What ingredients to avoid in your dog shampoo


By Paul Tan (Owner of Bailey the Golden)

Artificial colours

Take note that when your dog shampoo comes in orange, yellow, green, etc, be aware that these artificial colours have been associated with cancer and should be avoided.

Cocamide DEA (diethanolamine) and MEA (monoethanolamine)

More foam is not necessarily good. These foam-producing ingredients are usually chemically altered to the extent of being a moderate cancer-causing ingredient, and at times, a hormone and thyroid disruptor.

Cocamidopropyl betaine (CAPB)

CAPB is sometimes used to replace cocamide DEA. However, this substance cause skin irritation and affects the immune system.


This is a strong-smelling chemical used to produce many household products. It is also utilised as an industrial fungicide, germicide and disinfectant, and even as a preservative in medical laboratories and mortuaries. Enough said.


Most times, we buy a dog shampoo based on its fragrance.  If the aroma does not come from essential oils or plants, then its highly likely that it comes from an unhealthy substance. When choosing a dog shampoo, we have to pay extra attention to this aroma as our furkid’s sense of smell is way more powerful than ours and hence it can be quite irritating to them. Artificial fragrances can affect the immunity system as well as cause allergic reactions.

Isopropyl alcohol

This ingredient is used in a lot of dog products. Avoid these products as isopropyl alcohol is a known depressant and a toxin that affects the nerves, lung, heart and liver when it enters the body. It is also referred to as isopropanol, 2-propanol and propyl.


Made from the petroleum-derived substance propylene, this destroys your furkid’s skin moisture balance and causes irritation.


Woah… what a long word this is and so difficult to pronounce! This is usually added into shampoo as a preservative and anti-fungal ingredient. Using it can lead to organ poisoning.

Methylparaben and Parabens

Used as preservatives, these ingredients can affect the central nervous system of a dog, which ultimately affects the brain and spinal cord. It can also cause cancer to the uterus and bladder.

Mineral oils

A by-product of distilled gasoline made from crude oil. This ingredient, when coated on the skin, keeps the skin from releasing its own natural oils.


This ingredient helps with the scenting of the shampoo in that they bond the scent to the shampoo. These are disruptors to the hormonal system.

Polyethylene glycol (PEG)

A known cancer-causing chemical used as a solvent in shampoos and conditioners. Side effects can be seen in the form of stomach disorders, loss of memory and immune dysfunction.


This ingredient helps bind oil with water and is usually used to dissolve fragrances into a solution. It also messes with the pH of the skin and fur.

Propylene Glycol

A strong skin irritant as well as liver and kidney toxin.

Sodium Laureth/Lauryl Sulfates and Ammonium Laureth Sulfate

These sulfates strip the fur of its natural oils and can cause skin irritations. They are also known cancer-causing agents.

At the end of the day, remember that dogs clean themselves and self-grooming is a natural part of their behaviour. So when choosing a shampoo, go for a one made specifically for dogs and which uses natural and simple ingredients.


About the author:

Paul Tan is the owner of Bailey the Golden, our brand ambassador. Bailey started training for canine obedience competitions when he was 7 months old. He has appeared in several TV appearances, including a commercial with famed dog whisperer, Cesar Millan. Bailey is currently taking Astamate as part of his supplement diet. You may follow Bailey on Instagram: Bailey the Golden

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