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, faced with a display of dog shampoos: shampoo for sensitive dog skin, organic shampoo and shampoo for dirty dogs; where do you start?

Fidos been digging again, so you choose the shampoo for dirty dogs and 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 (those added ingredients to preserve and improve durability) are harmful to 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 shampoo.

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

A dog should be bathed no more than twice per three months.

The Best DIY Dog Shampoo

Homemade Dog Shampoo with Coconut Oil

First up in our DIY Dog Shampoo recipe list is coconut oil.

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


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

In a glass container or bottle, add the ingredients and either mix well or shake to combine. Lather Fido 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 or lactating bitches or puppies.

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

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

Good for Dogs with Sensitive or Itchy Skin

Homemade Dog Oatmeal Shampoo

A perfect dog shampoo for those dogs who have sensitive skin; 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 no added fragrance here!


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

Combine and mix the ingredients together in a baking bowl.

Take the paste and rub into Fido’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 pooch doesn’t ingest any baking soda as this can be toxic in large quantities.

Best Value 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 two hormones auxin and gibberellins which support wound healing and reduce inflammation, it is also a power house of vitamins and amino acids which possess anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties.

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


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

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

Rinse thoroughly and repeat if necessary.

The apple cider vinegar will give any designer dog a lustrous shine!

Deep Cleansing Shampoo for Dogs with Fleas and Ticks

Homemade Dog Shampoo with Dawn

A deep cleansing shampoo, this homemade dog shampoo recipe uses the staple in many homes; Dawn detergent.

This is also a good flea shampoo – Dawn is renowned for killing those pesky fleas.


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

Mix well and lather up on Fido. Leave to soak in for 5-10 minutes; this gives the detergent time to act on those fleas. Rinse well and repeat.

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

It is not advised to use detergent (i.e. dawn) on your pet regularly as it dries their skin out. Also, avoid using 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 faithful friend, apply to a small area and watch for any reactions; reddening of the skin, itching etc… Remove immediately if you do.

Dog Grooming Guide (Importance and Frequency)

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

If introduced properly as a puppy, most dogs will tolerate regular grooming.

Regular bathing keeps coats clean and reduces dander; this 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 matts which can cause pain and discomfort to Fido, especially those under his ears or arm pits!

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, a 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 Fido 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 type coats easily 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 will be your lifesaver here. The rubber bristles grip to the hair and remove it. Like the double coated breeds, these guys don’t need excessive bathing as it strips their coat of its 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 to cut in to remove.
  2. Pay attention to his head (where humans pet), behind his ears and under his armpits/groin. Speak with your groomer to establish a regular grooming schedule which suits your lifestyle.
  3. If Fido 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 getting.
  5. As always, if you have any queries about grooming your faithful friend, speak with your veterinarian or seek a qualified groomer in your area.


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

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

Bathing keeps coats clean and reduces dander.

The dog shampoo market can be a bit of a minefield with them often containing chemicals which can contribute to ill-health, for that reason we have put together four DIY homemade dog shampoo recipes all having their own benefits.

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 291 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.


  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.


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