Creating your own homemade dog shampoo is kind of like preparing your own do-it-yourself dog food. If you're a raw or home-based feeder, you know exactly what we're talking about. By making the creation yourself, you're able to fully understand the ingredients that are going into it while ensuring you aren't giving your dog any unsafe compounds, solutions, or preservatives.
General Shampoo Recipe
If you're looking for a general shampoo recipe, we have one that uses only three ingredients. For the soap ingredient, Dawn tends to be more effective at cleaning your dog, but if you bathe your dog more than once every month or two, use Castile soap instead. Dawn can dry out your dog's skin if you use it too frequently.
- ¼ cup Castile soap
- 2 cups lukewarm water
- ½ cup apple cider vinegar
Combine the three ingredients together into a mason jar and shake. Then, do what you always do. Get your dog's fur wet and lather the solution into their fur, being sure to avoid the inner ears and eyes. Work the solution until it becomes thick on your dog's coat. Then rinse out the solution. Continue to rinse until you no longer see any bubbles coming from your pup's coat. It's as easy as that!
If you have an old shampoo bottle, you can clean it out and use it to store your DIY recipe.
Sensitive Skin Formula
Dogs with sensitive skin need some added moisturizer to reduce irritation. The coconut oil in this mixture aids with increasing and maintaining the moisture content in your dog's skin and coat. To develop your own DIY dog shampoo for sensitive skin, try this formula.
- ¾ cup water
- ½ cup Castile soap
- ¼ cup coconut oil
Combine the three ingredients in a mixing bowl. Add the mixture to a mason jar if you plan on making several batches. Use this mixture as you would any other shampoo. Simply lather and rinse.
Dry and Itchy Skin Formula
If you have looked for an itchy skin formula for your dog in the past, you probably found most contain oatmeal. This homemade recipe also requires oatmeal, but without all the other additives. Here's how to make your own shampoo for your itchy pup.
- 1 cup plain oatmeal
- ½ cup baking soda
- 1 quart warm water
First, grind the oatmeal either with a bowl and mortar, or a food processor if you have one. The oatmeal needs to be turned into a powder. Then, pour the powdered oatmeal into a bowl and add the baking soda. Add the warm water to the dry ingredients. Use this solution to lather as you would with other shampoos. Then, rinse.
This mixture is more effective if you allow it to sit on your dog's coat and skin for five minutes or so prior to rinsing.
Flea and Tick Preventative
Flea and tick shampoos from the store often contain harsh compounds to get rid of these pesty bugs. Fortunately, there's a simple recipe you can use to make your own.
- 1 quart warm water
- 1 cup Dawn dish soap
- 1 cup apple cider vinegar
- 10 drops cedarwood essential oil
Combine the apple cider vinegar and warm water together in a large mixing bowl, then slowly add the Dawn dish soap to the mixture. Dawn dish soap is recommended for this mixture because it's more effective at killing fleas than other soap types, but you should not use it frequently. You can add the cedarwood oil as an optional ingredient, if desired. Place the mixture in a spray bottle. You will probably notice quite a bit of bubbling. Don't worry - that's normal.
Spray the mixture onto your dog's body when it's completely wet. Allow the mixture to sit for at least five minutes before rinsing. This will help kill any existing pests while cleaning your dog's fur. Rinse all the solution out of your dog's fur to avoid irritation.
You can substitute cedarwood essential oil with either of the following:
- Eucalyptus essential oil as a natural flea repellant
- Peppermint oil to reduce the risk of bites from all insects
We have all had a dog who runs outside to roll in something and returns smelling like hot garbage. If your dog has found something smelly, you can use this shampoo to neutralize the odor.
- 3% hydrogen peroxide
- 1 cup baking soda
- 1 teaspoon Castile soap
Pour the hydrogen peroxide into an empty mason jar, then add the baking soda and soap. Shake the mixture. You may notice some foam or bubbling; that's perfectly normal. Pour the mixture on your dog and work it through the fur. You can double or triple the ingredients if you have a larger dog.
A DIY dog dry shampoo is a great alternative to store-bought grooming products. It can be used to freshen up your dog between baths, and it's especially useful if you have a long-haired breed that doesn't require frequent baths. To make DIY dog dry shampoo, all you need are a few simple ingredients from around the house.
- ½ cup of baking soda
- ½ cup of cornstarch
The baking soda helps absorb oils from your pet's coat and makes it look shinier. The cornstarch soaks up any moisture on your pet's skin and make it feel silky smooth again. You can either mix everything together in one bowl or place each ingredient into its own jar or bowl and then mix them together with a spoon or fork when you're ready to use the dry shampoo. You may also choose to use one or the other rather than combining the two ingredients.
DIY Dog Conditioner
After shampooing, some dog lovers prefer to add conditioner to make their dog's fur extra soft and shiny. If you're looking for a DIY dog conditioner without harsh additives, give this a try.
- ¼ cup raw rolled oats
- 2 tablespoons aloe vera gel
- 1 cup lukewarm water
Put the rolled oats into a grinder and blend until they have a powder-like consistency. Alternatively, you can use a mortar and bowl if you don't have a grinder accessible. Pour the oatmeal powder into a plastic spray bottle, then add 2 tablespoons of aloe vera gel and 1 cup of lukewarm water. Make sure the cap is screwed on tightly and shake the mixture until it has a milk-like consistency.
Once it's ready, you can spray the conditioner on your dog's coat and rub it through their body. Allow the mixture to sit for at least five minutes before rinsing it with water.
Alternative Ingredients List
You can add or substitute some of the ingredients listed above with the following:
- White vinegar: May be used for dogs with bad odors coming from their fur. You can substitute apple cider vinegar with white vinegar if desired.
- Lemon juice: Can be used to disinfect your dog's fur or remove stains from light-colored dog fur.
- Chamomile tea: Acts as a natural cleanser for your dog's fur. Can be used in place of water.
- Rosemary: Instead of using cedarwood essential oil, you can use rosemary to repel fleas.
- Lavender: Lavender can be used as an insect repellant and for anxiety relief.
- Baby Shampoo: If you don't have Castile oil or Dawn, you can use baby shampoo as a substitute.
FAQ's About DIY Shampoos
Here are some of the most commonly asked questions about DIY dog shampoos:
- Can't I just share my shampoo? No, using human shampoos on your dog can lead to damaged, irritated skin.
- Should I test the pH? It's not a necessity, but if you are concerned about the pH of your DIY shampoo, there are pH test strips available from most stores.
- What's a patch test? A patch test is where you use a small amount of the solution you have created and apply it to one small part of your dog's body. This allows you to make sure their skin will accept the solution.
- Can I wash my dog's face with DIY shampoo? Washing your dog's face isn't recommended with any shampoo. Rather than washing your dog's face in the bath water, grab a washcloth and use the mixture you have made to gently wipe your dog's face clean, being sure not to go near the eyes. If you notice leftover residue, use another washcloth and wet it down with water to remove the leftover soap.
Do Your Own Research
Making your own soap can seem a bit tedious, but you will feel better knowing exactly what's going onto your pet's body. The next time you're at the store or you visit a pet shop's website, take a look at the list of ingredients found in traditional dog shampoos. You would be surprised at how long the list is and how many of the ingredients you don't know. As you're making your own shampoo, choose one that works best for you and your dog. This way, you won't mind making more as-needed.