Bathing your dog is an essential part of your regular in-home dog grooming routine. To get rid of fleas, you'll need a good quality dog shampoo. Many owners choose to avoid commercial brands and instead make their own homemade flea shampoo for dogs.
But do homemade flea shampoos for dogs work as well as store-bought brands, and what ingredients go into them? How easy it is to make your own homemade dog flea shampoo and what you need for that?
It's hardly a surprise for most of us dog owners that some brands of dog shampoos have substances in them that are harmful and even toxic to dogs. Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM, a subsidiary of FDA, has issued reports and warnings for pet owners on the toxicity of some pet shampoo brands several times before.
On top of that, we've seen several studies from U.S. Centers of Disease Control (CDC) on the illnesses associated with the use of certain dog flea shampoos. The main issue are substances called pyrethrins, which are often included in poor-quality dog flea shampoos and are dangerous to dogs.
To avoid any problems, you need to either pick a high quality tested dog shampoo or make your own homemade flea shampoo for dogs.
How to Make a Homemade Flea Shampoo for Dogs?
There are many dog breeds that have sensitive skin and the harsh chemicals in store bought dog shampoo brands may irritate it. You can find hundreds of different recipes for homemade flea shampoo for dogs on the internet.
From what I see, a lot of those homemade dog shampoo “recipes” include ingredients that won't harm the dog but they also include the stuff that is completely unnecessary.
Here's the reality: making your own homemade dog flea shampoo is very simple, and it needs very few ingredients. There's no need to include some of the crazy ingredients certain “recipes” suggest, since there's no proof those ingredients help in any way.
The least complicated way to make your own homemade flea shampoo for dogs is by using a clear antibacterial soap and white distilled vinegar. All you have to do is mix this in equal parts and use it to clean your pet. DONE!
You can get a big jug of cheapest antibacterial soup and vinegar, and use those for several years for washing your pet. This brand of antibacterial soup works well and is very cost-effective. For white distilled vinegar, my favorite brand is this one. Both of them will last you for years.
Some homemade dog shampoo recipes I've seen online before also call for dish soap or glycerin to be added, but they aren't necessary at all. You can add them but that's just an unnecessary expense.
- Olive oil
- Coconut oil
- Castor oil
- Jojoba oil
- Shea butter
- Cocoa butter
If you prefer a homemade flea shampoo for dogs that smells better than just plain soap and vinegar, you can also add essential oils or butters to enhance the smell. Lavender and chamomile are common scents, but you can add any fragrance that you like. I previously used this brand of essential oils, but I haven't used it in a long time.
According to the article you see below, certain essential oils can be used to treat common dog skin conditions as well. Chamomile is anti-inflammatory and lavender is soothing for dogs with irritated skin, so they have added benefits besides just enhancing the smell.
Likewise, if your pet has sensitive skin, you can also make a homemade oatmeal shampoo for dogs that will help to soothe dryness and itchiness. These homemade shampoo recipes typically call for oatmeal, baking soda, and water. Again, very simple and easy to make. You can add essential oils or butters to these shampoos as well.
Many dog owners making their own homemade flea shampoo for dogs also love adding peppermint extract to the recipe. It appears that fleas don't like the smell of lavender or peppermint, so they both work well to keep them away. This brand of peppermint extract seems to be very popular among pet owners, but I have never used it myself.
Vinegar and dish-washing liquid in your homemade flea shampoo for dogs may be good at driving away fleas, but I haven't seen any proof of that. Other pet owners told me that using those ingredients helped their dog's flea case. It's anecdotal, so take it with a grain of salt.
Take Home Message
Combining ingredients for creating your own homemade flea shampoo for dogs is arguably the best way if your dog's health is of concern as well as the cost that goes into it.
If you have a few extra dollars to spare, then you don't need to go through the hassle. There's plenty of high quality shampoos for dogs that are completely safe to use, but they do cost a little extra.
Dog owners that make their own safe, natural and healthy homemade flea shampoo for dogs usually love the idea of something “homemade.” These owners, myself included, are often the ones to take on other DIY projects, and make their own homemade food, beds, houses, toys and other items for dogs.
For more tips and advice on making your own dog shampoo, ask your pet groomer or even your veterinarian. Most dog experts are very aware of the toxins in certain dog products and will usually have some great ideas on how you can make the best choice for your pooch.