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Best Oatmeal Shampoos For Dogs: Ratings, Reviews & Top Picks

Last Updated: March 23, 2020 | 16 min read

Best Oatmeal Shampoo For Dogs

Looking for the perfect shampoo for your pup, but haven’t been able to find the right one?  Seen lots of oatmeal type shampoos but aren’t sure if they work?  Luckily, we’ve taken the hard work out of choosing for you by putting together a comprehensive guide on the best oatmeal shampoos for dogs.   Bathing your dog is good for your pet’s hygiene, getting rid of that nasty doggy odor and ridding the dog’s coat of excess oils and dirt.

Giving your dog a bath is also an excellent opportunity for you to check your pup over for skin problems and parasites. In this comprehensive guide, we discuss why these types of shampoos are good, and what the benefits are. We’ve also included a buyer’s guide to the best dog shampoos that contain oatmeal, which analyzes price, ingredients and more.

So let’s dive right in and first take a look at our favorite oatmeal shampoos for dogs “at a glance” followed by a comprehensive buyer’s guide, and all the facts you should consider before buying the next shampoo to bathe your pup!

At a Glance: Our Favorite Oatmeal Shampoos For Dogs

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Buyer’s Guide

The first thing to know about dog shampoos is that not all are made equal. Ideally, you want to choose an all-natural or hypoallergenic shampoo that’s 100% natural and is formulated specially for use on canines. These products are mild and gentle on your dog’s skin and are very good for conditioning your pet’s coat too.

The ingredients used in human shampoos are too potent for a dog’s sensitive skin and can cause irritation and allergic reactions. But why is that?

Shampoos are formulated to have average pH levels. Dogs and people have different natural skin pH levels. That means that using human shampoo on a dog will upset the delicate pH balance of the dog’s skin, causing irritation, dehydration, and ultimately making your dog break out in dandruff and scurf. Many dog shampoos list oatmeal as one of their main ingredients. So, what’s so good about oatmeal, and what benefits can using an oatmeal shampoo have for your dog?

Oatmeal is proven to relieve itchy skin but also has many other benefits. But that’s not the same form of oatmeal that you’ll find in your breakfast cereal! We’re talking about “colloidal” oatmeal.

Colloidal Oatmeal Overview

Colloidal oatmeal is created when pure oatmeal has been ground and then suspended in a liquid. Preparing oatmeal in this way allows the ingredient to be more easily absorbed by the skin than it is in its raw form.

Colloidal oatmeal has been used by people for centuries as a skin soother, thanks to the phenols and avenanthramides it contains. Both of these chemicals can relieve skin itching and irritation, as well as helping to balance the skin’s delicate pH levels. Colloidal oatmeal contains several substances that are proven to have beneficial properties for the skin, including:

  • Avencin compounds, which have antifungal properties.
  • Saponins, which help with cleansing the skin.
  • Flavonoids, which assist with the absorption of ultraviolet-A (UVA) rays.
  • Vitamin E, which has anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Phenols and starches, which help to moisturize the skin.

The fiber and cellulose that oats contain create a skin-softening emollient that is proven to be highly effective against the redness and irritation that can be caused by some skin conditions, such as rosacea and eczema. Once the skin is soothed, the itchiness that accompanies these conditions is generally relieved too.

Oatmeal shampoo offers many benefits to your dog, including soothing and moisturizing itchy skin and relieving the symptoms of conditions such as dry skin, hot spots, tick and flea problems. Oatmeal shampoo also leaves your dog’s coat soft and shiny.

When you’re choosing an oatmeal shampoo, check the product label to see that it contains vitamin E and aloe, as well as oatmeal, and that it is advertised as suitable for dogs with allergies or sensitive skin.

Ingredients to Avoid

There are certain substances contained in many shampoos, including some canine-specific products, which you really don’t want to put on your dog.  This list isn’t all inclusive, but it’s a good guide to help you identify the things you don’t want to put on your dog’s skin.

Fragrances: Natural fragrances in dog shampoos are fine, as long as they come from a non-toxic, hypoallergenic source. Check the product labeling to make sure that any fragrance included in the shampoo is derived from a natural source. Synthetic scents are often too harsh for the dog’s skin and typically don’t smell good either.

Methylchloroisothiazolinone: Methylchloroisothiazolinone is an anti-fungal and preservative product that’s included in some dog shampoos, although the chemical has been banned in Canada and Japan. Why has the chemical been banned? Methylchloroisothiazolinone is carcinogenic and is also associated with organ poisoning. So, you definitely don’t want that chemical anywhere near your pet or your family!

Colorings: Avoid using brightly colored dog shampoos. These products can contain synthetic and potentially dangerous dyes. You can find dog shampoos that will enhance your dog’s natural coat color without endangering his health.

Mineral Oils: Mineral oil might sound natural, but it’s actually a by-product of gasoline that’s made from crude oil. Mineral oil has the effect of blocking the skin’s pores, preventing the skin from “breathing,” and causing a potentially harmful accumulation of toxins. So, whereas shampoos that contain essential oils that are derived from natural sources are fine, those products that contain mineral oil should be avoided.

Cocomide DEA/MEA: As the name suggests, cocomide is derived from the coconut plant. Unfortunately, to make cocomide DEA, the natural coconut is chemically  treated to the point that it’s transformed into a mildly carcinogenic agent. Also, cocomide DEA has been linked to disruption of the thyroid gland, and it is also considered to be an organ toxin.

Summarizing Good Qualities

There are some good qualities you should look for in any solid dog shampoo, especially oatmeal dog shampoo.  Here’s a quick summary of what you should be looking for when you buy your next bathing companion for your pup.

All-natural Ingredients: Dogs with sensitive skin can benefit from a shampoo that contains all-natural ingredients, preferably those that are organic.

Pest Repellant: If your dog spends much of his time outside, you’d do well to choose a dog shampoo that contains natural pest repellant ingredients, such as lemongrass, which is a natural mozzie deterrent.

Mild and Gentle: A good dog shampoo won’t strip your pet’s skin of the natural oils that keep the coat looking shiny and prevent the skin from drying out and becoming scurfy. Also, a mild and gentle dog shampoo won’t wash away topical tick and flea treatments that you’ve recently applied to your pet’s skin.

Sensitive Skin: Dogs with sensitive skin that’s dry, irritated, or itchy can benefit from being bathed and washed with a special shampoo that’s designed to soothe such problems. If your dog has skin sensitivities, look out for a brand of dog shampoo that contains colloidal oatmeal, natural coconut extract, and aloe vera.

Cruelty-Free: Naturally, as a dog lover, you won’t want to use a shampoo on your pet that’s been tested on animals during the development of the product. Look for a dog shampoo that has “cruelty-free” or “not tested on animals” printed on the packaging and on the container label. You can find out more about cruelty-free products in the next section of our guide.

Avoiding Animal Testing

You may be surprised to learn that some manufacturers still use animals in the research and development of their human and dog shampoos.

However, it’s easy to check which products are cruelty-free and have not been tested on animals. Many major global organizations, including Unilever, have already signed-up to a policy that supports a global ban on animal testing for cosmetics, including shampoos and conditioners.

If you want to make sure that the dog shampoo you’re buying is cruelty-free, download the free app from Choose Cruelty Free. Here you’ll find a whole range of products that haven’t been tested on animals. Alternatively, check out a comprehensive list of cruelty-free companies online at this link.

Unfortunately, local laws in some countries, such as China, still insist that all imported beauty products, including shampoos, are tested on animals before they can be sold in that country.  It’s important to do your research before you make any purchase, and oatmeal-based dog shampoos are no different!

Scented vs Non-Scented

There are some circumstances when it’s better to use a non-scented dog shampoo on your pet, even if he is a bit stinky! For example, dogs with allergies or skin sensitivities are usually better-suited to a non-scented shampoo. If your dog has normal skin, using a scented shampoo does have a number of benefits, including:

Calming effect: Dog shampoos that are scented with botanical extracts and natural essential oils not only smell great, they can offer calming properties for your dog. Lavender is especially helping in relaxing your pet during bath time.

Getting Rid of Odor: Everyone who owns a furry friend will be familiar with doggy odor! Doggy odor occurs when a build-up of natural oils accumulates in the dog’s coat and bacteria start to grow. A scented shampoo not only helps to get rid of your pooch’s pong, it freshens up the coat too, leaving the fur looking shiny and healthy.

Pest Repellants: Some scented shampoos can act as pest repellants, depending on the scent you choose. For example, lemongrass and rosemary scent not only smell delicious, they can also prevent mosquitoes from bothering your dog and you when you’re out for walks during mozzie season.

Dog Skin pH Levels

As we’ve already mentioned, the correct pH level of your dog’s skin is critical to skin health. But why is that? The natural oils or “acid mantle” that your dog’s skin creates forms a barrier between the skin and the external environment.

That barrier prevents harmful bacteria and fungus from attacking the skin where it could set up an infection or cause irritation. Also, these natural oils make the dog’s coat water repellant. How often you bathe your dog will, to some extent, depend on a few factors.

Skin Type

Although most dogs are covered with a furry coat, they all have different skin types just like people do. Your dog’s skin type will dictate how often he can be bathed. For example, if your dog has dry skin that tends to be flaky, washing him too often will dehydrate the skin and make the dryness worse. However, dogs with normal skin will tolerate more frequent bathing.

Coat Type

Different dog breeds have different coat types, and that can influence the frequency of bathing too.  Below we’ve listed the five different types of coats, and how to plan out your grooming habits as a result.

Smooth Coats: Smooth coated dogs can be very oily underneath their fur, meaning that these pups don’t generally need bathing more than every five to seven weeks, and with no more than three months between baths.

Wiry Coats: If your dog has a wiry coat with rough, bristly hair, you may find that the fur will trap quite a lot of dirt. That’s because the hair follicles in this kind of coat type are very dense and oily. So, you should bathe your wire-haired pup every four weeks or so with no more than three months between washes.

Double-Coat: A double-coated dog, such as a German shepherd, will need regular baths because of their thick undercoat that easily traps dirt. Double-coated pups benefit from a three-weekly baths with no more than six weeks between washing sessions. Note that during peak shedding seasons when you dog is “blowing his coat,” you’ll need to groom him thoroughly with a de-shedding tool like the Shedmonster before you bathe him.

Long Coat: Long-coated breeds, such as golden retrievers, will need lots of grooming to keep their skin and coat healthy. Depending on the length of your dog’s coat and how smelly he gets, you’ll need to bathe him approximately every two to three weeks.

Hairless: Hairless dog breeds are quite unusual pets, but if you own a Chinese crested dog or other baldy type of pup, you’ll only need to bathe your pet once every three months or so, simply because they have no hair to wash!

Our Favorite Oatmeal Shampoos For Dogs

In this section of our guide, we take a close look at five of the most popular, high-quality dog shampoos on the market. While there are multiple options that you can choose from, we feel our five favorites mark a solid representation of the best oatmeal shampoos for your pup.

This list isn’t all-inclusive by any means, so please feel free to drop us a line in the comments if you feel we’ve forgotten something.  Our top five are ranked in no particular order, and you should consider everything we’ve discussed as well as price when picking the right shampoo for your pup.

Earthbath All Natural Pet Shampoo

Earthbath Oatmeal & Aloe Pet Shampoo -...
  • ADDRESS DRY, ITCHY, AND FLAKY SKIN - Collodial Oatmeal and...
  • BRILLIANTLY CLEAN & SOFT - This luxurious shampoo is soap free...
  • SAFETY FIRST - Our Oatmeal & Aloe Shampoo with Vanilla & Almond...
  • KNOW WHAT YOU'RE GETTING - What goes into our products is just as...

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Earthbath makes a wide range of dog shampoos that come in different scents, including this one that’s formulated with oatmeal and aloe for a gentle, effective cleansing effect that won’t irritate your dog’s skin.

Earthbath products are all made using a 100% all-natural, biodegradable formula. No harsh chemicals are used to make Earthbath shampoos and no soap or soap compounds are contained in Earthbath products.  This is important because although soap may work well to remove dirt from your dog’s coat, it strips away natural oils.

Earthbath shampoos are scented with naturally occurring perfumes that won’t irritate your dog’s skin.The shampoo contains natural moisturizing agents to keep your dog’s skin supple and healthy, as well as promoting a shiny, glowing coat.

We love this shampoo because many top dog groomers use Earthbath shampoos because the company’s products are always consistent in quality, and they all work brilliantly. Earthbath shampoos come in 12 different formulae, including a shampoo that’s designed especially for puppies.

Pro Pet Works Oatmeal Dog Shampoo

All Natural & Organic Oatmeal Puppy/Pet...
  • [MADE IN USA] VET RECOMMENDED: Our Shampoo + Conditioner formula...
  • OUR COMMITMENT TO EARTH & MOTHER NATURE: We strive to create a...

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Pro Pet Oatmeal shampoo is a high-quality dog shampoo that contains oatmeal and is marketed as hypoallergenic. The shampoo also contains conditioners that will leave your pet’s skin feeling supple and well-hydrated, as well as promoting a shiny, healthy-looking coat.

Contains organic oatmeal and all-natural ingredients, including aloe vera. The shampoo is pH balanced and fragrance-free. The shampoo also has conditioning properties, restores natural oils, and moisturizes your pet’s skin. The product comes with a 100% money-back manufacturer’s guarantee.

This conditioning shampoo is hypoallergenic, making it perfect for dogs with delicate, sensitive skin. Although unscented, the shampoo has deodorizing properties that effectively eliminate wet dog odor. Pro Pet oatmeal shampoo contains no harsh detergent, alcohol, artificial colors, soaps, or fragrances.

We love that the manufacturer offers a money-back guarantee to purchasers who are not entirely satisfied with the product. Pro Pet shampoo is environmentally friendly. The shampoo is biodegradable and cruelty-free. Also, the container is made from recycled materials. The shampoo contains added vitamins D, E, and A, making your dog’s coat easy to brush and leaving the fur free from tangles and mats.

Honeydew Pet Pleasant Colloidal Oatmeal Dog Shampoo

Natural Dog Shampoo with Colloidal Oatmeal -...
  • COLLOIDAL OATMEAL SHAMPOO for dogs & puppies with sensitive skin....
  • ENHANCED WITH LAVENDER essential oil our formula is extra...
  • VET RECOMMENDED clinical formula using pure high quality...
  • SAFE AND EFFECTIVE pet care with all Natural Lavender Oatmeal Pet...

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Honeydew’s range of animal and human products are all made using natural oils and botanical extracts. Every shampoo in the Pet Pleasant range contains extra minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants that are designed to enhance hair and skin, and promote your pet’s overall wellness.

The shampoo is mild, gentle, and hypoallergenic, making it ideal for dogs with sensitive skin. The shampoo contains colloidal oatmeal and lavender essential oil that help to soothe and calm irritated skin, while softening your dog’s fur.

Lavender has a calming, comforting effect on your dog, making bath time an enjoyable and relaxing experience for your pet and for you too! The product has a gentle deodorizing effect that eliminates nasty niffs and leaves your pup smelling fresh and clean.

We love that this shampoo contains no sulfates or parabens and is cruelty-free. The shampoo’s mild formula is tear-free. That means that the product won’t irritate your pet’s eyes. The manufacturer offers a 100% money-back guarantee if you’re not satisfied with the product.

Wahl 4-in-1 Dog Shampoo

Wahl 4-In-1 Calming Pet Shampoo – Cleans,...
  • Made in the USA - Our lavender chamomile pet shampoo is pH...
  • Calming Formula – This lavender scented pet shampoo is great...
  • Less is More - Wahl has a higher concentrate of coconut derived...
  • Allergy Friendly - Our dog icon, Rocket, was designed in the...

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Wahl make a wide range of dog shampoos and conditioners. Their four-in-one dog shampoo is designed to have a calming effect, containing extracts of soothing chamomile and lavender. The product produces a rich lather that quickly cleans away dirt removes any excess build-up of oils that can cause a nasty, “doggy” smell.

The shampoo contains no harsh chemicals, including PEG-80, alcohol, and parabens. The product is pH balanced, making it suitable for dogs with sensitive skin. The 24oz container and highly concentrated formula allows for up to 70% more baths than many other leading brands.

We love that the product is made in U.S. laboratories. The formula is designed to clean and condition the coat, as well as detangling long hair, and moisturizing your pet’s skin. The shampoo is very easy to rinse away after your dog’s bath is complete. The product is marketed as being “allergy-friendly,” so it should suit dogs with skin sensitivity issues.

Rocco & Roxie Oatmeal Shine Shampoo

Rocco & Roxie Argan Oil Dog Shampoo and...
  • REPAIRS & REPLENISHES - When it comes to dogs, nothing says...
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Rocco & Roxie make a range of dog shampoo and conditioning products. The shampoo that we’ve featured here is their “Shine” formula.

Shine is designed to bring out the luster in your dog’s coat and moisturize the skin too. This is a highly concentrated shampoo, and a little goes a long way. So, although this isn’t the cheapest shampoo and conditioning product out there, one bottle will last you a long time compared with cheaper alternatives.

The shampoo contains Argan oil for deep-conditioning of the coat and skin nourishment. Vitamin A is included in the formula for its skin hydrating qualities. There’s geranium extract to stimulate skin cell restoration and hair follicle strengthening, and peppermint oil to balance the dog’s natural hair and skin oils.

We love that the shampoo does not contain any parabens, harsh chemicals, artificial colors, or dyes. The manufacturer offers purchasers a 100% money-back guarantee with their Shine shampoo. The shampoo lathers up very easily and rinses away quickly without leaving a residue.

Frequently Asked Questions

In this section of our guide, we answer some of the questions that are most often asked by people who are buying dog shampoos.If you don’t see the information that you’re looking for, please shoot us an email or ask your question in the comments box below.

Q: Are Oatmeal Shampoos really a better alternative for my dog?
A: In many circumstances, yes.  Oatmeal has a calming effect on your dog’s skin, and will leave it feeling less dried out after use.

Q: How often should I bathe my dog?
A: How often you bathe your dog will depend on your pet’s age, coat type, and skin health. As a general rule of thumb, most dogs will benefit from being bathed at least every three months. Senior dogs and those with skin conditions will benefit from more frequent washing with an appropriate dog shampoo.

Q: What happens if you don’t bathe your dog enough?
A: If you don’t bathe your dog frequently enough, the natural oils produced by your pet’s skin can accumulate, making his fur feel greasy and causing that nasty, doggy aroma with which all canine owners are only too familiar! Also, elderly dogs may have difficulty in grooming themselves. Regular bathing can help to prevent skin problems from developing that can be caused by accumulated dirt.

Q: Can you bathe your dog twice a week?
A: No. Unless your dog has a medical condition or a parasite problem that demands twice-weekly bathing as advised by your vet or canine dermatologist, you should not bathe your dog as frequently as that. Bathing your dog too often can strip away all the natural oils produced by your pet, leading to the skin becoming dry and flaky.

Q: Can you bathe a dog with human shampoo?
A: Absolutely not! The pH of human and canine skin is very different. Human shampoo is far too harsh for use on a dog and could cause unpleasant side-effects and skin irritation.

Q: Can you bathe a dog after using Frontline?
A: Most dog shampoos are mild enough not to strip away Frontline from the dog’s skin. However, to be on the safe side, it’s best to schedule your pet’s bath time for a week or so before you plan to treat your dog with Frontline or any other topical product.

Q: Can you bathe your dog after your pet has been neutered or spayed?
A: Your dog should be discharged from the vet clinic with a clean operation site, so you won’t need to bathe your dog immediately after your pet has been de-sexed. Wait until any stitches have been removed from your pet’s wound and the skin has healed completely. Always ask your vet for approval before bathing your dog, following de-sexing.

Q: Can you bathe your dog too much?
A: Yes, you can overdo bathing your dog. Ideally, you shouldn’t give your dog a bath more than every other week. If your pet rolls in something particularly nasty a few days after his bath, try to spot-wash the area, rather than completely immersing your dog in shampoo and water.

Q: Will washing a dog kill fleas?
A: No. Fleas can survive for up to seven days when dropped in water. When submerged, it takes fleas at least 24 hours to drown. So, washing your dog with plain water won’t kill any fleas that are living on his skin. If your dog has a very severe flea infestation, your vet will recommend a suitable anti-flea shampoo with which to treat your pet. Prescription

Q: Can you wash a dog with baby shampoo?
A: Dr. Cary Waterhouse of Lake Union Veterinary Clinic advises that it is safe to use a gentle, clear, unscented baby shampoo to wash most dogs. Baby shampoo is suitable for use on dogs because it’s formulated to be very mild and gentle on a baby’s sensitive, delicate skin. However, it is better to use a canine-specific shampoo on your dog, rather than anything else.

Q: How often should dogs be bathed?
A: Your dog’s coat and skin are actually extremely effective at self-cleaning, and your pet doesn’t need to be bathed too frequently. Although a doggy smell is natural, skin problems, such as bacterial and fungal infections, can become an issue if your dog is left too long without a bath. Also, if you live in a rural area or your dog spends much of his time outside, you may find that he gets dirty pretty quickly. That means more frequent bathing may be in order for a country-living dog than for a city dweller.

Final Thoughts

When it comes to bathing your dog, always use a canine-specific shampoo. Human shampoo is unsuitable for use on dogs as it is too harsh on a pup’s sensitive skin. In a pinch, you could use super-mild baby shampoo to wash your dog, although proper dog shampoo is the best option. There are different shampoo formulae for use on adult dogs, puppies, and for dogs that have skin conditions or parasite infestation problems.

Choose a dog shampoo that contains no harsh chemicals, artificial colors, and synthetic fragrances. Look for products that are all-natural, cruelty-free, and preferably made using organic materials. A concentrated shampoo formula will go much further than a cheaper, more dilute product, saving you money in the long run.

Ideally, a dog should be bathed at least every three months.You shouldn’t bathe your dog more than once every two weeks, unless you are advised to do so by your vet. Colloidal oatmeal shampoo is what we’d recommend for most dogs, especially for pups that have sensitive skin.

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