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Best Shampoo and Conditioner for German Shepherds

Does your German Shepherd love nothing more than a good romp in the mud? Does your GSD find that stinky pile of who-knows-what completely irresistible for a good roll?

If so, then you already know how important it is to bathe your German Shepherd – if for no other reason than to get rid of that terrible, stinky smell!

Giving your dog a bath does a lot more than just leaving them smelling like roses. Bathing your furry friend also keeps their skin and coat clean and healthy, while also getting rid of any pesky parasites.

While bathing is important, avoid bathing more often than is necessary – you don’t want to strip your dog’s coat of its natural oils.

This is also why it’s important to do your research and find the best shampoo and conditioner for your German Shepherd. Dog shampoos are specially formulated for your dog’s skin and coats.

People often wonder, “Can I use human shampoo on my dog?” The short answer is NO.

Dogs have very different pH balances than people, and human shampoo can leave your dog’s skin dry and flaky – or worse. Plus, the ingredients in human shampoo will definitely irritate your dog’s eyes.

Depending on your German Shepherd’s needs, you may need to look for specifics, like dog shampoo for sensitive, itchy skin.

In this article, I’ll give you some German Shepherd bathing tips, as well as my picks for the best shampoo and conditioner for your German Shepherd.

*This article may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase through one of the links I get a small commission at no additional cost to you 🙂 .

Tips for Bathing Your German Shepherd

In reality, you don’t want bath time to be a wet and wild adventure – so here are some German Shepherd bathing tips to make bath time a fun bonding experience, instead of round one of wrestle mania!

  • Before getting down to business with the bath, give your dog a good brushing. Check out this article for my top picks of the best brushes for German Shepherds.
  • Get your dog accustomed to baths at a young age. While a German Shepherd puppy may be a squirmy little ball of fur, a full grown German Shepherd is a whole other beast when it comes to bath time!
  • Don’t bathe your German Shepherd too often because it will dry out their skin. How often you bathe your German Shepherd depends on lots of different factors, such as her health and activity level. Healthy dogs who spend a lot of time indoors may only need a bath a few times a year, while dogs who love to dig holes and go swimming will need a bath more often.
  • If you want or need to bathe your dog more frequently, you don’t necessarily need to use shampoo every time. Instead, you can bathe her using only conditioner to keep from drying out her skin.
  • Don’t forget to gather the other supplies you’ll need for bathing ahead of time! A non-stick bath mat is handy to keep your pup’s paws from slipping and sliding. You may also want to use cotton balls in their ears to keep water out. And have a towel within arm’s reach as well.

Now, if you can just keep your German Shepherd out of mischief long enough to avoid another bath… good luck!

Best Shampoo for German Shepherds

There is no shortage of doggy shampoos on the market, but they’re not all created equal.

In general, shampoos with all natural ingredients are the best, as they’re less likely to irritate your dog’s skin. And you definitely want a soap-free shampoo that’s gentle on your pooch’s eyes.

My German Shepherd, Allie, has sensitive, itchy skin, and I’ve tried a lot of different shampoos with her over the years.

To make your life easier, I put together this list of my tried and true favorites. Here are my top four best shampoos for German Shepherds.

Earthbath Dog Shampoo

Earthbath Dog Shampoo uses zero harsh chemicals and is completely soap free, yet it still gets a dirty dog nice and clean.

I use this on Allie, and it leaves her coat gorgeous, shiny, and super soft. But what I really love about this shampoo are all its heavenly scents!

There are lots of different scents to choose from, but I personally use the Oatmeal & Aloe Shampoo because it’s excellent for itchy, dry skin.

What I love:

  • Wide variety of yummy smelling scents
  • All natural
  • Ideal for itch relief
  • Gentle enough for sensitive skin

Possible downsides: 

  • Every dog is different so watch for any allergic reactions.

4 Legger Organic Dog Shampoo

The 4 Legger Organic Dog Shampoo is an excellent choice if your dog has super sensitive skin or bad allergies.

It’s made from all organic ingredients and smells amazing.

Keep in mind that it doesn’t have any thickeners (all natural and organic, remember), so it comes out a little watery. But it lathers up nicely and does a good job getting your pup clean.

What I love:

  • Hypo-allergenic
  • All organic ingredients
  • Ideal for itch relief
  • Gentle enough for sensitive skin

Possible downsides: 

  • Not as many scents – only lemon, lavender, peppermint, and an unscented option is available.

Veterinary Formula Dog Shampoo

This heavy-duty shampoo is heavy-duty. If you have a dog with seriously itchy skin, then try out this Veterinary Formula Dog Shampoo.

It’s a medicated shampoo that can be used to treat a variety of skin infections and other conditions, such as itchy, sensitive skin. It’s the best over-the-counter option for fast itch relief!

What I love:

  • Antibacterial, antifungal, and antiparasitic
  • Controls intense itching with fast relief
  • Veterinary-grade ingredients
  • Affordable

Possible downsides: 

  • Doesn’t have a very appealing smell
  • Can be too strong for some dogs so use with caution

Furminator DeShedding Dog Shampoo

The Furminator Deshedding Dog Shampoo is from the same company that makes one of the top deshedding brushes on the market.

It has a unique blend of ingredients to cut down on shedding, while leaving your dog’s skin healthy and her hair silky.

It has a light scent and is fortified with lots of omega 3 and 6 fatty acids – great for both skin and fur alike.

What I love:

  • Helps reduce shedding
  • Promotes healthy skin and coat
  • Affordable

Possible downsides: 

  • Doesn’t completely eliminate shedding – you’ll still need to brush your dog regularly (especially during shedding season!).

Purpose of Conditioner for Dogs

Earlier, I mentioned that a dog’s skin and hair isn’t the same as ours – it has a different pH level and thus has different needs.

So then why are there doggy conditioners on the market? Do dogs actually need conditioner, like people do?

Yup, dogs can definitely benefit from a good conditioner on occasion – especially German Shepherds, with their super thick coats. Shampooing your dog can leave hair dry and brittle because it reduces your pooch’s natural oils.

Additionally, all that scrubbing and brushing can also damage or even break your dog’s hair over time. A good dog conditioner will repair those damaged hairs and restore your dog’s healthy, shiny coat.

Sometimes, I just bath Allie with conditioner if she had a bath recently, but got dirty again, so that I don’t dry out her skin. Plus, I think her coat is much shinier and softer after a good conditioning so I definitely recommend purchasing a conditioner for your German Shepherd.

Best Conditioner for German Shepherds

As with shampoos, not all dog conditioners are the same – there are some good and some not so good. Here are my top two best conditioners for German Shepherds.

Burt Bees Dog Conditioner

Burt Bees Dog Conditioner is one of the best mild, all natural products because it contains organic colloidal oatmeal.

Basically, this ingredient does it all – it has some antifungal and anti-inflammatory properties, and it’s also a UV protectant.

Plus, the oatmeal helps your dog’s coat retain moisture, making that fur coat glisten and feel oh-so soft.

What I love:

  • All natural
  • Gentle enough for sensitive skin
  • Detangles for easy brushing
  • Clean, fresh smell

Possible downsides: 

  • While the smell is nice, it’s also very subtle. So, your dog may still smell like, well, a dog — even after a bath!

Earthbath Dog Conditioner

Again, Earthbath comes through with an amazing bath time product that you and your dog will both love.

This gentle, all natural conditioner moisturizes your dog’s skin and hair (and smells delicious, too!).

It’s especially great for German Shepherds because it does a fabulous job detangling tough matts. Plus, just a small drop goes a long way, so one bottle will last and last.

What I love:

  • All natural
  • Heavenly scent
  • Great for itchy skin
  • Detangles for easy brushing
  • One bottle goes a long way

Possible downsides: 

  • Every dog is different so watch for any allergic reactions.

Best Combined Shampoos & Conditioners for Your German Shepherd

If bathing time isn’t your dog’s favorite activity, then you may be looking for a way to make it as short and sweet as possible. If so, check out these great products that offer both shampoo and conditioner in one.

Pro Pet Works Shampoo + Conditioner

The Pro Pet Works Shampoo + Conditioner is the best go-to choice for dogs with allergy-prone skin.

This combined shampoo and conditioner relieves itchiness and dry skin, while moisturizing your dog’s coat and enriching it with the vitamins it needs. And it’s all natural, too.

This is consistently a top-rated product – puppy parent approved!

What I love:

  • Hypo-allergenic
  • All natural
  • Gentle enough for dry, sensitive skin
  • Detangles for easy brushing

Possible downsides: 

  • Only comes in one scent – cherry almond (which kind of reminds me of cough syrup).

Paws & Pals Shampoo and Conditioner

This Paws & Pals shampoo and conditioner is super popular for an all-around great shampoo and conditioner in one.

It does an excellent job at getting your dog’s skin clean, while conditioning and detangling your dog’s coat.

The ingredients are all natural, and it’s completely soap free. Plus, it uses a combination of aloe, oatmeal, and natural oils to soothe dry, itchy skin – and make that coat shine!

What I love:

  • All natural
  • Gentle enough for sensitive skin
  • Ideal for itch relief
  • Detangles for easy brushing
  • Won’t irritate your dog’s eyes
  • Reasonably priced for a two-in-one

Possible downsides: 

  • Every dog is different so watch for any allergic reactions.
  • Some people claim scent wasn’t really strong enough to get rid of a doggy smell.

Final Thoughts

I use the Earthbath products on my own German Shepherd, and they’re perfect for her sensitive skin and thick fur.

Before that, I used a veterinary product (similar to the Vet Formula shampoo) that was recommended by her vet as a great dog shampoo for sensitive, itchy skin. However, that product was pretty pricey, so I eventually switched to Earthbath. It’s a much more economical option and works great for Allie!

Do you have any recommendations for the best dog shampoo and conditioner brands that you recommend? Does bath time with your German Shepherd resemble a wrestling match? Any tips to make bath time easier? I want to hear from you – leave your comments below!

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