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Anyone who owns a dog can tell you that they act like humans in so many ways, and here's another unexpected similarity to add to the list: Your pet can deal with skin issues like dryness, flakes, and irritation. Just like humans, a dog's skin can be sensitive and is in need of special products to keep it at its best. Sometimes, the underlying cause is seasonal allergies, and sometimes it's just how their skin is. If you suspect your dog has dry skin, symptoms can include flakes and frequent itching or paw licking. While we suggest checking with your veterinarian to rule out anything that might require OTC medications or shampoos (especially if those symptoms are accompanied by more serious indicators like redness or visible irritation) most of the time, you just need the best dog shampoo for dry skin to keep your pup happy and soothed.
The most effective ingredients in dog shampoos for dry skin are probably familiar to you if you have dry skin yourself. The most prominent ingredient in these formulas is typically colloidal oatmeal, which is in plenty of facial and body moisturizers because of its gentle healing properties. The oatmeal has antioxidants and creates a barrier to lock in moisture for both the long- and short-term. It will also help to calm itchier skin as well, which sometimes goes hand in hand with dryness. Other added ingredients include recognizable skin-soothers like aloe vera, coconut, and vitamin B5. When finding the best options for your particular dog, we rounded up shampoos for drier skin that you can incorporate in their wash schedule, a medicated option for allergy season, and even a waterless option. Whatever you choose for your dog, it will help cut down on frequent itchy and keep them moisturized all year long.
1. Our Top Pick
Burt's Bees is already a beloved brand for humans and babies, and their pet shampoo is our pick for the best dog shampoo for dry skin. Made with high-quality, soothing ingredients like colloidal oatmeal, honey, and beeswax, it's also fragrance-, sulfate-, and colorant-free. The pH-balanced shampoo is a tearless formula that comes highly recommended by vets and is made in the USA. If you're looking for something simple because your dog's coat and skin lean on the drier side, this is a shampoo you'll love all year round — our executive commerce editor uses this one for both her chihuahuas and writes: "I've tried a number of different shampoos over the years, and this one is my favorite. It suds up nicely, smells delicious, and leaves my dogs feeling soft and smooth."
2. The Best Medicated Option
If your pet deals with more severe dry, itchy skin due to allergies, make sure you go to the veterinarian first and see if your dog can benefit from an OTC option. However, if your dog is otherwise healthy and still has seasonal flare-ups that make them dry and uncomfortable, you can still use something a little stronger. The Duoxo S3 Calm shampoo is formulated for dermatitis caused by allergies and is non-prescription but topical. It's recommended by vets and is gentle enough for every day use (it works in as little as seven days, but you might want to bathe your dog more frequently to see results). One reviewer writes: "My dog has been struggling with itchy dry skin...and honestly just with one bath this shampoo worked wonders. She slept all night without scratching for once."
3. The Best Shampoo/Conditioner Hybrid
This shampoo and conditioner hybrid from Honest Paws has five benefits in one product: it cleans, deodorizes, detangles, conditions, and moisturizes. It's made in the USA and contains plant-based ingredients like coconut, oatmeal, and aloe. Honest Paws is safe to use on dogs over 12 weeks old, and works to replenish the moisture barrier in the skin while softening and detangling fur, which is the added benefit that comes from the product also being a conditioner. Reviewers seriously rave about the scent of this product, too.
4. The Best Option for Thick Coats
If your dog has a thicker or a longer coat (think: Collies, Poodles, Spaniels, and Golden Retrievers), you probably want something on hand in between your grooming sessions to combat dirt or any accidental messes — and this foaming option is one of the best dog shampoos for dry skin. The spray bottle allows you to directly target the skin (which is great for double coats), and is anti-inflammatory, hypoallergenic, and paraben-free. The aloe, vitamin B5, and licorice root extract work to help pets retain their natural oils while soothing any irritation or dryness they're experiencing. It even helps to prevent dermatological issues down the road.
5. The Best Dog Shampoo for Dry Skin and a Shinier Coat
Argan oil is one of those ingredients people use on their hair for shiny, sleek results — and it can be used to boost the shine on your dog's coats, too. The Shine Conditioning Shampoo from Rocco & Roxie is formulated with Moroccan Argan oil, which will offer immediate results in the form of a glossy, hydrated coat. It also includes geranium extract and Vitamin A to strengthen hair follicles and keep the skin moisturized, as well as peppermint oil to balance skin and hair from getting too greasy or too dry. We love this option, but the brand also has a gentle, calming option for more irritated or sensitive skin.
6. The Best Waterless Option
Some pets hate getting a bath — and might get stressed or irritated during the process. If that's your pet, but you want to get rid of some of that dry skin in between trips to the doggy salon, try out this waterless foam option instead. It's a great alternative to traditional shampoos: Just apply the foam to your dog's coat and brush it out. The ingredients include oatmeal, aloe, chamomile, and sweet almond oil; all of which work to clean, moisturize, and soothe. Reviewers say it works on all kinds of dogs, both small and large, and is also an effective detangler. It's a unique option, but also one of the best dog shampoos for dry skin.
This piece was originally published in April 2021 and has been updated in 2022 by the Wide Open Pets Commerce Team.
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