The Best Puppy Shampoo

Alpha Dog Series Puppy Shampoo and Conditioner

Our Top Pick for 2016: Alpha Dog Series Puppy Shampoo and Conditioner
Read our full review.

See it on Amazon for $15.99*
*Price typically updated every 24 hours. Current price may be different.
Too expensive? See our budget pick.

Whether they’re big or small, puppies have a special talent for wiggling their way into our hearts. Unfortunately, they also have a knack for getting into things they shouldn’t. There’s nothing quite like reaching to snuggle your puppy and being overwhelmed by the smell of their latest adventures. If your pup enjoys diving into mud, kitty litter boxes and trash bins, you might have considered picking up a heavy duty shampoo or even regular dish detergent to wash out the smell. But a regular dog shampoo might be too harsh for your young pup’s sensitive skin and coat. A shampoo specially formulated for puppies will be gentle enough to cleanse your furry friend without irritating his skin.

Table of contents

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All Natural Anti Itch Oatmeal Shampoo
All Natural Dog Shampoo & Conditioner
Buttermilk To Soothe And Soften Skin
Premium Colloidal Oatmeal Formulation
Deep Cleansing
Tearless For A Happy Pup
Gentle Nourishing Shampoo + Conditioner Base
Baby Powder Scented
Nature’s Finest Ingredients
Natural Grooming Moisturizers
Ph Balanced
Powerful
Satisfaction Guarantee
Great For Dogs With Sensitive Skin,atopic Issues, Or Skin Allergies
Gentle Cleanser

*Price at time of publishing and may not reflect current pricing.

#1 Gold pick (Winner): Alpha Dog Series Puppy Shampoo and Conditioner

Alpha Dog Series Puppy Shampoo and Conditioner Gold Pick

View it on Amazon for $15.99*
*Price typically updated every 24 hours. Current price may be different.

2016-gold-winnerThe Alpha Dog Series puppy shampoo from Any Pet gently washes away dirt and grime for a long-lasting fresh scent. In general, experts recommend bathing your dog monthly, so choosing a shampoo with a long-lasting scent will make cuddling your puppy an enjoyable experience in between baths.

To a puppy, there’s nothing more exciting than being fully submerged in mud and other obnoxious-smelling materials. This deep cleansing formula is effective on dirt and any other questionable substances your puppy might acquaint himself with. By washing away dirt that is trapped deep below the surface of the fur, the Alpha Dog puppy shampoo works hard to leave your pup squeaky clean. Besides cleaning away dirt, it leaves even the whitest coat bright and glowing. One user whose dog is mostly white said that using this shampoo leaves him bright white, even on his paws.

Formulated with all natural ingredients, this shampoo is suitable for dogs with even the most sensitive skin. Aloe Vera is included to soothe the skin and condition the fur for a coat that is shiny, healthy, and manageable. Even users whose puppies had skin allergies and sensitivities said that this shampoo kept their skin healthy and flake-free. The formula was specially created to be compatible with the natural pH balance of a dog’s skin, so you can rest assured that your puppy’s skin won’t dry out or become itchy with regular use. One user whose dog had chronic dandruff said that with regular use, this shampoo completely eliminated her dry, flaky skin.

Puppies aren’t always the most cooperative when it comes to bath time. A wiggly, squirmy puppy can be hard to wash, and it can be all too easy to accidentally get some shampoo in their sensitive eyes. The makers at Any Pet know the struggles of puppy baths. They have formulated this shampoo to be tear-free in the event that some accidentally gets into your pup’s eyes.

The scent was described by users as a lightly floral baby powder smell, although most users said they picked up more on the floral notes than the baby powder. One user said she loves this shampoo because it leaves her dog smelling like a “clean fluffy baby!” To ensure that your pup stays fresh between shampoos, the formula is made to adhere to the coat for up to 2 weeks. That means your furry friend will smell light and clean without the hassles of more frequent bathing! Even after the initial scent wears off, the deodorizing formula acts to neutralize scents and eliminate odors so you won’t have to plug your nose when you want some canine cuddles.

If you’re not sure whether you need conditioning ingredients in your puppy shampoo, think of the last time you used a shampoo without a conditioner. It can leave hair feeling dry and tough to manage. This double-duty formula acts as both a shampoo and a conditioner in one. The shampoo cleanses away dirt and grime while the conditioning ingredients leave your puppy’s coat soft, shiny and smooth. For puppies with long hair, conditioning ingredients are essential to prevent painful mats and tangles. Even puppies with short hair can benefit from conditioning ingredients, as they infuse healthy moisture into each strand.

The large bottle has a convenient pump on top to make bath time a breeze. No more screwing and unscrewing the cap or accidentally pouring out too much – just squirt out a few pumps and get to scrubbing. This user-friendly feature is especially helpful when trying to bathe a wriggly young puppy.

Although the name says “puppy shampoo,” many users swear by this product for use on their full-grown dogs. One user who bought the shampoo for her puppy says that she continues to use it even 3 years later as she enjoys it too much to change, and another says she will continue to buy it “for the rest of [her] life!”

At $15.99 for a 26 ounce bottle, it might be one of the pricier puppy shampoos on the market, but users swear that it’s worth every penny. With 94% of reviewers rating it 4 stars or higher for an overall rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars, the Alpha Dog puppy shampoo is a favorite among customers and critics alike. Its rave reviews on Amazon and other websites run by dog-devotees have landed this in the top spot as our Gold Pick.

#2 Silver pick (Runner-up): PetPleasant Oatmeal Pet Shampoo for Dogs & Puppies

PetPleasant Oatmeal Pet Shampoo for Dogs & Puppies

View it on Amazon for $25.00*
*Price typically updated every 24 hours. Current price may be different.

2016-silver-winnerIf your puppy suffers from dry, itchy skin, choosing a gentle medicated shampoo can bring them instant relief. PetPleasant’s 100% natural oatmeal shampoo is one of the top-rated puppy shampoos on the market, loved by consumers for its pleasant scent and restorative properties.

This gentle shampoo works its way deep into your pup’s coat to remove dirt and dander that might otherwise sit on the skin and cause irritation. Users remarked that their dogs looked incredibly clean and shiny immediately after use. Natural deodorizing ingredients ensure that your pup smells as clean as he looks long after bath time.

If you had chicken pox as a kid, you might remember your parents giving you an oatmeal bath to soothe the itching. PetPleasant has harnessed the soothing powers of oatmeal with a maximum dosage of colloidal oatmeal. Colloidal oatmeal is renowned for its skin-soothing abilities, and has been used to treat skin ailments as far back as the ancient Egyptians. By soothing, moisturizing and protecting the skin, colloidal oatmeal naturally restores skin to a healthy state. In addition to oatmeal, moisturizing agents like jojoba and Provitamin B5 help promote healthy skin.

Harsh chemicals are nowhere to be found in this ultra-gentle hypoallergenic formula. With no sulfates, parabens, mineral oil or artificial fragrance, you can be sure that your puppy isn’t being exposed to harsh ingredients. The gentle formulation means that even if your pup is a squirmer at bath time, you won’t have to worry about a little product getting in his eyes, as it is naturally tear-free.

An appealing vanilla oatmeal scent will have your puppy smelling fresh and clean for days. One reviewer said her puppy smelled “better than an oatmeal cookie” after using her PetPleasant oatmeal shampoo for the first time. As an added bonus, it contains natural deodorizers that eliminate the “wet dog” smell we all know so well.

Similarly to the Alpha Dog puppy shampoo, this shampoo contains natural conditioning ingredients for soft, manageable fur. Tangles and mats are a thing of the past, even in dogs with long or hard to manage coats. By individually penetrating each hair shaft, the moisturizing ingredients in this shampoo leave each strand soft to prevent tangles.

Although an 8 ounce bottle normally retails for a steep $25, PetPleasant oatmeal shampoo can be purchased on Amazon for only $12.77. If the price worries you, fear not – PetPleasant backs their product with a 100%, no questions asked money-back guarantee. This mid-priced product has an impressive 5 star rating on Amazon, with 100% of reviewers leaving 5 stars.

#3 Bronze pick (3rd place): Burts Bee Tearless Puppy Shampoo

Burts Bee Tearless Puppy Shampoo

View it on Amazon for $7.76*
*Price typically updated every 24 hours. Current price may be different.

2016-bronze-awardChances are, you already know about Burt’s Bees’ natural line of beauty products. Since their beginning in 1984, the manufacturers at Burt’s Bees have been known for using natural beeswax for its healing and moisturizing properties. While you may have a few of their chapsticks or moisturizers floating around in your cabinets, you might not know that they also make beeswax-inspired products for your pets. Now you and your pooch can use matching beauty products!

Burt’s Bees makes a natural puppy shampoo for powerful but gentle cleansing for your canine companions. Natural ingredients like beeswax, buttermilk and honey nourish the fur and skin while cleansing for a clean, happy pup. The formula is pH balanced especially for dogs to keep your puppy’s sensitive skin balanced and naturally healthy.

Created with your puppy’s sensitive skin in mind, the Burt’s Bees puppy shampoo is formulated without any sulfates or colorants. The 97% natural formula is gentle and tearless so you won’t have to worry about a stray bubble hurting your puppy’s eyes.

This shampoo has a very light, subtle scent that doesn’t tend to last quite as long as the two listed above. After the scent wears away, it doesn’t seem to eliminate odors as effectively as some of its competitors. Most users described the smell as “just okay,” reporting that it got rid of any prominent odors but didn’t make as much of a difference as they would have hoped.

One thing to note if you’re considering this particular puppy shampoo is that it does not contain any specialized conditioning ingredients. If you have a puppy with short hair, this won’t be an issue; many users with short-haired dogs said this shampoo was plenty to make their coats smooth and shiny. However, if your puppy has particularly long or difficult to manage hair, you may need to follow up with a separate conditioner to prevent mats and tangles.

A standard 16 ounce bottle retails for around $9.97, making this an affordable option for those who are looking for a natural puppy or dog shampoo. Some users said that they tended to go through this shampoo faster than others, as they felt it took more product to achieve a really “clean” feeling as compared to other shampoos on the market.

Coming in at 4.3 out of 5 stars on Amazon, the majority of users felt that this shampoo did a good job of leaving their puppies clean without causing dryness or irritation. The critical reviews tended to be reflective of the scent not lasting very long, as well as the lack of conditioning ingredients. However, its overall positive ratings and excellent value have earned Burt’s Bees a spot on our list as our Bronze Pick.

#4 Budget pick (Best cheap): Pro-Sense Puppy Shampoo

Pro-Sense Puppy Shampoo

View it on Amazon for $3.60*
*Price typically updated every 24 hours. Current price may be different.

2016-cheap-budget-pickFor puppy and dog owners on a budget, the Pro-Sense puppy shampoo offers many of the benefits of its pricier counterparts at a fraction of the cost. Gently formulated to gently cleanse while promoting skin and coat health, this shampoo contains odor neutralizers that help eliminate odors for up to a week after use.

Unique cleansing agents deeply penetrate the coat for an easy and effective clean. The Pro-Sense exclusive Odor Eliminating Complex doesn’t just mask odors – it claims to destroy odor-causing molecules at their very source. Most users found that their puppies and dogs felt totally clean after using, with no residue or leftover dirt and grime.

Jojoba oil is known for its moisturizing properties. People use it on their skin and hair to promote hydration – and your dog can reap the same benefits. The Pro-Sense puppy shampoo contains jojoba oil to help your pup’s skin and coat stay healthy and moisturized long after bath time. As an added bonus, jojoba oil is known to inhibit the growth of certain bacteria.

Similarly to the Alpha Dog puppy shampoo, this shampoo has a light baby powder scent. Most users said that the scent was quite long-lasting, lasting up to a week even with outside play. A few users said that they didn’t enjoy the smell – they felt it was somewhat “fake” smelling – but most users said it was very light and pleasant.

For the puppy who likes to turn bath time into play time, this gentle formula is tear-free and gentle enough that it won’t burn their eyes. However, it is still advisable to thoroughly rinse your puppy’s eyes if he does get shampoo in them.

Although this shampoo claims to include conditioning nutrients, several users found that the formula didn’t do much to condition their dogs’ coats. A few reviewers even said that it dried their puppy’s skin out and caused flaking. For most users, this wasn’t a problem, but keep in mind that it might cause irritation for puppies with particularly sensitive skin.

If you prefer to spend your hard-earned cash on toys and treats for your pup, we totally understand. That’s why this product’s insanely low price – $4.16 for a 20 ounce bottle – has landed it as our Best Budget Pick. With an overall rating of 4.3 out of 5 stars on Amazon, it was enjoyed by dog lovers everywhere for its pleasant scent and odor neutralizing formula.


Pre-purchase considerations

Cleansing effectiveness

Forgive us for pointing out the obvious, but the main reason you’re looking for a puppy shampoo is to keep your pup’s coat clean and free of dirt and debris. Some puppy shampoos leave behind sticky-feeling residues, most commonly as the result of unnecessary chemicals building up in the fur. It’s important to find something that contains natural but effective cleansing agents to clean while eliminating product buildup.

Scent and odor elimination

When you’re picking a puppy shampoo, one of the first things you’ll notice is the scent. Once the wet-dog smell wears off, you want to be left with a pup that smells fresh and clean for as long as possible. Puppy shampoos come in a variety of scents, the most popular of which are reminiscent of baby powder.

Besides the scent itself, consider the shampoo’s effectiveness at eliminating and neutralizing odor. A pretty scent alone will only mask the odors that exist in your dog’s skin or hair; you need something that will effectively cleanse and neutralize existing odors.

Formula and ingredients

Because puppies have skin that is sensitive to harsh dyes, chemicals and fragrances, sticking with something as natural as possible will help you avoid causing irritation to your pup’s skin. When checking out the ingredients label, be sure to look not just at the ingredients present, but what’s not present as well. Choose something that is free of harsh parabens, sulfates, and artificial dyes and fragrance as these can be major irritants especially to sensitive skin.

Your puppy’s skin type

Consider whether your puppy has fairly healthy, normal skin or if he has dry, sensitive skin. Those of us with dry-skinned pups need to be more discerning about the shampoos we choose for them. If he tends to act itchy or has skin that appears flaky, scaly or otherwise irritated, he may need a shampoo that is specially formulated for such conditions. Look for moisturizing ingredients like jojoba oil, colloidal oatmeal and B vitamins to combat irritation and flakiness.

Certain breeds of dog are more prone to dandruff and dry skin than others. Two types of dandruff exist in dogs: oily and dry. Basset hounds, Labrador retrievers, and spaniels are among the breeds prone to oily dandruff. Dry dandruff is common in German shepherds, dachshunds, and Dobermans.

Conditioning

Depending on the length of your puppy’s hair, you may or may not want a shampoo that includes some conditioning ingredients. Pups with short hair don’t necessarily need a conditioner, but it can be used to make their coat extra smooth. If you have a long-haired puppy, a conditioner will help to keep his coat free of tangles and mats. Be sure to pick up a separate conditioner if you end up choosing a shampoo that doesn’t have conditioning ingredients in it already. When looking for a conditioner for your puppy, look for the same sort of gentle ingredients that you would look for in a puppy shampoo.

Conclusion (Wrapping it up)

Customers and critics alike swear by the cleaning and deodorizing powers of the Alpha Dog Series puppy shampoo from the brand Any Pet. The long-lasting baby powder scent was a hit amongst consumers, and reviewers were astounded by the smooth, silky finish it left behind. Even pets with sensitive skin were able to achieve relief from dry, flaky patches and dandruff. Its top consumer ratings and proven results have landed the Alpha Dog puppy shampoo at the top of our list as our Gold Pick.

Discussion and comments

We want to know what you think. Do you own any of the products we discussed? Which did you buy and how did it work out for you?

Do you know of an even better product?

Comment below and help your fellow consumers make the right choice. Over to you!

Resources

  1. Rob Harris, Can You Use Regular Dog Shampoo on Puppies?, The Nest: Pets
  2. Laura Boston, How To Choose A Safe Shampoo, Dogs Naturally Magazine
  3. Laurie Darroch, How to Choose a Good Dog Shampoo, Canidae, March 3, 2015
  4. Tips on Bathing your Dog, UT College of Veterinary Medicine
  5. Colloidal Oatmeal Benefits for the Skin, Tatcha
  6. Christina Stephens, What Oils Are Good for a Dog’s Skin?, The Daily Puppy
  7. Sharon, Dog Dandruff: Recognize Symptoms & Treat at Home, Dog Care Knowledge

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