It happens to the best of us. It’s bath time for your dog but you forgot to buy some more dog shampoo. You think, maybe just this once, I’ll use my Herbal Essence human shampoo. If you’re in a bind, you can, but it is not good for your dog. Here’s the scoop on bath time for your pet and the 10 best dog soaps to use.
Do Not Use Human or Dish Soap
In regards to the human shampoo thing, it won’t kill them if you have to – in a pinch – bathe your dog with your own human shampoo. The reason you shouldn’t do it regularly (and if possible never) is that it is bad for your dog’s skin and hair.
Unless you want to see them with an itchy dry skin rash all over or lesions from biting and scratching, don’t use human soap or dishwashing liquid. If you can’t get to the store, but you can’t let him or her in the house covered in filth, it would be better to use a gentler baby shampoo.
When to Bathe Them
Also, keep in mind that dogs don’t need baths nearly as often as humans do. If you wash them too much, their fur becomes brittle and stiff, and you increase the instances of dry skin that leads to itching, scratching, and eventually lesions.
The exception is if they get into something grimy and you have to bathe them outside of their normal schedule. On the other hand, if you don’t wash them often enough, you’ll be dealing with fleas, ticks, dirt, and grime. It seeps into their pores and causes infections and illness.
In the meantime, you can keep your dog smelling fresh and his or her coat looking shiny and healthy just by brushing them every day and spraying them down with flea and tick spray. Most dog breeds are good with a bath every month or two– even bushy or furry dogs.
The type of soap you use makes a huge difference in how good your dog looks and how good your dog feels. Here are our favorites based on soap type:
Gentle Dog Soaps
The problem with a lot of gentle soaps is that they don’t clean really tough messes well. Secondly, the fresh smell doesn’t usually last long. On the flip side, they do keep your dog’s skin from becoming irritated from harsh chemicals, particularly for dogs with sensitive skin. Here are some good gentle soaps:
#1: Eye Envy – This company is known for their all-natural pet cleaning products. Their Glycerin Enriched Shampoo is a great detergent-free, antibacterial cleanser. The glycerin conditions, softens, shines and helps remove tangles for easier brushing.
#2 EarthBath – Chemical free and uses a simple moisture combo of aloe, water, and oatmeal along with other nature-based cleansers.
#3: Burt’s Bees – Just like Burt’s lip balm for humans, their dog shampoo promises to be gentle but effective at cleaning your dog while moisturizing the skin and adding luster to fur.
#4: Isle of Dogs – One of the most popular brands of soap for dogs is Isle of Dog which offers many different products, including gentle soaps like their chemical free oatmeal shampoo.
Some dogs that are prone to rashes and dry skin are actually suffering from skin allergies. Here’s our list of best dog soaps that are hypoallergenic.
#5: Vet’s Best – The Vet’s Best Hypoallergenic Shampoo with Aloe Vera both moisturizes and soothes dogs with sensitive skin plus it won’t sting your dog’s eyes.
#6: DVM Pharmaceuticals – You can take it up a notch with this super gentle formula for dogs with flaky skin and other prescribed skin conditions.
Soaps for Smelly Dogs
Well, they’re dogs, so they are going to get dirty and smelly from time to time. On those days, those gentle soaps might not get the job done. If you need something stronger to get the smell out, try these odor eliminating dog soaps.
#7: Nature’s Miracle – Nature’s Miracle has a full line of dog shampoos, including their Supreme Odor Control shampoo and conditioner which makes your dog smell clean for longer than most other dog shampoos.
#8: SynergyLabs Veterinary Formula – SynergyLabs’ Triple Strength Dirty Dog shampoo is veterinary grade so it uses chemicals but also is infused with shea butter and aloe.
#10: Skunk-Off – You go for a hike, they get sprayed by a skunk, you use Skunk-Off and they smell good as new.
Specialty Products and Services
Using shampoo probably won’t help with tear stains that plague little puff ball dogs. For those you’ll need specialty eye stain cleaners. Another tip is to mix it up every now and then.
Sticking to the same kind of soap without switching it up could lead to dry skin and stiff fur. Think about trying a self-wash dog spa where they usually have the best dog soaps of every kind, as well as the facilities to make bath time easy.