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Finding the Right Conditioner for Your Dog

In a lot of ways, your dog's fur is just like human hair. Your dog's fur can get dirty, frizzy, tangled, dry and hard to manage. When your hair gets frizzy and matted, you reach for the bottle of shampoo on the shelf. Why not do the same for your dog? Several pet care brands sell dog conditioner that's separate from the usual shampoo.

If you've never used a dog conditioner before, it might seem like an unnecessary expense. Your dog doesn't need conditioner to survive, but adding conditioner to its grooming routine can make its fur softer, shinier and healthier. You'll also find it easier to brush your dog's coat after a long day of playing outside. If shampoo alone isn't doing the trick, dog conditioner might be just what you're looking for.

Do Dogs Need Conditioner?

You might be able to get away with using dog shampoo alone. But when you try conditioner for the first time, you'll be surprised by the difference that it makes. Your dog's hair will be softer, healthier and easier to brush. You can remove tangles and matted hair, leaving your dog's coat sleek and shiny. If your dog has allergies or dry skin, conditioner can also soothe and moisturize its skin to make your pup more comfortable. In particular, dogs with long hair can benefit from conditioner, but short-haired breeds will also enjoy a softer and shinier coat.

Can You Use a Human Conditioner on Dogs?

It is not recommended to use human conditioner on dogs. Human conditioner is specifically made to treat your hair and skin. Your dog's fur and skin have different needs. If you try to use your own conditioner on your dog, it could actually irritate its skin or cause an allergic reaction. Talk to your veterinarian if you're not sure what type of conditioner you should use on your dog.

How To Condition Your Dog's Coat

If you want to learn how to make dog fur soft, simply add conditioner to your dog's grooming routine. After you've shampooed and rinsed your dog's fur, scrub the conditioner into the fur and let it sit for a minute. Rinse the conditioner out and dry your pup like you would normally. You might want to brush its fur afterward to get the full benefit of the conditioner.

How Do You Find the Right Conditioner?

When you look for a conditioner, here are a few questions you should ask yourself:

  • What's the length of your dog's coat?
  • Does your dog have any allergies or skin conditions?
  • Do you prefer conditioners with natural ingredients?

Many pet care brands offer different products for different coat lengths. If you have a short-haired breed like a pug, you might want to pick up a mild conditioner. On the other hand, if you have a long-haired breed like a terrier or a German shepherd, you might need a thick conditioner that can penetrate the topcoat and undercoat. You can also find conditioners for dogs with medium coats, like golden retrievers.

Certain conditioners can also help dogs with skin problems. If your dog suffers from dry and itchy skin, a conditioner can moisturize its skin and reduce inflammation. For maximum benefits, look for a conditioner made with natural ingredients like oatmeal, chamomile and aloe vera.

Top Conditioners for Dogs

Here's a look at some of the best dog conditioners for shine, softness and healthy skin. Every dog has different needs, so you might want to talk to your vet if yours has any allergies or skin conditions. Some conditioners can treat health issues like fungal infections and ringworm. You can also go with a basic conditioner that leaves your dog's coat looking soft and shiny after a regular bath.

Ketoseb +PS Mousse: This medicinal conditioner can clear up fungal infections, yeast and ringworm. This product can also soothe inflammation, moisturize the skin and give your dog a full coat of soft, healthy fur. Instead of rinsing this product out of your dog's fur, you'll wash it in and let it air-dry.

Vetoquinol Aloe and Oatmeal Conditioner: Moisturize your dog's fur with soothing natural ingredients like oatmeal, chamomile and aloe vera. This conditioner enriches your dog's coat with vitamins and minerals, making its fur easier to brush and providing a lustrous sheen. You can use this product with most flea and tick removers.

Davis Anti-Static Spray: If you don't have time to give your dog a bath, use this spray to smooth and straighten its fur while you brush out the tangles. This spray creates a light mist that won't make your dog's fur feel sticky or greasy. Make sure the fur is dry before you apply the spray.

Davis MoJo!: This conditioner is especially helpful in detangling your dog's coat. You can brush out mats, burrs and tangles and give your dog's fur a soft, silky texture. Davis MoJo! also has unique dirt-resistant qualities that help your dog stay clean for a longer period of time.

Groom Aid Spray: This conditioner doesn't just soften your dog's fur; it also eliminates unpleasant odors and gets rid of that "wet dog” smell. For best results, apply the conditioner after you shampoo your dog's fur. You'll find it easier to brush your dog's coat after you've dried it off.


While dog conditioner isn't essential, it can make your dog's fur much easier to manage and help it feel cool and comfortable. You can also use conditioner to moisturize dry skin, reduce inflammation and treat fungal infections. Before you make a purchase, do some research to figure out which conditioner is best for your breed.

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