Can You Bathe Dogs With Conditioner?

Get your pup's hair as shiny as yours by conditioning it.
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Although you don't want to skip the shampoo and use only conditioner when you bathe your dog, following up a scrubbing with conditioner can make your pooch's hair sleek, shiny and tangle-free. Applying conditioner is simple, but make sure to rinse it off completely to keep your dog from itching later.

Why Use Conditioner

You can use conditioner with your furry friend for the same reason you use it on your own hair: to make it silky-smooth and free of tangles. Short-haired dogs might not need much conditioning, but breeds with longer hair will thank you for the dose that keeps the knots away. Conditioner can make your dog's hair shiny and bright, giving him a healthy glow.

When to Use It

Depending on how often your bathe your pooch, you don't have to apply conditioner with each bath. If you bathe him once a week -- which is too frequent for most breeds of dogs -- using conditioner every time might be overkill but won't hurt the dog. If you bathe him every six weeks or so, or every three months, conditioning with every bath will help him keep the coat healthy and mat-free.

How to Use It

If you can shampoo your pup, you can use conditioner. After you rinse off the shampoo, rub conditioner over his fur, following the direction the hair grows. Don't scrub it like you do shampoo; just rub it over the surface in one direction. Leave it on for two to three minutes, then rinse it off thoroughly. If you miss any spots when rinsing, Fido might scratch incessantly for a few days to get the excess conditioner off his skin.


When picking a dog conditioner, make sure it's formulated especially for dogs -- stay away from the human stuff, which can make him itch or dry out his skin. Keep it away from his face, since conditioner isn't usually tear-free like some dog shampoos can be. Also, watch for conditioners that have oil as their main ingredient. Oils such as olive, sunflower and almond can help moisturize your pooch's skin, but too much oil can leave a heavy residue that weighs down his fur and attracts dirt after it dries.