Whether it’s because they haven’t been bathed in a while or they enjoy leaping into the pond in your local park, dogs smell. Despite Chihuahuas being well-recognized as the perfect companions for celebrities, they’re no exception to this issue.
Fortunately, their small stature makes them one of the easiest dogs to bathe; all you need is a sink and a doggy shampoo. These reviews are the best shampoos that you can use for your smelly Chihuahua.
A Quick Look at Our Favorites in 2022
|Best Overall||Veterinary Formula Clinical Care Dog Shampoo||
|Best Value||Nature’s Miracle Oatmeal Dog Shampoo||
|Premium Choice||Virbac Epi-Soothe Shampoo for Dogs||
|Best for Puppies||Burt’s Bees Tearless Puppy Shampoo||
|Buddy Wash Original Dog Shampoo||
The 9 Best Shampoos for Chihuahuas
1. Veterinary Formula Clinical Care Dog Shampoo — Best Overall
|Size:||16 ounces or 1 gallon|
|Special Ingredients:||Aloe vera|
With their susceptibility to skin issues, Chihuahuas can benefit from a medicated shampoo that helps alleviate the symptoms of sensitive skin. The Veterinary Formula Clinical Care Antiseptic & Antifungal Dog Shampoo helps soothe your dog’s skin with its antiseptic and antifungal ingredients, and the aloe vera promotes healing.
Available in 16-ounce or 1-gallon bottles with no included parabens, it’s the best overall shampoo for Chihuahuas. This shampoo can be used twice a week to heal skin conditions and then less often to protect your dog against future skin infections.
Some owners have commented on the strong smell of this product. Dogs and owners with sensitive noses may find this shampoo’s scent overpowering.
2. Nature’s Miracle Oatmeal Dog Shampoo — Best Value
|Size:||16 or 32 ounces|
Chihuahuas are the perfect size to carry around in a handbag while you’re out shopping. Unfortunately, they’re not immune to doggy odor. Shampoo that helps them smell fresh will be an appreciated relief for your nose. The Nature’s Miracle Oatmeal Dog Shampoo is sold in 16- and 32-ounce bottles and is the best shampoo for Chihuahuas for the money.
Nature’s Miracle has a soap-free formula that doesn’t interfere with topical flea-and-tick treatments, so you can keep your Chihuahua close by without worrying about unwanted critters. Not only does this shampoo neutralize odors, but it also helps hydrate and soothe itchy skin with the included oatmeal ingredient.
Dogs with sensitive noses may find the scent of this shampoo overpowering.
3. Virbac Epi-Soothe Shampoo for Dogs – Premium Choice
|Size:||8 or 16 ounces|
|Shampoo Type:||Soothing and protective|
|Special Ingredients:||Spherulite microcapsules, colloidal oatmeal|
Virbac Epi-Soothe Shampoo for Dogs is a veterinary recommended shampoo designed with allergic dermatitis in mind. It is soothing, gently cleansing and helps with dry, mildly itchy skin. The Spherulite microcapsules continuously release the active ingredients for lasting relief. It is formulated to reduce the ability of bacteria and yeast to cause infection which is a common problem in skin allergies. The moisturizing glycerin helps maintain healthy skin and the formula has a pleasant apple scent. Epi-Soothe is soap free and pH balanced, all together making this our premium choice for our sensitive skinned little friends.
4. Burt’s Bees Tearless Puppy Shampoo — Best for Puppies
|Shampoo Type:||Tearless puppy shampoo|
|Special Ingredients:||Buttermilk, honey|
Puppies can get into all sorts of mischief, especially when they’re as small as your Chihuahua. It can be difficult to find a shampoo suitable for younger dogs, which is where Burt’s Bees Tearless Puppy Shampoo comes in. With no overpowering fragrance, all-natural ingredients, and a cruelty-free formula, it’s gentle on sensitive skin and specially designed for your puppy. It’s also gentle enough that it doesn’t wash off topical flea treatments.
This shampoo contains both buttermilk and honey, which help soothe, soften, hydrate, and heal your puppy’s skin.
Despite the “tearless” formula, this shampoo shouldn’t be used near your puppy’s eyes. Some owners have also had issues with the watery nature of this shampoo and how it doesn’t lather well.
5. Buddy Wash Original Dog Shampoo & Conditioner
|Size:||16 ounces or 1 gallon|
|Shampoo Type:||Soap free|
|Special Ingredients:||Aloe vera, coconut, lavender, mint|
Coconut based to help soothe your dog’s sensitive skin, the Buddy Wash Original Lavender & Mint Dog Shampoo & Conditioner is safe for frequent use on adult dogs and mischievous puppies. As a two-in-one shampoo and conditioner, Buddy Wash keeps your dog clean, deodorizes them, and leaves their fur soft and shiny. The formula is also soap free, so it doesn’t wash away the effects of topical flea-and-tick treatments, ensuring that your pooch is protected from unwanted pests.
Along with the lavender and mint, the shampoo contains aloe vera to soothe and heal damaged skin.
However, many users have complained that the product doesn’t smell like either lavender or mint, and the clean fragrance doesn’t last long after use. It can also irritate dogs with sensitive skin.
6. Earthbath Oatmeal & Aloe Dog & Cat Shampoo
|Size:||16 ounces or 1 gallon|
|Shampoo Type:||Soap free|
|Special Ingredients:||Aloe vera, oatmeal|
Designed for dry, itchy skin, the Earthbath Oatmeal & Aloe Dog & Cat Shampoo is suitable for multi-pet households and is safe for both cats and dogs. The oatmeal and aloe vera included in the recipe work to moisturize, heal, and support the health of your dog’s skin and coat. It’s also safe to use with popular flea-and-tick treatment and prevention options due to the soap-free formula.
While this Earthbath shampoo has a vanilla and almond scent, many dog owners find the smell unpleasantly strong. They’ve also noted that the large bottle contains a more watery formula and doesn’t lather as well as the smaller option. This shampoo can also dry out your dog’s skin if it’s used too often.
7. Vet’s Best Allergy Itch Relief Shampoo for Dogs
|Special Ingredients:||Oatmeal, tea tree oil|
Chihuahuas can suffer from allergies just like we can, and a shampoo that helps ease their symptoms can relieve the unpleasant itchiness. The Vet’s Best Allergy Itch Relief Shampoo for Dogs is formulated by veterinarians and uses natural ingredients and essential oils to ease itchiness caused by allergies and sensitive skin. Both the oatmeal and tea tree oil are gentle and don’t interfere with topical flea-and-tick treatments.
Unlike other scented shampoos, this option by Vet’s Best doesn’t have a lingering fragrance to keep your dog smelling clean for longer. It can also provoke an allergic response in some canines. The bottles have been known to break open during the shipping process.
8. Zesty Paws Itch Soother Dog Shampoo
|Shampoo Type:||Itch soother|
|Special Ingredients:||Aloe vera, oatmeal, vitamin E|
The Zesty Paws Itch Soother Dog Shampoo uses oatmeal, aloe vera, and vitamin E to heal damaged skin and promote your dog’s health. Its gentle formula is designed with all breeds and ages in mind, so you can use it on both your senior dog and your puppy to keep their fur healthy. Zesty Paws also uses vanilla bean extract for a pleasing, clean scent to keep your dog smelling fresh.
This shampoo has a watery consistency that doesn’t lather easily, and several users have complained that it smells like fish oil instead of vanilla. It can also make your dog’s fur look greasy after use if not washed out properly.
9. Richard’s Organics Flea & Tick Shampoo for Dogs
|Shampoo Type:||Flea-and-tick treatment|
|Special Ingredients:||Cedarwood oil|
If you’re looking for a shampoo that kills fleas and ticks without using harsh chemicals, the Richard’s Organics Flea & Tick Shampoo for Dogs uses natural ingredients to kill and repel pests. While it takes care of your dog’s skin and coat with cedarwood oil, five essential oils work to repel and kill unwanted critters.
Unfortunately, Richard’s Organics only kills adult fleas and doesn’t interrupt the flea life cycle to prevent future infestations. Not recommended as a sole flea treatment. The included essential oils can set off allergic reactions in dogs that are sensitive to the ones used in the formula, and many users have found the smell of this product unpleasant. It’s unavailable to doggy owners living in California.
Buyer’s Guide: Choosing the Best Shampoo for Your Chihuahua
Chihuahuas are much like other dogs when it comes to the shampoo that they need and how often you should wash them. If you’re new to dog ownership, though, this section will help you figure out which shampoo you should get and the best way to give your Chihuahua a much-needed bath.
What to Consider When Buying Shampoo for Your Chihuahua
Doggy Shampoo Only
Most of us have at least one bottle of human shampoo in the shower. Resist the urge to reach for it when your dog needs a bath. It can be an easy solution, especially if your dog has been skunked, you can’t stand the smell, and there’s no dog shampoo in the house. But it’s far healthier for your best friend if you purchase a bottle of shampoo designed specifically for dogs.
Human shampoo isn’t made with dogs in mind. It’s a bit like choosing the best brand for your skin and hair type. You wouldn’t choose a shampoo that makes your sensitive scalp flare up and itch or worsens your too-oily hair. For dogs, using human shampoo can cause several issues. Not only can some of the chemicals or even fragrances be toxic to canines, but the pH balance can also dry out and irritate their skin.
It can be a nuisance having to buy another shampoo specifically formulated for your dog, but it’s a much safer option in the long run.
One of the biggest issues when it comes to choosing a shampoo for your Chihuahua or any dog is how many options there are. Hopefully, this section will help you determine which one will help you.
First, not all shampoos — even the ones for dogs — have a specific purpose other than smelling nice and lathering well. If your Chihuahua doesn’t suffer from sensitive skin and you don’t bathe them often, a simple shampoo will be fine. Sometimes a shampoo designed just to smell nice and wash away dirt is more than enough.
If you’re determined to give your Chihuahua a full spa treatment with both shampoo and conditioner, two-in-one options give you the best of both worlds. Not only do you benefit from both the shampoo and conditioner being in one bottle, but you also don’t have to purchase more than one bottle at a time.
If you’re on a budget, you can save money on your dog grooming essentials by avoiding the separate costs of shampoo and conditioner.
Flea and Tick
Dogs, no matter their fur type, are all prone to picking up fleas and ticks. A flea-and-tick shampoo can help you ward off infestations and keep your dog smelling nice. These shampoos are either medicated or organic and have varying success rates when it comes to killing fleas and ticks. Usually, these prevention shampoos are used in combination with topical treatments or collars for the best results. Many of these types of shampoos need to be used more often than the treatments, which can dry out your dog’s skin.
If your Chihuahua suffers from skin allergies, fungal infections, or another issue that will benefit from proper treatment, your veterinarian may recommend a medicated shampoo. Used as part of a treatment plan, medicated shampoo can help ease the symptoms of allergies and help heal your dog’s skin.
Some don’t require a prescription, but it’s still a good idea to ask for your veterinarian’s advice before choosing one. They’ll help you make sure that your dog isn’t allergic to any of the ingredients and that it won’t interfere with other treatments that your dog is undergoing or even make your dog’s condition worse.
Not all dog shampoos use chemicals for cleaning. Organic shampoos have natural ingredients and oils to offer a gentler solution for your dog’s bath time.
Chihuahuas and many other dogs can suffer from sensitive skin. This can be due to allergies, too many baths, infections, or parasites. Shampoo formulated for dogs with sensitive skin in mind will be gentler and less likely to set off a reaction that will end in itchy dryness.
Your veterinarian will be able to help you figure out what sets off your dog’s sensitive skin and how to manage their symptoms.
Not all shampoos formulated for dogs are created equal. Some, especially veterinarian-formulated options, aren’t suitable for dogs under a certain age. Puppies, in particular, can be more sensitive to medicated shampoos or other ingredients used in such formulas. You need to consider your dog’s age when you purchase a shampoo, especially if they’re a puppy and need a gentle option.
How to Bathe Your Chihuahua
Chihuahuas are the perfect size to fit in a handbag, which makes bathing them easier than trying to convince a larger dog to climb into a bathtub. That said, it’s still important that you know how to bathe your dog properly to ensure that both you and your Chihuahua have a good experience.
Use a Sink
While a bathtub might be easier for a large dog, there’s no need to fill up the tub for a dog as small as your Chihuahua. A deep sink will work fine and probably be more comfortable for your tiny pooch — just remember to wash away any leftover dog fur away, if you’re using the kitchen sink.
Watch Their Eyes
Chihuahuas are well-known for their massive eyes, which makes it extra important to pay special attention to how close you get the shampoo to their faces. Even “tearless” shampoo will sting if you get it in your dog’s eyes, and they won’t thank you for the sensation. They’ll also be far less tolerant the next time that you want to bathe them.
Make sure you keep the shampoo, tearless or not, away from your Chihuahua’s face. If you have to wash their heads, tilt their chin up so the water runs away from their eyes or use a damp cloth instead.
Once a Month
In general, it’s recommended that you only bathe your dog — whatever their breed —if they are dirty or smelly, no more than once a month. Shampoo, no matter what type you use, strips the natural oils out of your dog’s fur and can dry out their skin when used too frequently. Once a month or even only when they smell bad enough to warrant a bath is usually considered the best frequency. This is not the case for dogs with skin disease who may need twice weekly bathing so check with your vet about frequency.
Finding the best shampoo for your Chihuahua will make bath time more pleasant for both you and your tiny pooch. The Veterinary Formula Clinical Care Antiseptic & Antifungal Dog Shampoo is the overall best option and combines medication with aloe vera to alleviate the irritation of itchy dry skin. An affordable option for doggy owners with a budget — and a smelly puppy — is Nature’s Miracle Supreme Odor Control Oatmeal Dog Shampoo.
These reviews considered a variety of options, from soothing itchy skin to deodorizing your mischievous puppy. We hope that they’ve helped you find the best shampoo for your Chihuahua.
Featured Image Credit: otsphoto, Shutterstock