You shouldn’t have to spend hundreds to keep your pooch’s coat in top shape – or just to clean them off after they went running through the mud in backyard after a storm… again!
If you’re like many owners moving towards more natural options, you might want to opt for making your dog’s shampoo and/or dip at home instead.
Here’s a wrap-up of why you should consider natural options, plus some of the coolest recipes for DIY dog shampoos we could find on the internet.
Chemical shampoos could contain ingredients that are outright harmful for your dog, or just simply not right for their sensitive skin.
Just some of these chemicals you should watch out for according to Dog Naturally Magazine are:
To make it more difficult, these ingredients could all hide under a variety of names on the label (including MEA, DEA and TEA for the latter). Take a look at your dog’s current shampoo: Do you spot any potentially hazardous ingredients, or is it just not working as well as you feel it should?
In truth, these ingredients are probably in your own shampoo as well, and most dogs and humans can handle them without issue. However, if your dog is especially sensitive, natural shampoos may be a better choice.
Let’s discuss some natural DIY dog shampoo options!
This isn’t nearly as theatrical, graphic, or dangerous as the Fight Club way of making soap – and thank heavens for that. (You can still choose to make this pink, though, that we’ll leave up to you.)
This recipe for a bar of soap for your furry friend comes from DIY Natural and all you need is distilled water, lye, olive oil, coconut oil and “other” oil, which they recommend as a blend of safflower and sunflower (for stage one).
Mix the distilled water and lye. Then, mix all your oils together. Add the lye and keep on stirring. (The guide says you can heat this if the temperature falls below 100 degrees Fahrenheit (or 37.7 degrees Celsius to everyone else!)
Then, phase two: Add castor oil, lemon juice, and lemongrass, cedar and eucalyptus oils. This you pour into molds and leave to set. That’s it!
This one is courtesy of TheBalance.com and is the easiest flea-buster recipe around.
All you’ll need for this is water and a sliced lemon – spray bottle is optional and, well, a pot is kind of obvious for this one.
Boil the water and remove from heat, toss the sliced lemon into it, and leave to set overnight. This mix then goes into the spray bottle and onto your pets for magical flea-repellant that costs you almost nothing to make.
According to the article (and several sources – we looked this up!), it works because of a component known as limonene, of which citrus fruits carry a considerable amount in their peels.
Without getting into the technical sciencey stuff, fleas will hate it.
Not all pooches are equal: Yours might be one of many who happen to suffer from sensitive (and thus frequently itchy or dry) skin.
You might also have tried many shampoos over time and found that they either did nothing or made the problem even worse – or, even if a dog shampoo designed for sensitive skin worked just fine, it might blow your budget sky-high.
When your dogs have skin problems, this recipe on Dogster recommends including glycerine to the recipe, or making a mixture of cornstarch, baking soda, and essential oil and applying this – moderately – to the itchy bits.
Well, this isn’t what we thought about when we were walking down the cereal aisle… still, oatmeal’s benefits for skin is well-known and used in the beauty and spa industry.
Have you ever felt the rejuvenating effect on your skin after an oatmeal scrub? It turns out you can do the same for your dog at home.
This recipe, by Elle Di Jensen from The Nest recommends that you mix together dish-soap, oatmeal, aloe vera oil, lemon oil, lavender oil and the contents of two Vitamin E capsules.
We found several variations of this recipe while researching this article, one of them over here at BrenDid (from, of course, Bren – thanks!).
All of them contain more or less the same base ingredients: Apple cider vinegar, water, and natural dish soap mixed together. (Some recipes added additional essential oils and ingredients to this – those, of course, are optional and depends on what you have in the house, your personal preference, and what works best for your dog’s skin and coat);.
Apple cider vinegar has the added benefit of getting rid of any pesky fleas that might be hiding between their fur.
The video recipe below from eHow is another great option, combining apple cider vinegar, castile soap, and coconut oil for a winning doggy shampoo!
While these aren’t technically shampoo recipes, they can still be used in conjunction with your home-made shampoo to promote your dog’s health. Try some of these:
Have you opted to make your shampoo at home instead, or had an experience – funny or terrible – that you’d like to share? Tell us in the comments!
Alex J. Coyne is a freelance journalist with eight years' experience writing for publications like People Magazine, Re:Fiction, Great Bridge Links and NB Publishers. Sometimes, his three dogs take him for walks around the neighborhood; they offer helpful feedback on his work and offer little to no comment on his singing.