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5 Homemade Dog Shampoos: The Best DIY Recipes to Try

a little dog in the bathroom with shampoo foam on his head

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Dr. Paola Cuevas

Vet, MVZ

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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Dogs need to be washed regularly to limit bad odors and to keep their coat silky and shiny. Commercial shampoos aren’t bad options, but some contain harsh chemicals that can irritate your pet’s sensitive skin and even cause allergic reactions. Other options, made with natural and high-quality ingredients, are interesting but can be expensive.

So, whether you’re on a tight budget or just looking for an alternative and more environmentally friendly way to wash your pooch, homemade dog shampoo could become your new best friend! And it’s also a great way to know all the ingredients that go into the composition of the shampoo for your four-legged friend.

When preparing these homemade dog shampoos you should keep in mind that while essential oils smell amazing, some can be toxic to dogs. A very small amount of certain essential oils is safe to use, but please avoid the temptation of adding any extra drops to enhance the shampoo’s smell.

Check out our 5 simple homemade dog shampoo recipes made with ingredients that are safe for your pup that you can easily make today!

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The 5 Homemade Dog Shampoo Recipes

1. Oatmeal Dog Shampoo for Dry Skin

a black long haired dog having a bath
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5 from 1 vote

Oatmeal Dog Shampoo for Dry Skin

Prep Time5 mins
Active Time3 mins
Total Time8 mins
Keyword: oatmeal dog shampoo

Materials

  • 1 cup of oatmeal
  • ½ cup of baking soda
  • ¼ cup of warm water

Instructions

  • Grind the oatmeal in a coffee grinder or food processor until it has the consistency of flour.
  • Pour into a large bowl and add the baking soda.
  • Add lukewarm water and mix all the ingredients well.
  • Pour the mixture over your dog's wet coat and leave for a few minutes.
  • Rinse thoroughly and dry your dog thoroughly.

2. Coconut Oil Dog Shampoo for Softer Coat

coconut oil in a glass dish
Image Credit: SchaOn, Pixabay
Ingredients:
  • ¼ cup of coconut oil
  • ¾ cup of water
  • ½ cup of Castile soap
  • 5 drops lavender oil
  • 5 drops of rosemary oil
Instructions:
  • Combine and stir all ingredients in a bowl.
  • Apply the mixture with your fingers or a brush to your dog’s wet coat.
  • Distribute the product over the entire coat, avoiding the eyes.
  • Rinse thoroughly with lukewarm water.
  • Repeat if necessary.

3. Aloe Vera Dog Shampoo for Sensitive Skin

cut aloe vera leaf
Image Credit: mozo190, Pixabay
Ingredients:
  • 2 tablespoons of aloe vera gel
  • 1 cup of baby shampoo
  • 1 cup of apple cider vinegar
  • ⅓ cup of glycerin
  • Warm water
Instructions:
  • Mix all the ingredients in a spray bottle.
  • Spray your dog avoiding contact with his eyes.
  • Massage the product into your dog’s coat with your fingers.
  • Rinse thoroughly.

4. Essential Oils Dog Shampoo for Odor Control

perppermint essential oil
Image Credit: silviarita, Pixabay
Ingredients:
  • 1 cup of water
  • 2 tablespoons castile soap
  • ½ tablespoon of vitamin E
  • 5 drops of peppermint essential oil
  • 3 drops of tea tree essential oil
Instructions:
  • Mix all the ingredients in a spray bottle.
  • Spray your dog’s coat, taking care to avoid his eyes.
  • Leave the product on your dog’s coat for a few minutes.
  • Rinse well.

5. Super Hydrating Homemade Dog Shampoo

a welsh corgi pembroke dog taking a bath with shampoo
Image Credit: Masarik, Shutterstock
Ingredients:
  • 6 tablespoons of Castile soap
  • 2 tablespoons of honey
  • 2 tablespoons of glycerin
  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 4 tablespoons of water
  • 1 teaspoon of coconut oil
Instructions:
  • Combine castile soap, coconut oil, honey, and glycerin in a bowl.
  • In another bowl, combine water and vinegar.
  • Spoon the water and vinegar mixture into the other bowl to obtain a slightly fluid mixture.
  • Let stand 24 hours. (Note: the shampoo smells a little strong at first, but the smell will subside after that).
  • Wash your dog with the mixture and rinse it well.

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How to Make Homemade Dry Shampoo for Your Dog

Dry shampoo is ideal for washing your dog when you’re short on time and for waiting between baths. Baking soda removes dirt and accumulated oil from the coat.

The only ingredient you need is baking soda! Place a very small amount on his coat, rub gently then brush to remove residue.

a large dog in a bath
Image Credit: oritslam, Pixabay

Why Can’t You Use Human Shampoo for Your Dog?

It’s a matter of pH.

This is because the shampoos we use are formulated specifically to maintain the relatively acidic pH levels of human skin. On the pH scale that goes from 0 to 14 (0 being the most acidic level and 14 being the most basic), the pH of human skin varies between 5.2 to 6.2.

As for dogs, normal pH levels range between 5.5 to 7.5, so their skin is more alkaline. Therefore, if a human shampoo is used on a dog, the pH of its epidermis will be disturbed, which will create an environment favorable to bacteria, parasites, and viruses. This type of shampoo can also irritate your pup’s sensitive skin and cause itching and redness.

Homemade Dog Shampoo Tips

  • No need to prepare a large batch of these dog shampoos in advance. These homemade recipes don’t keep very long, so it’s best to mix the ingredients just before bathing.
  • For small dogs, it is better to make a half recipe.
  • A dog should not be bathed every day because his skin already secretes oils that protect his coat. By washing your pooch too often, you deprive him of this natural protection.

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Conclusion

As you can see, making a natural, safe, inexpensive dog shampoo that respects the pH of your pooch’s skin is not rocket science. Just gather a few ingredients that you probably already have in your kitchen, mix them up in a spray bottle, and voila!

Sources

Featured Image Credit: Aleksandr Finch, Shutterstock

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