How to Make Natural Dog Shampoo

Pet Bath

There are many more reasons other than scary ingredients to consider making your dog’s shampoo at home.

For example, your dog may have sensitive skin and needs the mildest, non-irritating shampoo possible. Or, maybe your dog has had a bout with fleas lately and you’d like to get rid of those darned parasites without harsh chemicals.

Perhaps, you just love your dog so much you want everything about her life to be as pure, clean, and healthy as possible.

Another great reason is the environment. You can make sure that you use only organic ingredients and avoid environmentally damaging additives like palm oil or nano-particles.

Whatever your personal reasons, we hope you enjoy these suggestions for healthy, homemade dog shampoo recipes that you and your dog will love!

Of course, for many of us, saving some money is another great reason for mixing up your own batch of dog shampoo.

Choosing Your Dog Shampoo Ingredients

When you have bought commercial dog shampoo in the past, you may have noticed how the label usually indicated the pH of that shampoo.

Of course, when you are making your own dog shampoo, you are on your own.

So, the goal when making dog shampoo homemade is to balance out alkaline and acidic ingredients. With this, the shampoo pH will do its job without causing harm. Don’t forget, as mentioned in the previous section, a bit too alkaline is okay, but too acidic is not.

Your goal should be to arrive at a near-neutral pH to ensure there won’t be any pH “surprises” in store for you and your dog on bath day.

Homemade Dog Shampoo Recipe

There are many possible recipes for making effective dog shampoos. For example, as a good starter recipe, this basic, no-frills dog shampoo recipe from PetCareRX will give you a pH-neutral base to work with.

All you will need for this recipe is an unscented liquid soap, hot water, vinegar (white or apple cider – you choose), and an empty bottle to store it in!

Just one important note: use caution when shampooing your dog to avoid contact with his eyes – the vinegar can sting!

Handily, we have more than just wet doggie shampoo recipes. Dry dog shampoo can be a great way to freshen up your pooch without the hassle of getting wet.

How to Make DIY Dog Shampoo

Combine ingredients in a plastic bottle, shake them together and use them to wash your dog. Wet dog with warm water, apply shampoo and massage, then rinse well (as you should with all dog shampoos). This recipe makes enough to wash our 70 lb dog several times.

Warnings Patch test this wash on one small part of your dog to check for allergic reactions. Your dog will smell slightly vinegary after his or her bath but will smell like nothing (but a clean dog) when dry. Vinegar is a natural deodorizer.

Shampoo Recipe

In a large spray bottle, combine 2 cups of warm water with 1/2 cup of white vinegar. Add in 1/4 cup of Dawn dish detergent — preferably lavender scented, although the classic variety will also work. Gently shake the mixture until bubbles form, then allow the bubbles to recede.

Wet your dog’s coat with warm water. If you’re using the baking soda paste, apply it all over your dog’s coat.


Spray your dog with the homemade shampoo mixture all over his body and use your fingers to create a thick lather. Work the shampoo gently down to his skin to thoroughly cleanse him. Take care not to get the shampoo mixture into your dog’s eyes as it will sting.

Rinse the dog with warm water until all of the soap is gone, then brush or groom him as necessary.

A homemade dog shampoo if your dog has dry skin

You can easily make a DIY dog shampoo for dogs with dry skin, too. 

If you bathe your dog more frequently, or if your dog tends to have sensitive, itchy or dry skin, you might want to try a homemade dog shampoo that will bring some degree of relief. Adding ingredients such as aloe vera gel or glycerine can help relieve itchy and dry skin. Glycerine is a sugar-based, water-soluble alcohol compound, much less frequently found around the house than vinegar or baking soda, but can easily be found in drug stores, pharmacies, and online.

A typical recipe for homemade dog shampoo for dogs with sensitive skin involves:

1 quart of water

1 cup of liquid castile soap, like Dr. Bonner’s

1 cup of white vinegar or apple cider vinegar

1/3 cup of glycerine

2 tablespoons of aloe vera gel

This homemade dog shampoo recipe’s addition of glycerine and aloe vera provides soothing elements for dogs with sensitive or dry skin.

Wash up!

Use shampoo monthly during flea season to deter fleas. Work shampoo into wet fur into a lather and give the puppy a good scrub. Rinse well and towel dry pooch.

If your pampered pooch does get fleas, then follow the shampoo with an apple cider rinse. Apply apple cider vinegar liberally all over the fur and skin and massage in. Rinse well with warm water and repeat if needed.

Is there any preparation required before bathing my pet?

It’s important to brush and de-mat your pet’s coat before a bath. The brushing helps to remove loose hair from their coat and loosen any caked-on dirt.

Removing a mat when it is dry is much easier than when it becomes wet, or worse after it gets wet and re-dries following a bath. If you wish, it’s also a good idea to put ophthalmic ointment in your pet’s eyes and cotton balls in their ears to help protect, and keep out water.


Grooming your dog is an essential part of his daily care, whether it’s checking him over, cleaning his ears or eyes, brushing or bathing him.

Regular brushing prevents knots, aids circulation, and contributes to temperature regulation.

Bathing keeps coats clean and reduces dander.

The dog shampoo market can be a bit of a minefield with them often containing chemicals that can contribute to ill-health, for that reason we have put together these DIY homemade dog shampoo recipes.

As always, be mindful of the ingredients, and if you are unsure whether to use them on your dog, speak with your veterinarian.

Have a recipe you want to share? Let us know in the comments below.

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