Can You Use Human Shampoo on Your Dog?

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By LITTLE PUPPY PAWS | April 16, 2023
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When choosing a dog shampoo, it’s important to consider your dog’s specific needs. For example, if your dog has dry, itchy skin, you may want to look for a moisturizing shampoo that contains ingredients like oatmeal or aloe vera. If your dog has fleas or ticks, you may want to use a shampoo that contains insecticides to help get rid of them. But can you use human shampoo on your dog?

Dog shampoo is a specially formulated shampoo designed to be gentle on a dog’s skin and coat. Unlike human shampoo, which can be too harsh for a dog’s sensitive skin, dog shampoo is pH balanced and made with safe ingredients for dogs. So the short answer is no. You can’t use human shampoo on your dog.

Why is Human Shampoo Bad for Your Dog?

Using human shampoo on dogs can disrupt the natural balance of their skin, leading to dryness, itching, and irritation.

The pH Balance of Acidity and Alkalinity

The pH balances of dog and human skin are very different. The acid mantle is a thin layer of skin that protects the topmost layer of the skin, the stratum corneum, from contaminants such as viruses and bacteria. It also hydrates the body by absorbing water and reducing evaporation. The acid mantle is washed away when we bathe. Most soaps and shampoos contain ingredients that moisturize and protect the skin until the acid mantle regenerates. The proper balance of acidity and alkalinity is critical for the acid mantle to function properly. This is known as pH balance.

The pH balance of human skin is 5.5-5.6, which is slightly acidic. On the other hand, dogs have a more neutral pH balance ranging from 6.2 to 7.4. Using human shampoo on your dog disrupts the acid mantle, making him vulnerable to parasites, viruses, and bacteria. It also causes their skin to become dry and flaky, which can lead to scratching and abrasions. This facilitates bacterial invasion.

Dog’s Skin is Sensitive

The skin of dogs is more sensitive than ours. We have 10-15 layers of skin cells, whereas dogs only have 3-5. Shampoo with an incorrect pH balance and harsh chemicals can irritate a dog’s skin and remove protective oils from its coat and skin.

Without that critical acid mantle, dogs are vulnerable to unpleasant and potentially dangerous conditions, including dry, flaky skin, rashes, itching, and infections.

What if There is a Dog Washing Emergency?

If it’s late at night and your dog has just rolled in something disgusting on a Sunday, and you don’t have dog shampoo on hand. Can you bathe your dog with human shampoo in this case? The quick answer is yes. Acidity, or pH balance, varies by breed, and your dog’s skin may be more acidic than other dogs’. The frequency of use influences reactions as well. As a result, if this is a once-in-a-lifetime occurrence, your dog will most likely be fine.

The best strategy is to stock dog shampoo alongside other household essentials. That way, you’ll never be tempted to use your salon formula instead of the dog shampoo perfect for your canine companion.

One final point: aside from the shampoo, the rinse is essential to the bathing process. Rinsing your dog should take much longer than lathering them. A thorough rinse will remove all traces of shampoo from your dog’s skin and keep it clear and clean.

Natural Shampoo Substitutes For Dogs

There are numerous options for a more natural dog shampoo substitute. Here are a few ideas:

  • Coconut oil is excellent for conditioning your dog’s coat and repelling fleas and ticks. Massage a small amount into your dog’s skin and brush through.
  • Apple cider vinegar and water can be mixed and applied to your dog’s coat. Remember to rinse it thoroughly.
  • You can also use lemon juice to refresh your dog’s coat. Simply apply equal parts of water and lemon juice to the dog’s body, avoiding the ears, eyes, and paw cracks.