Cleaner Paws is a mother-daughter run blog. Together we have over 40+ years of professional pet grooming experience and we hope to pass some of that on to our readers throughout our in-depth and non-bias reviews and buyers guides.
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This review guide was updated in February 2019.
Almost every dog owner will be able to relate in some way to the following situation: You have just arrived home after a tiring day at the office. It’s almost gone 7 in the evening, but you still need to bathe your pooch because it’s got to that point that you can smell them from across the room.
You know it’s not their fault, you should have washed them as soon as you got back from your Sunday stroll but as you entice your pet to jump into the tub filled with warm water, you suddenly discover you have run out of dog shampoo.
This often leads to the following thought entering your mind…
Can I use Human Shampoo on my Dog?
In this situation, most owners just shrug it off and use the shampoo that they use for themselves.
However, in this situation could you be doing your dog more harm than good?
Although the label on the bottle says that it is hypoallergenic and has a “fresh and fruity” scent, it is still not recommended to you use it on your pooch.
Applying Human shampoo on dogs can cause several problems because the chemicals found in these products prevent your pet’s innate ability to keep their skin and fur healthy.
They may smell nice, but this habit can provide complications in the long run.
To help you find out exactly why you should avoid using human shampoo on your dog, as well as to point you in the correct direction in regards to the products you should be using instead this guide will break down some considerations you need to make when it comes to your pet.
Check the pH balance
Your dog’s skin has a very sensitive pH balance, making them more prone to various parasites, diseases, and skin problems when not taken care of properly.
Usually, the pH level of your pet is in the range between 5.5 and 7.5, which means that their skin has high alkaline concentration.
Factors that can affect the pH level are the breed, current climate, size, and gender of the dog.
Most hair care products for humans can be incredibly acidic for them.
Another problem is that owners tend to wash their pet’s fur numerous times to remove the stench caused by bacteria.
This is a big no-no in pet grooming because you wash off the protective layer on their skin.
Dogs require grooming products that are rich in alkaline to keep their fur well-groomed and hydrated.
If you notice that your pet’s skin is flaky, peeling, and extremely dry, you need to check the shampoo that you have been using.
Ideally, dog shampoo made from oatmeal can protect his skin against such painful irritations.
Be mindful of your pet’s sensitive skin
A dog’s skin cells are only about 3 to 5 layers thick.
Humans, meanwhile have skin cells that are 10 to 15 layers thick.
This means your pet can easily become irritated with human grooming products because their skin cells are not thick enough to handle the harsh chemicals found in them.
When you use human shampoo on your pet, you also remove the thin, acidic mantle found on their skin.
This layer keeps bacteria and other small microorganisms from causing harm.
It takes a lot of time before your dog’s body can replenish this acidic mantle, so it is best if you try not to remove it by accident.
Using baby shampoo on Your Dog
Another question that pet owners often ask is – Can I use baby shampoo on my dog?
Similar to your pet, babies also have sensitive skin.
This means that grooming products that are suited for infants also have a mild formulation and the good news is that it can also work on your pets.
A lot of baby shampoos are very gentle on their skin and hair because they are not too acidic.
But of course, nothing beats a good shampoo specially made for dogs so making sure that you invest in more quality supplies for your pet is vital to their long-term health and cleanliness.
Only use baby shampoo for emergency cases, and if your dog is in desperate need of a bath and you have no specialist dog products on hand.
The smell of the shampoo is not that important
When you are asking the question, “Can you use human shampoo on dogs” one of the things that you should remember is that the smell of the product is not that important.
Of course, you want your pooch to have a super fresh fragrance, but you should focus more on maintaining their healthy skin and fur.
Avoid using products that can potentially strip the natural oils and top layers of your pet’s skin.
You should also choose a dog shampoo that will make their fur more resistant to fleas or ticks.
Sometimes, there’s also a difference in the reason that dogs and humans need to take a bath.
Humans need to feel clean too, but sometimes, as you probably know a bath can just be a good excuse for some quiet time to relax.
Tips for buying a good shampoo for dogs
Even if there are human grooming products that can be used on dogs, it is highly recommended that you buy products that are meant for your dog.
If you want to buy a dog shampoo, there are several factors that you need to consider.
First, check the pH balance of the product.
Ideally, dog shampoos must be at the neutral level, this means at or around 7.
You should easily be able to find the pH balance of a product by reading the label.
Secondly, make sure that the grooming product does not have any artificial scents and colors.
Even if your pet is a big and furry Saint Bernard, they still have very sensitive skin that can easily be irritated by subpar pet shampoos.
As much as possible, choose products that are infused with aloe vera, tea tree oil, or natural ingredients.
Invest as much money as you can on your pet’s shampoo.
High quality products may be a tad bit expensive, but they can last for a long time because you do not need to use them as much.
When should you groom your dog?
Unlike humans, you do not need to wash Fido’s hair every day.
In fact, it will be more beneficial if you only shampoo your dog few months, just make sure that you give him water baths in between.
Although new dog owners may want to keep their pets coat in pristine condition, this often isn’t possible, and it is also essential to allow your dog to groom themselves as well.
This will allow them to take pride in themselves and ensure they stay clean and healthy.
It is entirely understandable that you want to keep your pet smelling fresh all the time.
But before pouring shampoo on your dog’s fur make sure that you are using the right product.
Baby shampoo can be used on your pooch if you are in desperate need to scrub your dog, if not it would be better if you invest in a product that is specially designed for dogs so that you know you are causing no harm whatsoever to your pet.