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Dog Grooming Tips | This One is All About Dog Shampoo Tips

Dog Shampoo Tips


When we adopted our littermate puppies, we received loads of advice on what dog shampoo we should use.  We started with puppy shampoo from our neighborhood pet store and today, we use Life’s Abundance Revitalizing Shampoo.

But I still had some questions about dog shampoo and I got those questions answered recently.  I belong to a LinkedIn group for dog lovers where I connected with Angela Wulf of Big Paws K-9 Grooming (please show support by liking their Facebook page).

Dog Shampoo Tips

What’s your favorite dog shampoo?

I don’t know if I have a favorite brand of dog shampoo. For the most part, most shampoos that are formulated for dogs are going to work just fine. For an all around type of shampoo to always have on hand, I would recommend a good oatmeal-based shampoo.

Oatmeal is very calming for itchy or irritated skin but it also contains natural oils that are very good for the coat. It’s generally ok for dogs that have slight allergies as well. Even if you have a dog that has a perfectly good coat, no allergies, and no excessive shedding, it will never hurt to maintain with a great oatmeal shampoo. Plus, you must tell me what kind of dog you have that is so perfect with no skin or coat issues!

3/26/14 Update: I’ve since learned that if you have a dog with skin allergies, oatmeal shampoo is not a good idea, because it feeds the allergy, making it worse.  So I use an all natural dog shampoo bar instead on our dogs – there are many brands available online.

Do we have to use conditioner on our dogs?

Conditioner is not a necessity but as far as if it’s a good idea depends on the kind of coat your dog has. If you have a dog that has issues with excessive shedding and/or has a very curly or coarse coat, I would recommend using a conditioner and I would use a conditioner on them if they were in my shop.

Here’s a quick tip: when using a conditioner on a dog that has issues with excessive shedding, you should apply the conditioner and rub it in against the natural way the coat grows. Really work it into the skin and use the opportunity going against the natural grain of the coat to work up extra shedding hair and get it out while your dog is in the tub. Once you have spiked their hair up like a crazy rocker-dude (or dude-ette), let it sit on their coat for at least 2 or 3 minutes and then rinse with luke-warm water.

How often should we bathe our dogs and why?

We always recommend bathing/grooming dogs every 6-8 weeks. If you bathe/groom before then, you may cause your dog’s skin to dry out and become irritated. If you wait until after 8 weeks, chances are their nails have grown out to where it can become difficult to trim them without cutting the quick of the nail as well they are now a stinky and/or matted mess.

Keeping up on your dogs most basic grooming needs, like brushing, in the interim between grooming appointments will be a lot easier as well if you maintain a 6 or 8 week grooming schedule.

3/26/2014 Update: Using an all natural dog shampoo bar allows us to bathe our dogs weekly (if we have time) or twice a month  (which is what we do). It’s such a mild product that it’s safe to use more often and it works very well so it does keep our dogs smelling nicer when we’d like to wait longer for their next bath.

Can we use people shampoo on our dogs?

I would not recommend shampoo formulated for humans on a dog, especially if your dog has any skin allergies or issues related to such. Dogs have a different kind of hair than people do and many breeds even have an undercoat that needs to be maintained.

We have to remember that even a tiny Yorkie is a member of the K-9 family and they originate from distant ancestors, like the wolf, meant to live in inclement conditions while hunting and surviving in the wild. Their skin and coat, many, many generations later, is a product of that.

Shampoos that are originally formulated for humans often times with have a lot of dies, perfumes and chemicals that might be perfectly fine and/or needed for a human head but may not be well suited and/or harsh for the natural oils in a dogs skin that are absolutely necessary to maintain the luster and quality of a the good coat they need.


Thank you, Angela, for taking the time to answer my questions.  I now understand why we do what we do.


  1. Our cat gets routine brushing on the whole body almost every day. It keeps the fur shiny and clean, and also prevents hair balls since most of the loose hair is brushed off. It’s easier than washing the cat, because it can take an hour to blow dry the very thick hair. Thanks for the tips on shampoo and conditioner. This comes in handy for the next wash.

    • Hi, Sayumi,
      I need to brush my cats more. I used to be on a great routine of doing it every morning; now I’m trying to switch that to every evening before I go to bed. Thanks for the reminder.

  2. Great post! I usually don’t bathe my boxer for a couple months at a time. But considering it’s mud-season here in Maine, I may have to wash her more often. My favorite shampoo, mutt nose best, is made here in Maine and has oatmeal in it as well! My dog’s coat gets so soft, I want to use it on myself sometimes.

    • Hi Keith
      Isn’t it funny that products for our pets are getting better and better. It is very tempting when you smell them and read the ingredients and they’re all great. I go for products that haven’t been tested by animals and I love to support local pet businesses, like what you’re doing.

      Thanks for stopping by!

  3. Thank you for this great information on on dog grooming tips.

  4. My family recently got a new dog and we’re wondering how often we should have it groomed. You definitely answered that question, along with a lot of others. Since we’re not really used to having a dog, we’ll probably find a grooming service for her first few times. Hopefully we can find a good one!

    • Best of luck with your new family member, Tyrone

  5. very informative stuff here :) great. I am like you i stick with all natural shampoo for my pups, i just like the idea of all natural. Btw i love the picture at the top very cute :)

  6. Thank you very much for these pet grooming tips. My son recently brought home a dog and I told him he could keep it. Bo, the dog, could really use some tidying up, so I’m researching as much as I can on how to properly groom a dog. Your advice to use oatmeal-based shampoo was very helpful. I’ll be sure to remember that.


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