9 Ingredients That Shouldn’t Be in Your Dog’s Shampoo

Have you ever even looked at the ingredients in a shampoo? Rachel Grant is a part-time groomer and founder of Furry Kind, who had a  dog who grew a cancer lump on his paw that she believes may have been caused by chemicals in household cleaning products, which are also found in pet shampoos. So, she did her own research to come up with the perfect all-natural shampoo for pets. Here is her list of ingredients to stay away from, and the safe alternatives. And if you are thinking, why should I care, it’s just a dog…remember your body is absorbing that shampoo every time you wash your dog.


#1 – Surfactants

These are compounds that act as emulsifiers, detergents, wetting and foaming agents, etc. SLS/SLES (sodium lauryl sulfate / sodium laureth sulfate), ALS/ALES (ammonium lauryl sulfate, ammonium laureth sulfate) are all bad. They damage skin and fur, which then allows ready penetration of carcinogens. Safe Alternatives: Sodium cocoyl isethionate (coconut oil derived) or decyl glucoside (coconut derived).

@HelenMcDonald via Flickr
@HelenMcDonald via Flickr

#2 – Preservatives

These include parabens, BHA/BHT, DMDM hydantoin, phenoxyethanol, TEA (triethanolamine). They are thought to cause cancer & tumors and weaken the immune system. In addition, they are an allergenic & irritant, and cause premature aging. Safe Alternatives: rosemary essential oil, gluconolactone (from corn), glyceryl caprylate (coco, palm and glycerin derived).


#3 – Moisturizers

You would think common things like mineral oil, dimethicone, petrolatum, and paraffin would be safe. However, they coat the skin and fur like plastic, clogging pores which slows down skin function & cell development. They can also speed up aging. Safe Alternatives: Cocoa butter, virgin coconut oil, sunflower oil, avocado oil, passion fruit oil, castor oil.

@AngelaMabray via Flickr
@AngelaMabray via Flickr

#4 – Fragrance

Synthetic parfum and phthalates damage the liver & reproductive organs. Safe Alternatives: Essential oils, natural fragrance oils.


#5 – Anti-bacterial

Triclosan is the main one to watch out for. It causes endocrinal and reproductive malfunctions. Safe Alternatives: Acapulco extract, sugarcane alcohol, chitosan.


#6 – Colorants

Recently, we have been made “more aware” of the dangers of artificial colors like Lake Dyes and FD&C colors. Also avoid carmine (a natural colorant in lipsticks but made from crushed cochineal insects). All of these are neurotoxins and possible carcinogens. Safe Alternatives: Mineral oxides.

@Marco&Llaria via Flickr
@Marco&Llaria via Flickr

#7 – Emulsifiers

Used to create bubbles and/or creamy textures, stay away from DEA (diethanolamine), which affects hormones. Safe Alternatives: Stearyl alcohol, cetyl alcohol (all vegetable derived).

@pdh96 via Flickr
@pdh96 via Flickr

#8 – Solvent

Propylene glycol is in EVERYTHING. Your dog’s treats, your own foods, and guess what? It’s also the main ingredient in anti-freeze. It causes damage to liver and kidneys. Safe Alternative: vegetable glycerin, water.

@D-BangVo via Flickr
@D-BangVo via Flickr

#9 – Bug repellent additive

We should all know this by now: DEET is bad! (you shouldn’t use it on yourself either). It promotes degenerative and congenital diseases. Safe Alternatives: citronella, lemongrass, lavender and rosemary essential oils.

@MikeMozart via Flickr
@MikeMozart via Flickr
Dad Proudly Built A Fence To Protect His Dog, Dog Hilariously ‘Tested It’ Out
Ultimate Doberman Puppy Shopping List: Checklist of 23 Must-Have Items
Ultimate Boston Terrier Puppy Shopping List: Checklist of 23 Must-Have Items
Spanish Street Dog Instantly Adjusts To Life Of Luxury In His New Home
After Sulking For “A Million Dog Moments,” She’s Told Daddy’s Coming Home
Mom And Daughter Race To Save Old Dog Who Has An Hour Left To Live