People have been stockpiling essential goods from the moment go of the lockdown announcement. So when I went to the market (one of the few practising appropriate social distancing) to replenish the essentials for my dog’s needs, things were bad. And one of the things missing was dog shampoo, so important during these hot days.
I thought matters would worsen with the lockdown extended until I talked to Smitha Kamath, an IT professional turned ecopreneur who showed me how I can keep my dog’s coat shiny and clean without exposing them to harsh synthetically made shampoos.
DIY dog wash which does not need too much water!
Her two German Shepherds and one rescue Indie now get regular massages with towels dipped in the natural solution. Delightfully for them, the shower baths have become less frequent since the wipes keep their coats clean and glowing.
“I know of some people who wash their dogs every week because their coats stink too much. If the coats are not dried properly after the bath, the smell returns sooner than usual. On the other hand, my dogs used to have a bath once every 3-4 weeks. Since I started using this homemade dog wash, about three years ago, I need to bathe them only once every one or two months,” she tells The Better India (TBI).
Here’s How to Make the DIY Dog Wash:
You will need the following: 1 portion jaggery, 3 parts citrus peels (lemons, lime and orange work best), 1 ml neem oil and 10 parts water.
- Bring the water to a boil in a big vessel. When it starts heating up, grate the jaggery into it.
- Keep stirring the mixture to make the jaggery dissolve quickly. When it dissolves, cool at room temperature.
- Fill plastic PET bottles with citrus peels. Add the jaggery and water mixture to it and seal the bottle.
- Every few days, open the lid for just a while to allow some air inside. Seal again.
- The first batch will take about 80-90 days to make. But from the second batch onwards, this process becomes shorter if you add a small amount of the old bio-enzyme to the mixture.
- Once ready, add 1 ml of the neem oil to the bio-enzyme.
- To use as a dog wash, mix 1 portion of the wash to 10 parts of water. “For a dog with long hair, like a German shepherd, about 10 ml wash with 100 ml water works just fine,” Smitha shares.
Dr BV Srikanth, a veterinarian based in Bengaluru tells TBI, “Natural products like these are just as safe on the dogs as they are on humans. Why are we switching to organic or natural products for personal use? To allow fewer chemicals on our body and in the environment. It works the same way with the dogs. In fact, I am using bio-enzyme cleaners in my clinic and have seen only positive results for both, the floor cleaners and the dog wash that my clients use.”
How to Use the Dog Wash:
Now unlike the dog shampoos that we are used to, this one is different. Dog skin can be sensitive to the bio-enzymes so it’s important to use it only in a diluted form. Do a skin test on your dog before you use the wash. Here’s what Smitha recommends:
- Dilute the wash in a 1:10 ratio with water.
- Spray this liquid on the dog’s torso and using a wet cloth, rub in the reverse direction of hair growth.
- The pupper is sure to love the massage. You can start with the torso but make sure you clean tricky parts like their paws, behind the ears, tail etc.
- Do this once or twice a week and allow them to sit on the balcony or a clean garden patch to soak in some sun.
If there’s no sunlight, blow-dry the fur.
- She stresses that this wash is to clean the fur, not the skin. Bathing dogs is still very important but with this natural wash, you can stretch the time between two baths to one or two months.
“The coats of my dogs are much shinier after I use this enzyme wash on them. If they pee on their mattress or vomit on the floor, you can use the same enzyme but with higher concentration to clean the surfaces. Unlike other synthetic detergents, this wash will take away the stink in a matter of minutes,” Smitha explains.
Natural Remedies to Skin Rashes & Other Ailments:
Playful dogs are bound to get rashes, minor injuries and if they go outdoors, even ticks. Smitha has a natural solution for that too. “Mix 1 ml neem oil in 10 ml coconut oil and apply it on rashes, skin issues and bite marks. I’ve noticed ticks falling off immediately after I use this solution. The neem also prevents other pests,” she says.
Our dogs deserve the very best of care. With these natural remedies, you can ensure they get their usual playtime and not worry about chemicals harming them in anyway.
(Edited by Saiqua Sultan)