Not all dogs are keen about cleaning, but giving your dog a bath is absolutely necessary in order to keep its fur shiny. As pets react in various ways when they see water, it is a wise idea to handle this healthy activity with care. There are many products on the market that can help you achieve a silky coat, but most of them are pretty expensive. The whole idea of washing should be focused on gently removing the dirt in a natural way. In order to avoid chemical ingestion, it is a good idea to consider mixing your own homemade dog shampoo.
Though there are many types of dog shampoos on the market, they all include additives and preservatives that can turn out to be harmful for your pet. At the same time, those that are based on natural ingredients tend to be pretty expensive. Not to mention that your dog can have different needs, like flee infestation, allergies, or sensitive skin that require extra care and a bigger budget.
The homemade products can be the cost-effective solution for your pet and most important they are completely healthy. This article aims to approach this issue in a detailed manner and to reveal several recipes for an amazing bath time experience.
But first, do you know if you’re bathing your dog properly? Find out by comparing your method to the one we have details in this article on how to bathe a dog correctly.
The threat behind regular shampoos
The shampoos that can be found in pet shops may appear to be a wise purchase, but in fact, they can hide some serious threats. If the ingredients are mostly chemicals and your dog has sensitive skin, they can lead to itching, discomfort and even flakiness. Some petroleum and detergents can cause skin dryness, eye damage and irritations. There are, however, some commercial shampoos that are great for dogs with these kinds of skin conditions. Check out our article on shampoos for dogs with skin allergies to find one that is right for you.
As most of them have fancy names, they can be hard to avoid. Though the price can be considered an indicator of the quality of the ingredients, overspending is not always the best solution for your dog. This is why it is better to take control and start creating your own shampoo that truly matches the needs of your pet.
The benefits of homemade shampoos
The major quality of the shampoos you make by yourself is that they are not mixed on a mass scale. This means that you can focus more on the ingredients you choose, and you can develop a personal formula that works for your pet. According to the ingredients you mix, you can clean, prevent flea infestation and even make the coat shinny. You will be surprised to see that you already have what you need in the pantry in order to formulate your first shampoo. This article includes various recipes that are benefic for your four-legged friend.
There are four major benefits that make homemade shampoos better than the ones that can be found in the market:
- you already know if your dog has sensitive skin, and if it suffers from allergies, thus you can avoid the ingredients that are harmful. As a result, you can include plant extracts that are suitable for its needs.
- you can save money by replacing branded products with the ones that you do by yourself. This means that you can use the same ingredients, but avoid preservatives, thus obtaining a better and cheaper shampoo.
- you can formulate various types of shampoos that can help you deal with the most common problems, like fleas, oily coat or itchy skin and use them as you need. You can make them in small quantities, only for three or four baths.
- you can opt for organic ingredients, and this means that your dog will feel perfectly fine if it licks its coat after bath time. This also means that you must not worry about shampoo residues, thus you can use only as much water as you need to get the homemade product off its skin.
There is an important thing that you need to consider when you start mixing the shampoo for your dog, that is the pH. Though this is an aspect that varies from a dog to another, the healthy range needs to be kept between 6 and 8.5. If the level you obtain is too low, it can lead to skin irritations. The best way to obtain a balanced product is to mix acid substances with alkaline ones in a base that is neutral, like regular water.
While a higher amount of alkaline is not harmful, more acid ingredients can harm your pet.
In order to obtain the optimum product you need to consider the pH of the most common ingredients found in homemade shampoos:
- baking soda is an alkaline with a high pH of 8.3;
- water is a neutral ingredient, thus its pH is 7;
- vinegar is an acid with a very low pH of only 2.2;
- lemon juice is a common substitute of vinegar because you can actually squeeze it directly from the fruit, but the pH is even lower than in the case of vinegar as it is 2.0.
Simple and cheap shampoo recipes
Shampoo for deep cleaning
If the dog’s coat is very dirty after spending a whole day outside, you may consider giving it a deep cleaning bath. In order to obtain this shampoo, you need:
- 2 cups of vinegar;
- 2 cups of natural dish soap, preferable with a pH between 7 and 8;
- 4 oz of vegetable glycerin.
It is a wise idea to opt for dish washers that do not have a strong scent as this can be disturbing for your dog. The ingredients tend to separate, thus you need to shake it firmly before each use.
Regular shampoo for frequent use
During summer time, it is completely natural to allow the dog to spend more time outside. As a result, the coat gets dirty easier and the high temperatures can lead to bad smells. This is why most dog owners tend to wash their pet more often. This recipe is perfect for frequent use. In order to achieve this useful shampoo, you need:
- 4 tablespoons of Castile soap with a pH of 8;
- 4 cups of water (preferably hot);
- 1 cup of white vinegar.
You need to use a cheese grater in order to shred the Castile soap. Always opt for the one that has no scent. You need to mix it with the hot water until it is completely dissolved and add the vinegar after. This soap lathers very well, thus you can use it for the whole summer with no problem.
Conditioner for shinny coat
The dryness of the coat is a common problem among dogs with short fur. In order to make it look and feel healthier, you may consider preparing a conditioner that is suitable for all breeds. It is incredibly easy to obtain, and you can get the major ingredient straight from the garden:
- 2 teaspoons of shredded rosemary;
- 4 cups of water.
The rosemary needs to be fresh in order to enjoy all the great benefits of this conditioner. You need to mix it in the water and let it boil. Once the water reaches the boiling point, remove it from the stove and let it sit for no more than 10 minutes. Remove the rosemary from the water and after it cools down you can store it in a bottle and use it after the bath.
Dry shampoo that can help you eliminate nasty odors
This dry shampoo is an organic and safe alternative to funny smells. It is based on a single ingredient: baking soda. To be more exact, you need half a cup of it. All that you need to do is to sprinkle it on the dog’s fur and rub it vigorously.
It is important to avoid its head in order to prevent it from breathing it or getting in its eyes. After you get it deeply through the fur, you can brush it off. As this is a rather messy procedure, it is a good idea to do it outside. Once you are done, your pet will smell better as the odors will be eliminated, or at least reduced.
Shampoos for fleas, itchy skin and odor
Shampoo for fleas
Fleas are parasites that make the life of your pet miserable. If you do not approach this situation in the correct manner, the dog can scratch so hard that it can irritate its skin and even cause bleeding. The shampoo you can mix for your pet friend requires few ingredients, and it is also perfect for sensitive skin. You will need:
- 1 cup of apple cider or white vinegar;
- 1 cup of organic dish soap or baby shampoo;
- 1 quart of water.
It is a good idea to store this shampoo in a spray bottle so you can apply it with ease. After you shake the container, start spraying the shampoo on the dog, beginning with the head and ending with the tail. You need to let it soak for several minutes, and before you rinse it, comb the fur to remove the dead fleas. This is an extremely useful mixture, and you can apply it whenever you need, as it is not toxic at all.
Shampoo for itchy skin
There are various reasons that can make the skin of your dog itchy. Whether the cause is allergy or dry skin, it is a good idea to switch the traditional shampoo with a homemade one. The purpose of this product is to relieve the desire to scratch through natural ingredients, like Aloe Vera. In this case, you need the following ingredients:
- 1 cup of organic dish wash or regular baby shampoo;
- 1/3 cup of glycerin;
- 1 quarter of water;
- 2 tablespoons of chopped Aloe Vera;
- 1 cup of apple cider or white vinegar.
Besides Aloe Vera, glycerin has calming properties and can sooth the itchy sensation. You can use it to wash your dog whenever you see that the nasty sensation intensifies in order to prevent it to harm itself.
Shampoo to eliminate odor
It is a fact that some dogs smell worse than others. Whether it is a result of their metabolism, or they spend more time outside, it is important to keep them clean in order to be able to play with them and allow them inside the house. As bathing the pet too often can lead to skin irritations, the best alternative is the dry shampoo. This recipe requires only three ingredients:
- 1 cup of corn starch;
- 5 to 10 drops of essential oil (you can choose the one that you like most);
- 1 cup of baking soda.
You need to spread this mixture over the dog’s body and massage it firmly. Your dog will definitely love this treatment, and you will face no problem when you apply it. It is not a must to apply all the dry shampoo at a time if you have a small pet, as it can be stored in a sealed container. You can eliminate the excess with a brush or comb. Though this is a fast alternative to bathing, it is not advisable to rely merely on it. You will need to wash away the eventual residues from time to time, and your dog will definitely enjoy playing with water.
Fancy shampoos with organic ingredients
Shampoo with coconut oil
If you want to turn a homemade shampoo into an efficient treatment, you need to add coconut oil and neem. These two organic ingredients have several benefits that are great for your dog’s health. Neem, for example, is good for its anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties, it can remove fleas and ticks, it improves the immunity system, and it keeps the fur soft and shiny. Coconut oil, on the other hand can cure skin inflammations, can yeast infections and can prevent odor problems. In order to create this great shampoo, you need:
- 1 tablespoon of coconut oil;
- 1 tablespoon of neem;
- 5 tablespoons of baby shampoo;
- 1 gallon of water.
You simply need to mix them together and apply them on your dog’s skin and rub it vigorously. The great benefits can be felt after the first usage.
Dry and wet shampoo with oatmeal
Oatmeal is a natural ingredient that can improve the quality of the dog’s coat. As a result, it is a great ingredient for a dry shampoo. All that you need to do is to mix it with baking soda and to apply it on the skin. You need to know that the amounts can vary, according to how big your dog is.
Just remember that the quantities must be equal in order to be effective. This great combination also kills germs, so you can apply it weekly for best results. You can remove the excess with a brush, and your dog will smell and feel better in a matter of minutes. Oatmeal can also be turned into a wet shampoo, if you mix it with water until you obtain a paste. You can use it to massage the fur and leave it on for about 5 minutes. After this, you can simply rinse it off in the shower.
To learn more about oatmeal baths, check out this great article on oatmeal baths for dogs and all the great benefits they offer.
Shampoo for sensitive skin
If your dog has sensitive skin, you need to rely on ingredients that can nourish and moisturize it. Thebest shampoo, in this case, requires the following ingredients:
- 1 box of corn starch;
- 5 cups of corn meal;
- 10 teaspoons of tea tree oil.
This mixture should be sufficient for a bath. You need to apply this shampoo on the fur and rub it gently. In order to achieve the best results you need to leave it on for 5 minutes or even more if your dog obeys the commands, and it is patient enough. Besides cleaning the coat, it will also hydrate the skin.
Tips for organic cleaning
Besides using organic shampoo, there are several other activities that can help you achieve a green washing. The best ways to make it as cost-effective as possible imply:
- never leave the water running while you shampoo your dog. It is a waste of water and money to leave the faucet on while you leather and scrub your dog. Remember that you must not apply the shampoo on the face, and the nose, eyes, mouth and ears can be cleaned with a wet cloth. When it is time for rinsing you can turn the water on again.
- avoid using shampoo more than once. No matter how dirty your dog may be, if you lather it thoroughly, and you rinse it well, it will not require a second scrub. Furthermore, this can keep the skin healthy as it prevents drying.
- though there are dryers specially designed for dogs, it is better to opt for towel drying. Your dog will feel better to remove the water excess by itself and you can keep it inside until it is completely dried.
As it can be seen, it is not difficult at all to bath your dog at home.
Using organic shampoos is the best way to keep your four-legged friend healthy.
In order to keep it natural you need to avoid toxic cleaners that can be found in regular shampoos and switch them with natural ingredients like baking soda, vinegar, coconut oil, etc. as they guarantee not only optimum cleaning, but also healthy skin and shinny fur. The recipes presented in this article are easy to obtain, thus all pet lovers can at least give them a try and enjoy the amazing benefits.