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Sometimes, our dogs need a little help in keeping their fur clean and soft. Dogs are good at grooming, but they also have very different ideas than we do about what smells good. A DIY dog conditioner that you can make at home can be just the thing to keep your dog's fur tangle-free and smelling fresh between bath times. You probably already have the ingredients at home for a natural, easy-to-make homemade dog conditioner.
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How often to wash dogs
Humans shower once a day for the most part, but washing a dog that often would be a terrible idea. The American Kennel Club's professional groomers say hairless breeds require weekly baths, while long-haired breeds can go weeks without one. Overbathing can strip too much oil from the skin and can increase your need for a homemade dog conditioner. Unless your dog has been rolling in mud or something that necessitates a bath, there's no real need to bathe your dog unless she smells so bad that you no longer want to hug her.
Dog fur basics
While it might seem like shampoo is shampoo, there's a big difference in shampoo formulated for dogs, cats, and humans, so you should never use human or cat shampoo on your dog. Dogs, cats, and humans have different skin pH, so what works for humans would dry out the skin of a dog or cat.
According to the American Kennel Club, human skin has a normal pH balance of 5.5 to 5.6, which is on the acidic side. Dogs have a pH balance of 6.2 to 7.4, which is more neutral. Safe soaps for dogs include castile soaps and baby shampoo, which tends to be more neutral than adult shampoo.
DIY dog conditioner
Goldendoodle Advice recommends making your own DIY dog conditioner with human conditioner that is mixed with two other simple ingredients. First, gather some Moroccan oil, which has become popular for human hair care. Mix four parts water, one part human hair conditioner, and 1 tablespoon Moroccan oil.
A professional groomer told Dogster that you can use cornstarch as a simple homemade dog detangler. Simply sprinkle on the corn starch, rub it into the knot and then brush it out. A homemade dog conditioner from Animal Wised uses the common household ingredient coconut oil. This simple DIY recipe calls for mixing 1 tablespoon of extra virgin coconut oil in 2 tablespoons of warm water.
Put it in a spray bottle and massage the conditioner into your dog's knotted fur. Leave it on for a few minutes as you work out the knots and then thoroughly rinse. While it may seem like this would be a good leave-in conditioner for dogs recipe, you actually do want to rinse it out. Leaving in the oil can cause dirt and other debris to get stuck in the hair, which can lead to more tangles down the road.
DIY dog shampoo
According to the American Kennel Club, it only takes three ingredients to make a simple DIY dog shampoo. If you have natural, nontoxic dish soap, you're nearly there. Simply combine the following ingredients in a spray bottle:
- 2 cups warm water
- 1/4 cup nontoxic dish soap
- 1/2 cup white vinegar
Spray the shampoo on your dog's coat and lather it up with your hands. Rinse well and dry him. Even if it looks like all the shampoo is gone, give him an extra rinse just to be sure.
A leave-in conditioner for dogs recipe that you can actually leave on the hair after the final rinse is a simple one that uses the herb rosemary. According to Dogs Naturally, rosemary has a ton of benefits that leave your dog's coat soft, shiny, and healthy. Rosemary is also said to repel fleas thanks to its strong scent.
Combine 1 teaspoon of dried rosemary or 1 tablespoon of fresh rosemary with 1 pint of boiling water. Allow it to steep in a covered container for 10 minutes. Cool it before using it. When it is cool, pour it over your dog and allow him to shake, and then blot off any excess rosemary water.
- American Kennel Club: How Often Should You Bathe Your Dog? Groomers Weigh In
- Goldendoodle Advice: Better Than Cowboy Magic? A DIY Detangler Spray That Actually Works
- Animal Wised: Home Remedies for Matted Dog Hair
- Dogs Naturally: Rosemary: A Beneficial Herb?
- Dogster: Easy Ways to Deal With Matted Dog Hair