Skin itching can be a real problem for pups and their owners alike. Not only can furious scratching result in painful, bleeding patches and missing hair, but seeing your dog doing this on the regular will more than likely have everyone at the puppy park convinced that your darling Dood has nasty pests they’d be more than happy to pass on. While fleas and ticks can be one of the reasons for an itchy pooch (and is often the first conclusion owners jump to when they see scratching happening), it is by no means the only one. Here we’ll run through some of the more common canine skin conditions and the best shampoo for dogs with itchy skin.
Table of Contents
- Our Top 9 Best Shampoo for Dogs With Itchy Skin
- Why Some Dogs Suffer From Itchy Skin
- How The Right Shampoo Can Help
- Best Shampoo for Dogs With Itchy Skin: Buyer’s Guide
- Best Shampoo for Dogs With Itchy Skin: Reviews
- Other Ways To Banish The Itch
- Best Shampoo for Dogs With Itchy Skin: Frequently Asked Questions
- Final Thoughts
Our Top 9 Best Shampoo for Dogs With Itchy Skin
Our Top 9 Best Shampoo for Dogs With Itchy Skin
Here is the good stuff – our recommendations. Keep reading for further details on each, including top ingredients and what they work best for.
Zesty Paws Itch Soother Dog Shampoo with Oatmeal & Aloe Vera– Much-loved pet brand, Zesty Paws, has included the very best all-natural anti-itch ingredients in their vanilla beans scented shampoo for a clean, fresh, itch-free dog.
Vetnique Labs Dermabliss Medicated Anti-Itch & Allergy Relief Soothing Oatmeal Medicated Dog & Cat Shampoo– With the potent topical anesthetic pramoxine, Vetnique Labs’ shampoo alleviates itching fast, allowing your pup’s skin to heal, supported by soothing ingredients like safflower oil.
Douxo S3 PYO Antiseptic Antifungal Chlorhexidine Dog & Cat Shampoo– Medicated to fight against both bacteria and fungus, this excellent shampoo also contains ophytrium, which actively works to support the skin’s natural defense systems.
Dog Wash Oatmeal Itch Relief Dog Shampoo– For seasonal allergies and other minor skin irritations, you can’t go wrong with this oatmeal itch-relief shampoo which is gentle, pH balanced, and so perfect for regular use.
Veterinary Formula Clinical Care Antiparasitic & Antiseborrheic Dog Shampoo– Eliminate embarrassing (and, more importantly, irritating) dandruff for your pup with Veterinary Formula’s hydrating and anti-fungal formula that also wards off nasty pests.
TropiClean Medicated Oatmeal & Tea Tree Dog Shampoo– Bring the relaxing, soothing scents of the tropics to your home with this super itch-relief shampoo that is as effective at cleaning your pup as it is at diminishing skin soreness.
Vet’s Best Oatmeal Medicated Dog Shampoo– This super skin cleansing, vet-recommended medicated shampoo packs a powerful punch with top ingredients colloidal oatmeal, tea tree oil, vitamin B5, and salicylic acid.
Earthbath Oatmeal & Aloe Dog Shampoo– If you’re a limited ingredients fan (why wouldn’t you be?), we’ve got you and your extra-sensitive fur baby covered with Earthbath’s safe, trustworthy, and earth-friendly blend.
Veterinary Formula Clinical Care Antiseptic & Antifungal Shampoo– For something that packs an extra powerful punch against itchy skin of all kinds, look no further than this anti-fungal, antiseptic, antibacterial, totally-got-your-covered shampoo.
Why Some Dogs Suffer From Itchy Skin
Your dog’s skin is important. Not only does it help keep their insides…well on the inside, but it provides a protective barrier against infection, aids with temperature control, and maintains coat condition. However, in itself, skin is susceptible to certain problems, including hot spots, rashes, inflammation, and the most common symptom of most of these and more… intense scratching.
Licking and biting are also common signs of skin itching, as are bum scooting and frequent ear infections. This might be present in pups less prone to itching than their cousin canines. With excessive amounts of some of these, you’ll start noticing clumps of hair about the place as your dog does damage to areas of their skin. This won’t be ideal if you opted for a Doodle for their low-shed properties.
The fancy medical term for itchy skin is pruritus, and there can be many underlying causes. One of the biggest factors that will impact how much your hound does scratch is their ‘pruritic threshold’ – basically, how sensitive they are to the kind of environmental stimuli that causes skin irritation. It has to be said that Poodles, as a breed, are pretty sensitive, and this is something they often pass along to their Doodle offspring.
Not only can seasonal irritations be to blame, but Poodles have pretty tricky tummies too. Food sensitivities weirdly tend to manifest as skin itchiness – so diet is definitely something you’ll want to factor in. Golden Retrievers and Labrador Retrievers also tend to have skin that’s on the sensitive side. So if you have either a Goldendoodle or a Labradoodle, you’ll likely have double the trouble to contend with.
How The Right Shampoo Can Help
Once you’ve got to the bottom of why your pup is scratching themselves silly (this may entail a trip to the vet if you’ve already ruled out seasonal allergies and food issues), you’ll be looking for ways to soothe their troubled skin and keep it nice and hydrated too. Shampoo can be great for both. The best shampoo for dogs with itchy skin are specifically designed formulas have been created from ingredients that keep skin soft, supple, and scratch-free. They can also help reduce any resultant shedding while keeping your best friend clean and smelling great too.
Best Shampoo for Dogs With Itchy Skin: Buyer’s Guide
The good and bad news is that there are plenty of products on the market aimed at tackling persistent scratching. With many options, you’re more likely to find one that works for your dog and you. However, sorting the wheat from the chafe can be a real headache, especially when you’ve never had a dog before and don’t know where to start. While most brands will promise you the earth, but the ingredients list is where you should start. Gentle, all-natural ones that will help include:
Used for centuries to calm aggrieved skin, colloidal oatmeal is ground from the kernels of oats. Not only does it provide a layer of protection against potential irritants, but it also binds to the skin locking in moisture and giving it a chance to rehydrate. Anti-inflammatory properties work against painful redness and swelling, and it helps to rebalance the skin’s natural pH level. This is seriously good stuff!
Most frequently applied to treat sunburn, it makes perfect sense that aloe vera features highly on the list of skin-soothing plant extracts. Calming, moisturizing, and cooling, aloe not only provides instant relief to red, burning, and painful skin, but the fact that it helps lock in moisture aids in quick healing and makes the skin stronger and more able to protect itself against irritants in the future too.
An anti-inflammatory agent, vitamin E is another excellent addition to an anti-itch shampoo. Skincare experts refer to this as the “workhorse of vitamins” for its many beneficial properties. It acts as both a humectant (to absorb water into the skin) and an emollient (to trap moisture in the skin). Beyond that, it combats free radical skin damage protecting the skin, and even assists in cellular restoration. Amazing!
If you’re looking for something with a bit more kick, keep your eyes peeled for salicylic acid (for exfoliation), chlorhexidine (an antiseptic), micronized sulfur (for treating fungus), and concentrated pyrethrins (to kill fleas and ticks). Many of these can be found in specific medicated shampoos. Meanwhile, you’ll want to avoid all kinds of sulfates, parabens, DEA & BPA, artificial fragrances and dyes, and especially human shampoo.
A critical difference between human and dog skin lies in the pH balance. Anything designed for us will be slightly more acidic (5.5) to suit the quality of our skin and will be very drying to a canine’s more neutral (7) makeup. Dog skin is also typically thinner than human skin (after all, they are protected by hair too). So, it tends to be more sensitive than ours and can react badly to harsh chemicals in people’s shampoo.
Best Shampoo for Dogs With Itchy Skin: Reviews
Best For Every Dog: Zesty Paws Itch Soother Dog Shampoo with Oatmeal & Aloe Vera
If you’re looking for a great shampoo to maintain the skin health of your sometimes overly scratchy four-legged friend, we have a treat for you! Zesty Paws deliver the best of all worlds (when it comes to dog shampoo, at least) with their skin-soothing blend, which contains oatmeal for moisture, aloe vera to calm, and the antioxidant vitamin E for excellent protection against free radical damage. The result? Clean, healthy skin and hair.
Reviews for this fab shampoo are excellent, with 93% of purchasers saying they would recommend the product to a friend. The consensus seems to be that it lathers well, so you don’t need to use too much (meaning it lasts a long time), smells great (but not overpowering), and leaves dogs dandruff free and strokably soft. One happy customer even goes on to say that it’s the “best dog shampoo [they] have ever used!”
A great shampoo that’s a good all-rounder as it washes well and leaves behind a subtle but pleasant fragrance, as well as tackling itchiness.
There are quite a few ingredients here compared with most of the others on our list. Extra sensitive pup parents might need to proceed with caution.
Best For Instant Action: Vetnique Labs Dermabliss Medicated Anti-Itch & Allergy Relief Soothing Oatmeal Medicated Dog & Cat Shampoo
Veterinarian-recommended and clinically tested is exactly what you want to be looking for in a medicated shampoo. And this one comes with honors (and great reviews too). While safflower seed oil and oat extract provide all the soothing and conditioning action your poor pup’s skin needs, pramoxine is the real champion. This temporarily numbs the skin for instant relief from maddening itchiness that your hound will appreciate no end.
According to pet parent purchasers of this product, it really does live up to the hype. With one declaring that “It’s worth every penny” and more than 8% of reviewers backing that up, we know we’re on to a good thing here. Other helpful comments are that the shampoo suds up very nicely for a soap-free formula meaning only a tiny amount is needed, and leaves coats soft, shiny, and smelling great – not at all ‘medicated.’
A mild yet effective shampoo that is perfect if you are looking for something that will get to work right away without stripping your pet’s natural oils.
While the natural ingredients are great, some chemicals on that list could further irritate a truly sensitive mutt.
Best For Boosting Skin Health: Douxo S3 PYO Antiseptic Antifungal Chlorhexidine Dog & Cat Shampoo
Another medicated pick, this one focused on the nasty causes of skin problems (if they be fungal or bacterial) rather than on simply treating the symptoms; Douxo is another firm favorite. Active ingredient chlorhexidine is a disinfectant and antiseptic used for skin disinfection. Still, ophytrium is the surprise contender as a natural ingredient that helps maintain the mechanical skin barrier and preserves vital microbial flora.
Sure, reviews are a little more mixed on this one – but for those, it works for it REALLY works for them. Beyond that, vets recommend it highly, so it must be doing something right. Issues could be down to the amount of time it needs to be left on to become effective (it can be tough to keep your pal from licking or rubbing themselves for ten whole minutes). It’s also at the higher end of the price spectrum so…
Ophytrium seems to be an ingredient to keep an eye on in skin care, and this shampoo does seem to do very well with more severe skin allergy cases.
Pricy, trickier to use, and seemingly with a poorly designed pump, some customers are definitely displeased with the new version of this product.
Best For Frequent Use: Dog Wash Oatmeal Itch Relief Dog Shampoo
Exfoliation, moisturization, and skin repair action with a ph-balanced formula with a long-lasting fragrance – sound good? We think so too. Dog Wash is an under-the-radar brand in pet care, but this is a solid product. Featuring powerful ingredients like colloidal oatmeal, green tea, baking soda, and wheat protein, this shampoo cleans, removes odor, and strengthens hair. Even better, it’s soap and parabens, so it won’t dry your pup out.
As you might expect, there are fewer reviews for this “amazing shampoo” than most of the others featured here. However, the ones that are there are raves. Not only do they report it leaving their pet clean and fresh with soft, slick fur and far less itching, but it lasts a long time and smells super good too. Why not take a chance on a new product – especially at this price? You never know; you might find something great.
A newbie shampoo that seems to do it all, plus how good would that bottle look sitting on the bathtub – but really?
As the shampoo is less established (with far fewer reviews), you would be taking a chance on a new product.
Best For Dry, Flaky Skin: Veterinary Formula Clinical Care Antiparasitic & Antiseborrheic Dog Shampoo
The first of our two Veterinary Formula picks, and a good one too, this medicated shampoo is perfect for dealing with dry, flaky skin – especially the kind caused by parasitic infections. As a vet-strength product, you can be confident that it will do just what it says. The wholesome natural remedies, alongside those excellent active ingredients (oatmeal and allantoin), target both the symptoms and the cause.
With review tags like “satisfaction,” “healthy,” “longevity,” and “relief,” you can pretty much get the gist of how the pet parent comments go. This shampoo seems effective even in the more extreme cases – in some instances, even more effective than other vet-recommended products! Most buyers have noticed “drastic changes” even from the first few washes, and one refers to it as a ‘miracle worker” for their dog.
A simple ingredient list of both chemical and natural ingredients that have been proven to work on itchy, parasite-damaged skin.
Again, some of the active chemicals in the formula may be too strong for some and irritate highly sensitive skin.
Best For Eliminating Odor: TropiClean Medicated Oatmeal & Tea Tree Dog Shampoo
If you’ve got one of those mucky pups – you know the kind we mean, always on the go, always finding the best way to get seriously covered in mud – then this one might be the best of the bunch for you. Alongside oatmeal and tea tree to cover the itch relief quotient of the shampoo, there are a whole host of yummy-sounding ingredients (chamomile, aloe, pomegranate, kiwi, yucca, coconut, and papaya) to leave your dog “smelling irresistible.”
One of the biggest issues with not-quite-so-well-reviewed anti-itching shampoos is that they work well for one thing and neglect every other doggy issue. That’s certainly not the case with TropiClean’s offering, and it doesn’t surprise us at all. This brand has long been a firm favorite in the Doodle community with its deliciously-scented products that don’t just mask canine odors but actually lift them away and wash them right down the drain.
A mild soap-free cleansing shampoo made from natural extracts and derivatives that does exactly what it says it will (so say the reviews, and so say us).
A little more natural than medicated, this shampoo will soothe but can’t deal with drastic problems the way other products on this list can.
Best For Deep Cleaning: Vet’s Best Oatmeal Medicated Dog Shampoo
Crafted to help eliminate dandruff, tighten pores, and stimulate the skin as per the top ingredients: oatmeal, tea tree oil, vitamin B5, and salicylic acid, this is likely the deepest cleaning formula here. This makes it perfect for dealing with the dirt-magnet Poodle coat (which goes double if they are on the light side). With a quick lather and massage, it will penetrate right to the root of your pet’s hair, finding and washing away pesky allergens.
“Great dandruff shampoo” that’s effective after just a couple of uses seems to be the biggest message from Chewy’s comments section. This shampoo seems great for dealing with generally dry and flaky skin (something that many dogs can suffer from, especially in the colder winter months). Customers also agree that the shampoo smells great and rinses cleanly, taking everything away with it.
The best of many worlds (medicated and natural ingredients) for great cleaning at a reasonable price.
Particularly coarse, wiry, or dense coats will benefit from a softening conditioner to add back in a little of the hydration the shampoo can remove.
Best For Sensitive Souls: Earthbath Oatmeal & Aloe Dog & Cat Shampoo
Another beloved brand to benefit Doodles, Earthbath is a joy not just for its epically scented products but for its cruelty-free, eco-friendly approach to business. Their vanilla and almond blend is another soap-free, oatmeal and aloe vera mix with no parabens and phosphates but a beneficial mix of vitamins and plant extracts. It even contains moisturizing aging allantoin, which reduces skin irritation and scarring.
The reviews (alongside the ingredients) are why we chose this as our extra-sensitive pick. It seems gentle enough for even the most ‘pruritic’ pup, and the lovely scent comes only from the natural mix of ‘trusted’ ingredients. There are absolutely no harsh chemicals or potential allergens to be found here, yet it makes cleaning dogs and keeping their hair all soft and shiny absolutely effortless.
A good pick from a well-known brand. If your pet is likely too sensitive for medicated shampoos, this will be the right one for you.
There’s some debate on the fragrance, with some loving it and others not so much. Either way, this one likely won’t do the trick for, especially stinky guys and gals.
Best For Fighting Infection: Veterinary Formula Clinical Care Antiseptic & Antifungal Shampoo
Last but not least, as they say, our second Veterinary Formula shampoo. Unlike the first one, which focused more on fleas and their itchy bites, this one is aimed at reducing symptoms of bacterial and yeast infections. Formulated with benzethonium chloride, a topical antimicrobial agent, and ketoconazole, an antiandrogen, and antifungal medication, this shampoo is good for dealing with the really big gun skin problems.
“This shampoo is a game-changer for itch relief,” says the first review, and others agree that this is a great product. Despite being a medicated shampoo, it’s “very pleasant to use” with a subtle, fresh scent. It is perfect for Doodles “working well with their curls,” especially the more boisterous ones constantly in and out of water. This is where they are likely to pick up such infections in the first place.
A great shampoo for clearing up infections when used as directed (left on for an appropriate amount of time), yet it’s still gentle enough not to cause further upset.
It might not be easy to keep your active hound still enough for long enough to give the shampoo a chance to get to work!
Other Ways To Banish The Itch
While shampoo is a definite step in the right direction when it comes to dealing with your dog’s scratching problem, there are a few other steps you can take to speed up the process and keep your pup in tip-top shape in the process:
Avoid Environmental Triggers
If allergens are at the route of your and your pup’s pain (your vet can help you determine this and what the problem might be), then avoiding these is the best way to avoid nasty skin fare ups. Dust, pollens, grasses, and cold are all common culprits, although some are more easily avoided than others. You might consider giving your babs a clean with a dry shampoo or doggy wipe when you come back from a walk – just in case.
Find The Right Food – Allergies & Nutrition
As mentioned above, food sensitivities can be at the root of skin issues, and chicken can be especially bothersome to some dogs. It might also be the case that the kibble you have chosen contains filler ingredients that can cause problems for Poodle relatives. Check out our reviews for the best foods for Doodles for more healthful alternatives. You might also consider supplementing your pet’s food with omega 3 and 6 oil for skin health.
Check For Bacteria and Parasites
Mites might not be to blame for your pet’s woes, but they very well could be, especially if your guy or gal spends a lot of time with other dogs at the park. Just because you can’t see signs of anything doesn’t mean they’re not there. It might be worth giving a flea and tick treatment a go, just in case. After all, when it comes to pests, prevention is always the best policy.
Avoid Washing Too Often
While the right shampoo can do wonders for the health of your pup’s skin and coat, over-bathing can be counterproductive for keeping their skin in good nick. Once a month should be more than enough for most Doods to get by on. If you are dealing with a mud-loving hound, you can again make use of dry shampoos and doggy wipes as needed. These are far more forgiving than even the gentlest of soap-free regular shampoos.
Best Shampoo for Dogs With Itchy Skin: Frequently Asked Questions
Dogs can take to scratching for any number of reasons, and just because you can’t catch sight of any fleas or anything else that might be causing it doesn’t mean you should ignore this behavior. Too much digging can cause serious harm to your pet’s skin and coat. Don’t despair. There are plenty of products out there to help.
Shampoos are a good stepping-off point, and being topical, there are fewer risks associated with using them. Beyond that, specially blended formulas contain beneficial ingredients that soothe, nourish and protect. So, not only can they help with the itch, but they can boost overall skin and hair health too.
While, like us, most dogs get a bit itchy from time to time, constant scratching is generally a sign of an underlying problem. The first step is to try and identify any problem areas – signs of insect bites, red patches, dry, flaky skin or redness, and inflammation. What you see (and when e.g., a certain time of year) should provide clues about the behavior.
Doodles, as is the case with their Poodle parents, too, can often have issues with an overly sensitive stomach. You might find that certain ingredients in their wet food or kibble are causing problems for their skin. Common canine allergens include chicken, wheat, beef, oats, dairy, corn, and rice. The better quality dog foods will have far fewer of these.
Most dogs only really require a once-a-month bath. If you start washing them any more than this (even with a top-quality shampoo), you could interfere with the pH balance of their skin or wash away the protective oils that their skin naturally produces. Waterless shampoos or dog wipes are a good alternative if your dog starts to whiff a bit in between.
Scratching is a common complaint from dog owners, and few would want their darling Dood suffering from inflamed, irritated, and itchy skin. That’s why finding the right shampoo can be a game changer for both of you – but it isn’t easy. First, you want to try and figure out why your mutt is suddenly so bothered by itchy skin; then, you’ll want to make sure the product you pick out doesn’t contain ingredients that exacerbate the problem. The shampoos included on this list are all great options. To further narrow things down, we have included some helpful advice detailing what each can be used for. Hopefully, you’ll be able to come up with the right solution for your pet.
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