5 Signs Your Dog Needs a Switch to a Natural Dog Shampoo

The aisles of pet stores often overflow with flashy bottles promising sparkling clean and impossibly glossy coats for your canine companion, But just like human shampoos, dog coat care products are hugely variable in quality, and some may do more harm than good.

Selecting a quality dog shampoo goes beyond just aesthetics; it also greatly impacts the overall health and comfort of your dog. But what makes natural dog shampoos a better option than their counterparts, and how do you even know what natural means? Is switching to a natural dog shampoo the right choice for your pet?

The majority of commercially produced dog shampoos use a concoction of toxic and harmful ingredients to produce the desired effect – ranging from sulfates that strip all dirt and oils from the coat to silicones that give artificial smoothness and shine to the hair follicle. In contrast, natural dog shampoos utilize plant-based ingredients derived from nature that help to replenish and repair the coat and skin, leading to significant long-term benefits.

If you’re torn between the best coat care options for your dog, there are some tell-tale signs that your dog needs to switch to a natural dog shampoo. Let’s explore the top 5 signs your dog would benefit from all-natural organic pet grooming products.

Natural dog shampoo

The top 5 signs it's time to switch to a natural dog shampoo

1. Skin Irritation and Allergies

Skin problems in dogs are very common, accounting for over 12% of diagnosed disorders in the canine population based on veterinary diagnosis. As this figure only accounts for pets that have physically been to the vet, the actual number is likely to be far higher! Mild skin irritation and allergies often go undiagnosed, with concerned owners attempting to manage them instead with products from the pet store.

Unfortunately, these skin problems are often caused by irritants in topical products in the first place, creating a cycle that is hard to break. Many commercial dog shampoos contain harsh synthetic ingredients, artificial fragrances, and synthetic additives that strip the natural oils from your dog's skin, leading to increased dryness, itchiness, and redness. Dogs with sensitive skin are particularly vulnerable to these issues, and repeated exposure to such compounds can make existing problems worse or trigger allergic reactions.

In contrast, natural dog shampoos incorporate soothing ingredients such as aloe vera, chamomile, and colloidal oatmeal. These gentle ingredients have hydrating and anti-inflammatory properties, providing natural relief to irritated skin. Over time, natural and organic dog shampoos can repair the damage caused by synthetic products, resulting in supple, moisturized skin and a naturally thick, shiny, and lustrous coat.

2. Excessive Shedding and Dull Coat

Shedding is a natural and normal process, although it can be highly frustrating if you have a particularly furry dog! When your dog sheds, hairs that are old and damaged fall out and are replaced by new, healthy hair. However, excessive shedding accompanied by a dull, lackluster coat may indicate that it’s time to switch to a natural dog shampoo.

Every hair on your dog’s body has a lifespan, but this can be shortened by damage from synthetic ingredients in commercial dog shampoos. Harsh chemicals, artificial dyes, and fragrances strip the coat of its natural oils, leaving it dry, brittle, and more prone to shedding. As well as increased hair loss, you may also notice that your dog’s coat is dull and coarse.

Natural dog shampoos provide a gentle cleansing action to remove dirt from the skin without stripping beneficial oils from the coat. They incorporate nourishing oils such as coconut, jojoba, and olive oil, rich in vitamins and fatty acids essential for maintaining healthy skin and fur. Rather than stripping oils from the coat, the ingredients in natural dog shampoos provide deep moisturization, strengthen hair follicles, and minimize damage, all of which reduces premature hair shedding.

3. Persistent Odor Despite Baths

Do you ever find that your dog has an unpleasant or persistent odor, even though they are getting regular baths? It might sound odd, but that delicious-smelling dog shampoo you bought from the pet store could be the root of the problem!

Although some dogs are certainly smellier than others, their natural aroma should not be so strong that you smell them before they walk into the room. When using conventional shampoos, your dog may smell fresh and clean for a day or two after bathtime, but unpleasant odors can quickly return.

Natural dog shampoo for odor

If odors persist, even after bathing, your current shampoo could be the culprit

The reasons for this are twofold – firstly, artificial fragrances temporarily mask rather than remove unpleasant smells, and their effect can wear off rapidly. Secondly, harsh commercial shampoos can upset the delicate balance of bacteria and yeast on your dog’s skin, exacerbating skin issues and contributing to that unpleasant aroma.

On the other hand, natural dog shampoos leverage the power of organic compounds with natural deodorizing properties. Ingredients with antibacterial and antifungal properties, such as tea tree oil and eucalyptus, help to eliminate the sources of odor rather than just covering them up. Natural dog shampoos provide a longer-lasting solution to persistent and unpleasant doggy odors by addressing the root cause, rather than masking the problem.

4. Behavioral Changes During Baths

Bathtime with your dog is supposed to be fun, right? But if your dog starts trembling at the sight of the bathroom, or your friendly local dog groomer fails to hide their look of apprehension when you walk through the door, it may be the choice of shampoo that is the problem.

We all know that dogs have a highly sensitive sense of smell. With over 40 times more scent receptors than humans, every breath they take is an intense sensory experience, which can have a huge impact on their behavior. When it comes to bath time, the artificial scents in synthetic pet care products can be overwhelming for a dog's sensitive sense of smell, leading to anxiety, stress, and ‘bad’ behavior. Signs of discomfort during bathing may include excessive whining, trembling, attempts to escape, or aggression.

That’s not to say that all artificial fragrances are unsafe or bad, but fragrances can contain hundreds are different ingredients that don’t need to be disclosed on labels. Instead, natural dog shampoos incorporate gentle, plant-derived scents like lavender, chamomile, or aloe vera. These natural fragrances provide a more subtle and pleasant aroma and can even have a calming effect on dogs. The use of soothing scents can help create a more relaxing bathing experience, reducing stress and making bath time a more enjoyable activity for you and your dog.

5. Environmental and Ethical Considerations

It’s unfortunate that our dog’s bath time could harm the environment, but once dog shampoo goes down the drain, it enters our water system, leaching into waterways and threatening our planet's delicate ecosystems. Choosing a natural and organic dog shampoo can reduce this environmental footprint, as they utilize biodegradable ingredients that are gentler on the planet. To take it a step further, brands that reduce or eliminate their use of plastic provide an extra layer of environmental consciousness. At Doglyness, we ban any plastic materials used in production, packaging, shipping, and storage.

Additionally, many conventional pet products involve animal testing and may contain ingredients derived from animals. Opting for cruelty-free and vegan dog shampoos ensures that no harm has come to animals in creating these products. Here at Doglyness, we manifest this commitment by providing ethical, vegan, and cruelty-free grooming options for conscientious pet owners.

Natural dog shampoo for environment

Toxins found in synthetic dog shampoo leach into our waterways

Is It Really Natural?

It's important to mention that regulations around the term 'natural' are incredibly vague, meaning the market is saturated with 'natural' imposters. Dog shampoos may call themselves natural while containing ingredients harmful to your dog's coat and skin. Even if a dog shampoo uses natural ingredients, it may incorporate sulfates and silicones. Natural dog shampoo should always be sulfate-free and use non-petrochemical-derived surfactants. Additionally, a shampoo may be labeled "SLS FREE" but instead use surfactants of the petrochemical origin, which are even worse.

Additionally, you want to look for natural dog shampoos that use emulgators and emulsifiers made from non-synthetic ingredients, such as Candelilla Wax (from the Candelilla Shrub) or Sorbitan Olivate (from olive oil). Simply having one or two organic ingredients does not make an entire shampoo natural. If you're unsure, look for companies with third-party certifications that validate their claims. For example, Ecogea specifies the percentage of natural ingredients required for a shampoo to be labeled as natural and organic because there is a significant difference between the two.

Time to Switch to a Natural Dog Shampoo?

As a mindful pet parent, the importance of thoughtful grooming choices cannot be overstated. Whether addressing skin irritations and allergies, combating excessive shedding, tackling persistent odors, ensuring a positive bathing experience, or considering the environmental impact of grooming products, switching to natural dog shampoo is a no-brainer.