Using Dr. Bronner’s as a Pet Shampoo for Dogs, Cats & More!

Dr. Bronner’s Pure-Castile Soap is safe and excellent as a pet shampoo. Our soap contains no synthetics or toxins and is a great choice for animals with sensitive skin or allergies. Not only can you use it for dogs and cats, but it’s a great cleaner for pets of all kinds!

Table of Contents

Using Dr. Bronner’s as a Dog Shampoo

Dr. Bronner's Pure-Castile Soap is perfect for washing dogs. Though formulated for people, what makes Dr. Bronner’s Soap a great pet shampoo is that it leaves their coat soft and shiny. It has no synthetic ingredients, and the blend of essential oils makes them smell great—not like a wet dog. Castile soap also works well for washing off fleas, although it's not a long-term prevention treatment.

Any of the scents are great for dogs, with the exception of Tea Tree which is not safe for pet wash. You can even try a blend of your favorites! If your dog has any sensitivities, you might consider our Unscented Baby. Or, if your dog needs to calm down during bath time, give our Lavender a try.

  1. Wet your dog thoroughly, then squirt soap directly onto the fur. You don't have to pre-dilute the soap since there’s usually quite a bit of water on your dog already. How much soap you use is entirely dependent on the size of your dog, fur type and thickness, and just how dirty they are.
  2. Add soap until it creates some good suds then massage it into the fur all over. As with people, you'll want to keep the soap out of their eyes. Also keep any water out of their ears.
  3. After scrubbing, rinse thoroughly. Not rinsing completely can cause irritation and actually attract more dirt. If somehow your dog hasn’t already, let them have a good shake to get the drying process started.

    Using Dr. Bronner’s as a Cat Shampoo

    pet shampoo

    You might be wondering, do cats really need to be bathed? After all, they’re well-known for their meticulous grooming habits and their violent dislike of getting wet. The reality is that some breeds do require regular bathing, while others may have a medical condition, or simply may have gotten into something sticky.

    As a rule of thumb, consider bathing your cat about once per month, with extra washings thrown in if they get particularly dirty.

    The number one thing to be aware of when bathing your cat is that essential oils are potentially toxic to cats. These include eucalyptus oil, tea tree oil, lemon, and orange oil. To be clear, these oils generally only present a problem when they’re undiluted and come into contact with a cat’s skin. The concentration of essential oils in Dr. Bronner’s soaps is around 1 or 2 percent, hardly enough to cause problems for a pet. However, we recommend being absolutely safe and only using our Unscented Baby Pure-Castile Soaps to bathe your cat.

    OK, so you’ve got your soap ready. Now, the most important thing is to properly prepare so that the bathing experience is as comfortable as possible for both you and your cat. Here are some tips:

    • Trim your cat’s claws before bathing
    • Brush your cat before bathing (knots are more difficult to untangle when they’re wet)
    • Tire your cat out by playing with them before bathing
    • Close the bathroom door
    • Fill the tub with 7 to 9 inches of room-temperature water
    • Lay down some towels in the tub and on the bathroom floor
    • Wear long sleeves or a hoodie to protect yourself from scratches

    Remember that your cat can pick up on your anxiety and stress—so try to make the experience as relaxing as possible for yourself, and hopefully your cat will chill out, too! It can also be super helpful to have another person on hand to assist… so invite a friend or loved one to help you!

    How to Make Pet Wipes with Dr. Bronner's

    This very simple recipe from Lisa Bronner is a great resource to have on hand for any pet! 

    Small batch: Best for smaller pets

    Large batch: Best for bigger pets & frequent use

    For reusable pet wipes, place washcloths or the your material of choice into a container and pour the solution over it. You can keep the wipes in this container until ready to use.

    For disposable pet wipes, follow the same directions above but use paper towels still on the roll. This may take a little longer for the solution to absorb.

    Using Dr. Bronner’s as a Bird Shampoo

    pet shampoo

    Most times, it’s best to let birds wash themselves by simply providing a small tub of room temperature water and allowing your bird to bathe itself. You can also mist your bird with a bit of water. However, if your bird ends up covered in oil or a sticky substance, then a soapy bath is in order. Similar to bathing cats, the more comfortable and stable you can make the experience for the bird, the better things will go.

    • Fill a small tub with water
    • Add in a squirt or two of soap
    • Use your hands (or shower gloves for a bit more protection) and gently rub the soapy water over your bird, avoiding the eyes and beak.
    • Use a spray bottle or mister to rinse your bird clean and allow your bird to dry itself

    Managing Fleas Using Dr. Bronner’s as a Pet Shampoo

    First, a general word about managing fleas on any animal. Using Dr. Bronner’s as a pet shampoo will remove fleas, but only when it comes into contact with them while they are wet. Once the animal’s skin-fur-feathers dry out, the soap will have no effect on fleas.

    Also, the soap does not kill the flea eggs, so the best approach once you know your pet has fleas is to bathe your pet frequently, so that you are removing newly hatched fleas. Make sure to also wash your pet’s bed and bedding frequently with Dr. Bronner’s:

    • Use 1/3 cup in a top loading washer
    • Add 1/2 cup vinegar to the rinse cycle (halve these measurements for an HE washer).

      What Other Animals Can Dr. Bronner’s Be Used as a Pet Shampoo?

      pet shampoo

      Our soaps are pretty safe for any animal. We’ve received photos from our customers washing their chickens, goats, and pigs with Dr. Bronner’s—and animal sanctuaries regularly use our soaps to wash horses, llamas, and cows.

      For any animal, remember to make things as comfortable as possible and to keep the soap away from their eyes and nose. The “tear free" characteristic is one that can only be achieved with synthetic detergents and is not something we're able to do given the all-natural formulation of our soaps.

      Using Coconut Oil to Treat Your Dog’s Skin

      There are some important caveats to note before diving into this topic. First, there simply hasn’t been a lot of research done on treating pets with coconut oil. The studies that have been conducted have been limited in scope, so more research needs to be done in order to obtain conclusive evidence about coconut oil’s benefits for pets. Second, you should always check with your vet when considering treatments for your pet. Your vet has a great deal of experience and can give their insight on what treatments tend to yield results. Third, make sure your dog does not have an allergy to coconut oil. If you put coconut oil on your dog’s skin and things get worse, that’s a sign that your dog may be allergic.

      That said, we believe that our Organic Coconut Oil can provide benefits for dogs when used externally. Yes, some people also choose to feed their dogs and cats small amounts of coconut oil (emphasis on small!), based on claims that it can help with everything from weight loss to cognition. We simply have not seen enough research to support the efficacy of this practice—there is no evidence of harm, but also not enough research has been done to show benefit.

      Because of coconut oil’s moisturizing and antimicrobial properties, we feel confident in saying that it could help keep your dog’s coat moisturized, help heal mange and other skin irritations, and help prevent or heal your dog’s chapped paws and nose. As your vet will no doubt tell you, nutrition plays a huge role in keeping your dog’s skin and fur healthy, but coconut oil can provide topical assistance when problems arise.

      To apply coconut oil topically, simply rub a very small amount onto your hands and then gently pat your dog’s coat. Run your fingers through the fur, and massage the oil down onto the skin, taking special care to coat problem areas. Your dog will love the special care and massaging that they are receiving!

      No Animal Cruelty!

      Not only are Dr. Bronner’s products great as a pet shampoo but you can rest easy knowing that they are completely cruelty-free. Our products are certified with the Leaping Bunny logo, indicating that our products and ingredients are never tested on animals. 

      pet shampoo

      Unscented - Pure-Castile Liquid Soap

      Unscented - Pure-Castile Liquid Soap

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