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How to Make Homemade Puppy Shampoo – 6 Variations

Puppy getting a shampoo

There is nothing like that fresh puppy smell, is there? But give them a backyard filled with leaves and mud, and you’ve got one stinky little pup in need of a good bath. There are many shampoos to choose from; they all cost a pretty penny and sometimes we worry about what is actually in them, right? Chemical-laden shampoos from the store worry us because we know those commercial products can be really hard on a dog’s skin. 

Some might tell you to just get a bar of soap and give them a good rub down in the shower, but like humans, dogs sometimes have sensitive skin and that could land you in a vets office and the only happy person there will be the vet when he hands you the bill. 

There are others who might think, “Fido, had dandruff and so did I. Hey, let’s try ‘Head and Shoulders.’ It worked great for me.” Stop. Dog skin is more alkaline and needs a milder shampoo, so human shampoo can dry out dog skin. Using one, may create or exacerbating a problem and you’ll once again have to see the vet. 

Hey, why not use the adult dog shampoo on the little nipper, right? You can, but be sure to stay away from any medicated dog shampoos, such as a flea and tick shampoos because it is way to strong for your pup.

Going to the store and picking up bottle after bottle and wondering how much it will cost and if it will be effective is also something you would like to avoid as well, right? Great. So, let’s skip all of that and talk about a much better solution. One that is cheaper, more effective and best of all, you can do yourself in a matter of minutes. Homemade puppy shampoo for whatever occasion; weather its fleas, dry skin, greasy hair, itchy skin or for just getting that fresh puppy smell. If done right, it should only take five minutes. 

  • Please be sure NOT to wash your pup before he is 12 weeks old. 
  • Use warm water. Not too hot nor too cold.
  • Never get the mixtures or soap into your pup’s eyes or ears. 
  • Avoid washing their heads.
  • Be sure to rinse thoroughly. If you don’t, it could get into her skin and become an irritant. 
  • Try to reassure your pup often and not force him aggressively into the sink, tub or bowl  

Here is a great video for showing how to wash a pup, by PetSmart

Essential oil bottle on rustic table top with flowers in background

First up, Puppy Shampoo with Essential Oils

Every Day Dog Mom recommends using basic oils like lavender and rosemary for a clean, fresh, earthly smell that is very easy to put together that both you and the your pup will love. (I’m pretty sure the pup will not really care too much, he just wants to get out from under the hose, but okay.) 

There are a few things recommended that I highly agree with. 

  1. Make sure to purchase the essential oils that come in amber, cobalt, blue or violet glass bottles only. Essential oils can be weak against UV rays, diluting their compounds and making them acidic. Bottles that contain citrus oils can become poisonous from UV rays. 
  2. Check the country of origin. 
  3. Check how the oil was extracted. 
  4. Check for the words common and scientific.  
  5. Make sure you can find the terms 100 Percent Pure Essential Oil and Therapeutic Grade.
  6. Be sure to keep the bottle in normal room temperatures. (Not too hot nor too cold.) 
  7. Check with your vet first, just to make sure before trying. 


  • I cup of distilled water.
  • 1 tsp of olive or coconut oil.
  • 2 tsp of vegetable glycerin.
  • ¼ cup of Dr. Bonner’s Castille soap.
  • 5-7 drops of lavender essential oil.
  • 3-4 drops of rosemary essential oil. 


  1. Combine all the ingredients in a pump style bottle. 
  2. Shake well. Be sure to shake every time you use to make sure the ingredients are well mixed. 
  3. Make sure your dog is nice and wet. 
  4. Spray a generous amount on your dog.
  5. Massage time… Rub the mixture in thoroughly from nervous face to sinking tail. (Do not worry about getting a thick lather. Due to the mixture being sulfate free, it is going to to do that, but what it will do is leave your dog with clean skin and coat and smelling great. 
  6. Be careful NOT to get the mixture in your pups eyes.
  7. Avoid the dirt, mud and leaves for a while. 

Homemade Puppy Shampoo for Normal Skin

Fluffy puppy in washtub with bubbles outside in the grass

We all want to get that deep cleaning in our dogs. They naturally begin to smell quickly, so try this one recommended by PetCareRx Inc


  • Two cups of apple cider vinegar
  • Natural or organic dish soap with a 7-8 pH. (see list below for dish soaps to avoid) 
  • Four cups of warm water.
  • 4oz of vegetable glycerin.

Homemade Puppy Shampoo – Dry, Sensitive Skin

Often times our little pals have dry, sensitive skin, which can be very irritating. The American Kennel Club recommends adding glycerin and aloe vera gel to nontoxic dish soap. According to Go New Mommy these ingredients are what you need to watch out for in your dish soap. If they possess any one of the ingredients, please be advised not to use it. 

  1. Fragrance
  2. Sodium Lauryl Sulphate (SLS/SLES) common in many dog shampoos
  3. Formaldehyde
  4. Sulphuric Acid
  5. Triclosan
  6. Phosphates
  7. Dea (Diethanolamine), Mea (Monoethanolamine), Tea (Triethanolamine)
  8. Ammonium Sulfate
  9. Polyethylene Glycol (PEF)

Here are some recommended soaps that are safe enough to use according to Go New Mommy

  1. Dr. Bronner’s Pure-Castile Soap – Non Toxic Dish Soap
  2. Better Life Dish Soap – Non Toxic Dish Soap
  3. Eco-Me Dish Soap – Non Toxic Dish Soap
  4. Attitude Dishwashing Liquid – Non Toxic Dish Soap
  5. Honest Dish Soap – Non Toxic Dish Soap
  6. Ecos Dishmate Dish Liquid – Non Toxic Dish Soap


  • 1 quart of warm water
  • 1 cup of baby shampoo/non-toxic dish soap
  • 1 cup of white or apple cider vinegar
  • 1/3 cup of glycerin
  • 2 tablespoons of aloe vera gel

And that should help the situation. If not, please consult your local vet. 

Homemade Oatmeal Shampoo for Itchy Skin

Oats spread on a wood surface  with a wooden spoon and bowl full of oats

If your pup has itchy skin and you have confirmed that it isn’t’ due to fleas, then oatmeal shampoo might be the best thing you can try. It is believed that oatmeal has healing properties to it that can alleviate pain and discomfort. You will need to things before you begin to make this itch-relieving concoction before you begin; a coffee grinder, blender or food processor.


  • Oatmeal
  • Baking Soda
  • Warm Water


  1. Grind oatmeal until it is in powder form.
  2. Mix the oatmeal and a ½ cup of baking soda in a large bowl.
  3. As you mix the oatmeal and baking soda slowly, add a quart of warm water.
  4. Wet dog.
  5. Apply the mixture from nervous head to sinking tail.
  6. Be careful NOT to get the mixture in your pups eyes.
  7. Let sit for five minutes. 
  8. Rinse dog. 

That should relieve the itchiness your pup has been experiencing. 

Homemade Puppy Shampoo for Fleas and Greasy Hair.

There is nothing worse than fleas. And although we might want to resort to extreme actions like shaving the pup bald, there are better and more effective ways to rid your pup of fleas. And best of all, I’m sure that you have two of the three ingredients in your own kitchen. 


  1. One quart of water
  2. One cup of white vinegar
  3. One cup of Dawn Dish Soap. (Dawn kills the fleas where others do not and is safe enough for your pup. Since it works great on dishes to remove grease, it will also remove your pup’s grease.)


  1. Prepare a nice warm bath for your pup.
  2. Place pup in it. (Use a soothing voice and praise him/her for being a good dog.)
  3. Try to keep your pup in the warm water for at least five minutes. (It is important to make sure that you drown the fleas and not the pup, right?) 
  4. Use the mixture to lather up the dog.
  5. Be careful NOT to get the mixture in your pups eyes.

According to WikiHow, and Smart School House, this should do the trick. 

DIY Puppy Dry Shampoo

White powder in a jar laying on its side with a cork and wooden spoon full of the powder on a table top

Face it, we do not always have the time to give Fido a bath and he’s not always in the mood to be dunked in a bathtub of water, is he? So, what can you do to make that he does not stink up the place and not get the whole bathroom soaking wet? DIY Puppy Dry Shampoo, that’s what. Here is a very simple recipe. 


  • 3 tablespoons of baking soda
  • 3 tablespoons of cornstarch
  • 6 drops of skin safe vanilla fragrance oil 
  • Shaker
  • Mixing bowl
  • Spoon


  1. Take the ingredients and put them in the shaker.
  2. Shake over dog.
  3. Massage the powder into the dog’s coat. 

And that is all there is to it and more importantly, your dog likes you more and the bathroom is dry. 

Either one of those recipes should help your dog to smell better and most importantly, they are safe and cost very little. Whichever you decide you can always add an essential oil to the mix to give your dog a good smell, but please remember never to touch your dog with those oils directly. They must be mixed and diluted and do not put any mixtures in your pup’s eyes.

Key Takeaways

You can easily customize homemade puppy shampoo for the specific needs of your pup – different formulations work for fleas, dry skin, stinkiness and more.

You should never bathe a dog with shampoo before they are 12 weeks old (it’s OK to give them a rinse).

Making your own puppy shampoo will save you money AND you get to control the ingredients.

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