You brought home a new furry friend who’s just a few weeks old, and now they’re exploring the outdoors — and bringing dirt and grime inside with them. So, you need to give your puppy a bath.
It can be a difficult task finding a puppy shampoo that works best for you and your pup, but we’ve done all the work for you, so you can just read through our list of reviews to see which one seems like the best fit.
Not all products will work for your puppy, however, so it may be necessary to try a few out. To make the process easier, we have also laid out a buyer’s guide to help you find a great shampoo for your puppy.
A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites in 2022
The 9 Best Puppy Shampoos
1. HONEYDEW Oatmeal Puppy Shampoo – Best Overall
We rated this Honeydew Puppy Shampoo the best overall because it is made from genuine, all-natural ingredients, making it great for a puppy’s sensitive skin. Although it is unscented, it does have lavender essential oil in the formula, which basically helps calm your puppy while in the bath. This particular formula is vet recommended because it cleanses and conditions while helping relieve skin allergies and irritations. It is also tear-free, which means it won’t sting if it comes in contact with their eyes.
As mentioned, it is unscented, so although it neutralizes odors, it doesn’t provide a “fresh” scent. It’s also possible that it can cause dandruff on some dogs.
2. Burt’s Bees 2-in-1 Puppy Shampoo & Conditioner – Best Value
Burt’s Bees is known for providing high-quality, natural products, and this one also happens to be rated the best value on our list. It is less expensive than many other doggie shampoos and soothes and softens the dog’s skin and fur while cleaning it with natural, high-quality ingredients. It is also pH balanced specifically for dogs and puppies, which helps recalibrate their skin’s oil balance as needed. This formula is also tear-free.
As with most natural soaps/shampoos, it is a little difficult to lather up, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t working. It also doesn’t provide long-term odor protection, as it wears off after a day or two. Honeydew’s formula contains colloidal oatmeal, which is proven to reduce irritation and redness. The Burt’s Bees does not have this specific ingredient, which makes it less effective in treating skin conditions.
3. PET CARE Sciences Puppy Shampoo – Premium Choice
The Pet Care Sciences Puppy Shampoo is a professional-grade shampoo used by some groomers due to its nice smell and the soft condition it leaves puppies’ fur. It is naturally derived and contains gentle ingredients like oatmeal and coconut oil. It has a nice gentle coconut scent.
The main drawback is that it is more expensive than other shampoos for the size you receive. It also contains “fragrance” in the ingredient list, which is an umbrella word used to cover not-so-natural ingredients without having to list them out. It also says that it is “tear-free,” but any formula with “fragrance” can actually cause irritation if it comes in contact with the eyes.
4. Oster Oatmeal Essentials Puppy Shampoo
The Oster Oatmeal Essentials Shampoo has a gentle formula made from mostly all-natural ingredients, including oatmeal, which is good for calming skin irritation. It has a baby powder scent that quite nicely covers any wet dog smell that may occur after bathing. It’s a gentle odor, not overpowering.
Although it says that it is “tear-free,” it can actually cause eye irritation due to fragrance being added to the formula, as well as other ingredients that may not be the gentlest. This product doesn’t make it into our top three puppy shampoos because although it does work as a cleanser/conditioner, it does not provide the same additional benefits.
5. Wahl 820002T Gentle Puppy Shampoo
The Wahl Gentle Puppy Shampoo lives up to its name as being a gentle shampoo. It lathers up nicely, and you only need a small amount to get the most out of it. This product is also sometimes used by professional groomers because the bottles last a long time.
Although it claims to be an “allergy-friendly” formula, it can actually cause eye irritation and allergic reactions in some dogs. It may be specific ingredients that cause this reaction, however. If your dog isn’t affected by possible irritants in this product, it will give your puppy a gentle cleanse.
6. PET HEAD Fun Tearless Shampoo for Puppies
Pet Head is the doggie version of haircare brand Bed Head, a company that prides itself on its fun product names and ability to make shampoo seem more interesting. This product is tear-free and most likely won’t cause any eye irritation. A distinguishing feature of this product is the orange scent, which is nice and different from other shampoos that smell like baby powder or cucumber. This product is also free from harsh chemicals, which is good at preventing irritation and redness.
The packaging isn’t the greatest. The top doesn’t protect against leaks well, and it can get messy, especially if you order it online. Also, it is just a shampoo, so you need to have a conditioning product on hand as well to keep your dog’s coat shiny and soft. Another drawback is that the smell isn’t the best for a dog shampoo, especially since it doesn’t neutralize odors but just adds the scent on top of it.
7. BioSilk FF7115 Puppy Tearless Shampoo
The Biosilk Tearless Puppy Shampo is similar to the human-grade BioSilk formula, though it does not work quite as well on pups. It has a decent flowery, jasmine scent, but that’s probably its best quality.
It requires a liberal amount to make it worthwhile, which is not value-conscious. It can also cause irritation and itchiness, as it does not include ingredients like oatmeal or aloe, which are proven to relieve skin irritations. Its main function is to cleanse and condition, which it does, but it is not the best choice compared to others with the same purpose.
8. SynergyLabs Puppy Tearless Shampoo
Synergy is used by professional groomers because it is affordable and cleanses well.
However, it does contain potentially harmful ingredients. There is plenty of information online about how some of the listed ingredients can have negative effects on dogs’ health. Because of the low-quality ingredients, it can cause allergic reactions. It also doesn’t have an appealing fragrance, and the packaging could definitely be better.
9. Martha Stewart 2-in-1 Puppy Shampoo
The Martha Stewart 2 in 1 Shampoo does, in fact, do its job and works as a cleanser and conditioner for puppies. It also has a gentle grapefruit scent that does smell pretty good.
As number nine on our list, it does have a few drawbacks, including the fact that it claims to have natural ingredients, but there are a few not-natural ingredients that can be harmful or cause skin or eye irritations. It is also not safe for ingestion. Puppies will lick anything, especially water in the tub or soap on their skin, so the fact that it is not safe for ingestion is a cause for concern. It also does not have the high-quality ingredients to specifically soothe skin irritation and dryness. In general, this product does not contain as many benefits as other shampoos on our list.
Buyer’s Guide: How to Select the Best Puppy Shampoo
When shopping for the best puppy shampoos, there are types of dog shampoos for different conditions, like whitening shampoo for dogs with white fur, for example. In the same way, there are specific shampoos best suited for puppies. A good puppy shampoo is gentle, “tear-free,” and contains primarily all-natural ingredients, like oatmeal, aloe, and coconut oil, to soothe their sensitive skin.
Choosing a shampoo with natural ingredients is important because dogs aren’t used to putting chemicals on or in their bodies. Humans encounter many more harsh chemicals and unnatural ingredients than animals do, so we are not affected as much when we come into contact with them. Puppies are new to the world and need the gentlest ingredients to keep their skin and fur healthy. Such ingredients will always be natural ones, including oatmeal, aloe, and coconut oil, among others.
Many products claim to be “tear-free,” which means that the formula will not cause irritation if it comes in contact with the eyes. Because puppies are squirmy, they are more likely to get the shampoo in their eyes or mouths, so it’s important to choose a truly tear-free shampoo. Not all formulas work the same, but you can usually trust that products with natural ingredients will be tear-free.
Scented or Unscented?
Scented shampoos have their benefits and drawbacks. If it is scented due to natural ingredients, it is probably fine, but you have to be wary if you look at the ingredient list and see the word “fragrance.” This is a catch-all term that can refer to harsh chemicals without having to list them outright. Scented shampoos can also just add a scent without neutralizing or deodorizing your dog, defeating the purpose of having a scent altogether. Still, scented shampoos can be good if they neutralize odors in addition to adding a gentle scent.
Unscented shampoos are the safest option, as they most likely will not contain “fragrance” in their ingredient list. Make sure they at least neutralize odors because otherwise, your dog will be clean from dirt and grime but still sport an unpleasant smell.
Some puppies need to be bathed more often than others, and that just depends on their breed. Dogs with longer, thicker fur will need to be bathed more often than dogs with short hair. It also depends on how active they are and how much time they spend outdoors. Puppies usually do not need a bath prior to six weeks old. After that, you can give them their first bath. Make sure to make it a fun, peaceful experience, so they know that it is not something to dread in the future.
Other Grooming Products
There are grooming products available that work in conjunction with shampoo, like deodorizing sprays and paw and nose wax. You can consider such products if you feel like they’re necessary, but most puppies do not need these.
Puppies require the gentle care that comes from gentle products. The key to finding a great puppy shampoo is considering the quality of ingredients. There are many products that make big promises, but we have always found the simplest products to yield the best results.
Just like most facets of life, if you keep a product whole and simple, there is less risk of being negatively affected by it. This is why we chose HONEYDEW Colloidal Oatmeal Puppy Shampoo as the overall best puppy shampoo, due to being vet recommended and tear-free, and Burt’s Bees FF4775 Puppies Tearless 2 in 1 Shampoo as the best shampoo for the value, as well as the high-quality natural ingredients.
We hope that we have given you enough information to help educate you in the process of choosing a good shampoo and that these are ones that you and your puppy try and love.
Featured Image Credit: liilxliil, Pixabay