Case Study: The Transition from Traditional Dog Shampoo to Certified O - 4-Legger

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Case Study: The Transition from Traditional Dog Shampoo to Certified Organic Dog Shampoo

December 06, 2016 3 Comments

Make the Switch to Chemical Free Organic Dog Shampoo

You want to reduce your dog's exposure to "toxic goo" dog shampoo but you want to know what to expect when switching to a true organic dog shampoo.

4-Legger has helped thousands of pet parents through this transition so we can help set your expectations and offer a few tips! 

Quality In - Quality Out

It is important to keep in mind that the health of your dog's skin and coat is affected by the food and treats you feed them. If you are feeding your dog high quality food, the transition will be less noticeable than if you are feeding lower quality food.

If you buy your food pre-made, you may want to do some research to see if the food you are feeding is really as high quality as the marketing materials would like you to believe. We've found the Dog Food Advisor to be a great resource! 

Concentrated but Thinner Consistency

Traditional synthetic thickeners in pet grooming products can't be used in certified organic dog shampoo (they are on the restricted list).

These synthetic thickeners have links to allergies, dry and itchy skin, hormone disruption, cancer, and organ toxicity and despite claims otherwise, they are not natural.

As a result, most organic dog shampoo is fairly thin but concentrated (meaning a little goes a long way).  The thinner consistency also means it will rinse out much easier which makes bath time faster for you and your dog.

You can feel good about the consistency of 4-Legger's organic dog shampoos knowing you are no longer using toxic ingredients on your dog and since they last a long time, it is also good for your wallet! 

If you really have a mental barrier against the consistency, try our conditioning shampoo! We used guar gum to make it thicker!

Great Lather Without Synthetic Chemicals

For some, lather equates with "cleaning power". While the lather between a true organic shampoo and a synthetic is different, we think you would be pleasantly surprised by the lather we've achieved with our shampoo! 

As a tip - with organics - if you want more lather - add water - not more shampoo! 

Our peppermint cedar conditioning shampoo uses guar gum to make it thicker. While it doesn't lather quite as much as our dog shampoos without guar gum, it still lathers very well. Again, if you want more lather - add more water!

The Transition Period

In general, the healthier your dog's skin and coat, the less you will notice a transition.

Dogs with longer hair or an oily coat are the most noticeable during transition.

If your dog over-produces sebum (coat oil) you may notice this for months with frequent washing and if you go longer periods between washing, you will notice it even longer!

So, what is the transition? When being washed your dog may have a "waxy" feeling. This is normal as the oils in the soap reacts with the sebum (oils in their coat) which may also react with the minerals in your water. Is the reaction dangerous? No. It is perfectly safe and normal! 

The waxy texture is simply more noticeable in dogs with longer hair.  Even so, it is temporary and will resolve as your dog transitions. It simply takes time to get rid of the build-up of synthetic ingredients and transition your dog's skin and coat back to its normal healthy self!

Here are some of the comments we've heard from pet parents during the transition period:  

  • His fur was a mess - all wild and fuzzy
  • My dog's coat was waxy
  • This may work well on dogs with short hair but on my long haired dog it was weird
  • His coat felt a little grimy, like there's a "catch" to it when you run your hand through his coat

These comments are not unusual if you've been using traditional dog shampoo on your dog. Again, it does take time to get rid of the build-up of synthetics on your dog's coat and skin! 


  • Be patient & keep the long term goal in sight - making your best friend's skin and coat healthy while lowering the exposure to environmental toxins so you can enjoy their company for years to come!
  • Wash, Dry, and then Brush Out. That waxy feeling you felt when rinsing isn't noticeable after they are dry.  Avoid brushing while drying especially at the beginning of the transition.
  • If you want more lather,  add more water (not more shampoo).
  • Washing 2x will help to condition your dog's coat better than using synthetic conditioners! 
  • If you want to try your own hand at using essential oils, you can start with our unscented formulation and add your own but make sure you understand the strength of essential oils and how to safely use them. Essential oils have tremendous benefits for your dog's skin and coat! 

Meet Charlie

Our "cover model" is Charlie, a 5 year old Shitzu mix. When Charlie's Charlie Made the Switch to Certified Organic Dog Shampoo and Looks FantasticMom, Helen, first tried 4-Legger she wasn't our biggest fan.

She didn't like the way Charlie's fur felt when it was wet and she felt his fur looked dry after washing him. 

We asked Helen to please stick with us for at least a month - giving Charlie regular baths during that time with 4-Legger.

Helen has stuck with us for well over a year and told us "Charlie's coat is the healthiest it has been since he was rescued!"

A huge thank you to Helen. We truly appreciate your trust and are so happy you stuck with us. Thank you for sharing your story and for being part of the 4-Legger pack!

Helen and Charlie are now some of our biggest fans along with other pet parents who recognized the transition period, realized it's a temporary process and now love the healthy fur/hair their dog has achieved! 

Certified Organic Dog Shampoo is Worth the Transition! 

It is true. Certified organic dog shampoo is not the traditional dog shampoo you buy off the shelf. It is safer and better. 

With each bath you give your dog you can feel good knowing you took a simple but important step towards extending your dog's life by lowering their exposure to synthetic chemicals that have long term negative health effects.

A Word From a Professional Groomer

We asked one of the professional groomers who uses 4-Legger to chime in on this article. Here is what Earth Dog Spa and Apawthecary had to say, "I have been in the grooming industry for about 10 years now, and have seen the effects of many shampoos and grooming products on a pet's coat. Some shampoos are great for a curly coated dog, while some are best on shorter, coarse coats. When we decided to make the switch to 4-Legger shampoos, we knew there would be some coats that reacted differently. As with most natural products, the shampoo would be a little different in texture and suds factor.

We have been using strictly 4-Legger shampoos in our salon for 6 months, and have definitely seen some coat types respond differently during that first bath with 4-Legger. It also seemed weird for us to be using a coconut oil based shampoo on an oily dog, a yorkie for example. We noticed a little waxiness before drying on these coat types, but once dry, the coat was actually very soft and easily brushed. We received amazing guidance and education from 4-Legger, and they explained to us how using oil to balance oil works. After a few baths, usually 2-3, on dogs with dry skin, oily coats, or unmanageable hair, we could really see that the dog's natural skin oils had begun to balance out! We couldn't be happier to offer a natural grooming experience to our clients, and are so thankful to have finally found a natural shampoo that actually improves a dog's skin and coats=! Thank you 4-Legger for keeping our pets and clients looking and smelling amazing, and giving us a safe, healthy alternative in the professional grooming industry! 

Thanks for being part of 4-Legger's mission to make the pet grooming industry safer one healthy bath at a time! All of 4-Legger's pet shampoos are safe, non-toxic, and certified organic!

3 Responses

Tina Rankin
Tina Rankin

March 25, 2019

I think I’d like to try this but also looking for a tea tree shampoo that would help with yeast overgrowth. Would you recommend this shampoo for yeast?

Tobias Cordeiro - DBA green dog professional pet grooming
Tobias Cordeiro - DBA green dog professional pet grooming

May 05, 2018

Hi, i use a Prima bathing system to bathe all my clients dogs… can i use your shampoos in my bathing system and is it safe to do so? Do you have a set dilution ratio for bathing machines? I am currently using Earthbath products in my shop, but i am thinking about trying your products , since they are organic . Looking forward to hearing from you . Thank you

Darla OConnor
Darla OConnor

November 19, 2017

Are the gallon containers of shampoo concentrated? If so, what is the dilution ratio? Thank you.

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