Recipe for a Natural Dog Shampoo That Won't Strip Natural Oils

Washing your dog with this homemade shampoo won't strip his fur's natural oils.
i Martin Poole/Digital Vision/Getty Images

Natural dog shampoos often are expensive, so making your own can help your budget. The combination of gentle, natural ingredients in this homemade dog shampoo will leave your pup with a shiny, healthy coat, moisturized skin and a great smell -- and it won't strip natural oils from his fur.

Castile Soap

Made from olive oil, Castile soap is an all-natural, vegetable-based soap that is gentle and moisturizing. It is an excellent ingredient for a gentle, homemade dog shampoo. Castile soap comes in both liquid and solid forms. It can be used alone in its solid form with water to bathe dogs, or in its liquid form, which you can combine with other natural ingredients to create an all-natural pet shampoo.

Castile soap can be purchased online or in many health food stores. It is relatively inexpensive, and can be used as an all-natural shampoo or soap for humans as well.


White vinegar or apple cider vinegar is a natural ingredient that can be added to homemade dog shampoo. It has antibacterial properties and also serves as a deodorant. While vinegar smells pungent, its odor does not linger once it has been washed off your dog. Vinegar will also help to keep your dog's coat shiny.

Vegetable Glycerin

Vegetable glycerin helps to keep your dog's coat and skin moisturized while the soap does its job. The glycerin both prevents stripping of the oil from your dog's fur, and replaces natural oils if necessary, leaving the coat clean, soft, shiny and healthy. Vegetable glycerin is available in health stores, and it can also be found in the baking and soap-making sections of craft or hobby stores.

Essential Oils

Certain essential oils leave your dog feeling refreshed and smelling like a million bucks. Use them to tailor your dog's shampoo to your liking. Choose from orange, lemon, lavender and rose oils, and add just three or four drops to the shampoo mixture. Lavender essential oil helps to prevent flea infestations, so adding it to your shampoo recipe provides a bonus for your pet.

Exercise caution when you use essential oils. Some, such as pennyroyal and tea tree, can be hazardous to your pet. It's a good idea to consult with your veterinarian about safe and unsafe essential oils before you select one for your pet's shampoo.

The Recipe

Use a funnel to pour 1/2 cup of liquid Castile soap into a small, lidded bottle. Add 1/4 cup of either white or apple cider vinegar, one tablespoon of vegetable glycerin or olive oil, and two tablespoons of water. You can add three or four drops of essential oils if you choose. Shake the bottle gently to mix the ingredients. The soap will hold the ingredients together, but gently shake the shampoo before each use to ensure it is properly mixed.

Directions for Use

Wet your canine pal with warm water. Lather the shampoo gently through his fur down to his skin. Take special care to avoid his eyes, as the mixture will sting them. Rinse thoroughly to remove all traces of the shampoo. Groom your buddy as needed.

the nest