragrances are ingredients in shampoo products, but scent is often considered a separate factor when assessing shampoo.
It’s all too common for well-meaning owners to prioritize scent and deodorizing properties over other factors when selecting a shampoo formula for their dog.
Wanting your pet to smell nice isn’t a bad thing, of course! It can definitely be frustrating to spend time and energy giving your dog a bath only for traces of mud smell to linger afterwards. However, this really shouldn’t be the ultimate priority when choosing a dog shampoo, especially a hypoallergenic formula.
Dogs simply aren’t supposed to smell like roses all the time, and keeping your pup’s skin free from rashes, dryness, itching, and discomfort is much more important than finding the perfect scent.
With that being said, it’s completely possible to find hypoallergenic shampoo formulae that allow your dog to smell fresh, clean, and even fragrant without the use of artificial chemicals.
Hypoallergenic shampoo for dogs can contain natural essential oils, like eucalyptus oil, for example. These oils have incredible dermatological benefits and smell great at the same time, as do natural ingredients like coconut and peppermint, so there’s no need for any artificial fragrances or scents.
Ease of Use
Finding a hypoallergenic shampoo formula that’s easy to use can be a little tricky.
Many non-hypoallergenic shampoos for dogs contain potentially irritating filler ingredients in order to make lathering and applying the product easier. Obviously, these artificial filler substances are avoided in hypoallergenic formulae.
It’s not uncommon for hypoallergenic shampoos to be a little more watery than regular formulae, meaning that they typically require more time and effort to work into a lather.
However, try not to let this put you off making the switch to hypoallergenic products for your dog. Our ‘best overall’ choice, for example, has quite a watery consistency, but it’s still indisputably one of the best products for canine skin sensitivity on the market. What’s a little extra elbow grease once every couple of weeks compared to your dog’s health and comfort?
Besides, with advancing scientific technology, more hypoallergenic shampoos are becoming thicker in consistency, making them easier to lather up.
Aside from a slight increase in difficulty where lathering is concerned, most hypoallergenic dog shampoo is just as easy to apply as regular shampoo. Just apply to wet fur with warm or lukewarm water (check product guidelines) and rinse out until the water runs clear and no product can be seen or felt in your dog’s coat.
Where possible, we would highly recommend investing in a cruelty-free shampoo formula for your dog.
Aside from the reasoning that, as pet lovers, prioritizing the wellbeing of all animals should be a priority, there are plenty of good reasons to choose cruelty-free pet care products.
On average, cruelty-free cosmetic products tend to contain fewer harmful substances such as sulfates and phthalates. So, contrary to the popular belief that animal testing makes products safer, going cruelty-free can have additional benefits for your pet’s health.
Cruelty-free cosmetic products also tend to be better for the environment. Not only are their ingredients less chemically harmful, but when animal testing laboratories are taken out of the equation, far less waste is generated. The average laboratory can produce as much as 12 tonnes of waste per year.
Of course, the downside is that cruelty-free products are still more expensive, on average, than products that are tested on animals. If you’re in the financial position to do so, however, we’d encourage you to prioritize a cruelty-free status on your hypoallergenic dog shampoo.
Which dog breeds are prone to skin irritation?
Although all dog breeds can develop skin allergies or conditions, certain breeds are more prone to skin sensitivity than others.
Generally speaking, light-colored dogs tend to be more susceptible to sensitivity.
Labradors, golden retrievers, bulldogs, terriers, dalmatians, and Shar-Peis are amongst the breeds most likely to develop allergies and skin conditions. Therefore if you have a doodle that is crossed with any of these breeds then you may need to invest in a good hypoallergenic shampoo.
What are the signs that a dog has sensitive skin?
Early signs of skin sensitivity in dogs can be difficult to spot, but if you know what you’re looking for, you stand a better chance of being able to catch the problem before it worsens.
If your dog’s skin is itching, they may scratch or lick themselves more. Dogs may also try to soothe their own painful skin through excessive licking. If you see your dog chewing or biting at their skin, this is a clear sign that they are feeling discomfort.
Irritated skin may appear red or inflamed. If the area has been worried, sores can develop. Hives and swelling are also clear signs that something is wrong.
Sometimes, skin conditions can be related to a dog’s diet. Diarrhea and vomiting, in conjunction with any of the above symptoms, may signal a food allergy.
If you have noticed your dog scratching its ears or dragging them on the ground, this could be a sign of an ear infection, which is a common side effect of skin allergies in dogs.
Looking after your dog’s coat isn’t just about brushing and grooming, it’s about finding the right shampoo. And if your doodle has sensitive skin, then this can often be tricky. Fortunately there are many brands on the market that cater specifically for dogs that suffer with dermatitis, leaving your furry friend with a soft, shiny coat and flake, free fur.