Washing the Dog with Dr. Bronner’s (Video)

Check out this updated 2018 video: Dog Washing with Dr. Bronner’s Soap

Meet Sandy. She’s my 12-ish year old dachshound-something-or-other. She has kindly agreed to be my model in demonstrating how great the castile soap is in washing dogs. The castile soap works fabulously to remove the dirt, oils, and even pests on dogs. (We’re not certified about the pest part, but it does work.) It is very gentle on sensitive skin and can help dogs who have itching issues. And, although I’ve been fortunate enough not to know this firsthand, the Peppermint Castile soap apparently is a fabulous de-skunker.

The principles are pretty much the same as with washing people, except you’ll need more soap because dogs are hairier (usually) and dirtier (usually). You still want to be careful to keep the soap out of their eyes, and keep water out of their ears.

332 thoughts on “Washing the Dog with Dr. Bronner’s (Video)

  1. Hello,
    I am trying to make my own shampoo for a long haired guinea pig. He needs to be bathed twice a month. Which Castile soap would you recommend? Would I need to dilute the Castile soap? And can oatmeal powder and coconut oil be added?


    • Hi Jill- I recommend the Unscented Castile soap. Wet your little guy’s coat really well and then work in a couple of drops of soap. If you’d rather pre-dilute, mix 1 tsp of soap into 1 cup of water. There’s no problem mixing in the oatmeal powder or coconut oil.

  2. Can this soap be used on cattle? If so, should it be diluted? Also, would it possibly help keep flies away from the cattle?

    • HI Jalyn – I went to our Twitter audience for answers for this one, since I do not have any experience with this myself. We didn’t hear much specifically on cattle, but I have heard from owners of horses, llamas, ferrets, dogs, and chickens. It’s likely fine on cattle. Let me know if you try it!

    • Hi Yazmin- Yes, but because cats are fastidious bathers, we recommend the Unscented Castile Soap for cats. It contains no essential oils, which can be toxic to cats.

    • Hi Larry- To our understanding, the Unscented Castile soap is a good option, but check with your vet to confirm.

    • Hi Melissa- Our liquid Castile soap is available at most natural/health food stores and several major grocery and retail chains. The Castile soap does kill fleas it comes into contact with when wet, but it doesn’t have a residual effect once it dries.

  3. I have been told spraying peppermint Castile soap will help to alleviate a ground bee infestation we currently have. The recommendation is to mix 2 cups peppermint Castile soap with 2 cups boiling water and pour into ground holes. Will this dosage be safe for use with my dog?

    • Hi Stephanie – I’ve been thinking about your question for a while, and I know you’re asking about your dog, but I want to back up a bit. My understanding is that the soap will not harm bees, which is what makes it safe to spray on edibles without harming the bees that do the necessary pollinating. My concern with your pouring the boiling water/soap solution into the ground holes is more for your own safety. It is likely that the bees are going to swarm out at you as soon as you start pouring, which would be very dangerous for you. I’m picturing a swarm of stinging insects combined with boiling water. This doesn’t sound good. Regarding your dog, the soap is perfectly safe, but the boiling water might be a problem if he is too nearby. Instead, look into a bee specialist in your area. They will know the best way to relocate the bees.

    • Thank you so much for getting back to me regarding my question about ground bees. We actually were told that heavily watering the ground will encourage the bees to relocate since they like dry dirt and it seems to be working!

  4. What about cats? Can you wash cats with this, since they lick themselves? I had heard essential oils can be toxic for cats and to be careful with diffusing them around cats but not sure if that’s true.

    • Hi Faye- Yes, essential oils can be toxic to cats. Because cats are fastidious bathers, recommend the Unscented Castile Soap for bathing cats, as it contains no essential oils.

  5. Please don’t recommend Tea Tree oil for pets. It is actually toxic to dogs. Better option that are non toxic are Lavender or rosemary.

    • Hi Julie- Thanks for bringing this up. Tea Tree essential oil is an excellent natural antimicrobial – fighting bacteria, viruses, and fungi. Although it is a natural substance, extracted directly from a plant, it is still quite potent. As you point out, dogs can be sickened with too high of a concentration. In our soaps, because the tea tree oil is low at 2%, and the soap is then washed off leaving a very small window of time for absorption, there is no danger. Dogs also do not clean themselves as enthusiastically as cats, so even if there were some residue from the tea tree oil, they would be unlikely to ingest it. But if there is a concern, I can say that Tucker enjoys the Peppermint, Eucalyptus or Lavender all equally well. For bathing cats, we recommend the Unscented Castile soap with no essential oils exclusively, because they do so arduously bathe themselves.

    • Please note that Rosemary, fennel, sage, eucalyptus, hyssop, wormwood, camphor and spike lavender essential oils are not recommended if you have epilepsy, as they may lower the seizure threshold. They don’t “cause” seizures, but if your dog already has seizures – these oils, or for that matter the herb itself, should be kept well away. Better safe than sorry.

    • Hi Dawn – Yes, the Castile is perfect for puppies. You might want to consider using the Unscented Castile, just to be extra gentle on them.

      Tucker got another bath just this morning! I used pure Eucalyptus because it was a little chilly for the cooling effect of the Peppermint. He would have been fine. I would have been the one that got cold!

  6. Hi, Is plant extracts be used as substitute of water? Or if it is possible to add it, when is the best time to add it on liquid castile soap? Hope to hear from you soon! Thank you

    • Hi Jerica- I’m afraid I don’t know what you mean by plant extracts. Can you give me a little more information?

  7. Hello! Beside peppermint , what other scent can I use on my dog? Don’t you that is unscented?

    • Hi Rosellina- If your pup has sensitive skin, the Unscented Castile soap is a good bet, but otherwise all of our scents work equally well in getting your dog clean.

    • Hi Monica – No one likes a pup with itchy or irritated skin. Tea tree is a natural anti-inflammatory, so it could be helpful for your pup. Another option is the Unscented, which great for people with sensitive skin.

    • Hi Monica,

      I realize that I’m several months behind you here, but I figured I’d respond just in case! Tea tree can be great for itchy skin on dogs, but do some research about tea tree toxicity… if not diluted properly tea tree can be no fun (and harmful) for pups! Maybe mix the tea tree with unscented to avoid this!

      I use unscented on my pup, and then mix a VERY small quantity of tea tree oil (I dab a tiny tiny half-drop onto the palms of my hands – for a 25 lb puppy) with vitamin E oil for my pup’s itchy skin and dandruff. I also make sure that I give her a break from tea tree for several weeks after. It does treat her dandruff though!

      Burts bees also has a great anti-itch spray that seems to work well for her.

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