So over the weekend it was time for our dog to get his bath. Usually my husband is in charge of this process but I happened to be in the bathroom and I was looking at the shampoo he picked up awhile back at the pet store and I was like what?!
It was some flea and tick shampoo that had a list of ingredients a mile long with all sorts of chemicals no one has ever heard of plus what really got me was the warning at the bottom of the shampoo in red.
Pesticide storage and disposal instructions! What in the heck! “Avoid exposure to moisture.” Um… it is shampoo? I do everything I can to make our home and the things our family is exposed to as green and natural as possible and here we have a bottle of pesticides sitting on the edge of the tub. Sigh. Our dog, Milo, has been with us for almost 9 years and it genuinely part of the family. To be soaking him in these types of chemicals without realizing it makes me incredibly upset.
In college I had a cat that almost died after he was trying to get a flea collar off and got it caught in his mouth (thus he was ingesting the stuff on the flea collar.) After a frantic ER Doc visit and hundreds of dollars later, he was fine but it for sure taught me a lesson to really pay attention to what you give your pets.
So I did some research and found an all natural dog shampoo that worked really well for our very beloved doggie. Please note you have to be really careful with making homemade shampoo for your pet and what works for a dog, won’t necessarily work for a cat.
I have a few other notes that you will find at the bottom of the post– but if you would like to consider making your own dog shampoo- here is the recipe I used:
Add 1 cup Dish Soap to a jar or container (I suggest a high quality dish soap that is free of any dyes, fragrances etc… An organic dish soap is best such as JR Watkins, Method etc… I used the Whole Foods store brand that is free and clear. A regular dish soap can be way too harsh and drying for a dog’s skin.
And add 1 cup Apple Cider Vinegar (apple cider vinegar is less harsh then white vinegar and helps to clean and hopefully acts as a natural flea repellent.)
Add 2 cups of water to the mixture.
Now add 2oz of glycerin to your mixture. Glycerin can be found in the baking aisle of Walmart or craft stores- (usually with the Wilton baking things not with the cake mixes and bags of flour.) You can also purchase it from Amazon here. The glycerin helps to moisturize and will hopefully help with any dander etc…
OPTIONAL– add 1-2 drops essential oils for extra moisturizing. Please use a therapeutic grade oil and not an oil from the store. Those are not safe for topical applications and some might be toxic to your pet. Young Living has an entire line of essential oils specifically created for animals that are safe to use.
Go ahead and seal your jar or container and give it a shake and now is the time to sweet talk that little pooch up into the tub! Make sure you rinse extremely well and from what I have read it is not a good idea to wash a dog twice because it can be too drying.
You don’t want to use this on the dog’s face- we have a short haired dog and he stays indoors a lot so he doesn’t get super filthy. I usually just use a washcloth with a little water to clean his face as needed.
And here is our handsome boy getting ready for his bath…. this is his least favorite thing in the world to do. See that sad face? he knows whats coming:
Which is so funny because once bath time is done he gets an extra spring to his step and prances around like a Rock Star.
So we lathered him up and he looked clean and shiny and handsome as always after his bath. The only possible drawback to this shampoo is that my husband doesn’t care for the smell of apple cider vinegar. I personally like the smell so that didn’t bother me at all. I think you can probably add a drop or two of essential oils – rosemary or maybe lavender- if you like. The vinegar smell of course does not linger on your pet. Milo just smelled fresh and clean to me– no wet dog odor at all.
So easy peasy!
Now I always get nervous to post anything about pet care because people tend to get very – shall we say- passionate with opinions ;). I did do a lot of research on whether this is actually safe to make your own shampoo and here are some things to consider:
— If you use topical flea and tick products, please speak to your vet first. You might need special shampoos to work with those products or a simple solution is to just wash the dog before applying the solution.
— Again a dog’s skin is super sensitive and you want to be careful you aren’t using products that are too harsh. There is a bunch of stuff about ph balance etc… on a dog’s skin to be concerned about so human shampoo is probably not a good idea and also harsher dish soaps like Dawn or Ajax or something. Those will likely make your dog itchy and no one wants that.
— Some people prefer to use baby shampoo instead of dish soap. From what I read, baby shampoo can be too drying so if you decide to use that instead, you might consider diluting it before use and again try for an all natural, fragrance free option.
–I have also read about replacing the dish soap with Castile soap. I don’t think that is necessary- according to Dr Bronner’s you can simply use plain castile soap and nothing else to wash your pet. No need to fuss with extra ingredients if you happen to have castile soap on hand. (You can buy Dr Bronner’s from a natural foods store, Whole Foods or Amazon here.) The peppermint she mentions is super yummy! I think once this shampoo runs out I might just try the Dr Bronner’s alone and see how it compares.
And last but not least it doesn’t hurt to check with your vet before you try something new for your pet!
And if you have leftover Glycerin after making your shampoo, you can use it to make these super thick and bubbilicious homemade bubbles for the little ones:
Happy Bath Day to you! Please come back and let me know how this works for your pet.