Best Dog Shampoo for Dry Skin: 7 Products to Relieve Itching


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Bathing a pet might be one of the most challenging tasks for a pet owner. You know what we are talking about here—not all dogs enjoy bathing. On top of that, you have to find a suitable shampoo. Dry and itchy skin can make the challenge harder. And no, you can’t use human shampoo. We hope that we can help you find the best dog shampoo for dry skin by looking at our reviews.

We looked at several options and came up with a few budget and premium options. If you are looking to find a solution easy for your wallet, Wahl Dog Pet Shampoo might be the best option. For a good, all-around product, a medicated shampoo like Veterinary Clinic might be the way to go.

Our Reviews

Best Overall

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1. Veterinary Formula Clinical Care Antiparasitic and Antiseborrheic Medicated Shampoo for Dogs

What makes this shampoo best overall is the fact that it’s a medicated formula that’s designed for the most severe cases of bacterial and parasitic infections. If the condition is severe, you can use the shampoo two to three times per week, and then reduce the frequency.

The special formula designed for dogs over 12 weeks of age delivers balanced pH treatment. It contains salicylic acid, micronized sulfur, and coal tar, three ingredients that are ideal for treating skin scaling. The formula also contains colloidal oatmeal for moisture and hydration.

The best part is how fast it acts, removing flea, tick, and infections within two uses. And it doesn’t carry a high price tag.

Why do we like it?

  • Recommended by veterinarians
  • Treats many skin conditions, including parasitic infection, dermatitis, mange, and seborrhea
  • Can be used frequently to treat severe infections
  • Paraben-free, soap-free, and dye-free

Best Premium

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2. 4-Legger USDA Certified Organic Dog Shampoo

Organic shampoos usually carry a higher price tag. And although that is the case with 4-Legger USDA Certified Dog Shampoo as well, the price is justified when you look at the ingredients list.

The formula contains essential land organic oils, but also aloe vera and lemongrass. As a result, the potent combination soothes and moisturizes dry skin. The holistic approach is safe for pets of all ages, including puppies. And it won’t strip the puppy of its natural oils.

For the eco-friendly owners out there, the formula is made of biodegradable and sustainable ingredients. Lemongrass and aloe vera are hypoallergenic, leaving your dog with a nice scent and clean feeling. The shampoo lathers perfectly, and then it’s easy to rinse off.

Why do we like it?

  • Made with organic, natural, and sustainable ingredients
  • A small amount of shampoo can cover your entire dog
  • No artificial thickeners, or any other toxic ingredients in the formula
  • Can be used even on dogs with the most sensitive skin

Best Budget

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3. Wahl Dry Skin and Itch Relief Pet Shampoo for Dogs

Wahl is made in the USA. The formula is alcohol-free, paraben-free, and delivers the perfect pH balance for your dog’s skin.

In addition to oatmeal, the formula contains natural ingredients like coconut for added moisturizing properties. Coconut also makes your dog smell clean and fresh.

Wahl believes in the “less is more approach.” Because of the higher concentration of coconut in the formula, you don’t have to use as much shampoo. That might be one of the reasons why even professional groomers use Wahl (and that’s despite being a cheap and affordable option).

Why do we like it?

  • Works on dogs with long and short hair
  • Your dog smells amazing after the bath
  • Cleans the fur, and removes all the fat

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4. Top Performance Fresh Pet Shampoo

Top Performance Fresh Pet Shampoos are available on their own, or you can pair them with a conditioner. If your dog’s dry skin condition is more severe, we recommend getting the conditioner as well. For mild conditions, the shampoo will be more than enough.

The list of ingredients includes citric acids, essential oil fragrances, glycerin, aloe vera, and of course, cleansers derived from coconut oil. As a result, your pet will smell great. His coat will be shining and beautiful and without any tangles.

The best part about the shampoo is the long-lasting scent. Your dog will smell great even after a few weeks. It’s formulated to match the natural pH balance of your dog.

Why do we like it?

  • Scent lasts for a few weeks
  • Leaves your pet’s fur bright
  • Prevents mats and tangles
  • Can be used on puppies six weeks of age

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5. Pet MD Oatmeal Dog Shampoo

When your dog is suffering from a severe skin condition, a medicated shampoo can make all the difference. It is no wonder our top overall pick was a medicated shampoo. Another good option is Pet MD Oatmeal dog shampoo, made without soap and alcohol. Use this shampoo in combination with flea and tick medications for fast relief.

The product is made in the USA, in a federally regulated manufacturing facility. With a unique blend of vitamins, oat protein, wheat germ oil, and aloe vera leaf juice, the shampoo will leave your pet clean, fresh, and relaxed. Time for your pet to enjoy his bath!

Why do we like it?

  • Unique blend of vitamins and healthy ingredients
  • Medicated shampoo for severe causes of itchy skin
  • Works for bacterial and fungal infections
  • Smells great for a medicated shampoo

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6. Pro Pet Works All Natural Oatmeal Dog Shampoo

Pro Pet is one of the most popular dog shampoos in the USA. The company has a catchy slogan, “Our pledge to your pet,” helping them build an image and reputation as dog lovers.

This product combines moisturizers, essential oils, and aloe vera to deliver a great shampoo that will soothe itching and will make your dog smell wonderful. It can be used on both cats and dogs, and even rabbits.

The organic shampoo contains only natural ingredients designed for dry and sensitive skin, providing a therapeutic treatment.

What makes the shampoo unique is the company’s commitment to using only recycled and biodegradable ingredients. Cheers to the eco-friendly community out there!

Why do we like it?

  • After using it, your dog’s coat will be soft and easy to brush
  • Made of recycled materials
  • Just a little bit of shampoo goes a long way
  • Can be used on different animals

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7. Espree Natural Hypoallergenic and Luxury Shampoos

Some pet owners love a premium product—and that’s what Espree delivers. The main ingredient is 100% organically grown aloe vera, which results in a higher price tag.

Because of the aloe vera, the shampoo can be used on even the most sensitive dog, such as allergy-sensitive dogs.

The best part about the shampoo is how easy it is to wash out. After washing, your dog will smell good and his fur will be soft to the touch.

There is only one downside to this shampoo. It dries fast, so make sure you keep the animal wet or wash and rinse one side at a time.

Why do we like it?

  • Made with 100% organically grown aloe vera
  • Can be used on the most sensitive dogs
  • Ideal for allergy-suffering dogs

Is Human Shampoo Safe for Dogs?

We touched on this topic in the beginning, but we feel the need to clarify. One of the most common mistakes pet owners make is using human shampoo. Why is that so bad?

Well, for starters, the human scalp and animal skin are not the same. Human shampoos work for the human scalp. On the other hand, the best dog shampoo for dry skin and dandruff is designed for animal skin.

The main difference between these two is in the pH level. Our pH level is much different than the one of animal skin. Thus, shampoo for people will be harsh for your canine friend. And that can result in more itching.

What Causes Dry Skin in Dogs?

To tackle a problem, you have to understand it and find the root of the problem. On its own, dry skin is not a big issue. However, it can also be a sign of a larger problem. This includes allergies and parasites, and even serious medical disorders like hypothyroidism. Here is a quick breakdown of the causes of dry skin in dogs:

  • Allergies. Dogs are allergic to flea saliva, but also environmental and seasonal allergies like pollen, grass, dander, grain, and dust.
  • Parasites, like canine scabies and Demodex mite, can be harmful to dogs. Diagnosing these issues requires a trip to the vet’s office.
  • Bacterial and fungal infections are the most common causes of dry skin.
  • Some breeds are more prone to skin conditions. That includes hairless breeds like Chinese Crested, breeds like Siberian Husky, and fast-growing large-breed puppies.
  • Other causes include cold weather, dry air, excessive bathing, using harsh soaps, and poor nutrition.

Symptoms of Dry Skin in Dogs

You might not be aware of your dog’s problem. He might have dry and itchy skin without you noticing. It is crucial that you check your dog’s skin constantly, and look for signs in his behavior. Here are some of the common symptoms of dry skin in dogs:

  • Severe flaking, usually on the belly and underarms
  • Dandruff, resulting in white flakes of dead skin anywhere your dog lies down
  • Scaling (when the skin comes off in large sections)
  • Severe shedding, resulting in spotty or patchy areas
  • Pimples appearing as small and red bumps
  • Redness, which is usually the first sign of inflammation
  • Odor, caused by bacterial and yeast infection
  • Last, but not least, severe itching and your dog is not responsive to steroids

How to Soothe Your Dog’s Dry Skin

Improving your dog’s skin quality should be your priority. A healthy dog is a happy dog. And itching caused by dry skin can make him uncomfortable. Besides using the best dog shampoo for itchy skin, consider changes in the routine. These small, but valuable changes can help your dog cope with the condition.

  • Brush your dog daily to remove dead skin. Brushing also helps distribute the inflammatory cells where the skin is most itchy. While brushing will not eliminate dry skin on its own, it will help the entire process.
  • Bathe your dog with a dog shampoo for sensitive and itchy skin that will also moisturize the skin. Shampoos with oatmeal are the best due to their anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Between baths, soothe your dog with a dry shampoo to provide itch relief. Again, a dry oatmeal shampoo will work wonders. Blend oatmeal until you get a fine powder, and massage it into the itchy areas. Comb it after 20 minutes.
  • Cover the affected areas with baking powder by mixing water and baking soda in a 1:1 ratio. Apply it on the area, leave for 15 minutes, and then clean off with cool water.
  • For dogs with swollen feet, add half a cup of Epsom salt to his bathwater, and rinse it off after the bath.

Can Food Help With Dry Skin in Dogs?

Yes, food can help with dry skin, as it targets inflammation. Your dog should be on a high-protein and low-carb diet. With a proper diet, you can cut down on inflammation.

You can also try supplements, but you have to be careful. Too many fatty acids can cause loose stools. Also, a high amount of olive and coconut oil supplements can make your dog fat.

Buying Guide for Best Dog Shampoo for Dry Skin

There are two types of formula for the best dog shampoo for dry skin: organic and hypoallergenic. Organic dog shampoo formula includes only natural ingredients. Categorized as safe to use, these shampoos carry a higher price tag, but they are worth it. Because of the natural ingredients, an organic dog shampoo formula is highly effective in treating the problem. Think of them as the safest alternative.

Hypoallergenic dog formula works for pets with allergies and those prone to allergic reactions. The formula can also be found in an antiparasitic shampoo for dogs, and you can be confident your dog will not have an allergic reaction to the shampoo. Now, we must stress that no shampoo is 100% safe—however, the hypoallergenic formula is close to 100%. Or, you can try making a homemade dog shampoo for allergies.

Last, but not least, we recommend looking for a formula without alcohol. Because dogs have more sensitive skin, any amount of alcohol can cause problems.

Some Ingredients to Look For

We know that oils help with dry skin. The same applies to dogs as well as humans. That is why when looking for the best dog shampoo for dry skin, look for one with essential oils that can help the problem. Here is a quick breakdown of the best essential oils for dry skin:

  • Cedar essential oil has anti-inflammatory properties and can reduce symptoms of dryness
  • Cedar essential oil also helps with odor and repel fleas
  • Neem oil has antifungal, antibacterial, and antiseptic properties, helping dogs with itchy skin caused by insect bites, mange, or dry patches

Coconut oil can build immunity of the skin and increase moisture thanks to lauric acid.

Olive oil can penetrate the skin and moisturize, as well as decrease pet odor.


In most cases, you can soothe your dog’s dry skin using a decent shampoo. You will be good with any of the options we recommended (and remember—don’t use human shampoo). Dry skin can happen to any dog, even one that is cared for. And it can happen at any time. Prevention is everything, but if dry skin strikes, you have options.

We believe Veterinary Formula Clinical Care is the best because of its quick and effective result. Remember, it might be good to consult a veterinarian before trying anything. Diagnosing parasites and bacteria is the key to successful treatment.


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