Dog Shampoo Recipe

Love Your Pets!

dog shampoo recipe

Did you know that your dog’s skin is three times more sensitive than yours? That is why you should never use human shampoo on your pet. A typical human shampoo contains ingredients that are harsh on sensitive skin. 

Shampoo for humans does not contain the ingredients necessary for cleaning, moisturizing, and deodorizing your beloved pet.

This article will give you a dog shampoo recipe, an ingredient buying guide, and more.

Yes, you can actually make homemade dog shampoo. Dog shampoos contain natural ingredients that are easily found in the kitchen. What makes a homemade dog shampoo?

The following are the ingredients of one dog shampoo recipe. While each ingredient has unique characteristics, when combined all together, they result in a safe formula to effectively cleanse, moisturize, and deodorize your pet.

Even though the ingredients are natural, please always, always do a spot check on a small amount of your dogs skin to ensure they are not sensitive or allergic.

Dog shampoo recipe ingredients

Before purchasing each of the ingredients in the recipe below, make sure to check the labels and that it contains only natural and organic ingredients.  Simple is best, so if you can’t pronounce it, then leave it alone.

Most reputable companies will go the extra mile to show their consumers that they are organic and they will have received approval from a 3rd party such as USDA Organic Products Approved.


Vinegar is all natural and non-toxic to dogs.  Vinegar for dog shampoo recipes can be white or apple cider vinegar. Vinegar does the major portion of the cleansing due to its anti-bacterial properties. Although it has a strong odor, vinegar also acts as a deodorant because the smell is easily washed away. It also makes dog hair glossy.


Oatmeal in a dog shampoo? That is new! However, did you know that the best and safest dog shampoos contain natural ingredients like oatmeal?

Oatmeal pet shampoo has many benefits.  Since oatmeal is all natural it will be gentle enough for your pet but also good for the environment.  Oatmeal soothes dry, itchy skin by retaining or restoring moisture in your pets healthy skin.  Oatmeal shampoos help to stop itching from allergies, dry skin, hot spots and flea and tick problems.

It also helps to clean and soften your pets coat keeping it shiny and thick.  Additionally, oatmeal helps to balance the pH level on your pets skin.  For treatment of irritated spots such as hot spots or a specific area of inflammation you can just apply the shampoo to that area and allow to sit for 10-15 minutes.

dog shampoo ingredients

Castile soap

Castile soap is an affordable, natural vegetable and olive oil based soap. It helps in moisturizing the pet skin and it is safe and mild on sensitive skin. You can find castile soap in liquid form to use in your dog shampoo recipe.

The liquid form mixes easily with other ingredients. In bar form, it can be directly used and lathered on pets.  Alternatives to castile soap include goat’s milk soap, coconut oil soap or canola oil soap.

Vegetable glycerin

Glycerin acts as a moisturizer. It replenishes the natural oils that are stripped away during washing, and protects skin from getting dry and irritated, while making their skin and coat soft and healthy.  Best alternative to vegetable glycerin is vegetable oil, which also acts to retain moisture.

Essential oils

dog ingredient buying guideNatural essential oils provide a refreshing smell and protect pets from lice and fleas. Examples of essential oils are chamomile, citrus, lavender, lemon, orange, and more.

There are specific kinds of essential oil, such as tea tree oil, which may be harmful to certain dog breeds.  However, it is important to ask a veterinarian before adding a particular essential oil.

Basic Dog Shampoo Recipe

Now that you know the essential ingredients in dog shampoo, lets learn how to make them into a homemade dog shampoo.  Grab a bottle or old jar in to combine all of the ingredients.  I prefer to use mason jars to store my  homemade products as they are sturdy, reliable, and look great in the kitchen or bathroom.

This castile soap dog shampoo recipe is easy to make and gentle on your dog.  This homemade dog shampoo also uses apple cider vinegar or white vinegar for cleaning and deodorizing.

dog shampoo ingredient buying list

  • 1/2 cup liquid castile soap
  • 1/4 cup vinegar (white or apple cider)
  • 2 Tbsp. water
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 3-4 drops of your favorite essential oil

Place all ingredients inside your bottle or mason jar.  Shake or stir to mix them properly.  You’re done!  You will have to shake the container before every use.

Homemade Dog shampoo recipe for itchy skin

If your dog has a skin issue or allergies this can make them scratch themselves raw.  You can make your own homemade dog shampoo for itchy skin to help soothe your dogs irritated and inflamed skin.

can you use human shampoo on dogs

  • 1 quart of liter of water
  • 2-3 Tbsp of aloe vera gel (make sure its the pure stuff)
  • 1 cup apple cider or white vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp olive or coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup liquid castile soap
  • 1/2 cup oatmeal (very finely chopped or ground in a food processor, you want it to be almost a powder)

Mix all ingredients together.  If you like, you can add more water or castile soap to make the shampoo a bit runnier.

Dog shampoo recipe to prevent lice

If your beloved dog is infested with lice, you can use these ingredients for your homemade dog shampoo.  It is recommended to wash your dog using this mixture more frequently to make sure that the lice or fleas are eliminated.

dog shampoo ingredient buying list

  • 1 quart or liter of water
  • 1 cup of baby shampoo
  • 1 cup of vinegar


Mix all the ingredients together and lather your dog thoroughly.  You may repeat bathing with this shampoo as often as needed.


making DIY dog shampoo

How to use natural homemade dog shampoo

Using dog shampoo is the same as using a commercial dog shampoo. First rule is do not bath your dog too often, because this will dry out their skin and fur, leading to a trip to the vet.

To get the most out of your homemade dog shampoo, wet your pooch with warm water, making sure to get your dog wet all the way down to the skin.  This may take some time if you have a thick coated dog so be ready with treats!

Put some drops of dog shampoo on your dogs fur. Lather it gently, but prevent it from getting into your pooch’s eyes and ears. You could put a cotton ball in their ears to really ensure that nothing gets in their ears.  Leave on for about 5 minutes.  Rinse well to eliminate shampoo traces.

Dry your pooch thoroughly to get rid of leftover moisture that could cause hot spots and other skin problems.  Comb or brush your dog and your done!

DIY Dry Dog Shampoo

Making your own DIY dry dog shampoo to absorb smells and oils/grease on your dog is super easy and cheap.  Just get 1 cup of cornstarch and half a cup of baking soda into a shaker and add a few drops of pet safe essential oils (from this list here) and shake it up to mix it.  Apply on your dog making sure to get down to the skin and then brush it through.

Personalized homemade dog shampoo

Now that you know the ingredients in a dog shampoo recipe and how to make it, you can experiment with different formulas, depending on your pet’s needs. You may also want to imitate commercial dog shampoo formulas such as palm oil, kelp oil, cellulose, citrus, and more.

Always remember to use only natural ingredients. Never add parabens, coloring chemicals, sulfates, preservatives, or other fillers that may harm the sensitive skin of your pet.

Always protect the acid mantle or replenish it with a moisturizer. The acid mantle protects your dog’s skin from bacteria, viruses, and other harmful outdoor contaminants that may lead to skin dryness and irritation.

You can also buy a good dog shampoo if you do not have the time to make one. Make sure to examine the ingredients to ensure that you only use a dog shampoo with natural ingredients.

You don’t want to compromise your pet’s wellness, so give them a product that is safe and gentle.

dog shampoo recipe