5 Best Homemade shampoo for your Dog

Dog grooming business is the current trending business. All the pet parents will want their pooches to look clean and presentable at all times. The number of grooming products available online and in stores is ample, zeroing on the right product is a tedious task which is not only time consuming but also expensive. This article will enlighten on DIY pet shampoos that can be prepared at the comforts of the home within the budget and time one would want to spend.

Benefits of DIY pet shampoo.

  • The materials to make a DIY shampoo are easily available in the kitchen shelves of all homes.
  • These shampoos need no storage containers as they are for single use and can be prepared freshly each time.
  • Each time a new DIY recipe can be used till the desired recipe is procured.

Common ingredients that constitute a homemade pet shampoo.

Predominantly most of the homemade shampoos are composed of vinegar and baking soda. The other components of a DIY shampoo can be picked up at a grocery or drug store and these include olive oil and glycerine based soap called as “Castile soap,” baby shampoo, oatmeal, Aloe Vera gel, coconut oil, nontoxic dish wash soap, corn starch, and some essential oils like rosemary, cedarwood, lemongrass, and lavender.

Mode of action of each ingredient:

1. Dish wash soap– Cuts through the grease and washes off the oil that accumulates on the dog’s skin.

2. White vinegar– The antibacterial and deodorant property of the white vinegar is seen to aid in cleansing the coat leaving it soft and shiny.

3. Glycerine– Moisturizes and soothes dry, itchy, rough, scaly and minor skin irritations.

4. Aloe Vera gel–  The soothing property of Aloe Vera helps to soothe skin infections, moisturizes the hair and skin by removing the dead cells present in them, and also wades of dandruff.

5. Oatmeal– Helps to control dry skin, removes ticks and fleas, allergies, and hot spots. Also is seen to clean and soften a dog’s coat.

6. Baby shampoo– A baby shampoo is mild in nature with an appropriate pH that doesn’t cause skin irritations and allergies for the pooch.

7. Coconut oil– Antibacterial and moisturizing property.

8. Rosemary essential oil– Natural moisturizer.

9. Lavender, Cedarwood, and Lemongrass essential oil– Antibacterial, antiparasitic, and antiseptic that aids to combats fleas and also naturally repel insects.

10. Baking soda– Helps to cleanse and deodorize the dog coats and also soothes the skin from bee stings.

11. Corn starch– Helps absorb the excess oil on the skin.

The recipes that are mentioned beneath are very simple and require minimal preparations.

Homemade (DIY) Pet Shampoos

#1: 3-component simple shampoo


  • 2 cups of warm water
  • 1/4 cup of non-toxic dish soap
  • 1/2 cup of white vinegar

Mode of preparation and application:

  • Combine all the ingredients in a spray bottle and mix for uniform distribution.
  • Post wetting the dog’s coat with warm water, spray the shampoo on it.
  • Use a brush to create a thick lather and allow to sit for 5-10 minutes.
  • Rinse thoroughly and repeatedly till no residues are left off.
  • Pat dry with a towel or dry with the aid of a dryer.

Note: Refrain from bringing the shampoo in contact with the fido’s eyes.

#2: Oatmeal dog shampoo for dry skin


  • 1 quart of warm water
  • 1 cup of uncooked oatmeal powder
  • 1/2 cup of baking soda

Mode of preparation and application:

  • Grind the oatmeal in a food processor or coffee grinder to a smooth flour consistency.
  • To a large clean bowl add this ground flour along with baking soda and warm water. Mix the constituents for a uniform composition.
  • Wet the dog’s coat with warm water and apply the prepared DIY shampoo and lather him/ her up.
  • Gently massage the coat and allow to sit for 5-10 minutes if the dog allows.
  • Rinse thoroughly.
  • Pat dry or use a dryer to dry off the coat.

#3: Shampoo for pooches with sensitive skin


  • 1 cup of white or apple cider vinegar.
  • 1 cup of water.
  • A cup of lavender scented dish wash soap.
  • 2 tablespoons of Aloe Vera gel
  • Quarter cup of glycerine

Mode of preparation:

Mix all the ingredients into a smooth paste and apply it on the wet coat of the pet. Lather up and rinse thoroughly. Pat dry completely to notice effective results.

#4: DIY shampoo to control fleas


  • One quart of water
  • One cup of white or apple cider vinegar.
  • A cup of baby shampoo or nontoxic dish soap. For small dogs or puppies, the constituent volumes include
  • Half a quart of water.
  • Quarter cup of vinegar and baby shampoo or nontoxic dish soap.

Mode of preparation and application:

  • Mix all the ingredients in a spray or condiment bottle and mix thoroughly for a uniform mixture.
  • Apply the solution on to the dog’s wet coat.’
  • Work the dog’s shampoo into the fur concentrating on the hard to reach areas like spine, tail base, forearms, and the chest.
  • Soak for 3-5 minutes before rinsing thoroughly.
  • Comb or brush the hair to wade off the dead fleas.


  • Refrain using the baby shampoo or dish soap on dogs frequently as it is seen to leave the skin dry.
  • For dogs with dry skin condition choose Castile soaps over dish soap and baby shampoos.

#5. DIY Dry Pet Shampoo

Bathing a dog frequently not only cuts off the natural oil of the dog’s coat but also causes the skin to dry out. One potential solution to wade off this problem is to make use of dry shampoo in between the traditional baths.

Massaging the dry shampoo on to a pet’s coat will give it the sensation of petting and caressing without the resistance that normally a dog shows during the traditional bath time.


  • 1 cup of baking soda.
  • 1 cup of corn starch.
  • Two to three drops of essential oil like lavender or lemongrass.

Mode of preparation and application:

  • Combine all the components in a clean bowl.
  • Sprinkle the above-prepared mixture on to the pet’s coat and massage it with hand, brush or comb.


  • One cup of baking soda is apt for large and medium dog breeds. For smaller dogs and puppies half a cup is more than sufficient.
  • Refrain from using this option frequently as the residue do not wade off the skin how much ever the pet shakes him or herself.

These are some of the simple DIY shampoos, there are more combinations that can be created at home. Try as many as combinations and zero on the ingredients that suit the needs of your pooch.

DIY shampoos will go waste if one doesn’t know the right procedure to bathe his or her pets. The following section highlights the common steps one needs to follow while bathing a pet.

How to Bathe a Pooch?

The frequency of dog bathes depends on the following factors:

  • Breed
  • Size
  • Type of coat, and
  • Activities.

A dog that spends maximum times outdoors needs a frequent bath while indoor dogs can be given a bath once a month. As frequent baths will wade of the natural oils from the skin making the skin prone to infections.

Most of the dogs have a phobia for water. Making the right preparations and gathering the right information can convert this phobia into a pleasure.

The following steps will help any pet parent to bathe their dogs.

Part 1:  Prior to washing preparations.

These steps include the following subsections.

a. Location selection

  • Choose the right location for bathing based on the size of the pet and weather conditions.
  • Smaller breeds- Bathroom or kitchen sink or any indoor place with water outlet facility.
  • Medium to large breeds- Showers, bathrooms, bathtubs or outdoors if the climate is apt.


  • The bathtub, sink or laundry area is seen to get slippery while wet. Hence it is always recommended to place a towel beneath the dog’s legs for better support.
  • Use a confined or closed area so that the pets do not run away easily.

b. Prepare the canine for bathing.

The dog’s fur needs to be brushed well prior to a wash. This is a prerequisite for dogs with thick, shaggy or double coats. Get rid of the tangled hair or matted areas thoroughly.


  • For pets with ticks remove it manually or get the help of a professional or a vet.
  • To get rid of sticky substances like pine sap, paint, or tar on the pet’s coat. It is recommended to rub the area with dishwashing soap, vegetable oil, or petroleum jelly 24 hours prior to wash.

c. Trim the pooches nails

Trim the dog’s nails prior to bathing as this will protect the bather from being scratched by the pet when he or she gets agitated or fussy during the bath time.


  • Refrain from cutting the do’s nail short.
  • Take utmost care while trimming the nails as accidents can cause infections or injuries to paws.
  • Take the help of vets or professional to trims nails.

d. Keep all the bathing supplies ready.

The bathing supplies that need to be gathered up include towels, cotton balls, dog shampoos, treats, a bucket of water or shower or detachable hose pipe, and a washcloth or bath sponge.


  • Uncap the shampoo and other bath supplies bottle prior to starting the wash process.
  • Take additional help to calm the nervous dogs.

e. Place cotton balls in the ears of the pooch.

The dog’s ears are prone to infections if the ears get wet. Hence it is recommended to close the ear with cotton balls to keep the ear canal dry.


  • Just secure the cotton balls in the ear so that it doesn’t fall off. Avoid pushing it too far down the ear canal.

f. Remove the dog collar.

For effective cleaning of the neck section, one needs to remove the collars prior to a bath. Predominantly a nylon collar is recommended to use while bathing for some bather who needs a grip to hold on the dog. Leather collars need to be avoided as they are seen to shrink when wet which in turn can cause choking to the pets.

Part 2: Bathing the pet.

The following steps beneath explain the various steps involved in the bathing process

a. Set the right water temperature for the bath.

Like humans, dogs are sensitive to the temperature of water. Warm water is the apt temperature for a pooches bath as cold water is seen to give chills to them and is dangerous for puppies especially.

Note: While bathing a fido in a sink or bathtub the water level needs to be to the dog’s knee.

b. Wet the fido’s body with warm water.

Wet the canine from the back neck. Crosscheck till the coat is saturated as it is seen to take time for thickly coated pets. Refrain from wetting the dog’s face or head as there all chances for the shampoo to sting the eyes more over water can also go to the ears of the pet enhancing the chances of an ear infection.


  • While using a hose or detachable shower head it is always recommended to keep the pressure at normal force as high pressure can startle the canine making him fussy and restless.
  • While using a bucket or pitcher refrain from pouring water on to the head or face of the pooch.
  • Experts recommend using the snap-on sprayer attachment on to the shower head for a more comfortable bathing process.

c. Shampoo application.

Premix shampoo with a small amount of water for better application. This is generally recommended for thickly coated pets to get a uniform lather throughout. This process also helps to examine the canine’s body for any unusual bumps, infections, or sores. For pets with a short coat just pour the shampoo on the coat and massage them into the fur.


  • The best way to massage the pet’s body is to use hands to lather up.
  • To clean the pets face one needs to use a damp cloth or tissue. Refrain from using shampoo on to the facial area.
  • For long hairy canines experts recommend massaging the shampoo in the direction of the hair growth to avoid hair tangling.

d.  Wash the canine’s body.

The shampoo needs to be applied on to the whole body except the facial and head region. Lather up the armpits, groin area, paws, stomach, and tail regions.

Note: Follow the instructions for the sitting time of the shampoo for effective outcomes.

e. Clean the pets facial area.

Gently clean the facial area with a wash or damp cloth to wade off the dust. Avoid using the same cloth on to the ear region as it may cause ear infections. Some dogs develop pimples or red bumps on the chin region medically termed as “furunculosis.” A vet would suggest a disinfectant shampoo or ointment treat this condition.

Note: for canines with folds on the facial area, it is recommended to use the washcloth to clean the fold areas too.

f. Rinse the pet’s body thoroughly.

Rinse the fido’s body completely till no residues of the shampoo is found. This may take several washes for a thickly coated dog. Not rinsing the coat thoroughly is seen to prone the skin to irritation and also cause pH imbalance.

g. Dry the dog post-rinse.

For a quicker drying process, one can make use of a micro-absorbent towel or dryer. The normal towels will also serve the purpose but are tedious. Lay the towel over the dog’s body and pat dry. Avoid rubbing the towel as it is seen to increase the hair matting in long-haired breeds. Be ready for some water splutters as it is a natural instinct of a pet to shake him or herself frequently post a wash.

Note: The hair dryers settings need to be set to low while using it to dry a pet’s hair to avoid burning the pet’s hair or skin.

h. Comb out the canines coat

This step only needs to be followed for shaggy fur or long-haired dogs. Combing out the wet hair will help to alleviate tangles. The use of detangled mists will also ease out the process.

i. Treat the dog.

Treat the dog post every wash as this will motivate him to take a bath and will also aid in making him understand that bathing is fun. Experts recommend treating nervous dogs between the baths for smooth and hassle-free washing time.

Part 3: Dog grooming post a bath.

Grooming the pet post a wash is equally important. The following steps need to be borne in mind.

a. Fido’s ear cleaning.

Post wash primarily remove the cotton balls off the ear and clean the ears to remove excessive wax build up. As excessive wax in the ear increases the chances of an infection or skin irritations.  DIY homemade ear cleaners or readily available ear cleaners will effectively aid to wade off the ear wax build up.


  • Refrain from cleaning a dogs ear with earplugs as it can damage the eardrums if inserted too far in the ear canal.
  • Repeat the cleaning procedure till the cotton balls do not have any wax residues.
  • A vet will be able to guide the ear cleaning procedure for dogs with ingrown hairs in the ear.  
  • Refrain from pouring the ear solution right down the ear of the pet as this is seen to make it fussy.

b. Clear the tear build-up.

Some dogs suffer from excessive tears overflow over the face medically termed as “epiphora.” Wipe away this extra tear flow with a wet sponge or cloth to alleviate skin irritations or bacterial infections. A vet may prescribe tear clear drops, tear stain removal hypoallergic pads or colloidal silver available in the form of drops or spray is recommended to wade off the tear stains.


  • Applying coconut oil beneath the eye on the tear stains is also helpful in controlling irritations and infections.
  • If a dog tends to develop excessive tear stains in a short period of time it is highly recommended to report this to his or her vet.
  • Refrain from using hydrogen peroxide, apple cider vinegar, human eye drops, or makeup removers to wipe off tear stains.

c. Treat the canine one more time.

Post the washing and cleaning procedure it is always a good idea to treat the dog for his or her good behavior. Pet them and play with them to make them feel better.

Good Bathing Habits.

The following section explains about some pointers that every pet parent needs to know about pet bathing.

  • Refrain from washing the pet frequently. Do not bath your dog more than once a month. Frequent washing will wade off the natural oils from the skin and will enhance the chances of irritations and infections making the dog scratch their body often.
  • Brush the dog’s coat often in between baths.
  • For pets with skin disorders consult the vet to know the bath regimen.
  • Accustom the dog to bathing right from five weeks post birth if you bring it as a puppy or for bigger dogs treat them during the washing process or talk to them before bathing them. Dogs are very intelligent to grasp what we talk.
  • Experiment with shampoos and choose the right shampoo that suits the pet’s needs.
  • It is generally not recommended to clean the anal sacs of the canines frequently. A professional who knows the job well needs to perform this. Unhygienic self-cleaning will increase the chances of skin inflammation and infection. A vet’s approval is necessary for anal sac cleaning.

Frequently asked questions

Q. How often to bath a dog?

A. Predominantly experts recommend washing indoor dogs once a month. For outdoor dogs, it depends on how dirty they get. Frequent bathing is not recommended as their skin will be devoid of natural oils and this enhances the chances of skin disorders. For dogs with skin infections or tick or flea attacks, a vet will provide a bath regime.

Q. What temperature should the dog bath be set at?

A. Like humans, canines are also sensitive to elevated temperatures. Hence, it is always advised to keep the water warm for washing and cleaning processes. Hot water will startle the dog making the bathing time fussy.

Q. How to bath dog post flea treatment?

A. Pet bathe post flea treatment needs to follow the normal bathing procedure. But one needs to use dog appropriate, non-stripping shampoos to avoid the removal of flea treatment medications. A vet would prescribe such shampoos that are easily available in the pet stores.

Q. Can pets be washed with human shampoo?

No human shampoos are not recommended for pet baths as they have a higher pH. This will cause skin irritations and infections in the dog’s coat. Dog shampoos, DIY pet shampoos, Or in the worst case baby shampoos can be used to wash canines.

Q. Why pooches hate bathing?

A. Some dogs hate baths because they don’t like the shampoo fragrances. Hence it is always recommended to use pet shampoos on them. Bathing is an uncomfortable experience for them due to many reasons that include slippery surfaces, fear of running water, and a lot of human contacts. Once a dog is accustomed to the bath regimen he or she may feel comfortable or will get adjusted.

Q. Are pet toys allowed in the bathtub or sink?

Yes, pet toys that are non-toxic and water resistant can be placed in the tub or sink.



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Yeshwanthi Kamalraj
Yeshwanthi Kamalraj is a freelance copy editor, Pet sitter, and content writer who mainly focuses on scientific journals and health-related web pages. Before becoming a freelance content writer Yeshwanthi worked for Cenveo publishers as document analyst for various science journals published by Taylor and Francis Journals and later continued as a freelance copyeditor for the same publishers. Post marriage in 2009 Yeshwanthi developed a keen interest in pets after her husband and she brought a labrador puppy home. This interest helped her to explore a new niche of the pet sitting world whose journey is still on. Yeshwanthi is a dog lover who in her freetime enjoys listening to music, cooking, and meeting new people.


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