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What’s in your pet’s shampoo?

A friend of mine sent this list to me. It isn’t intended for pets, but in my opinion the same rules apply to pet related body care. After all, if you don’t want to get it on you, why would you put it on your pet? (Do you wash your pet wearing elbow length rubber gloves? Me neither.)

Now admittedly I’m very picky about what goes on my own hair and skin. In doing copious research into this, so many hair and skin problems on both dogs and humans can be remedied just by removing a couple ingredients from shampoo and/or conditioner. I know it’s hard to completely overhaul you and your pet’s beauty regimen- been there, done that, NOT EASY. However, if you choose to exclude a couple ingredients at first, and try to pick the most natural products with the most recognizable ingredients as possible, I think you will be surprised at how easy going “Non Toxic” can be.

Here are a few tips to ease you down the path of least toxicity:

  • Learn How to Read Ingredient Labels

My favorite pet shampoos have labels that are straight forward, have as few ingredients as possible, are specific and understandable. You should be able to find the ingredient list easily on the bottle (if there is no ingredient list on the bottle be very wary!) and know, with relatively little help from a dictionary, what is in the product. Make it a point to educate yourself. And of course, little to no toxic chemicals!

  • Lather, Suds, Bubbles- Doesn’t Mean It’s a Superior Clean

I hear so many people say, “I want a dog shampoo with lots of suds because I want to get my dog REALLY clean!”. What we don’t always understand as consumers is that those suds are very often created by ingredients like Sodium Lauryl Sulfate and Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLS and SLES). These products, Surfactants (surface-acting agents, used to break the surface tension of water), can be very irritating to skin. They can cause skin irritation, swelling, rashes and general drying of the skin and hair- and potentially some more serious long term effects. They essentially strip your pet’s skin of natural oils, leaving it exposed and dry. Many genuinely natural shampoos now have found a way to make lots of suds, but if your natural shampoo is not giving you mounds of bubbles, don’t despair! Your pet is still getting clean!

  • Just Because it Says “Baby” Doesn’t Mean It’s Non Toxic

Another thing I hear often is, “I don’t understand, I used human baby shampoo on my dog and her skin is still itchy from the shampoo!”.

Remember what we just said about SLS and SLES? Did you know there is very often still SLS and SLES in commercial baby shampoo for humans? People are getting wiser and savvier, and many commercial brands are now taking out SLS, SLES, Parabens, and various other harmful ingredients, but the switch is slow.

Another thing to remember is dogs and cats are more sensitive to certain essential oils and chemicals. So if there is a strong concentration of one of these in a human shampoo that you use on your pet, you could potentially be exposing your pet to irritation causing levels.

When washing your pet, it’s always best to use a shampoo made just for them.

  • “Natural” Doesn’t Always Mean Natural

There is no legal definition for the word “natural” used in body care products. Really. So tha

t pretty, green colored, natural looking pet shampoo bottle may say “all natural” or “natural” or “herbal extracts” on it, but whats in it could be chock full of chemicals with a tiny bit of natural ingredient far down the list.

So say it with me: Read the ingredient list!

  • If You Had to, Would You Use it On Yourself?

No. I’m not telling you to share your dog’s shampoo with yourself and your family. What I am asking you is, would you? Now I realize, some pet shampoos are made for fleas (rules of non toxic still apply!), coat whitening, etc., but ask yourself if the ingredients in your pet’s shampoo are up to your human standards. Actually, in many cases, I think some good pet shampoos surpass human standards.

The next time you set out to buy pet shampoo, decide beforehand what is not acceptable to you. It doesn’t have to be all or nothing. Just one or two ingredients perhaps that you would like to exclude. Come in to Calvin and Susie and we can most certainly help you pick out a shampoo. All of us are very careful with what goes on ourselves and our pets!

Most of all, know that by making a few careful choices, you are ensuring that your pet lives a comfortable and healthy life.

~Your Loyal Calvin and Susie Blogger

NOTE: *The views expressed in this blog are not meant to replace veterinary care or professional diagnosis. The information has been researched by the Calvin & Susie Blogger to the best of her knowledge. Please consult your veterinarian before starting any new health regimen and/or trying any new products or procedures mentioned in this blog.

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