The best shampoo for German Shepherd dogs and puppies should ideally
– be safe for your dog (as determined by your vet),
– and, leave your dog or puppy looking clean and smelling nice!
– It also helps if the shampoo contains non toxic and non harmful ingredients
In this article we identify the best shampoos that take the above into consideration.
We’ve also provided individual reviews of these shampoos and a helpful buyer’s guide where we discuss bathing tips and information.
Let’s get into it!
(NOTE: this is a general information guide only, and is not professional advice, or a substitute for professional advice. A qualified vet or animal expert is the only person qualified to give you expert advice in regards to your pet/s)
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Best Shampoo For German Shepherd Dogs & Puppies
Our top picks for the best dog shampoos are:
- 4-Legger Certified Organic Dog Shampoo (on Amazon). USDA Certified Organic Shampoo. 100% Natural Dog Shampoo with no artificial or synthetic chemicals. Made In The USA
- Earthbath Dog Shampoo (on Amazon). Contains natural ingredients, and some plant derived or based ingredients
- Earthbath Puppy Shampoo (on Amazon)
- Wahl Natural Pet No-Rinse Waterless Shampoo (on Amazon) – Comes in a coconut, or a lavender scent shampoo. ph balanced, alcohol and paraben free.
- Paw Choice Dry Dog Shampoo (on Amazon) – coconut based scent shampoo. No sulfates, no alcohol, no parabens.
- Bodhi Dog Waterless Dog Shampoo (on Amazon) – comes in a Lavender or Lemongrass scent. Contains no parabens, sulphates, SLS or stripping Ethyl alcohol.
- BioSilk Therapy For Dogs Waterless Dog Shampoo (on Amazon) – for restoring moisture to the coat. Contains no parabens or artificial colors.
Hypoallergenic/Sensitive Skin Shampoos
- 4-Legger Certified Organic Dog Shampoo (on Amazon) – suitable for dogs of most skin types
- Vet’s Best Hypo-Allergenic Dog Shampoo (on Amazon) – soap free, vet recommended shampoo for dogs with sensitive skin
Best Dog Shampoo For German Shepherd Dogs & Puppies: Reviews
4-Legger Certified Organic Dog Shampoo
Features & Pros
Formulated for both puppies and adults
Can leave a coat feeling soft, and can also moisturize and condition a pet’s dry and itchy, sensitive, or allergy skin
Naturally deters fleas with lemongrass essential oil
Smells like lemongrass, coconut, olive and rosemary
The smells after you wash your dog is faint without being strong or overpowering
USDA Certified Organic – you can read more about what USDA Certified Organic means here.
Contains all natural ingredients.
Ingredients are listed as Saponified organic oils of coconut, olive, and jojoba, a natural essential oil blend of rosemary and lemongrass, rosemary extract, and organic aloe vera
Uses essential oils instead of perfumes
Contains nothing synthetic or artificial – contains no artificial shampoo thickeners
Made in the USA
Because the shampoo doesn’t use artificial and synthetic thickeners, it can feel watery, and some people get confused about this
To lather up this shampoo, you have to use more water than you would with a regular non natural shampoo. You should use much more water than you do 4 Legger solution
The same thing goes with the scent of this shampoo – it can be quite strong if you don’t use enough water to shampoo in your ratio
Overall, if you follow the instructions for using this shampoo, it’s quite good and has the major bonus of being all natural. The price is very comparable to non natural dog shampoos, so it presents great value for money.
Earthbath All Natural Pet Shampoo
A natural dog shaMpoo
There are many scents to choose from such as oatmeal/aloe, eucalyptus, peppermint and more. The scents are nice without being overpowering
The shampoo can clean, deodorise and nourish your dog’s fur
The shampoo can also be used on dry, flaky and itchy skin
There are both adult and puppy shampoos available
Ingredients include: Purified water, colloidal oatmeal (3%), renewable plant-derived & coconut-based cleansers, organic aloe vera, vitamins A, B, D & E, glycerin, allantoin, food-grade extracts of vanilla & almond, natural preservative.
Non ingredients include: Anything that would harm your pet or the environment.
No synthetic dyes or perfumes,
No phthalates, or enzymes
Animal cruelty free
Sudsy runoff is safe and harmless to plants and animals
Based on Earthbath.com product description
Overall, the shampoo is priced competitively with non natural dog shampoos, so it appears to be good value for money considering the benefits
Best Dry & Waterless No Rinse Dog Shampoos: Reviews
Wahl Natural Pet No-Rinse Waterless Shampoo
Very cheap and affordable pump type foam waterless shampoo
Comes in 2 scents – Coconut Lime Verbana, or Lavender Chamomile
Designed to clean, condition, detangle and moisturize
Is pH balanced, and contains no parabens or alcohol
Ingredients are Purified Water (Aqua)Sodium Laureth Sulfate (Cleanser from Refined Coconut)Coco-Glucoside (Cleanser Derived from Coconut Oil and Sugar)Coco-Betaine (Cleanser Derived from Coconut Oil)Lauryl Glucosode (cleanser Derived from Coconut Oil and Sugar)Vegetable Glycerin (Natural Moisturizer)Chamomile Extract(Soothing Properties)Aloe Vera(Soothing Properties)Potassium Sorbate(Freshness Assurer)FD&C Color.
Paw Choice Dry Dog Shampoo
A coconut derived waterless dog shampoo
Has a mago and pomegranate scent
Contains no sodium laureth sulfate, alcohol or parabens
Is okay to use with topical flea treatments
Manufactured in the USA
Ingredients include water surfactant blend (coconut derived), polysorbate 20, fragrance, preservative.
Bodhi Dog Waterless Dog Shampoo
Comes in a lavender, or a lemongrass scent
Contains no parabens, alcohol, SLS, detergent or artificial dyes
100% non toxic
Ingredients are deonized water, lavender or lemongrass extract, and a detergent free coconut surfactant blend
BioSilk Therapy For Dogs Waterless Dog Shampoo
A waterless shampoo spray
Use in between baths as a spot treatment to clean fur, muddy paws, and dirty face
Made in the USA
Is pH balanced, and contains no parabens or artifical colors
Ingredients are water, natural conditioning agents, silk protein, soy protein, oat extract, papaya leaf extract, jojoba oil, aloe vera, panthenol, fragrance
Best Dog Shampoo For German Shepherd Dogs & Puppies: Buyer’s Guide
Do German Shepherds Smell?
German Shepherds are among the cleanest dog breeds.
They don’t smell particularly bad, but like any dog, they will develop a ‘doggy smell’ after a certain time without a bath.
Bathing your GSD every month or two, or spraying them with a natural and safe deodoriser or fragrance spray will help keep the doggy smells to a minimum.
How Often To Bathe Or Wash A German Shepherd?
It is best to bathe or wash your GSD every 1-2 months.
This may seem like a long time between washing, however, German Shepherds have natural oils they produce that regulate the health of their skin and coat, or more precisely, are responsible for keeping the outer body well hydrated, by absorbing water and not allowing excessive evaporation to occur.
Bathing or washing your GSD dog or puppy too often will erode these natural oils.
You can however get away with giving your GSD a natural water bath more frequently (without the shampoo).
How To Bathe A German Shepherd?
Follow the instructions on the shampoo or conditioner product label.
Some general guidelines to wash, shampoo/condition and dry a dog though might be:
– Get dog bathing and washing items ready – shampoo/conditioner, hose/bucket, luke warm water, dry towels, dog scrubbing brush/sponge if necessary
– Lead your GSD to the bathing area
Generally it is better to be outside on a grassed area – less of a clean up and easier to dry and allow your GSD to dry itself off.
A portable dog shower can not only save water, but turn a bucket into a dog shower if you don’t have a hose nearby.
If you use the sink or bath, make sure you have a non slip surface down for your dog.
– Apply water all over your GSD’s body up to his/her nech, and rub water gently over their head and face with a damp cloth.
Keep water away from ears to avoid infection
– Apply the dog shampoo/conditioner
Keep shampoo away from the eyes and ears – although warm water is fine around the head
– Scrub the shampoo through the coat evenly and leave for a minute or two.
Reward your GSD with a treat while he/she sits still
– Wash the shampoo/conditioner out thoroughly with water
– Dry your GSD with dry clean towels
What About Bathing A GSD Puppy?
Ask your breeder or rescue centre (wherever you got your GSD from) when the last is they bathed your puppy.
Look to space the bath a month or two after their last one.
Non-detergent based shampoos are best for geriatric dogs and pups, as the soapy ones can be unkind to their delicate skin.
Try steer clear of flea shampoos for puppies.
Ask your vet if you are unsure about any of this.
How To Dry A German Shepherd After Bath?
Most owners use several dry towels and gently dry the wet fur as required.
Dog’s also have a natural inclination to shake themselves down to get rid of any excess water, so stand well clear and make sure you are outside before you let them shake off.
Types of Dog Shampoo and Conditioner
There’s shampoos, conditioners, 2 in 1 shampoos and conditioners, and flea and tick shampoos.
How Do I Know If A Dog Shampoo Is Good For My German Shepherd?
A vet should be able to tell you.
The best dog shampoo or conditioner for your German Shepherd dog or puppy might meet the following guidelines:
Be in the neutral range of ph, which is around 7
Have no artificial fragrances or colors/preservatices added
It is great if you can find an all natural shampoo – but if you can’t, try to limit paraben, sulfates aswell as DEA, TEA and MEA and other potentially harmful ingredients and compounds
It might contain natural skin moisturizers like vitamin E, aloe vera, honey, and tea tree oil. Oatmeal is another
Fragrances to look for should be natural; chamomile, lavender, eucalyptus, and citrus are some examples of clean, pleasant fragrances, some of which also do double duty as insect repellents
Usually labeled as a natural or organic dog shampoo or conditioner – although check the ingredients list to check this is the case and make your own decision what you’re comfortable with
What If My German Shepherd Has Sensitive Skin or Allergies?
Always see a vet for any health related issue, or for approval of products you suspect could help or harm your dog.
If your GSD has sensitive skin, when it comes to bathing and washing, your vet might suggest you try to look for a shampoo or conditioner that is labeled ‘for sensitive skin’.
For allergies, they may require biopsies or allergy testing.
Can You Use Human Shampoo On A German Shepherd?
Human shampoo upsets the ph balance on a dog’s skin – leaving them open to bacteria, parasites, viruses.
It can also leave your dog’s skin feeling dry, opening them to scratching and causing abrasions on their skin.
Other German Shepherd Bathing Tips
Try to spend a little more on a quality dog shampoo or conditioner, and not a cheap supermarket shampoo which degrade in quality after being opened
Read the label of the dog shampoo/conditioner to see its shelf life – replace as necessary
Certain skin conditions can be improved or made worse by bathing – check with your vet if you suspect your GSD has a skin condition and for a recommendation on a shampoo
Natural Based Dog Shampoos
What Does USDA Certified Organic Mean?
You can read more about what USDA Certified Organic means in this guide.
What are natural ingredients?
Natural ingredients come from a renewable/plentiful resource found in nature.
What are synthetic ingredients?
Synthetic ingredients been formulated or manufactured by a man made chemical process, and may or may not be derived from a natural source.
Why choose natural ingredients over synthetic ingredients?
In general, a natural ingredient might:
– be better for the environment – biodegradable and non toxic
– have less carcinogens, be less toxic, be less likely to disrupt the endocrine system, or cause skin irritation in your pet
Natural ingredients general have less processing involved than a synthetic ingredient.
Not all synthetic ingredients are harmful, and not all natural ingredients are completely harmless though.
It’s more a rule of thumb that natural ingredients tend to be less risky for pet care products.
Dry & Waterless No Rinse Dog Shampoos
What Is Dry/Waterless Dog Shampoo?
Dry dog shampoo is shampoo that can be applied and used without water.
It dries in the coat just with air.
What Is Dry/Waterless Dog Shampoo Used For?
You might use dry/waterless dog shampoo:
for active or smelly dogs
for senior pets
between professional grooming
after surgery, for dogs that don’t like water or getting wet
when you don’t have access to water
when you don’t have access to bathing accessories
when you don’t want the clean up of water, dirt and hair that a doggy bath requires
What Might Make A Good Dry/Waterless Dog Shampoo?
Definitely consult your dog’s vet when deciding when, how often and which waterless dog shampoo to pick for your dog.
But a good waterless dog shampoo might:
Have only natural ingredients
Have no animal derived ingredients
Be cruelty free
Be non toxic
Be eco friendly and biodegradable
This way you increase the likelihood you protect your pet, other animals and the environment.
Dogs with sensitive skin may be less likely to have an outbreak with a shampoo with natural ingredients.
Make sure you pay attention to the directions of use and warnings on the label of the shampoo bottle.
Hypoallergenic Dog Shampoos
What does hypoallergenic mean?
The word means ‘less allergenic’.
So, a hypoallergenic dog shampoo might be less likely to cause negative reactions or allergies for dogs with sensitive, itchy or dry skin, or dogs that might shows signs of allergic type reactions to regular dog shampoos.
What might make a dog shampoo hypoallergenic?
Features that might make a dog shampoo hypoallergenic might be:
1) It contains mostly or all natural ingredients, and no synthetic or harmful ingredients
2) It is pH-balanced very close to a value of 7 (water is pH neutral and has a value of 7.0)
3) It contains no artificial color or fragrance. Color and fragrance are frequently the culprits of allergic reactions on a dog’s skin
4) It is tearless and soap/detergent free
5) It carries the hypoallergenic phrase on the label, and is designed specifically for sensitive, dry, itchy skin, to create less irritation
How do I choose a hypoallergenic dog shampoo for my dog/s?
Your vet is the only one qualified to give you professional advice on that matter.
Note though that all dogs’ skin and bodies are different, and different dogs will react differently to different shampoos and ingredients.
It’s possible you are still in the testing phase where you are trying to work out which ingredients cause your dog’s skin to react and which ones don’t.
The hypoallergenic labelled shampoos, with mostly natural ingredients, MIGHT be less likely to cause negative reactions – but, it does depend on your dog.
You may have to try several hypoallergenic dog shampoos until you find one that works.
Whilst your dog’s vet is the only qualified person to give you advice on your dog’s health, hypoallergenic dog shampoo are specifically formulated for dog’s who might show signs of irritation or skin reactions using regular dog shampoos.
Natural ingredients and a near neutral pH level are common features with these dog shampoos, so that the chances of a negative skin reaction are less likely.
Examples Of Hypoallergenic Dog Shampoos
Two examples might be:
4 Legger Certified Organic Aloe Vera and Lemongrass Dog Shampoo
A hypoallergenic lemongrass and aloe dog shampoo
Suitable for dogs of most skin types – from normal to dry or allergy skin
It provides soothing relief for dry and itchy skin while promoting naturally healthy skin using sustainably sourced beneficial certified organic oils, essential oils, and aloe vera.
The shampoo cleans, moisturises, conditions, and softens without stripping their natural coat oils.
Lemongrass is a natural cleanser – to get rid of the “doggy smell” – with toning qualities that help stimulate blood circulation and tone up skin
Lemongrass can provide antibacterial, anti-fungal and pest deterrent properties.
4 Legger has nothing artificial and contains no synthetic chemicals!
It is USDA Certified to Organic Food Standards
It is also a sustainable shampoo with low environmental impact and no GMO, no herbicides, or pesticides
Contains all natural ingredients. Ingredients are listed as Saponified organic oils of coconut, olive, and jojoba, a natural essential oil blend of rosemary and lemongrass, rosemary extract, and organic aloe vera
Contains nothing synthetic or artificial
Made in the USA
Vet’s Best Hypo-Allergenic Dog Shampoo
A hypoallergenic dog shampoo formulated by Dr. Dawn Curie Thomas, DVM
For dry, flaky and sensitive skin
It is tearless and soap free
It moisturises skin
It smoothes dry and brittle coats
It relieves itching
It will not affect topical flea control products
Ingredients are: Aloe Vera, Allantoin, Panthenol, Vitamin E
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