Can I Use Human Hair Shampoo to Wash My Dog?

Angela Vuckovic
by Angela Vuckovic
Jaromir Chalabala/Shutterstock

Making sure your pet’s hygiene is up to standards is an important thing, but you have to be careful about how you go about it. There aren’t a lot of important rules to consider when doggo baths are considered, but you should pay special attention to the type of shampoo that you use. If you are all out of pet shampoo, and you are thinking that a little bit of human shampoo won’t make a difference – think again. Using human hair shampoo on your dog is not recommended, and the reasons for this are many, including negative effects on your pet’s overall health and the quality of their skin and coat. Here’s what you should know before you reach for your shampoo when bathing your pooch.

Why You Shouldn’t Use Human Shampoo On Dogs

The first and foremost thing you have to consider is pH balance. Human shampoos are formulated to match the pH level of human skin. However, that level is totally different for dogs. Because of this, human shampoo can greatly disrupt the natural pH levels of a dog’s skin, ultimately leading to rashes, irritation, and skin diseases. And the same goes for the ingredients in that shampoo.  Dog shampoos have totally different ingredients compared to human shampoos. The latter has many chemicals that are considered too harsh for dogs. Dogs are prone to skin allergies and sensitivities, and some of the ingredients in human shampoos could make these issues much worse. The allergies can also be triggered by the strong fragrances of human-grade shampoos, which dogs can’t really stand. 

You should also take into account that a dog’s coat and human hair are totally different. While human shampoos are meant to lather well on hair, they’ll be too soapy for dogs. Rinsing out human shampoo from a dog can be a challenge, and a lot of chemicals can stay trapped in the coat and absorbed through the skin. Ultimately, all of this can leave your dog’s coat damaged, their skin irritated, and their health vulnerable to viruses and skin-borne infections. 

Because of this, you should always use  a shampoo that is specifically made for dogs. Not only is it meant to be used on dogs, but it can also have a revitalizing effect on their coat, and leave their hair healthy and shiny. Such shampoos are formulated with special ingredients that are gentle and safe for dogs and will maintain the healthy pH balance of their skin. You should also get  a special dog bathing brush, especially if your pooch is prone to shedding. These nifty bathing accessories can help remove dirt and loose fur, massage the skin to promote better circulation and make bathing all the more enjoyable. During shedding season, a soft massage and a warm bath can help get rid of all that loose fur and this brush makes easy work out of it! 

Of course, if you are ever unsure about the whole bathing process, or which shampoo you are supposed to use on your dog, don’t hesitate to consult with your veterinarian. They can guide you in the right direction, instruct you on all the goodies you can and should use, and make the whole process much simpler. Ultimately, you can also seek out the assistance of a dog grooming salon if bathing your pet becomes too much of a hassle. A good dog groomer can be a helping hand for all dog owners out there, making the taxing process of your pet’s beauty routine less stressful for you and your four-legged bestie.

Angela Vuckovic
Angela Vuckovic

A proud mama to seven dogs and ten cats, Angela spends her days writing for her fellow pet parents and pampering her furballs, all of whom are rescues. When she's not gushing over her adorable cats or playing with her dogs, she can be found curled up with a good fantasy book.

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