Health-conscious folks are always dodging weird, unwanted chemicals in the modern world. From the food and tap water to our home goods and cleaning supplies, nothing seems natural anymore, and you need to go out of your way to maintain optimal health.

But even the healthiest people on the planet sometimes forget to apply these principles to their dogs, which is a major misstep. Pet products are notorious for containing tons of synthetic compounds, since regulations are even less strict when it comes to animals.

The products that most dog parents buy are just not up to par, and it’s time to pay more attention.

Today, we’re talking about making the switch to natural dog shampoo, specifically. This is overlooked by pet owners everywhere, and makes a huge difference for the well-being of your furry friend!

Let’s learn what ingredients are no-go’s for dog shampoo, and how to find natural products that you and your dog will love.

Dog Shampoo Ingredients Blacklist

The first step in finding natural dog shampoo is to know which ingredients to avoid when browsing around.

As we know, brands are often loose with their use of the word “natural” and other marketing terms, so don’t be misled. The ingredients list on the back never lies.

Here are five too-common chemicals in dog shampoos that should be skipped at all costs, even if the label looks trustworthy.

1. Sulfates (Ammonium Lauryl, Sodium Lauryl, and Sodium Laureth)

Salts of sulfuric acid are known as sulfates, and have many applications in our daily lives. Some sulfates are great for the body, like magnesium sulfate, also known as Epsom salts.

Unfortunately, the majority of sulfates are better suited for industrial applications than scrubbing down our dogs in the sink or bath. While sulfates have a powerful cleansing effect in shampoos, they also leave skin dry, agitated, and cause damage to hair and fur.

2. Silicones

The similarities between silicone and rubber make this material great for manufacturing heat-resistant gaskets and electrical insulators for cars.

They don’t, however, make for healthy or safe shampoos, and it’s shocking to see how many dog care (and human care) products contain silicones. 

While the compound can add some instant volume and shine to a coat, repeated use can clog pores, zap moisture, and disrupt the healthy production of oils.

Skip the shampoos and conditioners containing silicones, both for yourself and your dog!

3. Parabens

If you’re serious about buying organic food, you already see parabens – a common preservative for perishable goods – as a known enemy.

You wouldn’t eat parabens or apply via cosmetics, so why would you douse them into your dog’s bath?

While some studies try to convince us that small amounts of parabens are okay, we all know the truth. Keep a zero-tolerance policy with parabens for your pets moving forward.

4. Dyes

As humans, we’re all susceptible to attractive, colorful products on the shelves or online.

This can get us in trouble, however, because 9 times out of 10, those are not natural colors we see in products like dog shampoo.

These dyes have some nasty side effects for our dogs, and besides, who cares about the color of the shampoo, as long as it’s healthy and it works?

5. Synthetic Fragrances

Many of us have been tricked into thinking that shampoo needs to smell good in order to make our pets smell good following a scrub-down. It seems to make logical sense, but once again, these fragrances tend to be unnatural and loaded with gross chemicals.

Don’t be duped by the fruity and flowery scents of dog shampoos, and opt instead for natural ingredients that actually get the job done right – without doing harm.

Switching to Natural Dog Shampoo

We now know which ingredients are banned from our pet shampoo shopping list, but what’s our next step for finding products that fit the bill? Here’s how to stock up on safe, effective cleaning products for your dog.

Get the Right Wash

It’s never a one-size-fits-all deal with natural dog shampoos, so be sure to find the wash that suits your specific breed and coat type.

For Dogs with Fur

If your dog sheds, it needs a super hydrating wash that keeps that fur healthy down to the roots.

Retrievers, Huskys, Germans, – even the little guys like Chihuahuas and King Charles Spaniels – they need a shampoo with luxurious coconut and argan oils to get that lasting hydration and natural gloss.

If your dog’s coat is longer, it may also benefit from a leave-in conditioner that detangles and rejuvenates in a matter of minutes.

For Dogs with Hair

What do Poodles, Yorkies, Shih Tzus, and Schnauzers have in common? They don’t shed, and they need a different type of shampoo to shine and strengthen their hair.

A combo of avocado and coconut oil seems to be the winning combo for these types of dogs, ensuring that hair doesn’t become tangled and is easy to comb and trim.

In-Between Bath Refreshers

Let’s say you give your dog a big bath every three or four weeks with a wonderful natural shampoo. Is that enough to keep them clean in the meantime, especially if you’re taking plenty of outdoor adventures?

The antidote here is a trusted in-between bath product like an aloe-vera-based coat refresher or a “dry shampoo” applied with a few simple sprays. 

In a pinch, these products can save the day and keep coats fresh until bath time arrives.

A Higher Standard of Care for Your Dog

Once you start learning about what goes into most pet products, there’s no going back!

It can be distressing to see how many bad chemicals lurk on store shelves, but the natural shampoo movement is finally in full swing.

Follow our tips to set the bar higher moving forward. You’ll also raise the standard for what you feed your dog, the gear you buy, and pay more attention to your own health in the process. That’s what being a proud dog parent is all about.