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Best Dog Shampoo For Dry Skin & Odor

September 19, 2023
Written by
Brooke V.
This content is produced in collaboration with an advertising partner and follows mindbodygreen’s editorial guidelines. The content is written by a third party. Statements are not fact-checked by a medical expert.
Best Dog Shampoo For Dry Skin & Odor
Image by mbg creative
September 19, 2023
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Every dog owner knows how important it is to maintain their pet's skin health and make sure their pup smells as nice as possible. However, allergies, grooming routines, and environmental factors can all contribute to dry skin and unwanted odors.

Luckily, dog shampoos can help with both of these problems. In this article, we review some shampoos that specifically target dry skin and help combat lingering odors. Whether your pet is grappling with skin irritations or needs a revitalizing cleanse, this guide will help you choose the right shampoo for your pup.

The potential benefits of dog shampoos for skin health

Several studies have showcased the benefits of treating certain skin conditions in dogs with special shampoo. For example, bathing with nonirritating shampoos is a proven method of relieving itchiness in dogs with atopic dermatitis1 (eczema). Antibacterial shampoos2 have also been shown to relieve itching and reduce skin lesions in dogs with atopic or bacterial dermatitis. Finally, one study showed shampooing dogs every week drastically reduced fleas3.

What are some causes of dry skin in dogs? 

Dry skin in dogs can be caused by various factors, including:

Environmental factors: Cold weather, low humidity, and exposure to dry air can strip the skin of its natural oils, leading to dryness.

Bathing frequency: Frequent bathing or using harsh shampoos can remove essential oils from the dog's skin, causing dryness.

Allergies: Allergic reactions to certain foods, environmental allergens (like pollen or dust mites), or materials (like certain fabrics) can lead to skin irritation and dryness.

Poor diet: A lack of essential fatty acids and nutrients in a dog's diet can contribute to dry and flaky skin.

Underlying health conditions: Certain medical conditions, such as hypothyroidism, Cushing's disease, or autoimmune disorders can affect a dog's skin health and cause dryness.

Parasites: Infestations of fleas, ticks, or mites can cause itching, scratching, and skin irritation, leading to dryness.

Over-grooming: Excessive licking, scratching, or chewing due to allergies, boredom, or anxiety can damage the skin's protective barrier, leading to dryness.

Hygiene products: Some grooming products or cleaning agents used around the house can irritate a dog's skin and result in dryness.

Age: As dogs get older, their skin may become less supple and more prone to dryness.

Genetics: Certain dog breeds, such as German shepherds and retrievers, are more predisposed to skin conditions, including dry skin.

Lack of Hydration: Dehydration can impact the skin's moisture levels, leading to dryness and flakiness.

Medications: Some medications may have side effects that affect the skin's moisture balance.

If your dog persistently has dry skin, consult your veterinarian. They can help determine the underlying cause and recommend appropriate treatments, such as dietary changes, topical treatments, medication, or medicated shampoos.

Tips for bathing a dog with dry skin

Bathing a dog with dry skin and odor requires special care to ensure their skin is moisturized and their coat cleaned effectively. Here are some tips to keep in mind when bathing a dog with these concerns:

Choose the right shampoo: Opt for a gentle, moisturizing shampoo designed for dogs with dry skin. Look for shampoos that contain ingredients like oatmeal, aloe vera, coconut oil, or shea butter. Avoid shampoos with harsh chemicals or strong fragrances, as these can further irritate the skin.

Bathe less frequently: Dogs with dry skin should not be bathed too frequently, as excessive bathing can strip away natural oils and worsen the dryness. Aim for bathing every 4–6 weeks or as advised by your veterinarian.

Use lukewarm water: Use lukewarm water, not hot water, for the bath. Hot water can be harsh on the skin and exacerbate dryness.

Rinse thoroughly: Make sure to rinse your dog thoroughly after shampooing to remove all traces of soap. Residue left behind can contribute to skin irritation.

Massage gently: While shampooing, use gentle, massaging motions to distribute the shampoo and stimulate the skin. Avoid scrubbing vigorously, as this can further irritate the skin.

Use a conditioner: Consider using a dog conditioner or a leave-in conditioner after shampooing to provide additional moisture to the skin and coat.

Check for allergies: If your dog's dry skin is due to allergies, consult with your veterinarian before using any new products to ensure they won't cause further irritation.

Maintain a healthy diet: A balanced diet rich in essential fatty acids can contribute to healthier skin and coat. Consult your vet for dietary recommendations.

Now that we have reviewed the causes of dry skin in dogs and the potential benefits of dog shampoos, let’s zoom in on the best dog shampoos for dry skin and odor. 

The best dog shampoo for dry skin & odor:

Best Paraben Free: Pupper Dog Shampoo


  • Users say it leaves the dog’s coat soft and relieves itchiness


  • Fairly new company to the dog shampoo industry

Pupper’s shampoo for dogs is fairly new to the market. This pH-balanced dog shampoo is made with colloidal oatmeal, beeswax, and various ingredients that can help promote healthy skin.* It is free of parabens, phthalates, or sulfates — ingredients that can deprive the fur of its natural oils. 

Best Charcoal : kin+kind Dog Shampoo


  • Contains aloe for softer skin*


  • Some users don’t like the smell

This charcoal natural shampoo from Kin+Kind is made to help deep clean your dog’s fur. The shampoo is mixed in the USA and uses a paraben and sulfate-free formula. The brand states that its patchouli essential oil shampoo helps tackle any odor on dogs.

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Best Scent: Big Bentley Premium Pet Shampoo for Dogs


  • Users say it has a fresh scent that effectively eliminates unpleasant odors


  • Small container

Big Bentley pet shampoo has an island mist scent and comes in a 16-fluid-ounce container for long-term use. This dog shampoo is made in the USA with no harsh chemicals, so it offers a gentle experience for all dogs.

Best Healthy Skin: NaturVet Septiderm-V Skin Care Bath Wash for Dogs & Cats


  • Users say the shampoo does relieve skin problems*


  • Small container

This cat and dog shampoo is said to alleviate skin allergies, dermatitis, and hot spots.* This shampoo is made in the USA and is cGMP compliant, which guarantees the manufacturing process is up to par and up to date.

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Best 2-in-1: Hartz Groomer's Best Professionals 6-in-1 Dog Shampoo and Conditioner


  • Users love the lavender scent


  • Some users complained the top pump doesn’t work properly

Hartz Groomer’s Best Professionals dog shampoo has a long-lasting fragrance and is made with provitamin B5. This shampoo for dry skin and odor comes in a calming lavender mint scent. The large 32-ounce container will last longer than the other options featured above. 

Comparing our top picks

ProductCostPrice per ounceSizeAutoship option
Pupper Dog Shampoo$25.00$1.5616 oz TRUE
kin+kind Dog Shampoo$14.99$1.2512 ozTRUE
Big Bentley Premium Pet Shampoo for Dogs$20.00$1.2516 ozTRUE
NaturVet Septiderm-V Skin Care Bath Wash for Dogs & Cats$12.99$1.628 oz TRUE
Hartz Groomer's Best Professionals 6-in-1 Dog Shampoo and Conditioner$11.69$0.3732 ozTRUE

The takeaway

The right dog shampoo can make all the difference to you and your pet, as it can offer a soothing cleanse, tackle dryness, and leave your dog smelling fresh and clean. When searching for the best shampoo, look for those enriched with gentle moisturizers like oatmeal or aloe vera to combat dryness, and other natural ingredients that can neutralize odors effectively. If you’re unsure, speak to your dog’s medical team, and they will advise you on the best approach for maintaining your pup’s skin health.

Meet The Experts

This content is produced in collaboration with an advertising partner and follows mindbodygreen’s editorial guidelines. The content is written by a third party. Statements are not fact-checked by a medical expert.