Dawn is the owner of Seattle Hill Soap Company and formulates natural and safe soaps and skin care items that are enhanced by herbs, botanicals, or clays. You can find Seattle Hill Soap Company at www.seattlehillsoaps.com.
Natural and effective skin and hair care for our pets can be easy, economical and gentle. One of my dogs has severe pollen allergies and he often takes it out on his skin. It is easily irritated by commercial cleansers and hair rinses so I had to figure out a better way to keep his coat clean without causing more distress.
I found that the Castile soap I made to use on sensitive facial skin, worked very well on his skin. Castile soap originated in Castile, Spain long ago and was originally made with 100 percent olive oil. These days, you will often find Castile soap with a little mix of other oils to aid in lather, which is usually missing from 100 percent olive oil soap. I add a tiny bit of castor oil in my Castile, which enhances the lather but allows it to retain the mildness it is known for. Often you can find Castile soap in health food stores. Try to find one without coconut oil as that can irritate dry and itchy skin (depending on the amount used).
My other dog’s skin is very healthy; she tends to get a bit dirtier. For her, I created a soap that is a bit more cleansing and has oils, such as neem tree oil, which is known to repel bugs as well as soothe skin. I have also lightly scented these bars with different essential oils that are also known for their bug repelling properties. Some of these oils include lemon eucalyptus, peppermint, and cedarwood. One thing to note for animal care is that their noses are very sensitive, so a strong fragrance can be very irritating for them.
My newest pet creation is a Castile with neem tree and castor oils and lightly scented with an essential oil blend, which I call Outdoor Blend. It includes lavender, cedarwood and clove. It’s a great smelling, bug repelling essential oil combination that can be used on sensitive human or animal skin.
Not forgetting our kitty friends, if you bathe your cat, I highly recommend using a Castile soap because a cat’s skin is much more sensitive and can be easily irritated. I would also recommend either a fragrance-free or synthetically-fragranced soap as there are many essential oils that are considered to be toxic to cats. Some of these oils include peppermint, lemon, lavender, melaleuca, tea tree, cinnamon, wintergreen, thyme, birch, and any oil containing phenol. Even some synthetic fragrances will contain essential oils so if you can do without fragrance, it’s probably best.
I find that using bar soap on an animal’s coat is so much easier than using a shampoo-like product. It goes where I want it, it lathers fantastically, and if I need a little more in a certain spot (like the foot and leg area), it’s easy to spot apply. It’s also much more economical, as it lasts a lot longer if properly stored, than the shampoo type cleansers. (Click here to learn how to make soap.)
Next post, I will talk about natural skin and hair conditioning rinses for your pet that anyone can make quickly and easily at home.