Your pooch is smelly and dirty! Time for a bath. It’s easy to pick up any bottle of pet shampoo and wash your dog with it. But have you stopped and read the ingredients on the bottle? Do you know what those ingredients are? Does the bottle even list ANY ingredients on it?

At Tail Blazers we take our product selections very seriously, including shampoos and coat care products. We analyze the ingredients in all the shampoos and conditioners we stock to ensure it meets our strict safety standards.

Here is a quick list to help you analyze your pet’s shampoo.

  1. If there are no ingredients at all on the label – don’t buy it! Who knows what is in it. And yes, those products do exist out there.
  2. Go over each ingredient you are unfamiliar with and cross reference with EWG Skin Deep Cosmetic Database. It’s the most comprehensive database of ingredients that are used on skin and in body care and cosmetics. Designed for human products, most of the same ingredient principles can be applied to our pets (keep in mind there are some ingredients that may be toxic to our pets but not to humans). Their database shows a scale of 1 – 9 in terms of safety, as well as links to research studies done. Some ingredients have been linked to cancer, some are known as endocrine (hormone) disruptors and others are skin irritants, to name a few common ingredient hazards.
  3. 7 common ingredients to avoid: (There are a lot of other ingredients that should be avoided, however these are some common ones.)
    1. Fragrance – At Tail Blazers we don’t have any artificially scented body care products. Artificial scents are usually made with unhealthy chemicals and can contribute to allergies. We choose naturally scented products, where botanicals and essentials oils are used for smell.
    2. Parabens can be listed in many different ways, but if the word paraben is part of the ingredient name such as methylparaben or polyparaben then avoid the product. Parabens, which are used as preservatives, have been shown to have the potential to be endocrine disruptors and cause biochemical/cellular level changes in the body (source:
    3.“Conditioners” or “Cleansers” – sometimes products use very generic terms on their bottle, such as conditioners. What does that even mean? “Conditioners” is not an ingredient! Sometimes the actual ingredients are ok, and sometimes they are not, so asking the manufacturer is a good way to obtain more information.
    4. Artificial colours – not sure why we need this in a pet shampoo, but it’s not necessary, especially with them having links to being carcinogenic.
    5. PEG (Polyethylene glycol) This ingredient can contain some nasty contaminants and may assist other chemicals in getting to the bloodstream (source:
    6. Formaldehyde – According to EWG Skin Deep Cosmetic Database, any of the following names should be avoided as they can release formaldehyde:  Diazolidinyl urea, imidazolidinyl urea, DMDM hydantoin, quaternium-15, 2-bromo-2-nitropropane-1,3-diol, and sodium hydroxylmethylglycinate. Formaldehyde can trigger allergic reactions and is linked to cancer.
    7. Sodium laureth sulfate – This is one of the components used in shampoo’s that creates bubbles (surfactant), however it is a skin irritant, and may cause organ system toxicity or contain dangerous manufacturing contaminants (source:
  4. Another consideration is to choose cruelty-free products which ensure your purchasing dollars are going to companies that humanely treat animals. This means no product testing on any type of animal.
  5. Watch out for greenwashing. defines Greenwashing as “the practice of making an unsubstantiated or misleading claim about the environmental benefits of a product, service, technology or company practice. Greenwashing can make a company appear to be more environmentally friendly than it really is.” There are many forms of greenwashing, but it is easy to get confused about the safety of ingredients when the package has a natural look to it, has a natural name or marketing claims that are unsubstantiated, but then it turns out the ingredients in the bottle are anything but safe. Greenwashing can be tricky to spot!
  6. Botanical names might look complicated on the label, but many companies use the Latin name in their ingredient list to provide the most accurate listing possible. For example, Butyrospermum Parkii is actually shea butter.

Here are some great shampoo product lines that we have analyzed and feel are safe for your pet! Only recently does there seem to be more clean choices on the market for our pets.

  1. Black Sheep Organics – made in Canada, they take great care to make “clean” (meaning no chemicals) products. They use organic ingredients where possible, are certified cruelty free, make an effort to be environmentally friendly and use only natural scents (essential oils).
  2. Earthbath – This company has been a staple grooming product at our stores for many years. Earthbath says the following about their products: “Made in the USA with natural and organic ingredients and no artificial colors. We believe you and your pet deserve quality products that are non toxic, paraben & sulfate free, phthalate free, and phosphate free.”
  3. Good Girl, Good Boy – Brand new to Tail Blazers listings, we just ran across this gem recently. Made in Quebec, their ingredient deck is squeaky clean. They state “Our Soaps are Biodegradable, Non-Toxic, Non-irritating, Organic, 100% Natural, Vegan and Moisturizing and made with finest ingredients that add value to the product.”
  4. Legendary Canine – Quickly becoming more popular, they say this about their line of bar soap: “We handcraft each bar in Canada using only the finest, human-grade, 100% natural ingredients. The oils we use are chosen to specifically benefit dogs.”
  5. Kin+Kind – This line of cruelty-free products are natural, and made in the USA by workers earning a living wage. Kin+Kind is a certified USDA organic manufacturer – healthier for the planet and your pet!

NOTE: not all Tail Blazers carry the same items. Please contact your location to find out what they have for non-toxic shampoos.

Black Sheep Organics is a Canadian company that uses natural scents and is certified Cruelty Free by the Leaping Bunny Program. Their products are non-toxic and safe for your pet.

EWG Skin Deep Cosmetic Database
Black Sheep Organics
Good Girl, Good Boy
Legendary Canine
Dogs Naturally Magazine