Puppies are super cute, but while they explore the world, they can also get super dirty. Puppy shampoo can get your furry cutie ready to cuddle again, making them feel and smell fresher while also providing relief from issues like itchy skin or fleas. That’s why it’s important to select the appropriate shampoo to keep your puppy clean and treat any conditions that may pop up.

To help you choose the right shampoo for your young pup, we spoke to groomers and researched other pet parents’ favorite options. But before we get into our list of the best shampoos for puppies, let’s go over some of the ins and outs of puppy shampoos in general.

Shampoo for Puppies: Top Picks

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Does Your Dog Need Puppy Shampoo?

For the first few months of life, puppies can be cleaned using warm water and a cloth. Once puppies are older than 12 weeks, adding shampoo into their cleaning regimen will help remove dirt and grime, and keep their coat free of excess oils.

Puppy-safe shampoo is specifically designed for your pet’s young age. Puppies are smaller and their skin is more sensitive, so puppy shampoo is often gentler than its adult counterpart. It may also have features like a “no-tear” formula so it won’t sting your pup’s eyes, which helps make bathtime less scary.

Choosing a puppy shampoo — or checking the label to make sure it’s puppy-safe — is especially important when considering medicated shampoos, like flea and tick washes.

Is it Okay to Use Dog Shampoo for Puppies?

In some cases, shampoo formulated for adult dogs is safe for puppies. The label may even indicate that the product can be used on dogs of any age. Even so, choosing shampoo specifically created for younger dogs can be a good idea, since it’s often better for a puppy’s sensitive skin and free of dyes and heavy fragrances that may be overwhelming.

The exception is when it comes to medicated shampoos. With those shampoos, always choose products that are either designed for puppies or give explicit instructions for using on puppies, like how much and how often.

Can You Use Human Shampoo on Dogs?

Using human shampoos on dogs is not recommended. They can contain unnecessary ingredients that may irritate your pet’s skin and coat, and the scents can be too much for your dog. “Humans and dogs have different skin and hair needs, and the ingredients in human shampoo will react differently on dogs. It can cause skin irritation, allergic reactions, etc.,” shares Cat Herrera, a professional dog groomer at Jess Rona Grooming,

Continuous use of human shampoo on dogs can also cause skin problems. Dog skin is more neutral on the pH scale, and human soaps are designed to accommodate human skin. When dogs are exposed to shampoo that is too acidic, it can disrupt the balance of their skin and coat, resulting in dry, flaky skin, and a higher risk of infections.

If you’ve used human shampoo on your pup in the past, don’t panic. While a one-off wash with a gentle human shampoo won’t cause long-term damage, it’s not a good idea to make it a habit.

How We Made Our Puppy Shampoo Selections

In addition to speaking with professional groomers, we also considered the following when creating our list of best shampoos for puppies:

Safety. Like with babies, it’s important to use a shampoo that’s safe for our youngest pups, so we made note of options formulated without harsh ingredients that could be dangerous.

Ease of use. Bath time can already be a stressful situation, so having a shampoo that makes it a little easier can make all the difference. That’s why we kept an eye out for shampoos listed as “tearless,” as well as those formulated as a shampoo-conditioner combo.

Ratings/reviews. Aside from groomers, pet parents themselves have the most experience when it comes to shampooing puppies, so we made sure to check the review section to get their take on each selection.

Price. From lower-cost puppy shampoos to options that are a little more expensive, we included a mix of products to fit a variety of budgets.

Best Puppy Shampoo: 6 Options Groomers Love

Whether you’re looking for a general puppy shampoo or something to suit your puppy’s specific needs, we’ve got you covered. Here’s our list of the best puppy shampoos out there for your furry little friend. 

Best Overall Puppy Shampoo

Our pick: Burt’s Bees 2-in-1 Tearless Puppy Shampoo & Conditioner 

Combining everything a good puppy shampoo should have into one affordable, effective formula earned this Burt’s Bees selection the top spot on our list. Not only does it clean your puppy’s coat, but the addition of conditioner adds much-needed hydration, and the all-in-one design means you don’t have to stretch bath time longer than it needs to be.

The star ingredients of this gentle puppy shampoo are buttermilk and linseed, which soften your dog’s skin and nourish their coat. It’s pH-balanced and made without fragrances or harsh chemicals, and the tearless formula means no stinging eyes. No matter your puppy’s coat and skin type, this shampoo is an excellent choice.


  • 2-in-1 shampoo and conditioner
  • Tearless formula won’t sting eyes
  • pH-balanced and made without harsh chemicals
  • Great price point


  • Depending on your puppy’s skin type, a shampoo and conditioner combo may not be the best choice
  • Some pet parents mentioned that it doesn’t have a very noticeable scent

Best Puppy Shampoo for Itchy Skin

Our pick: TropiClean Gentle Coconut Hypoallergenic Puppy & Kitten Shampoo

Herrera recommends this brand and has been using it since she started grooming. “They have a wide variety of shampoo and conditioners that can help your pets’ needs [and is] also budget friendly!” Some shampoos can dry out sensitive puppy skin, which can exacerbate the itchiness, but this hypoallergenic option from TropiClean is ideal for pets with allergies because it can actually soothe skin and provide some much-needed relief. Free from harsh soaps and dyes, the gentle, pH-balanced formula cleans and moisturizes your dog’s coat and skin, and the light coconut scent smells absolutely delicious. 

This puppy shampoo is priced a little higher than some others, but we think it’s worth it for the quality formula. Bonus: if you have kittens, it’s safe to use on them as well.


  • Hypoallergenic
  • Provides relief for allergies and sensitive skin
  • Naturally derived ingredients; no harsh soaps or dyes
  • Light, fresh, coconut scent
  • Can be used on both puppies and kittens


  • Only for use on pets over 12 weeks
  • Higher price point

Best Puppy Shampoo and Conditioner 

Our pick: iGroom All-in-One Dog Shampoo + Conditioner

Made by another groomer-recommended brand, this dog shampoo in particular is highly rated. “If you’re willing to spend a little more, iGroom is an amazing brand that we use at my current shop daily,” says Herrera. “Their shampoos and conditioners thoroughly clean and moisturize your pet’s skin and coat.” This convenient option combines shampoo and conditioner into one formula, which can be a good way to provide extra hydration to your pup’s skin and coat without prolonging bath time.

Sunflower and chestnut extract boost the hydrating shampoo to give your pup clean, soft fur, and the pH-balanced formula helps keep skin healthy. It even contains a unique keratin complex that improves the look of your dog’s coat.


  • Shampoo and conditioner in one formula
  • Ideal for all coat types
  • Made without harsh ingredients like parabens and sulfates
  • Adds hydration and shine to your puppy’s fur
  • Customers say it leaves behind a fresh fragrance


  • More expensive than other puppy shampoos

Best Natural Puppy Shampoo

Our pick: earthbath Ultra-Mild Puppy Shampoo

A gentle all-in-one solution, this natural puppy shampoo is formulated with aloe vera, plant-derived cleansers, added vitamins, and even a conditioner and detangler. Great for sensitive skin, it doesn’t contain harsh ingredients like soaps, dyes, and sulfates. This pH-balanced formula is so mild, it can be used on puppies as young as 6 weeks old, sweeping away bad smells and leaving a fresh cherry fragrance. And while you should always be careful when washing your pup’s face, the tearless formula won’t sting if it does happen to get in their eyes.


  • Free from soaps, dyes, and sulfates
  • Tearless formula
  • Added conditioner and detangler
  • Won’t remove topical flea/tick medication
  • Can be used on puppies as young as 6 weeks


  • Some customers said the scent didn’t last very long

Best Smelling Puppy Shampoo

Our pick: Biosilk for Dogs Puppy Tearless Shampoo

If a great-smelling puppy is a priority, this shampoo is for you! Luxury hair care brand Biosilk has ventured into the pet world with a line of formulas created specifically for our furry friends. Their tearless shampoo is for puppies 8 weeks or older, providing a gentle, moisturizing clean with ingredients like milk protein, aloe vera, honey, chamomile, and vitamin E. The best part? Like all Biosilk formulas, it smells incredible! Customers rave about the iconic clean, fresh scent, saying that it lasts for days after the bath.


  • Luxurious scent 
  • pH-balanced, tearless, moisturizing formula
  • No parabens or sulfates
  • Good for itchy or sensitive skin
  • Can be used on puppies 8 weeks or older
  • Won’t wash off topical treatments


  • A few customers said it didn’t lather as much as they’d like

Best Flea Shampoo for Puppies

Our pick: Natural Chemistry De Flea Pet Shampoo

When it comes to using medicated puppy shampoo to remove fleas, it’s important to look for something gentle. Safe to use on pets 12 weeks or older, this shampoo is effective enough to kill fleas and ticks on contact. Instead of utilizing harsh, pyrethrin-based pesticides, it features ingredients that penetrate the insects’ exoskeleton and damage their organs. Plus, it not only works on live insects, but also those in all life stages – from eggs to larvae to full-grown adults. For the best results, be sure to follow the instructions on the bottle. 


  • Kills ticks and fleas in all life stages without using harsh ingredients
  • No pyrethrin-based pesticides
  • Won’t wash off flea or tick medication
  • Safe for dogs and humans


  • Can’t be used on puppies under 12 weeks of age

How to Use Puppy Shampoo

Puppy shampoo can be used for the standard bath time washing, but there also are specialized formulas that are designed to address any issues your puppy’s skin or coat might have. For example, look for hydrating formulas and allergy shampoos if you notice your pet has itchy skin. The same goes for shampoos formulated to tackle dandruff and flaky skin. And while a bath should help decrease any bad smells in general, you can also find shampoos created specifically for smelly pets.

Medicated shampoos, like flea shampoo or those for fungal infections, should be used with caution. Make sure you’re using the appropriate dosage and following the instructions closely to avoid exposing your pet to too much of the medication. It’s also a good idea to speak with your vet about the appropriate treatment for fleas before proceeding with a shampoo.

When puppies are new to baths, go slowly and give them lots of treats to make it a positive experience. And unless your dog gets exceptionally dirty, they may only need to bathe every few months.

Puppy Shampoo Buyer’s Guide

There are a few key things to remember when shopping for the best puppy shampoo. Here are some tips to help make the process as seamless as possible.

Shop for your pup’s specific needs. There are so many puppy shampoos out there to choose from, but considering your puppy’s skin type and coat can help you narrow down your options. For example, if your puppy has allergies or dry skin, look for a product designed to be hydrating. 

Herrera recommends considering their breed as well. “If a bottle reads ‘drop coat’ or ‘silky,’ this could work great for a Yorkshire Terrier, Maltese, Shih Tzu, and other drop coat breeds,” she explains. “Bottles that read ‘shed-reducing’ will work better on double-coated breeds like Golden Retrievers, Siberian Huskies, Labrador Retrievers, etc.”

Don’t skip the conditioner. When shopping for shampoo, remember to pick up a conditioner, too. “One of the biggest reasons a pet can get dry, flaky skin is because they aren’t getting conditioned,” says Herrera. “Shampoo cleans and strips the skin and coat in the process. Conditioner is needed to rehydrate the skin and coat.” 

Consider your place of purchase. To make sure you’re picking up a quality product, Herrera recommends looking in pet stores instead of somewhere that doesn’t specialize in pet products. “Typically products you find at pet stores are better quality than the ones you see in grocery stores.” 

Ask the experts. If you have questions, you can always speak to your groomer or veterinarian to find recommendations — they’re happy to help!