Can a Dog be Allergic to a Natural Product?

June 7, 2016

Sheltie allergic to natural products at


You want to do what’s best for your clients, their dogs, and your staff  so you switch to an all-natural brand.  Great job!  You are taking the step in the right direction.  But then it happens. You get a call from a client that said their dog had an allergic reaction to something you used in the shop.  “I only use a natural product line. I’m sorry but I don’t know what happened.”  You hang up the phone and get a little paranoid about the products you chose.  Then it dawns on you, can a dog be allergic to an all-natural product?

The short answer is YES. Just because it’s natural, doesn’t mean a pet cannot have an allergic reaction.  Take grass for example. Grass is natural, created by Mother Nature herself, but how many dogs do you know that have an allergic reactions to grass?

Unfortunately, you can not 100% avoid an allergic reaction, even to a superior product, but you can take some steps to identify and solve the problem.  That is what it is all about, after all.  Solving the problem for your client and their pet.

Do your homework

Know the ingredients in the products you use. Contact the distributors or manufacturers, if needed. Understanding what ingredients are in the shampoos, conditioners, sprays and colognes will be the first step to identifying what was the trigger ingredient for the dog or cat.  Get the MSDS sheets for all products you use.  Not only is it the law, but it is good to have on-hand in the event that a pet has a reaction to something you used.

Ask the client

Some clients have already done allergy testing so they will know exactly what their pet is allergic to.  If not, present the ingredients in the products you used on their fur-baby that day and ask if they know of a problem.  Maybe this will be enough to figure out what went wrong.  If not, the client can take the ingredient list to their vet for further analysis.

Be a Resource

This is a great opportunity to form a relationship as the go-to pet expert for your client.  If you try to figure out what is affecting their family member, you have gained the trust of a client who will tell everyone how amazing you are.  Offer options and solutions to this pet owner to test various ingredients on their dog.  I‘m not saying make this pet a guinea pig by any means but sometimes through deductive reasoning you can solve the problem without causing harm to the beloved animal.  Finding common ingredients in different products and eliminating those products from the pet’s baths, can be a simple fix.  Keep detailed notes and update the client every step of the way.

You already made the switch to a natural product line because you are well aware that sensitivity to the products you use are far less then a product loaded with chemicals.  You will still have the random pet here or there but ultimately you will have far fewer dogs to rewash or have an allergic reaction.  Don’t be dismayed if there are a few reactions. As with grass allergies, some pets will not tolerate aloe, tea tree oil or eucalyptus – it happens!

But isn’t that much easier to handle then saying to a distraught client, “Oh, your dog had a reaction to”…..this is where you point to an ingredient name that is so long and confusing that you would not dare say out loud.

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