Pet Shampoo Recipe

Some pups love baths and others hate them, but they all need one from time to time.
Some pups love baths and others hate them, but they all need one from time to time.

Why pay exorbitant sums to purchase shampoo for your pooch when you can make it yourself for pennies an application? These homemade products are simple to create and gentle on your pet's skin and fur. Most of the ingredients are already in your pantry.


Most homemade dog shampoo recipes call for a base of mild liquid dish detergent such as Ivory or Dove. For a dog who has gotten full of mud or oily substances, Dawn or Dial are usually recommended; however, it should be noted that these can be drying to the skin. Adding glycerin to the dog shampoo can combat drying. White or apple cider vinegar are common ingredients used for eliminating the "wet dog" smell.

Specializing the Formula

With such simple ingredients, it is tempting to try to customize the recipe. Essential oils should be avoided unless approved by a veterinarian. As with humans, certain essential oils can have adverse effects on animals. Remember, the shampoo is applied to a dog's skin along with his fur. Aloe Vera can be safely used.

Vinegar Rinse

If using a commercial pet shampoo, add a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar to a pint of warm water to be used as a rinse afterward. Doing so brings the pH of your dog's skin back into balance.

Dog Skunked?

Conventional wisdom says to liberally apply tomato juice to a dog that has gotten the worst end of an encounter with a skunk. What you usually end up with when using this method is a yellowish-red dog that still smells pretty badly. There is another home recipe however, credited to a chemist named Paul Krebaum. His solution is 1 qt. of 3% hydrogen peroxide, ¼ cup baking soda, and 1 tsp.of liquid dish detergent. Mix the ingredients and immediately apply to your smelly pet, avoiding the eyes and ears. Rinse well. This dog shampoo cannot be mixed in advance as the chemical reaction between the peroxide and the baking soda will explode any container in which it is stored.


With the exception of Krebaum's skunk soap, any of these recipes can be stored in an old shampoo bottle. Make sure to rinse it well before storing the new shampoo, and label the bottle as dog shampoo.

Dog Shampoo Recipe

While formulations vary, a traditional recipe is 1/3 cup glycerin, 1 cup liquid dish soap, 1 cup white (or apple cider) vinegar, and 1 qt. of water. Mix well and store in an old shampoo bottle. Before use, shake well to ensure the glycerin is mixed in thoroughly.

Dry Shampoo Recipe

Cats are self-cleaning animals who usually hate water. However, if you need to remove a foul odor from your cat or dog, sprinkle baking soda into the fur. Allow to sit for a few minutes, then brush thoroughly to remove.

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