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How to Choose the Best Dog Shampoo For Your Pooch's Coat

Dogs have very sensitive skin that is half the thickness of human skin and has a very different pH balance. To ensure you don’t irritate the skin, avoid using human products or soaps on your dog and instead use products that have been specifically designed with your dog’s coat and skin in mind.

In this article we will go through how to choose the best dog shampoo, using dog shampoo properly, and then applying dog conditioner for the most beneficial results.

What ingredients to look at in dog shampoo? What ingredients to avoid in dog's shampoo? Also we will cover how dog conditioner is different from human conditioner. By following these tips you can keep your pup looking clean and healthy!

How dog shampoo is different from human shampoo?

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This cute corgi is proud of his Pride+Groom samples

The main difference is the pH level; dog shampoo is more acidic to match a dog's skin. Human shampoo is more alkaline, which can dry out a dog's coat and irritate their skin. Generally speaking, dog shampoo has gentler ingredients and less toxic fragrances than human shampoos. This is to avoid irritation. In addition, dogs have a more sensitive sense of smell than humans do. You will often notice that after a bath, your dog will rub his furry body all over the furniture or roll around in the grass. This is their way or trying to get their own scent back.

Coat-specific dog shampoo

What is the meaning of "coat-specific" dog shampoo?

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There are different types of dog coats, and each one requires different care. Just like human's have curly, straight, colored, damaged hair & multiple types of the skin beneath that hair, so do our pooches!

Shedding dog shampoo / dog shampoo for fur

For example, dogs with double coats need a shampoo that will penetrate the topcoat to clean the undercoat. This is usually the case for dogs with fur, that have a layered structure of the coat or double coat. The best shampoo for fur dogs is shedding shampoo. That will promote losing excessive & dead coats from both layers.

Non-shedding dog shampoo / dog shampoo for hair

Dogs with short coats or hair only require a milder shampoo to avoid drying out their skin. This shampoo ensures cleaning the dog's hair & skin properly, without causing artificial shedding.

Shampoo for dogs with sensitive skin 

Some dogs have sensitive skin, so when choosing a dog shampoo for this type of pup, always look for one that is labeled "hypoallergenic" or "for sensitive skin." You should also avoid any shampoos that contain soap, as this can dry out your dog's coat. Instead, look for dog shampoos with natural ingredients and essential oils. 

If we lost you somewhere between dog fur vs hair, you can read our article, where we go into the depth about those two.

What human shampoo can I use on my dog?

You should avoid using human shampoo on your dog, as it can dry out their coat and irritate their skin. Human shampoo is more alkaline than dog shampoo, which means it has a higher pH level. This can throw off the natural balance of your dog's skin, leading to irritation and dryness.

If you must use human shampoo on your dog, look for a hypoallergenic variety that is designed for sensitive skin. You should also avoid any shampoos that contain soap, as this can dry out your dog's coat.

When in doubt, always consult with your veterinarian to find the best dog shampoo and conditioner for your pup.

What to look for in dog shampoo?

In terms of the dog shampoo choice, you should consider your dog's coat type, frequency of bath, shampoo ingredients & your dog's skin type.

As mentioned before, dog coat types can be: fur, hair, sensitive skin. Each of those have own specific needs from shampoo choice to general grooming recommendations.

Read our dedicated articles on:

What ingredients are acceptable in dog's shampoo?

When it comes to dog shampoo ingredients, you should look for natural, hypoallergenic ingredients that will be gentle on your dog's skin. For example, oatmeal dog shampoo is a great choice for dogs with sensitive skin, as it can help to soothe and relieve itchiness.

Some other ingredients to look for in dog shampoo include:

  • Aloe Vera: This ingredient can help to soothe and moisturize your dog's skin.
  • Coconut Oil: This ingredient can help to condition your dog's coat and relieve dryness.
  • Niaouli Oil: This ingredient has antibacterial and antifungal properties that can help to keep your dog's skin healthy. It is mild relative of the ever popular Tea Tree Oil. Tea Tree Oil is good for humans but can be harmful to your pup.

What dog shampoo ingredients to avoid?

You should avoid any shampoos that contain soap. Soaps are very damaging to a dog’s coat, natural oils & skin of your pup. Here are the most dangerous ingredients that you need to avoid in dog's shampoo:

  • Alcohol
  • Artificial Colors
  • Artificial Fragrances
  • Parabens
  • Phthalates

How often to use dog shampoo?

The frequency of dog baths depends on a number of factors, including your dog's coat type, activity level, and skin condition. For example, dogs with double coats may only need to be bathed every few months, while dogs with oily skin may need to be bathed more frequently.

Consult with your veterinarian to find the perfect frequency for your pup!

What shampoos are used by dog groomers?

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Dog groomers typically use milder shampoos that are designed to be gentle on your dog's skin. This is because dogs have very sensitive skin that can be easily irritated.

We know for sure that Doggy Style, Studio 31 and many more other groomers around USA using dog shampoos by Pride and Groom ;)

To conclude, dog shampoo is very important topic and needs studying before purchasing. Better to research in advance then to buy not suitable shampoo & torture your pup. We hope, this article helped your to understand dog’s beauty & care needs a bit better! 


PRIDE+GROOM was born because 4 New York City dog lovers wanted the same level of grooming products for their dogs that they themselves enjoyed. They looked (hard) but nothing was up to snuff. Or sniff. Like so many, we love our families and take pride in our homes, and we consider our pets to be integral parts of those entities. That said, we could not find an effective way to coif them that was on par with the way we tended to our children, our homes, or ourselves. These beloved pets are allowed on the furniture and in our beds, and yet even when fresh from the groomer, we knew they did not smell or feel as good as they could.

With the development of our coat-specific shampoos, conditioner and deodorizing spray, we think we found just the way to say thanks for being the best and the sweetest MVP of the house.

PRIDE+GROOM is the first dog grooming brand launched under a beauty platform, with formulas made in a clean beauty and scent lab. We know beauty is not only skin deep. We did a ton of research to create the entire line. Each product is formulated with its own unique blend of essential oils sourced from around the world.


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