Cold Process Soap vs. Shampoo – Washing a Dog

Over the last few days, Ellie has gotten dirty. Filthy, actually. We’ve been working on getting the backyard ready for planting this year, and that’s involved mowing down a bunch pasture grass and weeds. Ellie thought this was the greatest thing ever, and she rolled around in the freshly cut grass/weeds. Seeds, leaves, twigs, dirt, and who-knows-what-else got caught in her fur.


Weston and I have horrible allergies and asthma, and it was clear if Ellie was going to come inside she was going to need a bath. We came to this realization last night, and it was too late to run to the store for dog shampoo. What were we going to do?

Since we brought Ellie home, I’ve been searching for a cold process soap recipe for dogs. They have a ph that’s naturally higher than ours (dog’s ph is about 6.2 – 7.4, and ours is 5.5 – 5.6) , and that’s why you shouldn’t use regular shampoo on them. It dries their skin and hair out, and it makes them itchy.

Cold process soap has a naturally high ph. In fact, one human shampoo bar recipe I found includes citric acid to lower the ph and make it more gentle for humans. Is seems weird to write human so many times…anywho…

Right now I am concocting a doggy cold process shampoo bar recipe. I will post it when I’m happy with it. Last night, however, we didn’t have a doggy shampoo bar, so we used one of my dye free, unscented, goat’s milk bars that was made from coconut, olive, and canola oils. It worked so well! She is so soft, fluffy, and white this morning!

Ellie, the morning after her bath.
Ellie, the morning after her bath.



10 thoughts on “Cold Process Soap vs. Shampoo – Washing a Dog”

  1. That’s a beautiful portrait of your Ellie. 🙂

    I am still searching also for the ideal doggie soap. The last one I made was hot-processed palm, coconut, olive, neem, and castor oils with coconut cream, and rosemary and peppermint essential oils. I wanted to put tea tree oil but I read it could be toxic to dogs.
    Our 2 dogs have been using it the past 3 months. It’s decent soap with no adverse effects but I think could still be improved.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve also read tea tree can be toxic to dogs, which is strange, because the scent of it has always reminded me of dog shampoo! But like you, I won’t use it in a dog soap. Right now I’m thinking about an oatmeal bar with aloe vera juice as the liquid. I like the idea of using coconut cream, as well. I’m still undecided on essential oils. How do you like the rosemary/peppermint combo?


      1. The scent is mild, just enough to camouflage a little the strong scent of the neem oil. I wanted a mild soap with some tick-repelling qualities. We have used 2 bars already and so far so good. We have shi-tzu and a pug. They still scratch every now and then (but I think that’s normal), but their hair is soft. Once, our shi-tzu came home from the groomers with lots of falling hair. I knew he was allergic to the shampoo. Not with my soap. 🙂


  2. I have a great Pyre too and we shave him down for summer (112 degrees). But he has a lot of ” oily” hair. He brushes against me and my black pants turn white. Did you come up with a cold Process recipe that you would be willing to share?


    1. I ended up just sticking with a basic milk soap recipe. 1/3 coconut oil, 1/3 olive oil, 1/3 palm oil, goat’s milk for the liquid, and 5% superfat. I didn’t end up using any essential oils because I was a little nervous as to which ones were completely safe for dogs. I kept finding a lot of conflicting information, so I decided to err on the side of caution. If you would like to run the recipe through a lye calculator, here is my favorite: If you have any questions, let me know. 🙂


      1. We adopted Boris and Natasha from a pyre rescue that was having an adoption event at a bass pro shop 30+ miles from our home but amazinginly the rescue facility was actually across the street from us by two blocks! It would have been amazing to have them as puppies.


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