Your German Shepherd is a loyal companion, and you want him to feel clean and comfortable at all times. While your dog might not love bath time, choosing the right shampoo helps keep his coat full and his skin moisturized and free from itchy irritation.
German Shepherds have dense coats that require regular brushing and bathing. Today, we’ll take an in-depth look at the benefits and drawbacks of various shampoos and conditioners so that you can choose the perfect option for your furry friend. Additionally, our complete buyer’s guide covers the features you’ll want to consider when shopping, plus info on the best way to keep your dog clean.
Your complete guide to the best German Shepherd dog shampoos and conditions starts right now:
German Shepherd Shampoo and Conditioner: The Overview
- Fresh smelling
- All-natural ingredients
- Safe for frequent use
- Helps remove strong smells
- Soap-free and moisturizing
- Designed for frequent use
- Natural, non-irritating ingredients
- Helps soothe itchy skin
- Trusted manufacturer
- Helps treat eczema, ringworm, and other skin issues
- Developed by vets
- Brings soothing relief
- Vibrant tropical aroma
- Helps detangle fur
- Soothes and moisturizes
- All-natural, vitamin-packed formula
- Helps facilitate healthy shedding
- Includes supplement for skin and coat
- Helps control excessive shedding
- Adds volume to hair
- Helps moisturize itchy skin
- Helps remove tangles
- Moisturizes dry skin
- Pleasant vanilla smell
German Shepherd Dog Shampoo Buyer’s Guide
Shampoo does more than just keep your dog clean. Brands offer different formulas to help treat and prevent a variety of issues. The shampoo you choose can have a profound effect on your dog’s health and comfort. Here’s a closer look at how to find the best shampoo for your German Shepherd
German Shepherd Hair
German Shepherds are large, active, and intelligent dogs with many distinguishing features, including a medium-length double coat. Their undercoat is typically very thick, while their outer coat is dense with straight hair that lays close to the body. In some dogs, the outer coat is slightly wavy with a wiry texture. While most dogs have a medium-length coat, sometimes a longer one does occur.
Often nicknamed German Shedders, the breed does shed quite a bit. They blow (change) their coats entirely twice a year, once in the spring and again in the fall. Shedding becomes excessive during those two periods, so you’ll want to brush your dog daily and bathe him with shedding-control shampoo.
How Often Should I Bathe My German Shepherd?
Like all dogs, German Shepherds produce natural oils to help protect their skin and coat. Regular brushing helps distribute these oils evenly throughout the dog’s coat, which reduces the likelihood of skin and coat issues while also helping control dander and shedding.
However, brushing alone isn’t enough to keep your dog’s skin and hair healthy. You’ll also want to bathe them. German Shepherds don’t have long, flowing coats, so you can give them a bath about once a month in most circumstances.
In some situations, you might want to bathe your dog more often. For example, dogs that spend a lot of time outside can pick up dirt and odors that might warrant extra baths. You can find shampoo designed for frequent bathing. It’s typically milder and soap-free to help avoid drying out the dog’s skin.
Potential Skin and Coat Issues
The most common issue you’ll deal with is the excessive shedding we discussed above. However, beyond shedding, they do have a few problems somewhat common to the breed.
One of the biggest issues to watch for is canine atopic dermatitis, also known as eczema. It’s persistent itchy and irritated skin marked by red, flaky patches. If your dog has eczema, you’ll want to bathe them with hypoallergenic shampoo or one made for sensitive skin. Additionally, consult with your vet, as they might recommend medicated shampoo to help reduce symptoms.
Types of Shampoo
Which type of shampoo is best? It depends on what conditions you want to treat.
Shedding Control shampoo targets the undercoat to help free loose hairs. While it doesn’t reduce shedding, it does allow hair to fall out in the tub instead of around the house. Additionally, shedding control formulas help remove dander and other buildups, making the shed hair cleaner.
While all shampoos clean, deodorizing shampoos are specifically designed to remove strong odors. They’re the type of shampoo you want if your dog spends a lot of time outside. Most deodorizing shampoos use natural ingredients such as coconut oil, lavender, and aloe vera.
Although relatively rare for the breed, German Shepherds can suffer from tangled or matted hair. Tangle-free formulas help loosen and soften hair to allow it to grow and shed naturally. Matted hair can lead to a variety of infections, so if your dog suffers from frequent skin irritation, a tangle-free shampoo can help soothe his skin.
Regular shampoos can sometimes cause itchiness, hives, and other allergic reactions. If your dog has sensitive skin, you’ll want a hypoallergenic shampoo, which uses limited and mild ingredients to reduce the potential for irritation.
Sensitive skin shampoo typically doesn’t contain any soap. A soap-free cleanser is gentle and non-drying on the skin. You’ll find many shampoos don’t contain soap, whether or not they’re labeled as specifically for sensitive skin.
Medicated shampoos can help reduce itchiness, infection, and other skin and coat problems. You’ll want to work with your vet to determine the best course of action for your dog’s specific condition. Some medicated shampoos are only available with a prescription, while others, such as antifungals, are sold over-the-counter.
Typically, medicated shampoos are used to treat a specific situation. They’re not meant for long-term use on healthy dogs.
Just like tearless shampoo for people, tearless dog shampoo is mild and non-irritating. It’s a popular option for puppies as well as any dogs who don’t sit still in the bath. They can splash around but avoid any painful stinging.
Waterless or Dry Shampoo
This is a dry powder that you brush through your dog’s coat. It’s fast, easy, and effective – although typically not as thorough as a regular bath. Still, waterless shampoo works well as a quick way to freshen your dog between baths. Plus, they’re convenient if you’re camping with your dog or if your dog resists water baths in general.
Best German Shepherd Dog Shampoos and Conditioners Reviewed
Not all shampoos are the same. Here are eight different options to tackle a wide range of different coat and hair issues. No matter what needs your dog has, you’ll find a shampoo or a conditioner to help.
Best Overall – Buddy Wash
Our top choice is gentle enough for frequent use but also strong enough to remove dirt from deep within your German Shepherd’s coat while also adding volume and moisturize.
Buddy Wash is a two-in-one shampoo and conditioner formulated with coconut, lavender, Aloe Vera, green tea, and other natural ingredients. It contains no soap, alcohol, or anything else that’ll dry your dog’s skin.
Wheat protein acts as a powerful, but natural deodorizer, so this shampoo can tackle the toughest odors. Additionally, it’s safe for both adults and puppies.
While it doesn’t target specific conditions like some of the others on our list, it’s a reliable, fresh-smelling, and all-natural option that will help keep your pup clean and itch-free.
- Wheat protein helps remove tough odors
- All-natural ingredients include lavender and aloe vera
- The two-and-one formula includes conditioner
- Might not be suitable for dogs with wheat allergies
Best Deodorizing Shampoo – Healthy Breeds German Shepherd Deodorizing Dog Shampoo
Let’s face it: Our furry friends don’t always smell the best. If your pup has a naturally strong odor, or he frequently returns home covered in nature’s worst-smelling flora, consider this deodorizing shampoo from Healthy Breeds.
What makes a deodorizing shampoo different from any other type? It’s infused with sweet pea to help absorb odors. Additionally, it works into a lather quickly but remains easy to rinse off.
Another major benefit is that you can use this shampoo often, even daily, without harming your dog’s skin. Its soap-free formula uses natural emollients to keep your dog’s skin and coat healthy and moisturized.
- Designed to remove strong smells
- Safe for frequent use
- Made in the USA
- The plastic bottle isn’t very durable
Best All-Natural – Burt’s Bees Oatmeal Shampoo
The Burt’s Bees brand is a trusted favorite for practically all breeds, and their Oatmeal Shampoo is often an excellent option if your German Shepherd suffers from dry, itchy skin.
Colloidal oat flour, honey, and green tea extract help moisturize dry skin and reduce flakiness. In many cases, it’s a promising treatment for eczema, itchy skin, dry coat, and similar issues.
As you’d expect from Burt’s Bees, they emphasize the minimal, natural ingredients here. It contains no chemicals, fragrances, or other unwanted additives. While natural ingredients are preferred for every dog, this shampoo is an especially good choice for many dogs suffering from allergies.
- All-natural ingredients
- Helps soothe skin
- Adds shine to the coat
- Tolerable by many dogs with allergies
- Not tearless (not puppy-friendly)
- Doesn’t lather well
Best Antifungal – Veterinary Formula Clinical Care Antifungal
If your dog suffers from ringworm, eczema, and any other fungal or bacterial infection, this antifungal shampoo from Veterinary Formula Clinical Care might be the solution you’re seeking.
Formulated by veterinary experts, it uses Benzethonium Chloride, Aloe Vera, and other ingredients to target and remove infection while also promoting faster healing.
You’ll bathe your dog twice a week with this shampoo until the condition clears up, and then you’ll bathe him weekly or less to prevent flare-ups.
- Treats bacterial and fungal infections
- Designed for veterinary experts
- Inexpensive way to help control eczema, hot spots, and similar issues
- Primarily an antifungal
- Requires frequent use initially
Best Botanical – TropiClean Luxury 2-in-1
If you want your pup smelling fresh and sweet, check out TropiClean’s Luxury 2-in-1. It has bold blasts of coconut and mango, with accents of kiwi and papaya.
Don’t be fooled. The fruity ingredients don’t cover up the smell. Instead, they eradicate it at the source by cleaning and detangling fur while also soothing and moisturizing skin. It’s also soap-free, so you can use it along with flea and tick treatments.
As a 2-in-1 product, you can shampoo and condition in half the time, making this a choice you’ll likely love if your dog hates baths.
Finally, it’s made for both dogs and cats, which is convenient if you have a multi-pet household.
- All-natural, fruit ingredients
- Helps clean and detangle fur
- Nourishes dry, itchy skin
- 2-in-1 shampoo and conditioner
- Bottle can leak
- Controlling the pour can be difficult
Best for Shedding – Frisco Shed Control Shampoo
The breed isn’t nicknamed the German Shedder for nothing. You’re already dealing with year-round shedding. While no shampoo will stop it entirely, Frisco’s Shed Control Shampoo can help reduce the volume and intensity.
Its coconut and plant-based formula help strengthen the coat while also facilitating the release of loose hairs. Regular use helps reduce the quantity of hair your dog sheds around the house.
Aside from the shampoo, this bundle also includes a bottle of Vet’s Best Healthy Coat Shed and Itch Relief Dog Supplements. Together, the supplements and shampoo help control itchy skin, dry hair, and excessive shedding.
- Helps remove loose hair
- Reduces around-the-house shedding
- Includes a bottle of healthy coat supplements
- Plant-based, all-natural formula
- Shampoo only helps minimize shedding
Best Condition for Shedding – FURminator deShedding Conditioner
If you’ve found a shampoo you like but want to add something more to help control shedding, check out FURminator’s deShedding conditioner.
From a trusted name in pet hair care, this conditioner helps release the undercoat, so loose hair ends up down the drain instead of around the house. It’s made from a variety of coat and skin-boosting ingredients, including Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids, Aloe Vera, and chamomile.
It’s safe for use on all dogs and cats six weeks or older. The formula is all-natural with no parabens, dyes, or additives. You can use it on your dog during every bath or just during seasonal changes when shedding is at its worst.
- Loosens undercoat to help control shedding
- Separate conditioner lets you use your preferred shampoo
- All-natural ingredients help soothe skin and moisturize coat
- Requires separate shampoo
- Might irritate dogs with grass allergies
Best Conditioner for Skin Issues – Zesty Paws Oatmeal Anti-Itch Conditioner
If your German Shepherd suffers from hot spots, dryness, and other skin issues, you might want to add a separate anti-itch conditioner to his bath time routine.
This option from Zesty Paws is a gentle but effective solution. It’s formulated with oatmeal, organic shea butter, quinoa, and other natural remedies. After rinsing, it leaves behind a light layer that helps moisturize the skin and untangle the coat. It smells great, too, with a light, vanilla scent.
- Helps soothe hot, irritated, and dry skin
- Made with oatmeal and other natural ingredients
- Helps your dog’s skin stay moisturized between baths
- Works best on mild dryness and itchiness
- Can leave behind a thick residue in the tub
Best German Shepherd Dog Shampoo: The Final Verdict
Choosing the right shampoo helps soothe itchy skin, adds volume to the coat, and otherwise helps keep your dog healthy, fresh-smelling, and looking great.
While all of the products listed have a lot to like, our favorite overall is Buddy Wash. With all-natural ingredients, it’s unlikely to cause an allergic reaction. Plus, it’s safe for frequent use, making it a good choice for dogs who spend lots of time outdoors.
If you’re looking for a shampoo to treat an infection, we like Veterinary Formula Clinical Care Antifungal. It’s formulated to fight ringworm, eczema, and other skin conditions.
Finally, if you want just a conditioner, FURminator deShedding Conditioner is an excellent way to help minimize and control shedding. You’ll likely want to add it to your dog care routine twice a year during the heavy shedding periods.
Take a look at quick answers to common questions about the best shampoo and conditioners for German Shepherds.
What Type of Shampoo is Best for German Shepherds?
If your dog doesn’t suffer from any skin conditions, a soap-free shampoo with natural ingredients such as Aloe Vera and lavender will keep him clean and fresh smelling.
What Should I Do If My Dog has a Bad Odor?
If your dog suffers from a stronger-than-normal odor, use a deodorizing shampoo. It’s specially formulated to neutralized tough, lingering smells.
What Shampoo is Best for Dogs with Red, Irritated Skin?
Check with your vet, as they might recommend medicated shampoo. For minor irritation, try a hypoallergenic shampoo or one made for sensitive skin.
What Shampoo is Best for Puppies?
When bathing young dogs that struggle to sit still, use a tear-free formula to avoid any accidental eye irritation.
How Often Should I Bathe My German Shepherd?
If your dog doesn’t have irritated skin, you can give him a bath about once a month. Of course, if he spends a lot of time outside or otherwise gets dirty more often, you can bathe him more frequently. However, make sure you use a shampoo specifically designed for frequent bathing so you reduce the risk of giving him dry skin.