Photo: How to make non-toxic dog shampoo

Store bought pet products are loaded with toxic ingredients like parabens, SLS/SLES, and fragrance. (Credit: Laura Milne)

You read ingredient lists on personal care products to avoid the Dirty Dozen. But parabens, SLS/SLES and fragrance also lurk in pet products — from shampoo to ear wash and tooth gel.

Shop smarter. Avoid ingredients which may cause cancer, interfere with hormone function and harm fish and other wildlife.

Next time your dog rolls in it make dog shampoo:

Dog shampoo recipe

Time needed: five minutes
Shelf life: approximately one month

177 ml (¾ cup) water
60 ml (¼ cup) liquid castile soap
15 ml (1 tbsp) aloe gel (optional)
2 to 5 drops essential oil (optional) Try any combination of anti-flea essential oils including rosemary, lavender, peppermint, eucalyptus, spearmint and citronella.

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Combine ingredients in a squirt bottle. Shake before each use. Avoid the eye area. Rinse well.

If you don't have essential oils, buy lavender, tea tree, eucalyptus or peppermint liquid castile soap. If you grow garden herbs, substitute peppermint and rosemary tea for the water.

What about stinky skunk encounters?

After shampooing, try this:

  • Combine one part vinegar (white or apple cider) to five parts water in a bottle. Pour over the dog, careful to avoid eyes, and rinse.
  • Use a three per cent solution of food-grade hydrogen peroxide in a squirt bottle. Pour over the dog, careful to avoid eyes, and rinse.

Get ready for compliments at the dog park!


Lindsay Coulter, a fellow Queen of Green

August 22, 2016

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Nov 27, 2016
7:27 PM

DO NOT use this recipe for CATS. Most of the essential oils, or any herbal extract mentioned will kill a cat, even in minuscule amounts. Feline livers are completely incapable of producing the necessary metabolites, for UN-predigested foliage.

Nov 15, 2016
6:30 AM

RE: Dog Shampoo Recipe Adding of 5 to 10 drops of essential oils to the dog shampoo would overwhelm the olfactory senses of your canine friend. Dog’s noses are so sensitive! Essential oils are so concentrated! At most 1 to 2 drops would be necessary. One the other hand, if a person is a having a bath, 5 to 10 drops of the essential oils in the bath water would be fine.

Sep 28, 2016
5:54 AM

Food grade mineral oil to help clean under flappy dog ears when they have wax buildup. Use a little peroxide for tough removal of old hardened wax. Keeping them clean after swamp swims will prevent unnecessary vet visits for doggie ear infections.

Sep 21, 2016
4:47 PM

We lower our dog’s eco footprint by feeding her a raw diet.I think this is eco friendly because her poo just vanishes in less than 2 weeks, in comparison to kibble fed dogs that lasts months- its because the bugs actually eat it! It also cuts out the ‘process’ part of her food, and we purchase it locally.

Sep 16, 2016
9:36 PM

Can I use this shampoo recipe for my cat, too? Thanks!

Sep 07, 2016
8:07 AM

The only shampoo that has worked for skunk spray is: 1 bottle hydrogen peroxide 1 tsp. dish soap 1/4 cup baking soda

Keep away from eyes. Rinse well afterwards.

Sep 02, 2016
10:46 AM

For skunk best recipe remains Castille soap, hydrogen peroxide and baking soda. It is easily found online if you need it.

Aug 24, 2016
8:43 AM

One point that I would like to mention : What You Should Know About Tea Tree Oil Toxicity in Dogs and Cats › Our Pet Experts › Dr. Nancy Kay Mar 17, 2014 — Most people tolerate the application of undiluted, 100 percent tea tree oil without any problems. The same is not true for animals. A report in the January 2014 issue of Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association documents multiple cases of tea tree oil toxicity in dogs and cats.

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