The Best Soap-Free Shampoos for Dogs

by Ann Compton
Give Rover a natural bath with soap-free shampoo.

Give Rover a natural bath with soap-free shampoo.

Chris Amaral/Photodisc/Getty Images

Whether your pooch has sensitive skin or you just want to use earth-friendly, green products for your dog's health, a soap-free shampoo offers a good alternative for bathing. Some dog breeds are prone to sensitive skin, and others suffer from allergies. A soap-free shampoo will help soothe itching and keep your pal clean at the same time.

Read the Label

Pet stores abound with so many shampoos that it's tough to choose. If you're in the market for a dog shampoo that doesn't include soap, read the ingredients. The label doesn't always tell the story. Avoid commercial shampoos with polyethylene glycol, a petroleum used as a base for cosmetics that can be an irritant; sodium lauryl sulfate and sodium laureth sulfate, both detergents frequently found in canine shampoos. Shop for canine shampoo that is free of dyes, coloring, fragrance or preservatives.

Search the Shelves

Commercial dog shampoos without soap can be found. They may be made with oatmeal, coconut, essential oils or aloe vera. Colloidal oatmeal is finely ground oatmeal frequently found in bath products. It is recommended for skin irritations such as eczema or allergies, and excellent for pets with sensitive skin. Look for commercial shampoos labeled "organic" or "natural," but always check the ingredients to be sure the product does not contain soap. Shop for shampoo with biodegradable ingredients to be sure it's natural.

Make Your Own

Make your dog's soap-free shampoo at home to save money and be sure the ingredients are pure. Mix equal amounts of oatmeal ground to a powder in your food processor and baking soda with enough warm water to form a paste. Add a few drops of aloe vera and tea tree or lavender oil. Dilute enough to apply the mixture easily to your dog; massage down to his skin and rinse well.

Avoid Human Shampoo

Never use human shampoos on your dog. The difference in pH can harm your pet's skin and coat. Human shampoo is more drying than products formulated for dogs. Human skin is more acidic than canine, which is more alkaline. The use of human shampoo on your dog's skin can irritate it, even if it's soap-free.

Photo Credits

  • Chris Amaral/Photodisc/Getty Images

About the Author

With more than 25 years in journalism, Ann Compton has written for national newspapers, magazines and websites. She has covered the equestrian events in five Olympics as well as the Westminster Dog Show and specializes in animal topics. She breeds, trains and shows Shetland Sheepdogs.

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