Rule of thumb: If you can't pronounce an ingredient, chances are you should avoid it. Many dog shampoos have "natural" in the name, and when you turn the bottle around, you see "methylchloroisothiazolinone" in the ingredient list. Yes, that's actually the name of a harmful preservative that's commonly found in dog shampoo. For the ones that aren't as easy to tell, we're going to set the record straight. Let's talk about which ingredients to avoid, and what to look for in dog shampoo.

Ingredients To Avoid

Common preservatives that are found in cosmetic products and dog shampoos. They are synthetic chemicals and are often used because they're cheap, but not the best to use on your dog's skin and fur. Recent studies are showing that parabens have the potential to be cancer-causing and can irritate your dog's skin. Avoid products that have any of these names in the ingredient list: methyl, benzyl, propyl, and ethyl.

A preservative that is commonly found in cosmetics and hair products for both humans and pets. Can irritate your skin and eyes upon contact, avoid using it on your dog and yourself.

Phthalates are commonly used as "plasticizers", something found in plastic to give it flexibility, transparency, and durability. Not something you want to use on your skin, but unfortunately, it's often in your household cosmetics and cooking pans. When these, enter your bloodstream, they disrupt sex hormones and cause a slew of health problems.

Propylene Glycol 
This ingredient has been linked to organ toxicity, dry skin, and irritation. It's originally used as a skin conditioner and solvent and can be incredibly harsh on your dog's skin. Avoid this one at all costs. 

Polyethylene Glycol (PEGS)
Contains high levels of carcinogens due to its production process. It's common to find in dog conditioners, especially those that are creamy. They are likely to cause skin irritation on your dog.

Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS)
SLS gives a dog shampoo its sudsy, bubbly qualities and is effective for removing oil and dirt. However, it will also strip your dog's skin and coat of natural oils and cause irritation, itchiness, and dryness. If your dog is prone to damaged skin, stay far away from this one.

Cocamide DEA
This ingredient is derived from coconuts, which are great for your skin. But cocamide DEA is chemically altered during the extraction process. It may cause irritation or an allergic reaction for your dog. Over the years it's been used less, but there are still dog shampoos that contain it. Avoid any ingredients that have DEA, MEA, or TEA in the name, they are all considered carcinogens. 

Artificial Coloring
These can potentially cause organ damage, cancer, and allergic reactions. Not worth the cool colors when washing your doggie!

Artificial Fragrance
The dangerous part of artificial fragrances is that they can be extracted for many different things, that aren't listed on the ingredient list. Harmful chemicals can be contained within the fragrance, and there would be no way for you to tell. Not something you want to risk with your four-legged furball.

Mineral Oil
This gives the skin a nice layer of protection, however, it also stops the skin from naturally producing oils. It has a good intention behind it, but it actually has a negative effect on the skin.

The name says it all... steer clear of EDTA, it contains metals that are known to be toxic for your dog.

The reason these harmful chemicals are often used in cosmetics is to reduce the cost of production and increase profits. Cutting corners, at its finest! Now that you know what the ingredients are and the dangers of using them, try to avoid them when purchasing products for your dog.

Now that we've got the nasty stuff out of the way, let's lighten the mood and end on a high note. Here are the ingredients that you DO want to see on a shampoo's ingredient list.

Ingredients To Look For

Neem Oil
Naturally helps kill and repel fleas.  For dogs with itchy skin due to food allergies, insect bites, mild rash or dehydrated patches, neem oil can work wonders. The oil has anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties. Relieves skin dryness, skin itchiness, and redness.

Aloe Vera
This is especially good if your dog has a skin condition. It's incredibly hydrating and great to use if your dog has dry skin.

Vitamins & Enzymes
These are both crucial for breaking down dead skin and promoting the growth of new, healthy skin.

Believe it or not, oatmeal is very common to use on your dog's skin. It's soothing, gentle, and nourishing. This is great if your dog has a skin condition or dry skin. It has hydrating properties and it's natural. It contains an antioxidant called "avenanthramide" which works wonders for dry, itchy, irritated skin.

Unrefined Shea Butter
Soothes softens and hydrates your dog's skin. In addition, shea butter is a natural sun protectant and moisturizes and conditions your dog's fur to maintain and boost shine.

Coconut Oil
Great for adding moisture, nourishment, and natural cleansing power. Coconut oil contains vitamin E, which works as an antioxidant to protect your skin cells from damage.

Cocoa Butter
Cocoa Butter is known as a super moisturizer for your dog's skin. Derived from the cocoa bean, and you can tell by the rich smell. If you see this on the ingredient list, it's a good sign!

Want To Try Our New Dog Shampoo?
Say hello to our new dog shampoo! Bring back that "puppy smell" by cutting out the harsh chemicals and letting the miraculous PCHQ dog shampoo work its magic.
It's packed with healthy butters and oils to make your dog's coat shine like never before. Reduce the irritation and dry skin while restoring your dog's natural, healthy coat.
December 19, 2022 — Nick Flint