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Pet Friendly Shampoos & Conditioners: Ingredients to Avoid

Updated on March 13, 2014

Pet Friendly Shampoos & Conditioners: Ingredients to Avoid

When it comes to ingredients in our shampoos and conditioners, we take great strides in finding the best. We look for shampoos and conditioners that can treat our problem, without harmful preservatives. Do you apply the same tactics for your pets?

We all love our pets. So let's show them how much we love them with the products we buy.


Love your pets as much as they love you: start by purchasing from natural companies.
Love your pets as much as they love you: start by purchasing from natural companies. | Source

Commercial Shampoos & Conditioners: Are They so Bad?

When I researched harmful ingredients found in pet shampoos and conditioners, an interesting topic was raised: most people wash their dogs once or twice a month. How can this possibly be harmful?

Here's how I can answer that: pets are exposed to toxins everyday, just like humans. Most toxins can be found in commercial food brands, which are loaded with GMO (genetically modified organisms) ingredients. These commercially manufactured foods are one cause, and we impound the problem by washing our pets with equally harmful additives. What is that doing to their system?

So while we're on the topic of harmful ingredients, do a quick evaluation on the foods you buy for your pets.


Lavender as a flee and calming treatment

Pet Friendly Ingredients

Marsallai Quick of Maddieloos offers a line of all-natural pet care products. She provided a rundown of natural ingredients she uses in her own products, and why.

Apple Cider Vinegar: ACV is great for the fur, repels insects, reduces pet dander and skin bacteria, and can also be used as a deodorizing treatment.


Herbs and Essential Oils: "The biggest problem I have with my cats is flees," Quick said. "I let them outside, and they come back itching and scratching the little critters all over my furniture. Here are a few herbs and oils that make effective flee repellents."

  • Lavender
  • Lemongrass
  • Peppermint
  • Citronella
  • Tea Tree (also a healing treatment)

Citrus may be good for our bodies, but animals can't break down their molecules. Citrus is a natural ingredient to AVOID.
Citrus may be good for our bodies, but animals can't break down their molecules. Citrus is a natural ingredient to AVOID.

Ingredients to Avoid

Not all natural ingredients are safe to use on pets. In order to ensure safety for all animals, there are certain ingredients Quick avoids, such ascitrus oils.

"They're toxic to cats," Quick said. "Cats do not have the enzyme to process citrus oil molecules."

Once digested, citrus oil molecules will build up with time and reach a point of toxicity. Citrus is a serious problem because the build up is gradual.

"Vets rarely make the connection that citrus oils are the cause, and treat it as liver toxicity," Quick said.

So, guys? Avoid citrus.

This next list is jargon you probably won't understand. This is here to illustrate a point.


Mineral oil and petroleum may appear harmless, but it's among the ingredients to avoid.
Mineral oil and petroleum may appear harmless, but it's among the ingredients to avoid. | Source

Chemical Ingredients to Avoid

  • Diaminobenzene
  • Methylisothiazolinone
  • Dioxins
  • Artificial colors
  • Benzalkonium Chloride and Benzethonium Chloride
  • Diethanolamine
  • Unnatural fragrances (Parfum)
  • Methicone
  • Triethanolamine
  • Sodium Lauryl Sulphate
  • Propylene Glycol
  • Petrolatum or Mineral Oil
  • Sodium Hydroxide

These ingredients are the tip of the iceberg, and can be found in most commercially manufactured products. These manufacturers are often profit driven, and care little about the consumer. Natural companies with natural ingredients, such as Maddieloos, is affordable and safe for your pets, and the environment.

But keep in mind that not all natural ingredients are safe, such as Quick's example with citrus.

Natural Pet Shampoo

Source

Bottom Line

Care enough to do your research. From that, make conscious decisions that will help your pets live longer, healthier, happier lives. Don't buy generic products just because they're affordable. At the same time, expensive brand names aren't always the best option, as some contain toxic ingredients.

If all of this seems too hard to take in at once, here's the takeaway to make it easier: when choosing shampoos and conditioners, care about your pets as much as you care about yourself. Go the natural route.

Take the Poll!

Do you Look for Natural Ingredients in your Pet Shampoos & Conditioners?

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Let's Take a Poll!

Do you stand in the aisles carefully reading the ingredient list for pet care products? Do you research harmful ingredients beforehand to be armed with knowledge prior to making a purchase? Do you buy generic products from big corporations, or natural products from small businesses?

If you're concerned about your answers, don't worry! Now is a good time to answer the first few questions with a resolute "Yes!" and the last question should be, "I buy from small businesses that care about the consumer."

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      LILA 3 years ago

      Great article, but under the 'Chemical Ingredients to Avoid" is sodium hydroxide. By itself, it is very caustic and will cause severe chemical burns, but when mixed with oils becomes soap. Natural, home made soaps use sodium hydroxide (lye) - without lye, it isn't soap. Please don't let this ingredient prevent you from purchasing a very nice product.

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      Yvonne 8 months ago

      Looking for small pet shampoo thank

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