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The Best Shampoo for Your Dog or Cat

Updated on November 17, 2015
Nanciajohnson profile image

I enjoy painting fantasy art, going to art shows, creating delicious dishes, being with my grandkids, taking walks, and reading good books.

What is the Best Pet Shampoo for your Pet?

You may be asking, "what is the best pet shampoo" for your favorite dog or yes, even cat? I have bathed my fair share of dogs and even a cat over the years and know that even their skin can be sensitive to many products. I also learned some tricks on grooming and bathing my dogs from my sister who has been trained as a professional groomer. I want to share some of these tips and suggestions with you.

There are so many products on the market today that do a variety of things; clean, de-tangle, perfume, shine, etc. Then, in addition to the best pet shampoo, you will need to find the best conditioner also. Some of the products include both the shampoo and conditioner. The question is whether a combination product is the best shampoo for your best friend? With the help of my sister, we will try to sort through all the choices out there and recommend the best shampoos for all types of dogs and their types of hair.

If you own more than one dog or pet, such as a dog and cat, they may each need their own type of pet shampoo. It is not recommended to just use the same shampoo that you use on yourself since pet fur and skin is different than ours. It is our hopes that you find the best type of shampoo for your special pet through our reviews. There is a pet shampoo for all types of dogs and cats with all types of hair and skin conditions.

A Top Rated Shampoo!

Cloud Star Lavender & Mint Corporation Buddy Wash, 16 OZ, Pack of 1
Cloud Star Lavender & Mint Corporation Buddy Wash, 16 OZ, Pack of 1

Beautiful scent and mild to your pet's coat and skin. A great choice; highly recommended by many pet owners.

dog bath
dog bath

Tips on Bathing your Dog

It may sound simple to give your dog a bath, but there are things to consider about your beloved pet and not just stick them under the garden hose. So it is time to give your pooch a bath, and here are some tips to consider:

  • Gather up items such as towels, shampoos, etc. before getting started
  • Decide where you will be bathing your dog which depends on the size of your dog
  • No Saint Bernards in the laundry room tub!
  • The most important is to select the right shampoo for your particular dog
  • Test the temperature of the water before putting it on your dog or placing in the bath
  • Pour the water over your dog with a large plastic pitcher or cup
  • Avoid the face area and use a damp washcloth to clean around their eyes and ears
  • Once you shampoo, rinse well to remove all the shampoo
  • Towel dry well, and use the hair dryer only on low temp if your dog will allow it
  • Bath time can be pleasurable for both your self and your dog if you prepare

For yourself, be prepared to get a little wet so wear clothing that is not important. You should have fun bathing your dog and then he or she will look forward to the next bath time session.

Oh, and the last tip is to remember not to bath your dog too often since their skin and hair is not like ours and does not need constant shampooing.

The Everything Dog Grooming Book: All you need to help your pet look and feel great! (Everything®)
The Everything Dog Grooming Book: All you need to help your pet look and feel great! (Everything®)

A great guide book for how to groom your dog at home. An easy to read book with lots of fun pictures and drawings too.

cat bath
cat bath

Tips on Bathing a Cat

Even though cats are not know to love water, there are times you may want to bath your cat, and with doing it correctly your cat will not hate it too much. There are several tips that will help you when needing to give your cat a bath:

  • Use a cat harness if your cat is not too happy with the bath idea
  • It is best to use a pet shower sprayer on the faucet to wet the cat
  • Test the water for the proper warm temperature before wetting the cat
  • Leave the drain open in the sink or tub so the cat is not submerged in water
  • Use shampoo specifically made for cats
  • Do not wet the cat's head and use a cloth to clean his face
  • Dry your cat thoroughly with towels
  • Comb or brush your cat if they have long hair

Once you bath and towel dry your cat, let your cat find a sunny spot to sleep to make sure their fur drys thoroughly, plus they will be ready for a nap after the stress of a bath! Believe it or not as much as a cat acts like they hate getting wet and won't "talk" to you for awhile, they do come back in no time and do enjoy the assistance in getting clean!

How to Bath a Cat

Gentle Grooming Tips For Your Cat: Beyond The Brush: Improving Your Relationship With Your Cat Through Gentle Grooming
Gentle Grooming Tips For Your Cat: Beyond The Brush: Improving Your Relationship With Your Cat Through Gentle Grooming

As much as they want to fight you, your cat needs to be groomed as well as the dog. This book includes great tips on gentle ways to introduce your cat to enjoy being groomed.

waterless shampoo
waterless shampoo

Waterless Pet Shampoo

When to use a waterless shampoo on your pet.

A waterless pet shampoo is a very useful item to have on hand for either your dog or cat. There are many different situations that you may want to use a waterless shampoo instead of giving your pet a full bath. Since a dog or cat's skin is not made to be shampooed with water on a regular basis, there may be a situation where your pet has gotten something not so clean or a bit smelly on their fur and you want to clean them without having to give them a full bath.

A good waterless shampoo will do the trick.

Another time you may want to use a waterless shampoo is if your cat is really fearful of water, and you cannot convince them otherwise. Cats can be a bit more difficult to handle when they are afraid of water in any form. So as not to stress your kitty out too much when they do need a little help with keeping clean and smelling fresh, the waterless shampoo for cats is just the answer. Just spray onto your cat's coat, still avoiding the face and rub in, then towel dry. Your kitty will smell fresh and clean without the stress of being wet.

Waterless pet shampoo comes in handy for use around the face. No worry about getting water in the eyes or ears with this type of shampoo. You can even spray a bit of this shampoo on a soft cloth and wipe gently on your pet's face to clean.

Shampoo for Sensative Skin and Allergies

If your pet has sensative skin or allergies, then it is very important to find the right shampoo for them. There are several types of shampoos that are made especially for dogs and cats who have skin ailments. They are not that expensive and it may save you a trip to the vet with a miserable pet. The first thing I can recommend is to read the label and make sure there are no ingredients listed that your pet may be allergic or sensative to.

Next, try using it on a small area of your pet's skin and wait a day or two to see if there are any negative reactions or rash before using this shampoo on your pet's whole body. Shampoos for sensitive skin are usually made with aloe and oatmeal which is very gentle on your pet's sensitive skin. A natural, soap-free shampoo made with all organic and bio-degradable ingredients is the best shampoo for sensitive pups and kitties.

If your pet has allergies, I would highly recommend a visit to your vet first and rule out any serious issues that would not be caused by allergies. If your pet is just suffering from itchy skin due to allergens in the environment just like we do, then a good over-the-counter shampoo might relieve some of the skin irritation. A good shampoo for dogs with allergies is one that has ingredients designed to alleviate itchy, dry skin.

I still really like the all natural, organic shampoos for pets with skin problems. You just can't go wrong with a soap-free, all-natural product.

AvoDerm Natural Oatmeal Formula Shampoo for Dogs and Cats, 16 oz
AvoDerm Natural Oatmeal Formula Shampoo for Dogs and Cats, 16 oz

Oatmeal is a great natural product for pets who have allergies or are sensitive to many other products. I highly recommend giving this brand a try.


How do you feel about bath time with your dog or cat?

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Pet Shower

Bath Time Made Easy for Your Pet

A pet shower will make bath time easier for you and your pet. This pet shower sprayer attachment is perfect for large breed dogs who are too heavy to lift into a bathtub or a great tool for that hard to bath cat in the kitchen sink. There are several sizes of pet shower attachments to buy depending on where you will be using it.

Many brands of pet showers come with a couple of different fittings so you can use it in your shower or bath and use it outdoors when the weather is warm. The styles made especially for the shower come with hose up to 8 feet long. Another really nice thing about a pet shower is they are designed for a one-hand use so your other hand is free to hold or wash your dog or cat. The water pressure can be regulated also.

Zoe Manufacturing Professional Dog and Pet Shower Kit
Zoe Manufacturing Professional Dog and Pet Shower Kit

In order to give your pet a bath or shower at home, this kit will make it easier for you to do it properly. Attaches to all sinks, bath tubs or showers.


Rub a Dub a Dub...How many pups in a tub?

Portable Dog Bath

Perfect for all Size Dogs

There is no need to dirty your bathtub, laundry tub or kitchen sink when you can have a portable dog bath that sets up in minutes. It is more commonly used outdoors when the weather is warm. The folding versions such as the ABO Gear Dirty Dog Portable Dog Bath would even fit in a large bathtub when you need to bath your pet indoors. This type of portable dog bath is lightweight and collapses down to just 2" thick. Great for storing away when not in use. It even comes with mesh pockets that will hold your shampoos, conditioners, bath mitts and any other tools needed for your dog's bath.

There is also a Booster Bath Plastic Dog Bath that fits all types of dogs, large or small. This style of dog bath is elevated on sturdy legs that will eliminate having to lean over to wash your dog, thus avoiding back aches. If you cannot lift your dog up and into this portable bath, there is a set of steps that can be purchased separately. Your dog can be taught to climb this wide, safe set of steps up to the top of the bath.

Bath-time with your dog can be lots of fun once you have the proper tools to make this task a fun and enjoyable on for both you and your pet.

Booster Bath Elevated Pet Bathing Large
Booster Bath Elevated Pet Bathing Large

This style is perfect for someone who may not be able to bend over a bathtub or even on the ground with a lower tub.

pet shampoo mitt
pet shampoo mitt

Use a Pet Shampoo Mitt at Bath Time

Make bath time even easier with a pet shampoo mitt. These mitts have little scrubbers build right in making giving your dog a bath enjoyable.

Save your hands while protecting your pet's delicate skin during a bath. If you using a flea and tick shampoo on your dog, the bath mitt will protect your hands from the chemicals. Some of us have sensitive skin and allergies to any type of soaps or shampoos, so the mitts are also a good protection against an allergic reaction. You don't want to be afraid to experience how much fun it can be to bathe your own dog or cat. One size fits all hands and can be used on either your dog or cat.

Your dog will also love the gentle massage on their skin with a pet shampoo mitt. Most mitts are made with little bumps and nubs that massage your dog or cat's skin while working the shampoo into their coat and fur. The massage stimulates the hair follicles causing a good shiny coat. It also adds a way to remove even more dead hair from the undercoat.

These pet shampoo mitts are designed for both you and your pet.

Zwipes 783 Microfiber Wash and Dry Pett Mitt - Pack of 3
Zwipes 783 Microfiber Wash and Dry Pett Mitt - Pack of 3

A fun gift idea for the pet owner who may have everything!

Pet Hair Dryer
Pet Hair Dryer

Pet Hair Dryer

Low Heat and Quick Dry

Instead of towel drying your dog who really doesn't want to stand still that long, I recommend one of the great pet hair dryers on the market today. Many are the same quality, power and great price that professional groomers use. There are two different styles to consider.

One is a pet hair dryer that comes with a motor unit from 1.3 to 4 hp (price range depends on the horse power), a long hose similar to a vacuum cleaner hose, long cord and attachment tools. Most are fairly quiet and what noise the motor does make, most dogs will tolerate. The nice thing about this style of hair dryer for your dog is that the long hose and cord allows you to keep the motor until a pretty good distance from your dog. This helps if they are a bit afraid of motor noises. Most of these pet hair dryers have two speeds. The low temperature is safe while blowing air to dry your pet's fur quickly.

The other style of hair dryer is a less expensive version that looks like our own personal portable hair dryer but with a lot less heat. A very popular one is the Conair Yellow Dog 550 Watt Pet Dryer which comes in a very distinct bright yellow color. It may not have as much wattage as other brands, but it is very reliable and does the trick. It is a very quiet hair dryer that comes with a stand which can be angled to dry your pet's hair hands-free. This is a great feature since you may need at least one hand to hold your pet from running off. You know how they love to run, shake and roll after getting a bath. Getting their hair dry before you let them go in the house will save your furniture and carpet from a wet dog!

Share your comments on pet shampoos, bath time and grooming with us!

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    • Hammocksaustralia profile image


      6 years ago

      My dog doesn't like bathing, however his is more than happy to charge through muddy puddles, jump into lakes and swamps and swim in the ocean! I guess he just doesn't like to be clean. That's Labradors for you!

    • Nanciajohnson profile imageAUTHOR

      Nancy Johnson 

      6 years ago from Mesa, Arizona

      @julieannbrady: Thank you. Our family cat hated the occasional bath.

    • Nanciajohnson profile imageAUTHOR

      Nancy Johnson 

      6 years ago from Mesa, Arizona

      @dave-sutton: Cats are so unique and do have their own strong personalities. Thank you for the comment.

    • Nanciajohnson profile imageAUTHOR

      Nancy Johnson 

      6 years ago from Mesa, Arizona

      @Craftypicks: It is nice when you can pick a small dog up to bath in the sink. Less bending over.

    • Nanciajohnson profile imageAUTHOR

      Nancy Johnson 

      6 years ago from Mesa, Arizona

      @LynetteBell: My beagle Sammy did just about the same thing. He hated water, but was happy to roll all around on the floor afterwards. They are funny.

    • Nanciajohnson profile imageAUTHOR

      Nancy Johnson 

      6 years ago from Mesa, Arizona

      @RinchenChodron: I have had both a cat and dogs, the dogs are definitely easier to bath than a cat. Thanks for the comment.

    • Nanciajohnson profile imageAUTHOR

      Nancy Johnson 

      6 years ago from Mesa, Arizona

      @BlueTrane: Thank you for the tips on high quality shampoos and conditioners, even our mixed breed pup would benefit from them.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Great lens, thank you for sharing

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      In my years of caring for cats, it has been pretty rare to have a cat that enjoyed a bath. It's great to have the scoop on best shampoos for pets.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Very nice lens, great info!

    • dave-sutton profile image


      6 years ago

      I have the most arrogant half persian cat in the world. It is a big batlle of wills when it comes to the occasional bath time. Thanks for the advice.

    • Craftypicks profile image

      Lori Green 

      6 years ago from Las Vegas

      I have a small dog and we wash him in the sink with baby shampoo. He hates the bath but loves the cuddles he gets when we dry him off.

    • LynetteBell profile image


      6 years ago from Christchurch, New Zealand

      My dog doesn't fight to get out but doesn't really enjoy the experience, just stands stiff as...or he pretends not to! When it's over he races around, getting excited - perhaps because he gets a treat and associates a bath with a treat!

    • BlueTrane profile image


      6 years ago

      I have show Gordon Setters (see my lens "Life Is Better With A Gordon Setter"). I use Isle of Dogs shampoos and conditioners as my dogs get bathed on average every other week. More frequently around dog shows. A high quality shampoo and especially conditioner is vital! I love the Booster Bath!

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I have had cats all my life (see my lens on my cat Kisser) and have very rarely had to bathe one. When I did it was a challenge! Never had a dog.


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