With the weather warming up (finally!) and the humidity rising here in the beautiful Northwoods of Wisconsin, one of the “evils” we have to deal with is the pesky bugs: mosquitoes, fleas, ticks and flies!  Years ago, when I started making and selling soap, I had many come to me asking if I made a dog shampoo or soap. So, I thought: “We humans get to enjoy all the luxury and benefits of handmade soap, why not the canine members of our family, too?”

So, after MUCH research, formulating and tweaking, I formulated a doggie soap and it has been a great seller, especially in the warmer months for over 4 years! I have used the same recipe now for those 4 years, because it has been a nice soap and a great selling product for me. But when I decided to share the recipe and write this tutorial for Amanda and The Soap Collaborative, I took a long look at my recipe and decided I could make it better! After all, I have learned so much more about oils properties and benefits and soapmaking in the last several years.

I continued researching all my soapmaking oils, essential oils and additives and played with my recipe in SoapCalc over and over to tweak my recipe to be fabulous for dog’s skin and coat as well as hopefully help to keep some of the bothersome pests away from man’s (and woman’s) best friend!  I will warn you first:  Neem Oil has a very strong “nutty/garlicky” smell, but do not let that scare you away from making this one!  The scent combines well with the essential oil blend below and it WILL mellow out as the soap cures!

I hope you enjoy my tutorial as I walk you through my recipe. The pictures will be illustrating the making of a 5 pound loaf of soap, BUT the recipe listed here will make approximately a 2.5 pound batch.

(Note: This tutorial was originally published in issue 17 of Soap Collaborative and is being re-published here with Tricia’s permission. Get the full issue here. All proceeds go to Lovin Soap Project!)

Dog Soap Recipe by Tricia Hoffman

Base Oils

  • 164 grams Pomace Olive Oil (20%)
  • 164 grams Babassu Oil (20%)
  • 164 grams Shea Butter (20%)
  • 82 grams Castor Oil (10%)
  • 82 grams Emu Oil (10%)
  • 82 grams Neem Oil (10%)
  • 82 grams Hydrogenated Palm Kernel Oil Flakes (10%)

Lye Solution

  • 279 grams Distilled Water
  • 110 grams Sodium Hydroxide (Lye)
  • A Pinch of Tussah Silk


  • 10.5 grams Colloidal Oatmeal

Essential Oil Blend

  • 3.5 grams Lavender EO
  • 3.5 grams Cedarwood EO
  • 3.5 grams Lemongrass EO
  • 3.5 grams Juniper EO
  • 3.5 grams Peppermint EO
  • 3.5 grams Eucalyptus Radiata EO
  • 3.5 grams Rosemary EO (omit this Essential Oil IF your dog is prone to seizures or has epilepsy)

Let’s make soap!

Safety First! Gather your safety/protective gear: apron, goggles, gloves, and mask (worn while mixing your lye water).

Gather all your ingredients.

Measure your lye and water into two separate containers. With scissors, cut up your Tussah Silk into small pieces and sprinkle onto the top of your water. Then add your lye slowly and carefully to the water and silk. Stir gently, and the silk will dissolve as the lye water heats up. Set this aside to cool.

While the lye is cooling, measure out all your hard oils/butters and melt them (microwave, stove top, double boiler: it makes no difference!).

While these are melting, measure your liquid oils into a container. Measure your colloidal oatmeal into another container and mix your essential oils in a small beaker or cup.

Add your liquid oils to your melted oils/butters and stir.

Add the colloidal oatmeal to your oils and stick blend until smooth and no clump of oatmeal powder can be seen.

Because I am not worrying about being “fancy” with color or swirls, I then blend in my essential oils.

Once the Lye Water has cooled somewhat (mine was around 105 degrees F), slowly add your lye water to your Oil/Oatmeal/EO mix and stick blend to a medium trace. (This recipe, with the EO’s added before the lye, took a few minutes of stick blending to reach a medium trace consistency).

Pour your soap batter into your mold, smooth out the top and/or texture the top as desired with a skewer, spoon or other utensil.

Put your soap “to bed”. (I do not cover or insulate my soap, but to sometimes to avoid soda ash, I spritz the top of the soap with 90% Isopropyl Alcohol)

After about 24 hours, unmold and cut your soap!

Allow to cure for at least 4 weeks for a nice hard bar!

Enjoy Bath time with your pooch!

NOTE:  Do not use this soap with felines or other small animals, as they tend to be much more sensitive to essential oils. 

NOTE from Amanda: I recommend that you perform your own research on ingredients, especially essential oils, that you want to use in pet products. Consult your vet before using products that you formulate on your pets. 

Some resources include:

Some properties of the oils and EO’s I have chosen:

  • Neem Oil: Promotes a shiny coat. Wonderful for skin and soothes hot spots. May help with mange mites and ringworm. Also a natural repellent of fleas, ticks, mites, and other biting insects.
  • Emu Oil: Full of Omega 3, 6, and 9 Fatty Acids to help maintain a healthy skin and coat. Also great for irritated, dry, itchy skin and hot spots.
  • Babassu Oil: Similar to coconut oil, but with more emollient properties and great for itchy skin. Also helps produce a fluffy lather.
  • Shea Butter: Very moisturizing and is said to have *some* protective properties against sun.
  • Olive Oil: Moisturizing and conditioning for the skin.
  • Castor Oil: Conditioning to the skin, adds to lather and is a lather stabilizer.
  • Palm Kernel Oil: Helps produce a hard bar and fluffy lather.
  • Colloidal Oatmeal:  Is a natural skin protectant, soothes itching from bug bites, poison ivy, hot spots and irritated skin.
  • Lavender EO:  Soothing for the skin and repels insects.
  • Cedarwood EO:  Repels fleas and is conditioning for the skin and coat.
  • Lemongrass EO:  Calming and repels insects.
  • Eucalyptus Radiata EO: Repels insects.
  • Rosemary EO: Repels ticks (DO NOT use with dogs who are prone to seizures or have epilepsy).

About Tricia Hoffman of Scentability

Tricia Hoffman is owner and creator of Scentability. A Registered Nurse by training, she “retired” from her nursing career to focus on growing and nurturing Scentability. Her storefront Scentability & Friends is located in Tomahawk, Wisconsin. She has three beautiful kids: 11 year-old twins: Patrick and Andrew, and 8 year-old, Mikey.