Bathing your dog can be essential for its health and happiness. Regular bathing can help you be vigilant about the presence of ticks, fleas, and ear mites, all of which can make your dog ill if left untreated. However, a professional dog grooming can be costly, with some visits costing upward of $90. Bathing your dog at home can help you save money, and if you are concerned about the impact grooming products might have on the environment, there are five simple steps you can take to give your pooch a zero-waste bath.
1. Collect Loose Hair for Donation
If your dog is a heavy shedder, it is a good idea to give its coat a good brushing before a bath. This helps loosen mats and spread the skin’s natural oils to protect it from drying out. Instead of tossing all that hair out, however, you can repurpose it by making a hair donation to environmental projects that are dedicated to cleaning up the earth’s oceans. The hair is turned into large ocean mats that are designed to soak up oil spills and other types of contamination. The fur usually needs to be clean and free of parasites.
2. Choose a Natural Shampoo
Commercial dog shampoos can contain parabens, which are preservatives that may be toxic to your dog’s skin over time. While these are found in many hair and makeup brands, some companies have phased them out after the use of parabens has been found to increase cancer risk. You can lower this risk for your pup by using chemical-free shampoos, conditioners, and coat treatments. Shampoos made with natural oatmeal can also reduce itchiness and dry skin in dogs that are prone to these problems.
3. Use a Low-Flow Hose Attachment
If you plan to bathe your dog outdoors, invest in a special attachment that allows you to adjust the flow of the water to prevent waste. Bathe your dog in a galvanized washtub to collect the runoff so you can repurpose it elsewhere in your yard, such as to water trees, as the natural shampoo you will have used cannot harm plants or soil.
Buying a low-flow hose attachment can help you save water in several ways. One of the most beneficial is having a model that allows you to turn off the flow of water with the turn of a switch. This can be more convenient than having to turn off the spigot during shampooing and conditioning. If the head allows a small dribble to escape when the switch is turned to the off position, let it drain into the tub. The Cadiz Water Project has more ideas and information about water conservation on social media.
4. Buy Organic Towels
Cotton is one of the most common fabrics used in the United States; however, despite its comfort, it can be difficult to maintain and heavy pesticides are often used to ensure the plants survive to harvest. If you are concerned about this but want to use cotton towels to dry your dog off after its bath because they are gentle, one solution may be to buy organic towels.
Companies that make these items usually certify that they are made with environmentally-friendly growing methods and without the use of pesticides. This can make you feel good about buying cotton products without being concerned about how it affects the environment.
5. Use Energy Star Hair Dryers
If your dog has long hair that must be blown dry and combed, using an energy-efficient blow dryer can help you save on your electric bill and give the environment a boost. These dryers also emit less radiation than regular models, which can help protect your dog’s skin.
Bathing your dog regularly can keep it healthy and happy throughout its life. Using organic and eco-friendly products during each bathing session can give you peace of mind that you are supporting the health of both your pet and the environment, both of which need your love and care if they are to survive.