In this day and age, people realize the importance of eco-friendly grooming. Cosmetic companies are following suit, coming out with plethoras of natural shampoos, reef-safe sunscreens, and eco-friendly eyeliners. These are crucial steps to take to help counter some of the damage that has been done on the planet, but they need to be spread to other parts of our grooming lives, namely that of our pets.
Dogs require regular grooming, but many of the products on the market are inappropriate because of how toxic they are for the water supply and how irritating they are for the animals themselves. Many chemicals and fragrances that are added to dog shampoos smell great and lather well, but many contain pesticides, suspected carcinogens, and irritants that can have adverse health effects for pup. This, in turn, can also affect family members once they come into contact with their pets.
The environment and the body (both dog and human) very much suffer due to these chemical-based products. For example, commonly used chemicals such as butylated hydroxyanisole are very widely used as a preservative in both human and dog products. It is utilized primarily to keep makeup and moisturizers fresh, but also dog shampoo in tip-top shape. Sounds great in theory, because who wants to use rancid face cream? The problem is that BHA has a slew of negative aspects to it. First of all, it is common to find that it triggers serious allergic reactions to the skin in both people and pets. It has also been labeled as a potential human carcinogen but also found to cause lung, liver, and kidney problems in lab animals.
Similarly, foaming agents such as sodium laureate make bubble bath, soaps and detergents foamy and compose the detergent function in dog shampoos. As luxurious as a nice lather may be, it’s crucial to understand that this cheap chemical compound can cause skin or eye irritation. In animals, SLS has been linked to organ toxicity. It also doesn’t break down in water and, as a result, can hurt marine organisms.
On the same front, we all want products that make our home, bodies, and pets smell nicer. The thing of it is, synthetic colors and fragrances are all around terrible for the body. Many of these fragrances are made from petrochemicals that can cause allergic reactions, migraines, and asthma symptoms. Also, the diethyl phthalate in synthetic fragrances is harmful to marine wildlife.
But not to worry, there is a multitude of alternative products that can be used instead of your generic dog grooming products. For example, if DIY is your scene, you can make your own dog shampoo out of household products such as cleansing castille soap, soothing aloe vera, and flea-repellant lavender essential oil. Be aware that because it does not contain preservatives, this shampoo only has a shelf life of about a month. Your dog will smell just as good, and you can sleep with a clear conscience knowing that you did your part in helping the environment.
Another DIY grooming product is homemade doggy toothpaste. Blending coconut oil, a bouillon cube, mint, and baking soda and using that instead of the commercial brand will give your dog the freshest breath without any chemical additives.
If you simply don’t have the time to make your own products, look for labels such as “all-natural” and “eco-friendly.” A good rule of thumb is if, as a layperson, you can identify most of the products on the label, you’re good to go.