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Best Dog Shampoos For American Pitbull Terriers: Ratings & Reviews

Emma Braby

Last Updated: April 3, 2020 | 12 min read

Best Dog Shampoo For Pitbulls

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 his skin isn’t dangerous or made with harsh chemicals.

In this guide 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 not to irritate his 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

Top Pick: Pro Pet Works All Natural Organic Shampoo
Budget Pick: Pet Pleasant Natural Dog Shampoo

Note: Clicking the above links will take you to Amazon.com, where you can get additional product information and customer reviews. If you make a purchase, we earn a commission at no additional cost to you.

Things to Consider

Best Dog Shampoo For Pitbull Puppies
There are some important factors to consider before bathing your Pittie.

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!

Firstly, 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 a sign 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, 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 his 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 a food formulated for Pitbulls may help meet their nutrient needs and give them a healthier coat.

Ingredients to Avoid

Pitbull Bathing Chemicals to Avoid
Avoid harsh chemicals when bathing your Pitbull.

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 a shampoo with these ingredients. Some products claim to keep your pooch smelling fresh as a daisy for days, but the reality is, 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 pups 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 onto the next product.

Ultimately, natural formulas are best, and whilst 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

Favorite Pitbull Shampoos
While there are many shampoo options for your Pitbull, the formulas below are our favorites.

So now to the exciting bit, the products! 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 covers 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 in the fact that you have made the best decision for your Pitbull Terrier.


Burt’s Bees Tearless Shampoo

Burt's Bees Dog Shampoo for Puppies, 2 in 1...
  • SOOTHES AND SOFTENS — Burts Bees Puppy Shampoo and Conditioner...
  • MADE WITH THE HIGHEST QUALITY INGREDIENTS — All natural...
  • DIRECTIONS — Apply to dog's wet coat. Work from head to tail...
  • SUITABLE FOR ALL DOGS AND PUPPIES — This mild shampoo and...

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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 pups 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

All Natural & Organic Oatmeal Puppy/Pet...
  • [MADE IN USA] VET RECOMMENDED: Our Shampoo + Conditioner formula...
  • NATURAL, ORGANIC INGREDIENTS THAT ARE MADE FOR DRY, SENSITIVE,...
  • ALOE ENRICHED, SOAP-LESS AND DETERGENT FREE SHAMPOO + CONDITIONER...
  • OUR COMMITMENT TO EARTH & MOTHER NATURE: We strive to create a...

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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

Arava Natural Medicated Dog Shampoo –...
  • DEAD SEA MINERALS – Formulated with premium Dead Sea minerals,...
  • DEEP, POWERFUL CLEANSE– The Arava Bio-Care formula is a...
  • REDUCES SKIN INFECTIONS – Designed to specifically treat...
  • NATURAL, ACTIVE INGREDIENTS – Arava Pet shampoo contains 28...

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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 with a variety of skin conditions and allergies.


Pet Pleasant Odor Eliminator 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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This shampoo is made with essential oils that not only soothe dogs’ sensitive skin, but it 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 whilst also being 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 is he is a stinky pup.


Paws and Pals Oatmeal Dog Shampoo

Paws & Pals 5-In-1 Oatmeal Dog Shampoo,...
  • THE MOST EFFECTIVE NATURAL PET SHAMPOO FOR YOUR LOYAL COMPANION:...
  • QUALITY SHAMPOO FOR YOUR DOG WITHOUT COMPROMISE: Your dog is a...
  • NOURISHING FORMULA: Our shampoo includes oatmeal, which will help...
  • TEAR-FREE SOAPLESS FORMULA TURNS BATHTIME INTO PLAYTIME: Our...

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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 which 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, and whilst this probably won’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

Moosh Natural Dog Shampoo – Promotes...
  • WHY WASH YOUR 4 LEGGED LOVE ONE IN A BUCKET OF CHEMICALS? When we...
  • ITCHY SKIN or HOT SPOTS? We are the only dog shampoo with...
  • SKIN ISSUES? We use Argon Oil. Rich in emollients, it...
  • ESSENTIAL OILS Leave your best friend smelling naturally great...

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Despite being a concentrated shampoo, Moosh shampoo is natural and organic, so your Pitbull is safe from harsh chemicals and artificial fragrances whilst 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 is known to soothe and moisturize skin, as well as leaving his coat feeling silky smooth. Not only is this shampoo safe for your Pitbull, 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, whilst also being great for a whole host of skin conditions.


Frequently Asked Questions

 Q: How often should I wash my American Pitbull Terrier?

A: 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 with 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. 

Q: My Pitbull Terrier gets dirty in between washes, what shall I do?

A: If your Pitbull gets seriously dirty just once in between washes then it won’t hurt to bath 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.

Q: My Pitbull Terrier’s skin condition is not improving, what shall I do?

A: 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 his 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.

Final Thoughts

The American Pitbull Terrier is a beautiful and sweet boy, and despite his (some would say) formidable and hard appearance, he loves to be spoilt and pampered. Because he is known to suffer with sensitive skin, it is important that you take your time in finding the best dog shampoo for your Pitbull, and be sure that it is one that is made with natural ingredients that are gentle.

Our recommendations cater to all types of Pitbull, be that young, old, sensitive, super dirty, smelly or suffering with 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.

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