All over the animal kingdom, birds, mammals, reptiles and even insects have strategies for staying clean. They seem to know it’s an important part of maintaining good health.
Beavers comb and smooth their wet fur with a special double-claw toenail, sleeking their coats down with oil from special glands on their bodies.
Geckos have a fascinating self-cleaning skin, covered with dome-shaped scales topped with tiny hairs that trap water, along with dirt and contaminants, and fling it off.
Birds, such as chickens and quail, favor dust baths for washing off bugs and contaminants.
Even ants like to stay clean, licking themselves and each other with an oily saliva, and running their antennae through special brush hairs on their legs.
With all this animal cleaning going on, you might wonder why nature left dogs out.
After all, they lick themselves all over, run through the mud and roll in the grass and dirt, seemingly content to stay covered in all of it.
But the truth is, those are actually strategies he uses to stay clean. In the wild, licking, scratching, biting and rolling work great to keep fleas, ticks and other pests at bay, and to get things out of his coat.
But it doesn’t transfer so well to living indoors… which is where the bath comes in.
While baths may not be a favorite pastime for many dogs, keeping your dog clean is important for his health as much as for your carpet.
During my career working with pets, I’ve found a few strategies that can help make the experience as smooth and easy as possible.
Before we get into those strategies, let’s cover situations when you may need to use them…
From Itching Issues to Canine Catastrophes – Reasons Your Dog May Need a Bath
There are a number of reasons you may want to give your dog a bath.
Some involve special circumstances, such as difficult skin issues. Others spring from the everyday messes that dogs get into, like a romp in the muddy garden or an encounter with a skunk.
Factors that affect how often your dog may need a bath include her lifestyle, the region where you live, the length of her coat and the condition of her skin.
While some dogs rarely need a bath, others benefit from taking one regularly. Situations where you might want to give your dog a bath include:
- Skin problems – Regular weekly baths can help manage oily skin and hotspots.
- Itchy or inflamed skin – When this issue is caused by allergens, pests or other irritants, a bath may be all she needs to feel better again.
- A long-haired coat – Dogs with long hair pick up more dirt and grime than short-haired dogs and require more frequent bathing.
- Exposure to lawn chemicals – Bathing your dog after potential exposure to lawn chemicals is a smart way to help her stay healthy. Even if you don’t use chemicals on your lawn, she may run into them in public parks and friends’ yards.
What goes on your dog’s body, goes in her body. Bathing her is a key way to clean her body and help keep her healthy from the outside in.
From the Inside Out – A Beautiful Coat Begins with Your ’s Diet
Your dog’s health begins with what he eats – in every part of his body. His food supplies the vitamins and minerals he needs to support his body functions.
One of the best ways you can promote a healthy coat and skin is to feed him a fresh, whole, species-appropriate diet, either raw or lightly cooked.
A species-appropriate diet consists of mostly meat, with small amounts of vegetables or fruits mimicking what he would get in the wild from the stomachs of his prey. This provides him with the nutrients he needs for healthy hair and skin.
Commercial processed food, on the other hand, is typically made from leftover and recycled human food waste that is then heated at a high temperature, significantly depleting its nutritional content.
While your dog can stay alive on a commercial diet, the minimal nutritional standards often leave holes in his nutrition and fail to promote truly vibrant health. It can leave his coat dull and his skin prone to problems.
A healthy, species-appropriate dog diet consists of:
- High quality protein – muscle meat, not pieces or parts
- Moderate levels of animal fat
- High levels of EPA and DHA
- A small amount of vegetables or fruit
- No grains
- No potatoes or other starches
Some dog parents make their pet’s food at home, and some buy a commercially prepared raw food from the freezer section of their local specialty pet store.
If, like many owners, your options are limited by resources, you can add even small amounts of fresh food to your ’s meals to provide valuable extra nutrients.
Now, here's your quick washing guide. If you're already a dog bathing expert, feel free to skip to the next section.
Make Bath Time Quick and Easy – Ready, Set, Go!
Your main goal – besides getting your dog clean – is to create a positive experience so he likes (or at least tolerates) being bathed.
Being prepared with everything in reach will make it easier on your pup, so before you round him up, gather all the supplies you’ll need:
- Cotton balls to prevent getting water in his ears, with additional ones to clean the ears
- Two towels, one to reduce slipperiness in the tub and one for drying your dog
- Dog shampoo
- A washcloth for cleaning your dog's face
- A brush, if your dog has a medium to long coat
- A helper, especially if your dog is nervous or new to this process
Wash your dog in a bathtub or walk-in shower with a hand sprayer. If you have a smaller dog, you can use a laundry tub or even the kitchen sink.
When the weather is warm, you can move the operation to the yard and use the hose, but only if the water isn’t too cold for her. Dogs have fairly sensitive skin and cold water can be uncomfortable.
Brush your dog as needed to remove excess dirt, particles and mats. Matted fur can trap soap residues next to the skin and cause itchiness and flakiness.
Place cotton balls in his ears to prevent water from accidentally getting in.
Place him in the tub and pour lukewarm water over his back, legs, paws, tail and belly, but avoid his head. He can develop a secondary ear infection if he gets moisture in his ear canal.
Apply shampoo and lather. If your dog has dense or double-coated hair, I recommend pre-mixing the shampoo with water before applying it, for better distribution.
Be sure to rinse thoroughly, especially her armpits, groin and belly… basically anywhere that isn’t often exposed. If you have a densely-coated dog, rinse a second time. Residue will dry on her skin and cause irritation.
Next, take your washcloth and wipe away any debris that may have collected on his face or in his facial folds.
Wipe off the excess water with your hand, grab a towel and pat him dry.
When you remove the cotton balls from his ears, check for dirt and debris. Swab them out with a cotton ball dampened with water or a special ear cleaner.
If he tolerates his bath well, you can blow-dry on low heat if you want, but stop if he becomes nervous or anxious.
A final word… Don’t despair if your first bathing experience isn’t what you hoped for. With a little practice, your dog will soon learn to tolerate regular baths, and you'll get to enjoy a clean, sweet-smelling pet.
What You Should Know Before Reaching for the Dog Shampoo…
You’ve already discovered that popular skin care products for humans contain all kinds of toxic compounds, and you know how to carefully avoid them.
Unfortunately, the same is true for canine skin care products. Many popular dog shampoos and skin care products are loaded with toxic chemicals.
Before you reach for the dog shampoo, check the label to make sure it doesn’t contain any of the following toxic – but common – chemicals:
- D-trans Allethrin – From a class of synthetic chemicals called pyrethroids, this chemical can cause allergic responses. It’s also a suspected endocrine disruptor. Veterinarians caution against using pyrethroid-containing products if there are cats in the home, as cats are very sensitive to these substances.
- DMDM Hydantoin – A preservative that releases formaldehyde, a known carcinogen. It presents risk for skin, eye, and lung irritation.
- PEG-75 Lanolin – A polyethylene glycol derivative of Lanolin with high contamination concerns.
- Resmethrin – Classified as a potential carcinogen, resmethrin is especially toxic to cats. Do not use products with resmethrin in a household with cats.
Of course you don’t want to put any of these on your dog’s skin.
But you can’t just use your own organic, toxin-free shampoo on your dog. Her skin has a pH that is much more alkaline than yours.
Ideally, you want a shampoo that’s organic and free of harsh chemicals, dyes, and additives, just like you use for yourself. It should be very gentle and mild, and designed specifically for a dog’s pH.
If you can find one with a coconut oil base, that’s a big plus. Coconut oil can help with dry skin, itchiness and overall coat health.
8 Nourishing, Gentle Ingredients That Promote a Healthy Coat and Skin
Frankly, there aren’t many shampoos out there that meet my standards for a high-quality, safe and effective dog shampoo. That’s why I created Organic Peppermint Shampoo for Dogs and Organic Peppermint Conditioner for Dogs .
Organic Peppermint Shampoo delivers a top-quality, effective wash while being gentle on the skin. It moisturizes and nourishes your dog’s skin, and leaves him smelling fresh and minty.
Formulated with organic ingredients and free of any harsh chemicals, it won’t strip your dog’s natural oils and leaves no residue behind.
Here are the nourishing, natural ingredients you’ll find in Organic Peppermint Shampoo for Dogs:
- Organic Neem Seed Oil and Neem Leaf Extract – Accounts of Neem's skin and hair revitalizing properties have been recorded through the centuries.
- Organic Apple juice – While you might be surprised to find apple juice in a shampoo, this popular drink is loaded with antioxidants like vitamin C and vitamin E which promote elasticity and a healthy moisture balance. It also mildly and gently exfoliates your dog's skin.
- Organic Coconut Oil – Terrific for skin rejuvenation, coconut oil helps exfoliate dead skin cells. It’s rich in medium-chain fatty acids that moisturize your dog’s skin and coat it.
- Organic Sunflower Oil – Rich in vitamins A, D, and E, oleic acid, lecithin and unsaturated fatty acids, sunflower oil improves the appearance of dry and weathered-looking skin.
- Organic Sesame Seed Oil – Rich in vitamin E, B complex, and the minerals calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus, sesame oil is an excellent moisturizer for skin and coat.
- Organic Jojoba Seed Oil – Technically not an oil, jojoba is a pure and luxurious liquid wax ester that contains vitamins E and B-complex, plus silicon, chromium, copper, zinc, and iodine.
- Organic Horsetail Leaf Extract – Contains the greatest amount of silicon found in any herb, which promotes skin strength and elasticity. Horsetail helps wash away dead skin cells.
- Organic Aloe Vera – A nutrient-packed moisturizer, Aloe vera contains 34 amino acids, as well as calcium, potassium, chromium, magnesium, copper, and zinc… plus vitamins A, B1, B2, B6, B12, C, E, folic acid, and niacin.
These ingredients provide a nourishing foundation for a healthy coat and skin, while avoiding harsh chemicals that could cause irritation and other problems.
Rich in nourishing lipids and antioxidants, they will leave your dog’s coat and skin clean, smooth and healthy.
One More Thing We Left Out, and Why…
In addition to the harsh chemicals we left out of our formula, we deliberately avoided one other common ingredient. While it’s not toxic, it can be irritating for many dogs.
In fact, up to 80% of dogs prone to allergies may be allergic to this category of ingredients. And it also has the potential to feed yeast and bacterial conditions on your pet’s skin.
While it’s a very popular ingredient, I don’t recommend using oatmeal-based shampoos.
Grains can cause problems for many dogs, and oatmeal doesn’t provide any exceptional benefits in a shampoo, unless your dog has gotten into some poison oak or poison ivy.
I chose to avoid all potential irritants and formulate my shampoo with nourishing moisturizers and cleansers.
Smooth and Enhance Your Dog’s Coat with Two Additional Top-Quality Moisturizers
Some dogs – especially dogs with a long coat length – benefit from a conditioner to reduce tangles and smooth out roughness. These dogs’ hair may be prone to matting and tangles, which a conditioner can help reduce.
Your dog may also benefit from conditioner if he has dry or itchy skin, as it helps soften and smooth skin and replenish moisture.
If he needs to be washed frequently, conditioner can help replenish moisture in the hair shaft as well as in the skin.
For dogs in these situations, I formulated Organic Peppermint Conditioner for Dogs with many of the same moisturizing ingredients in the shampoo, plus two additional star ingredients.
These two top-quality moisturizers are excellent for keeping your dog’s coat shiny and smooth, and for easier brushing:
- Organic Shea Butter – An all-natural cream, rich in vitamin A, from West Central Africa, grown in the wild without pesticides. Highly regarded as a superior skin moisturizer, it revitalizes and softens skin and conditions hair to maintain and improve shine.
- Organic Olive Oil – Long considered a “beauty oil,” olive oil softens and moisturizes skin and hair. It is rich in phytonutrients, vitamin E and omega-3 fatty acids that add shine and strength to his fur.
Your dog’s skin and coat deserve special care. With Organic Peppermint Conditioner for Dogs, he can enjoy the comfort of moisturized skin and you can enjoy the feel of a soft, smooth coat – all without the worry of exposing him to potentially harsh chemicals.
Give Your Dog the Best Skin Care Available with Organic Peppermint Dog Shampoo and Conditioner
Whether your dog requires frequent bathing, or just lives the normal playful dog life, Organic Peppermint Shampoo and Conditioner provide the finest canine bath care available.
Loaded with beneficial ingredients and pH balanced for your dog’s unique needs, our formulas leave her skin and coat in top condition.
And give you confidence that you’re giving her the best.
Don’t take chances with potentially risky ingredients when you now have a healthful Certified Organic option that contains no harsh chemicals, dyes, perfumes or additives.
Treat your dog to the highest-quality bath care available, and order Organic Peppermint Shampoo and Organic Peppermint Conditioner today.