Which Shampoo is Right for Your Dog’s Coat and Skin Condition?

Regular grooming and bathing is an important part in keeping your dog healthy. When choosing the right shampoo and conditioner, you will want to consider your dog’s coat and skin condition.

Best Dog Shampoo - Dog with foam soap on head

The best dog shampoo depends on your pup’s coat and skin condition.

While a trip to the local groomer is a nice treat for your dog, one of our favorite groomers, Erica Sanfiz from Just 4 Paws Pet Spa, helps you choose the best dog shampoo for your pup, so that you can give him a bath beneficial to his skin/coat type at home.

Types of Dog Shampoos

Is your dog’s hair normal, meaning not greasy or dry? Is the coat free of knots and do they have healthy skin? If you’ve answered yes to all of these, then you can go with a basic everyday cleansing shampoo. There are many different and wonderful products on the market today.

  • If you are looking for more natural products then you can go organic.
  • If you’re partial to strong, yummy scents then you can base your decision on a wonderfully aromatic shampoo.
  • If you personally don’t want any kind of lingering scents on your dog, go with something hypoallergenic. These will be dye and odor-free. Hartz makes a really great, good cleansing, clean-rinsing, dye-free hypoallergenic shampoo.
  • You can also pick a shampoo with a conditioner built into it; oftend referred to as a “conditioning shampoo.” This will make your bathing job one step quicker. Hartz also makes several nicely scented, good cleaning, conditioning shampoos, some of which are aloe-based. However, if you feel your dog’s coat is a little on the greasier side you might want to skip the conditioner altogether.
  • Now, if your dog’s coat seems dry you may want to opt for a crème rinse conditioner. These are usually thicker, are left on a bit longer, and need to be rinsed well.
    • For adding extra moisture to the coat, a conditioning finisher spray can even follow the grooming. Just be careful not to over condition the coat, as you run the risk of weighing it down and making it appear greasy.

Choosing the Best Shampoo for Your Dog Based on Skin Condition

When choosing the right products for your dog, the most important thing to consider is their skin condition. This can get tricky if you’re not sure of a condition he/she may or may not have. When in doubt, check with your veterinarian. As a rule of thumb, red, blotchy and/or raised bumps are never a good sign when seen on your dog’s skin. If this is something you’ve never noticed, again, please consult with your physician before making any decisions about grooming.

  • If your dog has a simple case of dry, flaky skin, some dandruff, or even mild allergies, a good oatmeal shampoo or dandruff shampoo is best, such as Hartz® Groomer’s Best Professionals Anti Dandruff Shampoo. Oatmeal-based shampoos are of the mildest and most soothing varieties available to the grooming world. So, when in doubt, go with oatmeal.
  • Best Dog Shampoo - Woman washing dog in bathtub

    If your dog has a skin condition, ask your vet to recommend a shampoo.

    An aloe-based shampoo can sometimes be nice and soothing for an itchy-skinned canine friend. Hartz makes several, very nice aloe-based varieties. They smell wonderful, leave the coat soft and shiny as well as clean. Again, if your dog is clawing at itself uncontrollably, a bath should not necessarily be your first course of action.

  • If your dog has already been diagnosed with a specific skin condition and you’ve already been advised on what products to use, then by all means proceed. Your veterinarian has already hopefully made the proper shampoo recommendation for you. Sometimes you may even be using a pharmaceutical-grade shampoo. If this is the case, it is very important that you please read the instructions on the label of the bottle, and follow them to the “T.”

Detangling Matted Dog Hair

Now, assuming you’ve chosen a shampoo and conditioner for your dog that you’re happy with, let’s think about some other products that will make your job easier. There are a number of detanglers on the market that help with the longer coated dogs; the Poodle, Shih Tzu, Maltese, and the like. Detangler spray will help loosen knots, hopefully making it possible for you to brush them out.

Please note, if your dog has 5 or more quarter-sized knots in various spots throughout the body, I would not attempt a bath. If you cannot easily brush these knots out, even after using detangler spray, please call a grooming professional. It is strongly inadvisable to put a severely knotted or even matted dog into a bath. Water will tighten-up knots, shrinking them closer to your pet’s skin. This will make your furry friend very uncomfortable and a successful grooming session is very unlikely at this point.

When grooming our pets we want the experience to be as fun-loving and positive as possible. Of course, there may be some water splashed about (usually on the owners) and some dirty suds to clean up afterward. But if, in the end, this is the worst of it, then you can pat yourself on the back! You’ve done a fine job, and I’m sure that “Fluffy” would say the same.

Written by Erica L. Sanfiz
Just 4 Paws Pet Spa Owner & Professional Pet Stylist

Hartz® GROOMER'S BEST® Conditioning Shampoo for Dogs
Hartz® GROOMER'S BEST® Soothing Oatmeal Shampoo for Dogs