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6 Best Shampoos for German Shepherds (2021 Review)

The loveable German Shepherd’s thick, fluffy coat needs regular maintenance. While most dogs don’t like baths (mine certainly don’t), they’re a necessary part of grooming to keep your dog clean and healthy. Of course, you also want to ensure your best pal looks their best. Choosing the right shampoo can make a big difference. We’ll look at 6 of the best shampoos, comparing ingredient quality, function, and additional features.

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What is the Best Shampoo for German Shepherds?

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Comparing the Best Shampoo for German Shepherds

IMAGE RECOMMENDED PRODUCTSPRODUCT FEATURES


  • Best shampoo and conditioner
  • High-quality, natural ingredients
  • Gentle and soothing


  • Best for soothing dry skin
  • Moisturizing and soothing
  • Natural, gentle formula


  • Best for skin with allergies
  • Soothes skin and eases itching
  • Contains natural ingredients


  • Best for deep conditioning
  • 97% natural ingredients
  • Deeply conditions and moisturizes


  • Best for skin infections
  • Medicated, veterinary formula
  • Treats infections while soothing


  • Best ‘no rinse’ shampoo
  • Refreshes coat without water
  • Great for between baths

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More Detailed German Shepherd Shampoo Reviews

Buddy Wash Original Lavender & Mint Dog Shampoo & Conditioner review

Features

  • Best shampoo and conditioner
  • High-quality, natural ingredients
  • Gentle and soothing

On your hunt for the best shampoo for German Shepherds, you should consider the Buddy Wash Original Lavender & Mint Dog Shampoo & Conditioner. This shampoo is made with cosmetic-grade ingredients, along with pure botanical extracts and natural conditioners to ensure your pup is getting the best quality possible. It’s alcohol and soap-free so it’s gentle on your dog’s skin and coat.

I loved that this shampoo was both cleansing and conditioning for my dogs, and found it left them smelling delightful. I found that it lathered up well and I appreciated that the ingredients were so high-quality. In fact, if you’re looking for the best shampoo for German Shepherd puppies, this shampoo’s gentle ingredients make it an excellent option.

I loved that this shampoo was available in a large bottle too, which is an excellent value option especially if you have a multi-dog household like me.

Pros

  • Most owners loved the smell of this shampoo, both during use and after the bath, stating it left their dog smelling fresh
  • Many said the fresh, pleasant smell lasted for days after the bath, unlike other shampoos they’d tried
  • Many said this shampoo helped to soothe and condition their dog’s skin and coat, even for those with skin issues
  • Owners generally found this shampoo lathered up well and rinsed away easily, with some stating it was easy to use
  • Owners appreciated the natural ingredients, feeling the shampoo was high-quality for their dog
  • Many said this shampoo was great value, in particular mentioning they needed only a very small amount to bath their dog each time

Cons

  • Some owners found the scent was too strong for them and would have preferred something more subtle
  • Some owners found this formula didn’t agree with their dog’s sensitive skin
  • Some found the scent didn’t last as long as they had expected after bathing their dog
  • Shampoo can be difficult to squeeze out of the bottle, especially mid-bath
  • Some found this shampoo wasn’t as conditioning for their dog’s skin and coat as they had hoped

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Earthbath Oatmeal & Aloe Dog & Cat Shampoo review

Features

  • Best for soothing dry skin
  • Moisturizing and soothing
  • Natural, gentle formula

If your dog struggles with dry skin, the Earthbath Oatmeal & Aloe Dog & Cat Shampoo is a fantastic option. The oatmeal and aloe combination is specifically designed to soothe, moisturise, and heal dry and cracked skin. The gentle, natural, soap-free formula helps to reduce itching as well as cleaning your pup and making them smell great.

I loved the natural ingredients in this shampoo and appreciated that it was free from hidden chemicals. I liked that it was such a gentle formula for dogs with skin issues. I also appreciated that you could buy it in a large bottle, making it great value.

Pros

  • Many said this shampoo was very soothing for their dog’s skin, even for those with very dry skin, sensitive skin, itchy skin, or skin issues
  • Many owners said they liked the smell of this shampoo and stated that it left their dog smelling nice after their bath
  • Owners generally found this shampoo left their dog’s coat in great condition, in particular mentioning it was soft, shiny, and tangle-free
  • Owners liked the option to buy this shampoo in a large bottle, feeling it was great value
  • Owners liked that the ingredients were natural, feeling it was gentle for their dog and high-quality
  • Many said this shampoo lathered well and was easy to rinse off

Cons

  • Some owners didn’t like the smell of this shampoo, saying it was unpleasant and lasted for a few days after the bath
  • Some found the formula didn’t agree with their dog’s sensitive skin and caused irritation
  • Some found the shampoo was a thinner consistency than expected
  • Some owners found the shampoo didn’t help to soothe their dog’s skin as much as they had hoped

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Vet’s Best Allergy Itch Relief Shampoo for Dogs review

Features

  • Best for skin with allergies
  • Soothes skin and eases itching
  • Contains natural ingredients

If your dog suffers from skin allergies, which some German Shepherds can be prone to, the Vet’s Best Allergy Itch Relief Shampoo for Dogs is a good choice. This veterinarian formulated shampoo is designed to wash away allergens, soothing sensitive skin and easing itching.

I liked that this shampoo included natural ingredients and essential oils, making it gentle on my dog’s skin. I found it lathered well, smelt nice, and cleaned my dogs well. Overall, I felt this was a high-quality shampoo.

Pros

  • Many owners said this helped to treat their dogs skin allergies and reduced itching, even when other treatments and shampoos had failed
  • Many said they saw positive effects on their dog’s skin straight after the first bath
  • Several owners said they didn’t need to use much of this shampoo to see results, and therefore they felt it was good value
  • Some said the shampoo helped to reduce or eliminate the smell caused by their dog’s skin condition
  • Many said this shampoo left their dog’s coat in a healthy condition

Cons

  • Some found their dog didn’t react well to this shampoo and were unhappy with their purchase
  • Some found the shampoo didn’t help with their dog’s skin condition
  • Some owners didn’t like the smell of this shampoo
  • Some found the shampoo didn’t lather as well as expected

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Burt’s Bees Oatmeal Shampoo with Colloidal Oat Flour & Honey for Dogs review

Features

  • Best for deep conditioning
  • 97% natural ingredients
  • Deeply conditions and moisturizes

If you want the best German Shepherd shampoo, the Burt’s Bees Oatmeal Shampoo with Colloidal Oat Flour & Honey for Dogs provides a great, deep conditioning option. This shampoo is 97% natural, with no hidden chemicals or nasties to ensure it’s gentle on your dog’s skin. Colloidal oat flour deeply conditions your dog’s skin, while the honey conditions and moisturizes your dog’s coat.

I loved how conditioning this shampoo was, while still being very gentle for my dogs. I liked that the formula was even designed to strengthen my dog’s hair follicles, promoting healthier hair growth. I felt this shampoo cleaned my dogs well and left their coats in good condition.

Pros

  • Many said this shampoo deeply conditioned their dog’s coat and left it looking healthy
  • Owners generally felt this shampoo was very gentle on their dog’s skin and coat, and appreciated the natural ingredients
  • Many owners of dogs with itchy and sensitive skin found this shampoo soothed their dog’s skin
  • Owners generally felt this shampoo cleaned their dog well and was easy to rinse out
  • Many said they appreciated the very mild scent, especially compared to shampoos that had a strong fragrance
  • Most owners liked that the ingredients were natural, feeling this shampoo was high-quality for their dog

Cons

  • Shampoo is thinner and more watery than some other formulas, which some owners didn’t like
  • Some stated that the shampoo didn’t lather much which they didn’t like
  • Some owners didn’t like the lack of smell, stating they would prefer a shampoo with a stronger fragrance
  • Some stated they needed to use quite a bit of the shampoo to wash their dog, so they felt it wouldn’t last long
  • Some owners of large dogs or those from multi-dog households stated they wished the shampoo came in a larger bottle, and mentioned that the size of bottle didn’t last them long

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Veterinary Formula Clinical Care Antiseptic & Antifungal Shampoo review

Features

  • Best for skin infections
  • Medicated, veterinary formula
  • Treats infections while soothing

If your German Shepherd suffers from skin infections, the Veterinary Formula Clinical Care Antiseptic & Antifungal Shampoo could be the best choice for you. The veterinary formula is specifically designed to treat skin infections like dermatitis and pyoderma. Benzethonium chloride helps to tackle bacteria and ketoconazole treats fungal infections.

I liked that this shampoo also included aloe vera to soothe your dog’s skin while they heal. It’s also 100% paraben free to ensure your dog is getting the best quality possible.

Pros

  • Many owners said this shampoo really helped to clear up their dog’s skin infections and skin issues, even those with severe skin issues that hadn’t improved with other treatments
  • Many said this soothed their dog’s sensitive, dry skin, and eased itching, making their dog more comfortable
  • Owners generally felt this shampoo lathered well and rinsed away easily
  • Many said they were pleasantly surprised at the lovely fragrance of this shampoo, stating it smelt nice and not ‘medical’ like other similar shampoos they’d tried
  • Many stated this shampoo effectively cleaned their dog and left their skin and coat in good condition

Cons

  • Some owners found that while it didn’t make their dog’s skin condition any worse, it also didn’t improve it
  • Some found this shampoo irritated their dog’s skin and felt it didn’t agree with their dog
  • Some owners didn’t like the strong fragrance of this shampoo
  • Some felt this shampoo didn’t get their dog as clean as others they had tried
  • Some worried about their dog licking their skin after using this shampoo, given the medicated formula

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Ark Naturals Don’t Worry Don’t Rinse Me Waterless Dog & Cat Shampoo review

Features

  • Best ‘no rinse’ shampoo
  • Refreshes coat without water
  • Great for between baths

The Ark Naturals Don’t Worry Don’t Rinse Me Waterless Dog & Cat Shampoo is a great option to keep your dog clean and smelling fresh between baths. The waterless, no-rinse formula cleans and moisturizes your pup’s coat. The natural formula is gentle on your dog’s skin and coat, while actively tackling dirt and odor.

I loved that this waterless shampoo was so easy to use. You simply massage it into your dog’s coat, and you’re done. I really liked that this waterless shampoo helped to keep my dogs clean between baths and found it very handy to have at home.

Pros

  • Many owners found this shampoo very useful to use between baths, stating it kept their dog cleaner and smelling nice for longer
  • Owners of dogs with health issues who struggle to regularly bathe their dog found this product very useful
  • Many said this shampoo smells great and that their dog smelt pleasant afterwards
  • Some stated that this waterless shampoo dried quickly and didn’t leave a residue, even on dogs with long fur, unlike other similar shampoos they’d tried
  • Owners generally felt this product was gentle on their dog’s skin and coat

Cons

  • Some found this shampoo didn’t clean their dog as well as they expected
  • Some didn’t like the fragrance of this shampoo; in particular mentioning it was ‘synthetic’ or ‘medical-like’
  • Some stated this product left a residue on their dog’s fur, leaving it feeling ‘greasy’
  • Some felt this product wasn’t as useful or high-quality as they expected

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Things to Look for in a Shampoo for a German Shepherd

It’s a good idea to keep the following in mind when you’re looking for the best shampoo for German Shepherds:

High-Quality Ingredients

Choosing a shampoo made from high-quality ingredients ensures it’s safe for your dog’s skin and won’t cause irritation or dryness. Natural ingredients are best where possible.

The shampoo you choose should ideally be soap-free. You might wonder how a shampoo can be soap-free, but it simply means that it’s free of harsh chemicals (known as soaping agents) that can be bad for dogs.

Dog shampoo should also be PH-balanced to ensure it’s the right PH for your dog’s skin. The American Kennel Club explains: “Human skin has a normal pH balance of 5.5-5.6, which is on the acidic side. Dogs, on the other hand, have a normal pH balance of 6.2-7.4, which is more neutral.” A PH-balanced shampoo protects your dog’s skin and coat, keeping it healthy.

Gentle on Skin

German Shepherds can be prone to skin issues, such as dry skin and skin irritation. This is more likely if your dog has had skin issues in the past. Therefore, it’s important that you choose a shampoo that will be gentle on their skin.

Choosing a shampoo with high-quality ingredients will be key for this. It’s also a good idea to look for ingredients that will be moisturising, soothing, and calming. Some shampoos may be hypoallergenic, organic, or contain mostly natural ingredients: all of which are good indicators that they will be gentle for your dog’s skin.

Suitable for Lifestage

If your dog is a puppy, it’s important to choose a shampoo that’s suitable for their lifestage. You can purchase specific puppy shampoos, which are formulated to be safe and gentle for young pups. Some regular shampoos will be gentle enough that they can be used on puppies: always check the label to make sure.

Value

Value isn’t just about the price when you’re choosing a shampoo for your dog. High-quality ingredients add value. If you have a large dog or a multi-dog household, shampoos available in large bottles can be worth the investment and be better value long-term.

Additional Features

Some shampoos may have specific purposes or features. For example, you might be looking for the best deshedding shampoo for German Shepherds, or a shampoo that’s deodorizing, or moisturizing. Keep an eye out for a shampoo that suits your dog’s specific needs.

German Shepherd Coat Basics

German Shepherds have medium to long coats. They’re double coated, which means their coat is thick with 2 layers: a soft undercoat and a dense outer coat. They shed quite frequently throughout the year, and once or twice a year they shed a lot.

Due to their thick coat, they need frequent grooming to keep them healthy, happy, and looking their best (and to keep your home clean and tidy). As we mentioned earlier, German Shepherds can be prone to dry skin and skin issues, so it’s crucial to bear this in mind in their grooming routine.

Grooming provides an opportunity to keep an eye on the health of their skin and coat. With regular grooming you’ll be able to notice rashes, lumps, bumps, hotspots, fleas, ticks, and any other skin irritations quickly and deal with them as soon as possible.

How to Bath Your German Shepherd

German Shepherds don’t need to be bathed often unless they’re very dirty. Typically, once every 4 to 5 months is enough. Bathing your German Shepherd too frequently strips their skin and coat of their natural oils, which makes them more susceptible to skin issues.

It’s always a good idea to get your dog used to baths when they’re young, so they find the process less stressful. Most dogs don’t like baths, but it’s necessary so make it fun by giving them lots of praise and treats.

Here are some basic bathing tips to guide you:

  • Always brush your dog before bathing them to ensure they’re free of mats and tangles
  • Use warm water during the bath to make sure your pup is comfortable
  • Wet them starting from the neck and working your way down towards the tail: don’t be afraid to use lots of water to make sure their thick, dense coat is completely wet
  • Lather the shampoo on your hands or a washcloth and rub it into your dog’s coat in firm, circular motions (ensure you reach their undercoat)
  • When it’s time to rinse, ensure you’re thorough as left-over shampoo residue can cause skin irritation (if you’re in doubt, rinse twice)
  • Let them shake off and then use a towel to dry them (you might need 2)
  • You can let them air dry, or you if you have a dog-safe drier you can dry them off to save time
  • Brush their coat again when it’s dry to get rid of mats and tangles and ensure they’re looking in tip top condition

Additional Grooming

Aside from bathing your German Shepherd, they will need to be brushed regularly. Every other day is recommended to keep their coat tangle tree and reduce shedding around your home.

Since the breed has a double coat, it’s important that they’re never shaved or clipped. Instead, a trim now and then can keep their coat tidy. They should also regularly have their nails trimmed, usually once a month.

If you’re not confident at trimming your dog’s coat and nails at home, you can take them to a professional groomer. You should also regularly clean your dog’s eyes and ears. They should have a regular oral hygiene routine to keep their teeth and gums healthy.

Shampoo for German Shepherd FAQ

How often should you bathe your German Shepherd?

You should only bathe your German Shepherd once every 4 to 5 months unless they get very dirty.

Should you use conditioner on your German Shepherd?

The use of conditioner isn’t vital, but some people like to use 1 to add extra moisture and shine to their dog’s coat.

Can you use human shampoo on your German Shepherd?

No, as we mentioned earlier, human skin has a different PH than dogs. Therefore, human shampoo can cause skin irritation and discomfort for your dog.

Conclusion

Bath time is not often fun for dogs, but it’s necessary to keep them clean and smelling fresh. The right shampoo can help to keep your dog’s coat healthy and looking great.

 

References

Jan Reisen, (2021), “Can You Use Human Shampoo on Dogs?” American Kennel Club.

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