If your pup suffers from allergies, seasonal dry skin, hotspots, or dandruff, bath time can be really rough. Anyone who dries up in the winter or has issues like eczema knows firsthand that dry skin is no fun at all, and with most shampoos containing alcohol, it’s easy to dry the skin out further.
However, we did the hard work for you by trying out some products we think can help. Here are our reviews of the best dog shampoos we could find without a prescription to combat flaking, itching, and irritation. Let’s see which one will work for your dog.
A Quick Look at Our Favorites in 2023
|Best Overall||Hepper Colloidal Oatmeal Pet Shampoo||
|Budget Buy||Burt’s Bees Oatmeal Shampoo for Dogs||
|Vetnique Labs Dermabliss Medicated Dog Shampoo||
|Zesty Paws Itch Soother Dog Shampoo||
|Buddy Wash Original Dog Shampoo||
The 8 Best Dog Shampoos for Dry Skin
1. Hepper Colloidal Oatmeal Pet Shampoo – Best Overall
|Active Ingredients:||Aloe vera, wheat protein extract|
|Scent:||Cucumber and aloe|
The best overall dog shampoo for dry skin is Hepper’s Colloidal Oatmeal Pet Shampoo (Aloe and Cucumber Scent). Not only does this phthalate- and sulfate-free shampoo cleanse and condition your dog’s coat, but it can also address any dry skin issues you may be facing. This product has been formulated with only the most natural and healthy ingredients to ensure your dog’s sensitive and dry skin will not face further irritation. It’s made with ingredients like aloe vera to help replenish the natural moisture balance in your dog’s skin and colloidal oatmeal to help soothe your pup’s irritated skin.
This shampoo takes 1st place because it is so gentle that it can be used on dogs, cats, and other household pets that need to start smelling better. Its subtle aloe and cucumber scent is fresh and long-lasting, keeping all your critters feeling and smelling their best.
This product is manufactured in the USA. If purchasing directly from the Hepper website, it can only be shipped to the lower 48 states. There is currently no international shipping option.
At PetKeen.com we’ve admired Hepper for many years, and decided to take a controlling ownership interest, so that we could benefit from the outstanding designs of this cool cat company!
2. Burt’s Bees Oatmeal Shampoo for Dogs – Budget Buy
Burt’s Bees Oatmeal Shampoo for Dogs with Colloidal Oat Flour & Honey is a fantastic product and the best dog shampoo for dry skin for the money.
Each ingredient is carefully selected to keep your dog irritation-free. It doesn’t only soothe dry skin, it deals with even bigger skin issues related to eczema and allergies using colloidal oat flour. It also contains honey, which has antibacterial properties and keeps the coat shiny.
This shampoo doesn’t have a super impressive lather, so you might have to use a little more if you like a clean you can see. But we can assure you—what it lacks in bubble power, it makes up for with incredible results for dry skin. It is completely pH balanced just for dogs, working with their natural body chemistry.
While it is labeled as unscented, it does have a very fresh, mild scent that we adore. It’s made in the USA, free of all potentially harmful ingredients, like artificial fragrance, chemicals, parabens, and so on. Plus, the bottle is made of 80% recycled material—so it’s good for the environment, too!
3. Vetnique Labs Dermabliss Medicated Dog Shampoo
|Active Ingredients:||Pramoxine, safflower seed oil, oat extract|
If your dog needs some serious relief and you don’t mind paying a bit extra, consider Vetnique Labs Dermabliss Medicated Anti-Itch & Allergy Relief Soothing Oatmeal Dog Shampoo. It works exceptionally well for extreme skin issues. Soothing safflower oil and oat extract reduce irritation to help heal dry and inflamed skin. It also contains an ingredient called Pramoxine, which numbs the skin temporarily to tone down the itchiness.
You can use this on both dogs and cats of any age, and it won’t strip their natural oils but instead reduce build-up and debris in the fur for a fresh finish. The skin stays hydrated, the coat stays shiny, and your pup gets to feel normal again.
This intense formula might not be necessary for all skin issues—and who wants to pay extra money if it’s unnecessary? We recommend asking your veterinarian before use, ensuring it’s the right product if your dog has serious skin issues. They might require an actual prescription-grade replacement.
4. Zesty Paws Itch Soother Dog Shampoo
|Active Ingredients:||Oatmeal, aloe vera, vitamin E|
Does your small pup experience dry skin? If so, this solution is top-notch — the Zesty Paws Itch Soother Dog Shampoo with Oatmeal & Aloe Vera. Not only does it smell fantastic with a warm vanilla bean scent, it also has ingredients like aloe and vitamin E to calm and rejuvenate the skin.
Rather than being super foamy, this shampoo is a little oily with a weak lather. The aloe heals skin, and it also creates a lovely sheen to the coat that you notice after the first wash. However, the scent lasts a long while after bath time is over, making sure to leave your dog kissable for weeks to come.
You can use this shampoo for all dogs of any life stage, but we thought it was especially suitable for dogs under a year, because it is safe and gentle, yet effective.
5. Buddy Wash Original Dog Shampoo
|Active Ingredients:||Aloe vera, wheat protein extract|
|Scent:||Lavender and mint|
Another good product for soothing dry skin is the Buddy Wash Original Lavender & Mint Dog Shampoo & Conditioner. First and foremost—it smells divine. It has a soft but punchy aroma of lavender and mint that lasts on the coat long after the bath is through.
This shampoo has a very rich lather, covering your doggy’s whole coat with no issue. After rinsing, it doesn’t leave any residue on the fur. The aloe helps to calm those angry, flaky areas, providing a moisturized super pup in no time. This shampoo is soap and alcohol-free and includes a conditioner so you can manage any length of coat—from naked to floor-length. There are tons of terrific ingredients here, too, like sage, green tea, and chamomile.
The added wheat protein extract works as a natural deodorizer, which we found works to control odors. In combination with the scent, that is a terrific option for dogs with dry skin due to allergies because it really staves off that yeasty smell, and lastly, Buddy Wash clarifies that they don’t test their products on animals, which we love.
6. Virbac Epi-Soothe Shampoo for Dogs
|Active Ingredients:||Colloidal oats, Spherulites|
Virbac Epi-Soothe Shampoo for Dogs is most definitely an honorable mention—it is a favorite with vets for their patients. It is designed to soothe, clean and control mild itch. The spherulites ensure continued release of ingredients onto the skin and coat. The formula also helps to reduce the ability of bacteria and yeast sticking to the skin and colonizing it. It is soap free and ideal for dry itchy irritated skin with it’s emollient action.
We adored the scent, and found it left coats soft and shiny too. This is a tried and tested shampoo for pets with allergic skin disease and can be used alongside medications from your vet. Can be followed up with Virbac Epi-Soothe Pet Cream Rinse for extra moisturising.
7. Petag Fresh ’N Clean 2-in-1 Dog Shampoo & Conditioner
|Active Ingredients:||Oatmeal, vitamin E, aloe vera|
Petag Fresh ‘N Clean Tropical Fresh 2-in-1 Oatmeal Dog Shampoo & Conditioner combines shampoo and conditioner for a clean but soft finish. It contains many beneficial ingredients for itching like aloe vera, oatmeal, and vitamin E, and also includes proteins that strengthen the coat—an extra perk.
We love the rich lather of this shampoo. It has a powerful clean that doesn’t leave your dog’s fur greasy and bubbles up quickly so you can see coverage areas without issue. Plus, it contains no soap and other harmful ingredients that could potentially add to your dog’s discomfort.
If you like powerful scents that keep your dog smelling like a flower long after bath time is through, it has a very prominent tropical scent. However, some people could go without the overpowering smell, and some dogs are highly sensitive to fragrance—so be mindful before you buy.
8. Vetoquinol Soap-Free Dog & Cat Shampoo
|Active Ingredients:||Aloe vera, oatmeal|
We thought the Vetoquinol Itchy Dry Skin Aloe & Oatmeal Soap-Free Dog & Cat Shampoo lived up to its intended purpose. It’s wholly soap-free and safe for all skin types—even dogs without itchy skin. So, you don’t have to buy another shampoo for different pooches in your house. They can all use the same one!
This formula is coconut-scented and produces a decent lather. It’s able to clean the skin without stripping the natural oils on your dog’s coat.
The product is pretty straightforward and simple to use. Overall, we liked it, but it might not be suitable for all skin issues. With more serious problems, it seems to aggravate some already red areas. So, we don’t recommend using it if your dog has visible irritation on the skin.
All in all, it did the job well.
Buyer’s Guide: How to Pick the Best Dog Shampoo for Dry Skin
What Causes Dry Skin in Dogs?
Dry skin in dogs can be caused by a number of reasons and vary from pup to pup.
Getting to the bottom of why your dog has dry skin sometimes requires a veterinarian’s input. If you are concerned about your dog’s skin and think it might be a little more serious than seasonal dryness, you should make an appointment with a vet so you are not treating the wrong symptoms. Diagnosing skin disease can require further testing and take some time, so talk the steps through with your vet.
Helpful Ingredients for Dry Skin
Oatmeal is a soothing ingredient that’s helpful on even the most inflamed skin. Colloidal oatmeal binds to the skin, building up a protective barrier. This barrier helps to protect dry skin, so no further irritation takes place.
Aloe is used in many human and pet shampoos because it soothes the skin. Aloe vera contains anti-inflammatory compounds that reduce swelling and minimize irritation.
Coconut oil is a wonderful antibacterial ingredient used in many dog shampoos. Not only does it help prevent infection, the emollient also binds to the skin to help create a protective barrier.
Vitamin E penetrates the skin to heal and prevent dryness and contains antioxidants that help prevent inflammation.
Essential Fatty Acids
Used to help protect and fortify the lipid skin barrier. They can also have anti-inflammatory properties and provide itch relief for your dog.
Ingredients to Avoid
Sometimes, dry skin can actually result from using the wrong shampoo. It might not be the only culprit, but certain ingredients definitely don’t help.
SD Alcohol 40
You probably already know that alcohol dries out the skin. It quickly evaporates, taking moisture with it. It is often used in products to reduce oil production and is in no way a moisturizing agent. If you are trying to clear up your dog’s dry skin, the last thing you want to do is use products that make it worse.
Thankfully, formaldehyde preservatives are rarely used in commercial dog shampoo products these days. Still, you’ll want to carefully look at the ingredients label to make sure that it’s not listed. Formaldehyde preservatives can severely irritate the skin, affecting some dogs worse than others.
Artificial dyes are not good in any type of product, whether it be food or hygiene products. In addition to a whole series of other issues, artificial dyes can further dry out the skin. It’s best to avoid these and opt for shampoos with natural ingredients wherever possible.
Did these reviews help slim your search? We certainly hope so! Our top choice is the Hepper Colloidal Oatmeal Pet Shampoo, as it has a great, long-lasting scent, wonderful lather, and works like a charm.
However, for the money, you can’t beat Burt’s Bees Oatmeal Shampoo for Dogs with Colloidal Oat Flour & Honey. It is very pleasant smelling and efficient for the intended purpose with all-natural effective ingredients. It’s definitely a bargain. Virbac Epi-Soothe Shampoo for Dogs is a great recommendation as an effective product.
Any of the above shampoos can help your dog stay itch-free after baths. No matter which appeals to you most, they will help your pooch stay free from dry skin.
Featured Image Credit: Masarik, Shutterstock