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What type of shampoo should I use on my dog?

Updated: Nov 26, 2023

Cleaning your dog is a very important task for any pet owner. Understandably, the consistency and type of shampoo that you choose to use on your dog can determine how your dog responds to its grooming experience. In this guide, we will review some of the general types of shampoo available, and outline what makes each one different in order to help you better understand which type of shampoo you should use on your dog.

A shampoo guide for washing your dog.
What type of shampoo should I use on my dog

Type of shampoo you choose for your dog.

The type of shampoo you choose for your dog is just as important as the brand you use. There are products to suit every need, such as those for deodorising, de-greasing, whitening, dry skin and deep cleaning. Some products maybe better than others depending on your dog's breed. For instance, shampoos with natural oil in can help soothe sensitive skin in breeds like West Highland White's.

There are five main types of shampoo:

  • Cleansing: These are designed to remove grease and dirt.

  • Mild: These remove grease, but leave in natural coat oils.

  • Medicated: Contain a mild anti-bacterial, that act on the skin.

  • Veterinary: Prescribed by vets for particular skin conditions.

  • Insecticidal: Kill parasites.

A shampoo should be used according to the manufacturer's instructions.

Using human shampoo to bath your dog

As a dog owner, you want the best for your pet. In the case of shampoo, it’s important to consider the type of shampoo that you use on your dog. The truth is that even though human shampoo will clean your dog, this doesn’t necessarily make it a safe option. Although your dog’s fur may appear soft and shiny, its skin could really suffer as a result. 

Interest Shampoo Termonology
Facts About Dog Skin and Shampoo

Facts About Dog Skin

The top layer of skin, called the stratum corneum, is protected by a thin layer known as the acid mantle, which prevents the skin from coming into contact with viruses, bacteria and contaminants. The acid mantle is also responsible for keeping the body hydrated by absorbing water and reducing evaporation. As bathing and washing strips the skin of its acid mantle, most shampoos and soaps contain ingredients that moisturise and protect the skin until the acid mantle renews itself. For the acid mantle to work efficiently, there needs to be a proper balance between acidity and alkalinity, known

Soothe and calm sensitive dog skin.
Glavaderm Dog Shampoo

as the pH balance.

The pH balance of dog's skin is naturally more neutral than that of humans, with a normal balance of 7.0 to 7.4. This is why using human shampoo on dogs can be so damaging to their skin, as it will disrupt the pH barrier and leave their skin dry and flaky as well as vulnerable to parasites, bacteria and viruses. The irritation can also encourage scratching which can lead to abrasions and wounds forming.

In order to ensure that you are using an appropriate shampoo on your dog's sensitive skin, you should look out for one with no irritants or allergens such as perfumes or dyes. If you look at Glavaderm Shampoo this mild, gentle and highly effective shampoo contains 3% evening primrose oil. Once known as "Kings Cure For All", evening primrose oil contains very high levels of Gamma Linolenic Acid (GLA'S), that improves coat condition, stops scratching and repairs damaged sore skin. It is suitable for frequent use on all breeds, especially those who suffer with seasonal allergies.

Want to know more about treating a dog skin disorder with evening primrose oil, click here for a great read. Read More.

It is important when choosing a shampoo for your dog that you read the label carefully. It is always best to use a good quality all round dog shampoo that can either be used neat (undiluted) or for economics can be diluted.

Dog shampoos come in a variety of scents or rules that are pleasing to both pets and you, their owners. When shopping for a new shampoo it is important to understand the type of coat that your dog has. Although many different types of shampoo are available, they will fit into one of the above mentioned types of shampoo.


Shampooing a Curly Coated Breed

The best way to keep a curly coated breed in good condition is by regularly grooming it and using the correct shampoo. This will help prevent matting and will make sure that your dog looks and feels great.

Shampoo suitable for poodle cross breeds.
Clipit Curls Shampoo for curly breeds

If you have a curly breed with a ringlet coat, the process is much more high-maintenance than for other breeds. It’s important to regularly groom them so that their fur doesn't become matted. The best way to do this is by line-grooming, which involves working with a good shampoo like Clipit Curls and while the coat is wet, remove the dead fur with a flexible slicker brush. With ringlets and tight curled coats, it’s recommended that even alongside daily brushing, your dog should be taken to the groomers at least every three months. For ease of maintenance, you may prefer to keep your dog's curls short.

No matter what challenging coat your dog has, there is a shampoo that can deal with it!


Shampooing a Greasy Coat

Dogs with greasy coats often have an odour. The oil in their hair acts as a protective layer against cold and wet weather and also helps to keep their skin healthy. Dogs who are naturally oilier than other breeds may always have an oily coat, but you can manage it. If your dog develops an oily coat unexpectedly, it may be seborrhea, which requires treatment from a veterinarian or try using Glavaderm.

If your dog has an oily coat that smells bad, you can control the problem by giving him a bath once or twice a week. Use Clipit Dettox shampoo that is designed for dogs with oily coats and is great for removing coat build-up. An oily coat can lead to skin irritation and inflammation on a healthy dog, so make sure you clean your dog regularly!

For removing grease and oil in a dogs coat.
Clipit Dettox Shampoo

When bathing a greasy coat:

-Exfoliate the skin with hand grooming gloves to remove dead skin cells and debris that can trap dirt and oil in the fur. This will also help loosen up any tangles whilst in the bath.

-Wet the dog's coat thoroughly—then apply a small amount of shampoo directly to the area of concern (usually at the base of his neck where the collar sits). Work it into a lather using the gloves before rinsing well with warm water.


Using a Deshedding Shampoo

When it comes to brushing your dog, the amount of brushing you need to do depends on what breed they are. Some breeds get really messy, and you have to brush their fur every single day. However, using a deshedding shampoo does help remove and lift all that dead undercoat, making your life easier and help prevent loose hair laying over the sofa.

Helps release dead hair in the bath.
Clipit Deshed Shampoo

Shedding is the natural part of a dog's biology, and it happens to most, twice a year. Deshedding can also help reduce the amount of dander that is released into the air by your dog's skin. Dander is what causes allergies and other health problems in people who have dogs in their home, so this is a big benefit of brushing! In our article Why Deshedding is a Must for a Dog's Daily Health, read all about how to handle deshedding your dog and what products are best used to help lift dead coat.


Using a General Purpose Dog Shampoo

Most dogs are happy to be bathed as long as it is done with care. Bathing can be done as often as you like provided a good-quality shampoo like Clipit Relax is used to replenish the natural oils.

A dog in a green field.
Using a general purpose dog shampoo

If your dog does need a full shampooing, there are several ways to go about it:

1) You can bathe him in the bathtub or sink (if you have one). In this case, use warm water and make sure that the water is not too hot for him; check the water temperature on the inside of your wrist to make sure it is at body temperature.

2) Prepare the shampoo.

3) Place the dog in the bath (ensure safety by using a rubber mat in the bottom of the bath and a bath fastener).

4) Wet the dog throughly, keeping the shower head close to the body, down the legs and tail and then finally the head.

5) Apply shampoo using a sponge or washcloth too gently cleanse each area of his body.

6) Rinse the dog from head to tail using your hand to push the suds and water through the coat to ensure the coat is thoroughly cleaned and rinsed. Helpful tip: listen for the squeaking sounds, that means all the suds are removed.

7) Towel dry the dog.

There are many varieties to choose from when it comes to dog shampoos so you can ideally find one that best matches your needs and preferences. Ultimately, picking the right shampoo for your dog is going to boil down to what type of coat your dog has.

Find Your Perfect Match Shampoo That Your Should Use On Your Dog

A shampoo guide for dogs.
Find the Perfect Shampoo For Your Dog

If you want to learn more about Understanding dog's skin and hair, and facts about dog shampoo and conditioner. Clipit have teamed up with iPET NETWORK to bring you this online learning that encourages learning and continual development, with the goal to improving welfare standards for animals and people.

What will the course involve?

  • Health checking and examining the Skin and Coat

  • Healthy versus unhealthy skin and hair

  • Importance of Shampoo

  • Medicated and prescription shampoos

  • Hypoallergenic shampoo

  • Conditioners

Entry Requirements

No experience or previous qualifications are required for enrolment on this course. It is available to all Candidates, of all academic backgrounds. *You will have access to the course for 1 month from purchase date, after this time you will have to pay for the course again to access materials.

Course Completion

This course is presented in an organised and easy to use format. You will work through the presentation before you complete a multiple-choice quiz to test your knowledge.


On successful completion you will receive a e-certificate that can be printed at home and proudly presented.

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