Homemade dog shampoo can be just as effective as a store-bought shampoo. Not only will you find yourself saving money, you can also control what goes into it. Kat Scicluna, a licensed equine canine sports massage therapist, says, “dogs aren’t built to really withstand all the chemicals that can be found in store-bought products.
You watch what goes into your dog’s body when it comes to come food, and you should be watching what goes on it, as well.” This includes shampoo. Laura Benko, a holistic lifestyle expert and the founder and owner of The Holistic Home Company, agrees. “When you make your own, you know what’s in it. It’s made with love and it’s also cost effective.”
Some basic ingredients commonly used in homemade dog shampoo are castile soap, lavender essential oil (to help combat fleas), coconut oil (to moisturize), distilled white vinegar (to remove smells) and rosemary (to moisturize).
Essential oils are used in many homemade dog shampoos, but be careful! You should avoid pennyroyal and tea tree oils, as they can be harmful to dogs. “When adding the essential oils to your homemade dog shampoo, use only a few drops — otherwise it can be a scent overload for your pet,” cautions Benko.
Here are five natural recipes that will have your pup smelling fresh between trips to the groomer:
- Simple and Easy
Making your own dog shampoo doesn’t have to be complicated. Just pull out some dish soap and white vinegar, like this in this recipe from Dog Notebook. Dish soap is formulated to cut through kitchen grease, which makes it perfect for washing away any accumulated oils on your dog’s skin and coat. Avoid dish soaps that have strong scents or artificial additives.
White vinegar is antibacterial, acts as a deodorizer and will help your dog’s coat look shiny and healthy. Just be careful! While it’s a great ingredient to add to your shampoo, it’s not an eye rinse. Vinegar is mildly acidic and may be painful if it gets in your pup’s eyes (if it does, rinse to flush it out).
- Oatmeal Shampoo for Dry, Itchy Skin
Oatmeal is used in many pet grooming products, as well as human products, for its healing, soothing and pH balancing properties. If your dog has naturally dry skin or allergies, oatmeal can provide relief. You could grab an oatmeal-based shampoo at the pet store, but they can get pretty costly. Making your own, like this oatmeal shampoo from Life Made Full, is inexpensive and easy.
- Keep Fleas Away with Lavender Essential Oil
Dog owners are always looking to keep fleas at bay! Thrifty DIY Diva adds lavender essential oil to her homemade shampoo to help fight fleas. “Lavender, cedar wood and lemongrass essential oils are all anti-parasitic, anti-bacterial and antiseptic,” says Benko. “These oils also naturally repel insects.”
- For a Fresh-Smelling and Shiny Coat
Give your dog a shiny coat and remove the stink with this homemade dog shampoo from First Home…Love Life. The base of this shampoo is rosemary, whose moisturizing qualities are great for dogs with dander issues. Rosemary can also work as a natural flea treatment. This shampoo will help repel fleas while leaving your pet’s coat silky and smelling beautiful.
- Doggy Dry Shampoo
Dry shampoos are great quick fix when you don’t have time to fully bathe your dog but you don’t want him be stinky either. The powder also helps remove any oils that have built up on your dog’s coat. If your dog doesn’t have any skin issues, you can use this dry dog shampoo from Smart School House between baths.
When making your own dog shampoo, don’t go overboard! Since most homemade shampoos use fresh ingredients without preservatives, you should use them within a week or two and make them in small batches. Store your shampoo in a dark, cool place or in the refrigerator.
And be sure to keep an eye out for any possible reactions when using a new shampoo on your dog in case she is allergic to a new ingredient. If you’re feeling crafty and want to make your pal feel extra special, Benko suggests personalizing your shampoo containers with pictures of your pup!
For more on pampering your pooch, read Should You Give Your Dog Vitamins?
Stephanie Glover is the author and photographer behind A Grande Life. When she doesn’t have her camera in her hands, you’ll find her with a cup of coffee.