Best Shampoo for Pugs To Fit Various Skin Types

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best shampoo for pugs

When it comes to bath time for your pug, you may be wondering what products are safe to use.

Shampoos can have potentially harmful chemicals or otherwise ineffective formulas.

It’s best to learn your pug’s skin type or sensitivities and what shampoos could potentially harm your pug.

I’ve done my research and found five terrific products to try out. And I also have some tips on what to avoid.

Check out my picks for the best shampoo for pugs!

Pug Shampoo: Key Takeaways

1.You should always bathe your dog in dog shampoo only. Dog shampoos are pH balanced for canines and will help keep their skin and coat healthy and irritation-free.

2. Depending on your pug’s skin type, you can choose from moisturizing, medicated, natural, tear-free, and itch-relieving shampoo.

3. When you bathe your pug, be careful when you wash around sensitive parts like their eyes, nose, and ears.

4. Avoid harmful shampoos that include synthetic fragrance, artificial colors, and harsh chemicals. Certain compounds can trigger allergies, skin irritation, toxicity, cancer, and organ failure.

Best Shampoo for Pugs: Quick Picks

5 Best Shampoos for Pugs

1. Overall Favorite: John Paul Pet Lavender Mint Shampoo

The John Paul Lavender Mint Shampoo is my favorite for Sid. It smells incredible, and it leaves his fur silky-smooth.

What I love about the company is that they test on humans, not animals. Isn’t that a nice change of pace?

It has a delightful aroma that lasts for days after the bath, but it may not be for everyone.

Instead of having unknown fragrance, the company uses tea tree leaf, eucalyptus oil, lavender, and mint leaf extract.

The chamomile and aloe soothe and moisturize the skin without drying it out.

Lavender is supposed to calm the senses, giving your pug a relaxing experience, but Sid is always pretty lackadaisical—so I didn’t notice a difference there.

Because the formula is highly concentrated, you only need a tiny amount to get a full lather.

I love the brand because the John Paul pet company donates a portion of the proceeds to help wildlife, so I like contributing to the cause.


  • Tested on humans, pH balanced for pets
  • Moisturizes skin and coat
  • Naturally scented
  • The company donates proceeds to wildlife
  • Scent may not be everyone’s cup of tea

>> Check Price on Amazon <<

2. Best Shampoo for Itchy Pugs: Whal Dry Skin & Itch Relief Pet Shampoo 

Wahl Dry Skin & Itch Relief Shampoo is an affordable selection to help your itchy pug find relief.

It’s an oatmeal formula, which is an excellent ingredient for soothing irritation and helping skin issues.

It has a very clean coconut lime smell and is very concentrated, so a little bit goes a long way.

The formula is pH balanced for your pug, and there is no alcohol or parabens to worry about.

This is an excellent formula for allergy-prone pugs. If your pug is prone to dry patches, hot spots, or other irritation areas, this is an incredibly gentle shampoo.

I will note that some allergy problems need addressing by a veterinarian.

This shampoo has the capability of worsening allergies depending on the underlying cause.

Always remember to consult with your vet before trying a new product if you aren’t sure.


  • Thick lather
  • Soothing oatmeal formula
  • Stops itching
  • May not work for all allergy issues

>> Check Price on Amazon <<

3. Best Medicated Shampoo: Veterinary Formula Clinical Care Medicated Dog Shampoo

The Veterinary Formula Clinical Care Medicated Shampoo is super useful for bigger issues at bath time.

If your pug suffers from fungal or bacterial infections, parasitic issues, and other skin-related ailments.

As with any medicated shampoo, this isn’t suitable for every pug.

This formula is specifically designed to combat parasites and seborrhea.

You can also use this for mange, bald patches, inflammation, dermatitis, and yeast overgrowth.

It typically helps your pugs skin heal within a week or so, but if symptoms persist, contact your vet for further instruction.

Unlike other shampoos that should only be applied once or twice a month, you should use this shampoo up to three times a week while symptoms are present.

The active ingredients in this shampoo include coal tar, salicylic acid, and micronized sulfur smooth scaly skin.

It’s also free of parabens, dyes, and soap, so the shampoo won’t irritate the skin further.


  • Vet-approved formula
  • Antiparasitic and Anti-seborrheic
  • Free of irritants
  • Smooths and treats skin
  • Use only as symptoms persist

>> Check Price on Amazon <<

4. Best Waterless Shampoo: Bodhi Dog Waterless Dog Shampoo

Bodhi Dog Waterless Shampoo is a great choice to help out in between regular baths.

If your pug gets a little stinky and you want to prevent it, this could be the solution you’re looking for.

It helps keep the dog smell away without drying out the skin from over-bathing.

If you’re not crazy about the smell of lavender, Bodhi also offers a waterless lemongrass or oatmeal scented spray.

It doubles as a conditioning detangler, making the fur really soft and shiny.

You can vigorously apply or spot-treat—and it’s 100% non-toxic and safe.

This product is a huge time saver when your pug needs a refresher, but you don’t have time for a full-fledge bath.

The product won the 2020 Family Choice Awards and has a 100% money-back guarantee.


  • Great for in-between regular baths
  • Smells fresh
  • 100% non-toxic and safe for pets
  • Not a substitute for regular bathing

>> Check Price on Amazon <<

5. Best Multi-Purpose Shampoo: Bark Logic 2-in-1 Dog Shampoo

If you’re looking to clean and condition in one swoop, the bark Logic 2-in-1 Conditioning Shampoo may be the right pick for your pug.

The tangerine scent is refreshing, and the company uses essential oils instead of harsh fragrance.

This product leaves fur incredibly soft to the touch. It’s specially formulated for sensitive skin, so you can use it for pugs who irritate easily.

The formula is also organic and vegan, so you don’t have to worry about pesky byproducts or toxic chemicals.

The company offers a money-back satisfaction guarantee, so you won’t have to feel like you’re taking a significant risk with purchase.


  • Shampoo plus conditioner
  • Refreshing smell
  • Leaves fur extremely soft
  • Not medicated

>> Check Price on Amazon <<

Do Pugs Need Dog Shampoo for Baths?

In short, yes. Pugs benefit from shampoo. There are several ways shampoos contribute to the overall hygiene and health of your pug.

  • Reduces buildup in fur
  • Moisturizes the skin
  • Helps keep the coat lustrous
  • Cleans and sanitizes wound or abrasions
  • Prevents parasites like fleas and ticks

Types of Shampoo that Works Best for Pugs

1. Moisturizing Shampoo

If your pug has healthy skin with no known allergies, a high-quality moisturizing shampoo will work just fine for your pug.

It will leave the fur soft without drying out your pug’s skin and leave them smelling fresh.

2. Medicated Shampoo

You should only use medicated shampoos when your dog faces immediate medical concerns like fungal or bacterial infections, parasite problems, or chronic dry skin and hot spots.

3. Tear-Free Shampoo

If you have a puppy, getting a tear-free shampoo can be really helpful at bath time.

Puppies tend to be more sensitive, plus they squirm around a lot more since they’re still so active.

If they get shampoo in their eyes by accident, it shouldn’t hurt or sting.

4. Itch-Relief Shampoo

Some pugs suffer from itchy skin, especially seasonally.

The underlying cause of itching can come from many sources like allergies, food sensitivities, and environmental irritants.

Soothing shampoos for pugs can relieve them of these issues or help to manage symptoms.

5. Natural Shampoo

Even though dyes and chemicals are harmful to dogs, some companies choose to take the cheap route and load their products full of these ingredients anyway.

Selecting a natural shampoo free of any unknown compounds will aid in the health of their skin and coat.

What Types of Pug Shampoo Should You Avoid?

Even if a bottle claims to soothe skin or provide itch relief, remember—marketing can lie, ingredients can’t.

Here are some things companies add to their products that can actually be counterproductive for your pug.

1. Synthetic Fragrance

Of course, you want your pug to smell nice instead of mucking up your fabrics with dirty dog smell.

But heavy fragrances can really irritate your pug’s skin.

There can be tons of unnatural ingredients under this term, so you want to be careful.

Try to opt for fragrance-free or naturally scented shampoos instead.

2. Dyes & Artificial Colors

Many dyes that color shampoo products are harmful for your pug.

Dyes can cause allergic reactions and even more severe health issues like organ failure, toxicity, and certain cancers.

3. Harmful Chemicals

There are many chemical ingredients put into pet care products that are dangerous for your pug.

If you look over the components, keep your eye out for a few of these big words since they can cause significant issues with long-term use.

  • Formaldehyde preservative
  • SD-40 or SD Alcohol 40
  • Propylene Glycol
  • Phthalates
  • Cocamide-Mea
  • Methylisothiazolinone
  • Dimethicone
  • Sodium Laureth Sulfate

4. Human Shampoo

Human shampoo should be for humans only. Pugs have much different skin that requires different pH levels.

When we use human shampoo on animals, it can cause many nasty side effects that will cause more trouble than it’s worth—like allergies or even violent reactions from toxicity.

How to Choose the Best Shampoo for Your Pug

When you’re picking out the shampoo that will work best for your pug, you need to consider what outcome you want to achieve.

1. What is your pug’s skin type?

You’ll need to keep in mind what kind of skin your pug has—whether it be normal or sensitive.

Then, buy a product fitting their needs.

2. Does your pug have any allergies or sensitivities?

You may need to give your pug a little extra TLC if they’re prone to allergies or environmental irritants.

If you have a pug who gets hot spots, raw areas, or flaky areas, a medicated shampoo may provide relief from these symptoms.

3. Do you need a refresher between baths?

If you already have a shampoo that works well for your pug, you may be looking for something to spruce them up a few times a month.

Companies now make waterless shampoo options to keep your pug smelling fresh until they’re due for another suds session.

Tips for Bathing Your Pug

When you bathe your pug, keep a few things in mind.

  1. Before bathing, you can brush your pug to get rid of any dead hairs stuck throughout their coat. Better they end up in the brush than in your drain.
  2. Pugs have extremely thick coats, so make sure that you thoroughly saturate with water before you apply the shampoo. This helps the soap later appropriately.
  3. Apply the soap and lather it generously throughout the coat.
  4. If you have a black or young pug, you can wash by hand. However, if you have a fawn pug with a double-coat, it is more efficient to use a bathing glove to work the shampoo into the fur.
  5. Be sure to massage your pug all over for at least three minutes.
  6. Rinse the fur thoroughly.


1. How Often Should I Bathe My Pug?

Pugs need the natural oils their skin secrete to keep their skin and coat healthy.

Over-bathing can strip these natural oils causing dry skin, flaking, and irritation.

To keep their skin healthy, you should aim to bath your pug once a month—and no more than twice.

2. Can I Use Human Shampoo for My Pug?

No. Because human shampoos are pH balanced for humans, bathing your animals using human shampoo is never a good idea.

There are chemicals, dyes, and other ingredients in these products that can be harmful, or even fatal, to your pug.


Lathering up your pug should be a lot easier for you now that we’ve gone over how to purchase and what to avoid.

While I am partial to the John Paul Pet Lavender Mint Shampoo for Sid, you may need another type of shampoo for your pug.

Hopefully, you found the best shampoo for pugs on my list to make your decision making a more straightforward process.