The Secrets in Grooming Products for Dogs

A guest post by Shelby Gottschalk


We all love our dogs. We want them to have the best life that they can, and that includes keeping them clean and well groomed. But, did you know that what we use to bathe our dogs can actually be harming them?

Sad but true, some of the major dog grooming companies use harmful chemicals and preservatives inside of their products and keep it hidden from us, the consumer. What is so bad about having “harmful” ingredients in their shampoo or conditioner anyway? It’s not like they are eating it, right? Actually, wrong!

What we use topically on our dogs (and cats) get absorbed into their skin. This can be just as dangerous as them consuming something they shouldn’t have. Some of these hidden products have actually been known to cause various diseases such as cancer!

In an Ecowatch article, the Center for Environmental Health has states that studies show that nearly 100 Shampoos and Soaps cause cancer. These same ingredients are in our pet’s grooming products.

Consumers have a right to know what is put in the products they are purchasing. Below are a few of the ingredients you should be on the lookout for when purchasing grooming products for your dog.

*Please keep in mind, these are specifically for dogs. Grooming products for dogs/cats can vary widely as cats have a more delicate system that require different products.


*The Secrets in Grooming Products for Dogs*

A quick search online for the top dog shampoo products and you are blinded with many to choose from. What do they all have in common? Well, most of them share the same toxic ingredients that draw consumers in! Here is what to watch out for…

Fragrance: We aren’t talking about the ones that include “Lavender” as an ingredient list, we mean just the word “Fragrance”. This is scary! For one, you don’t know what fragrance is used to make this product. This can come from hundreds of different fragrances combined and they won’t list which ones. Some combined together are extremely toxic and have even been found to cause cancer!

Sulfate: This is what gives the product its foamy texture. There are a few different forms of sulfate such as: Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, Sodium Laureth Sulfate, and Ammonium Laureth Sulfate. The list of complications from each version is long, but to summarize, they are surfactants that can be extremely irritating for your dog and the environment. They are toxic and can damage the eyes if in contact.

Preservatives: What even is a preservative anyway? Basically, they are parabens, BHA, phenoxyethanol, and the list goes on. Short version? Bad things. These are known to cause cancer, weaken the immune system and irritate dogs skin.

Emulsifiers: Another ingredient used for the purpose of creating bubbles or creamy textures! But, are they worth it? No way! This can come in the form of DEA, which stands for diethanolamine, which actually affects your dog’s hormones.

Moisturizers: This can come in the form of mineral oil, paraffin, and petrolatum. These products actually clog pores, damages cell function and speed up the natural aging process. Instead, look for simple ingredients such as: cocoa butter, coconut oil, or avocado oil.


Companies We Love

4-Legger Dog Shampoo and Conditioner – This company stems from a touching story. On the same day that the company creator, Melissa, was diagnosed with breast cancer, her beloved dog died of his own form of cancer. She had been buying products that claimed to be “all natural” yet contained the same ingredients as those products that don’t. They contained ingredients that make her dog’s skin itchy and flakey. Melissa decided to create her own company with USDA Certified Organic ingredients that are also hypoallergenic.

The Honest Kitchen: Sparkle Bars  – This company is known for selling dog food, but they actually have a great dog shampoo! Their “Sparkle Bars” are made with amazing ingredients such as: Apple Cider Vinegar, Sunflower, Rosemary Oil, and Coconut. They contain no parabens or “fragrances”.

Dirty Flea Soap – Based on the theory that most flea and tick treatments are actually pesticides, this company vows to use safe ingredients such as pennyroyal, tea tree, and thyme. Their products can even be used on pets with dry, flaky skin! They claim their products are safe for dogs and cats.

Fleahex –  This formula is promoted by a holistic vet after being created based on EPA reports that stated conventional flea products have caused severe issues with animals. This shampoo contains organic essential oils such as Neem Oil, to repel insects but keep your dog, and your family, safe.

*Disclaimer: Unless otherwise stated, these products are recommended for dogs only.


What We’ve Learned

We hope that from this information you were able to understand some ingredients to stay away from when it comes to your dog’s grooming regime. As consumers, it’s our responsibility to look out for our pets because the companies won’t do it for us. On a positive note, it’s great to see that there are companies out there that are committed to natural ingredients that come from holistic sources. Remember, when it doubt, consult with your holistic veterinarian!



Dobias, P., DVM (2013, June 25). Why some dogs are smelly and some are not. Retrieved February 07, 2018, from

RG. Professional Groomer (2014, September 1). 9 Ingredients That Shouldn’t Be in Your Dog’s Shampoo. Retrieved February 07, 2018, from

Rosenfeld, K. (1970, January 01). Dog, Cat, Pet Shampoo – Unsafe, Harmful Ingredients to be Avoided. Retrieved February 07, 2018, from

4 Legger Dog Shampoo

The Honest Kitchen: Sparkle Bar

DirtyFlea Soap




Shelby Gottschalk is the staff writer for Dr. Dobias Natural Healing, a company that loves to provide you and other animal lovers with the latest knowledge and information in the field of holistic and natural animal healthcare.

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