Dog soap for sensitive skin

Difficulty: Beginners
Time: 30 mins
Yields: 6 small soaps

Skin pH is a tricky thing. And while certain ingredients used in soaps and shampoos might be great for our skin and hair, it doesn’t mean it’s also good for our canine friends and can cause itching, flakiness and be generally irritating to a dog.

Human skin has a pH level on the acidic side, around 5.5, which helps us combat germs and infection on our skin. Dogs, however, have a much more neutral skin pH, between 6.5 and 8, which is why it so important to use the right products for dogs as not to irritate their skin.

I always test a soap or any product that is designated for use on dogs. Since soaps have a tendency to be slightly more alkaline, a good trick is to add citric acid. One teaspoon of citric acid to 1000 g of soap can bring the pH down approximately by 0.5. So you don’t need much.

This recipe is formulated especially for our fur babies with sensitive skin, and contains shea butter, colloidal oatmeal and castor oil, which will help balance and soothe the skin.

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ONE: Cut the soap into small cubes and add them to a heat proof Pyrex jug. Heat on high in the microwave in 20 second bursts, until the soap has melted. Try to avoid the soap from reaching boiling point!

I am using shea butter melt and pour soap base, from Pure Nature, because shea butter is great for dry and sensitive skins and helps balance and nourish the skin. Alternatively, you can also use the triple butter soap base, which is more nourishing, or the SLS-free soap base, for very sensitive skins.

TWO: Mix together two teaspoons of colloidal oatmeal, 1/4 teaspoon of citric acid and 1 teaspoon of castor oil, and then add the mixture to the soap. (In the picture I added the oatmeal directly to the soap, and as you can see it has formed clumps, which despite whisking furiously, I couldn’t make disappear). Oatmeal has been used throughout time to soothe dry, irritated and inflamed skin. In addition, it is also full of skin-loving vitamins and minerals, which help nourish the skin. I’m also adding castor oil, which is also known to help restore skin’s moisture balance and helps promote a healthy, shiny coat. And the citric acid will bring down the pH of the soap.

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FOUR: Give everything a good stir to ensure everything is well dispersed throughout the soap and then pour it into your mold. I’m using little paw molds that I found on AliExpress. Leave the soaps to harden for a few hours before unmolding. Make sure you package these soaps into little cello bags or glad wrap, because these melt and pour soap bases attract humidity and little beads of moisture will form on the surface if not properly packaged.

PS if you like this cool dog paw mould, I got it from AliExpress 😉

Dog soap for sensitive skin

  • Difficulty: beginners
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Ingredients

  • 240g shea butter melt and pour soap base
  • 2 teaspoon colloidal oatmeal
  • 1 teaspoon castor oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon citric acid

Directions

  1. Cut the soap into small cubes and place in a heat proof Pyrex jug.
  2. Heat the soap base in the microwave on high in 20 second bursts until melted.
  3. Mix 2 teaspoon of colloidal oatmeal, 1/4 teaspoon of citric acid, and 1 teaspoon of castor oil together and add to the melted soap. Mix well.
  4. Pour the soap into  your soap mold and leave to set and harden before unmolding.
  5. Package the soap into little cello bags or glad wrap.


If you enjoyed this tutorial, please consider donating a coffee, or a flat white as we call it here in New Zealand! This website is only possible due to my coffee consumption and early morning starts.

11 Comments

  1. Hello, thank you for your article, knowledge, and recipe!
    I’m NOT a “DIYer” but I try hard for my fur babies. I rescued a mini bull who was severely neglected and abused. She barely had any fur left and her poor skin was covered in… well, I don’t exactly know what!
    After many trips to the vet, her back teeth literally falling out randomly on the floor, a full dental, (And I believe she’s only 3 or 4), trying to determine what allergies she has, getting her on a very limited ingredient vet prescription food, and lots & lots of love, (just as much from my sweet girl- and next we’re on to PT)!
    We are proud to report a year later her fur has grown almost entirely back and her skin is doing awesome!! She still has some patches on her back, that even though her hair covers now, I’m still trying to clear up. I *think* these patches are dry skin- it’s hard to tell bc we think she just had sensitive skin, in addition to all of that, she will always have a limp due to a previous surgery that has left her with some scars/weird looking patches that will always be there around her hips.

    I’ve been using oatmeal and Shea, but you could you please tell me what soap do I use to cut up and what soap base you are referring to? Can I use anything that says it’s “citric acid”? Any link to Amazon would be so beyond helpful and appreciated I can’t even express how much. I’ve learned the hard way this year that not all products are created equal! And with my girl I have to be one of those dog moms that even I think are a bit ridiculous!

    Also, if it’s not too much trouble, I’m trying to make her a “comfort stick” using deodorant tubes I bought. Do you have any advice on what to put in them and how to make? Again, not a DIYer here, so go easy with me and feel free to talk to me like a 5 year old!
    Again, any direct amazon links will be so much appreciated… bc half the time I can’t figure out what I’m looking for, even after I know what product to look for, then I can’t figure out what’s a good brand or product to actually buy. No clue Shea butter could be so hard to pick out??
    I always say, it takes a village! I feel like I’ve needed a state to me to help my sweet Dacia. She’s worth every single bit of it! I’ve been using a “doggie shampoo wet brush” very gently that seems to be really helping.

    Thank you, thank you, thank you so much, for your time and thoughts/ recommendations,

    Shawna and Dacia

    • Hi Shawna and Dacia! Poor doggie and what a wonderful person you are to take her in and looking after her so well. You are truly amazing! Just to let you know, I am in no way an expert or even qualified in dog care. I just love animals and I do my best to look after mine as best as I can. What I do know about dogs is that they have a different pH to our skin. Theirs is much closer to neutral (7) than ours (5.5-6.5). And their skin is usually much better equipped to stay in balance naturally, but also quick to react (negatively) to skin products like soap and oils. I think using oatmeal and shea butter is probably the best thing you are doing for Dacia already. That’s probably what I’d be doing too. Shea butter is one of the most nutritious butters/oils, with around 15% being vitamins, minerals, phyto-sterols etc. Most oils have less than 1%. Rather than a comfort stick, I would keep just gently rubbing a bit of shea butter into her dry patches, which keep using the wet brush after to help remove some of that dry skin. I don’t know of any other products though, unfortunately. If you do want to use other products, I’d avoid dog products, because many of them are really unsuitable and would be too harsh on her skin. You could look at things like baby nappy rash balms or the ones that they use to remove cradle cap. Look for ingredients like calendula, chamomile and such. I hope this helps!

  2. I don’t understand why if they have pH 6 to 8 you use citric acid to lower it and acidify it. It would not be, on the contrary, to place something alkaline so that the
    ph !?

    • Hi Erica! The pH of our skin and those of animals is in a very precious balance, which is optimised for that particular animal or for us. It serves to protect us from infections as its main function. Soaps are cleansers and normally have a pH of around 9.5, which is very high. A dog’s skin is more sensitive than our skin (surprisingly), because it is more neutral than ours. Adding anything extra to a dog’s skin, alkaline or acidic, will upset the balance of the skin. Their skin and fur function to keep their acid mantle in this optimal balance. Personally, I don’t advocate using soap at all on dogs, unless really dirty. Anyway, if you are using a product on a dog’s skin, you want it to be as close to its pH level as possible. This is why I’m bringing it down with the citric acid, but also with a superfat. The extra oil in the soap as well as the citric acid, will use up some of the soap molecules when you start lathering up the soap, leaving less (active/unbonded) soap molecules in the water/soap mixture. I hope this kind of makes sense. If you’re wondering why we use soap on our skin – it is actually also not good for our skin to use too much soap and too often. The milder a soap, the better for our skin!

    • When you use ready made soap bases, like this melt and pour soap, any extra oils added will only seep out. So unfortunately, you can’t add it to the soap. Sorry!

  3. STOP!!! PLEASE LISTEN! Peppermint and lemongrass are toxic to dogs!
    I make these bars for a dog groomer friend of mine (minus those two ingredients) and she LOVES them.
    So PLEASE change the recipe before someone’s fur friend gets hurt!

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