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Wavy, curly, silky, short, double, dense, wooly, corded – dog coats are definitely not all the same. There’s a wide variation from breed to breed and among individual dogs. That’s why no single shampoo is ideal for every dog.

Finding a shampoo that is tailored to your dog’s type of coat will enhance the grooming process, maintain the beauty of the fur, and contribute to your dog’s overall health. You just need to understand what to look for.

Why and When to Shampoo

Dog owners know that dogs don’t mind being smelly and dirty. In fact, many dogs delight in rolling around in brush and mud puddles and piling on the dirt, making a deep clean necessary.

Regular bathing removes dead hair and skin cells, reduces shedding, and helps keep your dog’s skin and coat free of dirt and allergens that can irritate and cause itching and infections.

Aside from being a necessary part of grooming, bathing your dog can be a bonding and trust-building experience. The right shampoo, if it feels refreshing, gentle, and is easy to rinse out of the coat, will help make the bathing process a positive experience.

Of course, different dogs require different bathing regimens. Single-coated dogs, such as Greyhounds, Dalmatians, and Boxers, may not require baths as frequently as other breeds with thicker coats. But when they do, a shampoo that is gentle on their skin and coat while repelling dust and dirt is the optimal choice.

Double-coated dogs, for example Golden Retrievers, Border Collies, and German Shepherd Dogs, have a shorter undercoat and a dense, longer outer coat. They require a shampoo that penetrates through to the undercoat and skin.

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Choose a Shampoo as Unique as Your Dog’s Coat

Veterinarians and the American Kennel Club offer these dos and don’ts for dog owners when they select a shampoo, no matter what type of coat their dog has:


  • Look for naturally derived ingredients.
  • Choose soap-free options that soothe and hydrate rather than drying out skin and coat.
  • Use “made in USA” products for quality of manufacturing and ingredients.


  • Use human shampoo on your dog – it won’t have the right pH level and can cause skin irritations.
  • Purchase dog shampoos that include paraben and dyes – both can cause serious health problems such as skin irritation and certain cancers.
  • Be fooled by artificial fragrances derived from chemicals that may cause allergic reactions.

Tips for Enjoying Bath-time

Once you find the shampoo that works best for your dog, you can teach your dog to enjoy the attention and time in the bath. Professional groomers stress the importance of getting your dog accustomed to bath time. Here’s how:

  1. First, make sure you’re relaxed and calm.
  2. If you have a puppy, let them get used to standing in an empty tub when you’re not yet giving him a bath and reward them with praise or treats.
  3. When you’re ready to shampoo your dog, take them for a walk first to get some of the energy out.
  4. You’re going to get wet, so dress accordingly.
  5. Brush your dog before shampooing to remove loose hair, dirt, and debris.
  6. Check the water temperature to be sure it’s slightly warm but never hot.
  7. Use a soft stream of water to thoroughly wet the coat.
  8. Once the dog is wet to the skin, lather in the shampoo.
  9. Avoid getting shampoo in the dog’s eyes, mouth, nose, and ears.
  10. A nice massage over the suds will help your dog stay relaxed, as well as make sure the shampoo is applied throughout the coat.
  11. Rinse the shampoo out with warm water. Even when you think you’ve rinsed out all of the suds, rinse again.
  12. Finally, use a couple of thick, absorbent towels and blot out as much of the water as you can.

When you take your clean dog out of the tub, give him some treats, and stand back – because all dogs will shake off vigorously, and many wet dogs get the zoomies.

Your grooming products should be as unique as your dog – find the shampoo that’s best for your special pet.

Related article: How to Clean and Care for Your Dogs Paws
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