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Updated August 2022
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and all opinions about the products are our own. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
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Buying guide for Best oatmeal dog shampoos

Just as for people, a timely bath can offer soothing relief and necessary cleansing for a pet. Dogs may not need to bathe as often as people, given their moderate self-cleaning and grooming, but a fresh wash and rinse once in a while will help keep them happy and healthy, with comfortable skin and a welcome aroma.

Dogs, however, do require specific shampoo that caters to their skin and fur needs. One of the most popular options is shampoo made with oatmeal, which is known to soothe and relieve sensitive skin. These shampoos are often incorporated with other natural ingredients that better battle dirt and grime while moisturizing and protecting your dog’s skin and coat.

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Avoid bathing your dog ahead of a visit to the vet. A recent bath can hinder attempts to properly inspect the coat and skin, wherein indicators of health issues may lie.

Key considerations

Benefits

Oatmeal shampoos nourish and revitalize skin while relieving itchiness. If your dog is prone to dry and itchy skin, then ground oatmeal, which contains anti-inflammatory properties, can soothe quickly and effectively. Oatmeal shampoo is an effective salve for dogs with insect bites, fleas, allergies, or any skin sensitivities. It can also help keep the skin hydrated. Oatmeal shampoo cleans and softens the coat, making it a worthy investment for all dog owners.

Key ingredients

Not all oatmeal shampoos are created equal; there are a few important ingredients to keep an eye out for. Vitamin E and aloe vera are among the most popular and noteworthy, and both are known to nourish or revitalize the skin. Other formulas may include vitamins A, B, and D for added benefits, while honey and buttermilk may be included to moisturize and protect the skin and coat.

Conversely, some ingredients are worth avoiding. While some dog shampoos boast natural scents, the word “fragrance” on a bottle typically indicates that scents are derived from artificial sources. Parabens, phthalates, mineral oil, and other manufactured or artificial ingredients should be skipped over as well.

How to apply

Draw a bath with lukewarm water and test the temperature on the inside of your wrist. Wet your dog generously and begin to massage in the oatmeal shampoo. You don’t want to let it settle, however, as then the shampoo won’t do its job. Instead, rub and agitate the oatmeal shampoo to activate its properties and get into the skin.

It’s recommended to start from the tail and hind legs, shampooing forward toward the neck and head. Exercise caution around the face to avoid getting shampoo in the eyes. When it comes time to rinse, move in reverse, rinsing the head and neck area first to lessen the chance of shampoo moving toward the eyes and nose. Be sure to remove all suds and traces of the shampoo.

Pro tip: Wear clothes you don’t mind getting wet, as not every dog will sit still through this process.

Size

Most oatmeal dog shampoos come in bottles of between 14 and 20 ounces and can last up to a year, as they are made with preservatives. Opt for larger bottles for bigger dogs and those with thicker coats. However, you may not want to get the biggest bottle available if it’s the first time using the brand. It’s advised to apply a bit of shampoo first to test your pup for any adverse reactions before undertaking a full bath.

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Did You Know?
It’s natural for dogs to become a little itchy once in a while, particularly during dry winter seasons. However, frequent itching should be monitored and may require a trip to the vet.
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Features

2-in-1

Some dog shampoos double as conditioner, which is better for dogs who require more frequent baths. As regular washing can dry out skin over time, a conditioner can help to counteract that by trapping in moisture. What’s more, dogs with longer, thicker hair may benefit from conditioner as well, as it helps prevent mats and tangles.

Irritant-free

Many oatmeal shampoos advertise as irritant- or tear-free. These gentle shampoos resist inflaming a dog’s eyes and nose, among their most sensitive areas when it comes to bathtime. While it’s still important to be cautious around these areas, such shampoos offer reassurance that a squirming dog won’t accidentally irritate itself during bathtime.

Medicated formulas

A variety of oatmeal dog shampoos are formulated for veterinary or medical uses and may target particularly sensitive skin or battle fleas and ticks. Some may be antifungal and/or antimicrobial. In some cases, if these specialized formulas don’t target flea and tick relief directly, they can be used in conjunction with flea and tick remedies without diluting them.

Scents

Some oatmeal shampoos provide a scent that will linger on your dog after the bath, and this generally comes down to personal preference. Most scents are fruity or floral in nature, with common options including chamomile and peach. While most dogs won’t mind, remember that these should be natural ingredients, not artificial fragrances, as dogs may have adverse reactions.

People can benefit from colloidal oatmeal just like dogs. A ground oatmeal and water solution may provide relief to insect bites and other superficial irritants, and ground oatmeal can be added to a bath for a soothing all-body experience.

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Dyk2
Did You Know?
Some oatmeal dog shampoos contain ingredients like Vitamin E and aloe vera that have their own beneficial effects on skin and fur.
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Oatmeal dog shampoo prices

Inexpensive: For $10 or less, you can find smaller and medium-sized bottles of oatmeal dog shampoo, though it’s worth examining labels for any suspect ingredients.

Mid-range: Most worthwhile oatmeal dog shampoos cost between $10 and $15. At these prices, one can expect them to contain only quality ingredients.

Expensive: Larger bottles of oatmeal dog shampoo, as well as some medicated or special formulas, will cost $15 or more.

Tips

  • Brush first. Before a bath, give your dog’s coat a good run-through, removing tangles so that the coat doesn’t mat after the water.
  • Rinse thoroughly. It may be tempting to get your dog out of the bath quickly, particularly if they aren’t favorable to it, but residual shampoo can cause itching and irritation. Rinse intently, particularly anywhere the coat is thick and dense.
  • Avoid extra-low prices. Often, low prices come with lower-quality ingredients, which can be more harmful than good in the long run. What’s more, cheaper products often become ineffective faster, which means you may lose money by replacing the shampoo more often.
  • Check with your vet. Whenever in doubt, it’s recommended to consult a vet with any questions or concerns. They can direct you to what’s suitable for your pup based on their breed, age, and lifestyle.
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Help make bathtime more enjoyable for your dog by rewarding them with treats during and after. A walk following a bath may be another reward and will help with drying as well.

FAQ

Q. Can I make my own oatmeal shampoo for dogs at home?

A. Yes, but such formulas generally work best for relieving itchiness rather than cleansing. Grind uncooked oatmeal into a fine powder and mix with water until you develop a milky white solution. This can then be applied topically on your dog. The solution can provide much-needed relief, but it won’t offer the moisturizing or the protective traits of quality dog shampoos. What’s more, it won’t last very long and should be used immediately after creation.

Q. How often should I bathe my dog?

A. Bathing your dog too frequently can upset their skin and overall health; dogs are pretty good at keeping their skin and coat in order on their own. It’s recommended to give your dog a bath once every one to three months, depending on their coat. Those with wiry hair can go longer, but more active dogs with thicker coats may need more frequent baths. Bathing too often can draw important oils from your dog’s coat. In some cases, a dog may just need a rinse to remove dirt, saltwater, or other bits of nature they’ve contacted out in the world.

Q. Can I use human shampoos on dogs?

A. It’s not advised to use human shampoo on dogs due to a different pH balance of the skin between dogs and humans. Shampoo is designed to maintain that balance — a shampoo formulated for human skin will keep it in the normal human range, which is slightly acidic. Dog shampoos should be roughly neutral, with a pH balance of around 7. If your dog got into something they shouldn’t have and needs a thorough cleaning immediately, human shampoo might be the only option available, but it should be used only as a last resort. If forced to such desperation, be sure to monitor your dog for adverse reactions.
 

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