Guide to Dog Skincare: Choosing a Suitable Dog Shampoo for Itchy Skin

Guide to Dog Skincare: Choosing a Suitable Dog Shampoo for Itchy Skin

Posted by Essential Dog on Oct 07, 2021

Choosing a suitable dog shampoo and conditioner for your itchy dog whether they are prone to allergies, have hot spots and rashes, or are simply scratching for unknown reasons, can be difficult.

If your dog has itchy skin, it is important to ensure your dog has a balanced diet and getting all the right nutrients and supplements, particularly those rich in Omega 3, 6 & 9.

What is often overlooked is that itchy skin can arise from cheap, synthetic shampoos filled with synthetic fragrances, sulphates and parabens. These are the three ingredients that are particularly harmful for dogs with sensitive and itchy skin.

A naturally formulated shampoo specifically for your itchy dog is difficult as full ingredient disclosure is not required by law.


Colloidal oatmeal is high in avenanthramides, plant phenols that display strong anti-inflammatory and antioxidant qualities, and has been shown to alleviate dogs with itchy skin. The difference between oatmeal and colloidal oatmeal is the particle size in which it’s ground. Colloidal oatmeal is ground with specialist machinery with a very tiny particle size, that allows the avenanthramides in the oatmeal to penetrate the skin. Unground oatmeal or oatmeal ground at home in a blender or grinder doesn’t produce a particle size small enough to penetrate the skin, although such a home remedy will certainly do no harm.

Sulphate and paraben-free?

Sulphates and parabens are not recommended for dogs with itchy skin, so avoid a dog shampoo that contains these ingredients. If there are no ingredients listed on the bottle, and there is no claim that there are no parabens or sulphates, these are most likely in the shampoo.

Synthetic fragrances?

We are asked by our customers how to identify if a product contains synthetic fragrances. This is what we tell them: go into your backyard/herb garden and if the product smells like the plant or herb in your backyard, then it’s most likely a true 100% pure essential oil. If the fragrance name is ‘baby powder’ or ‘citrus fruit’ or one of the many names given to fragrances, then it’s synthetic and most likely to irritate your dog.

Knowing what’s in your dog shampoo...

Dog shampoo for itchy dogs or any pet shampoo doesn’t require the full list of ingredients on the label, so this can be difficult for you to ascertain what’s in the shampoo and whether it will irritate your dog. So it’s important to find a brand that you trust, that discloses their ingredients. Otherwise, you may have to stop around to find a shampoo that doesn’t irritate your dog which can be costly.

Check out our dog skincare range

Check out our sensitive dog shampoo and conditioner range

Check out our oatmeal dog shampoo bar sensitive range