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Do Dogs Need Conditioner? What Does It Do for Them?

Hallie Roddy

By Hallie Roddy

chihuahua bath_Shutterstock_Studio217

Anyone who owns a canine knows how messy these animals can get. Whether they sit in the mud, roll in something foul, or are simply shedding more as the seasons change, every dog needs a bath from time to time. It’s no question that shampoo is necessary for grooming them, but is conditioner something that needs to get used as well?

Some dog owners and professional groomers swear by conditioner. While that’s great for certain breeds, others might not benefit from it. Conditioner isn’t a necessity for all dogs. However, some dogs do benefit from it while others don’t.

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The Benefits of Dog Conditioner

Before we jump into all the factors to consider when shopping for a dog conditioner, it is important to understand that it can be beneficial for some pets. Dog shampoo is used to clean your dog’s coat, but it doesn’t perform the same actions as a conditioner. Shampoo alone can leave your dog’s skin and fur feeling dry and tangled. Dog conditioner is generally used to soothe, shine, and detangle skin and fur. It is also helpful for fixing matted hair. But, again, this is only ideal for some dogs and might leave others with a greasy, heavy coat.

Do Dogs Need Conditioner?

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel dog standing on grass
Image Credit: BIGANDT.COM, Shutterstock

There are a few things to consider when asking yourself if your dog would benefit from a conditioning treatment.

1. Fur Length

Dogs with longer hair often benefit from using both shampoo and conditioner. These types of coats become more easily tangled and are more prone to matting. Conditioning their locks makes brushing them easier and less painful after they get out of the bath. It also adds a bit of shine to their coats.


2. Skin Type

If your dog suffers from dry, itchy skin, then conditioner might help to soothe any pain that they’re experiencing. Those who opt for a conditioner should look for soap-free recipes since it could cause further inflammation. Look for key ingredients like aloe and oatmeal that are natural and proven to soothe dogs with even the most sensitive skin types.

golden retriever dog relax on the hay bale
Image Credit: SasaStock, Shutterstock

3. Bathing Frequency

Washing your dog too much can make their coat start to dry out. If you give your dog a lot of baths, conditioner is one way to bring moisture back into their hair. If you have a dog with oily skin you might want to refrain from conditioners because it could make their hair feel greasy and heavy.

Hepper oatmeal pet shampoo green background

Keeping your pet's skin and coat clean and healthy is very important, but finding a great shampoo can be harder than the actual grooming! We love our Hepper Colloidal Oatmeal Pet Shampoo because it makes grooming so much easier. This pH-balanced formula is made with natural ingredients like oatmeal, cucumber, and aloe. It's free of phthalates, sulfates, and soaps and very gentle on your pet's skin.


4. Behavior During Bathtime

Not every dog enjoys taking a bath and might find the experience distressing. Dogs that truly hate bath time might be better off skipping the conditioner. The less time they spend in a stressful state, the better.

golden retriever bathtime
Image By: MPH Photos, Shutterstock

Is Human Conditioner Safe for Dogs?

You should never use your own conditioner, or any other type of conditioner for humans, on a pet. Our bath products are often composed of an entirely different chemical makeup. Dogs also have different hair and skin than humans, with varying pH levels. Therefore, using human products on dogs could cause more irritation and pH imbalances. Instead, opt for a conditioner that is designed for dogs specifically. Always check the ingredients list to ensure that there are no soaps, dyes, preservatives, or other artificial ingredients that could cause inflammation.Divider 7

Final Thoughts

Whether your dog loves or hates bath time, all dogs need to be cleaned from time to time. We often rely on shampoo to do the cleaning but might not be sure about using conditioner on them. In short, whether or not you should use conditioner on your pets depends on the individual. Conditioner tends to be best for dogs with long hair that is prone to tangles and dryer skin types.

If you’re still unsure, try using a conditioner on your dog and see if you notice a difference after the first use. If their coat seems shinier, smoother, and healthier, then it might be wise to use conditioner every once in a while.


Featured Image Credit: Studio217, Shutterstock

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