The Best Dog Shampoo for a Clean CanineThe Best Dog Shampoo for a Clean Canine

The Best Dog Shampoo

Or how to puppy-proof the couch against muddy paws.
Elese Dowden
Words by 
Elese Dowden
Updated 
Feb 18, 2021
Category -> 
Pets
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At a glance

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.

The 6 best dog shampoos in Australia

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.

Best for puppies -> FuzzYard Naturals Puppy Shampoo

FuzzYard Naturals Puppy Shampoo

FuzzYard Naturals Puppy Shampoo is our pick for dog shampoo that’s gentle on puppy’s skin. We like that it contains subtle yet soothing lavender to keep your fur baby calm during bath time. It’s made in Australia without sulphates or artificial fragrances, and we reckon it's one of the best dog shampoos for sensitive skin.

Aussies score the FuzzYard Naturals Puppy Shampoo around 4.5 stars from a handful of reviews on ProductReview.com.au. Reviewers say it helps their puppies to relax, won’t irritate sensitive skin, and washes out quickly. One person also reckons it keeps the “dog smell” at bay. Sounds good to us.

Choose this if...

You want the dog version of baby shampoo.

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Best for fleas and ticks -> Fido's Fre Itch Rinse Concentrate

Fido's Fre Itch Rinse Concentrate

Ticked off with fleas? Fido's Fre Itch Rinse Concentrate contains pyrethrin, a natural insecticide which helps banish ticks, lice, fleas and parasites from dogs and other furry pals. The folks at Fido's reckon it prevents paralysis tick attachment for up to 3 days, and all this without alcohol or petroleum solvents.

While it's not reviewed by ProductReview.com.au, a few people on Pet Circle score Fido's Fre Itch Rinse Concentrate nearly 5 stars. One reviewer says it 'smells lovely,' while another claims that it 'gets rid of grass mites, fleas and ticks.' 

Choose this if...

You want your Fido to be flea-free.

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Best for itchy skin -> Essential Dog’s Sensitive Dog Shampoo

Essential Dog’s Sensitive Dog Shampoo

Essential Dog’s Sensitive Dog Shampoo could be just the tick for your itchy dog. This Aussie-made lather is so chocka with low-irritant ingredients that even reading the bottle is comforting. With Chamomile, vitamin E, kakadu plum and ECOCERT-approved cleansers, it’s no wonder this product scores almost 5 stars from more than 20 dog shampoo reviews on ProductReview.com.au.

Aussies love that the Essential Dog shampoo is gentle on skin and eyes, saying it makes coats fluffy and shiny. One specialty dog groomer says it leaves their dogs “feeling clean and itch free,” which is echoed by more than a few reviewers. Aussies also rave about Essential Dog’s customer service.

Choose this if...

You need a soothing shampoo for your scratchy pup.

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Best for sensitive skin -> Dr Zoo Natural Calming Shampoo

Dr Zoo Natural Calming Shampoo

Dr Zoo Natural Calming Shampoo is a super-soothing pet wash from the folks behind MooGoo skincare. After discovering customers were using their sensitive skin products on furry friends, they developed the Dr Zoo range for animals. This natural shampoo is made in Australia, with ingredients you can actually pronounce like coconut, rice bran and aloe.

Dr Zoo Natural Calming Shampoo scores a full 5 stars from limited reviews on ProductReview.com.au. One reviewer likes that it doesn’t flare up their own eczema during canine bath time. They also rate the pump-bottle design, which makes it easier to dispense when you’re wrangling with a slippery dog.

Choose this if...

You and your dog both have sensitive skin.

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Best shampoo and conditioner -> Rufus & Coco 2 in 1 Oatmeal Wash

Rufus & Coco 2 in 1 Oatmeal Dog Wash

If you (or your dog) prefer shorter and sweeter bath times, Rufus & Coco 2 in 1 Oatmeal Wash is sure to please. With a 2 in 1 wash, there's no need for conditioner, which means minimal faffing about. We like that this hypoallergenic wash is pH balanced and soap free. It’s also suitable for puppies and dogs with dry or sensitive skin.

Aussies rate the Rufus & Coco 2 in 1 Oatmeal Wash nearly 5 stars from just over a handful of reviews on ProductReview.com.au. They say it lathers nicely despite being soap-free, rinses quickly and leaves coats glossy. At $15.95, not everyone is happy with the price, but on the plus side, it's made right here in Australia.

Choose this if...

You need a time-saving one-step wash solution.

Best dry shampoo -> FuzzYard’s Waterless Shampoo

FuzzYard’s Waterless Shampoo

Dry shampoo isn’t just a travel essential for humans. It’s also a time-saver for your furry pal's coat. FuzzYard’s Waterless Shampoo is a pH-balanced dog version made in Australia using natural ingredients like tangerine oil and aloe vera. 

FuzzYard's Waterless Shampoo is designed to freshen up your dog's coat. Dry shampoos aren't a substitute for doggie bath time, but this Waterless Shampoo is suitable for daily use, and makes brushing fur a breeze. We didn't find many reviews, but a couple of dog-lovers on Pet Circle score it 4.5 stars. 

Choose this if...

You want a dry shampoo for a fresh, citrus-scented doggo.

Frequently asked questions

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.

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