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No one likes a dirty dog or a smelly dog, but those are often the dogs that come home from adventures in the outdoors. So if you want to keep happily adventuring with your favourite furry friend, you need a good dog shampoo.
When we first welcomed Kirby into our life, we purchased a mainstream dog shampoo from a pet supply store. We found that it smelled strongly, lathered a little too much, and we went through it so quickly! Well, suffice it to say, I don’t think we bought any more. In fact, we used the empty container to store some homemade dog shampoo shortly thereafter. And, I’ve only made the shampoo once or maybe twice in the nearly 6 years that we have had Kirby. That says a lot considering Kirby gets a good soapy bath at least once a month, if not more often, especially in the spring and fall.
Seeing as how we just ran out and we’re heading back into a muddy season, I thought I would share our all-natural DIY dog shampoo recipe here. This dog shampoo is highly customizable to suit your pooch’s needs. The basic ingredients are water and Castile soap, and we always throw in some aloe vera gel to condition Kirby’s hair (he’s non-shedding and gets matted), and some rosemary essential oil for deter fleas and ticks (and to make him smell fresh).
Maman’s DIY Dog Shampoo
- 2L of distilled water
- 2 cups of Castile soap
- 1/4 cup of aloe vera gel
- 10-15 drops of rosemary essential oil
- 2 cups of distilled water
- 1/2 cup of Castile soap
- 1 tablespoon of aloe vera gel
- 3-5 drops of rosemary essential oil
And if you just want to try it out…
- 1/2 cup of water
- 1/8 cup of Castile soap
- 1/4 tablespoon of aloe vera gel
- 1-2 drops of rosemary essential oil
- Add all ingredients to an appropriately sized bowl, jar or bottle (capacity of 2.5L or 750mL depending on batch size).
- Stir or gently shake to mix.
- Using distilled water helps prevent mould and bacterial growth, this is less important when making the shampoo in small batches.
- Adding a small amount of vinegar can also slow mould and bacterial growth (vinegar makes it an excellent addition if you’re fighting dry, itchy patches or a dull coat).
- You can also boil the water before using it to “distill” it (adding a sprig of rosemary while boiling it eliminates the need for the rosemary essential oil)
- You will want to heed the “stir or gently shake” or you will end up with a bubbly mess.
- We’ve chosen to use unscented Castile soap, but by all means, go crazy and grab some lavender or peppermint Castile soap!
- Shop Dr. Bronner’s Castile Soap at Well.ca
- Vinegar – anti-fungal, anti-itch, eliminates smells (substitute a quarter of your water with either white or apple cider vinegar)
- Lavender essential oil – calming, great for dogs who don’t like baths (add in the same amount as the rosemary essential oil, or use lavender scented castile soap)
- Coconut oil – conditioning, moisturizing (add a tablespoon in a large batch or a teaspoon in a small batch for some silky smooth fur)
- Shop cider vinegars at Well.ca
- Shop essential oils at Well.ca
- Shop coconut oil at Well.ca
Storage & Use:
- Store your dog shampoo in an old shampoo bottle, body wash container, pop bottle, glass jar, really anything that pours easily and seals.
- The shampoo can be quite watery; start by pouring a small amount along your dog’s back and working up a lather there, then sharing that lather around.
- Kirby is not allergic to any of these ingredients, but your dog might be, so be care and discontinue use if your dog has an adverse reaction.
- Depending on the size of your dog, and the length and type of your dog’s fur, you may need to play with amounts a little bit. Start with the amounts listed above and adjust accordingly: Not sudsy enough? Add more soap. Too sudsy? Add more water. Dog still smelly? Add more vinegar or a few more drops of essential oils. You get the idea.