Dog and Cat Shampoos

Shampoos that are designed to be used on pets can do more than just clean your pet’s coat or skin. Shampoos for pets may be used to treat skin conditions, allergies or parasite infestations such as fleas. Human shampoos are not an option for use on pets. We have more acidic skin and the shampoos we use are too harsh for pet skin. Such shampoos can harm their skin and strip it from essential oils.

Pet shampoos can remove dirt and odors from our pets’ skin. Oatmeal, aloe vera, fatty acids and Vitamin E are used in soothing shampoos for pets. Other ingredients can be substances that have antiseborrheic and antibacterial properties. Emollient shampoos can add oils to the skin and relieve the symptoms of dry or itchy skin. There are solid shampoos or bars and gels. Powdered shampoos can work without water.

Pet shampoos are usually full of chemicals, just like shampoos for people. Ingredients such as sodium laureth sulfate, sodium lauryl sulfate or propylene glycol are approved by FDA but there are growing concerns about the potential risk of such substances. Skin irritation and hair loss may be associated with products that contain such chemicals.

Pyrethrins are substances that were used in pet shampoos for flea control. Unfortunately, it seems that these substances were associated with increased risk for autism disorders in children. A Californian case control study on household pesticide use revealed that mothers and children who have been exposed to products containing pyrethrin showed in increased risk for autism spectrum disorders.

While pyrethrin has a very short half-life outdoors, in pet hairs it lives longer, thus causing people to be more exposed. Pregnant mothers who were exposed to pesticides posed an increased risk to give birth to a child with autistic disorder.

There are alternatives to such shampoos that contain non-toxic ingredients derived from plants. Some of them are organic and biodegradable. And flea prevention cannot be achieved by using only shampoo.

While cats that live indoors are easier to keep clean, they do need to be washed from time to time. There are dry shampoos that can be used on water-phobic cats. They contain lavender essence that can calm the cat.

Dogs can be easier to wash than cats, but as they age they may be affected by joint pain and it becomes more difficult to get them into a tub. Cleansers in towelette form may be the solution for such pets.

There are natural products that act as flea repellents. Cedar, mint, rosemary or lavender are some such examples. An essential oil that is effective in repelling fleas is tea tree oil. Tea tree oil has natural antibacterial properties and oils that can moisturize the skin.

Some shampoos contain conditioners that keep the coat smooth and smell nice. Natural dog conditioners include Aloe or Shea butter.

Allergy induced skin problems are present in 12 to 20% of our dogs and cats. This means they need frequent bathing and hypoallergenic shampoos. Shampoo therapy has become a component of treatment for most skin disorders in our pets.

Secrets To Choosing A Natural Shampoo For Dogs

Gone are the days when dog owners would spend a lot of money purchasing high-end artificial shampoos from the pet stores. Smart pet owners today are choosing natural shampoo for dogs because it is safer and healthier. If you want to choose a good shampoo for dogs, this short guide would help you figure out how to go about it.

Stay Away From Products with Colorants or Dyes

A lot of these dyes and colorants are made from harmful chemicals like Tetrazine and coal tar, which are known to cause a number of health conditions like migraines, cancer and hyperactivity. Go for shampoos with clear color because such products would usually not have all those dyes and colorants that are harmful for your pooch.

Avoid Products with Artificial Fragrance

Another way to identify and choose natural shampoo for dogs is to look out for, and avoid products that contain artificial fragrances and perfumes. Instead, you should opt for products that contain essential oils because the artificial fragrances can cause lots of health problems including headaches, allergies, and nausea.

Avoid Products with Paraben

Parabens are commonly used chemicals in manufacturing cosmetics and some dog shampoo manufacturers would usually add them to their products. Parabens are believed to be able to cause breast cancer, hence they are dangerous for you and your dog. Always choose a dog shampoo that contains natural fruit extracts and vitamins instead.

Avoid Products with Mineral Oils

Mineral oils are derived from propylene glycol and are a by-product of petroleum. This ingredient would not only harm your dog’s skin, but can also cause other serious health issues such as kidney and liver problems.

Avoid Products with Stearakonium Chloride

Stearakonium chloride is commonly used in human and pet shampoos, even though it is dangerous and may cause irritation to the skin as well as damage to organs in your pet’s body.

Avoid Products with any Ingredients You Can’t Identify or Pronounce

The safest shampoo for your dog is one that contains ingredients that you can easily identify and pronounce. In fact, your dog shampoo should contain ingredients that you can easily find in your kitchen or around your home.

Choose Products with Aloe Vera

Natural shampoos for dogs that contain Aloe Vera are very good for dogs with sensitive skin. Aloe Vera contains anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties that can help to soothe and protect your dog’s skin.

Lastly, you should always read the label of any dog shampoo before you make that purchase so that you can be sure that you only buy natural shampoos for dogs with safe ingredients for your pet.

DIY All Natural Dog Shampoo

Once I learned about the health benefits of essential oils, I started changing my world immediately. Not only are all the products we use for ourselves and our families riddled with hazardous chemicals but so are most all of the products available for your pet! After all if something will harm us humans after 10-15 years of continuous use, who cares about whether or not it will harm your dog? Most dogs have a life span that doesn’t last much longer than 10 years or so anyway, right? Well, in my opinion, NO, that’s WRONG and it is NO reason to subject our pets to harmful chemical products. Shampoos, skin and coat care products and flea and tick repellents are among the worst. And yet it is very easy to make your own natural and safe products that can clean your pet and offer protection from bugs and critters.

My dogs travel between Arizona and Wyoming. Since both climates are dry, skin issues are common. Although fleas are not a real problem, I prefer not to take risks with a flea infestation. Ticks, flies and mosquitoes on the other hand can be problematic. The use of essential oils in a DIY Pet Shampoo safeguards my guys from these pests. In addition the use of the proper oils in the shampoo can be good for the coat.

The shampoo recipe I use for my dogs is:

3 tbls All Natural Castile Soap
3 tbls Coconut Milk
2 tbls Aloe Vera
6 oz Distilled Water
1 drops of Peppermint Essential Oil
2 drops of Cedarwood Essential Oil
2 drops of Citronella Essential Oil
2 drops of Eucalyptus Essential Oil
2 drops of Rosemary Essential Oil
3 drops of Lavender Essential Oil

Place all this in a clean bottle, shake well before each use. Apply enough for a good lather. If possible let set on the coat for a few minutes before rinsing off. Make this in small batches as the coconut milk is perishable. You can also leave out the coconut milk. As well take it easy with the Peppermint. I know everyone loves the smell but… Peppermint is a deterrent for bugs, spiders especially are driven away by the smell. You don’t want the smell on your dog’s coat so strong it bothers him or her. It is also known to help with constipation. Too strong a scent could produce undesirable bowel movements!

If you have trouble rinsing out the shampoo or it leaves the coat a little too oily, use this clear rinse formula:

1 cup distilled water
3 tbls apple cider vinegar
1 drop Cedarwood
1 drop Citronella
1 drop Eucalyptus
1 drop Lavender
1 drop Peppermint
1 drop Rosemary

For real dry or itchy skin problems you can also add Melaleuca Alternifolia (Tea Tree Oil). Be certain to avoid getting either product in the eyes or in the ears. If you get this in the eyes, rinse with a good vegetable oil such as olive or grapeseed. Do NOT rinse the eyes with water. Water will drive the oils deeper in to the tissue causing more discomfort.

Since one method of application for essential oils with pets is through topical application, you can also add other beneficial oils to your shampoo mixture. For instance, when dealing with emotional problems besides diffusing the appropriate oils for your pet’s condition, you can add them to your shampoo. I have one Chihuahua with a collapsing trachea. For him I diffuse Copaiba and an essential oil blend known as RC. He also receives an oral diluted dose twice daily of the Copaiba and I have added it to his shampoo.

For our other Chihuahua who doesn’t like being alone, I move my bedroom diffuser close to their pen we keep them in when we are out of the house for extended periods of time (4+ hours). I use a variety of combinations such as the common blends of Acceptance, Peace & Calming, Stress Away, even Valor. Single oils I use in combination with the blends are Frankincense, Grapefruit, Lavender and Ylang Ylang. This seems to keep his stress level down while were gone which in turn makes are arrival back home a bit less exciting and hectic as well! For him I add Stress Away to his shampoo blend as an extra boost.

There are so many ways essential oils can help you help your pet in a natural and safe manner. Change your life, and change your pet’s life, for the better! Remember, the market for adulterated oils is large and encompasses most all oils since everyone wants to make a buck. Find a company who can detail for the consumer the process from seed to seal that is used to ensure the highest quality products. A little goes a LONG WAYS. Spend the money up front for high quality oils and they will last much longer and provide a safe and happy experience.

I am not a trained animal husbandry professional. These opinions and recipes are suggestions from my own experience or from suggestions I found and tried from the Animal Desk Reference by Melissa Shelton, DVM. Consult your own Veterinarian before starting any treatment.