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10 ingredients to avoid in dog shampoo

As consumers, we want to make healthy choices. This is one of the reasons why we keep an eye out for harmful ingredients such as carcinogens, mutagens and endocrine disruptors in everyday products.

To help us sort through these, we rely on the Environmental Working Group (EWG) and its consumer guides, which analyze the ingredients found in hundreds of thousands of foods, household and personal care products on the market.

It is primarily these that help us determine which ingredients and products are not only non-toxic, but also safe for the environment.

If we do this so naturally for ourselves and our family members, we can ask ourselves if we've also ever thought about what is in the shampoo we use to groom our dog. If the answer is no, it would be a good idea to start doing so!

Since the fur cover the entirety of our dog's skin, the products used to wash them – including all the toxic substances they contain – can easily penetrate his pores. The good news is that there are healthy products to gently wash our best friends. You just have to know what to look for!

To make your life easier, we have compiled a list of 10 ingredients that, according to the EWG, are to be absolutely avoided for humans, and should therefore also be avoided in shampoo and grooming products for our pets.

ingredients to avoid dog shampoo

1- Polyethylene glycol

Used as a thickener or gelling agent in many cosmetic and paramedical products, polyethylene glycol, or PEG, is, according to the EWG, associated with cancer, stomach disorders, memory loss and immune diseases in humans. With such a bad reputation to us, let's just say that it doesn't make us want to use it for our pets.

2- Polysorbates (20, 40, 60, 80)

The composition of polysorbates is generally partly natural. That is to say that the other part is petrochemical. Their direct toxicity has been proven and can affect the various organic systems of humans, and possibly dogs. In addition, according to the EWG, polysorbates are often contaminated with dioxane, a known carcinogen.

3- Propylene Glycol

Propylene glycol is great for keeping moisture in a formula, but according to the EWG, it is also very bad for our health! For us humans, it is associated with liver and kidney poisoning, skin, eye and lung irritation, contact dermatitis and organ system disorders. For our pets, we also choose to stay away from it.

4- Sodium laureth sulfates

It is a surfactant derived from coconut oil that has an excellent cleansing power and that adds consistency to shampoo. However, according to the EWG, sodium laureth sulfate also poses a risk of 1,4-dioxane contamination, a potentially carcinogenic molecule for humans. It is also toxic for the environment, so obviously, it is preferred to also be avoided in pet grooming products.

5- Parabens

Although they have been removed from several human care products, parabens are unfortunately still found in some dog products, even though they are recognized by the EWG as important endocrine disruptors.

ingredients to avoid dog shampoo

6- Phthalates

If the product contains an artificial fragrance, there is a good chance that it contains phthalates, which also disrupt the endocrine system. The EWG advises us to avoid any form of artificial fragrance even if the word "phthalates" is not on the ingredient list, which is also true for our dogs.

7- Formaldehyde derivatives

Commonly used as a disinfectant, formaldehyde has received bad press for its irritating tendencies. The EWG warns us of the associated burning, itching, blistering and flaking of the skin. Not the ideal way to wash our dog...

8- Isothiazolinone derivatives

Methylisothiazolinone and methychloroisothiazolinone are probably not words you want to read, either on product bottles or anywhere else. While the EWG warns that these toxins are often the source of significant allergic reactions that can cause skin irritation in humans, they are not a risk we would want to take for our pets either.

9- Mineral oil

Mineral oil keeps the skin moisturized. Great, right? Not quite. The EWG warns that it also prevents it from releasing its natural oils and eliminating toxins. Best to let your body and your dog's do its own work.

10- Ingredients that are too vague

If you see things like "patended blend" or "skin moisturizer" on a product's ingredient list, EWG advises you to be wary. The manufacturer probably has good reason to hide details of its formula from you.

Even worse: if there is no ingredient list on the package, put the product back on the shelf immediately. Neither your skin nor your pet's wants to risk it!

ingredients to avoid dog shampoo

Beware of false promises!

Finding products that are truly healthy and gentle for your pets can be a daunting task in an age where many companies try to appear healthier and greener than they really are. To avoid falling into the greenwashing trap, feel free to refer to the list above.

Fortunately, ATTITUDE's Furry Friends Pet Care™ line of dog grooming products include puppy and dog shampoo, detangling shampoo, conditioner and more that are truly free of any ingredients of concern. They are also hypoallergenic, vegan, cruelty-free and made right here in Canada. Plus, they smell great... naturally! If your dog could talk, he would ask you for ATTITUDE products, thought specially for him and for the planet.