Should you be using SLS-free dog shampoo?
  • Caring for your dog

Should you be using SLS-free dog shampoo?

Is Sodium lauryl sulphate (SLS) too harsh for your dog’s skin? Here we explain why SLS is often added to dog shampoos and help you to find the best SLS-free dog shampoo for itchy skin.

By Hannah Mepham

6 Minute read

Is Sodium lauryl sulphate (SLS) too harsh for your dog’s skin? Here we explain why SLS is often added to dog shampoos and help you to find the best SLS-free dog shampoo for itchy skin.


    Why use SLS-free dog shampoo?

    As SLS can irritate delicate dog skin, SLS-free pet shampoos can benefit most breeds of dog and are the best type of shampoo for dogs with itchy, sensitive skin.

    SLS stands for Sodium lauryl sulphate and is an irritating skin care ingredient that is often added to pet shampoos and dog shampoo bars to help make them foam.

    SLS is often favoured by some pet shampoo manufacturers because it is an effective cleansing agent which has a cheap price tag that helps to keep grooming products prices purse-friendly.

    Dog Shampoo

    Is SLS-free shampoo best for your dog’s breed?

    Short-breed dogs, young puppies with fine fur and older dogs with balding-fur spots could all benefit from an SLS-free dog shampoo as their skin will be more exposed and more vulnerable to skin-irritation from shampoo ingredients.

    Large dogs with longer coats can be just as sensitive to SLS and may require more shampoo to cleanse their coat and surface area. Consider how much SLS you are exposing their skin to and if they have any skin problems then an SLS-free pet shampoo might be better for their skin.

    Another factor to consider when deciding if SLS-free pet shampoo is best for your dog’s breed is whether their breed is particularly prone to skin irritation and sensitivity.

    Some dogs, such as Bassett Hounds and Bulldogs, have folds in their skin. This makes them more prone to itchy skin, yeast infections and other skin complaints.

    The foaming action you get from SLS shampoos is great for making pet shampoos fluffy and foamy, but this can come with skin-irritating consequences for your canine companion and may not be the best choice for dogs that itch and scratch their skin.

    Instead, opt for a natural pet shampoo that’s made without SLS and gentle on delicate dog skin.


    Is soap bad for dogs?

    Like SLS, soap is alkaline and known to have skin-irritating properties. With consistent, frequent use, soap and SLS may strip away your dog’s skin-protecting oils, leaving delicate dog skin vulnerable to dryness, itchiness and irritation.

    It’s not just pet skin that soap and SLS can irritate. When working your dog’s shampoo into a foam your hands will come into contact with the foaming agents used in their pet shampoo. If you skin is prone to sensitivity eczema or contact dermatitis, switching to a soap-free pet shampoo could be best for you and your pooch!


    What’s the best SLS-free dog shampoo?

    These days, pet shampoos don’t have to depend on SLS to be able to bubble and there’s more choice for pet owners looking for soap-free pet shampoos that are made without soap or SLS.

    AllPaws pet shampoos are all SLS-free and we make these non-irritating, natural dog shampoos with Sodium coco-sulfate. This foams just as well as SLS but is gentler on delicate pet skin.

    For an extra bubbly bath time, we also make our SLS-free dog shampoos with an extract from Yucca extract. This plant-based ingredient has natural saponins which boost the foaming power of SCS.

    Ideal for sensitive dog skin, the Yucca extract we use in our soap-free dog shampoos also calms and soothes sensitive pet skin.



    A dog shampoo success story

    We love reading our guests' reviews and were so pleased to read that this shaggy dog tale had a happy ending!

    At last - a decent organic dog shampoo! I was really excited to get a sample of the new Green People 'allPaws' cleansing shampoo in wild mint. I lost my last dog at the beginning of 2020 and got a golden retriever puppy, Sherlock, later in the year. Sadly he has suffered with terrible itching and scratching which I found was related to a flea prevention product so I was looking for a really gentle shampoo but it also had to cope with fox and badger poo (his speciality!).

    As ever we had a badger poo episode at Xmas so the allPaws wild mint shampoo certainly had it's work cut out - the smell was horrific!

    It lathered up better than I thought it would and smelt really nice, but not overpowering for the dog. It rinsed away easily and cleanly and didn't leave any residue that could make him itch. After he had dried his coat was in good condition and not dry and it had a good shine to it. And to my great relief the 'eau de badger' had gone as well.

    He has not itched or scratched at all since we used it so I will definitely be buying this product.



    We can help find the best SLS-free dog shampoo for your pet. Contact our UK customer care team on 01403 740350 or contact us at @GreenPeopleUK.


    Very irritated skin could become red and sore and because itchy irritated pet skin can be a sign of an underlying health complaint, it is important that you get any changes to your pet’s skin checked out by a vet.

    If you wish to republish this content, please credit Green People as the original creator with a link to "Should you be using SLS-free dog shampoo?". Please do not use an affiliate link.

    Related articles

    Woman with tattoos in the sun

    Tattoo sun cream: how to protect your new tattoo from sun fade

    Need a tattoo sun cream for your new ink? Discover how to protect tattoos from sun fade as we introduce the best sunscreen for tattoos.

    By Hannah Mepham


    6 Minute read

    Discover daily face sunscreen for men
    Male grooming

    Discover daily face sunscreen for men

    In the UK more men are diagnosed with skin cancer than women meaning that it is important that men use a face sunscreen all year round. In this guide, we introduce our best face and body sun creams for men for day in, day out protection. 

    By Hannah Mepham


    7 Minute read

    Get to know the benefits of Inulin for skin
    Skin care

    Get to know the benefits of Inulin for skin

    Did you know that Green People uses the prebiotic Inulin in several of its natural and organic skin creams? Prebiotics are an incredibly helpful ingredient in beauty products, with their ability to help restore a healthy, balanced skin microbiome.

    By Hannah Mepham


    5 Minute read

    Read more articles

    1,500+ Five star reviews

    Read all Reviews
    "One of the best companies I have ever dealt with in my 63 years on this planet!"

    Jan B.

    Verified Buyer

    "Have fallen in love with this product range. They are lovely to use and they work!"

    Carole G.

    Verified Buyer

    "You guys are amazing, continue to love the brand, excited to order from you again!"

    Maitreya L.

    Verified Buyer

    "Super quick delivery, ethical packaging and beautiful products."

    Nat J.

    Verified Buyer

    "I love every product I have tried from Green People, and the customer service has always been excellent."

    Maria H.

    Verified Buyer

    "So glad I have found an ethical supplier with great products!"

    Susan B.

    Verified Buyer