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In this guide
Whether your dog loves a good roll around in the dirt, or you're just not a fan of the 'dog smell,' dog shampoo is one way to get a sweet-smelling pooch. The best dog shampoo is gentle yet effective, and doesn't take too long to lather or rinse. We spent hours researching Australia's top dog shampoos, so you can spend more time with your favourite four-legged friend.
How we picked
It's hard to buy shampoo for someone else, let alone another species. Fortunately, other dog owners have been there and done that, so we started by checking reviews on ProductReview.com.au. We added some of the top-rated dog shampoos to our list, then cross-checked our picks with major retailers.
Finding that there were a few gaps in our selection, we did some further window shopping to be sure we had a wide range of dog shampoos. Next, we weighed up price, availability, and effectiveness, comparing reviews on retailers' sites with ProductReview.com.au reviews. That's how we ended up with our list of Australia's best dog shampoos.
We excluded medicated dog shampoos, which warrants a quick disclaimer. Medicated shampoos can contain ingredients which should only be used under vet supervision. We're not trained in animal medicine, so we encourage you to talk to your local vet if your dog has a condition that may be impacted by dog shampoo.
Are natural dog shampoos safe?
When it comes to dog shampoos, you'll generally find two kinds of product: medicated or 'natural' (non-medicated). Medicated shampoos usually contain chemicals that require vet supervision, while non-medicated shampoos tend to use more 'natural' ingredients like coconut oil or aloe vera.
In Australia, veterinary chemical products must be registered with the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority. This includes dog shampoos claiming to have a therapeutic effect, or containing ingredients known to have therapeutic effects.
Essential oil-based products containing over 1% essential oils, for example, fall into this category. Always check the ingredients list to determine whether a dog shampoo is safe. You can search the PubCRIS database for dog shampoos registered with the Veterinary Medicines Authority, too. If you're not sure a dog shampoo is safe, it's always best to ask your vet, especially if your dog has a health condition.
Can I use human shampoo on my dog?
It might be hard to justify dog shampoo when you could just lather them up with your fave shampoo. But human shampoo is designed for humans, and dog shampoo is designed for dogs (funny that).
The 'acid mantle' is the layer of acidity that protects your top layer of skin. The pH balance of human skin is 5.2 - 6.2, but your dog's pH balance is a little higher, ranging between 5.5 - 7.5. To make sure you aren't damaging their skin, it's safest to wash your pup with a product specially formulated for dogs.
How often should I wash my dog?
Like humans, some dogs are just dirtier than others. Most dogs only need a bath when they're especially dirty or smelly, or around once every few months. A farm dog, for example, may need more frequent scrubbing than a pampered 'inside dog,' especially if you're trying to keep dirty paw marks off the couch.
Of course, this doesn't apply to dogs with skin problems or health conditions. If your dog has a medical condition, talk to your vet about the best way to wash your dog.
How can I help my dog feel calm during grooming?
There are a number of ways to help calm dogs during bath time. With gentle handling, plenty of praise and tasty treats, you can ensure the experience is less of a dog's dinner. It's a good idea to get your dog used to you handling them first, with rewards for calm behaviour.
Talk to your dog in a relaxed voice, and keep them feeling chilled with positive reinforcement. This could mean giving them a treat when they stand in the tub, for example. It can also help to take your dog out for some exercise beforehand to get some energy out.
- 'Best Pet Grooming & Hygiene Products', ProductReview.com.au
- 'What is the best dog shampoo?', Pet Circle
- 'Dog Washing 101', My Pet Warehouse
- 'Animal cosmetic products', Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority
- 'How often should you really wash your dog?', ABC
- 'The Ultimate Guide to Grooming and Bathing Your Dog', RSPCA Pet Insurance