Friday, May 17, 2013

Eco-friendly Dog Shampoo

Early on in my journey to become a more eco-friendly dog owner, I stopped buying commercial dog shampoo, flea and tick products, dog treats, and dog toys. These four items are common weekly or monthly purchases for dog owners and not only can the packaging that these things come in be harmful to the environment, but so can the stuff inside. In previous blog posts I have shared natural ways to deal with fleas, ways to make homemade toys and treats and now today I will share how to switch over to eco-friendly dog shampoo. If you can master these four areas of your dog's daily life, you are well on your way to being totally PUPCYCLED!

Eco-friendly Dog Shampoo Options:
  1. Buy commercially made eco-friendly dog shampoo- Here's the problem with this option.....LABELS ARE MISLEADING! Take a peak at the ingredient list for Hartz's flea and tick shampoo. Obviously this is loaded with dangerous chemicals and can severely pollute water systems, but what is most shocking is that they list two ingredients and then it says "other ingredients 99.7%"  Never really says what those other ingredients are and most people probably don't even read the entire label. It is actually quite scary to me that this product is even sold in stores and these mystery ingredients are going into our soil and water. Now on the plus side I did find a shampoo at that might be a possible option. It does lists its ingredients....all of its ingredients! They are natural and safe, even for the soil and water supply.
  2. Make your own dog shampoo- I used to make my own oatmeal shampoo for my chocolate lab as he got older because he skin was so sensitive. However, due to living in a rural area and having to deal with fleas and ticks, I have been looking for better options for my current dogs that do not have sensitive skin. Granted, I probably created the sensitive skin on my chocolate lab after 12+ years of stupidly using Hartz and other commercial products. For my current dogs I was using diluted Dawn dish liquid to bathe them and then rinsing with cider vinegar. However, after doing some more research on Dawn, I realized it wasn't the best option either. I am now switching over to liquid Citrus Castile  Soap.
How to use Homemade Dog Shampoo
  1. I highly recommend only making small portions and using them up within a week. Storing homemade dog shampoos can lead to possibly harming your dog.
  2. For a medium-sized dog mix about 1 tablespoon  of Castile soap with 1 cup of water. Adjust for smaller or larger dogs.
  3. Get your dog's coat wet and then slowly pour the soapy mixture over the coat and rub into the coat. Add more water if needed to help spread the soap around.
  4. Rinse the dog well and then pour 2 cups of white vinegar or apple cider vinegar all over their fur.
  5. Pat dry or rinse again and pat dry. ( The vinegar smell will eventually go away on its own).
The citrus Castile or Lavender Castile soaps have essential oils added to help make your dog smell nice and repel fleas. Do not use any other types of oils (especially tea tree oil), since they can be harmful to dogs. The vinegar gets rid of odor and is a natural antibacterial agent. 

If your dog seems to have a reaction to this mixture, try the oatmeal shampoo to soothe their skin and then try just the soap without the vinegar rinse.


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