Homemade Dog Shampoo Guide

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Dog owners everywhere love to give their pups the best of the best when it comes to care and maintenance. Keeping our beloved pooches safe, healthy, and well-cared for is our aim, and this includes keeping them clean.

A clean dog is a happy dog – and a happy dog makes for a happy owner.

DIY dog shampoo

But, the thing is, there are so many chemical-filled products out there designed for our dogs, which are, frankly, filled with an intimidating list of ingredients.

Owners that use holistic methods – where they can enjoy a bit of DIY, save a pretty penny, and help their dogs with sensitive skin – may think that homemade dog shampoo is a step in the right direction.  And it is!

To be perfectly honest, there are many DIY dog shampoos out there that are safe to use on your dog.

Word of Warning on DIY Dog Shampoo

Of course, there are instances where medicated shampoos are the right choice, such as if you are dealing with a large flea infestation or if your poor pooch has a skin condition.

It is always best to consult your vet if you want to stick with holistic methods, or if your dog shows any distressing signs in response to a homemade shampoo.

Allergies can spring up from anything! These symptoms include labored breathing, excessive drooling, hair loss, dizziness, or rashes.

Also, human shampoos and soaps can’t be used on dogs. Our skins have different tolerances for acidity; while we can douse ourselves in human shampoo without reactions, your dog’s skin will be irritated.

So, if you want to discover some of the most widely used homemade dog shampoos around, then read on!

Homemade Dog Shampoo

Dogs love to roll around in the dirt and make a general mess of themselves. If your dog is particularly crafty and manages to find every mud puddle after a rainstorm, the cost of buying bottles and bottles of dog shampoo can quickly add up.

Fortunately, there are plenty of basic DIY dog shampoo recipes that cut down on costs and still get the job done.

You may also find it worthwhile investing in some dry dog shampoo for a quick spritz!

Three Ingredients

This recipe is great for anyone that can’t run out of the house for dog shampoo at the drop of a hat.

Using three ingredients found in almost every kitchen pantry, you can whip up a potion that will cut through grease and dirt, wash away unpleasant smells, and repel any fleas thinking about settling in.


  • 2 cups of warm water.
  • ¼ cup of non-toxic dish soap.
  • ½ cup of white vinegar.

Mix all of these ingredients together into a spray bottle and shake thoroughly. You may need to repeat this every instance you use it, in case the liquids have separated.

Dampen your dog’s fur and then spray the desired amount upon them, being careful to avoid the eyes.

Lather the mixture in and rinse thoroughly. It is important to triple-check that you have washed all of this shampoo out!

DIY Dog Shampoo for Dry Skin

Most owners will have to deal with a skin-problem at some point in their dog’s lives.

Dry skin isn’t all that uncommon, and there are a number of homemade shampoos you can mix up in your kitchen – although the bulk of these requires a trip to the pharmacy.

homemade flea shampoo

If your dog’s dry skin shows no improvement after two baths with these shampoos, you may need to consult with your vet about medicated versions.

Aloe Vera Shampoo

While Aloe Vera can cause upset stomachs in dogs when ingested, this plant has skin-soothing properties – as anyone that has been sunburned will know!

Creating an Aloe Vera shampoo can be a good way to soothe dry or irritated skin.


  • 4 cups of water.
  • 1 cup of white or apple cider vinegar.
  • 1/3 cup of glycerin.
  • 1 cup of non-toxic dish soap.
  • 2 tablespoons of Aloe Vera gel.

Mix everything together in an empty spray bottle and shake it up. Dampen your dog’s fur. Spray an even coating of the shampoo all over your dog, avoiding the eyes and mouth.

Paying particular attention to dry patches of skin, work the soap into a lather. You should really dig your fingers in, and massage the Aloe Vera shampoo into your dog’s skin.

Rinse the shampoo out thoroughly.

Oatmeal Shampoo

Oatmeal shampoo is a common method for calming skin irritations and also adds a healthy lustre to a dog’s coat.

Although it’s not as capable of stripping away bad smells as other homemade shampoos created with soaps or vinegar, oatmeal shampoos can help keep that doggy smell on the low.

There are a variety of ready-made oatmeal shampoos available at pet supply stores or vet practices; however, here is a DIY recipe if you want to make it yourself!


  • 1 cup of uncooked oatmeal.
  • ½ cup of baking soda.
  • 4 cups of warm water.

Measure out a cup of uncooked oatmeal into a food processor and grind it into a fine flour. Mix this oatmeal flour together with the baking soda, and then add the warm water; it must be warm enough to bring the oatmeal to life.

Soak your dog in warm water and work the oatmeal shampoo into their fur, paying attention to any areas of skin that are dry or irritated – but avoid open sores.

If your pooch allows it, it is best to let this shampoo sit for five minutes before rinsing.

Homemade Flea Shampoo

Homemade flea shampoo for dogs is not an end-all-be-all holistic replacement for flea populations.

If your home and dog are already infested, then you will need medicated treatments to successfully kill the fleas and their eggs. However, there are DIY flea shampoos that you can use to prevent fleas from nesting.

Here are a few different shampoos that you can whip up that will help prevent flea infestations from starting.

Apple Cider Shampoo

The ‘Three Ingredients’ shampoo at the top of this article works as a flea-repelling shampoo as well. However, an apple cider vinegar shampoo uses no soap, so to speak, meaning that you can leave remnants of the vinegar wash to dry in your dog’s fur.

This may seem strange, but the vinegar works stronger this way – and you can’t let dish soap dry into your dog’s fur, as it will cause irritation to their skin.


  • Apple cider vinegar.
  • Water.

This is the simplest homemade flea-repelling shampoo that you can possibly make. Aim for a 1:1 ratio of water and apple cider vinegar, and you should increase the amount of water if your dog struggles to adjust to the aroma.

Soak your dog in this solution, rinsing the majority of it away.

Apple cider shampoo has no soap, so it won’t lather up as you work it in, but its anti-bacterial properties will kill off a lot of the filth that does produce unpleasant stenches.

Keep in mind that it is the powerful scent of the vinegar that repels fleas.

Lavender Shampoo

Lavender is useful for its flea (and mosquito) repelling properties. It is also a calming scent that helps pooches with anxiety or hyperactivity disorders. Plus, lavender smells wonderful to humans!

homemade flea shampoo for dogs

The key with homemade shampoos using essential oils is that less is more, and a diluting agent must be used with any essential oil.

These are extremely concentrated solutions, which will cause respiratory distress and skin irritations if applied directly to the skin before they’re diluted.

Water is not a diluting agent; you must use an emulsifying carrier or another oil, with some examples being coconut oil, olive oil, and Aloe Vera gel.

This shampoo is wonderful for cleaning your dog, giving them a lovely smell that will help them stay calm, while also repelling fleas!


  • 1 ¼ cup of warm water.
  • 4 tablespoons of Aloe Vera gel.
  • 1 tablespoon of Castile soap.
  • 2 drops of lavender essential oil.

Mix the lavender oil in with the Aloe Vera gel thoroughly. Combine with other ingredients in a spray bottle and shake it up.

Soak your dog’s fur and spray the desired amount of shampoo onto your pooch, being extra careful to avoid the eyes, nose, ears, and genitals. Work into a lather and rinse thoroughly.

Note: It is best to not use any homemade shampoos that include essential oils on pregnant or nursing dogs. This also includes puppies and old dogs.

Lemon Shampoo

Lemons have a wonderful scent that can cover up that doggy smell, as well as repel fleas all in one go!

It’s easiest to make a large batch of this shampoo, due to the number of lemons you need, and store it for use. This shampoo is particularly good for when your dog needs frequent bathing.

Lemons are cheap, especially when they are in season, and you can adjust the strength of the lemon by reducing or increasing the ratio of water to lemon juice.

Remember that lemon is acidic, and a solution that’s too strong can irritate your dog’s skin.


  • ½ cup of fresh lemon juice.
  • 1 ½ cups of warm water.
  • ¼ cup of Castile soap.

Juice as many lemons as needed for the shampoo, strain out the pulp and seeds, and then combine this with the water. Once mixed, add in the soap and mix thoroughly.

Get your pooch good and wet, pour out the desired amount of shampoo, and work everything into a citrusy lather.

Be careful of their eyes and mouth, as lemon juice can cause quite the sting, and let the shampoo sit for a few minutes. Rinse and repeat if necessary.

Here’s a video showing an example of DIY dog shampoo.


These are just a few of the best homemade shampoos around, allowing you to save money while also giving your pooch a more holistic bath.

You’ll have most of the ingredients in your kitchen pantry already so it’s easy to give these a try!

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