Your guide to homemade dog shampoo for shiny coats

October 24, 2014

Preparing a high-quality homemade dog shampoo is a great way to ensure you use only the best ingredients for your pet.

Your guide to homemade dog shampoo for shiny coats

Homemade dog shampoo offers you a natural, inexpensive and gentle way to wash a dog. Commercial pet shampoos are often filled with potentially harmful chemicals, surfactants and artificial colourants. The effect on a dog's fur may become visible after long periods of use.

Although there are many commercial natural dog shampoos available, it is much easier and cheaper to make homemade variants using ingredients of your choice. The majority of recipes make use of widely available ingredients and can be specifically targeted towards certain grooming needs, such as dry skin, fleas or ticks, itchy skin and skunk-sprayed fur.

The basic ingredients

Although dog shampoos contain a number of ingredients similar to those found in shampoos for humans, the composition and balance varies. In most cases, the pH is not the same. Commercial flea and tick shampoos include strong chemicals, such as pyrethrin or permethrin that act as pesticides. These chemicals may irritate some dogs.

Vegetable glycerin

Vegetable glycerin improves the condition of your dog's coat. This ingredient also moisturizes the skin and counteracts oil stripping on fur. In the end, your pet will have a soft, shiny, clean and healthy coat.

Essential oils

Making use of essential oils as part of your pet grooming routine leaves the animal feeling refreshed and smelling great. You can also possible to combine essential oils like rose oils, lavender, orange and lemon with other ingredients to make customized shampoos. Lavender also helps fight fleas, and is a natural alternative to pyrethrin or permethrin, which act as pesticides. However, not all essential oils are same for your dog. Variants like pennyroyal and tea tree can have harmful effects on your pet.

Castile soap

This vegetable-based soap offers a gentle moisturizing alternative, thanks to its all-natural ingredients. It comes in solid as well as liquid form and can be combined with other ingredients to enhance its effectiveness.


You can add white or apple cider vinegar to any homemade dog shampoo recipe. This natural ingredient provides much-needed antibacterial properties. Vinegar's chemical properties are useful for making dog coats shiny.

Pet grooming considerations

It's important to wet the dog with warm water before applying shampoo. You should also make an effort to avoid the animal's eyes and rinse thoroughly. Keep in mind that each canine has its own skin pH level so you need to take into account the homemade shampoo's pH balance (healthy pH levels for dogs hover between 6 and 8.5.) Soaps with levels lower than this can cause skin irritation due to their acidity.

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