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Home > Dogs > Do Dogs Need Conditioner? Facts & FAQs

Do Dogs Need Conditioner? Facts & FAQs

poodle bathing

Humans use hair conditioner to smooth out tangles, knots, and leave their tresses as shiny and soft as possible. Can dogs also benefit from having dog hair conditioner applied? They certainly can, but whether or not your dog needs conditioner depends on a few factors. In this post, we’ll answer all your questions about using conditioner on your canine companion.


Do Dogs Need Conditioner?

Some dogs will benefit greatly from having conditioner applied, but it’s not necessary in every case. Say, for example, that your dog is a long-haired breed with fur prone to tangling and matting. Or perhaps you frequently shampoo your dog or your dog suffers from dry, itchy skin? In these cases, dog conditioner may help.

While shampoo strips dirt and grime away from your dog’s fur and skin, conditioners help to manage your dog’s coat and prevent it from drying out. You can find conditioners designed to soothe irritated skin, conditioners for smelly dogs, conditioners for dogs with tangly coats, moisturizing conditioners—the list goes on.

If, on the other hand, you have a short-haired breed with a coat less prone to matting and tangling, and normal skin, you may decide that conditioning isn’t necessary.

siberian husky puppy taking a bath
Image Credit: ANUCHA PONGPATIMETH, Shutterstock

Can I Use Human Shampoo or Conditioner on My Dog?

No—using human shampoo or conditioner on your dog is a bad idea. There’s a reason there are shampoos and conditioners created just for dogs—human skin has a different pH level from that of dogs. Though there’s no guarantee that human shampoo or conditioner will harm your dog, it just isn’t worth the risk, especially if your dog ends up with irritated, sore skin because of it.

As mentioned, there are plenty of specially formulated bath time products on the market for dogs. You can even find some pretty high-quality dog shampoos and conditioners for a reasonable price.

How Often Should I Bathe My Dog?

Most dogs only need bathing about once per month—unless they’re really dirty or your vet has advised it, there’s no need to bathe them too often. Once per week, for example, is considered too frequent and may dry your dog’s skin out. At a minimum, it’s recommended to give your dog a bath at least every 3 months or so, but this depends on the breed or the type of coat your dog has. Some dogs may need a little more frequent bathing.

If you are bathing your dog more than once per month, it may be a good idea to use conditioner as well as shampoo, to ensure your dog’s skin and coat don’t dry out. Apply it close to the skin and work it up through the hair shafts for optimal coverage.

dog owner giving pet pitbull a bath
Image Credit: Vershinin89, Shutterstock

Can I Make My Own Dog Conditioner?

Sure! Many people make their own DIY dog shampoos and conditioners with a range of natural ingredients. Oats, coconut, and honey mixed with water are a great combination, as are apple cider vinegar and water. Some people even use eggs to make their DIY conditioners! You can find plenty of safe, gentle DIY dog conditioner recipes on the net.



Dogs can reap many benefits from dog conditioners, but this largely comes down to the kind of coat your dog has, the type of skin they have, and how often they tend to get dirty. Tangly pups’ coats can certainly be softened up and smoothed out with a good dollop of conditioner as a supplement to their regular shampoo. Dogs with itchy, dry skin sometimes benefit from it, too. For some dogs, though, it’s simply not necessary.

Featured Image Credit: David Herraez Calzada, Shutterstock

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