The 8 Best Puppy Shampoo for Dogs with Sensitive Skin - Public Goods

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The 8 Best Puppy Shampoo for Dogs with Sensitive Skin

It’s been a month since you got your first puppy and the time has come for a good wash!

dog getting washed in a bath

Hey, no one said getting a puppy would be all cuddles. With many options available these days, it can be hard to decide on a good puppy shampoo.

And you likely have some pressing questions on where to begin. So we’ve compiled a list of 8 recommendations curated for various needs and preferences. Read on to see what made the list, and afterward, we’ll dive into common concerns and even guide you through your first bath!

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The 8 Best Puppy Shampoo Products

In this article, we’ll start with our recommendations of the gentlest puppy shampoo and dog shampoo that’s suitable for puppies. Then, we’ll give you some tips to make bath time fun.

Public Goods Oatmeal and Aloe Dog Shampoo

public goods dog shampoo

  • Natural ingredients that you’ve actually heard of
  • Tearless, plant-based, cruelty-free, and vegan-friendly
  • No harsh chemicals, parabens, or phthalates
  • The perfect puppy shampoo or gentle dog shampoo for dogs with sensitive skin

Made with colloidal oatmeal, an emollient packed with proteins, vitamins, and minerals that’s shown to soothe and moisturize skin, our dog shampoo is the perfect balm for pet owners seeking a natural pet shampoo that doesn’t break the bank.

Using the mildest detergents paired with soothing aloe vera leaf juice and moisturizing coconut oil, our dog shampoo combats irritation and emits the faintest cucumber fragrance. Tearless and pH-balanced using natural ingredients, it contains no oddly-spelled harsh chemicals.

Expect your dog to feel refreshed with a clean, soft, and brilliant coat.

2. Burt’s Bees Tearless Puppy Shampoo

bottle of burts bees dog shampoo

  • Silky smooth texture provided by buttermilk
  • Helps moisturize sensitive skin and soothe itchy skin
  • Fragrance-free and made with all-natural ingredients

This puppy shampoo will ease your mind and soothe your pup’s soul. Made with naturally derived ingredients like buttermilk and linseed oil, this formula is sure to leave your dog’s coat perfectly pettable. While certain natural fragrances are safe for pups, this one goes entirely without to ensure your puppies’ complete comfort.

3. Honeydew Products’ Lavender Oatmeal Pet Shampoo

  • Clinically formulated for particularly smelly, messy pups
  • Fragranced with safe, natural oils
  • Hypoallergenic for dogs with sensitive skin and puppies
  • Cruelty-free, paraben-free, sulfate-free

This contender cuts through doggy grime with gentle ease. A bit stronger than other varieties,
use this pet shampoo for smelly or messy situations, knowing that it’s perfectly safe with its mild and calming lavender fragrance you’ll both enjoy. Who knows—you may begin to feel like you’re in a spa in your own home.

4. TropiClean Hypoallergenic Gentle Coconut Pet Shampoo

bottle of tropiclean dog shampoo

  • For dogs with sensitive skin
  • Simple 5 ingredient formula with all-natural ingredients
  • Extra-mild, no-tear ingredients

For pups with seasonal or even regular allergies, this is the puppy shampoo to get. This soap-free formula removes allergy-causing dander with ease and won’t cut the effectiveness of flea or tick treatments. Made in America using only 5 ingredients (purified water, mild coconut cleanser, oatmeal, vitamin E, and aloe vera), this shampoo might just remind you of a tropical vacation.

5. Hartz Groomer’s Best Anti-Dandruff Dog Shampoo

bottle of hartz dog shampoo

  • For special cases of seborrheic dermatitis
  • Paraben and alcohol-free in this anti-itch formula

This gentle cleanser uses salicylic acid to safely cleanse your pup’s coat when flaking is present. It also soothes itching and irritation caused by prolonged cases of dandruff. Say goodbye to itchy skin and hello to a shinier, softer coat after only a couple of uses.

6. The Spruce Pets’ Waterless Pet Wash

bottle of spruce pets dog shampoo

  • For a quick spruce up!
  • Plant-derived and pH-balanced with a range of scents

It’s like DryBar for your pup! SprucePets has created a natural spray for use between messy
occasions or trips to the groomer. Just spray a generous amount on your dog’s coat, let it sit, and wipe with a soft cloth. With three scents to choose from, including lavender, oatmeal, or fresh, this soap-free, enzyme-based formula is just the ticket for a post-walk refresh.

7. Veterinary Formula’s Clinical Care Dog Shampoo

bottle of veterinary formula dog shampoo

  • For puppies with skin issues
  • pH-balanced and safe for sensitive skin
  • Vet-recommended

The go-to for pups suffering from any variety of skin ailments, this shampoo uses coal tar,
salicylic acid, and micronized sulfur, ingredients that are proven to help relieve symptoms such as waxy skin, inflamed scalp, and skin rashes due to dermatitis, mange, seborrhea, and other skin infections. Paraben, dye, and soap-free, this puppy shampoo will not interfere with flea or tick treatments. As usual, consult with your vet before using medicated formulas.

8. Pet Pleasant Lavender Oatmeal Pet Shampoo

bottle of pet pleasant dog shampoo

  • Biodegradable, making it great for backyard baths
  • Made with naturally soothing ingredients like shea butter, aloe vera, and oatmeal

You know a puppy shampoo is gentle if it’s also biodegradable, meaning it can be broken down
naturally in the environment. It may be a bit pricier, but this U.S.-made formula will make
washing and rinsing your pup a sheer joy. As expected, it’s naturally derived, paraben-free, and

Do You Need Special Puppy Shampoo?

If this is your first puppy, then you’re probably asking if it’s necessary to use a shampoo formulated especially for puppies. Aside from their skin, puppies’ coats differ from their adult companions, too. While some breeds can sport double coats, puppies have “downier” fur that remains a single coat. Like losing our teeth when we’re kids, pups actually shed their first coat, gradually replaced by that of an adult dog.

However, many manufacturers produce dog shampoo that is safe enough for puppies and adults alike.

They achieve this by ensuring the pH is balanced for a puppy’s skin, which is more alkaline than
their adult counterparts and far more than humans. Read the label for key words such as tear-
free or tearless and make sure it mentions that it’s safe for puppies.

What Shampoo is Safe for Puppies?

Keep in mind that puppies, adorable gentle creatures that they are, are still toddlers, so any
shampoo made for them needs to meet certain requirements.

First off, its pH must fall in a range between 2.2 to 7.5 to be in harmony with your puppy’s alkaline skin.

Secondly, puppy shampoo should contain no artificial ingredients such as phthalates, formaldehyde, or isothiazolinones.

While some puppy shampoos come with soap-free formulations, a mild, natural, vet-approved detergent is perfectly acceptable.

And any puppy shampoo worth buying should contain some skin protectives such as aloe vera or vitamin E to keep your pup’s coat healthy. Should you decide on a scented shampoo, go for one that uses only naturally derived oils.

Is It OK to Wash a Puppy with Dog Shampoo?

Groomers sometimes approve adult dog shampoos for puppies, provided they are up to snuff.

They should not be medicated unless you have your vet’s approval, and cannot contain any
harmful or harsh ingredients. The formula should match a puppy’s pH level. If you’re in a bind
and can’t find a puppy-specific brand, then tear-free and tearless options are a good starting point.

Is It OK to Wash a Puppy with Baby Shampoo?

Like home remedies, people have casually been using baby shampoo with good results. But also like home remedies, doctors are hesitant to approve them. Groomers and vets alike give different responses, however, they all agree that the formula must not be medicated and must contain no artificial ingredients or harsh chemicals.

If it’s fragranced with natural oil, make sure this is vet-approved. When in doubt, stick with puppy shampoo!

Is It OK to Wash a Puppy with Human Shampoo?

Would you bathe yourself with dog shampoo? Then you know what we’ll advise. Jokes aside,
while you may coddle your mane with the same care, there’s a difference between human and dog hair. Human hair care products, whether cheap or premium, natural or lab formulated, attempt to harmonize with your skin’s more acidic nature.

Dog skin is more alkaline and may get irritated and itchy when using human shampoo.

How to Bathe Your Puppy

dog getting bathed in a tub

First, take a deep breath, and thank heavens you chose a dog over a cat! Chances are your pup has no preconceptions when it comes to water, and you have an opportunity to help it associate bath time with warm, cuddly feelings.

And remember, a puppy’s first bath should not come before they reach 8-10 weeks of age.

Ask for Assistance

Clang the bell and call your helpers. While you can certainly do it on your own, you may opt for a helping hand. Besides, memories are forever.

Make Way for Puppy

Like preparing a Sunday dinner, it’s time to roll up your sleeves, clear some space, and gather your ingredients. Imagine wet dog prints all over the bed just because you left mid-soak to find the pet shampoo.

Now wipe that from your mind and set up the bath area.

Whether outside or inside, you’ll want to throw down a floor towel or non-slip rug. Cut off any escape routes. Clear the area of any fragile or precious items like your mother’s fine porcelain. You’ll want to use a bath plug strainer to avoid a clogged bath.

When the area is settled, grab the puppy shampoo, a brush, and a drying towel or two.

Coax Your Dog

Time for the pup! You can lure him to the bathing area with a favorite treat and if necessary, calm him with hemp oil for dogs. Groomers recommend giving her coat a brush before the bath to detangle. It will also get you and your pup in the mood.

Then close any doors or fencing to avoid a mess.

Turn on the Tap!

No need to fill the bath as you’d need to drain and refill it twice. Get the water to a lukewarm temperature, no warmer than for bathing a baby. Remember, dogs don’t sweat and they can overheat. For the full effect, baby talk your dog into a blissful state!

It’s Bath Time

Wet your dog, avoiding his eyes and ears, and then it’s time for the first suds. Read the
instructions on the back of the bottle, but when in doubt, less pet shampoo is more. Some groomers recommend a once over—the first lather for the grime and a second for excess oils.

This will depend on your dog’s coat and just how dirty it may be. If her face isn’t dirty, avoid it altogether. But if need be, use a soft washcloth, such as a microfiber towel and just a drop of dog shampoo, if anything. And always avoid the eyes and ears.

Lather, Rinse, Repeat!

Residue shampoo could lead to dryness or irritation of your pets’ skin. Since a dog’s coat can
really trap those suds, it’s important to rinse just a bit longer than you might your own hair. This
is where a removable shower head comes in handy. But if you’re using the bath faucet, refilling a small bucket will do.

The whole process shouldn’t take longer than five minutes, lest your pup
gets bored and begins to whine.

Dry Time

dog getting dried with a towel

Dry your dog. Air drying works in certain scenarios, perhaps outside with a full-grown dog on a
warm, sunny day. But since pups just aren’t great at regulating their own temperature, go ahead
and coddle your young dog with a soft towel.

When he or she is almost dry, you can comb his fur intermittently to ensure a soft, silky texture. For longer-haired pups, professional groomers recommend dog dryers—they’re like human dryers but cooler, with strong air pressure for fast drying.

Reward Your Pup

Foster positive associations to bath time with a well-timed treat upon good behavior during and after the wash. Maybe next time your puppy will positively pounce into the bath ahead of time.

How Often Should You Bathe Your Puppy?


Dogs went millennia without a bath in a porcelain tub. Not only do mother dogs loyally groom
their pups, but dogs could also find water to splash in. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t wash your pup! Besides, your dog’s wild ancestor likely suffered from pesky or even parasitic bugs and microbes. The key here is to strike a balance between his needs and yours. Given free reign, dogs would be content grooming themselves. But not only do dogs track dirt and collect parasites, but they can also get stinky.

To wade into biology, you probably know that your dog secretes oils, giving his hair
its natural softness and shine. If you shampoo his coat to excess or use harsh detergents, you risk a dull coat, or even dry skin and irritation. If it’s bad enough, your dog may scratch the itch until he develops an infection.

Keep in mind that bathing isn’t the only way to keep your dog’s coat healthy. Veterinarians and
groomers alike tote the importance of regular brushing. This simple routine doesn’t need to take
an hour. Just a few minutes a day helps distribute your puppy’s natural oils throughout their
coat. It also prevents knotting while whisking away dirt.

All experts agree you shouldn’t bathe your puppy daily as we modern humans do. Instead,
bathe your dog when they’re noticeably dirty or smelly, or about once a month. If he gets dirty often, sometimes a simple water wash will do between sudsy spa sessions. If he has exceptionally oily or smelly skin, then you may opt to wash a bit more often.

To ensure a fluffy shiny coat, consider vitamins and supplements for dogs. Alternatively, Public Goods’ dog kibble, sweet potato fry chew treats, and freeze dried duck nibs provide your puppy with the nourishment he needs to grow up happy and healthy.

Instagram that Pup!

Puppy’s first bath is a momentous occasion. Making sure you’re equipped with the best puppy shampoo for your dogs’ needs is half the battle. But a picture of a sudsy or freshly groomed puppy is worth a thousand words. We’d love to see your puppy pics. Tag us @PublicGoods.

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