Picking the best dog shampoo isn’t always easy. There are more than 3,600 products on Amazon under “pet shampoo.” There are thousands of other products across different stores, and all claim to be “the best shampoo for dogs.”  Sure, they all work pretty well, but are they all made with safe ingredients? And why should you care? In one word:


  • More dogs than ever die of cancer.
  • 1 in 4 dogs will be diagnosed with cancer.
  • Cancer now is the leading cause of death in dogs over 10; 1 in 2 will die from it.

Hereditary factors play a role, but by far, toxins in the environment (including what they eat) are responsible for the vast majority of cases.

Skin is the biggest organ mammals have. A dog’s skin is especially sensitive. So why take chances on products that are absorbed into the pet’s skin, and even licked off. Learn how to find the best dog shampoo instead. 

Here’s what worries me about pet shampoo:

  1. Manufacturing is unregulated. Some pet shampoos use cheap, nasty ingredients, even though they’re known to be harmful, even causing cancer.
  2. Labels lie. The stuff written on the shampoo bottle is often false and misleading; manufacturers can claim just about anything.
  3. Confusion around the basics. Shampoo can be a soap or a detergent. Which is better, and why?
  4. Ethics. Many shampoos are tested ON animals. Wait, what? It’s hard to believe, but true. That’s just wrong.

more dogs die of cancer

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How to pick the best dog shampoo for your Morkie

A good and safe shampoo should be free of sulfates, alcohols, harsh chemicals and detergents.

It has these characteristics:


  • is safe and non-toxic
  • non-irritating, natural solution
  • doesn’t say proprietary blend or proprietary fragrance
  • free of sulfates such as SLS, ALS, SLES, etc.
  • has no formaldehyde-releasing preservatives, like butylparaben, methylparaben or propylparaben
  • no MEA, TEA, DEA or phosphates

OR, pick a dog shampoo that’s “Certified Organic”

Just organic, or natural, or all-pure, etc. won’t work.

Those terms don’t have any legal meaning in the pet world. A manufacturer can add a tiny drop of something good, and then call the product Natural or Organic.

Certified Organic goes through testing and certification. The USDA Organic seal on grooming products means the products are free from artificial colors, preservatives and fragrances, and GMO ingredients.

But it's complicated

Of course, it’s not that simple because there’s a disagreement about “soap” and Certified Organic dog shampoo contains soap. 

Plenty of great, natural and safe shampoos that do not have the USDA Organic Seal, because the manufacturer doesn’t want to use soap.

Other companies are so small or new, that they can’t afford to go through the process yet to get the Certified Organic label.

So we’re back to reading the details on the label.

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The good guys: here are some brands you can trust

Certified Organic

4-Legger Certified Organic Dog Shampoos
Bodhi Dog Shampoo Made with Organic Oils
BotaniVet Certified Organic Manuka Honey Pet Shampoo
Dr. Mercola Healthy Pets
Fieldwork’s Moosh Natural Dog Shampoo
Fluppets Certified Organic Pet Shampoo
H&P’s Certified Organic Pet Shampoo With Coconut Oil and Aloe Vera
H&P’s Fresh Collection
Lola & Max
Max & Neo
Organic Oscar Oatmeal Shampoo
Paws & Pals Natural Dog-Shampoo and Conditioner
Paws & Pals Natural Dog-Shampoo and Conditioner
Pura Naturals Pet

Products nearly as good as Certified Organic

Eco-Pet Shower Pet Shampoo
Fifi & Fido Natural Pet Shampoo
Odie and Cody Natural Dog Shampoo, Organic Pet Shampoo for Dogs, Cats, Puppies, Kittens, Guinea Pigs & More

picking the best dog shampoo

earthbath offers an excellent All Natural Shampoo line with plenty of choices:

Oatmeal and Aloe Shampoo, Fragrance Free
Oatmeal and Aloe Shampoo
Mango Tango 2-in-1 Conditioning Shampoo

Shed Control Shampoo
Hypo-Allergenic Grooming Foam for Dogs
Deodorizing Shampoo
Hypo-Allergenic Shampoo
Coat Brightening Shampoo
Ultra-Mild Puppy Shampoo
Dirty Dog Shampoo
Eucalyptus & Peppermint Shampoo
Tea Tree & Aloe Vera

red flag warning about dog shampoos

Red flagged products

These are just a few popular dog shampoo brands that contain 4 or more dangerous products.

  • Arm & Hammer shampoos
  • Hartz products
  • Isle of Dogs Everyday Elements
  • Wahl Dog/Puppy Shampoo