Skip to content
Understanding Sulfates and the impact they can have on your dog's skin

Understanding Sulfates and the impact they can have on your dog's skin


We've spoken to plenty of people who have issues with their dogs skin becoming dry, sensitive, flaky and itchy, and who say they're using special dog sensitive shampoo. Did you know that it could actually be that "sensitive" shampoo that's causing all that skin irritation? There are many common ingredients in some big name dog shampoos that aren't actually safe for our dogs.

Dog Bath

Today let's looks at Sulfates:

An article written by Dogs Naturally Magazine stated….

Sulfates are synthetic ingredients based on sulfur that are derived from petroleum or lauryl alcohol (from coconut oil or other plants). These may be identified on the label as “coconut based cleaners”, “naturally derived from coconuts”, “vegetable based cleaners”, or “coconut based surfactants” in the list of ingredients.

Shampoo Bottles

The two most commonly used sulfates are sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) and sodium laureth sulfate (SLES). While SLS is harsher than SLES, both irritants can cause redness, dryness and itching.

What’s more alarming are the byproducts (contaminants) from converting the petroleum or plant into a cleaning agent (detergent). Byproducts do not have to be included on the list of ingredients and depending upon the manufacturing process, they may be found in high or low quantities. It all depends on whether or not the manufacturer uses processes to remove the contaminants at the end of the chemical process. There are no studies that have analysed the quantity of byproducts/contaminants in dog shampoo.

Dog Sore Eye

The contaminants have names like 1,4-dioxane, sodium laureth sulfate and ammonium laureth sulfate which are all known cancer causing agents. California’s Proposition 65 list of chemicals known or suspected to cause cancer or birth defects includes 1,4-dioxane. The EPA has listed 1,4-dioxane as a likely human carcinogen, with the potential to cause nasal and liver tumours. Noncarcinogenic effects include effects on the nervous system, liver and kidneys. Dioxane can also enter our environment through waste streams such as wastewater treatment plants and landfills as well as manufacturer waste streams.

Eliminating Sulfates

Do you see bubbles in your dog shampoo?

If there are bubbles in the product without shaking, it likely has sodium lauryl sulfate or a similar ingredient and should be avoided. Manufacturers will refer to these ingredients as “naturally derived” or “coconut based”. Don’t be fooled. It may have started as a coconut; but after adding synthetic ingredients for processing, it is no longer natural!

Sponge with soap on

What words should you look for on the ingredients label:

  • Sodium Lauryl Sulfate
  • Sodium Laureth Sulfate
  • Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate
  • Ammonium Laureth Sulfate
  • Sodium Coco Sulfate
  • TEA Lauryl Sulfate
  • MEA Lauryl Sulfate

While Health Canada, the European Union, and the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) consider SLS and SLES safe (when not contaminated with byproducts), they are classified as irritants. Organic standards do not allow SLS, SLES, or ingredients that go through these chemical processes.

 Even at very low concentrations, SLS has been shown to remain in a person’s system (brain, heart, and liver) for 4 to 5 days.

 Possible side effects of SLS, SLES.

  • It strips the hair of its natural oils and cause skin irritations along with dry, flaky, itchy skin
  • Dry, dull coats
  • Cancer causing agents
  • Organ system toxicity when inhaled
  • Eye irritation and damaged eye proteins

We as consumers have been programmed to want and expect big bubbly, foaming soaps and shampoos… after reading this article, do you still want that for yourself or your pet? Stinky Beasties shampoo will produce bubbles but these are produced by the natural ingredients. We have and will never use any SLS, SLES or by products of any kind, only 100% natural pure ingredients.

    Related Posts

    Travelling with your dog
    March 04, 2024
    Travelling with your dog

    Getting to and from your holiday destination can be stressful at the best of times, but adding in...

    Read More
    The Dangers of Tea Tree Oil
    March 04, 2024
    The Dangers of Tea Tree Oil

    Over the years we’ve seen lots of dog “safe” shampoos and treatments containing Tea Tree oil.  Yes, Tea...

    Read More
    Drawer Title
    Similar Products