It seems like giving your dog a wash would be as simple as… Well, washing your dog. Doesn’t it? But, surprisingly it’s not. While the process of scrubbing down and rinsing your dog is easy, there’s one key question to ask. Is your dog shampoo safe? You’d be surprised what is in most dog shampoos. Also, we give you a few options to try that meet our criteria for a safe dog shampoo.
What Makes for an Unsafe Dog Shampoo?
While it may be cute to pour out the colorful shampoos, you do not want to use these. Is your dog shampoo safe? Not if it has artificial colors in it! Why? Petroleum. Which is very dangerous and research shows it can cause cancer, organ issues, and birth defects in pregnant dogs.
Cocamide or Cocamide TEA
Almost the same product, both are carcinogenic and cause toxicity to organs, including reproductive organs. They also contaminate water… So, using a product with either of these ingredients is very bad for the environment.
This ingredient does not allow your dog’s body to release moisture. It’s marketed as increasing moisture… But, your dog has to eliminate toxins through its moisture.
This ingredient has been linked to cancer due to how it interacts with estrogen. Recent studies also indicate that it can cause reproductive issues in animals (and humans).
Phthalates or Fragrance or Artificial Fragrance
These can cause problems with your dog’s endocrine system. Which is due to how they disrupt hormones. Phthalates are used to merge fragrances with other ingredients. Anything with the word artificial on it is clearly an indicator that a dog shampoo is unsafe.
This is a marketing term intended to make an ingredient appear unique. However, you will never know what’s in a product with this type of label. Is your dog shampoo safe? It is when you demand transparency in labeling.
SD Alcohol 40 or Isopropyl or SD-40
This ingredient is incredibly drying to your dog’s coat. As well as his/her skin. Additionally, this is a carrier-type of ingredient that makes other non-safe items easily absorbed.
There’s no other way to say it. But if any one of these: Diazolidinyl Urea, DMDM or DHDH, hydantoin, Imidazolidinyl Urea, Quaternium, Bronopol, or hydroxymethylglycinate is found on a dog label, do not use it. These are just funky ways of informing you that formaldehyde is in the product. Also, if you can’t pronounce it (e.g. isothiazolinone, propylene, polyethylene, etc.,) or heard the name prior, like in a college chemistry class (e.g. glycol, lanolin, sulfates, etc.,) – forget about it!
Is Your Dog Shampoo Safe?
It is if you can pronounce the ingredients, and the ingredient list is small. Also, you will want to make sure of the following:
- USDA certified organic
- All-natural ingredients (that you can pronounce)
- Free of GMOs, pesticides, herbicides, artificial color and fragrance
- No animal testing
- Vegan (why wouldn’t it be, but you’d be surprised)
Why Should You Be Concerned?
This is the key question! In the United States, there is a 50% chance that a dog will be diagnosed with cancer in his or her lifetime. This is a relatively new phenomenon in dogs. This is why researchers attribute the rise of cancer in dogs to environmental toxins.
Whatever we can do to minimize our dog’s exposure to toxins is a must!
What Is Green Marketing?
When you see the word “natural” and in some cases “organic” on a product you think they’re safe. Right? In many cases it’s marketing. USDA organic means it is verified. If it doesn’t have the USDA acronym, it is not certified organic. Also, natural can mean anything.
How Will You Know If An Ingredient Is Safe?
Another great question! We found an online database that indicates the safety of ingredients most often found in popular dog shampoos. Make sure to check it out here. In a nutshell, to know if your dog shampoo is safe you must read labels.
Dog Shampoos We Recommend
Believe it or not, there are a few excellent dog shampoos on the market. 4 Legger meets our criteria for a safe dog shampoo. 4 Legger was developed by a woman (Melissa Boland) who developed cancer at the same time her dog did. Boland conducted a lot of research, and her 4 Legger product is highly recommended by veterinarians.
BotaniVet also makes a great dog shampoo that fits the bill. Plus, they add manuka honey! This type of honey is antibacterial and antifungal and promotes healthy skin as well as wound healing.
Another dog shampoo we love is Bodhi Dog. This one is great for dry, itchy skin. Also, Bodhi Dog uses locally sourced and sustainable ingredients. They also offer a 100% money back guarantee on their organic shampoo.
I can only imagine that if your dog knew what you were reading, s/he’d be running out the door. Once we make the connection that the skin is the largest organ our dogs have – we knew we had to look into the question: is your dog shampoo safe? With the answers we provided, as well as the recommendations we offered, it’s time to brush your dog and start the bath water!