Dogs are born adventurers, their world brimful of tantalizing aromas, sights and sounds that invite exploration. Truly fun companions, their boundless enthusiasm and joy for life is contagious. Romping through fields, swimming in streams and the occasional roll in something downright stinky makes keeping coats fresh and clean a challenge.
Simple, Economical and Effective Organic Coat Conditioning Rinses
Many dog owners treat their canine pals like members of the family: no furniture or area of the house is off limits. Even if your dog doesn't actually sleep in bed with you, chances are she may sneak a cuddle up against your pillow when you're not home. Guard against parasites, neutralize malodors and minimize dander throughout your home by bathing your beloved friend when necessary with a mild, organic shampoo followed by a simple, economical and effective organic skin and coat conditioner made with readily available ingredients you may already have in your kitchen cupboard.
Apple Cider Vinegar Conditioning Rinse Recipe
For a holistic, one-ingredient coat rinse, dilute one cup of raw, organic apple cider vinegar with enough warm water to yield one gallon. This age-old dog remedy may also be used up to half and half. After shampooing with a mild, organic shampoo, massage the apple cider rinse gently, yet deeply into the coat and skin. Thoroughly rinse after 15 minutes and let your dog dry in a warm place. Apple cider is a natural flea and tick deterrent -- regular use makes the dog unpalatable to these nasty parasites. Apple cider is known to clear the skin of bacterial and fungal infections, and reduces flaking skin and dander. It also leaves a lovely, soft sheen on the coat.
Rosemary Conditioning Rinse Recipe
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Renowned for keeping fleas at bay and a myriad other healthful benefits, organically grown rosemary is the key component in another wonderfully simple, economical and effective conditioning rinse that promotes a soft, glossy coat. To make the rinse, combine one teaspoon of dried rosemary or one tablespoon of fresh with one pint of boiling water. Steep for 10 minutes, covered. Strain and cool to body temperature. After bathing your dog with a mild, organic shampoo, rinse thoroughly. Pour the cooled rosemary rinse over your dog and rub into her coat and skin without further rinsing. Use several towels to blot excess water and let your dog dry in a warm place.
Lemon Rinse Recipe
Organic lemons are the magic ingredient in this natural skin tonic developed by animal herbalist Juliette de Bairacli-Levy. Lemons contain d-limonene, a natural flea-killing substance, and other healing ingredients that offer general skin toning and coat-brightening benefits. It is also used for mange and contains properties that promote overall skin and coat health. To make the lemon rinse, thinly slice a whole lemon, including the peel. Add the lemon slices to a pint of near-boiling water and let it steep overnight. The next morning, sponge the rinse onto your dog's coat and gently massage into her skin. Let your dog and her luxurious new coat dry naturally in a warm place. This natural, healthful rinse may be used daily for parasites, or after every bath.
How Often to Bathe and Condition Your Dog's Coat
Regular bathing and conditioning help keep your dog's coat shiny and fresh, her skin soothed, moisturized and nourished. To determine how often your dog needs a bath depends upon factors such as lifestyle, pH levels, type of coat, environmental conditions, exposure to toxins and chemicals, skin condition and overall wellness. Although organic and all-natural dog-grooming products and homemade herbal and botanical recipes are free of harsh chemicals, irritants, parabens, alcohol, phoshate, salt, dye and preservatives that dry the skin, it is wise to check with a veterinarian or dog-grooming professional for recommendations on frequency.
Bathtime Tips and Techniques
Bathing and conditioning your dog's coat should be a positive experience for both of you. Avoid pouring any rinse onto her head, and always avoid the eyes and ears whether shampooing or rinsing, even if the shampoo label states it's safe to use around the eyes. Look for U.S.A. certifed-organic ingredients if you are making your own homemade rinses or shampoos. If you are buying a commercial rinse, choose one made with organic, all-natural ingredients. Do not use apple cider vinegar conditioning rinse if your dog has broken, irritated skin or open wounds. In this case, it's wise to check with your veterinarian before using any natural or commercial conditioning rinse.
Super absorbent bath sheets and slip-free flooring is mandatory for smooth execution of this often unwelcome, always messy event. Bathtime is best performed outdoors, when possible. If your dog takes a definite dislike to bathtime, at least it should be tolerable. Never lose patience. Bribes like dehydrated liver tidbits make a good impression, and remember that a clean dog feels comfortable and looks and smells beautiful.
- Whole Dog Journal: Apple Cider Vinegar - A Holistic Remedy for Dogs
- Dr. Pitcairn's Complete Guide to Natural Health for Dogs & Cats; Richard H. Pitcairn, DVM, PhD and Susan Hubble Pitcairn; 2005
- Me Vs. the House: Make Your Own Dog Conditioner
- Dr. Mercola Healthy Pets: Peppermint Conditioner
Based in Ontario, Susan Dorling has written professionally since 2000, with hundreds of articles published in a variety of popular online venues. Writing on a diverse range of topics, she reflects her passion for business, interior design, home decorating, style, fashion and pets.