PO Box 77
Lucernemines, PA 15754
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Last Updated:
9/18/2013 7:32 PM



What's so special about it?

For the last 30 years, Dawn dish detergent has been the number one choice of wildlife rehabilitators in cleaning up the messes caused by oil spills in the ocean. It is very forgiving towards the environment- you can use it outside without worrying about chemical pollution, killing grass, or other general harm to the environment. It has no fumes and is totally biodegradable. Up to 90% of wildlife rescued in oil spills is successfully cleaned up and released thanks to DAWN!

What's it have to do with dogs?

The most effective skunk solution out there includes Dawn dish detergent (2tsp), hydrogen peroxide (1qt 3%) and baking soda (1/4c). An alternate, successful method is to use vinegar with the Dawn, either beforehand or mixed in with it. The Dawn is a degreasing agent and strips the odor containing skunk oils from the coat. While many dish soaps can work in its place, Dawn has been hailed as the most effective and it does remain one of the safest soaps out there. It works similarly with most stenches, like that of dogs who roll in poop or get into garbage, etc.

Dawn does, however, have the capability to cause some harm- but in a beneficial way to you and your dog. Dawn's powerful degreasing ability can strip the protective coating from most insects' bodies, allowing the moisture of soap and water to breach their external layers and cause them to drown. Green gardeners use a mild soap and water solution (a couple teaspoons soap per gallon of water) to kill bugs on plants. Though some plants can be sensitive to anything like that, most aren't, it's so safe! Ever find an insect in a bowl or puddle of water outside, able to "swim" on the surface and often climb back out once they get to the edge? Won't happen with Dawn. In fact, because Dawn helps to break the surface tension of water and changes its density, most insects can't even stay on the surface, they simply sink.

Flea and tick shampoos often contain harmful, toxic pesticides that don't even work as well as this simple, everyday household item in killing fleas and ticks. Expensive dips that groomers use, especially those containing Neem, create fumes that can be DEADLY to your dogs or cats, and if your pet swallows the shampoos/dips that contain these, they can become very ill or die. If your pet swallows Dawn, chances are they won't even get nauseous- unless, of course, they ingest a high volume so no letting them drink from the bottle. Just watch the eyes- irritation can occur as with most soaps and shampoos.

We have always used dish soap to kill fleas on our dogs. Just lather them up, let it sit for up to five minutes, rinse and if possible, follow up with a moisturizing shampoo or conditioner since the Dawn will have stripped all the oils from their coat and skin. Last week the auther took her Irish setter, Toby, for a walk and he came home covered in gross TICKS. They weren't attached yet, but I had to take a flea comb all over him and brush them out, sometimes pulling 4 or 5 out of his fur with one stroke of the comb. I had taken a metal dog bowl filled with water, added a teaspoon or two of regular blue Dawn to it and stirred it up a bit, and as I pulled the ticks off the dog I dumped them into the bowl. Every single tick sank to the bottom quickly and was dead within a minute. Following the initial combover (after which 20 ticks were in the bowl) I gave Toby a bath in the soap, lathering him up good and waiting around 3 or 4 minutes before attempting to rinse. Nearly a dozen dead ticks fell off him when the clean water ran over his head and chest- they never had a chance! As an added bonus, Toby has very waxy ears that must be cleaned all the time, and so the hair around the outside gets coated with wax, ear medication and cleaners, etc, and is oily all the time. I put cotton balls in the ear to help keep them from getting water inside and carefully rinsed away the Dawn I'd rubbed into the hair around his ears, and it dried into a nice clean silky texture instead of the usual waxy, clumpy, oily mess.

I wanted to write this page so that people who are interested in safe and effective ways of dealing with some common dog owner problems can have one more great, versatile tool in their arsenal. It is so safe it can be used on puppies as young as one week old!

The best part!

Dawn is currently running a promotion to help raise money for two wildlife conservation groups, the International Bird Rescue Research Center and the Marine Mammal Center. Every bottle of Dawn you buy (look for the ones with pics of birds and mammals on them) will equal a dollar (US) donated to these causes, up to $500,000. You just have to go onto their website ( and enter the code from your bottle to register your donation.