can you use human shampoo on dogs

Can You Use Human Shampoo on Dogs? Your Question Answered + 6 Alternatives

Katelyn Son
By Katelyn Son
Medically reviewed by Ivana Crnec, DVM
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Is it OK to Bathe a Dog With Human Shampoo?

Is it OK to Bathe a Dog With Human Shampoo

Yes, it can be ok to bathe a dog with human shampoo. However, the answer to the question of whether can you use human shampoo on dogs is more complicated than a simple yes or no.

Namely, whether it is ok to use human shampoo on dogs depends on several factors such as the dog’s skin health, the type of shampoo, and the frequency of use.

While an occasional bath with a human shampoo is okay, dog owners should not use human personal care products for their dogs regularly.

This is because human and dog skin have different pH levels. Human skin has a lower pH scale meaning it is on the acidic side. Plus, human shampoos may contain additives that are harmful to dogs.

What Happens if I Bathe My Dog With Human Shampoo?

Regular use of human shampoo on pooches results in dry skin, itchiness, and an increased risk of skin infections.

Human shampoos are formulated to support an acid mantle of a lower skin pH balance. The acidic nature of shampoos for humans erodes the dog’s acid mantle (the top layer of the skin that protects it from infections and dehydration).

Therefore, one bath using human shampoo is not harmful unless the dog has allergies or skin problems. However, more frequent use will result in dryness, rashes, irritation, and infections.

What can I Use to Wash My Dog if I Don’t Have Dog Shampoo?

What can I Use to Wash My Dog if I Don't Have Dog Shampoo

If it is bath time and you have no pet shampoo on hand, there are several backup options for safe dog washing.

For example, pet owners can use common household products such as baby shampoo, dish soap, apple cider vinegar, baby wipes, cornstarch, and baking soda.

If you do not have the mentioned items at home, you should postpone the bathing or book a session with a professional groomer.

Baby Shampoo for Dog Baths

How to Use Baby Shampoo for Dog Baths

Baby shampoo features a milder formula than shampoos for adults and often contains natural ingredients. Therefore, it is considered a safe alternative to pet shampoo.

If using baby shampoo, apply it as you would regular shampoo. Wet your dog thoroughly and massage the shampoo to form a lather layer. Then, use your hands to spread the shampoo over your dog’s body.

Risks and Considerations for Using Baby Shampoo on Dogs

Unlike human shampoo, baby shampoo products have a more neutral pH and do not disrupt the dog’s acid mantle. Plus, they are fragrance-free and mild.

However, even baby shampoo can be hazardous for dogs with sensitive skin or dogs allergic to some of the ingredients found in the product.

Dish Soap for Dog Baths

How to Use Dish Soap for Dog Baths.

You can also use dish soap like a normal shampoo, or you can make your own shampoo by diluting it with water and a little bit of white vinegar. Once you have the diluted form of the dish soap ready, use it the same way you would normal dog shampoo.

Risks and Considerations for Using Dish Soap on Dogs.

While dish soap is generally safe for dogs, keep in mind that it is designed to strip oils off of surfaces. It will therefore strip away your dog’s natural oils resulting in dry and itchy skin that is more prone to irritation.

Apple Cider Vinegar and Water for Dog Baths

Apple Cider Vinegar and Water for Dog Baths

How to Use Apple Cider Vinegar and Water for Dog Baths.

To use apple cider vinegar (ACV) for bathing your dog, mix one cup of ACV with four cups of tap water. After diluting the vinegar, apply it to your dog’s body. Allow the vinegar to dry on your dog’s coat.

Risks and Considerations for Using Apple Cider Vinegar and Water on Dogs.

Undiluted apple cider vinegar can irritate your dog’s skin. Being an acid, apple cider vinegar can easily throw your dog’s more neutral pH out of balance and cause irritation.

Also, you should not rinse the apple cider vinegar mixture off your dog’s coat. Leaving the ACV one is more beneficial.

Baby Wipes for Dog Baths

How to Use Baby Wipes for Dog Baths.

To use baby wipes for dog baths, simply use them to wipe in areas of your dog’s body that need to be cleaned. Baby wipes are best for spot cleaning since wiping the whole body can take some time.

Baby wipes are usually wet enough, but if not, you can dampen them with some extra water.

Risks and Considerations for Using Baby Wipes on Dogs.

Avoid the area around the eyes when cleaning your dog with baby wipes to minimize the risk of irritation.

If possible, buy special dog wipes designed for pets. Although baby wipes are safe to use on dogs, dog wipes are a better option.

Corn Starch for Dog Baths

How to Use Corn Starch for Dog Baths.

Cornstarch is an excellent and inexpensive way of giving your dog dry baths. To use, apply the cornstarch all over your dog’s coat avoiding the areas around the eyes.

Use your hands to spread the cornstarch all over your dog’s body (same as you would for dry shampoo). Then, use a grooming brush to comb out the residual cornstarch. Keep combing until there is no starch falling off your dog’s body.

Risks and Considerations for Using Corn Starch on Dogs.

It is best to use cornstarch outside your home or after protecting your floors (bath time with cornstarch can get quite messy). Also, ensure to comb out the excess cornstarch to prevent your dog from spreading it around the house.

Baking Soda for Dog Baths

Baking Soda for Dog Baths

How to Use Baking Soda for Dog Baths.

You can use baking soda for both wet and dry baths for your dog. For a dry bath, follow the same instructions as you would for cornstarch.

For a wet bath, mix three tablespoons of baking soda with one liter of regular water and use the mixture to wash the dog. You can pour the mixture directly on the dog’s fur or put it in a spray bottle for more even spreading.

The alkaline pH of baking soda is a great deodorizer, especially when it comes to removing urine odors. In simple words, baking soda neutralizes the acid in dog urine.

Risks and Considerations for Using Baking Soda on Dogs.

Do not use baking soda on your dog’s face as it can cause irritations to your dog’s eyes.

Also, make sure your dog does not lick the baking soda mixture as it can cause a stomach upset (vomiting and diarrhea).

Bragg Organic Apple Cider Vinegar
  • The Bragg ACV is raw, unfiltered, and crafted from organically grown apples. It is USDA certified organic, Non-GMO Verified, and Kosher certified.
  • Drinking a daily dose of Bragg Organic ACV offers many health benefits. ACV can help support a healthy immune system, aids in maintaining a healthy weight, delivers prebiotics, and helps you maintain normal glucose levels.
  • The Bragg ACV Vinegar is made from organically grown apples, and offers various health benefits. To easily incorporate ACV into your diet, you can take a daily 2 oz shot, pour it over your salad, drink in a morning elixir with water and lemon, or add it to your hot tea.