Dogs are naturally driven to coat themselves in the smells of their environment. It’s an instinct based on millions of years of evolution as successful predators. Unfortunately, our canine companions rarely roll in rose beds, and hence doggie bath time becomes a regular affair. There are a number of natural dog shampoo recipes available that are not only gentle on your pup, but also gentle on the environment.
Although there are many natural dog shampoos available commercially, there are a number of advantages to making your own product at home: you know exactly what went into the product, there is less packaging associated with its production, and it’s easier on the wallet.
I’ve given some recipes below for natural dog shampoos, some of which are appropriate for regular use, while others might be specific to problems such as fleas and ticks, or that dreaded eau de skunk.
Before you choose your recipe and get started, however, make sure you have a large container that can be used for storing the shampoo as most recipes make quite a large quantity. You will also want a smaller, easy-pour container that will be handy beside the bath, which you will refill as needed from the larger container.
Natural dog shampoo recipes for a healthy coat and a fresher smell:
- 1 cup liquid eco friendly antibacterial soap or dish soap
- 1 cup apple cider vinegar or white vinegar
- 1/3 cup glycerine
- 1 quart water
Directions: Place the water in a pail or pot large enough for mixing. Add the other ingredients and stir. Pour into storage containers. Use as a whole-body shampoo avoiding ears and eyes. Rinse thoroughly. (Source)
Pooch Porridge – soothing for irritated skin
- 1 cup oatmeal ground up in a blender
- 1 cup baking soda
- 1 tsp liquid Castile soap (this is optional to induce lather)
- 1 quart of warm water
Directions: Place the water in a pail or pot large enough for mixing. Mix the oat flour and baking soda into the warm water and stir well. Blend in the castile soap if using. Use as a whole-body shampoo avoiding ears and eyes. Leave on skin for about 5 minutes. Rinse thoroughly. (Source)
Skunk Essentials – for reducing skunk odor
- 1 quart of 3 per cent hydrogen peroxide
- 1 /4 cup baking soda
- 1 tsp natural liquid soap
Directions: Carefully mix all ingredients together. Apply generously to affected fur, avoiding ears and eyes. Rub it in and then rinse thoroughly. (Source)
Fleacure – to repel fleas and ticks
- 2 tbsp peppermint oil
- 2 tbsp white cedar oil
- 2 tbsp eucalyptus oil
- ¼ cup citronella oil
- ¼ cup white vinegar
- 2 cups warm water
Directions: Place the water in a pail or pot large enough for mixing. Add the oils and mix well, then add the vinegar and mix again. Use when fleas or ticks are detected and rinse thoroughly after applying. (Source)
There are some other options for natural flea shampoos in this video – though, please let us know if you manage to keep your dog submersed in the bath for 15 minutes!
A word about essential oils. Never use essential oils directly on your pet’s skin. Like humans, pets can have allergies to certain herbs, so if you are unsure, test a small diluted amount on a patch of skin and leave for 24 hours before adding the essential oil to any shampoo recipe.
Essential oils can be added to any natural shampoo recipe and not only add a delightful fragrance but can also serve important functions. Lavender, for instance, can be calming and has natural anti-inflammatory properties that might soothe irritated skin. Tea tree oil, rosemary, clove, and oregano all have antifungal and antibacterial properties that may alleviate dandruff and dissuade fleas and ticks.
Rosemary in particular is often used to repel fleas. It can easily be incorporated into a conditioner that is applied after rinsing out the shampoo. Boil 1 pint of water and then add either 1 tsp of dried rosemary or 1 tbsp of fresh rosemary. Let steep covered for 10 minutes. Strain and let cool to body temperature and after rinsing out shampoo, pour the rosemary conditioner over the dog and rub it thoroughly through the fur. No need to rinse, just towel dry. (Source)
Making your own natural dog shampoo is simple, eco friendly and cost effective. It also gives you some peace of mind when your loyal friend escapes the tub and shakes suds all over you, your bathroom, and your next of kin, that it might be messy, but at least it’s all natural. Happy bathing!