The Best Natural Dog Shampoos

Just because a dog shampoo maker claims their products are natural doesn’t mean they are. (Photo from Wikimedia Commons)

Many savvy dog parents know the importance of using natural shampoos to bathe their pooches. But just because a dog shampoo is pricey, has a fancy name and claims to be natural doesn’t mean that it is. So below are some suggestions for finding the best, safest and most environmentally friendly products for freshening up Fido.

Dog Shampoo Ingredients to Avoid

Before I list some recommendations, it’s important to point out the ingredients you should steer clear of when purchasing a shampoo for your canine.

According to Dogs Naturally magazine, the following ingredients can be toxic to pooches:

  • Artificial colors
  • Cocomide DEA or MEA
  • Cocamidopropyl Betaine
  • Formaldehyde
  • Fragrances
  • Isopropyl alcohol
  • Isopropyl (SD-40)
  • Mineral Oil
  • Phthalates
  • Polyethylene glycol
  • Polysorbates
  • Propylene Glycol
  • Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, and Ammonium Laureth Sulfate

These ingredients can cause everything from skin irritation to hormonal imbalances; immune and nervous system disorders; and many have been linked to potentially causing cancer, in dogs and humans. So always check the label when selecting a shampoo for your pet.

Note: If you also share your home with kitties, avoid using products containing D-trans Allethrin (derived from chrysanthemums) and Resmethrin, as these can be toxic to felines.

Some Good Natural Dog Shampoos

  • Bubba’s Groovy Bath Pet Shampoo
  • 4-Legger Certified Organic
  • Earthbath All Natural Pet Shampoo
  • Dr. Mercola Healthy Pets Organic Shampoos
  • Vet’s Best Hot Spot Shampoo

These are just some of the better ones out there. Regardless, these got rave reviews from proponents of natural pet products.

Do-It-Yourself Natural Dog Shampoo

Many pet parents who follow a holistic lifestyle opt to make their own natural dog shampoos. It’s easy, economical and safe. The main ingredient in the more popular homemade shampoos is castile soap, which is made from vegetable or olive oil. There’s now a very popular line of liquid castile soaps from a company called Dr. Bonner’s, which is ideal for whipping up DIY doggie shampoo.

This is the easiest recipe I found: Just mix 1 cup of liquid castile soap, a ¼ cup of apple cider vinegar and 1 teaspoon of coconut oil (you can read more about the many benefits of the latter via my popular article here) in a plastic shampoo bottle and shake well, plus shake prior to use. You can also add a bit of warm water as needed if the mixture becomes too thick.

Please be aware that this won’t lather as much as commercially available shampoos. But it is very gentle, safe, and will leave your doggie squeaky clean.

Some Cautionary Dog Shampoo Notes

Never use shampoos intended for humans on dogs. While the ingredients may be safe for people, this may not be the case for dogs, and these can cause skin irritation and/or a disruption to the natural pH balance of a dog’s skin.

And do use a great deal of caution if you decide to use essential oils when concocting your own dog shampoos, as some of these can be toxic to them. Those to avoid include:

  • Anise
  • Bitter Almond
  • Cassia
  • Juniper
  • Pennyroyal
  • Thyme
  • Sassafras
  • Wintergreen
  • Yarrow

While tea tree oil is now a popular ingredient in certain commercially produced natural dog shampoos, be cautious if using this in your own DIY dog shampoos, as this can be toxic if used at certain levels and if not properly diluted. If you do wish to try dog shampoos containing essential oils, it’s best to leave it to the pros and purchase a ready-made product.

(Do you have any suggestions about dog shampoos? Please feel free to share them in the comments section below.)




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