A Guide to Natural Dog Shampoo

Keeping your pet clean helps maintain their coat’s shine and reduces allergens on their fur. It provides regular exfoliation for their skin and keeps it moisturized, preventing itching and irritation. The shampoo we use to clean dogs’ coats plays a significant role in their comfort during and after washes. Today, many consumers prefer all-natural formulations that offer gentle cleansing.
What is Natural Dog Shampoo Made Of?
Natural pet shampoo contains no synthetic ingredients. That means the manufacturers do not include parabens, sulfates, artificial preservatives, fragrances, or colorings in their formulation. Instead, they rely on ingredients of plant origin, including natural preservatives like grapefruit or rosemary extract. These ingredients have antimicrobial properties.
Natural shampoos often rely on aloe vera, shea butter, and other oil-based ingredients for moisturization. Sometimes, they may contain functional additives to help balance the pH of your dog’s skin alongside gentle essential oil fragrances.
Natural vs Organic Dog Shampoo
Many people use the terms “natural” and “organic” interchangeably. However, they are not the same thing. Natural pet shampoos can include any natural ingredients, while organic products must meet strict requirements and undergo various tests and inspections set out by the USDA. Unlike organic shampoo manufacturers, “natural” shampoo brands do not have to prove that their ingredients come from farms that avoid chemical pesticides.
The biggest reason people choose natural and organic pet shampoos is to protect their pets’ safety. Often, consumers do not know the origins of synthetic ingredients and whether their producers have animals’ best interests at heart. Choosing a shampoo made from familiar ingredients ensures that should any of them penetrate the dog’s skin; they will not cause an adverse reaction.
Essential Oils in Dog Shampoo
Essential oils are extracted from plants, typically undergoing steam distillation to create highly concentrated fragrances. They are 100% natural and feature in many organic dog shampoos. They function as fragrancing ingredients and provide moisture to nourish the animal’s skin. Some essential oils, such as a low-percentage tea tree, are natural insect repellents that protect dogs from ticks and fleas.
Essential oils also have many homeopathic uses since they contain terpenes that activate sensory responses. Since dogs have more scent receptors than humans, they are very responsive to aromatherapy.
Some of the most popular essential oils for dog shampoos are:

  • Lavender – promotes restful sleep and helps soothe nervous dogs.
  • Chamomile – has a calming effect that may reduce hyperactivity.
  • Jasmine – activates the GABA receptors in the brain to ease anxiety.
  • Cedarwood – naturally antibacterial and anti-inflammatory to guard against infections.
  • Neem oil – moisturizing and anti-inflammatory to soothe irritated skin.

Are Essential Oils Safe for Dogs?
Essential oils are natural ingredients and are generally considered safe for dogs. Many natural shampoo brands use them as fragrances with added homeopathic benefits. However, essential oils are highly concentrated; you should always dilute them and never allow your pet to ingest them.
If you notice any skin irritation after using an essential oil-based shampoo on your dog, stop using it immediately and visit the vet should the symptoms continue. Never diffuse essential oils in your home if you have a cat. They are highly toxic to felines, who are more susceptible to ingestion because they groom themselves regularly.
It is advisable to avoid the following essential oils for dogs: citrus, peppermint, oil of cinnamon, pennyroyal, sweet birch, wintergreen, pine, and ylang ylang. Tea tree is one of dog shampoo’s staple ingredients, but only at a very low percentage of 0.1 to 1%.
Explore Pet-Safe Fragrance Additives
The best natural dog shampoos contain high-quality, plant-based ingredients that cleanse and moisturize the skin. For fragrance, low quantities of diluted essential oils are perfectly safe for dogs. Explore our premium essential oils range or contact us to find the perfect scent for your pet products.