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This post was originally published in October 2015. I have updated it with new information, including new scores.

Which Dog Shampoo is the Best?



I have to prepare the bathroom before the dogs become aware that Bath Day has come or else they'll bolt.  I organized the bathroom, arrange a pile of towels, and choose a dog shampoo.

I realized that I had several bottles of shampoo and after tossing the empty ones, I had four options left.  I was waiting for a new organic shampoo (4-Legger Dog Shampoo) that had all natural ingredients, and it was due to arrive the following week, but the baths couldn't wait.

With everything I learned about dog shampoo during my review of products by Isle of Dog, I thought it would be fun to try each shampoo to find the one that works best for our dogs.

The Dog Shampoos I Tested

  • Nourish Pet Shampoo
  • Ewegurt Shampoo Bars
  • Isle of Dog Deep Cleaning Dog Shampoo
  • The Working Dog Wash Shampoo by Deirdre's K9 Naturals
  • 4-Legger Organic Dog Shampoo (a fifth dog tested this shampoo)

High-end dog shampoos that promote themselves as being natural, sulfate free, and/or paraben free.

What Makes a Good Dog Shampoo

I'm sure everyone has different criteria they use to determine what makes a good dog shampoo.  I'm looking for…

  • Cleans thoroughly
  • Rinses cleanly and easily
  • Not a ton of suds
  • Nice, light scent
  • Gentle on the skin
  • Cruelty-free
  • No chemicals, unnatural fragrances, or unnecessary ingredients

My Dog Shampoo Scores

A = I will buy this shampoo

B = I might buy this shampoo

C = I won't buy this shampoo, but I will use it if I received it as a gift

D = I wouldn't buy or use this shampoo

Dogs that Participated in the Shampoo Test

  • Rodrigo – Border Collie / Great Pyrenees with long hair
  • Sydney – Great Pyrenees / Italian Greyhound with short hair
  • Scout – Border Collie mix with short hair
  • Zoey – Border Collie mix with short hair

Nourish Feelin' Sweet Shampoo: Scout

Scout is a brat about Bath Day and the hardest one to keep in the shower.  Our dogs are bathed in a walk-in shower.  When Scout decides he's finished bathing, he walks over me to exit the shower.  Fortunately, he sees me as pack leader and when I point and say “back inside” he lowers his head (lays the guilt on thick) and walks slowly back in The Shower of Torture and Misery.

Nourish Feelin' Sweet Shampoo…

  • Smells very sweet during the bath, but that smell goes away, and our dogs smelled like clean dogs.
  • Lathers up, but not too much.
  • Cleans and rinses thoroughly in one wash.

Nourish dog shampoo was developed by professional groomers and is “free of soap, parabens and sulfates, alcohol, phthalates, dyes and petroleum-based chemicals.” (Source:

The ingredients aren't listed on the website (that I could find), so I'm typing these from the bottle: purified water, coconut shampoo base, vanilla bean extract (softens), kiwi fruit extract (promotes health), white tea leaf extract (energizes skin), mallow extract (moisturizes), white ginger extract (stimulates fur growth), blueberry fruit extract (balances skin oils), vitamin E (conditions), avocado oil (softens), fragrance, food-grade salt (thickens), preservative.

The only ingredients I have trouble with are the fragrance and the preservative (it's not clear what's used).  And while I love that with every bottle sold, a bottle is donated to rescue; I can't get past the ingredients for my dogs.  And, unfortunately, I couldn't confirm that this product is cruelty-free.

My Dog Shampoo Grade = D

CLICK to learn more about Nourish.

BLACK FRIDAY SPECIAL: Ewegurt Ewe-Grip Sheep Shampoo Soap Bar

Ewegurt Shampoo Soap Bar: Rodrigo

I love shampoo soap bars.  They're easy to use, I can control how much or little shampoo I use (no going overboard), and the ones I use are all natural: Ewegurt, Wondercide, and Paws on Earth (no longer available for purchase).

Ewegurt Shampoo Soap Bar…

  • Mild scent during the bath, but that smell goes away, and our dogs smelled like clean dogs.
  • Very little lather, just enough to know that it’s there.
  • Cleans and rinses thoroughly; I washed Rodrigo twice because he has long hair.



Ewegurt shampoo soap bars come in three shapes (traditional soap bar, paw print, and a sheep).  They are made with all-natural ingredients: sheep’s milk yogurt, coconut oil, olive oil, soybean oil, sodium hydroxide, essential oil.

I am in LOVE with these ingredients and the fact that this is a cruelty-free product.

My Dog Shampoo Grade = AAAAAAAAAA

  • CLICK HERE to order a shampoo soap bar from Ewegurt.
  • CLICK HERE to learn about other Ewegurt products, including their treats and supplements that naturally calm anxious dogs.

Isle of Dog Deep Cleaning Dog Shampoo: Zoey

The first time I bathed Zoey, she curled into a ball and shook.  I felt like a monster.  So I created a game to play with Zoey and Scout after bathtime that we still play.  I turned the towel into a monster and attacked them, and they attack back.  In reality, I'm drying them off.  The second they get out of the shower, they shake a couple of times and then turn to me with smiles in anticipation of our game. LOL

Isle of Dog Deep Cleaning…

  • A VERY strong scent, but much better than the Keratin formula, which smells like Axe Body Spray; the smell mellows, but takes a day or so to go away.
  • Lathers up a lot; I don't need a lather to know that our dogs are being cleaned.
  • Cleans and rinses thoroughly in one wash with a short haired dog; I'm unable to use this product on Rodrigo because it would take too long to rinse all of the soap out of his hair.

I'm not a fan of the ingredients in Isle of Dog shampoo products (see Isle of Dog product review).  Isle of Dog wasn't certified cruelty-free at this time of the original review in 2015.

My Dog Shampoo Grade = D

CLICK to learn more about Isle of Dog.

Deidre's K9 Naturals Working Dog Wash Shampoo:  Sydney

Someone sent this shampoo to me a while ago, and I've just had it on hand.  This was the first time we used it on our dogs.

Working Dog Wash…

  • Mild scent during the bath, but that smell goes away, and our dogs smelled like clean dogs.
  • Lathers up, but not too much.
  • Cleans and rinses thoroughly in one wash.

The ingredients are standard ingredients in the higher end dog shampoos: Aloe-Vera, Vitamins A, C, D, E & F, EGDS, EDTA (Sequestrant), Glycerin, Glyceryl stearate, Wheat Germ Glycerides, Hydrolyzed Oat Proteins, Blend of Botanical Extracts, Coconut Oil, Almond Oil, Proprietary blend of Coat and Skin conditioners and moisturizers, Yellow #5, DMDH Hydantoin, Deionized Water.

The only trouble I have with the ingredients is the yellow dye (read about Food Dyes).  I'm not sure about the dye, but I try to avoid dyes when possible.  I don't mind the oatmeal, because none of our dogs have grain allergies.

Also avoid shampoos that include oatmeal. Oatmeal has a great reputation as a soothing ingredient, but in animals that have a problem with grain (which is 80 percent plus of allergic dogs!) they are likely to have problems with oatmeal shampoos. Grain-based shampoos may also provide a carbohydrate food source for unwanted yeast and bacteria. The only pets that truly benefit from oatmeal shampoos are those that have poison oak or poison ivy reactions.” ~ Dr. Karen Becker

My Dog Shampoo Grade = C

4-Legger Dog Shampoo: Victor

4-Legger is my favorite dog shampoo and a former Keep the Tail Wagging sponsor!  I received our shampoo after I conducted this review, so Joyce, a 4-Legger customer and dog lover, was kind enough to spend time with me on the phone talking about her experience.

4-Legger Dog Shampoo…

  • Smells very sweet during the bath, but that smell goes away, and our dogs smelled like clean dogs.
  • Lathers up, but not too much.
  • Cleans and rinses thoroughly in one wash.



One thing that is important to note is that 4-Legger shampoo doesn't contain thickening agents, so it will pour out of the bottle quickly if you're not careful.  A little goes a long way, and over the past few years that I've been using 4-Legger, I've found that this shampoo lasts a long time with four big dogs when you use it conservatively.  I love it!

The ingredients in this shampoo are insanely good:

  • Saponified Organic Oils of Coconut, Olive, and Jojoba
  • Natural Essential Oil Blend of Lemongrass (a natural pesticide & preservative) and Rosemary Oil (beneficial for dry & flaky skin)
  • Rosemary Extract (natural preservative)
  • Organic Aloe Vera (moisturizes and conditions)

This is the first natural dog shampoo, with the exception of shampoo soap bars, that's truly natural.  When the shampoo arrived, I ripped open the package and opened a bottle.  The smell is amazing.  I didn't want to put our dogs through another bath so soon, so I washed my hands instead – not the same, but it's something.

4-Legger dog shampoo isn't thick and sticky like many shampoos.  It's like water with a scent.  It lathers up lightly on its own.  And the scent gently fades away to a light scent.  Now I can't wait to bathe the dogs.

My Dog Shampoo Grade: AAAAAAA

CLICK to learn more about 4-Legger dog shampoo.



Who Oversees Grooming Products for Pets?

I was curious about who oversees dog shampoo.  Is it the Food & Drug Administration (FDA)?  After a quick search, I couldn't confirm who is watching the hen house.  So I looked to see how the FDA determines what is natural and what isn't – because “natural,” “organic,” and “made in the USA” are huge marketing terms that are being tossed around in the pet industry today.

“From a food science perspective, it is difficult to define a food product that is ‘natural' because the food has probably been processed and is no longer the product of the earth. That said, FDA has not developed a definition for use of the term natural or its derivatives. However, the agency has not objected to the use of the term if the food does not contain added color, artificial flavors, or synthetic substances.” Source: FDA

Although this statement is about food, you can imagine that this is who the FDA views other “natural” products as well.  So please take “natural” with a grain of salt and read the ingredients.  If you don't understand what you're reading, just put it back on the shelf, because there are better options now.


Which Dog Shampoos are My Favorite?

Our Four Dogs After a Bath and Reviewing Dog Shampoo

Our Four Dogs After a Bath and Reviewing Dog Shampoo


Out of all the shampoos in our home, the shampoos that I love and have become staples in our home are 4-Legger Dog Shampoo and the Ewegurt Shampoo Soap Bar.  As I stated, they were the only truly natural dog shampoos and I found myself disappointed by what people can promote as natural or organic in the pet industry.

I know that this seems like I'm picky and you're right!  The more I learn about dog health and nutrition, the pickier I've become with what I purchase to be fed to my dogs and used on my dogs.  Why take the risk when there are superior products out there?



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