Unless your pooch is filthy, regular bathing is not usually necessary, and in fact, can cause harm by stripping your dog’s coat of its natural oils if done too frequently with the wrong type of shampoo. However, there are times when bathing your pooch can be highly beneficial or even necessary, and if your pooch suffers from itchy skin caused by allergies or bacterial infection, bathing them can help soothe the symptoms and ease their discomfort.
Of course, in these situations, not just any shampoo will do, and you’ll need to use a shampoo specially formulated for itchy skin and allergies. These shampoos typically contain gentle formulas that are made to soothe your dog’s skin and should ideally be free from potential allergens. Scratching is fairly normal in dogs, even if they don’t have any fleas or dry skin, but if you’ve noticed your pooch scratching more than usual, they may need your help to get some relief.
There are a ton of dog shampoos on the market, and naturally, you cannot try them all to see which helps your pooch. We’ve narrowed down the available dog shampoos to 10 of our favorites complete with in-depth reviews to help you find the best product to help soothe your dog’s itchy skin.
A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites in 2022
10 Best Dog Shampoos For Itchy Skin
1. Vetoquinol Aloe and Oatmeal Shampoo- Soap free — Best Overall
|Key ingredients:||Aloe, oatmeal|
The Aloe and Oatmeal Shampoo for itchy dry skin from Vetoquinol is specially formulated to soothe itchy skin in dogs and cats and is our top choice overall. The shampoo features soothing aloe and oatmeal, both proven ingredients to help soothe itchy skin and relieve the symptoms of allergies and is 100% soap-free. The specialized formula adds moisture and cleans deeply without disturbing the natural oils on your dog’s coat, plus has a subtle, calming coconut fragrance.
Our only issue with this shampoo is the inclusion of Sodium Laureth Sulfate, which can provoke itching in some dogs.
2. Frisco Anti-Itch Shampoo with Aloe for Dogs — Best Value
|Key ingredients:||Aloe vera, coconut|
The Frisco Anti-Itch Shampoo is the best dog shampoo for itchy skin for the money according to our research. The shampoo cleans and deodorizes gently yet thoroughly, and the included certified organic aloe vera and real coconut help gently soothe itchy skin, plus the tea tree oil will help your pooch smell and feel great. It also contains added vitamins A and E, as well as pro-vitamin B5 for coat and skin health. Lastly, this shampoo is completely free from parabens, dyes, and artificial fragrances or perfumes.
While this shampoo is affordable and effective, several customers reported that this shampoo has a potent, overwhelming smell, even a few days after washing.
3. Virbac KetoChlor Medicated Shampoo for Dogs & Cats — Premium Option
|Key ingredients:||Chlorhexidine gluconate, ketoconazole|
If you’re looking for a premium anti-itch shampoo for your pooch, this medicated shampoo KetoChlor by Virbac is a great option. This shampoo is specially formulated to help treat fungal and bacterial skin infections by disrupting the colonization of microorganisms on your dog’s skin. It contains chlorhexidine gluconate, an antiseptic, and ketoconazole, an antifungal, to help soothe and stop skin irritation on your pooch. The shampoo lathers and rinses easily and contains no obvious scent, making it ideal for sensitive dogs. While it’s expensive, it’s one of the best non-prescription shampoos for treating fungal and bacterial skin issues on your pooch.
4. TropiClean Hypo-Allergenic Gentle Coconut Puppy Shampoo — Best For Puppies
|Key ingredients:||Aloe, oatmeal, coconut|
If you’re looking for an anti-itch shampoo for your brand new puppy, TropiClean Hypo-Allergenic Coconut Shampoo is a great option, as it’s specially formulated to be gentle on their developing, sensitive skin. It’s made from naturally soothing ingredients like aloe, oatmeal, and coconut, and is perfectly pH balanced to be gentle on your puppy. This shampoo cleanses, moisturizes, and leaves your puppy’s coat smelling great with a pleasant coconut smell, and is free from sops, parabens, and dyes.
Some customers report that the smell of this shampoo is somewhat overpowering, especially for puppies, and dried their puppy’s coat out after a few washes.
5. Douxo S3 CALM Soothing Skin Dog & Cat Shampoo
|Key ingredients:||Ophytrium, chlorhexidine|
Douxo S3 CALM Soothing Dog Shampoo is specially formulated to soothe irritated and itchy skin in both dogs and cats. It contains ophytrium, which helps strengthen your dog’s skin and restore the balance of delicate microbes to soothe irritation, and chlorhexidine, an antiseptic that helps heal any infection that has taken hold. The shampoo also helps moisturize and detangle your dog’s fur, giving them a shiny and silky coat, and is free from soaps, sulfates, parabens, dyes, and nanoparticles, making it ideal for sensitive pooches.
While this shampoo is supposed to be scent-free, some customers reported a strange coconut odor after using it.
6. Malaseb Shampoo
|Key ingredients:||Miconazole nitrate, chlorhexidine gluconate|
This anti-itch dog shampoo from Malaseb is a prescription shampoo recommended by vets and specially formulated to help soothe your dog’s itchy skin. It contains chlorhexidine gluconate, which is an antiseptic that can help treat any bacterial infections and restore the natural bacterial balance on your dog’s skin, plus miconazole nitrate, which is highly effective against fungal infections. Just one wash with this shampoo is sure to reduce your dog’s itchy and irritated skin, but twice a week until the itchiness recedes is recommended.
This shampoo is great but very expensive and requires a veterinary prescription to purchase.
7. Burt’s Bees Oatmeal Shampoo with Colloidal Oat Flour & Honey for Dogs
|Key ingredients:||Oatmeal, honey, beeswax|
Burt’s Bees has long been a trusted name in dog shampoo, and its Oatmeal Shampoo is a great option for dogs with itchy skin. It’s made with soothing ingredients like colloidal oat flour to help deeply condition dry skin, honey to promote a healthy coat by regulating and retaining moisture in your dog’s hair follicles, and green tea extract to help strengthen the hair. Is completely pH balanced, plus contains 97% natural ingredients and is free from artificial fragrances, chemicals, parabens, phthalates, petrolatum, or sodium lauryl sulfate. Lastly, the shampoo is made in the USA and comes in an 80% recycled bottle.
Several customers reported that this shampoo has a very watery consistency and doesn’t lather very well, and is thus somewhat difficult to use.
8. Dechra MiconaHex+Triz Shampoo for Dogs & Cats
|Key ingredients:||Miconazole nitrate USP, chlorhexidine gluconate|
MiconaHex+Triz Dog Shampoo from Dechra is specially formulated to support healthy skin in dogs, with antimicrobial and antifungal properties. It contains miconazole nitrate USP, a powerful antifungal, plus chlorhexidine, an antiseptic that can help treat bacterial infections on your dog’s skin. It also contains ceramides to help moisturize, repair, and restore dry and damaged skin, and give your pooch a shiny, healthy coat. The shampoo is made in the USA and fragrance-free.
A handful of customers reported that their dog responded better to other shampoos.
9. Vet’s Best Allergy Itch Relief Shampoo for Dogs
|Key ingredients:||Aloe, oatmeal, tea tree oil|
Vet’s Best Allergy and Itch Relief Shampoo is veterinarian formulated to help provide relief from itching for your pooch. It contains exfoliating oatmeal to help remove dry skin, soothing aloe, and d-limonene and tea tree to help strengthen your dog’s coat and make them smell great. Gently moisturizes, cleans, and deodorizes your dog’s coat while soothing itchiness. Lastly, it contains soothing essential oils like lavender, neem seed oil, and vitamin E that all work together to gently ease your dog’s itchy symptoms.
Some customers reported that this shampoo did not provide relief for their dog’s dry skin, and had a pungent odor that remained after washing. It also does not lather very well, making it difficult to use, especially on large dogs.
10. Sulfodene Medicated Dog Shampoo & Conditioner
|Key ingredients:||Aloe, sulfur|
Sulfodene Medicated Dog Shampoo contains ingredients to help soothe any itching and flaking caused by allergies or skin infections. The shampoo contains real aloe to help soothe and moisturize your dog’s skin and leave their coat soft and shiny, plus sulfur, which is known to be effective in treating some scaling skin conditions in dogs. It’s effective yet gentle enough for regular use, and suitable for dogs 12 weeks and older.
This shampoo contains some undesirable ingredients, including Sodium Laureth Sulfate and artificial colorants.
Buyer’s Guide – Choosing the Best Dog Shampoo for Tichy Skin
Using a soothing shampoo to help relieve your dog’s itching skin is certainly helpful, but it’s also important to identify the underlying cause of your dog’s itching. Itching can be caused by fungal or bacterial infections, as well as fleas, ticks, and allergies and addressing these causes is the first step in stopping your dog’s itching. Once you’ve identified the cause, you can go ahead and choose the right shampoo for your pooch, and depending on the severity of their condition, there are many types to choose from, some of which are potent and thus may need a prescription from your vet, and others which are far milder and gentle for sensitive pooches.
When choosing an itch-relief shampoo for your pooch, the ingredients are the most important factor to consider. You’ll want the shampoo to contain as many natural ingredients as possible yet be effective enough to give your pooch some relief. Also, the shampoo should ideally be free from artificial ingredients and potentially harmful ingredients like Sodium Laureth Sulphate or artificial fragrances and colorants. Here are some ingredients known to help soothe your pooch and relieve the itching caused by fungal or bacterial infections:
Reasons why your dog may have itchy skin
Skin problems are unfortunately fairly common in dogs these days and can be caused by a multitude of reasons. Consulting with your vet is the best course of action if the itching is bothersome and accompanied by flaking skin, spots, or redness but mild conditions can be relieved with the right shampoo. Here are some of the main causes of dry skin in dogs:
Dry skin is one of the most common reasons for itchy skin, and luckily, also the easiest to resolve. Dry skin can be caused by harsh weather, too much bathing, or from using the wrong shampoos, and may even be a dietary issue. If shampoo does not solve the problem, there may be an issue with your dog’s diet.
While food allergies are somewhat rare in dogs, they do occur and may cause your dog’s skin to get itchy. The other issue is that food allergies can be very tricky to diagnose, and you may need to employ an elimination diet to find the cause, or take your dog to the vet for testing. Nutritional deficiencies can also cause dry skin, which can lead to itching. Make sure your dog is getting a complete, balanced diet, and loads of essential omega fatty acids for skin health, and this combined with the right shampoo may help resolve the issue.
Environmental allergens are a common cause of itchy skin in dogs. This is usually seasonal and comes from the pollen or dust mites that appear annually, but they may also be allergic to something in or around your home or yard. Again, this can be very tricky to accurately diagnose, and you may need to go to a vet for testing.
Any of the above dog shampoos are a great help if your pooch has itchy skin, but the Aloe and Oatmeal Shampoo from Vetoquinol is our top choice overall. The shampoo features soothing aloe and oatmeal, is soap-free, is vet approved plus has a subtle, calming coconut fragrance to leave your pooch smelling and feeling fresh.
The Frisco Anti-Itch Shampoo is the best dog shampoo for itchy skin for the money according to our research. It cleans and deodorizes gently yet thoroughly, contains aloe vera, coconut, and tea tree oil plus added vitamins A and E, as well as pro-vitamin B5 for coat and skin health.
If you’re looking for a premium shampoo for your pooch, the medicated shampoo from Dechra-KetoChlor is a great option. It’s specially formulated to help treat fungal and bacterial skin infections with chlorhexidine gluconate, an antiseptic, and ketoconazole, an antifungal, to help soothe and stop skin irritation on your pooch.
To stand the best chance of being effective you will need to follow the directions for shampooing on the product. Some need to be left on for 10 minutes before washing off for example.
As a final note remember if you are using topical flea and tick products to check the information on when you can bathe your pet or get them wet after you have applied it, as this varies with each parasite product.
Itchy skin can be frustrating for both you and your pooch, and hopefully, our in-depth reviews have helped you find a remedy to help soothe your dog’s frustration! Did any of the above shampoos help soothe your dog’s itchy skin? Please let us know in the comments below!
Featured Image Credit: David Herraez Calzada, Shutterstock