Most poodle owners take their dog to a professional to be groomed regularly. This is because, unless you know what you’re doing, you can make a real mess of a poodle’s coat. However, a lot of people still want to give their poodle a bath in between grooming, if for example their poodle has been rolling in something they shouldn’t have been, or decided to take a dip in a smelly pond. Poodles have quite oily skin, which can give them quite a strong “dog smell” so lots of owners like to shampoo their dog every few weeks to keep their poodle smelling fresh. It’s not recommended that you wash your poodle more often than every 3 weeks, as washing more frequently can disturb your poodle’s skin and strip it of the natural protecting oil your poodle’s skin produces.
Interested in buying the best shampoo and conditioner for when you’re giving your poodle a wash at home? Here are some things to look for to make sure you’re doing the best for your fluffy poodle.
What should I look for in shampoo and conditioner for my poodle?
Poodles can have quite sensitive skin and their tightly curled water-resistant coat means that some normal, harsher dog shampoos may end up doing more harm than good, drying out their fur or leaving a heavy coating on their fur.
You should also not use any shampoo or conditioner with a coloring agent in, as this can damage a poodle’s coat and lead to it drying out a lot.
So the things to look out for in a poodle shampoo are as follows:
Good for sensitive skin. Poodles can have quite sensitive skin so it’s important that you pick a shampoo and conditioner that does not irritate you poodle’s skin. If a poodle has irritated skin it can scratch excessively to the point where it could get bald patches. Skin that is irritated and being scratched a lot is also prone to getting infections, something that is painful for your poodle and could cost you some expensive vet bills long term! This means your shampoo and conditioner should be Ph balanced, not contain soaps and not contain any chemicals, parabens, sulfate , phthalate , or phosphate
Conditioning. This means your shampoo and conditioner should include natural moisturising agents
Cleansing. This means your shampoo should cleanse all dirt from your poodle, while not disturbing the skin, ruin the curl pattern or leaving the coat looking dull, or with a lot of product or sebum buildup.
Color enhancing. An important part of maintaining a poodle’s coat is keeping your poodle’s original colour. For example, a black poodle’s fur can get bleached in he sun and turn a reddish brown instead of a true black, so there are shampoos that can help restore your poodle’s deem black coat. IN contrast, white, cream and apricot poodles show up every tidy stain and mark, so they need a shampoo that will remove stains and resoretheir light curly coats. Optic brighteners can also be used to make lighter coloured poodles look brighter. However, you should make sure any colour enhancing shampoos and conditioners do not contain any dyes, as this can be damaging to poodle skin and dry out your poodle’s coat long term.
Does not wash off flea treatments. This is a bit of a no-brainer, as most flea prevention treatments are applied to the fur, it would be useless for the shampoo to rinse this off, leaving your dog vulnerable to parasite infections.
Personally, I only like using poodle products that are natural and don’t contain any harsh chemicals, so I have only included products which mostly contain natural ingredients in this list. BUt fear not, these natural products still pack a punch when it comes to getting your poodle clean, soft and smelling good!
What are the best Shampoos for Poodles?
The runner us is this all in one oatmeal shampoo by Paws and Pals. Like Earthbath, it is all natural and soap free but in addition to this it uses oatmeal to soothe sensitive skin. It also contains aleo and jojohba and coconut to promote a healthy coat, moisturise the skin and give a subtle scent. This shampoo is perfect for your dog if their coat is becoming dry and brittle.
And third is this Pro pet works oatmeal shampoo. This one smells like cherry almond and as with the other recommended shampoos is PH balanced, soap-free and full of natural ingredients.
Specialist Shampoos for Poodles
The above shampoos are generally good all-rounders. However, some poodles will need medicated shampoo to help with various skin issues, such as rashes, itchiness, mange, and fleas. Other poodles may benefit from shampoos made specifically for their fur color.
For Black poodles, I’d recommend this concentrated shampoo for black pets, made by Whal. It has natural ingredients and helps restore a black coat, getting rid of red sun-bleached tips. This shampoo MUST be diluted with water before use, so make sure you read the instructions!
For a light-colored poodles, this Earthbath Light Coat Lavender Pet Shampoo offers everything you would need. It contains natural ingredients as well as optic brighteners and can be used on poodles over the age of 6 weeks. This shampoo is soap-free too and restored a poodle coat to its original light color.
Best for fleas and ticks If your poodle keeps getting fleas and ticks, despite your regularly applid flea treatment, there are shampoos that can help with this too. My favourite is this Dog Whisperer coconut flea and tick shampoo .
This shampoo, with fragrant essential oils, kills fleas, and tick larvae and eggs, on contact and is good for is you have been taking your poodle hiking in areas where ticks are common. However, it does contain castile soap. While castile soap is more gentle than regular soap, it may be irritating to some poodles as it can strip away natural oils on the poodle’s fur and skin, so if any irritation occurs you will need to stop using it. This shampoo can only be used on poodles over 12 weeks old, so skip it if you have a new puppy.
What is the Best Conditioner for a Poodle?
Now conditioner is optional for poodles but will help keep a poodle’s coat moisturized and healthy-looking. Conditioners penetrate hair follicles and add moisture and sometimes protein, helping hair stay strong and smooth.
My no 1 conditioner for poodles is another from Earthbath. This vanilla and almond-scented conditioner uses oats and aloe to naturally moisturize and add condition to poodle fur. It contains protein to help strengthen hair follicles, and it smells great! The conditioning agents also make brushing your poodle’s fur after using this is a much easier task, so it is worth using if brushing is something you find difficult.
My favorite conditioner for poodles with sensitive skin is this tangerine scented deep conditioning treatment by Barklogic. It uses omega oils to condition the coat, while also being hypoallergenic. It helps make brushing your poodle much easier and does not leave any sticky residue behind when rinsed thoroughly.
Top Tips on Using Shampoo and Conditioner on your Poodle
So, you’ve got a decent shampoo and conditioner for your poodle now, but it’s worth knowing how best to use these products to get the best results for your poodle’s coat and skin.
Toy poodles are small enough to be bathed in a large sink, but miniature and standard poodles will need to be placed in the bath if you have a detachable showerhead or in the shower. If it is a warm day you can bathe your poodle outside, but be sure that it is warm enough for this otherwise they will get a chill. You should use lukewarm water to bathe your poodle, but it should not be warmer than your skin. It may be worth using a non-slip mat in the bath or shower to stop your poodle from slipping.
You will need to make sure you have some towels to hand for when your poodle gets out the bath and maybe some treats too, as your poodle may not like being bathed so using treats along the way will help your poodle learn that being bathed is good.
The first thing to do is brush your poodle before they get wet. This will prevent matting during the shampooing process. Also, Make sure your shampoo and conditioner are the right concentrates. Some products need to be diluted with water before you use them, so read the instructions to find out.
The next step is to make sure your poodle is completely wet. So get your poodle in the bath and sink and use a showerhead to get your poodle completely saturated, this can take a bit longer than with other breeds as poodle hair is naturally water repellent.
After this, take a small amount of shampoo (you need less than you think!) and massage over your poodle’s coat, paying special attention to areas that get more dirty, like their legs. Be careful not to get shampoo or water in your poodle’s eyes or inner ears. Ears, in particular, can be prone to infections if water gets in them so this is very important.
Once you’re confident the shampoo has done its job, you need to rinse. Rinsing is very important as shampoo left on the skin can dry the skin out and cause itchiness and redness. O be careful that there is no shampoo left on your poodle after this stage. Leaving any shampoo remaining can also stop any conditioning products you use form working effectively- meaning you could be wasting time and money if you don’t rinse that shampoo out thoroughly.
After rinsing it’s time to use the conditioner of your choice. Like the shampoo, less is more. You want to coat your poodle’s fur, but only lightly. Use a small amount and mix it in with your poodle’s wet fur.
After this, you will need to brush your poodle’s coat and dry using a hairdryer or, if it is warm, let your poodle dry naturally. You can find out more about the accessories I rate for poodle grooming in the accessories section of my site.