DIY Recipes for Safe, Natural, Herbal Shampoos and Rinses for Dogs, Cats

Despite the fact that a manufacturer may label and advertise a shampoo for dogs or cats as safe, all-natural or organic does not mean that the product is actually safe, organic or natural. While a product may contain one or more safe ingredients it may also include multiple toxic/carcinogenic ingredients

In addition it is important to note that many commercial flea shampoos, dips and related products contain highly toxic, carcinogenic ingredients. Use a safe, truly natural alternative such as those provided here.

If you're not 100% sure of the quality of the product, make your own dog or cat shampoo (and rinse).  Make sure to keep the soap out of your dog or cat's eyes. Its always best to use organic ingredients.

Shampoo Recipes

Simple Shampoo For Dogs and Cats
3 oz Castile soap (available at many natural health and bulk food stores).
6 drops Lavender essential oil
Mix well.

Citrus Scented Shampoo for Dogs  (not for cats)
3 oz  Castile soap (available at many health and bulk food stores);

1 oz Vegetable Glycerin
2 oz Distilled water
5 drops Orange essential oil
3 drops Lemon essential oil 
Mix well.


Rosemary Scented Shampoo for Dogs and Cats
(not for shelties, rough or smooth coat collies, not for animals with seizure conditions) 
3 oz Castile soap (available at many health and bulk food stores);
1 oz  Vegetable Glycerin
2 oz  Distilled water
5 drops Rosemary essential oil
Mix well

Flower Scented Shampoo for Dogs
3 oz  Castile soap (available at many health and bulk food stores);

1 oz  Vegetable Glycerin
2 oz  Distilled water
5 drops Rose essential oil
4 drops  Lavender essential oil
3 drops Ylang Ylang  essential oil
Mix well

Rinse Recipes

Herbal Rinse #1 - Anti-Itch Herbal Rinse, very good for dogs and cats with Chronic Skin Allergies

You will need the following:
2 tea bags of Rooibos Tea (also known as Red Bush Tea)
Fresh squeezed juice of one lemon
  • Place the tea bags and lemon juice in hot water and allow to steep for 15 minutes
  • Remove the tea bags and allow the resulting ‘tea’ to cool
  • Then use the tea as a conditioning, soothing rinse
    • You do not have to rinse the ‘tea’ off of your dog after application
    • Don’t use rooibos tea rinse on dogs that have white fur unless you add the optional ingredient - lemon juice
      • Rooibos tea is red, but when fresh lemon juice is added the intense red is softened to light yellow, and will not affect white fur
Rooibos is naturally anti-viral, anti-allergenic and a mild anti-anxiety mediator. Rooibos tea is also high in vitamin C, rich in antioxidants (37 to be exact), several minerals and alpha-hydroxy-acid. If you would like to know more about the health benefits and uses of Rooibos tea for your dog you can read this article. Lemon has many health benefits for dogs - read more here.

Herbal Rinse #2 - Soothing Chamomile and Green Tea for Dogs and Cats
You will need the following:
2 Chamomile tea bags
1 green tea bag
  • Place the tea bags in hot water and allow to steep for 15 minutes
  • Remove the tea bags and allow the resulting ‘tea’ to cool
  • Then use the tea as a conditioning, soothing rinse
  • No need to rinse the tea off of your dog and cat after application

Herbal Rinse #3 - Refreshing Lemon Balm for Dogs and Cats
You will need the following:
2 Lemon balm tea bags
1 green tea bag
  • Place the tea bags in hot water and allow to steep for 15 minutes
  • Remove the tea bags and allow the resulting ‘tea’ to cool
  • Then use the tea as a conditioning, soothing rinse
  • You don't have to rinse the tea off of your dog or cat.
  • Don’t use lemon balm tea rinse on dogs or cats with white fur as it may cause a slight yellow tinge.

Herbal Rinse #4 - Refreshing Peppermint, Fennel and Rose for Dogs and Cats
You will need the following:
1 peppermint tea bag
1 fennel tea bag
1 rose tea bag
  • Place the tea bags in hot water and allow to steep for 15 minutes
  • Remove the tea bags and allow the resulting ‘tea’ to cool
  • Then use the tea as a conditioning, soothing rinse
  • No need to rinse the the tea off of your dog and cat after application

Herbal Rinse #5 - Soothing ‘Mix-it-Up’ Herbal Rinse  for Dogs and Cats
You will need 1 oz of each of the following dry herbs:
Rose Petals
Slippery Elm
Witch Hazel
  • Grind the herbs in a mortar and pestle or coffee grinder
  • Place the ground herbs in a large loose tea bag/ball, or muslin;
  • Place in hot water and allow to steep for 15 minutes
  • Remove the tea bag/ball and allow the resulting ‘tea’ to cool
  • Then use the tea as a conditioning, soothing rinse
  • No need to rinse the the tea off of your dog and cat after application

For additional soothing rinses you can take a look at the DIY recipes in this article.

Holistic Support

Holistic Wellness Services and Holistic Behaviorist Services 

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For more information go here. 
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✅  Custom Designed Whole Food Diets - raw or gently cooked, and;
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✓ Premade Diets - raw, dehydrated, freeze dried 
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Article and graphics by Karen Rosenfeld 


  1. Hi Karen
    I have a 5 yr. old goldie, he gets feed kibble food twice a day, (1.5 cups). He also gets eggs for breakfast maybe twice a week. He loves rice and chicken, apples, bananas. when we have supper I pre-mix him some of what we have like mashed potatoes, veggies and meat he loves it. My question is i know he loves all this stuff and i feed it fo him but my husband says he shouldn't be eating it, it will make him sick. I know he's wrong but how can i change his mind...

    confused owner.

    1. Your husband is wrong - people food IS animal food, humans are animals. In general the 'people food' that is not good for dogs is the same food that is not good for humans - for example highly processed food - etc. Read this to understand what human foods are actually bad for dogs -

      Now, in addition to that commercially manufactured dog kibble is:
      a) not only highly processed food bu;
      c) a large percentage of it (dog kibble)also contains species inappropriate foods such as grains;
      d) contains very poor source protein;
      e) too much omega 6 and not enough omega 3 fatty acids;
      contains an overwhelming amount of toxins and carcinogens;
      Of the 1000's of kibbles available, there are very few commercially manufactured kibble products and treats that I will recommend to my clients.
      f) read these to understand more...

      Fresh whole food is much better for your dog. Go to the index page of my blog - scroll down the page and read ALL of the articles on nutrition, dental care and probiotics. You will then be informed to make the right choices and not be mislead by the marketing campaigns and false labeling of the dog food manufacturers. This will protect this health of your dog and greatly reduce your dogs chance of acquiring many illnesses. the top 10 reasons for visiting a vet are ALL diet related....and some of the worst food is sold at veterinarians offices...i.,e. Royal Canine and Hills Science Diet - which are equivalent to the worst crap you can buy at the pet store. Vets sell it because they get lots of $ from the manufacturer for doing so and most vets know 0 about nutrition. Here is the link to the Index of Articles Page

    2. The food Max is on according to the ingredients is meat, veggies and fruit. He will eat anything I feed him. his favorite is cheese, but he will also eat fruit, veggies, yogurt, peanut butter. I have not tried him on grains because i didn't know what was good for him and what was not. I have read your blogs on grains and I think I will try them too. You have some much information on nutrition and helpfull hints, I'm so glad I came across this. Thank you so much.

    3. Not sure if is a typo in your words above - but please don't add grains to Max's diet - grains are NOT species appropriate...not sure if you caught this from what I said above. So, no wheat, no corn, no rice, no oatmeal, no barley and no soy! etc.

      Sweet potatoes are good for Max as are cooked chickpeas or lentils :>)

      Cheers, K

    4. I took my dog off of grains a few years ago, he eats a raw diet and his health improved 100% including arthiritus. He is 11 1/2 and my vet said "whatever you are doing, keep doing it... I would never look at your dog and think he is 11 1/2." My dog does look awesome, so healthy, so happy. It is wonderful!

  2. Hi, I tried to make your Citrus Scented Shampoo and it started to lump up really badly, and I was unable to use it. Could you tell me why this happened, or the process you use to mix all those ingrediants?

    1. Mix soap and glycerin together, then mix in the ACV and water and lastly the essential oils.

  3. My 5 1/2 lb Yorkie, Coco, 8 1/2 yrs old, has been suffering from seborrhea dermatitis for over two years now which has developed into severe scratching, chewing, gnawing, resultant loss of hair, and bloodied skin which is also turning black.

    Had it with vet's meds, topical treatments, etcetera. Except, it appears I need the Pyoban shampoo to lift and keep at bay heavy, yellow, waxy crusting, which makes her itch even more after being bathed with it. Used your Rooibos/lemon rinse starting yesterday and it appears to be alleviating some of that itch.

    Bought ingredients for your basic shampoo recipe to use in between Pyoban baths but will this be too harsh for her irritated skin? Epi-Soothe oatmeal colloidal shampoo made her break out something fierce. They have added a dye and a fragrance that originally wasn't in it - at least the dye wasn't. Now blue instead of white. Have given her homemade colloidal shampoo soaks but those did nothing, not even a half hour of relief, and she soaked in it for 20 minutes each time.

    Put her back on raw food diet (Dr. Pitcairn's)two months ago that I had her on to age two years when she got a tapeworm which put me off and worried me. What now concerns me is that Dr. Pitcairn's recipes (are you familiar with his book - Natural Health For Dogs & Cats?) uses grains in all his recipes. Perhaps when he started natural health they were deemed okay. I have questions now because I just absolutely must get her better.

    - His recipes use bone meal such as NaturVet Bone Meal or Animal Essentials Bone Meal as part of balancing out recipe and calcium needed by dogs. You recommend spinach, high in calcium, but it binds itself to calcium and thereby calcium is lost in stool elimination. Canadian Osteoporosis Agency says not to eat it as calcium source.

    - Your foods are all cooked versus raw. Your opinion on raw meat in diet? (Some vegs are cooked in his recipes as some MUST be cooked or cannot be digested properly he says.)

    - Do you ever used lamb? (I have nine pounds of ground spring lamb from New Zealand at $9 a pound and would hate to throw it out.)

    - Use his recommended omega 3-6-9 oil, Udo's Choice, cold pressed and refrigerated oil, ratio 2:1:1. Can you or would you add this oil to your recipes and if so, at what measurement?

    I want to give your grain free recipe a try as she isn't getting any better after almost two months on his dog allergy diet (limited ingredient) and now thinking it may be because of the brown rice (organic) or raw rolled oats (organic)in recipe. Need your help and answers to these questions.


    1. Hi Sara,

      Yes I am familiar with Dr. Pitcarin - he certainly got some things right, and he most certainly got some things wrong.

      My foods are not all cooked – in fact my dogs eat fresh whole foods (veggies, fruit, yogurt, cottage cheese, cheddar cheese, herbs, etc. on a daily basis :>) in addition to their meals of cooked homemade dog food.

      I don’t feed my dogs raw meat.

      Yes you can most certainly use lamb in place of chicken, beef, etc.

      Spinach is in my dog food recipe because it is an excellent source of nutrition – Rich in vitamins and minerals, phytonutrients such as carotenoids (beta-carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin) and flavonoids (powerful antioxidants). Its inclusion is not calcium motivated.

      Concentrated source of calcium in my recipe is powdered eggshell.

      I can’t say I am a fan of Udo’s choice Omega Fatty Acids. I particularly do not like the inclusion of soy derivative in the product. They also include ‘Mixed Tocopherols’ which usually means soy derivative. Soy in North America is GMO, not sure about its status in the UK. Notice that the two soy derivative products in Udo’s product are not organic – likely because they are GMO. Other problem with soy is how it is processed on large factory farms – read my articles on choosing dry dog food – I talk about the other health risks of factory farm soy in those articles.

      As far as Omega fatty acids go, my dogs get ground flax seed (the real thing) or flax oil, coconut oil, olive oil, a piece of real fish (salmon, mackerel or sardines) etc. on a daily basis. I am not a big fan of pre-prepared supplements.

      Get your dogs off of all grain ASAP.

      Add fresh lemon to their daily diet.

      Add Organic Apple Cider to their daily diet.

      Add probiotics in the form of real food – not supplements – read my article on fresh foods and foods that are natural probiotics.

      Go to the index page of my blog site and read all of the articles on nutrition. You can also engage my services if you wish to help you create a diet regime for your dogs if you want more than generic information.

      Cheers, K

    2. Thank you so very much for responding so quickly. Made a batch of your grain free food which is now simmering. Still a lot of liquid in it despite barely covering ingredients with water. I assume you feed this with food and don't drain it off.I will let you know how she makes out on it.

      Had to go to the next town over to get Organic Apple Cider at a health food store but not one had
      ground flax seeds so I got the Chia seeds. They're whole. Will track down a health food store which has the ground flax seeds for the next batch of food. Will add the fresh lemon and probiotics you recommended and will read everything on your site as well.

      Also purchased organic coconut oil but not sure how to give this - with food? how much? Salmon is out. She vomits after she has eaten it.

      BTW the Rooibos and lemon are working very well. Applied once on first day, twice on second day, and today there has been no need for it. Relief for both of us.

      Again, thank you so much for your information and it is good to know that your services can be engaged for a diet regime should I see that it is needed and very well may be. I should soon know that.


    3. Hi Sara,

      I would suggest you:
      1) drain the extra liquid off;
      2) keep the liquid;
      3) measure out the amount of food you want to give your dogs;
      4) and then pour a tbs to 1/8 cup of the liquid over the food.
      5) You can so this for every meal until you have used up all the liqued.

      Next time you make the food use less water. When I make the food it is very thick. The thicker the better as you want the nutrition to be dense for every serving rather than diluted.

      Dosage for coconut oil - in the article;
      Dosage for and Apple cider vinegar - in the article

      Cheers K

  4. I want to make homemade shampoo for my dog but is there anything I could use instead of apple cider vinegar? ACV burns my skin even when it is diluted 1tsp of ACV to 5tsp water, so I am worried it will burn my dog's skin. Also it would burn my own skin when I am washing my dog. Thank you.

    1. You can certainly reduce the amount of ACV,
      You can use fresh squeezed lemon juice instead of ACV,
      You can use organic coconut oil instead of the ACV,
      You can use raw unpasturized honey instead of the ACV...
      Cheers, K

  5. Hi, can I leave out the glycerin?

  6. I found your site via Pinterest this morning and have been pinning all kinds of ideas for food, treats, and shampoo. We got a ACD puppy on Thursday and I want to do what's best for him with his health. I was going to make a batch of shampoo and wondered if peppermint essential oil is safe for their skin? I saw your peppermint tea rinse for them and thought it might be but wanted to ask to be on the safe side. I like the smell of rosemary and peppermint essential oils together but will try another alternative you gave until I hear back. Thank you for your site and insight. :)

    1. Hi Leslie - yes all of the ingredients above are safe for an ACD puppy :>) enjoy your pup - cheers, Karen

  7. Great! Thanks so much for replying and replying so quick!

  8. How often can I shampoo my dog using these natural recipes?

    1. That depends on why you are shampooing your dog.

  9. My dog, Wizzer, has been having recurrent topical yeast infections of his skin (which looks particularly bad on a dog with black fur!). The vet puts him on steroids and an antibiotic, but when the treatment is done, in about a week or so it starts showing up again. :( He has lost all his fur from his belly/inner thigh areas... Any suggestions would be most helpful! It's $100. bill every time we go to the vet for this reason!

    1. #1The condition is chronic because the root cause is not being addressed.
      #2 if you continue to put your dog in antibiotics, he will become antibiotic resistant - a life-threatening condition
      #3 Antibiotics suppress the immune system - this leaves his body wide open to re-infection as soon as he is off the antibiotics
      #4 Steroids are immune system suppressing and health destroying - leaving him in the same condition as number 3 above
      If you want to address this situation properly, naturally and holistically (diet + nutrition + wellness, all factors that contribute) you require - depending on your exact circumstances - either Plan 6, 7 or 8. If you are serious about addressing your boy's condition via my recommendation above you may contact me via email.


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Important Note

1.0 Use of Foods, Herbs, Alternative Medicines:

Safe use of items and protocols in the article above, is your sole responsibility.

Foods, herbs and alternative medicines have health issue, condition and conventional drug interactions. Safe use of all substances and protocol are your responsibility.

Before you use any substance or protocol do your research. Check for cautions, contradictions, interactions and side effects. Do not use substances or protocols not suitable to your animal's individual circumstances.

If your animal has an underlying condition substances and protocols may conflict.

2.0 Definition of Holistic…

Food, herbs, alternative medicines are NOT ‘holistic’ they are a substance and MAY, or may NOT be ‘NATURAL’.

If you use a ‘natural’ substance (ie. an herb) you are using a natural substance, not a holistic substance.

Holistic is not defined by use of one or several substances. Holistic is an approach.

Definition of “holistic” from the Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press


"relating to the whole of something or to the total system instead of just to its parts"

"Holistic medicine attempts to treat the whole person, including mind and body, not just the injury or disease."

Holistic is a way of approaching life, and within that health, and well-being.

3.0 Expectation a natural substance remedies a health or behavioral situation.

A natural substance used to treat symptoms. But, if factors causing the underlying issue remain you do not have a remedy.

Remedy requires a comprehensive approach. It is necessary to identify root cause. Remove items that trigger, cause or otherwise contribute to issues. Holistic approach includes design, implementation to treat, remedy and maintain long-term health.

4.0 Leave a Comment

I review all comments and publish those deemed appropriate for this site.

I answer questions deemed appropriate when I have time to do so.

Karen Rosenfeld
Holistic Diet Nutrition Wellness Practitioner – Dogs and Cats
Holistic Behaviorist - Dogs
Ottawa Valley Dog Whisperer

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