I remember trips to the cottage as a kid with Brin, our first family dog. Like Tobyn, he was a Bernese Mountain Dog, complete with a heavy black coat of beautiful fur. He wasn’t much for swimming, but he enjoyed wading about near shore, lapping at the water and cooling down. And every year, without fail, he would start to smell of warm vomit mixed with expired bleu cheese after a few days of these wading escapades mixed with hot weather. It was truly wretched, made worse only by the knowledge that we had another 18 hour car trip across the prairies ahead of us, and we would be trapped with our affectionate and furry source of wretched olfactory sin for every minute of it.
My father started to purchase large bottles of heavily perfumed salon shampoos and suds Brin down in the lake on our last day. This resulted in a slight improvement, as the warm vomit smell was blended with chemically floral and fruity scents (it should also be noted that Brin’s coat was very lustrous for a few days as well). And so we would set off, back to Alberta, resigning ourselves to a day of floral tinged rancidity. Ahhh, the memories.
This specific shampoo bar was inspired by one my Aunt Karla and Uncle Randy had for their chocolate lab, Kady. It had a cute, amusing name, and from the looks of the ingredients list, it was a good bar of handmade soap. Together the sudsed Katy from nose to tail in the lake, and she wandered off, shaking, a clean and happy dog.
When I first started thinking about this recipe I ran through a bunch of ideas for essential oils, but in the end I decided to forgo them altogether. Dogs have such sensitive senses of smell that it seemed sort of mean to perfume them up. And, if you’re going to be using this bar in your local lake or river, the fewer ingredients, the better.
The final bar is a simple, hard, cream-coloured bar. You could easily use it as an unscented soap or shampoo for yourself as well, truth be told—there are no “canine exclusive” ingredients in it 😉
I no longer recommend this formulation due to the high pH; check out this newer formulation instead!
Pooch ‘Poo (Dog Shampoo)
Per 500g (1.1lbs) oils:
Use SoapCalc to calculate your final amounts of oils, lye, and water based on the size of batch you want to make.
Follow my standard soap making instructions. Once you reach a medium trace, add clay. Pour the soap batter into your mould. Cover, lightly insulate, and let saponify for 24 hours.
After 24 hours, remove the soap from the mould. Slice, and let it age for at least three weeks before using. Enjoy!