Best Dog Shampoo: The Ultimate Guide



Whether your dog loves to splish and splash or they’re afraid of water, all dogs ultimately need to bathe. Finding the best dog shampoo for your pup can be a challenging task — as can getting them to sit still so you can lather them up. There are hundreds of dog shampoos out there, so how do you know which one will be right for your furry friend’s specific needs?

Well, we’re here to help with that. Finding the best dog shampoo doesn’t have to be an expensive trial and error process — it can be as easy as looking through our research and recommendations of the best dog shampoos on the market. Follow along as we rank the top three best dog shampoos!

Top 3 Best Dog Shampoo Products for Small, Medium, & Large Dogs

As pet owners, we like to believe we’re providing our dogs with the very best care available. We shop for high-quality foods, pay for puppy courses, and outfit them in stylish collars and leashes. But have you ever considered the dog shampoo you’re using and whether or not it’s beneficial?

Many dog shampoos contain artificial ingredients that can be harmful to your dog’s skin and coat. Then, some don’t provide the cleaning, hydrating, and volumizing care your dog needs. It all comes down to the shampoo’s ingredients.

Well, a few other things, but mostly the ingredients. Through our research, we found that certain ingredients take dog shampoo to the next level. As it turns out, the two BEST ingredients to include in dog shampoos are cannabidiol (CBD) and some type of natural protein.

If you’ve heard of giving your dog CBD to help them relax or relieve their pain, it may seem strange to ponder using a CBD dog shampoo. We get it because we thought that at first, too. 

Aren’t you supposed to consume CBD? Yes, but CBD can do so much more than calm your pup or reduce their joint stiffness. It can also help repair and protect the skin barrier, promoting deeper hydration and improved skin health. 

When used with a restorative protein like rice quat or keratin, CBD is an ultra-effective dog shampoo ingredient. However, there are also great dog shampoos without CBD.

Now, let’s look at the best dog shampoos that use some of these fabulous ingredients for maximum cleanliness, hydration, volume, protection, and sheen!

1. HolistaPet – The Best Overall

When it comes to overall pet care, HolistaPet takes the cake. Their 100% natural CBD-infused dog shampoo is nothing short of top-notch — as is everything else about the company.

Let’s start with HolistaPet’s incredible dog shampoo ingredients. We’re talking premium lab-tested CBD and top-quality rice quat. Not only are these ingredients all-natural, but they’re also minimalistic, and each one adds benefits to the formula.

Rice quat is hydrolyzed rice protein, which helps moisture bind to the skin and hair. Plus, it adds volume and shine to your dog’s coat! Meanwhile, CBD repairs and protects the skin barrier while soothing irritation and swelling.

HolistaPet’s dog shampoo is excellent for cleaning dogs, but its stellar ingredients also help restore your pet’s skin and coat. If your dog suffers from dry skin or excessive shedding, you’ll want to give HolistaPet’s dog shampoo a try. It can help!

Not only will your dog’s exterior look good after using HolistaPet’s shampoo, but it will also smell incredible. HolistaPet adds all-natural mandarin and berry fragrances to their shampoo, and it lingers in the best way on your dog’s fur. After using this shampoo, your pup will smell, look, and feel great!

Now, we mentioned how HolistaPet’s CBD is lab-tested. This means they send their dog shampoo to a third-party laboratory to verify the exact level of CBD it contains. Testing is a crucial step for reputable CBD companies. Verifying potency ensures the product’s quality, efficacy, and safety. You can see these lab results on the HolistaPet website. 

HolistaPet clearly devotes time to researching CBD, CBD for pets, and just pets in general! Their blog features a vast range of articles on everything from dog shedding to how horses sleep. Oh, that’s right, HolistaPet also makes CBD products for horses AND cats!

And dog shampoo isn’t their only CBD dog product. HolistaPet makes several different CBD products for dogs, including stress-relieving treats, mobility support soft chews, and multi-purpose CBD oil. We learned from their blog that the stress-relieving treats or oil can soothe your dog’s nerves before bath time, making the experience easier for both of you.

Another thing that makes the HolistaPet experience seamless is their fantastic customer service team. The California-based company covers both Eastern and Western office times, allowing their nationwide customer base to reach them at convenient moments in each time zone.

Plus, if you check HolistaPet’s reviews, you’ll see that their customer service team receives almost as many 5-star reviews as their products do. They’re clearly knowledgeable, friendly, REAL people fully prepared to handle all of their customer’s needs and answer all of their questions.

We absolutely cannot recommend HolistaPet’s CBD-infused dog shampoo enough — it’s the cleansing, hydrating, revitalizing dog shampoo of every dog owner’s dreams. We also recommend checking out their blog to learn more about CBD’s benefits and pets in general.

Clean, effective, convenient — three words that describe Pet Hemp Company’s CBD dog shampoo. In fact, those three words describe the entire operation, vision, and practice of Pet Hemp Company. Thanks to their incredible vegan, natural ingredients, Pet Hemp’s CBD dog shampoo is #2 on our list.

Pet Hemp Company may be new to the pet CBD market, but they’re already surging their way to the top among other excellent brands like HolistaPet. From what we gleaned in our research, one of the most critical aspects of success in the pet CBD game is being a brand that pet owners can genuinely trust.

Pet Hemp has already achieved that goal by committing to being a cruelty-free, vegan CBD company for pets. Their CBD is a premium quality, ethically-derived, therapeutic goodness. It’s specially suited for sensitive skin AND all dog breeds!

That’s right — you can use Pet Hemp Company’s CBD dog shampoo to cleanse and hydrate any dog’s skin and coat. It’s pH balanced for canines and foams up well enough to penetrate even the thickest, curliest, most wiry fur. Plus, it has a light fruity scent that leaves dogs smelling fresh and clean.

Thanks to the pleasant fragrance and soothing CBD, Pet Hemp Company’s six-ingredient dog shampoo is definitely dog-approved. And what’s people-approved? Pet Hemp’s informative, easy-to-use website, where they provide additional information on CBD for pet wellness.

If you’re into saving cash, you can sign up for Pet Hemp’s email newsletter via their website, where they frequently offer amazing deals and discounts. They also offer a subscribe and save option, multiple product bundle discounts, and celebrate adorable pet holidays with various sales and promotions.

If, for any reason, you’re not in love with the products, Pet Hemp Company offers a no-questions-asked return policy. That’s hard to find in the CBD market because CBD can be costly. But, Pet Hemp Company is different.

If you’ve been on the hunt for a clean, effective dog shampoo that’s safe for sensitive skin, we highly recommend Pet Hemp Company. The calming, hydrating effects of the CBD-rich formula make it a no-brainer for dog owners looking for the best.

3. King Kanine – Natural Moisturizing Qualities

King Kanine may be #3 on our list of the best dog shampoos, but don’t let that ranking fool you. This company has created an unbelievably effective dog shampoo! Unlike the last two, King Kanine’s King Klean dog shampoo doesn’t have CBD, but it does have a host of ultra-beneficial organic ingredients.

While King Kanine does make CBD pet products, their dog shampoo doesn’t include any CBD. Instead, it features a therapeutic lineup of hydrating oils and aromatic essential oils — some of which are top-rated skin and coat care ingredients for dogs.

The short list (we love minimal ingredients) of organic oils includes olive and jojoba oil, which are joined by aloe vera to form moisturizing heaven for your dog’s skin and coat. Rosemary and lemongrass combine for a delightful citrusy fragrance that you and your dog will both LOVE.

If you need proof that King Kanine’s dog shampoo genuinely works, check the product reviews. Dog owners are blown away by how well the shampoo cleans and brightens their dogs’ coats. They also noticed a reduction in shedding after using this excellent shampoo!

Besides the absence of CBD, another difference between King Kanine’s dog shampoo and HolistaPet’s and Pet Hemp’s is the product volume. King Kanine’s shampoo comes in a 16oz bottle — double the other brands. It doesn’t have our favorite dog shampoo ingredient (CBD), but it no doubt gets the job done effectively and should last for months (depending on your dog, of course).

Aside from making their certified organic dog shampoo, King Kanine is also a business ambassador of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA). Since they founded the company in 2015, the team at King Kanine has made a HUGE difference for hundreds of animals.

When you shop with King Kanine, you’re making a beneficial choice for your dog. It’s evident that they put care and love into each and every thing they do — from their dog shampoo to their humanitarian work. We highly, highly recommend King Kanine’s King Klean dog shampoo.

The Basics of Canine Hair Health

Alright, now that we’ve filled you in on the top three BEST dog shampoos, we’re going to let you in on how we made our decisions. The basics of good canine skin and coat health are, indeed, basic — but it’s always good to look deeper into the practices that we so casually perform, especially when it concerns our dogs’ health.

Why Should You Wash Your Dog?

Most dog owners agree that when a dog gets dirty or begins to smell, it’s time for a bath. But did you know that washing your dog also plays a role in their skin and coat health, which can affect their overall quality of life?

Like humans, dogs can experience dry skin, irritating conditions, allergic reactions, oil and dirt buildup, hair loss, and pests. Left untreated, dry, irritated skin leads to excessive shedding and discomfort for your dog, which makes them scratch and causes them to shed even more.

Bathing your dog, along with weekly or even daily brushing, is a great way to check for pests, clean dirt and oil from their fur, and soothe and repair their skin. Yes, we all want our dogs to look and smell great, but bathing does a lot more than boost their aesthetic appeal.

How Often Should You Wash Your Dog?

How frequently you bathe your dog will depend on their breed, lifestyle, and environment. If your dog spends a lot of time outdoors, running through fields and rolling in the dirt, they’re going to need more frequent baths than lapdogs who spend their days gazing out the window from the comfy couch.

Then there’s the breed consideration, which mostly has to do with their coat type. You should only bathe double-coated breeds, like Huskies and Terriers, about once every two months or when they’re dirty. Their soft undercoats retain moisture and take a long time to dry, especially in winter.

Hairless breeds require weekly bathing to clean excess oil from their skin as they don’t have hair to help absorb it. Short-coated breeds like Boxers fall somewhere in the middle of the two — they generally require a bath about once a month.

Regardless of your dog’s breed, be cautious of over-bathing. Over-bathing can strip too much oil from their skin and coats, leading to dry skin, irritation, and hair loss. Of course, if your dog is dirty or develops an odor, go ahead and bathe them — just try not to give them baths too close together.

Most Notable (topical) Studies on CBD

Alright, here comes some of the scientific talk behind the seemingly magical properties of topical CBD. We’re going to cite some studies on how CBD can be beneficial for skin health, but first, let’s explain how CBD interacts with the skin to perform the beneficial repair.

So we know that CBD is a cannabinoid found in hemp, yes? Well, did you know that all mammals, including dogs, have a body-wide network of cannabinoid receptors that signal to a system called the endocannabinoid system (ECS)? Don’t worry; this made our heads spin at first, too.

But, it’s actually a simple process. The ECS plays a role in regulating bodily functions like pain responses, mood, appetite, and many more to maintain homeostasis (the body’s natural balance). To do this, the ECS normally relies on the body’s endocannabinoid production.

When something is off-balance, like the skin becomes painfully inflamed or damaged, endocannabinoids bind to the cannabinoid receptors near the affected site. This signals the ECS to take action to remedy the problem, which in the case of inflammation, would include reducing swelling.

When you apply the cannabinoid CBD to your skin, it penetrates the epidermis and interacts with the cannabinoid receptors beneath. This supplements the body’s natural level of endocannabinoids and may help the ECS’ function, helping it heal and soothe your dog’s skin.

Last year in 2020, Baswan, Sudhir M et al. set out to evaluate and report on how CBD may benefit skin health. Although studies for topical CBD application remain minimal compared to those on consumption, they found some terrific promising results.

“Though there is a dearth of clinical evidence, the preclinical models indicate an optimistic outlook,” reported Baswan, Sudhir M et al. as they delineated the different ways CBD can help the skin. They went over everything about topical CBD, including its ability to aid wound-healing, skin barrier function, cell growth, itch reduction, and pain relief. They found that it plays a beneficial role in all areas.

In a 2019 Dermatology Times article, Tina Alster, M.D., clinical professor of dermatology at Georgetown University Medical Center, briefly describes how CBD can benefit the skin. “CBD-containing creams, oils, gels and serums not only moisturize and soothe the skin but are also showing encouraging results in relieving pain caused by certain skin disorders,” said Dr. Alster.

While there is PLENTY more research that we could share with you here about CBD and dog skin health, we don’t want to take up too much space on the super-specifics of the subject. If you’re looking for even more information, we highly recommend looking to HolistaPet’s blog as a resource. They have a veterinary advisory panel that contributes to their wealth of knowledge on pets and CBD.

The Benefits of Using a CBD Pet Shampoo

When you use CBD-infused dog shampoo and conditioner, you add the many restorative and therapeutic benefits of CBD to your dog’s bath routine. You have to wash them anyway, so why not make it a calm, healing, and soothing experience rather than just a cleansing one?

CBD can help improve your dog’s skin barrier, which leads to better moisture retention. While this is particularly helpful for dogs with dry skin, it’s also a great preventative measure to keep their skin in good health. When the skin is healthy, dogs can grow healthier, shinier coats.

Dog Shampoo Ingredients to Avoid

The first step to avoiding harmful dog shampoo ingredients is identifying and eliminating anything artificial from your list. This means no fragrances or colors, as they can cause rashes, irritation, and (in some cases) allergic reactions in dogs.

You also want to avoid mineral oil, any type of alcohol such as SD-40 (isopropyl), and certain commonly contaminated ingredients. Some commonly contaminated ingredients in dog shampoos are sodium benzoate preservative, sodium Laureth sulfate, and Cocamidopropyl betaine.

Rule of thumb: look for organic, natural dog shampoos like those from HolistaPet, Pet Hemp Company, and King Kanine.

How to Determine a High-Quality Dog Shampoo

So, how did we determine the top three best shampoos for dogs? As we mentioned, the ingredients were the top qualifiers for our list. But several other things went into our decision-making, including product performance, pricing, company policies, and more.

Scent

When searching for the best dog shampoos, we knew to look for clean, natural, and organic ingredients. So, we started wondering about fragrance — can natural, organic shampoos smell GOOD instead of just smelling like, well, plain soap?

As you can tell from our top three dog shampoo choices, it’s possible to make clean shampoos that have pleasant floral and fruity fragrances. We found that HolistaPet, Pet Hemp Company, and King Kanine could make richly-scented shampoos without compromising their clean formulas. Natural fragrance is easy to add with aromatic essential oils!

Beneficial Ingredients

How the shampoo smells is important to many people, but more important is how the shampoo benefits their dog’s skin and coat. We felt that the dog shampoos should do more than just cleanse, which is why we chose CBD as our #1 most beneficial ingredient.

We’ve gone over the benefits of CBD, but we haven’t really touched on the importance of the quality of CBD. Whether you’re looking for CBD for your dog or yourself, it’s essential to be vigilant about the kind of CBD you buy. There are certain types of CBD out there that do more harm than good.

Some companies don’t adhere to the federal standards and may include harmful or unethically sourced CBD in their products. Always look for brands that adhere to the 2018 Farm Bill’s regulations. The best way to do this is to search for certified organic CBD companies.

You should apply the same vigilance to all of the other ingredients in your chosen dog shampoo. Be sure that the company sources clean, organic ingredients that will benefit your dog.

Rice Quat

Rice quat is our second favorite dog shampoo ingredient — HolistaPet and Pet Hemp Company both use it. As a natural protein, rice quat helps your skin absorb CBD. It also adds luscious volume to your dog’s coat, returning it to its former puppy glory.

CBD Oil (Cannabidiol) 

A good general rule is to look for American-produced CBD. This ensures that the company follows the federal regulations that keep CBD from being contaminated or psychoactive (able to induce a “high”). Also, don’t forget to look for a company’s certificates of analysis (COAs)!

Coconut Oil

Coconut oil is a well-known deep-conditioning and moisturizing ingredient in many shampoos, conditioners, and lotions. It’s rich in antioxidants and fatty acids that help to keep the skin youthful and the hair healthy. It also helps hair and skin retain moisture!

Jojoba Oil

Jojoba oil is loaded with vitamins A, E, and omega-6 fatty acids. Just like in coconut oil, these nutrients promote healthy skin and coats. Thanks to its moisturizing properties, jojoba oil helps prevent dandruff, hair breakage, and gray hair!

Aloe Vera

Aloe vera is a long-beloved healing plant gel that’s commonly used for soothing sunburns. But did you know you could also use it to treat dry, irritated skin? It’s a super beneficial ingredient in dog shampoo that contributes to a formula’s overall restorative performance. 

Product Performance 

Making an organic dog shampoo is well and good, but only if it actually works to cleanse and moisturize your dog’s fur and skin. We looked into how each brand’s shampoo performed for real dog owners and found that our top three choices had stellar customer reviews.

The ingredients can also clue you into how well the shampoo will work. When you’re shopping, look for the hydrating, cleansing, restorative ingredients that we mentioned.

Brand and Product Reviews

Reviews, reviews, reviews. You can learn an exorbitant amount of information about a brand from reading their online reviews. The internet provides a space where people (for better or worse) don’t feel like they need to hold back, leaving room for the honest truth.

Each company on our top three list has an overwhelming amount of 5-star reviews. It’s evident that their customers trust and appreciate them. This is a positive sign that the company does what they do because they genuinely care about pets! Take a look at our top three brands’ reviews to see why we were blown away.

Pricing 

Buying an effective shampoo for your dog shouldn’t cost you an arm and a leg. Even if you’re purchasing CBD-infused shampoo, it shouldn’t hurt to put your credit card numbers in the online checkout. It’s dog shampoo, not a magical dog potion that will turn them into a puppy again.

Although our top three shampoos work wonders, they’re very reasonably priced. HolistaPet and Pet Hemp Company are a bit more expensive than King Kanine because of the CBD, but both brands fall within the medium price range of cost per milligram (mg) of CBD.

*The average cost of CBD is between $0.05 and $0.20 per mg. HolistaPet and Pet Hemp Company’s dog shampoos ring in at approximately $0.15 per mg of CBD. This shows us that it’s high-quality (which we also know from the brands being organic) but that they’re not charging unfair, top dollar prices.

Customer Service

We love a friendly and helpful customer service team, especially when it comes to newer commodities like CBD for pets. All three of our top three brands have REAL PEOPLE answering their phones and assisting their customers. In a world of automated machines, this is particularly refreshing.

Additional Perks

Don’t be afraid to ask a company, “What else can you do for me?” They want your business, yes, but more importantly, they want your customer loyalty. To gain that, they should offer some really amazing perks that will keep you coming back (if they’re smart).

Look for perks like no-questions-asked return policies, free shipping, subscription discounts, frequent sales, and informational blogs. Sure, it benefits them, but it also benefits you and your dog. If you can save money on premium, high-quality products, why wouldn’t you?

Overall Website Experience

A company could make a magical potion that turned your dog back into a puppy, but if you can’t figure out their website, you’re probably not going to buy it. We specifically looked at each brand’s overall website experience to see if they’re easy to use, informational, and up to date.  

Where to Buy the Best Shampoo for Dogs 

You probably already know the answer to this one, but we’ll let you in on the secret just one more time. HolistaPet, Pet Hemp Company, and King Kanine are the no-brainer top dog shampoos on the market. They’re clean, effective, affordable, fragrant, restorative, therapeutic — we could go on and on.

Of course, HolistaPet is our #1 dog shampoo choice. Everything about their company is warm, inviting, honest, and reliable. But you can’t go wrong with Pet Hemp Company, either. They’re both fantastic pet CBD brands that have created incredible dog shampoos.

If you’re not interested in trying CBD dog shampoo, or if you want a non-CBD shampoo in your dog’s bath rotation, King Kanine’s formula is simply sensational. In addition to cleansing and moisturizing, King Kanine’s dog shampoo is particularly good for reducing shedding.

Final Thoughts – The Best Dog Shampoo

Whew — we know that was a lot of information, but we hope it helped in your dog shampoo decision-making. It’s important to continuously assess how we’re caring for our dogs’ wellbeing, and revamping bathtime is an easy and straightforward place to begin.

For the best of the best dog shampoos, check out HolistaPet, Pet Hemp Company, and King Kanine.

 

The reviews and statements published here are those of the sponsor and do not necessarily reflect the official policy, position or views of Observer.

Best Dog Shampoo: The Ultimate Guide