DIY Dog Shampoo Recipes
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In the society we live in today, trends in the marketplace are common and have become something we almost expect to encounter on a regular basis. Some of us are more prone to ‘buy into’ trends than others. It’s really something that affects each of us on an individual level based on the choices we make and our personality types. However, in more recent years, this market phenomenon has gone beyond affecting only us as humans and now includes our pets.
If you’re a pet lover and more specifically, a dog owner, then you’ve probably been into a pet store a handful of times to buy your dog food, a treat or one of the other products available from the cornucopia on offer these days. I’m always surprised when I see some new toy that’s been scientifically engineered, reconstituted or redesigned on the shelves of my local pet shop. It makes you wonder if pet insurance, hospital plans, hotels and retirement villages are next in the endless supply of products for your pet!
However, for the time being it would be best for us to look at which products on the market today resonate more with us. We should evaluate which would be best for our pets, their overall health and happiness rather than spend a great deal of money on another chew toy or doggy breath mint.
The shampoo market, specifically for dog shampoo, has grown tremendously in recent years with new formulas, techniques and innovations happening on a regular basis. This means that, as consumers, we essentially have more products to choose from when it comes to cleaning our pets. But is this a good thing or a bad thing?
One would think that more choice is always a good thing. That for some reason more choice means more options or different outcomes. The reality is that most of the products available on the market today basically offer the same results under a different label. So it’s important to know why you’re buying the products and how it will affect your pet.
Parabens, sulfates, petro-products and phthalates are considered bad for humans because of the damage they do within our bodies and to the surface of our skin over time. Dogs (and pets in general) are just as vulnerable to the harmful effects of these chemicals as us or any form of organic life for that matter. And where do we generally find these ingredients being used on a regular basis in such concentrated amounts? Our shampoo of course!
So if you’re going to be spending your money on any miscellaneous products the next time you’re in a pet store or shopping online for your pets, I’d consider looking into chemical free shampoo that is void of any harmful toxins and save yourself the trouble, money, time and stress that going to vet will cause/cost you. I’ll also be discussing some of the holistic options available to pet owners, more specifically which ones to use and how to use them.
The Importance of Using Chemical Free Dog Shampoo
One of the trends that has really grown in popularity over recent years in a variety of sectors is the rise of ‘natural’ or ‘organic’ products. While at face value this may seem like a good thing, the reality of the matter is that a lot of brands often use the term as a marketing gimmick to make their products seem natural and healthier. Ultimately it will widen their market share as a great deal of people have woken up to harsh realities of using products that contain harmful chemical ingredients.
This makes it more of a challenge for us as consumers to really find what it is we’re looking for – in this case, a natural alternative to the chemical shampoos of the past. Ultimately, this means that we have to put in a little more work to get what we really want or rather to know what to look out for or avoid.
In most cases, a product that claims to be organic, or use natural products in their formula are not lying – but rather not telling us the whole truth. What this means is that whilst it may be true that their formula does contain certain natural products or even organic ingredients, they are often also adulterated (mixed) with other chemical ingredients. This makes their formulas cost-effective for large-scale manufacture and to increase overall effectiveness.
This may be good for us as consumers on one hand, because the products we buy become cheaper and more effective. The downside comes with the various health-hazards that form in our body due to constant exposure to these chemicals over time. The same applies to our dogs. They are just as vulnerable to cellular damage as a result of exposure to chemicals as we are, if not more so. And as anyone who’s ever had a sick pet will know, going to the vet is a very expensive process.
So the best way to avoid the extra costs involved with treating a sick pet is by changing to a completely chemical free range of products. Having been a pet owner for some years and having done my research on this subject, I can honestly say that there is a natural alternative for nearly every pet-related product out there.
These are often less expensive, equally as effective (if not more so) and a lot easier to work with than most chemical products. That being said, the short answer to why you should use chemical free, natural products for your pets is because they’re healthier! And if your pet’s health means anything to you, then the reasons for making the natural choice are self-evident. Having the knowledge to make the right decision is up to you though, and that’s where we come in.
Top 3 Essential Oils for Dogs
Essential oils are some of nature’s most powerful products and they can be used to treat a variety of internal and external issues within our bodies. They are full of bioactive chemical compounds because they are extracted directly from natural products such as seeds, plants and leaves.
These are often the same chemical compounds that are found or contained in many of the chemical based ingredients available on the market today – except that they are free of any harmful side-effects.
This makes them perfectly suited for treating your pets. They are gentle, effective and affordable alternatives to the many products available on the market today. However, it’s equally important to remember that these essential oils can have adverse effects on your pet if they are misused. So it’s always worthwhile to know which to use and how to use them before doing so.
In order to make your life a little easier, I’ve compiled a shortlist of the top 3 essential oils for your dog and how to use them. However, if you’re interested in finding out about the wider uses for these potent natural products, then I would recommend looking through our previous articles (found in our blog section) on each of the oils below. These will give you a more detailed and in-depth understanding on how to use these oil and how they work.
Lavender essential oil is one of the more popular essential oils used in treating pets on a regular basis. This is largely because it’s mild and gentle on the skin, yet highly effective.
Lavender is rich in natural antioxidants which are helpful for both humans and dogs because they can help to prevent free radical damage and flush out toxins. The oil is also safe for topical use and is suitable for ingestion in very small amounts that have been diluted in a carrier oil.
Besides being a source of rich natural antioxidants, the oil also helps to calm both animals and humans because it has such an alluring and calming scent. This is especially useful for helping dogs remain calm whilst bathing and can help to let an anxious dog rest. Simply apply a few drops to the back of the dog’s neck or add a few drops to your herbal shampoo for the same effect.
Lavender essential oil is also great for treating scars and wounds on the surface of a dog’s skin. The oil has natural astringent properties and works as an antiseptic. This means that it can keep wounds clean, help to prevent infection and allow for better cell regeneration with regular use.Finally, the strong smell that comes from lavender is not only useful in making your pet (and ultimately your home) smell better, but it acts as a natural insect repellent as well. This means that you can help to get rid of fleas and ticks in your dog’s coat and keep them at bay whilst using the oil. Lavender has been used as a natural pest repellent for centuries and was often grown around vegetable gardens as a means of deterring bugs from eating plants and vegetables.
While it is true that the essential oils are generally a lot safer for your pet in the long run, the reality is that overusing them or misusing them can still be dangerous. Always be sure to monitor your dog closely when using lavender oil and check for any allergic reactions or skin irritation.
In general, it’s best not to let your pet ingest the oil as it can have adverse effects on their system, however doing so in small, diluted amounts (1 drop essential oil to 15 drops water/carrier oil) can be done ‘now and then’.
Eucalyptus oil is a very potent natural product in particular and can be very effective in treating health issues in both humans and dogs. The oil is produced from the bark of the eucalyptus tree (native to Australia) and has been held as a potent natural anti-inflammatory treatment and a strong disinfectant.
However it is worth noting that because of the high amount of bioactive compounds contained within eucalyptus oil, the oil should be diluted before being used. This is in order to avoid any negative reactions or harmful side effects that may occur. Don’t let that put you off using the oil – it’s a healthy, natural and effective alternative to conventional petcare products. It just means that you should take reasonable precautions before doing so.
Eucalyptus oil can be diluted in water or even added to your herbal dog shampoo in order to increase the effectiveness of the shampoo. As a rule of thumb, you can dilute 1 drop of eucalyptus essential oil to 30 ml of distilled water and use this mixture on your dog to help heal wounds and to keep ticks, fleas and pests at bay. I find that using a plastic spray bottle works best for quick application.
However, washing your dog with eucalyptus infused shampoo is the best way to clean your pet, remove any germs or bacteria and parasites that may cause inflammation or infection on the surface of your dog’s skin. On top of being able to treat your dog’s skin though, eucalyptus oil can also be used to help relieve chest congestion in your pet.
The best way to do this is thankfully also the easiest way. Simply apply a few drops of the oil to a clean cloth or handkerchief and hold it over your dog’s mouth and nose lightly so that you don’t obstruct their breathing. Much like a steam or vapor treatment for relieving congestion in humans, eucalyptus oil helps to loosen the excess mucus and relax the muscles in the throat and chest, allowing for better breathing and ultimately a clearer chest.
Frankincense is also a potent natural product and the healing properties of this amazing essential oil have been known to man for thousands of years. The use of Frankincense oil as a medicine dates back to the ancient Egyptians and was favored for its delightful scent and mildness. The oil is potent and effective but won’t totally overpower your senses or cause any harmful side effects.
This means that Frankincense oil is equally as suitable for your pet and I highly recommend trying it out by itself or even in combination with one of the two I listed above. The scent of Frankincense is more pleasant than the other two and would work well when blended with either – both in terms of healing ability and in creating a more mild, pleasing smell.
Frankincense is also a strong natural antioxidant and disinfectant, making it particularly useful for treating minor wounds, scars or bites from parasites on the surface of your dog’s skin. If left untreated, these can lead to infection, hair loss and will ultimately have a negative effect on the quality of pet’s life and your wallet.
You can add the oil to a bottle of herbal dog shampoo as well as diluting it in water (1 drop per 30 ml or 1 oz) and use it as a spray for quick, easy application. You can also dilute the oil in an appropriate carrier oil (preferably vegetable oil) and use this as a means of treating any joint or muscle pains that your pet may be experiencing.
The oil helps to penetrate the surface of the skin and stimulate the blood flow, thus loosening the muscle and helping to relieve the immediate pain around the affected area. This is a great alternative to using painkillers or expensive vet check-ups and can greatly improve the quality of your dog’s health. Obviously if it looks like the pain is still an issue (or becomes chronic), it would be best to get a vets opinion.
Finally, it is safe for your dog to ingest small amounts of Frankincense oil so long as the doses are small and regulated. The oil can help to relieve any indigestion or stomach pains your pet may be experiencing as well as help flush out any toxins that may cause problems in your pet’s body.
DIY Recipe for Dog Shampoo
When it comes to keeping your pet clean, there’s nothing better than an all-natural shampoo to do the trick. Anyone who’s ever owned a pet will know how expensive pet-related products can be. Whether it’s a new food, a chew-toy or dog shampoo – dog’s can be costly pets. So, if you don’t want to sacrifice the quality of your dog’s health, yet you also don’t want to spend exorbitant amounts of money on expensive products, then going the DIY route is probably the best option for you.
Luckily, pets aren’t as picky as humans, so the recipe is pretty straightforward and shouldn’t take as much time as making a shampoo for yourself would. However, if you’re not picky about how you wash your hair (some of us aren’t), then you’ll be happy to know that the recipe is mild enough for you to use as well. So you can make healthier soap that costs less and works just as well, if not better than the conventional products you may already be using. What you will need:
- 5 TBSP of Liquid Castile Soap.
- 3 Cups of Water.
- 2 Fresh Sprigs of Rosemary.
- 2 Teaspoons of Coconut Oil.
- 5-7 drops of Lavender, Eucalyptus or Frankincense Essential Oil.
- Glass Mason Jar.
- Mesh Strainer.
This is a simple recipe that shouldn’t take you more than an hour to make. First, place a bowl on the stove with the water and bring to a boil. Once boiling, add the Rosemary sprigs and cover the bowl. Drop the temperature to a low heat and allow the water to simmer for 10 minutes.
Once the time has elapsed, simply place the strainer on the top of your mason jar and filter the water through the strainer. Once the water is in the jar, simply add the Liquid Castile Soap, the Coconut oil and the essential oil of your choice. Once you’ve done this, be sure to stir the mixture for a good 2 minutes to ensure that all the ingredients mix well. It’s best to add the other ingredients while the water is still hot so they blend better.
Once this is done, seal the lid tightly and be sure to store the shampoo in a cool area out of direct sunlight – probably in a bathroom cupboard or on a shelf. When washing your dog, it’s important to ensure that you’ve wet the whole body before applying the shampoo – as this makes it easier to rinse out.
Once this is done, apply some of the shampoo to the dogs back, behind the neck and ear and down the tail and even the belly and legs. Create a lather by massaging the shampoo into the fur – basically as if you were washing your own hair. Simply rinse the shampoo off when you’re done and dry your dog afterwards to help neutralize any odors.
— The Dollar Stretcher (@dollarstretch) July 12, 2017
Before and After
Firstly, as a final precaution before using this recipe at home (or any dog shampoo for that matter) learn to be careful when using it. For instance, it’s important not to get the shampoo into your dog’s eyes or mouth as it may burn or cause irritation and discomfort when ingested. Should this happen it would be advisable to take your dog to the vet before the problem gets any worse.
I’ve been using this recipe now for 3 months and I haven’t had any issues with it. One jar lasts me a full month as I only wash my dog once or maybe twice a week at best. It smells great and leaves his fur soft, clean and fresh. Plus I haven’t had any issues with fleas or ticks since using it – so it’s an all-round winner in my books.
What’s great is that if you leave the Castile Soap and the Coconut oil out of the recipe and switch it with a few drops of lemon juice and 1 or 2 drops of extra essential oil – you can make a great, travel friendly dog shampoo. This stuff isn’t as effective as the original recipe but it does the trick for those long road trips with the family (and pooch) or to neutralize a nasty odor in the interim. You and your dog will be a lot happier after using this recipe and a happy dog makes for a happy owner in my experience.