How to Make Natural Dog Shampoo

TL;DR: To make natural dog shampoo at home, combine gentle ingredients like aloe vera gel, baby shampoo, and castile soap. Customize with additions like oatmeal for soothing or essential oils for fragrance. This DIY approach is safe for your pet, eco-friendly, and can be tailored to address specific skin conditions, ensuring a healthy, shiny coat.

Caring for our dogs often means finding the best grooming products that are safe for them and the environment. That’s why homemade dog shampoo is a great natural alternative to the chemical-laden options on the shelves. I’m here to share this simple yet effective solution with you.

Having worked closely with pet products, the use of natural ingredients is of particular importance and is a subject I hold in high regard.

Through this post, I’ll guide you on how to create your own dog shampoo using ingredients like aloe vera gel, castile soap, and essential oils.

Not only are these recipes tailored for managing issues like your dog’s itchy skin, but they also ensure a clean, shiny coat.

Making dog shampoo at home is not just better for your pet’s health, but it’s also a small step we can all take towards a more sustainable world.

So, let’s get started on these homemade dog shampoo recipes that will keep your furry friend happy, healthy, and looking their best.

The Benefits of Homemade Dog Shampoo

Homemade dog shampoo offers several advantages over its commercial counterparts. Primarily, these shampoos are free from synthetic chemicals that may harm both pets and the environment.

The absence of artificial colors, fragrances, and preservatives in natural dog shampoo safeguards a dog’s skin from potential irritants found in many store-bought products.

Natural products used in homemade dog shampoos, such as aloe vera and coconut oil, are recognized for their soothing properties. The American Kennel Club acknowledges the use of aloe vera in pet products for its skin-soothing benefits. Ingredients like these are particularly beneficial for dogs with sensitive skin, reducing the risk of skin irritation and promoting a healthier coat.

Moreover, homemade dog shampoo formulas can be tailored to address specific skin conditions.

Shampoos with a neutral pH are less likely to irritate a dog’s skin.

By selecting the right natural ingredients, homemade shampoos can achieve this balance, making them gentle and effective for regular use.

Essential Ingredients for Your Homemade Dog Shampoo

The ingredients in homemade dog shampoo serve specific purposes, from soothing sensitive skin to ensuring a thorough clean. Aloe vera provides healing properties, baby shampoo offers a gentle touch, and castile soap brings natural cleansing.

Here are the essentials for crafting an effective and safe DIY dog shampoo:

Aloe Vera: Soothing and Healing

Aloe vera gel is a primary ingredient in homemade dog shampoo due to its soothing properties.

Aloe vera contains enzymes and anti-inflammatory compounds that promote healing and can reduce skin irritation. The moisture-rich content of aloe vera gel aids in hydrating the dog’s coat, leaving it smooth and shiny.

However, if your dog is experiencing any of these issues. Please consult a veterinarian

Baby Shampoo as a Gentle Base

When selecting a base for homemade dog shampoo, baby shampoo is often recommended.

Its mild formula is designed to be gentle on the skin, making it suitable for dogs.

Baby shampoo does not contain the harsh chemicals found in regular shampoos, which can strip the dog’s coat of its natural oils and cause dryness or irritation.

Castile Soap

Castile soap serves as a natural, non-toxic cleanser in homemade dog shampoo recipes.

Originating from the Castile region of Spain, this soap is traditionally made from olive oil but can also include coconut, castor, or hemp oils. Liquid castile soap is preferred for its ease of mixing and its ability to create a lather that effectively cleans without harmful additives.

Optional Extra Ingredients!

  • Oatmeal
    • USP: Natural Skin Soother The key ingredient in oatmeal dog shampoo is colloidal oatmeal, which provides relief for itchy and irritated dogs skin due to its natural anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Aloe Vera
    • USP: Moisturizing and Healing Agent Aloe vera, used in shampoos, is prized for its ability to moisturize and heal the skin due to the presence of mucopolysaccharides that help in binding moisture to the skin.
  • Tea Tree Oil
    • USP: Antifungal and Antibacterial Shampoos with a few drops of tea tree oil are recognized for their antifungal and antibacterial properties, making them effective for dogs with dermatological issues.
  • Eucalyptus
    • USP: Natural Pest Repellent Eucalyptus in shampoos acts as a natural pest repellent, deterring fleas and ticks due to its strong scent and inherent pest-repelling properties.
  • Lavender
    • USP: Calming and Fragrant Lavender-infused shampoos offer a calming effect and are known for a pleasant fragrance that can have a soothing effect on dogs.
  • Chamomile
    • USP: Skin Soothing and Softening Chamomile is used in dog shampoos for its soothing effects on the skin, as well as its ability to soften and brighten the fur.
  • Vitamin E
    • USP: Antioxidant Protection Shampoos with vitamin E are known for their antioxidant properties, which can help protect and repair a dog’s skin.
  • Argan Oil
    • USP: Coat Conditioning and Shine Argan oil is incorporated in shampoos for its ability to condition the coat, adding shine and softness to the dog’s fur.
  • Coconut Oil
    • USP: Deep Moisturizer and Deodorizer Coconut oil is used in dog shampoos for its deep moisturizing benefits and natural deodorizing properties.
  • Apple Cider Vinegar
    • USP: Natural Cleanser and Odor Neutralizer Apple cider vinegar is valued in dog shampoos for its ability to naturally cleanse the skin and coat and neutralize bad odors.

Each of these ingredients is selected for its specific benefits, contributing to the overall effectiveness of the shampoo in addressing various skin and coat concerns.

Simple Homemade Dog Shampoo Recipes

Creating homemade dog shampoo recipes provides an alternative to store-bought options, often eliminating the inclusion of synthetic chemicals. Here are three recipes designed for specific canine dermatological needs:

Basic Recipe for Normal Skin

A basic homemade shampoo for dogs with normal skin includes three primary ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup of mild liquid castile soap,
  • 3/4 cup of distilled water,
  • 1/4 cup of aloe vera gel.

This mixture yields a gentle cleanser that supports the maintenance of a clean and healthy coat.

Oatmeal Shampoo for Itchy Skin

  • For dogs experiencing itchy skin, an oatmeal-based shampoo can offer relief. The recipe consists of:
  • 1 cup of ground oatmeal, processed to a fine powder in a food processor,
  • 1/2 cup of baking soda,
  • 4 cups of warm water.

The colloidal properties of oatmeal help soothe irritation and mitigate discomfort associated with skin itchiness.

Moisturizing Shampoo for Dry Skin

Dogs with dry skin can benefit from a moisturizing shampoo formula. Combine:

  • 1/2 cup of mild baby shampoo
  • 2 cups of warm water,
  • 1/2 cup of glycerin
  • 2 tablespoons of aloe vera gel.

This blend aims to hydrate the skin while cleansing the coat without stripping natural oils.

Each recipe should be used during regular bathing schedules and can be adjusted in quantity to suit the size of the dog. It is essential to rinse the dog thoroughly after application to prevent residue build-up on the skin and coat. These shampoos offer a natural approach to pet grooming without the adverse effects of commercial products containing harsh chemicals.

Customizing Your Dog Shampoo for Scent and Heal

Creating dog shampoo recipes at home allows for personalization in terms of scent and health benefits. Essential oils and natural moisturizers are key components in these customizations.

Using Essential Oils:

Essential oils, when used properly, can be safe and beneficial in dog shampoos.

For instance, lavender essential oil is known for its calming properties and can help soothe a dog’s anxiety during bath time.

It’s important to use therapeutic-grade essential oils and dilute them appropriately.

According to a study published in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, essential oils must be used in concentrations less than 1% to ensure they are safe for animals.

Adding Natural Moisturizers:

Incorporating natural moisturizers like coconut oil and olive oil into dog shampoo recipes enhances the conditioning properties of the shampoo.

Coconut oil can penetrate the hair shaft and provide moisture. Similarly, olive oil is recognized for its ability to impart a shiny coat and hydrate the skin.

These oils are not only beneficial for a dog’s skin and coat but are also environmentally benign, aligning with eco-friendly grooming practices.

When formulating homemade dog shampoos, it is essential to balance the ingredients to match the specific needs of a dog’s skin and coat. Each ingredient should be chosen based on its proven efficacy and safety for canine use.

Application Tips for Homemade Dog Shampoo

Applying homemade dog shampoo begins with ensuring the dog’s fur is thoroughly wet. Water should be warm to maximize the shampoo’s efficacy and comfort for the dog. Distribute the shampoo evenly across the dog’s coat, starting from the back and working towards the tail and legs. It’s essential to massage the shampoo gently into the fur to create a lather, reaching the skin where dirt and oils can accumulate.

How to Properly Bathe Your Dog

Bath time for dogs varies in frequency depending on the breed, level of activity, and skin condition. The American Kennel Club suggests a monthly bath for most dogs. When bathing, one should use a gentle stream of lukewarm water, avoid high water pressure, and ensure complete saturation of the coat before shampoo application. After applying the shampoo, rinsing should be thorough to prevent residue that could cause skin irritation or dryness.

Precautions to Avoid Eye Irritation

To prevent shampoo from getting into a dog’s eyes, avoid applying shampoo directly to the head. Instead, clean the dog’s face with a damp washcloth, and if shampooing the head is necessary, protect the eyes using one hand while gently applying the shampoo with the other.

In case of contact with the eyes, flushing immediately with cool, clean water is recommended.

Storage and Shelf Life of DIY Dog Shampoo

The shelf life of homemade dog shampoo typically ranges from one to three months. Storage conditions significantly impact this duration.

It is advised to store the shampoo in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight. A spray bottle, preferably made of dark glass, can be an ideal container to extend the shelf life. The dark glass helps to protect the ingredients from light degradation, and the spray bottle allows for minimal contact with air, which can contain contaminants that might reduce the shampoo’s efficacy over time.

Preserving Your Shampoo

To preserve the quality of homemade dog shampoo, it is essential to use distilled or boiled water that has been cooled.

This reduces the presence of microbes that could spoil the shampoo. Incorporating natural preservatives such as vitamin E can also help to prolong shelf life.

It is essential to ensure the spray bottle is sterilized before filling it with shampoo to prevent bacterial growth.

Signs That Your Shampoo Has Gone Bad

There are noticeable indicators when homemade dog shampoo is no longer suitable for use. A change in the shampoo’s consistency, such as separation or clumping, is a clear sign.

Additionally, any alteration in the scent, especially the presence of a rancid or sour odor, indicates that the shampoo has gone bad.

If either of these signs is evident, it is best to discard the shampoo to avoid potential harm to the dog’s skin or coat.


In the pursuit of pet health and eco-conscious living, homemade dog shampoo stands out as a stellar choice. By blending natural ingredients like aloe vera, castile soap, and essential oils, we can create gentle yet effective solutions for our dogs’ grooming needs.

This guide has walked you through crafting shampoos tailored for various skin conditions, ensuring your dog not only looks great but feels great too. Embracing DIY dog shampoo is a simple, sustainable step towards better care for our pets and the planet.