Sunday, September 23, 2012

6 Sulfate-Free Shampoo Alternatives For Dogs

Every time Gigi goes to the groomers, she looks fantastic but always has an itchy spell for a short time. It turns out that many dogs that tend to be allergy-friendly to humans, can suffer from allergies and sensitive skin issues themselves. Many dog owners I know try pet shampoo after pet shampoo to alleviate their dog's itchiness. Recently I discovered sulfate free shampoos.

What are sulfates?

Whenever a person uses a cleaning product, chances are they contain sulfates. What do they do? Sulfates are surfactants which break up the surface of water to help things become more wet. Water is held together by molecules. So much so, that these molecules create water tension. Only when there's an overabundance of water, does the tension break or if something disrupts the molecular tension.
Sulfates are the main ingredient in a shampoo or cleaning product that makes the product lather up. It's this lather that sells many products. It's also this same lather that dries out the skin and hair. Sulfates are an inorganic salt of sulphuric acid. They are highly soluble in water. Because they increase acidity, there's the tendency to dry out the skin.
With their fur, dogs have a different ph than humans. It's not advisable to use shampoo made for humans on them. Luckily, some savvy shampoo companies have found a way to make effective cleaning shampoos without the harshness of sulfates. The one caveat is that they may take a little longer to rinse than regular shampoos.
Here are a few shampoos to consider for your pet. Some out there are so gentle, they can be used on humans as well.

Sulfate Free Shampoos

  1. Earthbath
    This shampoo is from San Francisco. It came about when the owner, Paul Armstrong had a chance encounter with three friends that had made a great shampoo but didn't know what to do with it. It started out with 4 shampoos and has blossomed into a full-blown grooming line. It comes in a variety of scents, including an unscented version. It's even used by the animals at the San Francisco Zoo. It's safe enough to not interfere with any flea medication. Now, you can find Earthbath in stores like Petco and many places online. You can usually find it for about $12.00 to $15.00USD.
  2. Tropiclean
    Tropiclean carries a variety of soap-free and detergent-free shampoos. Their bottles are made from recycled and renewable materials. Everything about their products, from the bottles to the five trademarked shampoos is manufactured in the United States. Like Eartbath, this is safe to use after flea medication is applied (after 48 hours). The company guarantees every product and is environmentally focused. They can be found at stores like Petco as well as places online. You can find them priced at $12.00USD. Many times you can find if for under $10.00.
  3. Olive Green Dog
    Olive Green Dog was founded in Austin, Texas in 2008. It sells a variety of products online, including food, toys, leashes and grooming product. Their main shampoo is Bubble + Squeak, which is completely detergent and chemical free. It's approved as USDA organic. You can find Bubble+Squeak on their website for $16.00USD.
  4. Dermagic
    Dermagic is great for when your dogs have hot spots. It's foamy but without the harsh chemicals or sulfates. that go with it. This shampoo is made specifically for dogs. Blended with tea tree oil and peppermint, this soothing formula does wonders for itchy dogs. It's recommended that you use the shampoo with their conditioner for best results. You can find it at most places online like Amazon and through their website. A pint of this retails for $17.95USD.
  5. Dr. Harvey's
    Dr. Harvey's is an all natural and organic shampoo. It has a distinct herbal scent and is ideal for dogs, cats, older pets and puppies. With this all natural, no preservative combination, this is ideal for those who like a holistic shampoo. Dr. Harvey's can be found in holistic health food stores, local pet stores, shelters and pet boutiques. It can also be found at various places online. It retails for $14.95 USD for a 16 fl. oz. bottle. You can learn more about this product through the Dr. Harvey website.
  6. Shea Pet
    Shea Pet's main claim to fame is the fact that their shampoo is shea butter based. Known for it's luxurious combinations, like Oatmeal and Awapuhi Extract, Avocado (for extra-gentleness), and green tea and sea kelp, these shampoos can be a little pricey but go a long way. Green Tea and Sea Kelp is ideal for dogs who have dander issues. Most of their shampoos soften well enough that there is no need for conditioner. You can find them in pet boutiques and most places online and through their website. They retail for about $19.00USD for an 18 ounce bottle.
While I have yet to try these for my dogs, it's nice to know that there are alternatives. Most of the times in the past, I've purchased oatmeal-based shampoos, but they still contained sulfates. I think the rise in non-sulfate shampoos shows that people are willing to pay more, if it means getting the best quality care for their animals.

Let's Discuss!

Have you used sulfate-free products for your pets? Which are your favorites? How did they work out for you?

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