Our Favorite: Burt’s Bees Tearless Puppy Shampoo with Buttermilk for Dogs
Why We Choose It:
- 97% Natural.
- Cruelty free.
- Formulated without sulfates or colorants.
- pH balanced for pets.
- Made with buttermilk.
You’ve just brought home your furry friend, and, of course, you want to provide her with all the best – the best food, the best vet care, and the best shampoo. You might be surprised to find that not all dog shampoos are created alike! There are several criteria to choosing a shampoo that is healthy for your new fur baby. In fact, choosing the right shampoo for your puppy ranks right up there with choosing the right food for Fido!
The Best Puppy Shampoos of 2021
Let’s take a look at the best puppy shampoos currently on the market. We’ve looked at some of the top sellers, and we’ve ranked them based on not only their ability to clean but also the shampoo’s ability to keep your dog healthy and happy.
For our money, the best puppy shampoo on the market today is the Burt’s Bees Tearless Puppy Shampoo with Buttermilk.
Our Favorite: Burt’s Bees Tearless Puppy Shampoo with Buttermilk for Dogs
- 97% natural
- Will not wash away flea and tick treatments
- PH balanced especially for the needs of dogs
- Contains no colorants or sulfates that can be harmful to your pet’s skin
- Is not completely natural
- Pet parents must read instructions on flea and tick treatments to ensure they are not washing the treatment away
When choosing a shampoo, one wants to steer clear of brightly colored, highly fragranced products that only claim to be natural. Burt’s Bees Tearless Puppy Shampoo with Buttermilk uses natural ingredients that will not dry out your puppy’s skin or cause possible skin reactions. This product uses not only buttermilk but honey to prevent dry skin, flakes, and reactions to the shampoo. The only drawback to the product is the fact that owners must make sure they aren’t washing the puppy too soon after a topical flea and tick treatment.
The fact that this product does not contain sulfates and parabens is a boon to puppy parents. Often, these preservatives and artificial chemicals will do great harm to a dog’s skin, causing them to itch and possibly develop a rash or hot spots. The buttermilk and honey will not only cleanse your puppy’s fur but keep it soft and shiny. Finally, this product is fragrance-free, so you won’t have to worry about possible reactions to the chemicals in fragrance.
The Cleanser That’s Not a Soap: Earthbath Ultra-Mild Puppy Shampoo and Conditioner, Wild Cherry
- A soap-free cleanser that is good for puppies over six weeks of age
- Uses natural ingredients
- No parabens or phosphates that could irritate puppy’s skin
- Can be used with topical flea treatments
- Some customers say the smell is too light
- Some users found it to be pricey
This product is touted as one that “keeps your (furry) pal smell as sweet as a brand new puppy.” At first glance, the idea of fragrance was a tad worrisome. Often, companies will market a dog shampoo as all-natural but will add chemicals to create a fragrance; these chemicals may make Fido smell like a brand new puppy, but they may irritate his skin too. However, the great news is this product uses cherry essence – which is basically an extract of fragrance from real cherries.
There are some pet parents who lament that the smell doesn’t linger or is light; however, this is actually something you want in a puppy shampoo. Natural fragrances tend to be very light and may not last long at all on your fur baby.
We also like that this is a soap-free cleanser. The cleaning agents in the shampoo are derived from coconut-based cleansers and other renewable plants. There are vitamins included as well as aloe vera to soothe your puppy’s skin.
Overall, this natural cleanser will get Fido clean without damaging his skin or drying it out. His coat will be soft and shiny as well!
An All-Natural Claim You Can Trust: TropiClean Hypo-Allergenic Gentle Coconut Puppy & Kitten Shampoo
- Cleans your pup’s fur without stripping his natural oils
- No soaps, parabens, or artificial colors
- Suitable for pups with sensitive skin
- Specifically made for puppy’s skin
- Can have an effect on topical flea and tick treatments
- Might be considered a little pricey
When shopping for a puppy shampoo, you truly have to do your homework and know how to spot chemicals and preservatives in the product. Just because a shampoo claims to be all-natural does not mean it truly is! However, when you look at the ingredient list for this Tropiclean Hypoallergenic Gentle Coconut Puppy and Kitten Shampoo, you don’t see any artificial additives – making it truly all-natural.
Like many other puppy shampoos mentioned in this article, this shampoo contains no soap or added fragrance. However, in the list of ingredients, there is mention of a “coconut cleanser.” However, this shampoo is formulated to be so mild, anything possibly added to increase the lathering potential of this product is likely safe for your dog.
Another positive note – this shampoo can be used for older dogs as well.
Great for Getting Rid of “Dog” Odors: Nature’s Miracle Supreme Odor Control Natural Puppy Shampoo & Conditioner
- Removes odors from your dog, even that “dog” smell
- A 4 in 1 shampoo and conditioner product
- Safe to use with topical flea and tick treatments
- Contains no dyes or parabens
- Uses natural Coconut Surfactant as a cleanser
- Some owners’ pups had a reaction to the product
This product prides itself on being able to eliminate a wide variety of odors from your dog’s coat and skin. This product contains no parabens or artificial dyes; however, an ingredients list was not readily available for the product. The 4 in 1 product claims to provide the enhanced softness of your dog’s hair, a reduction in static electricity in your pet’s coat, and a long-lasting clean.
After reading through reviews, this writer found only one review in which a reaction was mentioned. This is not very concerning— we don’t know if the puppy involved had recently had some type of topical treatment or if the puppy had an allergic reaction to something else in the environment. Therefore, although there is the mention of one pup’s reaction, your dog is not likely to experience the same. You should feel safe using this product on your puppy. The product is safe for your dog’s eyes and it provides a “spring waters” scent that will help your puppy to smell rather pleasant.
From a Trusted Brand: Oster Oatmeal Essentials Gentle Puppy Shampoo
- No dyes, no parabens, no phthalates
- Includes rosemary extract, humectants, and wheat protein
- Safe to use with flea and tick topical treatments
- Contains oatmeal, which soothes your puppy’s skin
- Uses thickening agents
- Uses fragrance
While Oster has a name you recognize and trust, this product is not all-natural. A quick look at the ingredients shows added fragrance (a big no-no for dog’s skin) as well as added “thickening agents” – likely chemicals meant to make the shampoo look, well, like a shampoo.
Even so, the product got raving kudos from users. It is a gentle product, and most dogs had no reaction to anything in the shampoo.
This product contains some really great ingredients too! The presence of oatmeal means your pup’s skin will be not only cleansed but also soothed. The wheat protein and rosemary extract work to make your puppy’s skin soft as well as her fur. There is a “baby powder” scent to the product, which is pleasing to the pet parent as well.
This product is offered at a great price, and it works well with topical flea and tick treatments.
Frizz-Reducing Technology for Your Pup: CHI Tearless Puppy Shampoo
- No parabens, no sulfates, tearless shampoo
- Adds moisture to the skin of your puppy
- Uses ionic technology
- Safe for young puppies
- Can affect your puppy’s flea and tick treatment
- Contains cleansing “agents”
If you love CHI products for your hair, then certainly you’ll want to offer your fur baby the chance to have soft, silky hair too! CHI has created a tearless puppy shampoo that will not irritate your spunky pup’s eyes. Most of the ingredients are natural, however, there are “mild cleansing agents” and “fragrances” included on the list of ingredients. This means that the puppy shampoo is NOT all-natural.
However, there ARE a lot of great natural ingredients in the CHI puppy shampoo. Extracts of chamomile, as well as proteins from milk, soy, honey, and aloe vera, will add to the health of your puppy’s coat and skin.
One great characteristic of this puppy shampoo – this shampoo is great for even young puppies. Therefore, if Fido happens to get dirty prior to his six-week birthday, you can safely bathe him.
Promises a Day at the Spa for Fido: Rocco & Roxie Dog Shampoos
- Made for dogs with itchy, flaky skin
- Lots of natural ingredients that benefit Fido’s skin and fur
- No artificial colors, no artificial ingredients
- Claims to restore natural oils to your dog’s coat
- May affect topical flea and tick treatments
- Not 100% natural
The Rocco and Roxie Supply Company Dog Shampoo (“Soothe”) claims to be a day at the spa for Fido. This remains true even if Fido has been out swimming in the pond, rolling in the muddiest of puddles, digging the dirtiest of holes, or simply rolling in the grass. Rocco and Roxie claim their shampoo is specially formulated for dogs with “itchy, flaky skin,” and, true enough, most of the ingredients ARE known to be soothing to irritated skin. Of all the products reviewed on our list, only Rocco and Roxie utilize olive oil extract as well as oat extract.
This product also utilizes shea butter, which they claim will coat the hair with moisture to make it not only softer but also fully nourished. The rosemary extract is intended to provide stimulation to the hair follicles, which should bring itchy, flaky skin back to smooth, healthy skin. Aloe Vera is intended to be a calming agent, causing the skin to become less irritated.
One great thing about the Rocco and Roxie product, there is absolutely no formaldehyde, no parabens, and no isopropyl alcohol in the product.
However, Rocco and Roxie claim that their product has “all of the good stuff, none of the bad.” We beg to differ just a little. The ingredient list shows that the product contains Surfactants, stabilizers (we’re not even sure which chemicals make up that ingredient), and opacifier as well as “mango fragrance” – and, mind you, that’s not mango “essence,” which would be much more natural.
Although this is likely a very safe product for Fido, you should test out an area of his skin before fully bathing him in the shampoo. Should he show signs of irritation in that area, you know you can’t use this product for a bath shampoo.
The Truly All-Natural Dog Shampoo: 4Legger Organic Oatmeal Dog Shampoo with Aloe and Lavender Essential Oil
- Truly organic, featuring fair trade certified organic oils
- USDA certified organic
- Recommended by vets
- Uses essential oils that have not been altered in any way
- Highly concentrated, so using larger amounts is a waste
- Not a tearless shampoo
You’ve seen us mention the term all-natural, and you’ve noticed several mentions of choosing a shampoo with all-natural ingredients. The 4-Legger Organic Oatmeal actually uses no artificial ingredients whatsoever!
When you look at the product, you’ll notice it is almost a champagne color. This is indicative that the shampoo is actually free of dyes or artificial thickening agents— meaning it is truly a natural shampoo!
Any fragrances are from natural sources, and the essential oils have been derived from fruits and vegetables grown on a farm in the USA. Because it is USDA-certified organic, you can rest assured that there are no artificial ingredients, and no shortcuts were taken to bring you this product.
Furthermore, it is reasonably priced for a truly organic and all-natural product!
Veterinarian Approved: Veterinary Formula Solutions Puppy Love Shampoo
- PH balanced to protect a puppy’s coat
- Does not affect flea and tick treatments
- No sulfates, no DEAs
- Chock full of chemicals
- Fairly pricey and is not all-natural
This tearless shampoo is mild enough for puppies as young as six weeks of age, but, unfortunately, its ingredient list is chock full of chemicals that can harm your puppy. It does not wash away any topical flea and tick treatments you’ve used on Fido, however, which is a good selling point.
The product is meant to cleanse your puppy’s fur without drying out his skin. It is also formulated to keep his coat soft and healthy.
One definitive word of caution – this product contains Yellow #6, which can be highly detrimental to the health of your puppy!
How do I choose the right puppy shampoo?
Choosing the right puppy shampoo starts with turning the bottle over to check out the ingredients. It pays to learn what to look for in a puppy shampoo, as choosing a product with lots of chemicals could be detrimental to your puppy’s skin and coat health.
When you look at the list of ingredients, look for chemically-sounding names. Most of the shampoos on our list made a point to say there were no parabens or phthalates. At the same time, however, these were NOT all-natural shampoo products! Often, just because we don’t see words such as “stearate” or “hydroxelene,” we may assume these ingredients are all-natural.
Consider these two phrases pulled from a list of common dog shampoo ingredients – sodium lactate and propylene glycol. Sodium lactate is especially non-chemical in its appearance, but it is a non-natural chemical just the same. The same can be said for propylene glycol. Because they are chemicals compounds that result from two natural elements, animal cleaning product companies can get away with calling these shampoos all-natural when they truly aren’t.
Other ingredients to look for: thickening agent, fragrance, and the term “hydrolyzed.” Each of these terms listed means that the product you’re looking at DOES contain chemicals rather than genuinely all-natural products.
Once you’ve looked at the ingredients, open up the lid of the shampoo. If the liquid is thick (a truly all-natural product should be almost like liquid), if the product smells strong, or if the product is a bright pink, blue, or some other dyed color, then the product contains chemicals that could harm your fur baby’s skin and coat.
Another point to ponder, while reviewing products, this writer noticed some pet parents complaining over price. The more expensive products typically use more natural ingredients, and they can be more expensive than chemicals and fragrances. A word to the wise— it’s better to spend a little extra for a quality shampoo with natural ingredients rather than pay for expensive topical creams and vet visits should your puppy begin to experience skin issues from a chemically laced product.
How often should I bathe my puppy?
You might be surprised to find that puppies really don’t need bathing as much as you’d think. Dogs have natural oils in their skin that helps to keep their coats shiny and soft. If you wash your puppy too often, you will strip these natural oils away from your dog’s coat. This could actually lead to skin problems, and your dog’s coat will not look as good as if you allowed nature to take its course.
Bathing her once a month, and, for some breeds, bathing every six weeks to every eight weeks is plenty. Breeds that have a double coat or have curly coats may be washed as frequently as every three months.
Now, puppies are puppies, and they are bound to get some dirty situations. Of course, you should wash them as necessary when these things happen. However, making a habit of washing them weekly when they have not ventured off into a mud puddle or any other dirty situation can actually be detrimental to their health. Their skin may dry out, and they may develop hot spots from scratching or biting at the dry skin.
Tips on how to bathe your puppy
Bathing your puppy is actually part of training him. Dogs are funny creatures! Some dogs love bath time! They look at it as playtime with you. Dogs who have been groomed (properly) from a young age actually learn to enjoy being pampered during bath time. However, there are some dogs who, no matter how caked in mud his fur might be, will do anything to avoid a bath. Training your puppy at an early age and making sure bath time is something associated with positive memories is so important.
You can “socialize” your puppy to bathing by touching his ears, his legs and feet, and his belly with a damp washcloth when he is quite young (about four weeks). Go through the motions of cutting his nails, and drying him off with a towel. Try not to use any clippers or other equipment that make loud noises. These could scare your puppy, and if he associates noisy, scary machinery with bath time, he’ll balk at actual bath time.
First, introduce your puppy to the bath gently, and make a positive experience out of it. Make sure the bathwater is just warm enough (remember, the dog’s body temperature is naturally higher than ours; you don’t want it too hot or he could overheat). Make a game of it. Gently run water over him. You may have to provide treats as you do this. Remember to speak in soothing tones as well. Avoid getting water in his face. Gently scrub him with the soap, and once again slowly pour water over the puppy to rinse it away.
Dry him in a towel, and reward him with a treat after.
Why can’t I use people’s shampoo for my dog?
You shouldn’t use people’s shampoo for your dog for much the same reason you should read the ingredient label when choosing a puppy shampoo. If you don’t do a little diligent research, you could be purchasing a product full of chemicals that could be harmful to your puppy’s skin and coat.
Some dogs have very gentle skin, and the chemical compounds typically found in people’s shampoo can not only irritate their skin, but can cause it to dry out, break out in reaction to the product, and can even be detrimental to your dog’s actual coat.
Human shampoos add fragrances, artificial preservatives, and other chemical compounds that may be safe for us humans but not so safe for Fido.
You can use human shampoo, but you may find your dog experiencing itchy skin, hair loss, and hot spots. So, it’s better to purchase a product that is made especially for your dog.
When your dog’s skin becomes irritated due to shampoo, it could take several days or a few weeks for his skin to return to normal. As if seeing Fido in discomfort isn’t enough, dogs will often bite at or scratch irritated areas, which can lead to hot spots, hair loss, and possible infection at the site of the irritation. At best, you can purchase an over-the-counter product that soothes Fido’s itchy skin, but, at worst, you may spend countless hours at the vet getting costly treatment for the irritated skin.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the best shampoo for puppies?
The best shampoo for puppies is one that is natural, with no fragrances and no artificial colors or chemical compounds. We recommend the Burt’s Bees Tearless Puppy Shampoo with Buttermilk as it uses natural ingredients and is made specifically for puppies.
Do you need special shampoo for puppies?
Not necessarily, especially if you strictly choose a truly natural product that contains no chemicals and artificial fragrances or chemical compounds. However, puppy shampoos are formulated to be extra gentle on the puppy’s skin. They are most frequently tearless, which means they won’t irritate the puppy’s eyes should your frisky pup inadvertently get some in his eyes.
Can I use baby shampoo on my puppy?
We do not recommend using baby shampoo on a puppy. Again, all-natural products with no added fragrances should be used to bathe your puppy. Even the most gentle baby shampoo may have added fragrances that could wreak havoc on your puppy’s skin.
Can I use baby shampoo on my 8-week old puppy?
We do not recommend that you use baby shampoo on your five-week-old puppy. In fact, most puppies shouldn’t be bathed unless necessary before six weeks of age. However, if your adventurous pup got into something unseemly that requires a bath, you may use puppy shampoo on a washcloth in the affected area.