Take a Tasteful Approach to Organic Grooming

These tasty ingredients are safe and effective for the outside and the inside of your dog.

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Looking for some healthy pampering for your pet? Organic grooming might be the perfect treat. With yummy sounding ingredients like coconut oil, oatmeal, peppermint, blueberries, and honey, you’ll be tempted to share with your dog. Organic ingredients abound in the latest dog shampoos, conditioners, grooming wipes, facial scrubs, and paw treatments, and many grooming businesses include them as part of their spa services. My own dogs get blueberry facials to brighten and whiten the area under their eyes. They love the pampering, and I love the lack of tear stains.

Good enough to eat?

“Many plant-based ingredients benefit a dog’s skin; however as a canine nutritionist, I prefer those that are safe and effective on the outside and the inside!” said Diana Laverdure-Dunetz, M.S., pet nutrition consultant and co-author of Canine Nutrigenomics:The New Science of FeedingYour Dog for Optimal Health (Dogwise; 2015).

“My favorite ‘skin-saving’ foods are coconut oil, sesame oil, and raw honey (one that
is not pasteurized). They are anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, and anti-viral, and contain supe- rior moisturizing properties. I apply them topically and double-up on their skin-saving powers by giving my dog, Chase, appropriate amounts mixed with his meal or as a snack.”

Diana uses a coconut-based shampoo that’s chemical-free on Chase. “In between shampoos, I like to massage coconut oil or sesame oil into Chase’s skin to keep it soft and hydrated. I’m just careful to keep him off the furniture until it is fully absorbed!”

Honey by Shutterstock.
Honey by Shutterstock.

The oh! in going organic

Hilary Barchash and Adam Coladipietro are so passionate about pets that they have two businesses: Spa Dog, an organic dog spa in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, and Black Sheep Organics, a company that makes and sells organic grooming goods for dogs.

“The skin and scalp are one large, semi- permeable organ,” Hillary said. “The scalp
is part of the skin, and skin is the body’s largest organ. Because it is absorbent, it is a gateway to the bloodstream. It can absorb both nutrients and toxins, both in humans and in animals. Think of your pet’s skin and coat fur as one large (and absorbent) scalp.”

An often overlooked health factor: Animals groom with their tongues and mouths. “They chew itchy spots and lick irritated areas,” Hilary explained. “They also lick to spread oils and clean themselves. This means that anything on your pet’s fur is not only on them but is also being ingested by them.”

Is it really organic?

So how do you know if a grooming product is organic? “Organic certification is a good independent verification of environmental responsibility but comes at a cost.” Hilary said that some small family businesses, like organic farmers, can’t always afford the cost of certification.

“Other good identifiers are ‘wild-crafted’ or ‘wild harvested,’” she said,“both of which indicate that the plants are grown in the wild. Vegan is also a good sign — animal products have a larger carbon footprint than plant-based ingredients.”

Of course, it always helps to read the label. Hilary also advised to do a little more. “Look past the label at the company itself and see what they are about,” she said.

Blueberries by Shutterstock.
Blueberries by Shutterstock.

Mmm, ingredients …

Below are some tasty organic ingredients you’ll find in the latest grooming products:

  • Aloe vera — Soothes dry, itchy skin and promotes healing
  • Avocado — Helps dryness and itching
  • Honey — Moisturizer, softens skin
  • Blueberry — Good for tear stains around the eyes, brightens, removes dead skin, and fights bacteria
  • Coconut oil — Moisturizes skin and reduces odor
  • Cucumber — Skin toner, adds shine, and soothes skin
  • Oatmeal — Helps with itchy skin and insect bites, softens coat

Not so essential

Some organic grooming products contain essential oils, which aren’t so good for your cat. Essential oils — concentrated liquids of plants — might smell great, but cats are likely to ingest them, since their grooming tool of choice is their tongue. Cats lack certain enzymes needed to help the liver metabolize them. This means no essential oils for kitties, even in small amounts.

Top photo: Dog bathing by Shutterstock.

Melissa L. Kauffman

Melissa L Kauffman is the Senior Group Editor of Lucky Puppy, Dogster, and Catster magazines. She lives in North Carolina with her furry, finned, and feathered family: Betta fish Edgar Allan, rescue dogs Tampa and Justice, rescue parrots Deacon and Carlisle, and her husband, Scott.


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