We write about dog shampoo ingredients (of course), how to reduce your dog's exposure to environmental toxins, ingredients, holistic care tips for your furry family member & more!
Someone recently searched the 4-Legger website for "benzyl benzoate" and there zero search results. We decided to fix that!
What is benzyl benzoate, when might it be used, and is it safe? We have the answers!
What inspires someone to one day decide they are going to start making a certified organic dog shampoo?
For Melissa, it was a personal journey that started when she lost her dog to cancer on the same day that she was diagnosed with breast cancer.
We've captured the story in this short video. If you've ever lost a pet to cancer or other health conditions, this video is for you. If you have a pet now that you would do anything for, this video is for you.
In this short article, we give you just 2 reasons why you do not want sulfates in your dog's shampoo and a quick guide on what to look for on the label so you choose a healthy shampoo.
Remember - a certified organic dog shampoo is always safe and just as effective as the toxic alternatives.
The oils on your dog's skin and coat give your dog its distinct odor. They also serve to protect your dog against environmental toxins and are important for healthy skin and coat. Dirt and pollution accumulate naturally on a daily basis and need to be removed from the skin and scalp so the follicle remains clear, balanced, breathing and growing.
Waterless dog shampoo is intended to absorb excess oils - making the coat appear less oily and "clean".
In fact, waterless dog shampoo retains the environmental toxins on your dog's skin and coat where they can then lick it off and ingest it!
Want to see what they may be ingesting? Take a look...
Buying a natural dog shampoo isn't easy these days. Manufacturers have learned that adding the word “natural” to dog grooming product labels equals increased sales and higher prices.
Channel your inner bloodhound and learn how to discern between a truly naturally shampoo an imposter! Then, pin our infographic to help make smart decisions for you and your dog!
Research has established that artificial fragrance and colors are THE most common cause of allergic reactions in humans. Why not dogs? The research hasn't been done but it stands to reason since these synthetic ingredients have been linked to serious health problems such as cancer and reproductive and developmental toxicity.
You may not see an immediate change in your dog's skin from using a product with an artificial color or fragrance and blow off the health concerns. You will wake up when your dog's skin becomes infected, is itching/scratching, has an obvious infection, or is diagnosed with cancer or some other serious health condition.
Learn more about the hidden dangers of artificial color and fragrances...
So, what is TEA?
TEA, MEA, and DEA are in a group of chemicals called ethanolamines. The ethanolamines are made from alcohol (ethanol) and proteins (amines) that have ammonia-like odors. Of course, manufacturers use artificial fragrance to cover up the ammonia-like odors so you don't smell them.
What do they do?
Ethanolamines are popular in dog shampoo as they create a creamy and thick texture with lots of foam.
Why Should You Be Concerned?
When ethanolamines are used in the same product as certain preservatives or other ingredients, they break down into nitrogen and can form what is called nitrosamines. The nitrosamines are a class of chemicals that are are thought to be carcinogenic, have reproductive toxicity, developmental toxicity, and organ system toxicity.
While there are a number of chemical ingredients that can make a product sudsy and produce a lot of lather, the most commonly used are the sulfates. Sulfates are detergents that make the product lather, give the appearance of sleek and shiny fur/hair, and capture the dirt that washes out in the rinse. The sulfates also strip the natural oils from your dog's skin/coat and irritate their skin. Unless the irritations become infected, you will likely never notice as you don't see their skin under all that fur/hair!
Learn more about sulfates and their cancer causing byproducts in Lesson 3 of buying a safe and non-toxic dog shampoo.
Lesson 2 looks at preservatives - the chemical substances used to prevent food or other materials (such as your pet’s shampoo) from going bad.
Unless you make a product at home and kept it refrigerated, you do want “something” in your product to keep it from growing bad stuff. Otherwise, you and your pet could get sick from what is growing in it (mold, fungus, yeast, or bacteria).
Let’s look at the difference between USDA certified organic dog shampoo and other dog shampoo.
Did you know that Amazon.com boasts over 3600 products under "dog shampoo" in the category of Pet Supplies? How many different brands of dog shampoo are on the shelves in your local pet supply store?
There are so many pet care products and shampoos that they are broken into sub-categories: Deodorizing (also called Odor Control), Medicated, Natural, Tearless, Whitening, Dematting, Flea and Tick, Itch Relief, Sensitive Skin, Hyopallergenic, and the list goes on...
If your dog's scratching isn't caused by a parasite it may be time to look at ALLERGIES!
Yes, just like humans, your dog can suffer from allergens like mold, pollen, perfumes, smoke, medication, shampoo, and food. Allergies can make your dog's eyes runny, their skin dry/itchy or the opposite - greasy and oily - both resulting in itching, biting, chewing, and scratching! It can also cause sneezing, vomiting, diarrhea, swollen paws, and even snoring caused by an inflamed throat.
Feeding your dog a low quality diet results in your dog not getting the essential nutrients that make their skin healthy and their coat shiny. As a result, your dog may have itchy, red, or flaky skin.
There are as many options on dog food as there are dog breed (maybe more)~ Many people now choose to feed their dog a raw food diet so they can have ultimate control over the quality of the ingredients.
Saponification refers to the process by which a vegetable oil is turned into soap! It's a simple reaction that occurs when an oil, like coconut, olive or jojoba is mixed with an alkali and results in two products: soap and glycerin.
Literally, saponification means "soap-making" and oils are chosen based on what final properties of soap is desired. For instance, if you saponify coconut oil, the result is a very bubbly and glycerin-rich soap. Glycerin is an important product for its usefulness in helping retain moisture and prevent dry, itchy skin. Olive oil creates a very creamy soap that is rich with antioxidants.
Want to see a very cute video of a puppy who fell asleep on a slide?
The thyroid, a small butterfly like organ in the neck, is responsible for regulating the metabolism of your dog's cellular functions by producing hormones. When the thyroid is unable to produce enough hormones, usually due to an autoimmune disorder, the result can be an itchy, biting, chewing, scratching dog.
Years ago one of our own 4-Leggers was diagnosed with hypothyroidism; but not before it was late stage and over 70% of the thyroid was likely damaged. Since the thyroid can't repair itself, it is important to catch it early.
The greenwashing of products REALLY upsets us! Today, we look at something that just left me feeling like a cartoon with question marks in my head. Here is what I read:
Let's break down this bullet. It is both without soap and without detergent yet it contains "naturally derived ingredients with a proprietary blend of cleaners" (blah blah blah). Soap and detergent are not the same thing. Soaps are produced from NATURAL products while detergents are SYNTHETIC (or man-made) cleaners.
There are an infinite number of ways you can "spoil" your dog.
Need some ideas?
Some days all it takes is to see your dog sleeping and a smile will cross your face. Everything from laying on the back with the feet in the air to curled up in a tiny ball. Have you ever moved your dog in their sleeping position because you were worried about their neck in that position?
What does their sleeping position tell us about the dog and how does that relate to their sleep cycle?
The average dog sleeps 12 - 18 hours a day and puppies sleep even longer than that! Dogs that are indoors sleep, on average, more hours a day than outdoor dogs.
Dogs adapt better to changes in their sleeping cycles than humans. So, they can sleep Monday - Friday from 8 am - 5 pm; but, on the weekend they can be awake from 8 am - 5 pm. Their humans tend to do best when they go to bed at the same time every night and wake up around the same time while dogs can adapt their sleep cycle to whatever activity is happening; but, they do need to work off their energy each day to be happy dogs!
Like many consumers, we believed if something said "natural" it was "safe". We learned that there are NO industry regulations for what can be labeled as "natural" and "organic".
We read about "greenwashing" - making things sound healthy and natural when in reality they are far from what we have in our minds as "natural or organic". Unless a product is USDA certified to food grade standards, it is NOT organic.