The answer is NO! Dog Shampoos vary greatly in their ingredients, effectiveness, irritation, fragrances, and colors! You might think the dog shampoo you are currently using is a good quality product, but is it? In this post we explore various ingredients found in commercial dog shampoos (cheap end up to higher end natural brands) and help you decipher what's good and what's bad.
15 Common Ingredients found in Chemical Based & "Natural" Dog Shampoos:
1) Sodium Dodecyl Sulfate/Sodium Laurel Sulfates - These are sometimes coded on labels as "coconut based cleanser." Sulfates are added to shampoo because they act as surfactants to bind to grease & dirt to help wash them away. These are what causes "bubbles" when bathing. Sulfates can be extremely irritating to a dog's skin (people's too) and will strip out the natural oils found in a the skin & coat. Many dogs become extra itchy afterward, causing dander and flakes to appear on the fur. Prolonged exposure to sulfates can produce target organ damage and ingestion can lead to nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and bloating. Allergic reactions can also appear on dogs.
2) Cocamide DEA/Cocamidopropyl Betaine - These are sometimes coded on labels as "coconut based cleanser." Cocamides are also detergents added into shampoos to "add more bubbles," but also to thicken a shampoo so it comes out in a glob. Like sulfates, these ingredients cause skin and eye irritation. In lab experiments, exposure to high doses of these chemicals have been shown to cause liver cancers and precancerous changes in skin and thyroid.
3) Glycol Distearate/Stearate - these are waxes added in to make the shampoo shiny. I don't think your dog cares if their shampoo is shiny or not! This is an unnecessary ingredient, and although they only cause acute oral toxicity, and skin and eye irritation, they are still toxic!
4) Dimethicone/Cyclomethicone - methicone's are silicone oils used to smooth down the fur, while adding thickness and shine. These attributes aren't so bad unless you are using a dry shampoo on your pet. Methicone's that can be inhaled cause the most harm. And when this chemical decomposes, it can form toxic gases!
5) Paraben - these are added to act as a preservative to prevent bacterial growth. The side effects of having parabens absorbed through the skin or ingested can contribute to the development of cancerous tumours in people, so why risk cancer in our dogs?
6) Phenoxyethanol - many "natural" products contain this ingredient as a preservative instead of using a paraben. It can also be used in the fragrance of a shampoo. Its chemical structure is similar to parabens and have similar side effects like allergic dermatitis.
7) Propylene Glycol - Propylene Glycol is a cosmetic form of mineral oil and works as a humescent, which creates retention of moisture. This chemical is also a skin irritant and "repeated exposure may cause flaking of the skin," states DOW Chemical's MSDS. In shampoo, it is supposed to work at holding moisture in the skin, but using the shampoo regularly causes skin dryness.... talk about a Catch 22!
8) Diazolidinyl Urea - this is used as a preservative. To use this chemical, people have to make sure their skin is covered and seek medical attention if their skin comes in contact with it. One is also supposed to induce vomiting if ingested according to Spectrum Chemical. Dog shampoos do not need to contain this preservative! There are many natural preservatives like Vitamin C and Rosemary amongst others.
9) Polysorbate 20/80 - Although it's derived from a natural ingredient, it is not natural--it is an ethoxylated compound which means the un-hazardous polysorbate is treated with 20 "parts" of ethylene oxide causing a carcinogenic compound. Polysorbates are usually added as emulsifiers to shampoo to hold in fragrance and increase surfactant properties.
10) Glyceryl Oleate - this chemical is used in the fragrance and to help as a surfactant. There are high concerns for irritation to the skin, eyes, and lungs which can wreak havoc on your pups skin - especially if they are extra sensitive. Your pooch doesn't need to stay smelling like cucumber melon or blueberry swirl after their bath, just a clean dog is the best way to go.
11) Sodium Benzoate - this is used used as a preservative and for fragrance in shampoos. It can cause serious eye irritation. Other studies state it is hazardous to the skin and can be toxic to the blood, reproductive system, liver, and central nervous system. Again this is an unnecessary ingredient!
12) DEA (diethanolamine) - DEA is used as a wetting agent to help with lather in a shampoo. Cancer Prevention Coalition states DEA can react with other ingredients in the formula to form an extremely potent carcinogen called nitrosodiethanolamine (NDEA). NDEA is readily absorbed through the skin and has been linked with stomach, esophagus, liver and bladder cancers.
13) Phthalates - these are used when making artificial fragrances for shampoo because they make the scent last longer by acting as a plasticizer. They are known endocrine disruptors which means they can disrupt the hormone levels in the body. Pregnant dogs should definitely avoid having shampoos with pthalates put on them to avoid any developmental birth defects.
14) Fragrance - the term Fragrance is what many companies use to keep their scent a secret. You have no idea what chemicals or natural ingredients they are using to add a scent. It is generally safe to assume the word fragrance = chemical, otherwise the scent would be promoted as a natural or organic ingredient like lavender essential oil or a blend of natural plant derived scents.
15) Color/FD&C's - Color? Why do dogs need to have a color in their shampoo? The only reason colors are added is for human aesthetic purposes. The actual chemical makeup of colors and dyes only leads to increased dryness or irritation on your dog.
So now that your head is spinning, take a deep breath and ask yourself: Do I care what I'm bathing my favorite pooch with?
With PETfection Puppy Suds Shampoos you absolutely don't have to worry about any chemicals! Every single scent of shampoo we offer is made from saponified oils like coconut, jojoba, and olive. The fragrances are all essential oil based and are non-toxic by themselves when diluted. In fact, many of our oils are considered food-grade which means they are safe for ingestion. You won't have to worry about your pooch licking themselves and ingesting any toxic chemicals after their bath! All of our shampoos work great on sensitive dogs and puppies too because they are gentle without sacrificing good cleaning quality. :)
Proper care of your dog's paws can ensure they stay soft and pain free. Just like human feet, paws get a lot of beating. From freezing pavement and burning snow melt, to frying hot asphalt and burns, dogs depend on you as their owner to help care for their paws and keep them safe in all the elements. Part 1 of this blog post is all about proper paw care during the Winter.
During the cold, snowy months, dogs with long fur can attract snow and ice to the fur between their toes and create little snowballs. Not only are these hard to walk on, but they are freezing to your dog's feet. The little nerve endings in their paw pads and toes can can lead to frostbite. When a dog gets frostbite on his/her paws, the paws will change to a white or light blue color, then as the paws warm up and blood flow returns, the tissue with die will and change to black. PetMD has a great article on frostbite in dogs and provides some immediate treatment options as well as after care. You can read the article here.
To help prevent frostbite when taking your dog on a walk or letting them run in the winter months, we offer a few tips. 1) Keep the toenails short as long nails force the paws to spread open when walking and create a spot for the snow, ice, and ice-melt to stick. 2) Keep the fur in between the toes and paw pads trimmed as short as possible. Wet cold fur lowers the body temp and will make the paws more prone to frostbite. 3) Use waterproof booties. 4) Use Paw Cream before going out to moisturize the pads and fur. The beeswax and oils in it will help prevent snow and ice from sticking. You can also use it when your dog comes inside to add moisture back into the pads (think lotion for your own hands after being out in the cold). 5) When you arrive home consider wiping down your dog's paws. If there are frozen snow balls or ice on the fur, gently dip the paw into a bowl or cup of lukewarm water. Remember not to make the water too hot because those paws and toes are cold! They need to warm up gently. The water will help melt off the snow and ice, and improve blood flow.
Now just because you have your own dog prepared, think of other dogs out in your neighborhood. Be courteous of other dogs walking along your house and use only pet-safe ice melts. Pet safe ice-melts are salt-free, meaning they won't burn your dogs paw pads and toes while walking. Have you ever seen your dog shaking it's paw and leg after walking through salt-based melt? This is their way of trying to get the salt off as the burning sensation can occur immediately and is uncomfortable. Having a non-toxic option is the best because they are not harmful if your dog licks their paws right after walking through it. They are also safe for the environment and are non-corroding to the pavement.
Hopefully with all of the above information, you will feel prepared for the winter months and will enjoy walking your dog in the cold elements without the worry and headaches of frostbite and beat up paws.
Every day thousands of dogs are diagnosed with some form of kidney disease. With a diagnosis like this, your dog has to have a change in their daily diet, so we created this healthy, kidney-friendly, easy to make recipe for some fun "Pupsicles" for your dog to enjoy! Of course, please double check with your vet if you are unsure of any of these ingredients for your specific dog. And yes, these are yummy enough for all dogs to enjoy on a hot day so feel free to share with your other doggie friends!
4 Baby Carrots
1/2 Apple cut into chunks
1/2 cup Blueberries
4.5 oz Plain Yogurt (full fat is best for dogs with kidney issues)
Add all the ingredients to a blender. Add a little fresh water at a time and blend until consistency is smoothie like. Place your silicone molds onto a cookie sheet for easy transportation from the counter to freezer. Take your smoothie mixture and pour into silicone molds leaving a little space at the top. Once your molds are complete, then pop them in the freezer and freeze until your dog is ready to enjoy. Once ready to give, just pop the pupsicle out of the mold!
Note: There are tons of options for silicone molds out there. We used silicone cupcake liners (~3in diameter) and filled 5 of them. You can find something similar here. If you want smaller, 1 to 1 1/2in sized treats, check out these cute bone and paw print shaped ones.
You may think, "What? How can my dog or cat get a sunburn under all that fur and end up with skin cancer?," but it's true. According to the Veterinary Specialty Hospital in San Diego, about 33% of tumors in dogs start in the skin and about 1/3 of those are cancerous. For cats, about 25% of all cancers are skin. And here's something else... the sun can reflect off the beach or sidewalk and hit the bald areas of your dog's belly causing cancer (the belly is the primary location for skin cancer to form).
Dogs with pink, pale skin and short coats, such as bull terriers, pointers, greyhounds, white pit bulls, and white boxers are particularly vulnerable. Also are white or hairless cats, and those with pink or pale noses. So what should you do to protect them? Here are a few tips:
1) Dodge the sun's strongest rays by taking them out early-morning or evening.... generally anytime Before 10am and After 4pm is ok. If they are outside during those hot day hours, make sure they have access to shade and fresh, cool water.
2) Dress your dog in sun-safe clothing with a UPF rating of 30 or above. You can find coats, visors, and belly bands to name a few here.
3) Apply a pet friendly Sunscreen. We offer both a Spray Sunscreen and a Balm Sunscreen for your choosing. Apply the sunscreen to the tips of the nose and ears, belly, legs, toes and anywhere else the skin is exposed. Reapply every 2-3 hours for upkeep or more frequently if they go in the water. Our sunscreen is chemical free and safe for them to lick!
4) Avoid getting your dog or cat shaved too short. Maintain at least 1/2 inch of fur during the hot months; buzz cuts can make them more vulnerable to sunburn and skin damage.
5) Tint your windows. Cats especially love to sunbathe in windows. Install a glare-reducing insulating film with UV-filtering protection. If you find one with a UV protection of at least 90% your cat can sunbathe away without worry.
5) Perform monthly Nose-to-Tail checks. That means checking them over to look for any woulds that won't heal, lumps, raised bumps, or crusty spots. If you find any, have your vet check them out as these can be early signs of skin cancer.
And what if they do end up with a Sunburn? Get them into a cool, well-ventilated space and wrap their lower body in a cool (not cold!), wet towel to help lower the body temperature. Depending on how bad the burn is, you may need to go to the vet for additional fluids and treatment.
If you are interested in reading more on the different types of skin cancer Dogs can get, go here, and for Cats, here.
Hopefully this post will help you understand the dangers your pet can face during sun exposure and will help you get prepared for the sunny months ahead!
Like the majority of other websites out there, businesses are posting what they are doing in response to COVID19. Being a small business, we have NOT been running out of product like large retailers have. We are keeping our inventory on our website as updated as possible to allow you to shop the products you need without backorders or delays. We have temporarily lowered Free Shipping from $55.00 to $40.00.
We are still shipping out at normal speed.... this is generally same business day or next business day. All products manufactured have always been produced in a sanitary environment and continue to be so. Extra cleanings are being done on the manufacturing stainless steel tables in between batches. As far as packaging goes, we are taking extra precautions and all orders are being packaged with gloves on. We ship USPS the majority of the time and you can find what they are doing for keeping packages safe during transit here. If you have any questions or concerns regarding our products or shipping, please feel free to contact us. You can find all of our contact information here.
Please remember that during this time of uncertainty, your pets can pick up on any stress, anxiety, depression, or sadness you may be feeling. They are a wonderful for helping navigate your emotions... try going for a walk with your dog, giving them a bath, playing with your cat, or just snuggling with them and giving them extra loves while you are home. They will help calm you and in return you will help calm them. If you are interested in learning more on the Mood-Boosting Power of Pets this is a nice article.
Also, please know that as of date, there has been no studies showing your domestic dog or cat can give you COVID19. You can read more information from the Oregon Veterinary Medical Association if needed.
Well it is toasty out! What tastes better than a nice cold smoothie or ice cream on a hot summer day? Your dog thinks the same thing... trust us! Here is our homemade pooch smoothie recipe to whip up your dog a yummy, healthy, vitamin and protein packed snack to enjoy outside.
5.3oz Plain Greek Yogurt
1/3 cup Natural Peanut Butter
1/2 cup Fresh or Frozen Blueberries
handful of ice-cubes
water to thin and blend as needed
In a blender add the plain greek yogurt, banana, peanut butter, blueberries and ice-cubes. Add water and blend to a nice, easy-to-pour consistency (add additional water as needed throughout blending to thin out smoothie for pouring).
After you have made your smoothie, pour into silicone cupcake molds like these and put in the freezer. Your pooch smoothies will set up overnight. If you want to give them extra appeal, you can add in a treat like the picture below after a few hours in the freezer.
The silicone molds are freezer safe and will not stick to the smoothie! When you are ready to serve, peel the mold right off the smoothie and hand the yummy, cold treat to your pooch to eat! Wash the silicone mold and store until you are ready to make more.
This recipe will make ~6 large cupcake molds. Your pooch smoothies can store in the freezer for awhile so your dog can enjoy them over several weeks! Enjoy.
Playing on and in the water can be a carefree way to spend the day with your dog this summer, but keeping them safe is #1! Know these Safety Rules before taking them out:
1) Going to the lake or the beach? First, make sure you're taking your dog to a dog-friendly body of water. You don't want to end your day with a ticket or fine for having your dog in a "people only" area.
2) Make sure your dog hasn't just eaten. From throwing up to deep chested breeds like great danes or weimaraners developing bloat, it's best to be on the safe side and wait a few hours.
3) Once there, never throw them into the water. Introduce them slowly to get them used to it, and also to give yourself a chance to see/feel what's lingering below the surface. You'll be happy your didn't throw Fido in when you discover jagged rocks, sudden drop-offs, strong currents, or freezing water temps that could have led to an injury. Dog-proof the area if needed or find a new area that safer.
4) A lot of dogs love to go swimming or run into the lake or ocean after a ball, but not all dogs can swim, nor should they without proper attire. If you're out on the boat or plan on swimming off the beach, make sure you have a Coast Guard approved lifejacket for your pooch. Not all dogs are natural swimmers. Brachycephalic breeds like pugs, boston terriers, and english bulldogs cannot swim without the support of a life jacket. With their front-heavy bodies and squished faces it is easy for them to drown due to their lack of buoyancy and harder time breathing. Finding a life jacket for your dog is more than just grabbing one at the pet store. Check out this article on how to select the proper one for fit and function.
5) When it comes to skin maintenance, we have a variety of products to keep in your beach/boat bag! Our non-toxic Sunscreen Spray and Sunscreen Balm can easily be applied to your dogs nose and face. Also our Ear Cleaner Spray is a great way to clean out your dogs ears after swimming. It will help prevent infections and pull out any bacteria or "floaties" your dog may have picked up while swimming. And if your dog comes out smelling extra stinky use our Cologne Sprays to help get rid of that doggie smell while they're drying.
6) Make sure you have plenty of fresh drinking water on hand just for them and refill it regularly. Dogs will easily drink from the lake or ocean, but it doesn't mean the water is clean! Parasites, bacteria, algae, and salt intake can lead to a sick pooch causing deyhdration or giardia. Also, let your dog get some rest in during swimming or fetch on the beach... an exhausted dog is more likely to drown!
7) It is always nice to have dog treats and poop bags on hand too. We have individual poop bag rolls for easy on the go convenience. Pick up some fun dog treats and floating water toys and throw them in your bag! Things like tennis balls soak up too much water and can cause your dog to choke on the water while swimming. Look for eco-friendly recycled rubber and hemp toys that come in fun shapes and sizes. They float easily and won't take on water and are easy to dry out.
8) Lastly, make sure your dog knows how to get in/out of a boat or on/off a dock safely. You can find floatable ramps like these Doggy Docks ones to attach to your swim platform or dock to give them easy access in and out of the water. Also when driving a boat, teach them to ride safely by keeping them in a v-bunk, tied up on the deck with you, or sitting in your lap or next to you. The last thing you want is your pooch falling or jumping out and injuring themselves.
Making your dog part of your daily lives is the best way to strengthen your bond. Now get out there and take them for a trip to the beach or a boat ride... safely! Enjoy the summer weather.
Earth Day is coming up! It’s easy to think of planting trees for Earth Day, but how can you do more and make it count with your pet? Here are a few suggestions:
Take a Walk! An easy one to do that’s free, doesn’t emit exhaust fumes into the atmosphere, and allows you to experience Mother Natures at her finest. Stop to smell those roses! Although your dog may be showing their appreciation for the day by peeing or pooping on those newly planted trees…. make sure you have our biodegradable poop bags on hand! :D
Spring Clean! Not only should you spring clean your own closet, but do your pet’s. Recycle those used toys, leashes, and beds either at the recycling center or by donating them to shelters or pet owners who can’t afford new ones. Also spring clean your dog by giving them a bath with this natural rubber scrub brush.
Buy Green! Perhaps you need to purchase a new leash, bed, or toy for your pet anyway. Search for eco-friendly options made with recycled material, organic materials, non-toxic dyes, and to boot can be recycled themselves! Feel free to check out all of our eco-friendly toys.
Be Mindful of Birds Making Nests! If you have a cat that likes to go on adventures outside, equip them with a cat collar cover that birds can see and safely get away ahead of time.
Create an Eco & Dog Friendly Yard! If you are planning on doing some new landscaping or yard cleanup this year, check out this article on how to make it more eco and still fun for your pooch.
Local Events! Look for local Earth Day festivals in your area to get out and support Earth friendly businesses. Take your dog and make it a family day.
Enjoy your Earth Day and don’t forget to take in a big ol’ breath of fresh air.
Canine massage.... have you tried it? Learning massage techniques to use on your dog(s) is an easy and very therapeutic way to spend time with them. Massage can be used for a variety of ailments or just relaxation and bonding. Massage means using "purposeful touch" to manipulate the muscle tissue to heal, reduce stress, improve agility, detect stiffness, pain, or swelling, and to help your dog relax. There are different techniques you can use depending on what you're wanting to accomplish.
Now before you start your massage, you ideally you want to find a quiet area that can become your "massage zone." Help your dog get relaxed by providing a bed or towel for them to lay on or just let them stretch out in any position they want. You can also prep the room or area with our Calming Spray. When massaging a dog you can't force them into positions; you really just have to work with them in whatever position they're laying. This means when they move, you move with them. Also, listen and watch your dog as they will tell you when something feels nice and when there's an area they do not want massaged. Sounds of sighing and groaning or leaning into your hand can be signs the massage is feeling extra nice in that area. Pulling away, yelping, whining, or getting up and trying to move are signs you should avoid massaging that particular area and revisit it later. Aim to massage your dog for 15 minutes a day, if you only have five minutes available either focus on one area like the ears and head or hold off until you can give them more time and you're not distracted.
There are certain times that you DO NOT want to massage your dog. These would be immediately after strenuous play or exercise, if they have a severe injury, have a skin disease, underwent surgery in the last 3 days, or are sick with a fever. If your dog has a cyst, a torn muscle, small wound, acute swelling or sprain, or arthritis, it is OK to massage them above and below these areas (light touch will actually help speed up healing and relieve aches and stiffness).
There are several types of massage strokes you can use. Effleurage (long broad strokes) are often used to warm up the muscle or to encourage relaxation. Kneading and Friction are used to break up tight muscle fibers by squeezing, rolling, and lifting. Compression is pressing into the muscle on larger areas with bone underneath (ie. the hips and hind legs). Wringing can be used on the legs and limbs by gently using both hands to move up and down the leg like you're wringing out a washcloth. Lastly, Rocking is physically rocking your dog from side to side or up and down to stimulate calming. If remembering these terms is daunting, check out the drawings below from Lili Chin to follow while you are practicing your dogs massage! They are a great resource to print out and you can find them all on our Pinterest Page.
This is another helpful picture of a Dog's Muscle Anatomy:
Be sure to use our Joint Massage Oil to help with your massage and for extra healing properties. It is designed to heal and reduce inflammation in your dog’s joints and muscles. It can be used on arthritic hips, limping legs, pulled muscles or tendons, and stiffness found throughout the body. Yes it is safe to lick!
Remember, massage not only provides relaxation, but it's a great way to stimulate the body to naturally heal itself! Your dog will love you for it and you'll enjoy the bonding moment it creates. To learn more on specific techniques or canine massage in general, the book A Dog Lover's Guide to Canine Massage is a great one to check out! Happy massaging!
WOW it has been 10 years since I started PETfection! It has been an awesome journey that I hope continues for many years.
I started this company with one thing in mind--- safe, chemical free products for dogs and cats. Back in 2007, I was living in Colorado working as a chemist making solutions for pharmaceutical companies. I had to work with dangerous chemicals in a clean room environment and absolutely hated how bad they could be. Wearing respirators to work with ingredients that are found in toothpaste and ice cream really made me start paying attention to ingredients in my products!
My passion for dogs and cats goes back to when I was little, but more specifically to when I was 14 and thought I wanted to be a veterinarian. From volunteering at the vet hospital to eventually working there for a number of years, I learned I truly want the best for our beloved furry friends.
In 2007 Natural products for pets were just starting to emerge, let alone, Organic. Today there has been a huge shift towards more natural and more organic options for our family pets. Although it is awesome that consumers now have more safe choices, it can still be a tedious task to scan ingredient labels to make sure the product is full of natural or organic ingredients, and not just one or two mixed in with standard chemicals.
My first product was Paw Cream. My goal when creating it was to have every ingredient in it be non-toxic, pure, organic if possible, and effective at treating the specific ailment of healing and protecting dry paw pads, noses, elbows, and any other dry spot on the body. I wanted a customer to be able to read the label on the jar and understand the ingredients and pronounce them! With every product created my goal has stayed the same. I work with very reputable companies for my supplies and make sure the ingredients are sourced correctly and have analyses done of them. I am a believer in the effectiveness of essential oils, but I steer clear of certain ones that are either shown to be toxic to dogs/cats or show conflicting info on toxicity. The same goes for all the therapeutic healing oils used and every other ingredient in PETfection products. Every ingredient has been specifically researched and sought out to use for it's healing properties and for its non-toxicity.
PETfection products exist because of all the friends, family, and unknown customers who have been willing to give these products a try and reach for something better for their own four legged animal. I truly thank each and every person known and unknown who has supported this business! At the end of the day I want dogs and cats to be healthy and happy. I am in this for them and am SO grateful for the last 10 years.
-Sheena Michels 1/29/2017 (creator & owner)