Homemade Dog Shampoo: 4 DIY Recipes from a Dog Groomer

Homemade Dog Shampoo Recipes
A dog should be bathed no more than once per month.

You walk into the pet store and you’re immediately faced with a huge display of dog shampoos. There are shampoos for sensitive dog skin, organic shampoos, and shampoos for extra dirty dogs, so where do you start?

If your dog has been digging up the yard again, you choose the shampoo for dirty dogs and then read the label.

In the back of your mind, you start thinking about the posts you’ve read on social media about how phthalates and parabens (ingredients added to preserve and improve durability) are harmful to a dog’s health and the environment. Then you see the price tag.

Thankfully, we have brought together four of the most popular and safe recipes for homemade dog shampoos.

All of these dog shampoo recipes use ingredients you have around your house, so the price is significantly lower and you’ll know exactly what you’re putting in your homemade dog shampoo.

The Best DIY Dog Shampoo

Homemade Dog Shampoo with Coconut Oil

First up in our DIY dog shampoo recipe list is a dog shampoo with coconut oil.

We know that coconut has a lot of benefits for dogs, but the oil can also be a super moisturizer when included in a shampoo.

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup castile soap
  • ¾ cup distilled water
  • ¼ cup coconut oil
  • 5 drops lavender oil (i.e. essential oil)

Method:
In a glass container or bottle, add the ingredients and mix well or shake to combine them. Lather your dog and rinse well. Repeat if necessary.

Be mindful of using essential oils with dogs who have pre-existing health conditions and never use essential oils with pregnant dogs or puppies.

You can always mix up this recipe without essential oils. Speak with your veterinarian if you have any concerns over using essential oils with your dog.

This homemade dog shampoo is sure to leave dogs feeling and smelling fresh.

Good Dog Shampoo for Sensitive or Itchy Skin

Homemade Oatmeal Dog Shampoo

A homemade oatmeal dog shampoo is a perfect dog shampoo for those dogs who have sensitive skin as oatmeal is a natural cleanser, buffer, and moisturizer.

It also soothes and acts as an anti-inflammatory. Oatmeal has been used for decades to soothe itchy and irritated skin.

Baking soda is also used in this recipe as a super odor eliminator, so you don’t have to worry about any added fragrances.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup oatmeal (blended into a fine powder)
  • 1 cup baking soda
  • 4 cups warm water

Method:
Combine and mix the ingredients together in a baking bowl.

Take the paste and rub it into the dog’s coat. This won’t lather up as much as shop bought or other DIY recipes.

Leave to soak in for 5-10 minutes and then rinse thoroughly (repeat if necessary).

Be mindful that your dog doesn’t ingest any baking soda as this can be toxic in large quantities.

Best Value Dog Shampoo

Homemade Dog Shampoo for Sensitive Skin

Another recipe for sensitive skin, Aloe vera is renowned for soothing skin.

You’ve probably used an after sun containing it as the first ingredient.

Aloe vera contains auxin and gibberellins which are hormones that support wound healing and reduce inflammation. Aloe vera is also a power house of vitamins and amino acids that possess anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties.

Glycerin is a well known humectant which means it locks in moisture.

Ingredients:

  • 1 quart water
  • 1 cup baby shampoo
  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/3 cup glycerin
  • 2 tablespoons Aloe Vera gel

Method:
Mix the ingredients together and lather, lathering should take no longer than two minutes.

Rinse thoroughly and repeat if necessary.

The apple cider vinegar will give any dog a lustrous shine.

Homemade Dog Shampoo for Fleas and Ticks

Homemade Dog Shampoo with Dawn

A deep cleansing shampoo, this homemade dog shampoo recipe uses Dawn detergent which is a staple in many homes.

This is also a good flea shampoo as Dawn is known for killing those pesky fleas.

Ingredients:

  • 1 quart water
  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup dawn

Method:
Mix well and lather your dog. Leave the shampoo in to soak for 5-10 minutes as this gives the detergent time to act on those fleas. Rinse well and repeat.

Ensure you have fully rinsed this shampoo off your dog’s coat as you don’t want him inadvertently ingesting the remaining detergent on his fur.

Top-Tip
It is not advised to use detergent (i.e. Dawn) on your pet regularly as it dries their skin out. Also, avoid using detergent if you are concerned your dog has a skin infection. Seek veterinarian advice if you are concerned about your dog’s skin or whether he has a flea infestation.

As always, before using any homemade dog shampoo on your dog, apply to a small area and watch for any reactions; reddening of the skin, itching etc. Remove immediately if you see any reactions to the dog shampoo.

Dog Grooming Guide (Importance and Frequency)

Not only is bathing a vital part of grooming, brushing is too, as is checking their eyes, ears and nails. But why? Let’s take a look.

Regular bathing keeps coats clean and reduces dander which is particularly beneficial for those allergy sufferers. Ensure you don’t over bathe as this strips the hair of its natural oils and dries it out.

Regular brushing ensures that dead hair doesn’t get trapped; especially for dogs with matted coats. Regular brushing prevents matted hair which can cause pain and discomfort, especially when it’s under ears or armpits.

This enables air circulation, contributing to skin health and body temperature regulation. We know that dogs pant to cool down, but impacted coats can contribute to overheating.

Brushing also increases blood circulation, similar to dry brushing for humans, which contributes to skin and hair health.

How to Groom a Dog

Grooming a dog will depend on their breed, however, one thing you can be sure about is their clinginess post grooming!

Double Coat
If he is a double coated breed, like the Russian bear dog, a good undercoat rake will be the first tool in your box.

This will easily brush through his coarse guard hairs and remove any impacted undercoat. Double coated breeds need 2-3 brushings per week with a bath no more than every 2-3 months.

Short Single Coat
If a dog has a short, curly coat like the Havapoo, you will likely visit a groomer every 6-12 weeks for a regular clip.

In addition to this, curly poodle coats get matted unless they are brushed daily. A metal comb will be the tool of your trade here, this ensures you don’t miss any knots which could potentially turn into matts.

Dense Coat
A dense coat, like the silver Labrador, also needs regular brushing, ideally 2-3 times per week.

A rubber bristled brush is your lifesaver here. The rubber bristles grip to the dog hair and removes it. The double coated breeds don’t need excessive bathing as it strips their coat of their natural oils.

Method for Grooming

  1. Start on their paws, and comb through small sections. If you come across a knot, use a de-matting tool.
  2. Pay attention to his head (where humans pet), behind his ears, and under his armpits and groin. Speak with your groomer to establish a regular grooming schedule which suits your lifestyle.
  3. If your dog regularly plays in the woods or muddy fields, he’ll probably need more regular grooming appointments than if he walks mostly on the sidewalk.
  4. Check their ears and eyes whilst you are brushing them and keep an eye on how long their nails are.
  5. As always, if you have any queries about grooming your dog, speak with your veterinarian or seek a qualified groomer in your area.

Summary

Grooming is an essential part of a dog’s daily care, whether it’s checking him over, cleaning his ears or eyes, brushing or bathing him.

Regular brushing prevents knots and matted hair, aids circulation, and contributes to temperature regulation.

Bathing keeps coats clean and reduces dander.

We put together four DIY homemade dog shampoo recipes with all their own benefits because the dog shampoo market can be a bit of a minefield as the shampoos often contain chemicals which can contribute to ill-health.

As always, be mindful of the ingredients and if you are unsure whether to use on your dog, speak with your veterinarian.

Have a recipe you want to share? Let us know in the comments below.

About John Woods 297 Articles
John Woods is the founder of All Things Dogs, member of the Association of Professional Dog Trainers, graduate in Animal Behavior & Welfare and recognized author by the Dog Writers Association of America.

3 Comments

  1. From a fellow groomer, thank you for all the information on this page. Thank you for assisting owners in better carrying for their pets. And thank you for some shampoo ideas ?

  2. I also would like to thank you for all of the great shampoo ideas.

    My dog is a Snoodle and we are fighting a skin infection so thank you again. I adopted him at 1 he turned 8 July 4th.

    Shirley

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