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. We’ve put together this comprehensive guide on the best oatmeal shampoos for dogs. Bathing your dog is part of any good grooming routine. It helps get 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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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. It should be formulated especially 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
A somewhat “under-the-radar” ingredient until the last decade, colloidal oatmeal has become popular in many skin care products. It’s 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. This is thanks to the phenols and avenanthramides it contains. Both of these chemicals can relieve skin itching and irritation. They can also help 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. It’s been 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. Benefits include soothing and moisturizing itchy skin and relieving the symptoms of conditions such as dry skin, hot spots, tick and flea problems. It also leaves your dog’s coat soft and shiny.
When you’re choosing the perfect formula, check the product label to see that it contains vitamin E and aloe, as well as oatmeal. You want to be sure it’s listed as suitable for dogs with allergies or sensitive skin.
Ingredients to Avoid
There are certain substances contained in many shampoos. This includes some canine-specific products, which you really don’t want anywhere near 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. Just make sure they come from a non-toxic, hypoallergenic source. Check the product labeling to make sure that any fragrance included in the shampoo is derived naturally. Synthetic scents are often too harsh for the dog’s skin.
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.
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.
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.
Avoid 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.
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 you can choose for your pup.
This list isn’t all-inclusive by any means. It’s good to remember that the right shampoo will help you keep your pup clean, but you’ll also want brush your pup regularly, and invest in a tool like the Shedmonster for bi-annual deshedding session if your pup has a longer coat. 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.
Zesty Paws Oatmeal Shampoo
- Aloe vera soothes skin.
- Anti-itch formula.
- Light vanilla scent.
- Helps neutralize hot spots.
- Anti-fungal and Anti-bacterial properties.
- Great for dogs of all ages.
Zesty paws a wide range of dog products and supplements. This oatmeal based anti-itch formula is great for dogs with sensitive skin. Many pups with skin problems end up that way due to skin irritation, which they can’t stop scratching. The Zesty Paws anti-itch formula helps to solve that by including Oatmeal, Aloe Vera and Vitamin E in order to keep your dog’s coat and skin nice and smooth. It also contains almond extract which is used to keep skin conditioned.
The Aloe Vera contains antifungal and antibacterial properties, which can help eliminate hot spots. It has a gentle vanilla scent, which will be both easy on your dog, and on those that live in your home. This shampoo will help ensure that your pup has a lustrous looking coat while reducing shedding and improving your dog’s coat health.
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.
Earthbath All Natural Pet Shampoo
- Budget-friendly shampoo.
- Offered in bulk, or smaller quantities.
- 100% biodegradable.
- Paraben and phosphate-free.
- Organic aloe vera infusion.
- Vanilla almond scented.
- Soothes skin & neutralizes odors.
Earthbath makes a wide range of dog shampoos that come in different scents. This formula is specifically made 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
- Hypoallergenic formula.
- Helps detangle longer coats.
- Contains almond oil and aloe vera.
- No alcohol.
- Detangles as well as soothes.
- Works well for dogs with allergies.
- Made in the United States.
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. This formula 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 Colloidal Oatmeal Dog Shampoo
- Lavender oils to help calm skin.
- Jojoba helps with dry skin irritation.
- Soothes skin while softening fur.
- Paraben and Sulfate-free.
- No tear formula.
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.
Paws & Pals Oatmeal Formula
- 100% Natural and organic.
- Tear-free formula.
- Made with shea butter.
- Contains aloe vera to calm skin.
- Jojoba and coconut oil improves coat health.
- Essential oils boost coat sheen and look.
- Made from vegan ingredients.
Paws & Pals created this formula as a 100% organic option, made with Oatmeal, Shea Butter, and Aloe Vera. It’s gentle and very effective in combating your dog’s dry skin.
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 a delicate ingredient balance for deep-conditioning of the coat and skin nourishment. It includes jojoba extract and coconut oils that help soothe itchy skin while moisturizing and fortifying your pup’s coat. This is a tear-free formula as well, so it won’t hurt your canine companion’s eyes if a bit drips in during bathtime.
We love that the shampoo does not contain any parabens, harsh chemicals, artificial colors, or dyes. This formula mas made with vegan ingredients, and it’s non-toxic for dogs.
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 ask your question in the comments box below.
Are Oatmeal Shampoos really a better alternative for my dog?
In many circumstances, yes. Oatmeal has a calming effect on your dog’s skin, and will leave it feeling less dried out after use. There are many formulas that actually use both Oatmeal and Aloe to soothe your pup’s skin, due to their natural healing properties in their ingredients.
How often should I bathe my dog?
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.
What happens if you don’t bathe your dog enough?
If you don’t bathe your dog frequently enough, the natural oils produced by your pet’s skin can accumulate. This will make their 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.
Can you bathe your dog twice a week?
No. Unless your dog has a medical condition or a parasite problem. Only then, should you consider twice-weekly bathing as advised by your vet or canine dermatologist. Outside of that scenario, you should not bathe your dog that frequently. Bathing your dog too often can strip away all the natural oils produced by your pet, leading to the skin becoming dry and flaky.
Can you bathe a dog with human shampoo?
You really shouldn’t. 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.
Can you wash a dog with baby shampoo?
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.
How often should dogs be bathed?
Your dog’s coat and skin are actually extremely effective at self-cleaning. Your dog doesn’t need to be bathed too frequently. Doggy smell is natural. However, skin problems, such as bacterial and fungal infections, can become an issue if your dog is left too long without a bath.
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. However, 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.