We tend to be diligent at choosing the best natural products for our hair and body, but what about our dogs? Don’t they deserve natural too? Let’s explore what is (and isn’t) good for bathing your dog!
Why is Synthetic Free So Important for Dog Soap and Shampoos?
The skin of a dog is its largest organ; it is responsible for protecting the dog’s body against injury, disease, and damage. Your dog’s skin is also a lot thinner and more sensitive than yours! Dog skin is 3-5 cells thick while human skin is 10-15 cells thick. Choosing a safe and non-toxic product is vital.
Scented vs. Unscented Dog Soap
Dogs have a strong sense of smell which is why they have been used for centuries for searching and hunting. They have between 150 and 300 million olfactory cells, while humans have 5 million.
Dogs also have a great smell memory, meaning just as we recognize a person through images, dogs recognize through smell. There are smells that dogs don’t like, aromas that can cause sensitivity issues, and some ingredients that can be harmful to Fido.
If you have a dog that immediately goes outside and rolls in the grass or dirt after a bath, it is a good indication they cannot handle the way they smell. Even if they smell the same fragrance in other circumstances (like on you) and do not react, they may not like the smell when it’s on them.
Ingredients to avoid in dog soap or pet shampoo:
- Essential Oils – some can be poisonous and can be toxic when ingested or adsorbed topically. There are some that are safe for pet use, and you can discuss those options with your vet.
- Artificial colors and fragrances – We don’t use these in our skincare products, and recommend avoiding them in pet products too. Reactions to them can be immediate, or they can take time to develop. We wouldn’t want to risk using a pretty color for dog soap only to end up causing a skin reaction that Fido can’t tell us about!
- Methylchloroisothiazolinone – it’s a carcinogen associated with organ poisoning, it has been banned in Japan and Canada but is still present in the U.S. industry
- MEA/COCOMIDE DEA – yes it is derived from coconut which is an amazing product to use, but this variety is chemically altered to the point that it becomes a cancer-causing agent.
- Mineral Oil – Mineral oil is a colorless, odorless oil that is made from petroleum. It is a by-product of the distillation of petroleum to produce gasoline. It is commonly used in human products such as lotions, creams, and ointments to reduce water loss from the skin. However, it also coats anything it touches with a thick impenetrable layer that doesn’t allow for the skin to naturally eliminate its own oils and toxins. This is not something you want all over your pup.
- Propylene Glycol, Sodium Laureth sulfate (or any sulfates), Phthalates, Parabens, Methylparaben, Formaldehyde, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Isopropyl Alcohol and Isopropyl (SD-40).
Ingredients that are good to have in dog shampoo:
- You want a product that will not affect the PH of your pups skin after the product has washed off. PH Value closest to a dog’s PH which is between 6.5 and 7.5. Human PH levels are about 5.5 so a dog’s PH is more neutral.
- Look for pet soap or shampoo that has mild cleansing ingredients such as hypo-allergenic, renewable coconut-based cleansers.
- Moisturizing ingredients and conditioners like aloe vera and oatmeal are a great additives for both hair and fur.
Our products contain all natural ingredients like the ones above that will gently cleanse and moisturize your dog’s skin and coat. We recommend either our Pure bar with oats and calendula, or our unscented ACV Shampoo bar for healthy happy coats!
How often should I bathe my dog?
Most dogs can be bathed once a month. Of course, if your dog likes to go swimming, is obsessed with mud puddles, or likes to roll in who-knows-what in the yard, you may want to bathe them more frequently. Although don’t bathe them more than truly necessary as it can strip your dog’s coat of its natural oils, causing dryness, which leads to itching. Here’s a quick rundown from dogtime.com to know how often to wash your pup:
- Dogs with oily coats may need bathing as frequently as once a week.
- Many short-haired breeds with smooth coats do just fine with less frequent baths.
- Breeds with water-repellent coats should be bathed less often so as to preserve their natural oils.
- Dogs with thick, double coats do best with fewer baths and a lot of extra brushing to help remove loose, dead hair and help distribute natural oils to keep their skin and coat healthy.
Dog Hair vs Dog Fur
You may have heard people talk about the differences between dog hair and dog fur, especially when it comes to one being hypoallergenic or not. Technically, on a chemical level, there is no difference between hair and fur; they are both made of the same thing, Keratin. It is the same substance found in nails and skin. They do differ, however, in their growth cycles, their textures, and their grooming needs. You may be wondering if your dog has hair or fur, here are the differences:
Dog hair tends to be longer than fur because it goes through a longer growth cycle. And the longer the growth cycle, the less frequently the hair sheds. Hair feels smoother and finer to the touch than fur and it can be straight, wavy or curly. Dog hair is grown in a single layer so the top will feel the same as it does close to the skin.
There are about 36 dog breeds that grow hair instead of fur, a few of them are hairless, some do not shed, and several are considered hypoallergenic. Some examples are the Schnauzer, the standard poodle, the Portuguese water dog, the Yorkshire terrier and Irish water spaniel.
Dog fur is usually shorter and thicker, has shorter growth cycles, and can grow thicker during the cold months. Fur sheds easier than hair due to the short growth cycles so there is more to clean up during seasonal changes when the new coat comes in. Dogs with fur often, but not always, have a double coat. They have a soft, fine undercoat that helps them regulate their body temperature and a coarser overcoat.
If your dog has hair, you’ll find that our ACV Shampoo bar does a great job of washing it clean. It’s also suitable for dog fur as it leaves minimal residue after each washing. We even have customers use this bar on horses manes too! Here’s a picture of Fisho all gussied up after a shampoo.
How to wash your dog with natural soap
Once you’ve chosen a natural soap for your pup, here’s how to give them a natural puppy bath.
Total Time Needed :
Help, my dog hates baths!
A lot of dogs hate bath time and will run from you or hide from you. Although bath time might not be your dog’s favorite activity, you can help to make it more tolerable for both of you.
- Let your dog know it is bath time by using a certain cue word, such as “bath”. By associating the word you help to take away the surprise that a bath is coming. This will help alleviate the fear of the unknown. Even if that word makes them disappear, at least they know what it means and what is coming.
- You can also use treats to get your dog to come to you, but avoid chasing them; you don’t want to reinforce the behavior of running away from you.
- Bath time should always be paired with something your dog loves. You can reward them with a treat in the tub if they stay in there with all four feet on the floor. They can have a toy that is only available to them while they are in the bath tub. You can reward them after a bath with a treat they only get after a bath, such as a Greenie.
- Use warm water and place an anti-skid mat on the bottom of the tub so they don’t slip.
- Don’t douse your dog with running water; use a washcloth on the face. Hold your dog’s nose and chin up at an angle when using running water so it does not run over their face.
- Use a pet sprayer attachment. It allows you to bring the water to the dog and the flow can be adjusted.
Our pets are amazing additions to our families and we treat them as such. Remember when thinking about what you put on and in your own body, that you should do the same for them. Let’s share our natural habits with our dogs as well!