Know What Is In Your Dog Grooming Products | Harmful Ingredients You Must Avoid

Your furry friend probably loves bath time. And as a pampering pet parent, you probably let them enjoy it more often and for longer time periods than what is required for basic cleanliness and hygiene. But are you aware that dog shampoos and other pooch beauty products are often loaded with chemicals that might be harmful to your pet?

From skin irritants and pesticides to synthetic dyes, suspected carcinogens and whatnot, dog grooming products can be more dangerous than you can possibly imagine.

In a bid to make pet beauty products more and more attractive to pet parents, manufacturers are becoming less and less conscious of the impact their ingredients can have. And we aren’t just referring to the negative impact that these products can have on your dog’s health. In most cases, the chemicals in pet grooming products are equally hazardous for their owners as well. And let’s not forget the environmental impact of these substances too.

As a loving pup parent, you must know what’s in your dog grooming products so that you and your pooch can steer clear of the associated health hazards at all times.

Harmful Ingredients You Must Avoid

The following section lists down some of the most dangerous ingredients that are commonly found in dog shampoos, conditioners, toenail balms, and similar beauty products.


Sulfates are a group of chemicals typically used as cleansing agents. They create a lathering effect, which means you are likely to find them in almost every other pet bath product. You might think that sulfates are essential for removing oil and dirt from your pet’s hair. But that is not necessarily true.

Many organic products without sulfates do an equally great, if not better, job at creating suds. Sulfate-free shampoos are much safer for your pet as they do not cause irritation to their eyes and skin. Prolonged exposure to sulfates can leave your dog’s skin feeling rather parched. It can also rob your pet’s coat of its natural shine.


Parabens are a type of preservatives that are extensively used in pet care products. As a matter of fact, they can be found in certain types of canned pet foods as well. Parabens do a great job at ensuring long shelf life and keeping the items from going bad. This is because they prevent mold and bacterial growth. But they are actually bad for you.

The European Commission lists parabens under the Category 1 Substances for Endocrine Disruption. They are known to interfere with the production and function of hormones in both animals and humans. A study found that certain parabens can cause dermatitis on contact. Dermatitis is a skin condition characterized by dry, itchy, reddened or swollen skin.

These preservatives can also increase the risk of skin cancer in humans as they make your skin prone to damage due to UV exposure.


Phthalates are chemicals used in personal care products, such as conditioners, hair sprays, soaps, perfumes, etc. They are the same chemicals that you will also find in detergents, plastic packaging, vinyl flooring, and even lubricants for automobiles.

That should be sufficient for you to decide whether or not phthalates are safe for you and your dog.

Phthalates can be derived from natural sources, but they are typically produced in a lab. Most of these chemicals are considered toxic as they can damage the lungs, kidneys, and liver. They are also said to affect the reproductive system and are linked to asthmatic attacks.

If your dog ingests a product that has a high content of phthalates, they may develop fertility issues and become more susceptible to hyperactivity disorder.

Butylated Hydroxyanisole (BHA)

Butylated hydroxyanisole is commonly used to increase the shelf life of dog cosmetic products. It is also present in a range of skin moisturizers and makeup items for humans.

You shouldn’t pick any product containing BHA because it is said to be a cancer-causing agent. The European Union has altogether banned the use of BHA in beauty products. But it is still widely used by companies in other parts of the world.

BHA is a waxy substance that can solidify under certain conditions. This means that bath products containing BHA can also clog your drains over time.

Researchers believe that BHA can be absorbed into your bloodstream via the skin. Prolonged exposure to this compound can put you and your pet at an increased risk of liver, kidney, and thyroid problems.

As if that isn’t harmful enough, BHA can also act as a tumor promoter in specific situations because it has a tendency to form blood clots.

Diethanolamine (DEA)

Diethanolamine, commonly abbreviated as DEA or DEOA, is a colorless, viscous liquid that is generally used as an emulsifier. In other words, it helps produce foam and bubbles.

Sunscreens and moisturizers also contain DEA for its hydrating properties. But just like all other chemicals on this list, DEA isn’t safe for you and your pets alike.

DEA is classified as a possible human carcinogenic compound as evidence suggests it can lead to liver cancer. Bath products containing high concentrations of DEA can also make your skin itchy and dry.

Sodium Laureth (SLS)

Sodium Laureth is also a lathering agent. It is extensively used in dog shampoos and shower gels because it is significantly cheaper than other foaming chemicals.

The highest risk of using products containing SLS is that it can irritate your eyes, skin, and mouth. It is also known to cause breathing problems when combined with certain synthetic chemicals used for fragrance.

Other Bad Ingredients in Dog Grooming Products

In addition to all the aforementioned ingredients, the following substances are also harmful to you and your pet.

  • Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate (ALS) – Frequent use of products containing ALS can lead to pet dandruff. It can also promote hair loss and dull the natural luster of their fur.
  • Isothiazolinones – Commonly used in anti-bacterial skin wash, these chemicals are known to cause dermatitis.
  • Cocamide-MEA – The International Agency for Research on Cancer classifies Cocamide MEA as a group 2 carcinogen. However, cocamide MEA is considered safe at concentrations of less than 10%.
  • Methylchloroisothiazolinone (CMIT) – Linked to lung toxicity and swelling of the intestines.
  • Triethanolamine – Exposure to this chemical can cause allergic reactions and skin problems.

Now that you know the harmful ingredients found in dog grooming products, make sure to watch out for them the next time you go shopping.

by Bobby J Davidson || You can’t buy love, but you can rescue it™

Facts About Animal Homelessness:

  1. Only 1 out of every 10 dogs born will find a permanent home.
  2. The main reasons animals are in shelters: owners give them up, or animal control finds them on the street.
  3. Each year, approximately 2.7 million dogs and cats are killed every year because shelters are too full and there aren’t enough adoptive homes. Act as a publicist for your local shelter so pets can find homes. Sign up for Shelter Pet PR.
  4. Approximately 7.6 million companion animals enter animal shelters nationwide every year. Of those, approximately 3.9 million are dogs and 3.4 million are cats.
  5. According to the National Council on Pet Population Study and Policy (NCPPSP), less than 2% of cats and only 15 to 20% of dogs are returned to their owners.
  6. 25% of dogs that enter local shelters are purebred.
  7. About twice as many animals enter shelters as strays compared to the number that are relinquished by their owners.
  8. It’s impossible to determine how many stray dogs and cats live in the United States. Estimates for cats alone range up to 70 million.
  9. Only 10% of the animals received by shelters have been spayed or neutered. Overpopulation, due to owners letting their pets accidentally or intentionally reproduce, sees millions of these “excess” animals killed annually.
  10. Many strays are lost pets that were not kept properly indoors or provided with identification.
  11. According to The Humane Society, there are about 3,500 brick-and-mortar animal shelters in the US and 10,000 rescue groups and animal sanctuaries in North America.

Here are a some adoptions for consideration: