- Good on you for wanting to keep your dog’s fur and skin in top notch condition by bathing him regularly. (See article on how often we should wash our dogs) But when last did you look at the ingredients on that bottle of dog shampoo? And how safe are they? Just like human shampoos, there are a number of ingredients that can do way more harm than good. Even the so-called ‘natural’ products are often suspect, using only a trace of the natural ingredient to cover up the toxic one. From skin irritants to cancer-causing properties, here are the ingredients to avoid when shopping for dog shampoos.
Artificial colours (often listed as D&C or Yellow 5) have been associated with many forms of cancer.
- Insecticides might promise to get rid of fleas and ticks but the chemicals can be very harsh on the animal’s skin and can pose a number of side affects.
- Foam-producing agents such as Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, and Ammonium Laureth Sulfate strip the hair of its natural oils, and can cause skin irritations. They are also known cancer-causing ingredients.
- Synthetic Fragrances are added on the promise of a nicer-smelling hound. Having him smelling like roses is not worth the fact that synthetic fragrances are most often derived from petroleum which comprise many known toxins leading to compromised immune function, allergic reactions and central nervous system disorders.
- Cocamidopropyl Betaine is an environmental toxin that affects the immune system.
- Rubbing alcohol (Isopropyl, propyl) is toxic to a number of organs (the liver in particular) and can affect the lungs and heart.
- Certain preservatives such as methylchloroisothiazolinone, butylated hydroxyanisole, methylparaben and other parabens.
- Mineral oils coat the skin, supposedly preventing it from losing moisture and protecting it from environmental hazards, but in fact blocks the pores and causes skin irritation, disturbing the skin’s natural moisture balance.
- Propylene glycol is the main ingredient in anti-freeze which should tell you a lot in itself. Not only does it cause water retention, it is also toxic to the liver and kidneys.
- Anti-bacterial ingredients, in particular triclosan, should be avoided. It can cause reproductive and endocrinal disorders.
Unfortunately, these are just the tip of the ice-berg. As a rule of thumb; if you can’t pronounce it, it’s probably best to avoid it!
So, what CAN you wash your dog with?
Look for products that are Ph-balanced to suit your breed as well as products that boast natural skin moisturisers such as vitamin E, aloe vera, and tea tree oil. If fragrance is important to you, chamomile, lavender, eucalyptus, and citrus are good options. These can also act as insect repellents. Oatmeal shampoos are good for dogs with itchy skin.
But remember, even so-called natural products can be harbouring dangerous ingredients, so do your research and read the label. Your furry member of the family – as well as the human ones – will thank you!