Dog shampoo.  It’s not all created equal.

If you’re like me, you read labels.  And you assume that when it says “All Natural” that it is.  Sadly, this isn’t always the case, especially as it pertains to dog skin care products.  The FDA does not regulate the pet care industry, so manufacturers can leave ingredients off their products or use cleverly disguised phrases to hide chemicals and toxic ingredients.


Uh Oh!  This Can't Be Good.

Go into your bathroom or wherever you keep your dog shampoo.  Read the label.  Did you find any of these ingredients:  plant-derived surfactants, coconut-based cleansers, mild-surfactant blend, naturally-derived gentle cleansing agents, or coconut shampoo base?


Well, what’s in a coconut based cleanser?  Or a naturally derived gentle cleansing agent? At first glance, it seems like it’s all natural.  But often, it is a very clever way of hiding chemicals.  And the FDA won’t do anything about it because it doesn’t regulate the pet care industry.

If any of these ingredients are in your dog shampoo, it’s time to ditch the bottle.  These chemicals could pose significant risks to Fido.



Formaldehyde, often included as formaldehyde-releasing preservatives, is used in many personal and pet care products. It is classified as a known carcinogen by the United States National Toxicology Program and the International Agency for Research on Cancer.  Look for: diazolidinyl urea, imidazolidinyl urea, DMDM hydantoin (or labeled as DHDH hydantoin), Quaternium-7, -15, -31, -61, sodium hydroxymethylglycinate, and bromopol.  These preservatives release formaldehyde, a known human carcinogen.


First of all…why? Do you really think your dog is concerned about the color of their shampoo? Synthetic colors are derived from petroleum or coal tar sources and are suspected to be carcinogens and skin irritants. These colors are often represented by “D&C” (drug and cosmetics) followed by a color and number. For example, “D&C Red 6.”  There’s mixed data on the health risks of artificial colors  in personal care/pet care products, but most synthetic dyes are produced from petroleum and are routinely tested on animals.


These are chemical preservatives that are potential endocrine disruptors. They can, in certain doses, interfere with the endocrine (or hormone) system. These disruptions can cause cancerous tumors, birth defects, and other developmental disorders. Although it is not officially classified as a carcinogen, many paraben-free products are introduced in order to avoid potential danger.

Look for: Butylparaben, methylparaben, ethylparaben, propylparaben, butylparaben,isobutylparaben or any ingredient that ends with -paraben..


A synthetic surfactant derived from coconut oil and dimethylaminopropylamine. Many products marketed as “SLS-free” or “Tear-free” contains CAPB. CAPB can trigger eczema, contact dermatitis and other allergic reactions.  Cocamide-MEA is a surfactant that is considered to be a possible human carcinogen.  It also has high contamination concerns from nitrosamines, which are linked to cancer, endocrine disruption, and organ system toxicity.


An intentionally obscure term that was created to protect a manufacturer’s formula of scent chemicals and ingredients.  “Fragrance” as an ingredient functions as a placeholder for up to 5,000 different synthetic chemical ingredients.  Synthetic fragrances contain phthalates, which are endocrine disrupters linked to hormone disruption, reproductive harm, allergies (which could manifest as anything from headaches to respiratory problems), asthma, and certain cancers.  For example, prenatal exposure to DEP (diethyl phthalate), which functions as a perfume solvent, has been linked to abnormal development of reproductive organs in baby boys and sperm damage in adult men along with Attention Deficit Disorder in children.


Look for Petroleum-based compounds used as thickeners, softeners, and moisture-carriers. There’s a relatively low toxicity concern for PEGS but the real issue is contamination with 1,4-dioxane and ethylene oxide, which are classified by the International Agency for Research on Cancer as a possible human carcinogen and a known human carcinogen, respectively.

SD ALCOHOL 40 (“SD-40”) 

This alcohol is used to to dry animal’s skin and hair oils.  It can enhance skin absorption (making other harmful ingredients more penetrable in its presence).


Prevents product from drying out.  Associated with irritant and allergic contact dermatitis at concentrations as low as 2%.  But most concerning, it functions as a penetration enhancer, allowing other ingredients in the product to more easily pass through the skin and into systemic circulation.


TEA is used as a surfactant to help make suds. There is strong evidence that TEA is a human immune and respiratory toxicant or allergen.  TEA is often contaminated with nitrosamines, which have been linked to cancer, endocrine disruption, and organ system toxicity.


Look for:Methylisothiazolinone (MIT): 2-methyl-4-isothiazoline-3-one, Neolone 950 preservative, MI, OriStar MIT and Microcare MT. Methylchloroisothiazolinone (CMIT): 5-Chloro-2-methyl-4-isothiazolin-3-one and MCI.  These preservatives have been linked to lung toxicity, allergic reactions and possible neurotoxicity.


A byproduct of distilled gasoline made from crude oil. It coats the skin and inhibits its ability to release natural oils or eliminate toxins. And if you don’t already know, it is a key ingredient in petroleum jelly (Vaseline). So don’t ever put this stuff on your dog.


Has been known to create organ system toxicity (non-reproductive).


These chemicals are designed to capture oil and dirt so that they can be washed out of the hair shaft. Sounds good, right?  Well, actually, it isn’t.   The sulfates also strip the hair of its natural oils and can cause skin irritations. With dogs, these irritations are not always noticed until they are infected because of their furry bodies.  To make matters worse, sulfates are often put through a softening process that produces a toxic by-product discussed above: 1,4-dioxane, which the FDA does not require to be listed on the label. Both sodium and ammonium laureth sulfates are known cancer causing agents.


So, that’s pretty bad, right?  Here you think you’re buying a product that is natural and chemical free only to find out that these hidden ingredients could be causing harm. So what should you do? READ LABELS.  Start getting into the habit of reading every label for everything that you purchase for your beloved pets.  And start supporting businesses that are TRULY committed to providing all natural products.  At My Dog Foo, what you see is what you get.  We don’t hide anything.  You will never see these cleverly created phrases or harmful chemicals or toxins in any of our products.

So What Dog Shampoo Can I Use?

My Dog Foo’s SUDSY WUDSY™ Organic Dog Shampoo to the rescue!  Of course there are some others, but you can rely on our products because they are all natural, vegan, cruelty free and responsibly sourced. We are not a large manufacturer mass producing products. All products are hand crafted in small batches and made with love and helping paws. And even better, our Sudsy Wudsy™ is certified to USDA Organic Standards by VOF.

What are the Ingredients in Sudsy Wudsy Certifed Organic Shampoo?

– Coconut, Olive and Jojoba Oils
– Lemongrass and Rosemary Essential Oils
– Organic Aloe
– Natural Rosemary Extract

Yup.  That’s it.  All natural, honest to goodness ingredients that you can feel good about using.  If you wouldn’t put something on your own skin, you shouldn’t be putting it on their skin. For more info, check out our SUDSY WUDSY.


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