The 7 Best Natural Dog Shampoos of 2021

Suds up your pup without the sulfates and chemicals.

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When Wendy Booth first started grooming dogs in the ‘80s, there weren’t many canine shampoo choices on the market. Some groomers used human cleansers because dog products were detergent-based and very harsh. Booth, a national certified master groomer and owner of Canine Corner in Colorado Springs, Colorado, says things gradually started to change.

By the early 2000s, a lot of companies began offering more natural products. Now about 10% to 15% of her customers request natural products for their four-legged pals when they come in for grooming. “I don’t blame them,” Booth says. “Who wants the parabens in there and everything else?”

Dog owners around the world spent $489.6 million in 2018 on pet shampoos with the market expected to reach $757.7 million by 2025. An interest in natural and organic products is expected to help fuel that growth. If you choose organic food and organic dog treats for your pet and you check the label when you buy health and wellness products for yourself, then maybe you do the same for your pet.

On this list, you'll find products that are USDA-certified organic, others have limited ingredients with no additives, phthalates, sulfates, fragrances, and are cruelty-free. Here are the best natural dog shampoos to consider.

The Rundown
A shampoo with nine USDA-certified organic shampoos with mild scents and formulas for different needs.
Mild, gentle shampoo with aloe vera, moisturizing oils, and one of our testers’ favorites.
Nourishing shampoo with organic Manuka honey as the key ingredient.
Soap bar made from sheep milk yogurt and nourishing oils.
Best Selection:
Earthbath at Walmart
So many formulas that are all made with no parabens, sulfates, phthalates, or phosphates.
Hypoallergenic, organic shampoo with only a few simple ingredients.
Gentle formula has aloe vera extract for puppies or dogs with delicate skin.

Best Overall: 4-Legger Organic Dog Shampoo

4-Legger Organic Dog Shampoo

The founder of this company was diagnosed with breast cancer the same day one of her dogs died from cancer. To protect her from germs during chemotherapy, her dogs got lots of baths and their skin suffered, so she vowed to make her own brand where the ingredients really mattered.

4-Legger offers nine USDA-certified organic shampoos with different ingredients and formulas depending on your pet’s needs. There’s lemongrass for moisturizing, oatmeal and lavender for itching and dryness, and cedar and peppermint for conditioning. One all-around popular choice is the unscented hypoallergenic shampoo made with coconut, olive oil, jojoba oil, aloe vera, and rosemary extract.

There are no artificial colors, fragrances, parabens, or sulfates. These shampoos are made in the United States and come with a money-back guarantee.

Our testers found that it was very runny but it lathered up well and spread easily throughout even a long coat. It rinsed well and left fur very soft and fluffy. Most found the scents very fresh and mild, but one tester said they were a bit overpowering.

Pro Tip

Whichever shampoo you choose, Wendy Booth and other groomers we talked to say to make sure you brush your dog before bathing to get the best wash. Don’t expect a ton of lather from these natural shampoos. It’s easiest to mix a little bit in a cup of water for better distribution, and be sure to rinse well using lots of lukewarm water.

Best Organic: Vermont Soap Pet Magic Shampoo

Vermont Soap Pet Magic Shampoo

Created in 2003, this was the first pet shampoo in the country certified to USDA organic food standards, according to the company. Ingredients include organic coconut, olive and jojoba oils, organic aloe vera, and natural and organic essential oils. Natural rosemary extract is the one preservative. The shampoo is cruelty-free, made in the United States, and contains no petroleum or animal by-products. The factory and products are certified by the Northeast Organic Farming Association (NOFA) and Vermont Organic Farmers (VOF).

If your dog has a thick coat, the directions suggest diluting the shampoo 30% to 50% to help spread it easily through their coat.

This was one of the favorites with our reviewers. It was “awesome,” said one tester. “It had a really good soapy sudsy texture, was easy to apply and rinse out, smelled nice, and my dog’s fur is soft.”

Best Splurge: BotaniVet Manuka Honey Pet Shampoo

BotaniVet Manuka Honey Pet Shampoo

New Zealand Manuka honey is the key ingredient in this pet shampoo, certified to USDA organic food standards. The honey has anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties which may help with dry skin, itching, and allergies. Other ingredients include organic saponified coconut, olive, and jojoba oils, organic aloe vera, a citrus essential oil blend, and rosemary extract as a preservative.

This is especially popular for pets with itchy, sensitive skin or those that are recovering from skin issues.The key is to wet coat thoroughly, lather it in, and leave it soak for a few minutes, before rinsing.

The shampoo makes a rich, creamy lather, which is easy to work through a dog’s coat and rinses easily. It leaves a light coconut and berry scent. Fans say it is expensive, but worth it when a dog has had allergic reactions to ingredients in less mild shampoos.

Best Budget: Ewegurt Rich Lathering Milk Based Soap Leave No Residue

Ewegurt Rich Lathering Milk Based Soap Leave No Residue

If you use a shampoo bar on your own hair, then this might be a great option for your dog. Handmade in the Midwestern Unites States using a cold press process in small batches, the soaps are made of sheep milk yogurt, coconut, olive, and soybean oil, sodium hydroxide, and essential oil. They come in unscented, or lavender, peppermint, and lemongrass.

The nubby texture might feel good on your dog while you’re soaping up and if you keep the bar dry, it should last for a long time. There’s a cute, sheep-shaped bar and also a smaller, plain (not sheep-shaped) soap bar and a larger paw-shaped bar, that might be more convenient depending on the size of your pup.

One tester found using a soap bar difficult, saying, “You have to hold on to the soap and keep lathering and also hold on to a wet dog who wants to shake!” But another tester had no problems at all, saying she thought it was pretty simple to maneuver around her small dog with the soap. She liked the way it layered and liked the fresh lavender smell of the bar she tried.

Best Selection: Earthbath

Earthbath Coat Brightening Shampoo

There’s a whole shampoo smorgasbord of products from Earthbath that are all paraben free, sulfate free, phthalate free, and phosphate free. All products are cruelty free and made in the United States with no artificial colors. There is no soap in the shampoos, which can dry out skin and remove moisturizing skin oils.

The Oatmeal and Aloe Fragrance Free Shampoo has colloidal oatmeal and organic aloe vera for pets with itchy, dry, sensitive skin. (There’s a vanilla and almond version for people who want a touch of scent.) The Hypoallergenic Shampoo is gentle, has no fragrances, and is targeted toward pets with sensitive skin or allergies.

Earthbath has lots of fans and many people have their favorites. There are versions for puppies, hot spot relief, deodorizing, and moisturizing. If you don’t want unscented, smells range from peppermint to mango to wild cherry.

Best for Allergies: Pure and Natural Pet Fragrance Free Hypoallergenic Organic Shampoo

Pure and Natural Pet Organic Shampoo

Pure and Natural Pet sells grooming and wellness products that are focused on being as natural as possible. That includes several USDA-certified organic pet shampoos and conditioners that are paraben-free, sulfate-free, and formaldehyde-free with no synthetic dyes. They’re made with certified organic oils like lavender and peppermint.

This gentle hypoallergenic shampoo has no fragrances and has simple ingredients including organic aloe water, organic castile soap, and organic calendula and jojoba oils.

A couple of our testers had difficulty getting this shampoo to lather, but others found that adding water to the shampoo in a cup helped. After, each dog’s fur was so soft and fluffy.

“I am on the fence about there being no ‘smell,’" said one tester who liked how soft and fluffy her dog’s fur was after trying this shampoo. “Dogs stink. My dogs REALLY stink. But the tradeoff is he’s getting a really good natural clean, and I lead a very environmentally friendly life. So, I’m OK with the tradeoff so my dogs can go on my natural journey, too.”

Best for Puppies: Rocco & Roxie Calm Sensitive Skin

Rocco & Roxie Calm Sensitive Shampoo

There are no dyes, alcohols, or parabens in any of the three shampoo formulas. There’s also no formaldehyde, artificial colors, mineral oil, phthalates, isopropyl alcohol, or other unnecessary additives. The company points out that the shampoos are all in a neutral pH range from 6-7.5 so they are safe for eyes and sensitive skin.

Choose the version based on what your pets needs. The Soothe Oatmeal Shampoo is targeted for dry, itchy, irritated skin. Ingredients include shea butter, almond butter, and olive oil with mango fragrance. The Calm Sensitive Shampoo is for puppies or dogs with delicate skin and has aloe vera extract and honey fragrance. The Shine Conditioning Shampoo is for a shiny coat and features vitamin A, argan oil, and peppermint.

Testers said it rinsed easily with no residue left behind, but it was a little difficult to get some suds going. One Treehugger tester said, “Had to fight the urge to go in and get my usual cleaner so I could get more lather.” But all testers said the end result were dogs with soft, shiny coats.

Final Verdict

4-Legger has nine USDA-certified organic shampoos with different ingredients and formulas (view at Amazon). Our testers really liked the lemongrass for moisturizing which left their dogs with shiny, fluffy, healthy-looking coats. A close second was Vermont Soap Pet Magic shampoo with ingredients like organic coconut, olive and jojoba oils, organic aloe vera, and natural and organic essential oils (view at EarthTurns).

Why Trust Treehugger?

The proud mom of a rescue dog, Mary Jo DiLonardo has fostered more than three dozen dogs and puppies, and had to give lots and lots of baths. After researching natural shampoos with the best ingredients and consulting with professional dog groomers, we tested top products on our own pets.

For more than 25 years, Mary Jo has covered a wide range of topics focused on nature, pets, health, science, and anything that helps make the world a better place. She has spent more than six years with Treehugger, formerly under the Mother Nature Network brand.