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Lather, Rinse, Repeat: Puppy Shampoos to Try

Lather, Rinse, Repeat: Puppy Shampoos to Try

Your puppy is adorable no matter what, but it’s still important to pay attention to a proper fur and skin care routine. Young dogs may have sensitive skin, and they are continually growing and changing, so creating a personalized shampoo routine is essential. Here’s how to do just that.

Finding the best type of puppy shampoo

Your puppy’s skin and fur are different from an adult dog’s, and as such, it’s important to keep a few things in mind when shopping for the best puppy shampoo. For example, Wendy Weinand, manager of Pet Services and Grooming Education with Petco, says there are recommendations that professional groomers can make when considering the type of shampoo to use that could help shape what you consider for your own puppy’s care, including:

Sensitive skin needs or allergies: A dog with sensitive skin or specific allergies would likely benefit from a puppy-specific shampoo that is formulated with hypoallergenic and tear-free ingredients. However, if skin concerns are severe it is best to consult your veterinarian as a medicated shampoo may be the best option.

Fur color: Depending on the color of your puppy’s fur, they might be able to get some enhancement from a puppy shampoo that’s specific to their needs. For example, for puppies with white fur, a brightening shampoo might make their coat pop.

Shedding: For puppies that are starting to lose their puppy coats, a deshedding shampoo can help remove loose hair and keep their overall coat healthy.

Dry skin/coat: If a puppy has dry skin or a dry coat, Weinand says a groomer may recommend a few different options, including oatmeal shampoo, which helps reduce itching, and a remoisturizing conditioner, which helps seal moisture into the skin & coat.
Seasons also play a part in the types of products that will work best for your puppy. “In the winter, it tends to be a lot more dry in the environment, so using a conditioning product is best,” says Weinand. “In the summer, dogs are outside more, and based on what they are doing outdoors, finding the right product to make sure their skin and coat are getting the proper nutrients to keep it healthy is a huge consideration.”

How to find the best brand of puppy shampoo for your dog

Besides finding the type of shampoo that works best for your puppy, finding a trusted brand is important, as well. When looking for a good puppy shampoo, Weinand suggests following these steps:

  1. Always check the labels to make sure it contains safe ingredients and is free from harmful or harsh chemicals. “Don’t be fooled by the pictures on the bottle,” said Weinand. “Read the ingredients and understand what they are meant to do before buying.”
  2. If the shampoo calls for dilution, be sure to do so, as using the full strength could cause a negative reaction.
  3. Don’t just buy something because it smells good—understand what your specific puppy needs and prioritize that first.

As your puppy grows, their skin and fur may change, so be sure to always do a thorough check of your puppy after each bath to ensure there is no unwanted reaction.

Can you use human shampoo on a dog?

Although you might be tempted to just use your own shampoo on your puppy in a pinch —like if your puppy decided to play in a mud puddle or rolled in something stinky—you should refrain from doing so. “Human and canine pH and acid levels are different,” notes Weinand, “and using a human-grade shampoo can cause a reaction to the pup’s skin and coat, either drying it out or leaving it too oily, based on the shampoo being used.”
As with products you would buy for yourself, remember that the most expensive isn’t always better. If you aren’t sure what to get, consider asking a professional groomer for help.