While conditioners aren’t essential for bathing your dog, they can tease out knots and promote a healthy coat. Here’s a complete guide to choosing the best dog conditioner for your pet.
By following up with a conditioner, you can moisturize the skin and prevent the coat from becoming dry. Dog conditioners also add shine, reduce static, and, if you have a long-haired dog, make it easier to untangle knots.
For these reasons, many groomers recommend using a conditioner – even if they aren’t always essential for grooming. Here are five of the best dog conditioners to help you make an informed choice.
Note: While you can get 2-in-1 shampoos and conditioners, these may be less effective than using each separately. We’ve focused on standalone dog conditioners in this article. If you want to learn about shampoos, check out our guide to the best dog shampoos.
Aloe and oatmeal to moisturize your dog's coat
We think the EarthBath Oatmeal & Aloe is the best dog conditioner available at the moment. It’s a gentle formula that soothes, moisturizes, and may even prevent itchiness in some dogs. It’s also cruelty-free and vegan.
Just like humans, a conditioner isn’t an essential part of the dog grooming process. There are a number of benefits that make a high-quality conditioner worth considering though, such as:
Using a conditioner isn’t always required though. It can sometimes even have a detrimental effect:
Don’t forget that dogs have a much more sensitive sense of smell than we do. While it may be pleasant to have your dog smelling of a lovely fragrance for days after their bath, your dog probably won’t agree. A mild smelling conditioner made with a natural fragrance is often the kinder choice for your pet.
On a similar note, avoid overbathing your pet just to get that “fresh dog” smell. Washing with shampoos and conditioners too frequently can cause dry skin, discomfort and even skin infections.
* Note: Irritated skin could be a sign of an underlying condition. We always recommend consulting your vet to rule out medical problems.
There’s no such thing as the best dog conditioner for all dogs. The right choice depends on your dog’s coat type and your personal preferences.
Here are five of my favourite conditioners, including mini reviews to help you choose.
The Earthbath Oatmeal Conditioner is our top pick for a dog conditioner. It has a gentle formula that contains colloidal oatmeal and aloe, to soothe and moisturize the skin.
I also think it provides great value for money. A little goes a long way with this conditioner, so be careful not to use too much!
The combination of oatmeal and aloe leaves the coat feeling soft and shiny, plus it may help reduce itchiness in some dogs. The minimal ingredient list also means there’s less chance of your dog reacting to something.
The vanilla and almond scent is mild but pleasant. A bonus is that Earthbath produces a fragrance-free option that’s great for sensitive dog noses.
Overall, the Earthbath conditioner is a brilliant product and one that’s easy for me to recommend.
If your dog doesn’t enjoy bath time, the BarkLogic Hypoallergenic Leave-In Conditioner could be worth considering as an alternative to a rinse-out conditioner. It’s designed to make your pet’s hair easier to detangle, whilst improving skin and coat health.
This conditioner can be applied to both wet or dry fur, so your dog doesn’t need to be in the bath. It adds moisture, whilst making combing or brushing long hair a little easier. The aloe also provides soothing and moisturizing properties.
BarkLogic has all-natural ingredients and, like Earthbath, is cruelty-free and vegan approved. There are three different fragrance options and I don’t think any are overpowering. They all have slightly different ingredients though, so it’s worth checking to see which one appeals the most.
Because this is a leave-in conditioner, frequent use may cause a build-up of the product. This can make the coat seem greasy and heavy. It’s also a little more expensive than your average conditioner.
If you’re looking for a combination of conditioner and detangler, however, the BarkLogic is one of the best options.
Tip: We’ve also written a guide to hypoallergenic dog shampoos, which you can read here.
If your dog sheds a lot, the FURminator deShedding Ultra conditioner is one of the best options. It’s designed to help minimize shedding and is even used by some professional groomers for this purpose.
The FURminator conditioner contains ingredients that can penetrate deep down into the undercoat to lift out dead hair. Just make sure you cover the plug hole to prevent hairs from blocking your bathtub drain!
This conditioner offers good value for money too, so is a good choice for those on a budget.
There are a few drawbacks though. The FURminator deshedding conditioner contains mostly natural ingredients, and is free from parabens and dyes. Still, it’s not 100% natural, and this could put off some users, especially if your dog has sensitive skin.
It isn’t a miracle solution either. Although it can reduce shedding, your dog will still need regularly brushing to keep their coat in a healthy condition.
Tip: Furminator also produces a deShedding shampoo. Take a look at our guide to the best dog shampoo for shedding to learn more.
The Paws and Pals Dry Itchy Skin dog conditioner is reasonably priced and has a pleasant (but not overpowering) fragrance.
As the name suggests, this conditioner is specifically designed for dogs with dry or itchy skin. It contains shea butter, aloe vera, neem and lavender, all of which combine to soothe and moisturize. The conditioner also has the effect of deodorizing and cleaning your dog’s coat.
While the Paws & Pals doesn’t contain parabens, it has a long list of ingredients. This increases the chance of an ingredient that might not agree with your dog. It also lists ‘fragrance’ as one of the ingredients without explaining what it is, which always makes me wary.
If your dog has an ongoing or severe problem with skin irritation or dryness, we always recommend taking them to the vet. Relying on shampoos or conditioners is not a long-term solution, and it can sometimes aggravate underlying medical conditions. If your dog’s vet says that a conditioner might help, however, then the Paws & Pals is one of the best for dry skin.
This is a popular all-natural dog conditioner that’s gentle enough to use on puppies. It deodorizes, moisturizes dry skin, and soothes your dog’s coat.
Sofee & Co are a small, ethical company that promote cruelty-free products. The pear scent is unique and, while not overpowering, does leave your pup smelling good enough to eat!
This conditioner is great for teasing out knots and tangles. It’s also thick, so a little goes a long way.
The Sofee is more expensive than your average conditioner, though. Also, because it’s so thick, it can be difficult to squeeze out of the bottle, especially when you have wet hands and a wriggly puppy to contend with!
It’s still one of my favourite dog conditioners though – especially as the formula is completely natural.
Tip: Looking for a shampoo for your puppy? Take a look at our guide to shampoos for puppies.
The five dog conditioners are above are all excellent choices, but they aren’t the only options. Here are some factors to consider when choosing:
Note: If your dog is prone to tangles and mats, you may want to try a dog detangler. These sprays are great for loosening knots, making your dog’s coat easier to brush.
Using a human conditioner on your dog in an emergency is unlikely to cause serious problems. Human conditioners shouldn’t be used regularly on a dog’s coat though.
Dogs have a more neutral skin pH than humans. Using a human conditioner could disrupt your dog’s skin pH balance and make it dry out more, especially with regular use. Human conditioners may also include chemicals or other products that are irritating, or even toxic, for dogs.
Additionally, dog conditioners are often developed to help with things like coat color enhancement, shedding and odor neutralizing. You won’t get these benefits from a human conditioner.
Even with dog conditioners, your furry friend can have a reaction to individual ingredients. It’s a good idea to patch test the conditioner on a small area of skin before using it on the whole body.
Choosing the best dog conditioner for your pet isn’t always easy. It’s important to pick one that matches your dog’s coat type, contains safe ingredients, and improves coat health. Your dog will also thank you for avoiding strong fragrances!
Our top pick is the Earthbath Oatmeal and Aloe Conditioner. It’s made with a simple set of dog-safe ingredients, whilst moisturizing and soothing the skin. The Earthbath conditioner is also vegan and cruelty-free.
I hope this article has helped you choose the best dog conditioner for your pet. If you have any further queries about the information in this article, please use the comments form below.