14 Dangerous Dog Shampoo Ingredients You Should Completely Avoid!


14 Dangerous Dog Shampoo Ingredients You Should Completely Avoid!

©Mesa Northeast Animal Hospital

One of the things you should never do to your dog is neglecting them in any way, especially when it comes to dog grooming. It is our responsibility as pet owners to keep them safe and sound. For instance, there are many dog shampoo brands that can do more harm than good to our four-legged friends.

Since there are a lot of dog shampoo brands, the confusion is real and you’re definitely wondering what is the best dog shampoo to use! Well, the answer is simple: Just use shampoos that are specifically designed for dogs and before you buy them, check the dog shampoo ingredients list and/or the dog shampoo formulation.

Don’t ever use your own products on your pet. Just because it doesn’t hurt you, doesn’t mean it won’t harm them! Our pH is different than theirs, therefore, using your products that are made for humans on your pampered pooch may cause severe damages at the level of their skin.

Don’t forget each dog is different, they also have different types of hair and skin, they can be more or less sensitive (depends on their skin, age, and breed) have longer or shorter hair, etc.


#1 – Fragrances

We normally pick our products based on their smell instead of looking at the ingredients. At the end of the day, we want to smell nice and we don’t have time to read the ingredients list and even if we did we wouldn’t understand it.

What we don’t also understand is that this smell could be a derivative of something that’s not so healthy instead of natural oils and plants. When choosing a shampoo for our dog, remember they smell everything way more intensely than we do.

So don’t pick something too strong and remember that behind the word “fragrance” there’s a lot of hidden chemicals. These can lead to serious allergic reactions so make sure you’re picking something natural and chemical-free.

#2 – Cocamide DEA or MEA

If you thought this substance is coconut-derived, you wouldn’t be wrong because it is. What you don’t know is that this component is chemically modified to the extreme point of being cancer-causing ingredient, not only that, it is also a hormone and thyroid disruptor. You won’t be looking at coconuts the same way now.

#3 – Cocamidopropyl Betaine

This ingredient is also derived from coconut (oil) but the substance has nothing to do with it. This is actually an environmental toxin that affects the immune system. And guess what, you can often find this substance in makeup removers, liquid soaps, even on contact lens solutions!

#4 – Formaldehyde

4. Formaldehyde

Also known as Diazolidinyl urea, quaternium-15 or imidazolidinyl urea. This is a substance that attacks our nervous system and guess what? It is also related to cancer development.

#5 – Artificial Colors

5. Artificial Colors

If you notice some color in the product, it’s probably a bad sign since the color is usually artificial instead of natural. These artificial colors are found related to cancer. Some of these colors might present themselves as “D&C, Yellow 5 or FD&C”.

#6 – Isopropyl alcohol

This substance shows up a lot on our products and animal hygiene products as well ( isopropanol, propyl, and 2-propanol). Never use this product! They are known as rubbing alcohol, which turns into acetone when entering our bodies, it’s a depressant, lung/heart irritant, and nerve and liver toxin.

#7 – Isopropyl (SD-40)

Warning: this destroys our skin balance causing irritation. Isopropyl is actually made from the petroleum-derived substance propylene (yuck, kinda gross !!). Using products containing this substance can make your dog more prone to infections!

#8 – Methylparaben and Parabens

Although this might help to preserve your shampoo, it is also an endocrine disruptor that can potentially damage your nervous system. The worst part is that our dogs can’t talk, which means that even if they are affected by this substance we would probably never know until it’s too late.

This can cause uterus, breast and bladder cancer. Please, it really pays off to think twice before you actually purchase this.

#9 – Methylchloroisothiazolinone

I know and understand what you are thinking now! ” what the hell are these strange names” Well, probably they just use these weird, long names to confuse us, since this is another chemical that has been associated with cancer and organ poisoning. (It is banned on Canada and Japan) Why not the whole world?

#10 – Phthalates

Phthalates help with the smell of many products, however, these are known to cause liver, kidneys, lungs, and reproductive system damage. They can be found in toys, detergents, food packaging, and personal care products.

#11 – Polyethylene glycol or PEG

This is another cancer-causing chemical that’s usually used as a solvent in shampoos and conditioners. Seriously, are they trying to kill us? Not only us but our animals too. Some of the side effects of this chemical are loss of memory, stomach disorders, immune dysfunction, and the list goes on…

#12 – Polysorbates

You might know it by the name of Polysorbate-20 and Polysorbate-80. These items are usually working as dissolvers.

However it is mixed with “ethylene oxide” a chemical that is also related to cancer, besides this, they also cause irritation on our skin since they alter or skin pH. Why would they use this you might ask? Basically, because they’re cheap.

#13 – Propylene Glycol

 This substance is especially dangerous for people with kidney or liver problems since they can’t clear out this substance as effectively.

Even if you’re healthy, Propylene Glycol is a very strong skin irritant. And guess what this toxic ingredient can equally harm your pampered pooch! Hence, avoid buying dog shampoos that contain this dangerous chemical.

#14 – Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, Sodium Laureth Sulfate, and Ammonium Laureth Sulfate

These make your hair easier to wash by capturing all the dirt and oil from your scalp. This could be a great thing, however, they are stripping natural oils from our animals’ fur. Normally we won’t even notice it since dogs have a lot of hair, but they can get serious skin irritations out of this in the long run!

So what kind of shampoo can I use on my dog? After reading all of this, you probably think the answer is “none” but the answer is pretty simple:

If you cannot be asked with all of these ingredients and the possibility of hurting your animal is haunting you, just wash your dog with a non-toxic dog shampoo by making it yourself, you only need castile soap, olive oil, vinegar, essential oils, and water.

It is the best natural dog shampoo and your dog’s fur will be just as shiny and soft as it would with a normal dog shampoo. Always put your dog’s health first!