Is your Pet Shampoo Environmentally Friendly?

Love Your Pets!

how to make dog shampoo

When it comes to your pooch, you look for products that contain only the safest ingredients. One particular example of a dog product that you should be careful with is the dog shampoo.  So how do you make dog shampoo?

There are many products in pet shops today, but are they safe and effective?Sometimes, you may prefer to make one yourself. Yes—you can actually make your own natural homemade dog shampoo for your dog.

Dog shampoos should contain only natural ingredients to guarantee a safe and effective cleansing and moisturizing. As dog skin is three times more sensitive than human skin, using human shampoo is not recommended. If you don’t have a shampoo for your dog when they need a bath, it’s not a problem.

How Do You Make Dog Shampoo?  Great Dog Shampoo Substitute!

#1. Basic Dog Shampoo Recipe: Homemade Dog Shampoo with Essential Oils

You can make different kinds of dog shampoos at home, depending on your dog’s needs. You can make a dog shampoo for dry skin, or a shampoo to treat a dog lice infestation. 

how to make dog shampoo

Gather all the following ingredients:

  • 1 cup of corn starch
  • 1 cup of baking soda
  • 1/3 cup of glycerin
  • A few drops of essential oils such as citrus, chamomile, or lavender.  I recommend higher end essential oils as the smell is longer lasting.  Make sure the oil you use is safe for pets!

Mix all the ingredients together and you’re ready to wash your pet.  Please ensure to apply a small amount to your dogs skin to ensure they are not allergic to any of the ingredients, especially the essential oils.  If in doubt, consult your veterinarian.

Now, how do you use this homemade dog shampoo?

Put some of the mixture on your dog and lather it richly using your hands or a comb. For small dogs or puppies, use ½ cup of the mixture, and 1 cup for medium-sized dogs. Do not wash your dogs with it too often as baking soda may accumulate. Finally, rinse well.


how to make dog shampoo

How To Make Dog Shampoo for Dry Skin

#2. Basic Dog Shampoo Recipe: Homemade Dog Oatmeal Shampoo

If your dog is experiencing an itch or skin irritation, they may have dry skin. Dry skin occurs when the acid mantle is eliminated.   Oatmeal dog shampoo is perfect for itchy skin.

The acid mantle is made of moisture that protects the dog’s skin from bacteria, viruses, and dryness. So, you can make homemade dog shampoo targeted for dry skin.

Gather all the necessary ingredients for this oatmeal dog shampoo recipe:

how to make dog shampoo

  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar or regular vinegar
  • 1/3 cup glycerin
  • 1 quart or liter of water
  • 1 cup baby shampoo
  • 2 tablespoons aloe vera extract
  • Oatmeal: blasted into super small bits

Mix all the ingredients and you now have a homemade dog shampoo for dry skin. The amount of glycerin or aloe vera relieves itchiness and provides a soothing feeling. Glycerin can be bought at your local pharmacy.

How to make dog shampoo for a dog lice infestation

#3. Basic Dog Shampoo Recipe: Homemade Dog Shampoo without Glycerin

One common problem for dogs is a lice infestation, generally known as canine pediculosis. It causes irritation to dogs as the lice bite and ingest blood. It could lead to itchiness and even anemia. There are dog shampoos that can treat lice infestations but you can actually make an effective shampoo yourself.

You only need the following ingredients:

how to make dog shampoo

  • 1 cup of apple cider vinegar or white vinegar
  • 1 quart or liter of water
  • 1 cup baby shampoo


Mix all these ingredients and lather on your dog. Work the lather, especially on the tail, fur, groin, and shoulders. Wash your dog often so that it eliminates the lice.

how to make dog shampoo

Best Commercial Dog Shampoos

If you don’t have the time to make a homemade dog shampoo, there are dog shampoos that are readily available in stores. They come in different formulations that are safe for your dog’s sensitive skin. Following are the best commercial dog shampoos.

4-Legger Certified Organic Dog Shampoo

how to make dog shampoo

4-Legger Certified Organic Dog Shampoo also contains 100% natural ingredients such as lemongrass and aloe that clean and moisturize a dog’s skin and fur.  All of the ingredients are USDA certified organic and 4-legger is also biodegradable: safe for your pets and the environment.

4-legger is also hypoallergenic, meaning it does not contain common ingredients that cause allergic reactions.  Also, it doesn’t have any sulfates, parabens or detergents.  This special natural formulation of dog shampoo helps protect pets from skin dryness, allergies, itch, and health issues

Natural oils in this dog shampoo keep your dogs hair shiny and helps to detangle mats.  It also repels fleas with all natural cedarwood essential oil.

Vets recommend this dog shampoo because it relieves itching and dryness and moisturizes your dogs hair.  Even with few drops, the 4-Legger Certified Organic Dog Shampoo is easy to lather and rinse. It is highly concentrated so just one or two drops will result in a rich lather saving you money in the long run.

BONUS: 4-Legger Certified Organic Dog Shampoo is recommended for dogs of all ages.

Nootie Medicated Dog Shampoo

how to make dog shampoo recipe

The Nootie Medicated Dog Shampoo not only cleans your dog, but also moisturizes their skin. Since it is medicated, it strengthens hair strands to prevent shredding. The essential oils clean your dog while providing a mild fragrance. It has anti-fungal properties and prevents hair loss.    Nootie Medicated Dog Shampoo can also be used with other pets such as cats and horses. Every drop is worth it—in fact, just one drop will give you a rich lather.

Is your Pet Shampoo Environmentally Friendly?

Picking an environmentally friendly pet shampoo can be difficult with all the differences in labeling and new age terms.  Researching the company that produces the product is key to determining if the product is really an eco friendly pet shampoo.  Some of the key things to look for are covered in the list below:

  1. Organic, certified organic is best (USDA for example)
  2. All Natural Ingredients
  3. pH balanced
  4. Simple to pronounce ingredients, remember less is more here
  5. Certified by a 3rd party to be Eco Friendly
  6. Biodegradable
  7. Bottle made with recyclable materials and is 100% recyclable or reusable

Next step would be to read the label and identify any ingredients that should not be used on your pet.  how do you make natural dog shampooPicking an environmentally friendly pet shampoo should not be difficult so we have found a fantastic post of ingredients to avoid when choosing an eco friendly pet shampoo.

Anything you can’t spell or pronounce should NOT be in your or your dogs shampoo.  When in doubt, you can always contact the manufacturer directly and inquire about specific ingredients.  As consumers, it is our job to demand products that are healthy for us and our pets.


Once you know how to make dog shampoo you see that it’s cheap and super easy!  It’s guaranteed safe from harmful chemicals too.  However, if you prefer to buy a commercial dog shampoo, read the labels carefully and make sure that the ingredients are all natural.

If you make your own dog shampoo, let us know in the comments!


how to make dog shampoo

Love Your Pets!

So you may be wondering, how do I choose a dog shampoo?  Does your dog have any skin issues?  Do they need a hypoallergenic dog shampoo, a moisturizing shampoo, or a medicated shampoo for fleas and ticks?

Different breeds of dogs have different skin sensitivities and fur types so you should keep that in mind when choosing a dog shampoo.  If your dog has a thin coat you would use a different shampoo that someone with a thick coated dog. 


Best Dog Shampoos for Odor

While dogs don’t need to take a bath as often as we do, giving your dog a bath periodically is important for their health and hygiene.    You want to ensure that you are using the best dog shampoo to remove odor from your dog.

We like to use and recommend natural products when possible and try to find products that contain oatmeal, natural extracts, and are vegan and/or organic.  Bonus: this doesn’t mean they are more expensive!  Many of the shampoos made to combat odor consist of better ingredients that soothe your dogs skin and condition its coat.  You can even buy a dry dog shampoo that fights odor!  No more messy time consuming baths!

how do I choose a dog shampooIf you are looking for an all-natural, paraben free and a product that does not cause irritation or inflammation to your canine buddy’s  eyes/nose, do opt for the OxGord Natural Oatmeal Dog-Shampoo  and Conditioner.


how do I choose a dog shampooAnd if your choice is to removes odor and dirt off your dog’s coat without the messy activity of a bath then do opt for the Paw Choice Dry Dog Waterless No Rinse Foam Mousse shampoo.



Best Dog Shampoos for Fleas

Fleas feed off of your dogs blood and the bites leave them irritated, itchy and your dog may even be allergic to them.  It’s a great idea to research the best dog shampoos for fleas before deciding which one to use on your puppy or dog.   Read the ingredients and reviews to learn if the product is gentle on your dog and any side effects it may have.  When in doubt, check with your vet.  The video below will show you how to check your pet for fleas so that you can be sure before treating them unnecessarily.

A mixture of vinegar, liquid dishwashing soap and warm water may remove the itchiness for the time being, but the same is not a permanent solution.

An effective anti-flea medicated product kills the adult fleas and hopefully their eggs as well, ending the flea’s life cycle, thereby alleviating your dog from discomfort.  Does dog shampoo expire?  YES! Please be mindful when purchasing that you use all of the product before the expiry date for it to be most effective and not harmful to your pet.  When in doubt, throw it out!

how do I choose a dog shampooAnti-flea shampoo can be used like a regular product and it doesn’t cause any harm to the dog’s coat and skin. The same can be used with a spot on treatment product or with a flea collar for more effective treatment. Don’t forget a flea comb is part of your weapons against infestation: you can comb out the eggs, flea dirt, and adult fleas to provide immediate relief.

tips on choosing the best dog shampoo

Dog Shampoo for Thick Coats

Does  your dog have a thick coat?  If you can’t easily see their skin through their coat or can see that there is another, undercoat layer, underneath the top layer of hair then your dog has a thick coat.  These sorts of dogs, such as the Pomeranian or German Shepard, require frequent grooming.

Their undercoat keeps them warm in the cold weather, cool in hot weather and keeps their skin completely dry so its hard to get their skin fully wet when giving them a bath.  You would need to purchase a shampoo such as Foam Care by Vetericyn that is specifically designed to work with thick coats. Also learn techniques to help penetrate the undercoat and give your dog a full bath.

how do I choose a dog shampoo

Dog Shampoo for Thin Coats

If you can see your dogs skin easily through its coat, then your dog has a thin coat.  Examples are a doberman or a pug.  This requires different shampoo than a thick coated dog.  Your thin coated dogs skin is more exposed to the elements such as wind, water, sun cold and heat and requires a specially formulated shampoo to condition the skin.  A hypoallergenic oatmeal based shampoo should do the trick, such as Pro Pet Works.

Medicated Dog Shampoo

Like humans, dogs need regular bathing and grooming because these are important parts of general pet care. Aside from giving them the right food, using the best dog shampoo that works for their skin is essential to keeping them healthy.

how do I choose a dog shampooIs your dog always scratching? Do you find that there are some white patches and flakes that appear in your dogs coat when it scratches? If your pet is suffering from ringworm, pyoderma, fleas, allergies and other skin problems, your dog may require a medicated shampoo.

Your dog or cat will get quick and long lasting relief from skin issues from using a medicated shampoo.  Remember to follow the directions on the bottle for maximum results.  Please work with your vet if your pets skin problems do not go away after using a medicated shampoo.

Moisturizing Dog Shampoo

how do I choose a dog shampooMaintaining your dogs natural pH balance on their skin is key to avoiding a problem with dry skin.  A moisturizing pet shampoo such as this Natural Pet Shampoo can control and soothe irritable skin.  Bonus: you can use it on your cat too!  Try to choose a shampoo that contains mostly natural ingredients that are known to promote and lock in moisture such as aloe, coconut and argon oil.

Top 10 Dog Shampoo Brands

Sometimes the best way to pick a dog shampoo that is good for your dog is to read reviews and listen to other customers.  We posted a round up of the top 10 dog shampoo brands here.  This post covers everything from medicated dog shampoos, to dog shampoos for fleas, to natural and organic dog shampoos.

Remember frequent bathing can strip away the natural oils from your dog’s skin leading to dry and itchy skin. The grooming products available on the market, no matter how mild they are, can disturb the pH balance of the skin of the dog.The brands are evaluated based on their compatibility with different skins and coats, pH balancing of the skin by preserving the natural oils, and anti-allergen properties.


Dog Lice Shampoo

You may be asking yourself…dogs get lice?  Yes!  Lice are species specific meaning there are some that live on humans and some that live on dogs.  What are the symptoms that indicate your dog may have lice? What can be done to treat it? Does dog shampoo kill lice?

Once you have determined that your dog has lice, the first line of attack would be to kill the lice with a dog lice shampoo.  Some dog shampoos can kill lice and prevent them from coming back.  Read the bottle of shampoo carefully, some will state it right on the bottle and also list active ingredients like lime sulfur, pyrethroid, and pyrethrin.  Make sure that the shampoo you purchase is effective at treating lice and still gentle on your dog.

Examples of good dog shampoos are Nootie Medicated Dog Shampoo, 4-Legger Certified Organic Dog Shampoo, DakPets Dog Shampoo and Conditioner, and Nootie Oatmeal Dog Shampoo with Soothing Aloe. Read the labels and our reviews to know more about the effectiveness of each dog shampoo.

Hypoallergenic Dog Shampoo

Hypoallergenic Dog Shampoos are formulated without many common ingredients that cause allergic reactions in sensitive dogs.

If your furry friend has allergies and sensitivities to food, grass or flea bites, then a hypoallergenic dog shampoo should do the trick.

how do I choose a dog shampooA lot of veterinarians recommend hypoallergenic dog shampoos because they are made of all-natural ingredients that effectively soothe dry, sensitive, and itchy skin. There are no alcohol, sulphates, added colors, and harsh chemicals that can cause irritation and other skin problems.  One such shampoo is Pro Pet Works Natural Oatmeal Shampoo for dogs AND cats.  Please read the full review here.

Instead, hypoallergenic dog shampoo and conditioner consist of organic ingredients such as aloe, oatmeal, coconut oil and essential oils.

Aside from this, some shampoos also contain vitamins E, D, and A to nourish the skin and coat and to ensure it is easy to brush your dogs coat afterwards.

Whitening Shampoo

how do I choose a dog shampooDo you have a light colored dog such a a Bichon Frise?  Some light colored dogs will get dirt stains on their faces, legs and feet from just being dogs.  In order to remove those stains, you need to purchase a shampoo that is specifically formulated to whiten and brighten your dogs fur without drying it out.  These products remove yellowish color of your dogs coat and restore its shine.

Ensure to purchase a whitening shampoo such as  Chris Christensen White on White Shampoo for Pets which doesn’t contain any harsh chemicals that can harm your pets skin and coat.  Most of these products will need to be left on your dog for about 10 minutes to achieve maximum results.  Please read the full review here.

Please let us know in the comments below which dog shampoo you use and why!