You let your Golden Retriever out in the backyard for a few minutes, get distracted, go to let him in an hour later, and he has dug a hole in the back corner of your yard. It rained last night and now he is covered in wet mud and goodness only knows what else, but there's a problem: you're out of dog shampoo. Now what?
Good news! You have a few options you can use from supplies you have at home. When using alternative shampoos to those specifically designed for dogs, be careful of the pH level. If you use substances that are acidic like vinegar combined with other substances, you will need to watch the resulting pH level, as substances that are too acidic can irritate your dog's skin. Using human shampoo is usually not a good option, as humans have skin with a lower pH than dogs and ingredients present in human shampoo may not be appropriate for dogs' skin.
Watch the pH of any shampoo or cleanser you use on your dog so that you do not irritate or dry out his skin.
Make sure all shampoos are thoroughly rinsed out, so residue does not remain that could irritate the skin or that your dog could lick off.
Be careful of human shampoos and other detergents, they may contain ingredients that are toxic to dogs. Even some essential oils contain plant compounds that can make your dog sick.
When bathing your dog with any shampoo, always make sure he is standing on a non-slip surface to avoid injury.
Be careful of eyes ears and mouth when shampooing your dog. Avoid getting any shampoos or detergents in these areas, especially the eyes.
Watch your dog after bathing with an alternate shampoo to make sure he does not experience an allergic reaction.
Not having dog shampoo on hand does not have to be a crisis--there are alternatives for cleaning your dog. Although shampoos specifically designed for dogs are usually the best option, as they are non-toxic and designed for the pH and chemical make-up and needs of your dog's skin, temporary alternatives are available using household products. No need to keep smelling a funky dog until you have time to get to the store!