One of the most common questions we get here at BarkVA is whether or not you can use regular shampoo when you’re bathing puppies.
The short answer is no, not outside of an emergency.
Buying shampoo intended for puppies will ensure the formula is delicate enough not to irritate that sensitive young skin.
While shampoos for humans may not be outright dangerous for dogs, they often contain added fragrances, conditioners, and additives that are not canine-friendly.
Beyond this, humans have a low-pH skin, while dogs are near to pH neutral.
For all these reasons, it’s worth looking for the best shampoo for puppies if you want to give your furball the best start in life.
If you’ve never shopped for dog shampoo before, though, we understand you may have no idea what you’re looking for.
Here are the most important things to consider when you’re comparing puppy shampoo:
- pH neutral: With a pH of 7, dog’s need pH neutral shampoo to prevent damage to the fur and skin. Make sure the shampoo on your shortlist qualifies
- Think about fragrances: To address the issue of smelly dogs, shampoos use either chemicals to neutralize these odors, or fragrances to mask the whiff. Many of these fragrances are safe, but you’ll find some may irritate your dog’s skin. For any dogs with sensitive skin, you should look for fragrance-free shampoo
- Gentle formula: Puppies typically have more sensitive skin than adult dogs. Look for a puppy-specific formula, or at minimum a puppy-safe formula
- Moisturizing: Aloe vera, oatmeal, and vitamin E are all common moisturizing ingredients used in puppy shampoo. Keep an eye out for these and ensure that your mutt’s skin stays hydrated
- Coat-specific shampoo: For any owners of dogs with white coats, color-specific shampoos remove the chance of staining your furball’s fur
- Origin: Shampoos made in the US, Australia, New Zealand, and western Europe typically adhere to the most rigorous safety and quality control guidelines
- Size of bottle: We’ve noted the size of the bottle of each shampoo we review so you can readily gauge value, while also getting an idea of how long the shampoo will last you
One tip worth bearing in mind when you’re bathing your pooch is to first take him outside. Vigorously brush him down so that the majority of the loose hair stays outside rather than plastered all over the bath tub.
Beyond this, all you’ll need is a dog bath tub and some of the best shampoo for puppies.
To help you find that shampoo, we’ll now break down the 16 best shampoos suitable for all life stages, even newborn puppies.
The 16 Best Shampoo for Puppies
1. Our #1 Pick: Adams Plus Flea and Tick Shampoo
Our favorite shampoo for puppies comes from the ever-reliable Adams Plus stable. What do you get for your money, then?
The 12oz bottle is quite small, but given the low price point, you’re still getting great value. How about the performance, though?
There are some chemicals and pyrethrins in the formula, but it’s still suitable for puppies, and shouldn’t be problematic even if your furball has sensitive skin.
This shampoo is ideal for all dogs from 12 weeks and upward.
As an added kicker, the shampoo is designed to ward off fleas across all life stages, from eggs and larvae to lice. If applied regularly, this formula inhibits flea eggs from hatching for up to a month.
There have been a few complaints from owners of older animals experiencing adverse reactions with this shampoo. We would steer clear if you have an aging canine. For puppies, though, you’ll get a gentle but highly effective solution that also kills fleas and keeps them away.
2. TropiClean Hypoallergenic Shampoo for Dogs
- Colloidal oatmeal
- Aloe extract
Next up is a generous 20oz bottle giving you enough shampoo to keep your new puppy clean for weeks.
Unlike humans, dogs have a pH close to neutral. This balanced formula takes that into account and nourishes rather than damages Fido’s coat and skin.
The gently cleansing nature of this shampoo makes it a great fit for puppies. It also works well for dogs with sensitive skin.
Once you’ve rinsed away the lather – this shouldn’t present any problems – you’ll be left with the delicate scent of coconut rather than the smell of dirty dog.
Packed with colloidal oatmeal and aloe vera, this formula is highly moisturizing, so you can keep your pup’s coat and skin hydrated as well as spotlessly clean.
As with all shampoos, however gentle the formula, there’s an outside chance your dog may experience skin irritation. A few disgruntled owners report this happening with TropiClean. If you’re in any doubt, consider a patch test first to make sure your dog isn’t irritated by this stuff.
This shampoo is a great all-rounder for puppies of all breeds, so why not give it a shot?
3. Burt’s Bees Dog Shampoo
- Colloidal oatmeal
- Buttermilk and linseed
Burt’s Bees has a deep bench of pet products including this buttermilk and linseed oil shampoo ideal for all life stages.
The vet-backed formula harnesses all-natural ingredients. You get no harsh chemicals, no colorants or sulfates, and no parabens either. The formula is also pH balanced, perfect for dog’s skin and coats.
Loaded with colloidal oatmeal, this is a highly moisturizing shampoo.
Using the stuff couldn’t be easier. Apply liberally to your dog’s wet coat. Work the shampoo in from head to tail. You will only generate a very light lather which is quick and easy to rinse away. This solution works well if your dog dislikes bath time and tends to wriggle around if you’re bathing him for too long.
The cruelty-free formula doesn’t use any added fragrances, so this is not the most appetizing of shampoos on the smell front. In return, though, you’ll be giving Rover everything he needs and nothing he doesn’t in a shampoo. Buy with a clear conscience and complete confidence.
4. Pet Pleasant Oatmeal Shampoo
- Colloidal oatmeal
- Aloe vera
If you have an especially smelly pooch, you should consider a deodorizing shampoo to help restore freshness. How does this oatmeal formula from Pet Pleasant shape up, then?
The first thing to note is that this is a very small 8oz bottle. Even if you have a smaller breed, you’ll find you get through this stuff pretty quickly.
Made from an abundance of pure oats, and packed with lavender oils, aloe vera, and jojoba, you’ll deliver Fido a burst of moisture at the same time as buffing up his coat and skin.
Lab-tested and cruelty-free, you can rest easy while bathing your new puppy with this delicate yet remarkably effective shampoo from Pet Pleasant.
This formula also gets to work at neutralizing and deodorizing those unpleasant smells that plague all dog owners. Keep those odors at bay without resorting to any harsh chemicals.
Ideal for all life stages of dog, as long as you don’t mind paying a premium for this small bottle of shampoo, you’ll be giving your pup a treat.
5. Burt’s Bees Tearless Puppy Shampoo
Next up we have another entry from the inimitable Burt’s Bees in our quest for the best shampoo for puppies. How does this shampoo stand out, then?
Well, if you’re looking for puppy shampoo, going organic is a surefire route to keeping your furball safe and tear-free. Along with buttermilk powder, the shampoo also contains beeswax and honey. You won’t get any chemicals to irritate Fido, and you won’t get any sulfates or parabens to endanger him either.
This shampoo is also highly moisturizing, so you’ll ensure that Rover’s skin is supple and hydrated as well as immaculately clean.
pH balanced, you can use this shampoo safely with all life stages of dog.
You should notice your dog’s coat looking softer, smoother, and healthier after using this shampoo regularly.
The only real gripe we could find about this shampoo concerns a lack of lather. On the flip-side, this makes the shampoo super-simple to rinse off.
Considering the large 16oz bottle and the pocket-friendly pricing, this is one of the finest puppy shampoos up for grabs. See what you think.
6. Hartz Groomer’s Best Anti-Dandruff Shampoo
- Salicylic acid
Hartz Groomer’s shampoo is ideal if your furball is suffering from dandruff. This is a common problem with canines just like with humans, but you don’t need to allow your dog to be plagued with this unsightly condition.
As well as treating dandruff effectively, this shampoo also works well in the case of seborrheic dermatitis. You’ll notice a marked difference in the irritation your dog experienced, and he should feel soothed after you wash him with this shampoo.
The formula is designed to gently address the underlying problem without inflaming your pup’s sensitive skin. The salicylic acid works effectively, and also helps to prevent future flakes of skin from forming.
There are no parabens in this formula, and it doesn’t contain alcohol either.
You get a bumper 18oz bottle giving you excellent value, even if this is not the cheapest shampoo for puppies. The only thing that dilutes the value slightly is the weakness of the formula – you’ll need to lather plenty of this stuff on for best results.
For a gentle but efficient solution to dandruff in younger dogs, place your trust in Hartz Groomer’s.
7. Oster Oatmeal Naturals Shampoo
Oster Oatmeal Naturals delivers a completely natural shampoo that works wonderfully for younger dogs. As with all the best shampoo for puppies, you get a pH balanced formula that takes their tender young skin and coat into account, as well as the fact the skin is close to pH neutral.
There are several variants of this shampoo, including an extra soothing formula, and this puppy-friendly formula.
It’s certainly not the cheapest puppy shampoo out there, but you don’t want to shortchange your furball when it comes to something like shampoo. Also, you’ll get a jumbo 18oz bottle that will last some time.
The oatmeal in this shampoo helps to gently but effectively cleanse your dog. This pure oatmeal extract is supplemented by rosemary leaf extract and humectants. You’re getting a formula that’s gentle enough for puppies, but effective enough to get the job done and keep Fido looking sleek and smooth while smelling great, too.
8. BioSilk Dog Shampoo
- Silk protein
- Vitamin E
BioSilk makes some outstanding pet shampoos including this formula laden with silk protein. How does it shape up?
Firstly, you only get a dinky 12oz bottle. On the plus side, the shampoo is keenly priced, so you’re benefiting from good overall value.
The all-natural formula is perfect for puppies from 8 weeks and upwards. The sulfate-free and parabens-free solution contains nothing liable to irritate your young puppy as you introduce him to the joys of bath time.
Made in the US, the shampoo conforms to rigorous standards, so you can use it on dogs of all life stages with complete confidence.
Using this stuff couldn’t be easier. Wet Rover’s coat thoroughly with some warm water. Apply the shampoo starting behind the ears and working your way to the tail. You should avoid your dog’s eyes. Rinse well and that’s the extent of shampooing.
Delicately scented with jasmine leaves, your furball will be left smelling so good you’ll want to grab him for a huge hug. This is one of the best shampoos for puppies that’s well worth a place on any shortlist.
9. Earthbath Ultra-Mild Dog Shampoo
- Aloe vera
- Cherry essence
If you have a new puppy, you’ll need to think carefully about finding him the right shampoo. The eco-friendly Earthbath has a wide line of products catering to pet owners looking for sustainable and organic solutions.
The shampoo contains mild cleansers so you’ll get rid of all the debris and dander without irritating your dog’s skin.
Like all the best shampoo for puppies, this formula will work safely alongside tick and flea treatment without diminishing the effects.
Tearless, even if you accidentally get a drop of this shampoo in Fido’s eyes, he shouldn’t end up with streaming eyes.
The drawback of this natural formula is the fact it does little to get rid of that familiar doggy smell. There’s a gentle scent of cherries, but this doesn’t linger for long once you rinse the shampoo off.
10. Wahl Puppy Shampoo
- Aloe vera
Wahl makes a wide line of hair clippers and hair products for humans, and they also cater for your furball.
This dedicated puppy shampoo is pH balanced and free of alcohol, parabens, and PEG-80. This gentle puppy formula is designed to sluice away the dirt and debris without inflaming or irritating your pup’s tender skin.
Loaded with aloe vera and cornflower, you’ll ensure that Rover gets a shot of hydration at bath time.
The formula is also packed with a coconut-derived sodding agent. This helps to deliver even greater economy since you won’t need to use much of this shampoo to achieve a great lather. This is an area where many puppy shampoos come up short.
With over 50 years in the business helping pet owners just like you, you can place your trust in Wahl knowing your pup is in safe hands. This shampoo is suitable for all life stages.
Most user feedback concerning this shampoo is positive. The only gripes we could find concern the slipperiness of the formula.
11. Rocco and Roxie Argan Shampoo
- Argan oil
Rocco and Roxie brings you a shampoo and conditioner combined so you can keep your puppy spotless and you won’t irritate his skin or coat in the process.
The bottle is neatly designed and filled with an all-natural formula safe for all life stages, including puppies. At 16oz, you’ll have enough of this economical shampoo to last for months. It’s not especially cheap, but we feel it represents sound value.
The formula contains no dyes, and no alcohol that could dry out your pup’s skin. There are no parabens either. These chemicals can interfere with your dog’s endocrine system so should be avoided.
Despite all these organic ingredients, this shampoo falls down when it comes to moisturizing agents.
The scent of the shampoo is almost imperceptible, and this means no added fragrances to upset your delicate puppy.
With Rocco and Roxie, you’re buying from a family-run company with a sharp focus on quality and on the welfare of your pets. See what you think of this puppy shampoo – we’re pretty sure you and Rover will be delighted.
12. Sentry Oatmeal Shampoo for Dogs
- Hawaiian ginger
SENTRY manufactures some first-class pet products like this highly effective shampoo for your puppy. How does it shape up, then?
The oatmeal-based formula gives you a natural approach to shampooing your pooch.
Puppies need treating for fleas and ticks, but it’s not much use applying the treatment if your pet shampoo washes it away. Some shampoos are designed to allow common tick and flea treatments to continue doing their work. This shampoo, by contrast, actively kills fleas so saves you using a separate treatment.
As you would expect from a shampoo designed to kill parasites, there are some chemicals in this formula in the form of permethrin and piperonyl butoxide. We found no reported complaints about these causing an irritation, but you may want to consider a patch test before lathering Rover with this stuff.
Safe for use on puppies from 12 weeks and older, this versatile shampoo is a must for any new dog owner looking for a highly effective shampoo that also makes light work of ticks and fleas.
13. PET CARE Sciences Dog Shampoo
PET CARE Sciences makes some superb products simplifying the lives of pet owners the world over. If you’ve recently acquired a puppy at home, you’ll need to pay special attention when you’re sourcing bathing and grooming products. This formula is a great choice when you’re shopping shampoos.
The 5-in-1 formula included a conditioner. It also moisturizes and deodorizes Rover while at the same time cleaning and detangling his coat.
The formula is laced with oatmeal, a common ingredient in puppy shampoo. While some shampoos use as little as 2% oatmeal, this solution contains 96%.
The only complaint we could unearth about this shampoo for puppies is the slight residue some owners report left behind on their furball’s coat.
As crowning glory, you’re covered by a comprehensive satisfaction guarantee. If you’re not entirely satisfied with your shampoo, you can return it for a no-quibbles refund. This shows the confidence the manufacturer places in this product, and you can’t ask for much more.
14. Nature’s Miracle Odor Control Puppy Shampoo
- Cocoa surfactant
Nature’s Miracle delivers a powerful solution for owners of smelly dogs looking for a shampoo capable of cutting through that stench.
The first twin advantage comes with the large bottle and low price combining to deliver unbeatable value.
An all-natural formula containing no dyes or parabens, this shampoo makes a neat fit for all life stages, including puppies.
Your puppy is quite likely to have flea and tick treatments, and this shampoo is designed to work well alongside them with no contraindications.
The shampoo is expressly designed to counter and neutralize the bad smells you associate with dogs. Clean him quickly and easily while making him smell good enough to cuddle. What’s not to love?
Well, in spite of the natural formula, a few users have reported skin irritation on their dogs after using this shampoo. If you’re in doubt, use a spot test before washing your dog from head to tail.
Overall, this is an organic and pocket-friendly puppy shampoo from a brand you can trust.
15. Perfect Coat Mild Puppy Shampoo
- Baby powder
Perfect Coat makes some outstanding pet shampoo that delivers as promised. Give Fido a lustrous sheen to his coat for far less than you might imagine.
The jumbo 16oz bottle goes a long way, even if you have a larger breed to bathe. For anyone shopping for puppy shampoo on a tighter budget, this is one of the most cost-effective options.
Designed expressly for puppies, you can buy with confidence knowing that sensitive skin and tender eyes won’t be irritated or inflamed by this tearless formula.
You’ll benefit from an enduring smell of baby powder that lingers long after Rover is dry and eager to go out for walkies. While many customers find this appealing, we also unearthed a few complaints about the smell being overpowering.
Packed with milk protein, keratin, and jojoba oils, the hydrating formula will keep your puppies young skin supple and moisturized as well as squeaky clean. The easy-rinse formula means you’ll be finished bathing Rover quickly and easily.
16. Veterinary Formula Solutions Puppy Love Shampoo
Veterinary Formula Solutions serves up a bumper 17oz bottle of highly effective shampoo ideal for puppies. Using this shampoo will never bring tears to your pup’s eyes, and it will leave his coat soft and fluffy without forcing you to take out a bank loan.
One of the key selling points of this organic formula is the way it works alongside all common flea and tick treatments. Rinse your dog’s coat thoroughly without reducing the efficacy of the products in place.
The gentle and puppy-friendly formula is ideal for any dogs of 6 weeks and upwards.
pH balanced, you’ll be ensuring there’s no irritation of your dog’s delicate and pH neutral skin.
There are no sulfates in this formula, and there’s no DEA either. The tearless shampoo keeps bath time fun rather than a cascade of tears and irritation.
This shampoo is specifically recommended for use with puppies during their first year by veterinarians. Place your trust in the experts and give Fido a treat.
Now, you may have arrived here today without any idea about how to find the best shampoo for puppies. That should now have changed.
If you stick with any of the shampoos on our shortlist, you can be confident they are designed with the needs of young dogs in mind. If you come across a shampoo we didn’t review today, pay attention to our brief buying guide and you should have no problem finding the right shampoo for your puppy.
Before you head off on the buying trail, take a moment to bookmark BarkVA. We’re here to help pet owners across all areas of dog ownership. We’ll help you choose the best pet gear and we’ll bring you plenty of tips and tricks on training, too. We have a busy content calendar again this month, so come back soon for more entertaining canine content.