6 Best Antibacterial Dog Shampoos

At any given time, bacteria are living on your dog’s skin. Normally, these bacteria don’t cause any problems, but when the conditions are right, they can start to multiply rapidly which may lead to an infection and the skin-related symptoms that come with it.

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Bacterial skin infections in dogs can range from mild to severe, causing symptoms such as dryness and itching which can progress to crusted skin, hair loss, and inflammation. The first step in dealing with a bacterial skin infection is to talk to your veterinarian. Your vet will be able to diagnose the type of bacteria your dog is dealing with as well as the underlying cause of the infection – both of these are essential for determining the best course of treatment.

Though treatments for bacterial skin infections in dogs vary depending on the type and severity of the infection, antibacterial dog shampoo can often help with symptom relief. Keep reading to learn more about bacterial infections in dogs and to see our top picks for the best antibiotic shampoo for dogs.

Things to Know About Bacterial Infections in Dogs

You may not realize it, but there are bacteria living on your dog’s skin at all times. These bacteria typically don’t cause a problem, but when your dog’s immune system becomes compromised, or when his skin condition changes, those bacteria can proliferate and cause an infection.

Bacterial skin infections in dogs are often referred to as pyoderma. Mild infections may cause your dog to develop itchy, flaky skin but these symptoms can progress to include the development of pustules that might seep blood or pus. In severe cases of bacterial skin infection, your dog could even develop boils and painful ulcerations. These infections are most likely to develop in moist areas of skin, but they can easily spread once the infection takes hold.

Here are some of the most common symptoms of bacterial infections in dogs:

  • Dry, flaky skin or dandruff
  • Itching
  • Crusted areas of skin
  • Pustules on the skin
  • Hair loss
  • Infected hair follicles
  • Swelling and inflammation
  • Odorous discharge

There are many factors that can contribute to pyoderma and veterinarians often struggle to identify the root cause. In some cases, multiple factors may be involved.

Here are some of the most common causes of bacterial skin infections in dogs:

  • Allergic reaction
  • Flea Infestation
  • Chronic forms of dermatitis
  • Fungal or yeast infection
  • Skin wounds
  • Broken skin from scratching
  • Poor grooming habits
  • Endocrine disorders (like Cushing’s disease)
  • Hormone imbalance (like hypothyroidism)
  • Genetics (hereditary predisposition)

If your dog has any of the above symptoms, you should start by talking to your veterinarian. Your vet will perform a physical exam and may take blood or urine samples as well to identify the type of infection as well as its severity. Your vet may also take additional samples to determine if there is a concurrent fungal infection or another underlying condition.

Treatment for bacterial skin infections in dogs may include oral antibiotics as well as topical sprays or ointments. Antibiotic treatments typically last for 3 to 6 weeks and must be continued for the full course, even if the symptoms dissipate before you finish the medication. Your dog will also need to be bathed with antibacterial dog shampoo several times a week to help remove surface bacteria while also treating the symptoms of the infection.

Now that you have a better understanding of what bacterial infections are and how they can be treated, you’re ready to learn about antibiotic shampoo for dogs. Antibacterial dog shampoo can help control the spread of bacteria while also providing relief from symptoms such as itching, redness, and inflammation. Keep reading to learn what to look for in medicated dog shampoo for itching and other symptoms of bacterial skin infections.

7 Things to Look for in a Good Antibacterial Shampoo for Dogs

Before you buy an antibacterial dog shampoo, you should talk to your veterinarian. Your vet will be able to determine which type of bacteria your dog has and how to best treat it – he can also tell you which active ingredients to look for in a medicated dog shampoo.

Here are some things to look for when shopping for antibacterial dog shampoo:

  1. Medication – When it comes to treating bacterial skin infections, antibiotics are a must. Medicated shampoo is treated to help relieve the infection itself as well as the symptoms.
  2. Moisturizers – Many bacterial infections cause a dog’s skin to become dry and itchy, so moisturizers are an important element in antibacterial shampoo. Look for natural moisturizers like oatmeal, tea tree oil, and aloe vera to reduce the risk for further irritation.
  3. Deodorizers – In some cases, bacterial skin infections can lead to an unpleasant odor so a deodorizing shampoo might be warranted.
  4. pH-Balanced – Your dog’s skin has a neutral pH between 6.5 and 7.5, compared to your own slightly acidic pH of 5.5. Choosing a shampoo pH-balanced for your dog’s skin is the best way to reduce the risk for a negative reaction and further irritation or damage.
  5. Hypoallergenic – The term hypoallergenic means that the product has a low risk for triggering a negative reaction which is exactly what you want when your dog is already suffering from a skin infection. Hypoallergenic dog shampoo is designed to cleanse without irritation.
  6. Natural Ingredients – Avoid any shampoo made with harsh chemicals or artificial additives like colors and preservatives that might irritate your dog’s already damaged skin.
  7. Conditioners – In addition to cleansing your dog’s skin, you want to protect it against moisture loss and further irritation. Choosing a shampoo that also conditions your dog’s skin is a great way to do that. You can also use a standalone conditioner or a leave-in conditioner spray.

When using any kind of medicated dog shampoo for itching or infection, you need to read the instructions carefully. Many medicated shampoos need to be left on the skin for 5 to 10 minutes after lathering to maximize the benefits. You also need to be mindful that some shampoos are not recommended for active infections or open sores, so double-check the label before you use it.

Now that you know what to look for in an antibacterial shampoo for dogs, you’re ready to start shopping! If you’re still not sure where to begin, here are our top 6 picks for the best antibacterial shampoo for dogs.

Best Antibacterial Shampoo for Dogs

The best antibacterial shampoo for dogs will be made with hypoallergenic, natural ingredients as well as the appropriate medication to treat the infection. Look for a shampoo that is gentle enough for your dog’s irritated skin, and that is pH-balanced for dogs. If you’re not sure where to look, try our top pick for the best antibacterial dog shampoo reviewed below:

Douxo Chlorhexidine PS Dog Shampoo

If you’re looking for an antibacterial dog shampoo that will help fight infection and relieve physical symptoms, try this Douxo Chlorhexidine PS Dog Shampoo. This formula features powerful active ingredients like chlorhexidine, climbazole, and phytophingosine to manage bacterial skin infections while also providing relief from itching and irritation. This shampoo features lipacid to restore the skin’s natural moisture barrier while also reducing inflammation. It is made with special moisturizing ingredients for maximum itch relief and deposits a long-lasting film to protect against irritation and moisture loss. Plus, it is safe for use on both mild and severe infections.

Pros: Three powerful active ingredients, controls bacterial infections, relieves itching and inflammation, special moisturizing ingredients, restores skin’s moisture barrier, deposits a protective film

Cons: Contains some artificial fragrance, may require multiple treatments

5 More Top Rated Antibacterial Shampoos for Dogs

If the antibiotic dog shampoo reviewed above isn’t quite right for your dog, don’t worry – there are many more options to consider. Here are five more top-rated antibacterial shampoos for dogs:

VetMD Medicated Antibacterial & Antifungal Dog Shampoo

Formulated to fight both bacterial and fungal infections, this VetMD Medicated Antibacterial & Antifungal Dog Shampoo is a great option. This shampoo is veterinarian-recommended and made with powerful active ingredients like chlorhexidine and ketoconazole to kill bacteria. It contains skin-soothing ingredients like tea tree oil with lavender for a calming scent. It is pH-balanced for sensitive skin and completely safe with flea and tick control products. You’ll also love that it is gentle and safe to use.

Moosh Dog Shampoo with Neem & Argan Oil

If you’re looking for a hypoallergenic dog shampoo that helps with bacterial skin infections, try Moosh Dog Shampoo with Neem & Argan Oil. This shampoo features all-natural ingredients in a gentle formula to cleanse and revive your dog’s skin. It contains aloe vera and shea butter for moisture with deep-cleaning bentonite clay that binds to bacteria and toxins so they can be flushed from your dog’s coat. This shampoo is 100% natural and free from preservatives, sulfates, and harsh chemicals. It also contains neem oil and argan oil for their natural antiseptic properties.

Jax n Daisy Antifungal & Antibacterial Dog Shampoo

Another excellent option in natural dog shampoo is this Jax n Daisy Antifungal & Antibacterial Dog Shampoo. This shampoo offers antibacterial, antifungal, and antiseptic benefits to relieve itching and soothe irritation caused by bacteria and other pathogens. It contains natural plant extracts like lemon oil, lavender, rosemary, and chamomile as well as natural moisturizers to hydrate and condition the skin. This shampoo is gentle but effective, and it leaves your dog smelling fresh and squeaky clean.

TrizCHLOR 4 Shampoo for Dogs

A medicated shampoo designed to kill bacteria, fungus, and viruses on the skin, this TrizCHLOR 4 Shampoo for Dogs may be a good choice for your dog. This shampoo is one of the most powerful medicated shampoos on the market available without a prescription, and it is a gentle, water-based formula. It contains betaine to soothe irritation, chlorhexidine to kill microbes, and TrizEDTA to buffer the chlorhexidine. It is safe to be used daily or as recommended by your veterinarian.

Richard’s Organics Antibacterial Shampoo

If you’re looking for a gentle, natural shampoo with antibacterial benefits, try this Richard’s Organics Antibacterial Shampoo. This shampoo features natural ingredients like tea tree oil to control bacterial infections while also relieving physical symptoms like itching and irritation. It features a coconut-based cleanser that is gentle on sensitive skin with a mild surfactant and neem oil for added protection. This shampoo controls odor as well and leaves your dog smelling fresh and clean.

FAQ Regarding Antibacterial Shampoos

  1. Can I use antibacterial soap on my dog?

If your dog has been diagnosed with a bacterial infection, you may be wondering whether you can simply use antibacterial soap like Dawn. After all, Dawn is used to clean birds after an oil spill and is a common ingredient in homemade dog shampoo. What you need to realize, however, is that it is still a detergent and it may be too harsh to use regularly on your dog’s skin. When your dog is already suffering from a skin infection, soap-based cleansers and detergents can further dry his skin which could make the infection worse. It’s best to stick with antibiotic dog shampoo or hypoallergenic dog shampoo.

  1. What does medicated dog shampoo do?

Medicated dog shampoo is exactly what it sounds like – dog shampoo that contains medication. Depending on the active ingredients used in the shampoo, medicated dog shampoo can be used to relieve symptoms for a wide variety of conditions including allergies, bacterial infections, ringworm, and more. There are also options like medicated dog shampoo for itching and sensitive skin. If your dog has been diagnosed with a skin condition, medicated shampoo might help. Otherwise, stick to a general hypoallergenic dog shampoo for regular bathing as needed.

  1. Can I use regular soap to wash my dog?
Many people don’t realize that a dog’s skin has a different pH than a human’s skin. Human skin is slightly acidic with a pH around 5.5 while dog skin is more neutral, between 6.5 and 7.5.
Choosing a shampoo that is pH-balanced for your dog’s skin is very important because the wrong product can irritate your dog’s skin. Using shampoo designed for human on your dog can irritate or even damage your dog’s skin and, if he’s already suffering from a skin infection, it could make things worse.

For bacterial skin infections, antibacterial dog shampoo is a must. Not only does it contain active ingredients to help stop the infection from spreading, but it also contains moisturizers and other ingredients to soothe and repair the skin. If you’re not sure where to start looking for antibacterial dog shampoo, try one of our top 6 picks reviewed above.

Carlotta Cooper

Carlotta is a long-time contributing editor for the weekly dog show magazine Dog News. She's also the author of The Dog Adoption Bible, the Dog Writers Association of America Adoptashelter.com Award winner for 2013. In addition, she's written Canine Cuisine: 101 Natural Dog Food & Treat Recipes to Make Your Dog Healthy and Happy.

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