While you are whipping up handmade skin care goodies for yourself, why not take some time to treat your best friend to something special as well? Doggies don't know it, but they can benefit greatly from going natural when it comes to their grooming. Commercial dog shampoos and powders are often packed with artificial ingredients such as detergents and fragrances. These ingredients can irritate sensitive skin, causing dandruff, scratching, or even hair loss. To learn more about natural pet care, check out this article from Beauty by the Batch.
Natural ingredients, such as Carrier Oils, Essential Oils, or Vegetable Butters can be used to create Liquid Dog Shampoos, Dog Shampoo Bars, and Skin Care Serums, Salves, or Balms. When choosing natural ingredients for pet care products make sure that the ingredients are dog safe. Just like food, certain ingredients that are safe for humans can be extremely harmful, or even deadly to dogs. If you are uncertain about the safety of a particular ingredient, be sure to check with your dog's veterinarian before using it. It is especially important to keep this in mind when using Essential Oils. Dogs can be very sensitive to these ingredients, and since their bodies are smaller, and work differently from humans, their tolerance levels can be much lower than humans. Be sure to dilute any Essential Oils very well when adding them to a dog care product. In case you were wondering, recipes created for dogs should NEVER be used on cats. Dogs and cats have very different systems. An ingredient that is safe for a dog could be deadly if used on a cat.
Sweet Almond Oil - This is a very versatile ingredient to have on hand for pet care. It is a light, yet moisturizing oil that can be used for almost any application that calls for a Carrier Oil.
Olive Oil - Olive Oil is highly moisturizing, and is often fed to dogs as a dietary supplement in order to increase the shine, and decrease the shedding of their coats. It makes an excellent shampoo base either in liquid or bar form.
Neem Oil - This pungent oil is great for dog care. That is, if you don't mind the aroma. Neem has healing properties that can help with hot spots, and minor skin irritations. Due to its bitter flavor, most dogs won't try to lick Neem off after it is applied. However, some dogs might just find it to be delicious! You never do know.
Cupuacu Butter - This healing, moisturizing butter from the Amazon boasts superior conditioning and restorative properties. It has a soft, spreadable texture, and a mild, fruity aroma. Cupuacu Butter is ideal for salves and balms, but can also be used to make solid shampoo bars and other pet products.
Kokum Butter - Kokum is a hard textured Butter often used for human foot care products. Its ability to heal and sooth callused feet makes it ideal for paw pad ointments and cleansers.
Shea Butter - Just as in human skin and hair care, Shea Butter can be used to create a variety of formulations. Its moisturizing properties make it a great ingredient for shampoo bars, salves, balms, or just about any formula.
Before using any Essential Oil in a pet care recipe, double check with your vet to make sure it will be safe for your pet. Just like people, health needs and limitations can vary from dog to dog. These are some basic suggestions for pet care recipes, but they should always be double checked with your vet before use.
Lavender - Great for use in shampoos, Lavender has a knack for soothing minor skin irritations and itchiness. As an added bonus, most bugs don't care for the scent of lavender. Lavender can also be used in skin soothing balms or salves.
Chamomile - Chamomile has natural anti-inflammatory properties, making it great for shampoos meant for dogs with sensitive skin. Chamomile can also be used in soothing rubs or balms to help alleviate mild skin irritations or itching.
Peppermint - A great natural insect repellent, Peppermint can also help increase your dog's circulation, making it a great shampoo for a dog with arthritis or sore joints.
Niaouli - A close relative to Tea Tree, Niaouli is a little more gentle on the skin, making it a better choice for dog care. Niaouli has strong antiseptic and antibacterial properties, making it an excellent ingredient for healing salves and balms. Niaouli also repels insects, making it a nice addition to natural dog shampoos.
How to Make a Simple Liquid Dog Shampoo
Combine 16 ounces of Organic Liquid Castile with 10 - 20 ml of your chosen Essential Oils. (For example, try equal parts of the Essential Oils mentioned above.) Mix well and transfer to a bottle.
How to Make a Simple Healing Balm
Combine 1 ounce of Beeswax, 1/2 ounce of Kokum Butter, and 1/2 ounce of Cupuacu Butter in a double boiler. Heat the Butters and Wax gently until they are fully melted. Add 1/2 ounce of Neem Oil and 1/2 ounce of Olive Oil and stir well to combine. Remove the mixture from heat and add 1 - 5 ml of your chosen Essential Oils. (For example, try adding equal parts of the Lavender, Chamomile, and Niaouli Essential Oils.) Stir the mixture well, then carefully pour it into containers. Allow the containers to cool completely before handling them.