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Natural, organic and skin-kind dog shampoo bar

Why coconut soap is a better alternative to traditional dog shampoo.

For years the dog grooming industry has lead the way in increasing the demand for more dog orientated pamper products. You can now treat your dog-about-town to a host of experiences from doggy facials to manicures, deep tissue massages, pawdicures and conditioning hair treatments. But what about those of us that just want to give their pooch a good bath at home – and does anyone pay attention to the ingredients in their dog shampoo?

Our journey of discovery started with Betty, our first fur-born baby, who is just a big lovable, playful ball of squishy gorgeousness, wrapped up in the shape of a French bulldog. As often comes with the territory of bully breeds, Betty developed skin allergies as a pup and after months of various tests, treatments and investigations we never really got to the root of the cause. What is certain, however, is that her skin is a sensitive as her little soul and a fierce bought of paw licking, side scratching and ear rubbing can be set off by household cleaning products, air fresheners and dog grooming products (even those marked as ‘sensitive’).

Learn more about how this lead to us developing DOG-ABOUT-TOWN in the first place and our crusade for more natural and enzyme-free home odour eliminators. Part of any home deodorisation plan is to try and remove the source of the odour. Obviously I’d boot out my husband before removing our beloved dogs from our home, so the next best thing is to make sure your pooch is healthy and clean. So, after developing and launching a fabulous range of odour-neutralising home fragrances we turned our attention to dog shampoos.


We set out 4 key objectives for our dog-about-town shampoo;

  • Must be 100% natural to ensure it is totally skin kind

  • Must be PH balanced to suit the PH levels of dog skin

  • Must be effective at cleaning without stripping hair of its natural oils

  • Must provide an added benefit/nourishment/odour-neutralisation to conventional shampoo

We started researching existing popular dog shampoos to see what they included (and what we could change) and were surprised by the findings. Here’s’ a list of just some of the ingredients in one of the UK’s bestselling ‘SENSITIVE’ liquid dog shampoos:

Sodium C14-16 Olefin Sulfonate

Cocamidopropyl Betaine

PPG-2 Hydroxyethyl Coco/Isostearamide

Fragrance (Parfum)

Cocamidopropylamine Oxide

PEG-150 Distearate

Glycol Distearate

Ammonium Chloride


Xylityl Sesquicaprylate

Decyl Glucoside

Cocamidopropyl Hydroxysultaine

Cetyl Alcohol

Glyceryl Oleate

Disodium EDTA

Sodium Lauroyl Sarcosinate



Colourings: Yellow 5 (CI#19140), Red 4 (CI#14700), Red 33 (CI#17200)

Now let’s be clear – we’re not saying all of these ingredients are bad – some of them are the chemical names of naturally occurring substances that are perfectly safe and suitable for dogs with sensitive skin. However, there is no getting away from the fact that most of these chemicals are there to act as preservatives, dyes and artificial cleansers. We actually bought this product when Betty was a puppy as it was sold as being perfect for pups with itchy and sensitive skin – we only used it once and never again…

Whilst continuing our research, our vet suggested that we start to feed Betty a spoon of coconut oil every couple of days to see if that helped with her itchy skin. We were sceptical at first – not only is organic cold-pressed virgin coconut oil pretty expensive but what difference could it really make? Willing to give anything a shot, we re-mortgaged the house to buy a jar and presented it to Betty on a spoon with all the anticipation of making an offering to the gods. SHE LOVED IT. Really loved it. Her eyes were wide, tongue slapping around all over the place and bum wiggling uncontrollably.

If nothing else, we had certainly found a healthy and natural treat that our dog adored. Fast forward a week or so and we started to notice how soft and shiny her coat was and whilst her allergies were still causing scratching, we felt there had been an improvement.

It was then the light bulb moment hit. Eating coconut oil clearly works wonders for a healthy coat, so why not use it in a dog shampoo and apply it directly to the skin? It’s also packed full of vitamins which act as a natural preservative and can be made in to a super foamy and frothy hand soap. So, after tweaking various formulations and adding dog-safe amounts of essential oils and natural extracts to boost the nourishment factor, we developed a nourishing and natural dog shampoo bar. The DOG-ABOUT-TOWN Spa Bar was born.

We have three signature fragrances of Spa Bar, each with their own nourishing qualities, each balanced to suit the unique PH of a dog’s skin and each made from just four key natural ingredients;

  • 100% organic coconut oil

  • Lye (to turn the oil into soap)

  • Vitamin E

  • Essential oils

We also add a sprinkling of natural exfoliants to each of the bars to help with grip, foaming action and to give added nourishing qualities. For example, ground oat kernels soothe itchy skin and hot spots, poppy seeds buff hair for added shine and shredded coconut moisturises dry skin.

Whichever shampoo bar you choose, you can use it safe in the knowledge that it is designed to work with your dog’s skin to gently clean their coat, whilst replenishing the oils in their skin and nourishing the hair from root to tip. The essential oils have been handpicked to neutralise odour particles in the hair whilst providing shine, soothing itches and help to repel insects. We finish each formulation by adding an extra shot of vitamin E to guarantee that your dog-about-town leaves the bathroom with super soft locks.

Find out more about each of our shampoo bars and their unique qualities in our dog Apothecary.

The Spa Bar is the first addition to the DOG-ABOUT-TOWN Apothecary range. Join our mailing list to make sure you’re the first to know when our new Apothecary products are released.

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