Optimized for a softer coat and greatly reduced shedding. Soap-free. Pleasant lime and coco butter scent. Eliminates bad dog smells. Made in a variety of other scents. Available in 3 sizes.
Will not detangle fur.
Made with honey, oatmeal, green tea extract, and other natural ingredients. Adds sheen to coat. Soothes and moisturizes skin. Optimized for dogs of all ages and breeds. Best for sensitive skin.
Some may be disappointed at the lack of scent.
Designed for dry skin and coats. Easily eliminates strong dog odors. Sweet ocean and floral scent. Moisturizes. Greatly reduces shedding. Promotes a fluffier and fuller coat.
Only available in 1 size.
Hydrates and promotes fur health. Reliably smoother and softer fur. Long-lasting scent. Will not leave oily film. Available in 2 fruity tropical scents and 2 sizes. Convenient pump head.
This dog conditioner is on the pricier side.
Gentle formula for sensitive skin. Optimized for curly and extra-long coats. Detangles fur. Made with natural ingredients. Hydrating formula. Soothing lavender and mint scent.
Features a milder scent than you may expect.
We recommend these products based on an intensive research process that's designed to cut through the noise and find the top products in this space. Guided by experts, we spend hours looking into the factors that matter, to bring you these selections.
Maintaining a healthy coat is necessary for a dog to live a happy and healthy life. Just like humans, dogs require cleaning and bathing, which may call for shampoo as well as conditioner. Dogs deserve a clean, soft coat as well as moisturized and protected skin — it’ll also make cuddling with them much enjoyable for dog owners.
Depending on the breed, size, and lifestyle of your dog, you may wish to seek a specific formula to achieve the best results. Though shampoo and conditioner often go hand in hand, this buying guide focuses on dog conditioner. In it, we explore the different types of dog conditioner available and when you should use it on your dog. We also provide useful tips for making bathtime easy and comfortable for both of you.
If you’d like recommendations for our favorite dog conditioners on today’s market, be sure to check those out as well.
Not every breed of dog necessarily needs conditioner after dog shampoo. Shampoo is used to remove dirt and to cleanse, while the conditioner invigorates the hair afterward.
On average, most dogs should be bathed once every one or two months, though dogs with more active lifestyles or thicker coats will likely need more frequent baths. Less-adventurous dogs and those with thinner hair can typically go longer without a proper bath.
While there are plenty of generic conditioner options that cater to all dogs, there are also focused options that address specific issues. For example, you will find conditioners designed to relieve itchiness, combat shedding, fight bacteria or fungal infections, relieve allergies, or act as a calming agent for anxious dogs.
In most cases, these features are meant to target mild cases of such ailments. For example, minor itching and shedding may be relieved by a proper shampoo and conditioner, but excessive amounts of either should be brought to the attention of a veterinarian. In such a circumstance, medically formulated shampoo and conditioner may be recommended.
Dog conditioner is designed to moisturize, nourish, and comfort. As such, popular ingredients include aloe vera, oatmeal, shea butter, coconut oil, calming lavender, soothing oatmeal, and vitamins including A, B, D and E.
Parabens, dyes, soap, and alcohol are uncommon in shampoos and conditioners but can lead to irritated skin if present. Bear in mind that many companies advertise their ingredients as “natural,” but that term can be open to interpretation. Some conscientious dog owners prefer options made exclusively from plant-based ingredients.
Some options combine shampoo and conditioner for a two-in-one product that saves time and energy. These are particularly useful for dogs who aren’t in love with bathtime as well as larger dogs who require more coverage to get through bathtime quickly and effectively.
Some conditioners include oils or other ingredients that leave a pleasant scent. Whether or not you want a scent, and whether your dog will like it, is up to you and your pet. In some cases, added fragrance can lead to an allergic reaction in dogs or humans. Popular scents for dog conditioner include lavender, mint, vanilla, and lemon.
Similarly, some formulas are intended to combat odors, removing foul scents and replacing them with a more inviting aroma. For dogs who roll around in things they shouldn’t, this is an option.
For dogs who really dislike bath time, owners may want to consider a leave-in conditioner that requires no rinsing. The conditioner can be applied after the bath via a spray and left in.
Puppies shouldn’t be frequently bathed, especially when they’re quite young. Before your pup reaches adulthood, though, you may want to use bathing supplies that are extra gentle. Similar to baby shampoo and conditioner, these options are sensitive and tear-free, protecting young ones from potential negative effects. This is especially important when introducing a puppy to the bathing ritual.
After conditioner has been applied and thoroughly rinsed, be sure your dog is completely dry, particularly if the air is cold. Some dogs may tolerate a mechanical dryer; others do best with a comprehensive towel dry.
Dog shampoo: Burt’s Bees Oatmeal Shampoo
Before applying conditioner, you'll need to clean your dog with shampoo. We’re fans of this option by Burt’s Bees featuring colloidal oatmeal to prevent dryness and itchy skin.
Dog dryer: Flying Pig Grooming High-Velocity Dog Dryer
After your dog is rinsed, dry them thoroughly. For larger breeds with thicker coats, we recommend this powerful yet gentle dog dryer by Flying Pig Grooming.
Inexpensive: Inexpensive dog conditioners cost less than $8, though you will want to look up the brand and ingredients to verify quality.
Mid-range: Most dog conditioners cost between $8 and $16. Some of these are 2-in-1 products, and some target specific skin issues.
Expensive: Larger quantities of dog conditioner, as well as those targeting specific issues, cost $16 and up.
A. It’s not recommended for dogs to use human shampoo or conditioner. The pH level of a dog's skin is slightly higher than that of human skin, which means shampoo and conditioner formulated for humans would not have a positive effect on canine skin, causing itchiness and distress. If you’re desperate to clean a dirty dog, it may be better than nothing, but your dog should be monitored, and proper shampoo and conditioner should be applied as soon as possible.
A. The frequency of baths is determined by your dog’s coat and lifestyle. Active dogs with thicker, longer coats may require more frequent bathing, anywhere from once every four to six weeks. Those with shorter hair and who are less prone to outdoor excursions may only need a bath once every few months. Dogs with double coats that keep them insulated from colder weather are better served by infrequent baths during winter months. That’s because frequent baths can remove important oils and barriers from the skin that help them stay healthy and comfortable during dry, frigid months.
A. Dog conditioners with inferior ingredients, including artificial components, may fail to adequately nourish and protect the skin and coat. Dogs with skin sensitivities may not take well to all conditioners and may instead require a targeted formula. Like shampoo, exercise caution around the face when applying conditioner. It’s recommended to start lathering and massaging from the tail up to the face, then rinse from the face back down to the tail so the most sensitive areas have the least amount of time with shampoo and conditioner near them. Keep the dog’s head raised so nothing seeps into the eyes.