Antibacterial Shampoos for Dogs – Reviews, Buying Guide & FAQ

Antibacterial Shampoos for Dogs – Reviews, Buying Guide & FAQ
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It’s common for dogs to suffer from skin infections, especially for those that like to roll around in the dirt and have some fun. If that’s Fido, then you might consider buying an antibacterial shampoo for dogs.

If a dog is suffering from a bacterial infection, you’ll see a host of symptoms. These include agitation, itching, hot spots, dry skin, skin biting, and pawing on the ears. To help with that, you should certainly invest in a nice dog antibacterial shampoo.

However, buying a medicated dog shampoo isn’t as simple as you’d think. There are lots of factors to consider and ingredients to ponder upon. Great for you… we’ve already done most of the legwork and compiled a list of the best antibacterial shampoos for dogs.

What is an Antibacterial Dog Shampoo?

Antibacterial dog shampoos are a special type of shampoos containing antibacterial properties. As a result, they kill bacteria that have infected your dog’s skin. You might’ve guessed by now that these shampoos are medicated. And as always, before medication, you need to fully understand what your dog is suffering from.

Generally, I’d advise you to always consult your vet before buying a medicated shampoo. After a thorough examination, your vet would be able to tell what sort of bacteria are attacking your dog. With that information, you can make a much better decision. Your vet might also warn you against certain ingredients in these shampoos that can help you avoid a major health compromise.

Antibacterial vs Antifungal Dog Shampoo

I’ll try keeping this simple. Antibacterial shampoos are used for bacterial infections while antifungal is used for fungal attacks. Since the parasite in both cases is different, the ingredients and medication vary as well.

Ringworm disease is a common type of fungal infection in dogs. Dogs that suffer from this disease get small lesions on their bodies. These are red but aren’t necessarily itchy. You might even see some bald spots on your dog’s skin. In such a disease, it’s common for vets to prescribe an antifungal dog shampoo.

On the other hand, your dog can suffer from bacterial infections due to extra moisture, skin folds, or sweating. So, your dog’s surroundings certainly play a vital role here. At times, the existing bacteria in your dog’s body (that are beneficial otherwise) can turn against Fido if they multiply at a rapid rate. A bacterial infection in dogs may also occur due to an allergy or hormonal imbalance.

It’s safe to say that the symptoms for each infection vary. However, the basic difference between antibacterial and antifungal dog shampoos is the type of parasites they kill.

When to use Antibacterial Shampoos for Dogs

Well, to understand their usage, you need to know that there are two types of antibacterial shampoos for dogs.

  1. On one hand, there are the ones that you can buy over the counter without a prescription. Although you shouldn’t buy them without need, yet their ingredients don’t pose that much of a risk if misused.
  2. On the other hand, you also have medicated shampoos that you can only purchase with a prescription.

So, when to use antibacterial shampoos really boils down to what type of shampoo you’re buying. Regardless, I always suggest paying the vet a visit so he can properly diagnose your dog. If the vet does believe that your dog has an antibacterial infection, then he might suggest that you buy a medicated shampoo as well. At times, they can also suggest soothing lotions that reduce itching and agitation for your dog.

Here are some common symptoms of bacterial skin infections in dogs:

  • Itching
  • Licking
  • Redness
  • Skin biting
  • Pawing on the ears
  • Foul-smelling discharge from ears
  • Dry and scaly skin
  • Dandruff

If your vet sees one or more of these symptoms, then he’d probably direct you towards treatment and a medicated shampoo.

using antibacterial dog shampoos
Only use an antibacterial shampoo for dogs when your pet is showing signs of a bacterial skin issue.

How to Choose the Right Antibacterial Shampoo for Dogs

With antibacterial dog shampoos, there are lots of technicalities involved. A layman would certainly find it hard to understand the active ingredients in these shampoos. And even if he does, there’s no way he can tell if it’s useful in his dog’s case.

But in this section, we’ll try making things a bit easier for you and explaining how you can choose the right antibacterial shampoo for your dog.

Ingredients to avoid

This is a given. But the thing is, most people don’t know what to check when skimming through the ingredients. Generally, you’d want to avoid ingredients that irritate the skin. These include soap, fragrances, and paraben. Now, I’m not saying these are definite irritants for dogs. But for sensitive ones, these ingredients can be a handful.

WashBar‘s bar soap for dogs is a natural grooming product that is revolutionary in its form factor and composition. It is very much safe for dogs thanks to using essential oils such as Neem and Coconut oils. We even spoke with WashBar to confirm that it is usable for dogs with skin conditions (always double-check with your vet). Each WashBar is equivalent to 20fl.oz. of liquid shampoo so it’s an economical move.

Beneficial ingredients

Now, this is where things get tough. Generally speaking, there are two types of antibacterial dog shampoos.

The first type is medicated. In this type of shampoos, you’re looking for ingredients like:

  • chlorhexidine,
  • salicylic acid,
  • coal tar,
  • miconazole, and
  • trizEDTA.

The second type includes natural dog shampoos with antibacterial properties. In these formulas, you’ll find ingredients such as:

  • tea tree oil,
  • coconut oil,
  • oatmeal,
  • essential oils, and
  • aloe vera.

Know your dog's allergies

This is important. You might be using shampoo to reduce allergic symptoms in your dog without knowing that the shampoo is aggravating them. There are some ingredients in shampoos that can cause allergic reactions in dogs.

For example, thousands of dogs are allergic to grains. But despite that, many shampoos use oatmeal as a natural soothing agent. There’s no doubt in my mind about the effectiveness of oatmeal for soothing. However, if your dog is allergic to grains, then there’s nothing worse for him.

Directions of use

Before you start using antibacterial dog shampoo, you’ll need to understand its directions of use. You see, some manufacturers recommend their shampoo to be used once a week. Others might recommend a fortnightly use. Suffice to say the strength of these formulas would vary.

So, it’s never a smart choice to go against the directions of use of the manufacturer. Ideally, you’d want to stick with exactly what the manufacturer suggests.

10 Best Antibacterial Shampoos for Dogs

So till now, we’ve talked all about antibacterial shampoos and how to choose them. But that’s not why you were here, right? You want a list to choose from. So, without further ado, here are the best antibacterial dog shampoos.

1. DERMagic Shampoo Bar

Now, this is something you don’t get to see every day. DERMagic made this shampoo in the form of a solid bar. Now, how does that help? For starters, you don’t have problems shampooing hard-to-reach places. All you need to do is scrub the dog and lather him up. Also, you don’t have to worry about the amount of shampoo to use.

This formula is particularly effective against hot spots. Why, you ask? Well, that’s because they use Bentonite Clay in their formula which is a known detoxifying agent. People have used this clay for centuries as a natural remedy and many pieces of research have proved its efficacy as well.

There’s a lot to love in this antibacterial dog shampoo. However, what catches my eye, in particular, is the use of natural ingredients instead of chemicals. Even for perfume, they’ve used essential oils and have kept the formula free from artificial scents. Another important point they make about this shampoo bar is that dogs groom themselves by licking. So, you would want to use a shampoo that includes natural and healthy ingredients like this one.

Customers, in particular, are raving about how pleasant this shampoo smells and its soothing properties.

2. Curaseb Antifungal & Antibacterial Chlorhexidine Shampoo

The Curaseb Chlorhexidine Shampoo by Bexley Labs is one of the top choices in the industry. Even though Bexley Labs isn’t a big name, its quality is certainly comparable to the giants in the pet industry. This shampoo is not just useful for killing bacteria, but fungi as well. It’s specifically useful for dogs that suffer from ringworm. Along with that, it has a refreshing smell as well. This is handy when your dog gets a foul odor due to bacteria.

There are lots of things to love in Curaseb. However, what I like the most is how they provide premium quality at an affordable price. They even mention that on their product listing. Also, this antibacterial shampoo for dogs comes with an irresistible guarantee. If you’re not satisfied with the product, then you can simply return it for a full refund! Even if the bottle is empty… they’re happy to give you your money back. That’s some crazy product confidence right there. What’s even great is that this shampoo often starts showing results within a week.

With that said, some customers found that the label bleeds ink when it gets wet. However, it’s not that big of a deal if the product works fine.

3. Veterinary Formula Clinical Care Medicated Shampoo for Dogs

This veterinary formula contains lots of useful ingredients like Sulfur, coal tar, and salicylic acid. These ingredients are useful for dry, scaly skin in dogs. Also, this formula contains soothing agents like allantoin and oatmeal which can reduce skin irritation and redness. Since this is an antiseborrheic shampoo, it helps against dog dandruff as well. The manufacturer recommends that you use this shampoo 2-3 times a week initially. Once your dog gets a bit better, you can transition to once a week. The initial intensity helps dogs heal faster.

If you think that’s great, then hear me out. This vet-recommended dog shampoo includes no dyes, soap, and paraben. These qualities make it a great shampoo for dogs that are suffering from bacterial infections. Also, the pH balance in this shampoo is perfect for dogs. This is vital for all types of dog shampoos.

Make sure you let the shampoo sit for the recommended amount of time. That waiting time is important for the shampoo to show its complete efficacy.

4. Douxo Chlorhexidine PS + Climbazole Shampoo

This shampoo is one of the best when it comes to antiseptic properties. With Chlorhexidine and Phytosphingosine Salicyloyl, it’s certainly great for bacterial skin infections. Also, this formula is strong against dandruff as well.

Dogs with dry, scaly skin would benefit the most from this shampoo. Its ingredients are specifically chosen to keep the skin hydrated at all times. The reviews for this shampoo are amazing… probably the best you’ll ever see. Customers are raving about how skin infections that even vets couldn’t figure out were easily healed with this shampoo. Dogs with big hairless patches have healed by simply bathing with this shampoo thrice a week.

However, no product’s perfect, right? There are a handful of consumers who complained about shipping. Apparently, the shampoo comes sealed with plastic tape which is a hassle to take off.

5. Truseb Chlorhexidine Antibacterial Dog Shampoo

When it comes to skin infections, Truseb is a major competitor of Curaseb, our number one product on this list. Pet Health Pharma has added Chlorhexidine Gluconate in this shampoo. This makes it great for a host of dog skin problems. It’s also useful for cuts and bug bites along with dog dandruff. Not to mention, this shampoo comes highly recommended for ringworm as well. With such antibacterial and antifungal properties, it’s naturally great at reducing odor due to infections.

If you’re anything like me, then you’d be scared of trying dog shampoos that aren’t made in the USA. However, that’s totally not a problem with Truseb. The manufacturer, Pet Health Pharma, makes this medicated shampoo in an NASC-inspected facility in the USA. That, in itself, speaks volumes for the quality of this shampoo. If your dog is allergic and frequently runs into skin problems, then this shampoo is the way to go.

6. Earthbath Natural Hypoallergenic Dog Shampoo

If you’re an eco-friendly person who cares about the environment, then Earthbath’s All-Natural Shampoo is for you. It’s completely natural and biodegradable as well. This means you can keep your dog itch-free and save the world… all at the same time. What’s more, this dog shampoo is soap-free which is great for your pet’s health. The Earthbath Natural Pet Shampoo is one of the mild options in the market. That’s why a lot of pet owners go to this option to treat everyday rashes and irritations.

Since this one’s “all-natural” the ingredients used in it are safer than chemicals. On top of the list, we have Tea Tree Oil along with other useful soothing agents like Aloe Vera. Ingredients like these are what contribute to the soothing ability of this shampoo. Customers just can’t get their hands off of their furballs after using this shampoo. However, this one doesn’t have that much of a long-lasting scent.

7. Arava Medicated Antibacterial Dog Shampoo

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With 28 natural ingredients and minerals from the Dead Sea, the Arava Antibacterial dog shampoo is perfect for skin infections. It’s also useful against hot spots and inflammation. Due to its deep cleansing properties, this shampoo helps eradicate core problems in your dog’s skin. In particular, this formula acts on skin folds to curtail bacteria growth. It’s also specifically active against ringworm and seborrhea.

Have you ever been to the Dead Sea? If you have, then you might’ve seen people rubbing mud all over their bodies to get useful minerals for their skin. It sounds weird… but those minerals are actually that special. Do you really want your dog to miss out on all that good stuff? If not, then you gotta give your doggo some special mineral treatment and get him this natural medicated shampoo. Also, don’t forget that you get a 30-day money-back guarantee with this shampoo. So, there’s nothing really to lose here.

With that said, this shampoo doesn’t seem to lather that well. However, one’s gotta ask: how much does that even matter?

8. Dechra Miconahex & Triz Pet Shampoo

Dechra uses ceramides for skin moisturizing and repairing. A 2003 research proved how important ceramides are for skin function. What’s interesting about this shampoo is that it keeps soothing and repairing the skin, even after rinsing. With chlorhexidine, trizEDTA, and miconazole, it’s great for skin infections involving both bacteria and fungi.

Even though we’re reviewing antibacterial shampoos, this one’s especially known for its antifungal properties. If your dog licks or bites itself excessively, then this is the shampoo you need to go with. Unlike many other antibacterial shampoos for dogs, this one shows results right after the first wash.

9. PetMD Antiseptic & Antifungal Medicated Dog Shampoo

PetMD is one of the biggest online presence in the pet world. So, as a dog owner, you can rest assured that their product is worth their name. It’s made in the USA and in small quantities so that only fresh batches reach dog lovers. By using this formula, you can easily kill most of the bacteria and fungi that cause skin infections. It’s also great for soothing and moisturizing skin. If you skim through its ingredients, you’ll find chlorhexidine and Ketoconazole, both of which are fantastic against skin infections.

From what customers have to say, this is one of the fastest products in the market. So much so, that many consumers found their dog’s allergies healing within a week. However, it seems as if this might not be the best choice for white dogs. The color in this shampoo seems to leave a slight pink tinge. This isn’t even noticeable for dogs with colored coats. But we can’t say the same for a white pooch.

10. Natural Oatmeal Dog Shampoo

This natural formula uses organic coconut which is fantastic for dog skin. Coconut is especially useful for soothing skin and so it reduces itching to a great extent. Not to mention, research suggests that coconut oil is also great for healing skin wounds. With that said, this formula is tear-free and very gentle on the skin and eyes. As for its scent, it uses chamomile extract combined with green apple. Needless to say, both these scents are a perfect match. As if that wasn’t enough, the manufacturer throws in a 100% money-back guarantee for unsatisfied customers. What more could you ask for?

While making this product, Friends Forever used a number of natural ingredients like Lavender, Tea Tree Oil, and Flax Seed Oil. Don’t forget to top that off with the satisfaction that this shampoo is completely formulated in the USA. Customers have particularly appreciated how simple this product’s ingredients are. Yet, they’re as powerful as any medicated dog shampoo out there.

Best Medicated Dog Shampoos For Itchy Skin, Yeast, Mange & Parasites
Read our other blog post – Best Medicated Dog Shampoos For Itchy Skin, Yeast, Mange & Parasites

Antibacterial Dog Shampoos: FAQ

So, in this article, we covered everything about dog shampoos with antibacterial properties. We discussed what makes a good antibacterial shampoo and provided you with a list of some of the best in the market.

However, our discussion was by no means exhaustive. And so, I believe there still might be some questions popping in your head. This section is specifically devoted to those questions.

Is antibacterial shampoo different from medicated dog shampoo?

Antibacterial pet shampoos are different from medicated ones. However, that doesn’t change the fact that most antibacterial shampoos are also medicated.

Allow me to explain. Any formula with antibacterial properties would be categorized as antibacterial. However, you can only term it as “medicated” if it uses a medication in the ingredients. There are a lot of great dog shampoos that only use natural ingredients like Tea Tree Oil, Aloe Vera, and Flax Seed. But do bear in mind that antibacterial shampoos for dogs are often medicated.

Can I get an antibacterial dog shampoo that also shines my dog’s coat?

Sure, you can! Being antibacterial doesn’t mean your dog’s shampoo would be useless on all other fronts. It’s completely possible that an antibacterial formula cold also provides a shiny coat for your dog. In fact, most dog coats would have a great finish with a lot of soothing agents found in such formulas.

Can I buy antibacterial dog shampoo even without a veterinary prescription?

Whether or not you can buy an antibacterial shampoo without prescriptions depends on the ingredients of that shampoo. If your desired shampoo is medicated and dangerous, then it certainly won’t be available over the counter. So, in that case, you’ll need a prescription.

With that said, bear in mind that you can easily buy most antibacterial shampoos for your pooch online and without prescription.

How often should I wash my dog with antibacterial dog shampoo?

Most manufacturers mention the recommended number of times you should use their shampoo. Usually, the recommended frequency is anywhere between twice a week to twice a month.

However, every case is different. So, it’s better if you run your case by the vet. A certified professional would be able to suggest a bathing frequency that’s specific to your dog’s case. Do bear in mind that over-bathing can lead to a loss in skin moisture which can dry your dog’s skin.

Is antibacterial dog shampoo suitable for dogs with open wounds?

Not at all. If your dog has an open wound, then you should take it straight to the vet. Dog wounds aren’t that simple and you should never take a risk with them. There are even wounds that shouldn’t be allowed to close too early. So, the best you can do is consult your vet for it.

With that said, don’t apply any dog antibacterial shampoo, soap, oil, or alcohol to the wound unless your vet asks you to.