You knew it had to happen sometime. Your dog took a roll in the mud -- or worse, in something gloriously stinky. They need a bath, stat, but the pet store is closed. You might ask yourself, what can I use to wash my dog if I don't have dog shampoo?
Turns out, there are quite a few things you can use. And most of them are probably in your kitchen already.
Why Bathe Your Dog?
Unlike people, dogs don't need to bathe regularly. In fact, bathing them too often can lead to problems.
But everyone needs a bath sometimes, and that includes your dog.
How often should you bathe your dog?
Barring a roll in the mud, experts recommend restricting baths to a few times a year.
Bathing your dog too often can cause dry skin. This, in turn, can lead to dandruff and itchiness. It can also make your dog more susceptible to fungal and bacterial infections.
But there are good reasons to pop your pooch in the tub.
We're glad you asked.
Because they’re dirty
If your dog is too dirty to be in the house, it's fine to give them a bath.
Because they’re smelly
Dogs don't mind their own smell, but sometimes it can be a bit much for human noses. If your pup is a stinkpot, it's time for a bath.
Because they’re itchy
A bath can ease the discomfort of some skin conditions and allergic reactions.
Because they have fleas
If your dog has parasites, you need to get rid of them fast. The right kind of bath can kill fleas and ease your dog's discomfort.
But don't use human shampoo
Dogs' skin has an acidic layer that protects them from bacterial and fungal infections. Human shampoo can disrupt that layer. As a result, your dog will be vulnerable to different kinds of skin infections.
So don't use it.
But What Can I Use to Wash My Dog if I Don't Have Dog Shampoo?
You don't have to have special dog shampoo to keep your dog clean and fresh. In fact, you probably don't have to go any further than your kitchen cupboards.
But what you will use depends on why you want to bathe your dog.
To make a cleansing dog shampoo, dilute your castile soap in water according to the instructions, shampoo your dog, and rinse.
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Apple cider or white vinegar
- Contains 3X more grease-cleaning power (cleaning ingredients per drop vs. the leading competitor's non-concentrated brand)
- Concentrated formula helps you get through more dishes with less dishwashing liquid
- Original Scent
Vinegar is another kitchen staple with a multitude of uses. You can make a quick dog shampoo using two parts water to one part vinegar and one part non-toxic dishwashing liquid (note: not the kind that goes in the dishwasher!)
Lemon juice is another non-toxic, natural ingredient that you can use to bathe your dog.Simply add one part lemon juice and one part non-toxic dishwashing liquid to four parts of warm water.
A word of caution, though: both lemon juice and vinegar are highly acidic, so keep them away from your pet's eyes.
To remove bad smells
Even if your dog doesn't look dirty, sometimes that doggy smell can be overwhelming. What can I use to wash my dog if I don't have dog shampoo? You might ask.
Check this out.
Baking soda and cornstarch
Baking soda absorbs odors in your refrigerator and makes a great carpet cleaner, too. And guess what? It's also good for deodorizing your dog.
You can make a dry shampoo from equal parts baking soda and cornstarch. It's nontoxic, absorbs odors, and combs right out.
As a bonus, you can easily sweep or vacuum it up when you're done.
To ease itchy skin
Eczema is one exception to the infrequent-bathing rule. In this case, regular bathing can help to ease your dog's discomfort.
Especially if you use the magic ingredient.
"Colloidal" simply means "ground to a powder." And colloidal oatmeal is an itchy dog's best friend.
Non-toxic, natural, and so pure you can eat it for breakfast -- colloidal oatmeal is an ingredient in many lotions, soaps, and shampoos.
But you can easily make your own.
Simply use a coffee grinder or food processor to grind whole oats to a powder. Add one part of colloidal oatmeal to four parts of water, and rub it through your dog's coat and into their skin. Let it sit for five minutes, then rinse.
To kill fleas
- 2X FLEA KILLING EFFECTIVENESS not only kills fleas, flea larva, flea eggs, and ticks on contact but cleans and deodorizes your dog's coat
- VET'S BEST FLEA & TICK ADVANCED STRENGTH SHAMPOO does not contain harsh chemicals, but rather 100% certified natural essential oils and plant-based ingredients that provide a safe and fast acting formula for flea and tick removal and prevention
- NO ADDED FRAGRANCE - Made with 100% certified natural essential oils the Vet's Best Flea & Tick Shampoo has a rosemary and peppermint scent that is easy to lather & rinse.
Fleas are the bane of every pet-owning household. Flea-killing shampoo can help. But what if you don't have any on hand?
You can make your own with dish soap.
Believe it or not: dishwashing liquid
Dishwashing liquid -- the kind you use to hand-wash dishes -- is a powerful yet gentle flea-killer.
How does it work?
The surfactants in the soap break down fleas' exoskeletons, causing death within minutes.
Please note that, while this will kill your dog's fleas, it won't keep fleas from coming back. So treat your carpets and furniture as well, and repeat the process if necessary.
What is that process, though?
First, fill a basin with warm water. Next, bring your dog to the basin, and wet them thoroughly. Now apply your dish soap. Work up a lather, and let it sit for at least two minutes. Now rinse.
Be careful not to get any water into your dog's ears, as this may lead to an ear infection.
What Can I Use to Wash My Dog if I Don't Have Dog Shampoo?
There are lots of products on the market to get your dog clean, sweet-smelling, and flea-free. But there are plenty of ordinary ingredients that will get the job done, too. And you probably have most of them in your pantry already.
Do you have a dog shampoo recipe that you swear by? Tell us about it!