Does My Dog Need Conditioner?

Time to lather up 🛁

does my dog need conditioner

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Conditioner might be a necessary part of your shower routine, but is it just as essential for your dog during bath time?

It turns out dog conditioner actually comes in really handy for pups with longer hair or itchy skin, or dogs who just need frequent bathing.

The Dodo spoke with Danyne Marie Campbell, a professional groomer and owner of Pampered Pooch in Belmont, Massachusetts, to find out when you should use dog conditioner and what to look for when picking one out.

Can you use conditioner on dogs?

You can totally use conditioner on your dog, as long as you’re using something that’s made specifically for dogs.

“Only [use] product formulated for pet use,” Campbell told The Dodo.

Dog conditioner won’t clean your pup’s fur — that’s the shampoo’s job — but it will help restore moisture, which will make his coat nice and shiny.

You can use either a standalone dog conditioner or one that’s combined with a shampoo.

“A good quality shampoo with conditioner should be sufficient and keep the dog's own natural coat balanced with its own essential oils,” Campbell said.

(The Dodo likes the dog shampoos from Rowan, which are pretty much salon-quality products with hydrating and conditioning properties. They even earned our official Paw of Approval after we tested them out on our own dogs!)

Try the Fur Wash from Rowan for $25

So … you can’t use human conditioner on dogs?

It’s definitely not a good idea to use human conditioner on your dog since the chemical makeup of your dog’s hair and skin is completely different from your own.
“​​Dogs and humans have different pH (natural acid oil balance),” Campbell said. “Using human products on dogs can cause irritation and natural pH imbalance.”

Benefits of dog conditioner

Dog conditioner, or a good conditioning shampoo, might not be necessary for every dog, but in certain situations it’s pretty beneficial to have in your grooming arsenal.

“It helps with tangles in long coats and static during grooming,” Campbell said.

And since the main purpose of dog conditioner is to moisturize your pup’s coat and improve shine, it's especially important for dogs who get baths fairly often.

“Frequent bathing may require [a] conditioner because frequent bathing strips the coat of its natural oils,” Campbell said.

According to Campbell, you shouldn’t wash your dog too often. But since most dogs seem to love getting messy, frequent bathing can’t always be avoided.

And believe it or not, itchy dogs can really benefit from using conditioner or conditioning shampoo since it’ll restore moisture in their skin while also washing off any irritants.

Best dog conditioner

When you’re looking for the best dog conditioner to use on your dog, it’s helpful to know what to avoid.

According to Campbell, you should steer clear of conditioners that include:

  • Parabens
  • Formaldehydes
  • Preservatives
  • Sulfates

A conditioning spray is also a great option between baths, when you just don’t have time to deal with the hassle of getting your pup in the tub.

Try this conditioning spray from Rowan for $25, which also won our Paw of Approval!

You can also find bundles that include all sorts of conditioning products.

Like this one from Rowan for $40

There are lots of great conditioners out there for your dog! And now that you know what things to look for — and what to avoid — your pup will have the shiniest coat in no time.

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