It is estimated that there are a whopping 3.6 million Pitbull Terriers in America, or, that Pitbull-type dogs make up 20% of America’s dog population. That number doesn’t include Pitbull Terrier mixes either. For this reason alone, we can assume there are a lot of Pitbull owners out there who need guidance on finding the best shampoo for Pitbulls, especially if their pup has sensitive skin.
It’s fair to say that many dog owners use shampoos with little regard for what it does to their dog’s skin and body. But dogs have very sensitive skin compared to us humans, and Pitbull Terriers, while generally healthy dogs are known to have super sensitive skin, especially the Red-Nosed variety. Not only that, but dogs groom themselves by licking their coat, so you need to make sure that what you put on their skin isn’t dangerous or made with harsh chemicals.
We will talk you through the things you need to consider when thinking about what shampoo to choose for your Pitbull, the ingredients to avoid, and after all that the very best shampoos around. As it is common for Pitbulls to have sensitive skin we have selected gentle and natural products so as not to irritate their skin. We have also chosen products based on different budgets, so there is something for every owner and their purse strings too.
At A Glance: Top Shampoos for American Pitbull Terriers
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Things To Consider
Before you grab any random pet shampoo off the shelf or online market, it is important to consider your Pitbull’s individual needs and circumstances, as such there are several factors to consider. You might also find that your Pitbull Terrier needs a shampoo that tackles several of the issues below. Thankfully, our high-quality recommendations often tackle more than one issue, so we’ve got you covered.
Here are the most common factors to consider:
Skin Condition: Many American Pitbull Terriers are known to suffer from a variety of skin problems, such as Demodex Mange, Ichthyosis, and Atopic Dermatitis to name just a few. While there are a lot of skin conditions, they all share common symptoms, such as itchy or flaky skin, rashes, red bumps or hives, oozy rashes, and sore eyes and pads can also be signs of skin sensitivities. Your Vet might suggest a medicated shampoo for a specific problem, or they may suggest a soothing natural shampoo with gentle ingredients such as oatmeal, aloe vera, or coconut oils. There are also formulas specifically for sensitive skin.
Age: If he is a puppy then you will need to invest in a shampoo that is designed for dogs with sensitive skin, or a specific tear-free puppy formula. Not only are they gentle on his skin, but they also ensure that the chemicals will not hurt his eyes, otherwise he won’t enjoy bath time at all. So, we would recommend a puppy formula that states that it is tear-free for your Pitbull puppy’s best bathing experience. If he is a senior Pitbull Terrier, then we would also recommend another natural and gentle formula, but one that focuses on moisture and conditioning.
Concentrated: Does your Pitbull Terrier love to pretend he is a hippo in the mud? If so you’ll probably find the mud and dirt caked into his coat by the time you get home, so you’ll want a stronger shampoo that is up to the job. This is where concentrated formulas step in as they lather up much better and offer a deeper cleanse.
Strong Doggy Odor: There are also shampoos out there that deodorize your pup’s coat and tackle the cause of the odor, rather than just mask the smell. These shampoos are a fantastic option if you find your Pitbull Terrier has a funky whiff about him. Also, remember to choose a shampoo with natural scents, such as coconut oil, lavender oil, or almond oils, because artificial scents are made with harsh chemicals that will irritate their skin.
Nutrition: Depending on your Pitbull’s nutrition, they may be ingesting something that doesn’t go well with their genetic makeup. It’s recommended that you pay close attention to their diet and adjust it accordingly. Getting food formulated for Pitbulls may help meet their nutrient needs and give them a healthier coat.
Ingredients To Avoid
Of course, it is important to understand what makes a good shampoo, but sometimes it is just as important (if not more) to know what makes a really bad quality shampoo. This is particularly true if your pooch has sensitive skin, as the below ingredients might aggravate his condition. So, be sure to give the below ingredients a wide berth:
Artificial Colors and Fragrances: Artificial colors and fragrances have been linked to skin irritation, so there is never a good reason to use shampoos with these ingredients. Some products claim to keep your pooch smelling as fresh as a daisy for days, but the reality is, that fake fragrances fade away within a few hours, and do not tackle the cause of the odor. Artificial fragrances are usually made with harsh chemicals that can irritate or even burn skin, so steer clear of these.
Cocamide DEA: This emulsifying agent has long been used in shampoos because of its foaming capabilities, but it is made with a harsh chemical that is in fact linked to cancer. So, not only will it irritate your pup’s skin but it could also increase the chances of him developing the big C. Need we say anymore?
Alcohol: No, this ingredient will not give your pooch a good time, it will only dry his skin out. It can also be toxic to dogs in large quantities, so you should avoid it just to be safe.
L-sulphates: While this ingredient does effectively remove grease and grime from fur, it only does so because it is very harsh. It will strip his coat of his natural oils and irritate his skin for sure, so sticking to natural ingredients can avoid this unnecessary pain.
Just because a product states that it does not list a particular ingredient, does not mean this is entirely true. For example, the label might state it is L-sulphate free, but it may list a derivative of the harsh chemical, which could be just as bad. The only way to get around this is to read the ingredients list yourself, and if it reads anything like an ingredient that you should avoid, then you should move to the next product.
Ultimately, natural formulas are best, and while you don’t have to spend top rates for a good quality shampoo, you certainly get what you pay for, so do not invest in anything super cheap.
Our Favorite Pitbull Shampoos
Having conducted a lot of research and spent much time scouring the market for the best shampoos around, we have compiled a list of shampoos that we think cover the majority of Pitbulls, and owners, out there.
Some of our recommendations target a particular condition or age bracket, and some target several of the factors listed in the ‘things to consider’ section. So remember to think about your Pitbull and what he needs from a shampoo, and only that way will you find the perfect one for him.
All of the products that we are about to recommend are rated highly online by other dog owners so you can rest assured that they do their job well, as well as being made by reputable and well-known brands. So, stick to one of our recommendations listed below and you can be happy with the fact that you have made the best decision for your Pitbull Terrier.
Burt’s Bees Tearless Shampoo
- Tearless formula.
- Cruelty-free formula.
- pH balanced for a puppy’s skin.
- Honey helps retain moisture.
- Will not wash off topical tick meds.
- Helps avoid over-drying.
This shampoo is made with the young pup in mind, because not only is it seriously gentle on his delicate skin, but it is also tear-free, so it will be much gentler on his sensitive puppy eyes. This is great for two main reasons, firstly because it means bath time will not be painful, but secondly, it makes bath time a pleasant experience which is an important part of his puppy training. A Pitbull that doesn’t like bath time will put up a fight, so it’s best to teach him that bath time is nothing to be scared of.
This shampoo is made with natural and gentle ingredients such as honey, beeswax, buttermilk, and linseed oil, all of which are soothing and gentle. It is pH balanced, so it will not interfere with his developing coat and oils, and it is Veterinarian recommended. It is also fragrant-free and does not list any harsh chemicals, and with its added conditioner your pup’s coat will feel luxuriously soft and smooth.
We love that this naturally gentle shampoo is tear-free and designed specifically for puppies, so this is one of the best options for your puppy Pitbull.
Pro Pet Works Organic 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.
This organic oatmeal shampoo and conditioner is Veterinarian recommended for those pups with allergies to grass, flea bites, and food. It is pH balanced for sensitive skin, and it contains no harsh chemicals or fragrances. It is so gentle that it will not hurt your dog’s eyes, skin or nose during bath time, so it could even be used for puppies. The manufacturer also offers a 100% money-back guarantee if you aren’t happy with their product.
It is made with almond oils and enriched with aloe vera, so not only is it very soothing and gentle for his skin, it also leaves his coat smelling naturally fresh. It is soap-free too, but it cleans thoroughly and also deodorizes his coat, so if your Pittie is a bit stinky you’ll have him smelling fresh in no time.
We love that this shampoo is the most reviewed product on this list, and with a 100% money-back guarantee you can be sure that it is one of the best shampoos out there that will suit most Pitbulls.
Arava Natural Medicated Shampoo
- Formulated with premium Dead Sea minerals.
- Perfect for corrective skin problems and irritations.
- Contains 28 natural ingredients.
- Designed to specifically nurse dermatological conditions, this pet medicated shampoo helps restore health after all kinds of skin problems.
- Helps fight against most of the skin issues that indoor and outdoor pets can pick up.
This medicated shampoo is designed specifically for dogs who suffer from dermatological conditions. It offers a deep but gentle clean that will penetrate his fur to reach his undercoat, which will then stimulate and enrich his hair follicles and decrease the chance of scaly dandruff. This shampoo is designed to help heal hotspots, scrapes, ringworm, mange, and seborrhea to name just a few conditions.
This shampoo contains 28 active ingredients that include anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, and anti-yeast botanical oils, which also add a lovely natural fragrance. It lists dead sea minerals, chamomile, aloe vera, tea tree, oatmeal, flaxseed, evening primrose, and argan oil, as well as many other beneficial ingredients. It is anti-itch and anti-inflammatory, and the manufacturer offers a 30-day money-back guarantee if you aren’t pleased with this product.
We love that this medicated shampoo is the best option for those Pitbulls who have really sensitive skin or those who suffer from a variety of skin conditions and allergies.
Pet Pleasant Odor Eliminator Shampoo
- Handcrafted to cleanse and moisturize dry skin.
- Removes dirt and odors thanks to potent lavender oil for dogs in our dog odor shampoo.
- Versatile oatmeal lavender dog shampoo for all dogs.
- Created with high-quality ingredients.
Strong Values – We hope you love our pet grooming
- Products are cruelty-free without commonly used additives.
This shampoo is made with essential oils that not only soothe dogs’ sensitive skin but also offers a lovely natural smell thanks to the added lavender and jojoba oils. These oils are also said to be therapeutic and calming, which can help those pooches who find bath time stressful.
Colloidal oatmeal offers a thorough cleanse and deodorizes the source of the underlying dog smell. This formula is a clinical strength shampoo at the same time is gentle on your Pittie’s skin. This shampoo is suitable for both puppies and adult dogs and it states that it is a tear-free formula, and if you are not happy with the product then the manufacturer offers a 100% money-back guarantee.
We love that this shampoo will leave your Pitbull smelling super fresh with the added natural lavender oils, which is great if he is a stinky pup.
Paws and Pals Oatmeal Dog Shampoo
- 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.
Not only is this shampoo made with natural and organic ingredients, it is also vegan friendly, which makes it a great option if this is an important principle to you. This is another Veterinarian recommended product that offers a thorough cleanse for sensitive skin that is both soothing and moisturizing, and it is also a tear-free formula for a gentle wash.
It lists a precise blend of essential oils, oatmeal, aloe vera, and rosemary oil, that all offer a delicate natural aroma, as well as deodorizing his coat and tackling the source of the smell. It also detangles coats, although this shouldn’t be an issue for the Pitbull. If you have another four-legged friend in the house it can also be used for his longer-haired sibling, so everyone’s a winner.
We love that this shampoo is the best for those on a budget considering the large bottle size, without compromising on quality.
Moosh Concentrated Shampoo
- Great for itchy skin & hot spots.
- Made with essential oils.
- Highly concentrated (lasts a while).
- Rich in Argon oil to moisturize.
- No sulfates.
- No preservatives or chemicals.
- Made with Bentonite Clay.
Despite being a concentrated shampoo, Moosh shampoo is natural and organic, so your Pitbull is safe from harsh chemicals and artificial fragrances while still offering a seriously deep cleanse. It also has a reducer in the neck of the bottle which means you can easily control how much comes out at once. It is also the only shampoo currently on the market that uses Bentonite Clay, which is an ingredient that has been used by us humans for centuries as it is known for its healing abilities. So, it is great for Pities with hot spots, bacterial or fungal infections or generally sensitive skin.
It lists argan oil, shea butter, and aloe vera which are known to soothe and moisturize skin, as well as leaves his coat feeling silky smooth. Not only is this shampoo safe for your Pitbull, but it is also safe for rivers, lakes, and streams, so you can be sure that by choosing this shampoo you are doing your bit for the environment.
We love that this shampoo is concentrated, so you won’t have to use anywhere near as much of it compared to most shampoos which means it’ll last much longer. It’s also being great for a whole host of skin conditions.
Frequently Asked Questions
How often should I wash my American Pitbull Terrier?
Having a short coat the Pitbull Terrier will only need a thorough wash once every 8 to 12 weeks or so. This is dependent on Veterinarian advice, for if he suffers from infections or skin problems, he may need washing much more than this with medicated shampoo. But, unless advised, do not wash him more than this otherwise you risk upsetting his coat’s natural pH balance and skin oils, which in turn can cause further skin problems.
My Pitbull Terrier gets dirty in between washes, what shall I do?
If your Pitbull gets seriously dirty just once in between washes then it won’t hurt to bathe him with shampoo. However, if he gets seriously dirty every time he’s out and about then simply wash what you can off with water and dry him as normal. You can also purchase dog-safe wet wipes to wipe the stubborn muck off, and you can also buy doggy dry shampoo to keep him smelling fresh in between washes.
My Pitbull Terrier’s skin condition is not improving, what shall I do?
Every dog is different, and some Pitbulls, no matter how many medicated shampoos you try, will need to see a Veterinarian and undergo a variety of tests to see what is causing their skin sensitivities. Sometimes, only professional help will do, and the sooner you get it sorted the less discomfort he will experience, and you will decrease the chances of him developing secondary infections.
Additional Pitbull Bathing Tips
Avoid Eyes, Nose, and Ears: Even if the formula is tear-free and super gentle, do everything you can to avoid these sensitive areas. If you do get shampoo in them you will still need to wash the product out, and this will not be pleasant for him, or you if he is an unhappy and wriggly pooch.
Treats and Praise: Bathing and grooming is a really important part of puppy training so be sure to make every bath time experience an enjoyable one. Be sure to offer him plenty of verbal praise and a few treats throughout. Pitbulls are not natural water babies, so they might need encouragement, but once he understands that bath time is a pleasant experience, you’ll never have trouble washing him again.
Multiple Towels: Before you get him in the bath, be sure to have at least 3 towels ready to hand. You’ll need one on the floor for when he gets out of the bath to catch the excess water and to prevent him from slipping, one to place over him ready to catch the water when he inevitably shakes the majority of it off, and one so that you can dry his body with.
Our recommendations cater to all types of Pitbull, be that young, old, sensitive, super dirty, smelly, or suffering from skin complaints. They are all-natural, soothing, gentle, nourishing and of the highest quality, and as such you can be sure that there is one here that will cater to your favorite Pitbull.