We made this first dog shampoo bar for our own dogs: Eva Louise Jellybean and Cora Bella "Bugs" Bootzalini. Cora is our fourth beloved Australian Shepherd and our first one to struggle with allergies--both food allergies and, it seems, possibly seasonal springtime allergies too, so we wanted to see if we could make a shampoo bar that would help her or that at least wouldn't make things worse the way so many other products and foods did.
This bar contains that same ingredients that our human shampoo bars have but they've been specially formulated for dogs with local plants known to be loving to most dogs. This one contains 1) lavender because lavender is gentle and soothing for doggie skin and is known to repel fleas and mosquitoes, 2) local stinging nettles because they're good for skin irritations and allergy support, and just a little 3) local western red cedar (windfall branches gathered after storms only--we don't cut these trees) infused in olive oil because it smells good and also repels fleas and mosquitoes. Plus, Western red cedar is the tree of life in the bioregion where we live. It is a beloved, respected elder and community member and protector of all those who walk in this region and all those who bark and chase frisbees here too. We're so grateful to be here among the cedar, nettles, and lavender.
Note: Now that we've started making dog shampoo bars, we just love them. So we plan to have two additional dog shampoo bars--using the lemon balm, mints, and chamomiles on our land here--available by mid summer 2021.
To use: Get your dog wet and the shampoo bar wet. Rub the shampoo bar on your dog, taking care to avoid sensitive areas like eyes, nose, and mouth. Rub until you get the amount of lather you want or until your wild and crazy bath loving (or hating) dog goes tearing across the yard. Then rinse the shampoo away with water. Off your dog, off your self, and anyone else who got involved. If your dog rolled in something particularly nasty, you might need to repeat the previous steps. Then, towel dry as needed. Some people like to use wash cloths, fancy brushes, dog wash mitts, or bathtubs. That's all good. At our house, its the shampoo bar and the hose outside because the dogs adore the hose and don't even realize they're getting a bath until well into the process. Important: Do not use this bar on a cat. It was not formulated for cats. Besides, bathing cats has been known to be hazardous to human health. ;-)
Storage and life of the bar: Store the bar where it can dry quickly and where it doesn't sit in water (on a soap holder/drainer or even just on a dry folded wash cloth to dry is fine). How long your dog shampoo bar lasts also depends on factors such as how much lather you need/like, how long and thick your dog's hair is, and how often your dog rolls in smelly things or gets stinky. Eva's old friend Raddley has weekly romances with dead fish on the beach each summer. Meanwhile, Eva and Cora rarely get baths--usually when they've spent a whole day at the ocean in their super suits (dog vests) or hung out in a late-summer-green lake and they smell nasty. If allowed to dry quickly, the bar should last as long or longer than a standard size bottle of shampoo.
Size: Roughly 4 ounce bars. These are made by hand in small batches and hand cut by cool women, not machines. This means most bars are 4 ounce and that the bars can range from 3.8 ounces to 4.5 ounces. We keep anything smaller than 3.8 ounces for ourselves and our families, to give as gifts to neighbors in need, and to cut up as free samples. We're not machines, people, nor do we want to be. :-)
Ingredients: Grown on Whidbey (at Silly Dog Studios and also ethically gathered from neighbors' properties, fields, and woods where no spraying happens) stinging nettle tops and windfall Western red cedar branches infused into organic extra virgin olive oil, plus coconut oil, shea butter, castor oil, sodium hydroxide, distilled water, sodium lactate, lavender essential oil. Note: Future batches will have our own lavender infused in organic olive oil to make them even gentler on both the skin and the environment.
Packaging: Bars are wrapped in a food safe, compostable parchment paper with a paper label. If possible, recycle packaging or, better yet, compost it--they make a great "brown" for compost bins.