Can You Wash a Dog with Human Shampoo?
So, your cutie sorely needs a bath, but you don't have any dog shampoo. Do they look and smell especially awful? If so, you might find yourself reaching for your shampoo. Still, you're wary and nervous, wondering if the product can hurt your precious pup.
You're smart to be concerned. Here we address the question, "Can you wash a dog with human shampoo?"
Canine Skin pH
Human shampoo is risky for your dog on several counts. First, it alters their "skin pH," the natural alkalinity of their skin.
The term "pH" describes whether something is acidic or alkaline. The pH scale ranges from 0 to 14, applying to any substance containing water. Here's what the numbers mean:
- pH less than 7 = an acid state
- pH of 7 = neutral
- pH above 7 = alkaline
Your skin pH differs from that of your pup. Human skin is naturally acidic, having a pH of 5.5 on average. Meanwhile, your dog has mildly alkaline skin, its pH hovering around 7.5. The exact pH of canine skin can vary slightly, depending on a dog's breed, gender, and size.
Protective Acid Mantle
"Why is skin pH important?" you ask. It affects the skin's "acid mantle." This is a thin, protective film overlying the skin, formed by its natural oils.
Both you and your dog have an acid mantle guarding your skin. This oily barrier shields the skin from moisture loss, germs, and filth.
For the acid mantle to exist, the surface skin must keep its natural pH. In other words, the acid mantle relies on "pH balance."
Acid Mantle Loss
Bathing the skin removes its acid mantle. Human shampoos are formulated to restore the acidic pH of our skin. This way, our acid mantle can renew itself, regaining its natural oils. It takes about 12 hours for skin to recover its acid mantle.
Meanwhile, skin cells are defenceless. For this reason, human shampoos often have moisturisers, replenishing any lost oil.
So, what happens if you wash your dog with human shampoo? It severely disrupts their pH balance and acid mantle. That's because the shampoo ingredients make their skin acidic, like yours.
As a result, your dog can't reclaim its acid mantle. Furthermore, with an acidic pH, their skin can't absorb the moisturisers in human shampoo.
Without acid mantle protection, your dog is prone to skin infections. Viruses, bacteria, and parasites take over, threatening your dog's health.
Plus, since their skin lacks its natural oil, it becomes dry, flaky, and itchy. Now, your dog is scratching their skin, causing sores and wounds.
Canine Skin Sensitivity
Additionally, your dog's skin is more sensitive than yours, being thinner. While you have 10 to 15 layers of skin cells, your dog has only three to five!
Human shampoos are made for your thick skin. It can better handle losing oil and moisture. Your pup doesn't have this ability. Thus, the chemicals in human shampoo can irritate your dog's skin. Moreover, their fur can turn dry and brittle, leading to excessive shedding. Harsh chemicals can also trigger canine skin allergies.
Does your dog already suffer from skin allergies? If so, they have a higher risk of skin damage than dogs without allergies. In that case, your dog's pores may secrete extra oil, setting the stage for skin diseases.
Chemical Hazards of Human Shampoos
Conventional human shampoos often have dangerous additives, such as the following.
- Artificial Colours - can inflame and irritate your pup's skin.
- Sulfates - lathering agents, drying to your dog's skin and coat.
- Phthalates - chemical fragrances, linked to hormonal harm.
- Mineral Oil - a petroleum-based oil, clogging your dog's pores.
- Parabens - synthetic preservatives, a cancer risk.
What about baby shampoo? "In that case, can I wash my dog with human shampoo?" you ask.
It's not advisable. Even baby shampoo is too acidic for canine skin, say veterinary professionals.
Safe Dog Shampoos
Standard dog shampoos can also have the harmful additives listed above.
Conversely, all Healthy Dog Co products do not. Our shampoos are completely natural, non-toxic, and pH-appropriate for dogs. They're also free of soap, another potential skin irritant. Below are three of our popular dog shampoos, formulated with the input of expert vets and groomers.
6 in 1 All Natural Dog Shampoo
This product cleans and moisturises your pup's skin. It also kills any existing fungi and bacteria. Itchy skin breathes a sigh of relief.
Moreover, our all natural dog shampoo is kind to your pup's keen sense of smell. The mild lather coaxes knots and tangles to release. Meanwhile, natural oils condition your dog's coat, making it glossy, smooth, and soft. The tear-free suds rinse easily, leaving no irritating residues. Safe essential oils make your dog smell wonderfully kissable!
- Colloidal Oatmeal - gently cleanses, comforts itchy, inflamed skin, and fights fungus.
- Olive, Jojoba, and Coconut Oils - quench thirsty skin and render glossy fur.
- Tea Tree Oil - eradicates germs.
- Aloe Vera - soothes itchiness and makes your dog's coat shiny.
- Lemongrass and Rosemary Oils - bright citrus and piney fragrances.
- Biotin - a B vitamin that counters dandruff and dry hair.
Note that this natural dog shampoo has no sulfates. Thus, its lather is mild, not billowing with bubbles and suds. Since a small amount does the job, this product is economical.
Customers say that after using this shampoo, their dog's coat is clean, fluffy, shiny, and super-soft.
All Natural Dog Shampoo – Baby Powder Scent
Compared to our 6 in 1 Shampoo, our baby powder dog shampoo is more mild. Still, it's equally effective at cleaning and moisturising your pup's coat and skin. Likewise, it eliminates tangles, bacteria, and fungus.
Furthermore, this product won't sting your pup's eyes. You'll love how the light lather streamlines rinsing, being sulfate-free. After bathing, your dog smells delightful, inviting cuddling.
Ingredients of Baby Powder Dog Shampoo
- Floral Essential Oils - banish funky odours, replacing them with a soft, baby powder scent.
- Vegetable Glycerine - hydrates your dog's skin and coat.
- Coconut-Derived Surfactant - generates a light lather, removes dirt, destroys germs, and moisturizes the skin.
According to our customers, a little of this baby powder dog shampoo "goes a long way." They appreciate how well it cleans, leaving their dog itch-free. Plus, they love how soft and sweet-smelling it makes their dog's coat.
All Natural Itchy Dog Shampoo and Conditioner
If your dog has cuts, sores, or insect bites, choose this therapeutic shampoo. Our dog shampoo for itchy skin has herbs that calm itching and pain, penetrating deeply. Your dog gains relief from the insults of mites, ticks, ants, and fleas.
Moreover, this formula conditions dry skin, brittle fur, and chapped paws. Like our other two shampoos, this dog shampoo for sensitive itchy skin tames knotted hairs. Plus, it won't hurt your pup's eyes or spawn thick, clingy suds.
Meanwhile, it thoroughly cleans your dog, killing fungus and bacteria. Since the ingredients are lick-safe, they won't sicken your pal. Rather, they'll help wounds heal by spurring skin cell turnover. Lastly, this shampoo infuses your dog's coat with a sweet, musky scent.
Is your dog constantly chewing, biting, or licking its paws? If you can't trace the cause, this article can help you pinpoint the reason. In certain cases, using our dog shampoo for itchy skin can end foot gnawing and its associated wounds.
- Patchouli - soothes inflamed skin, kills germs, and stimulates skin renewal.
- Quassia - relieves itchiness while thwarting fungal and bacterial growth.
- Clove Gel - lessens swelling and eases pain.
- Vegetable Glycerine - moisturises dry skin and fur.
Customers praise the healing properties of this shampoo and its lovely fragrance.
Let's say your dog jumped in a puddle, and their fur is coated with mud. Regrettably, you don't have any dog shampoo on hand. In a dire situation like this, is it okay to wash a dog with human shampoo?
One-time use won't likely hurt your pup. Ideally, use a shampoo with a neutral pH of 7. If the product has synthetic dyes, fragrances, and other chemicals, monitor your dog for skin reactions.
Bring your dog to a veterinarian if:
- their skin and coat smell alarmingly bad
- they have deep wounds
- you must bathe them often to curb their stench
- they can't stop chewing their paws or scratching
Your dog may have a skin infection, allergy, or disease, mandating vet care. Without timely professional treatment, your dog's life could be in jeopardy.
Perils of Human Shampoo
So, here's the definitive answer to "Can dog be bathed with human shampoo?" It isn't wise, as summarised below.
Derails Canine Skin pH
Dogs have a mildly alkaline skin pH, preserving their acid mantle. This oily film on your dog's skin guards against moisture loss, filth, and germs.
Conversely, our skin pH is acidic. Human shampoos maintain the acidic nature of our skin. Using such a product on your dog will destroy their acid mantle. Thus, their skin will be prone to dryness, itchiness, and infections. In your dog's discomfort, they'll scratch their skin, wounding it.
Has Injurious Additives
Human shampoos often contain harmful ingredients. Your dog's skin is half the thickness of yours. Thus, their skin readily absorbs the harsh substances in human shampoos. Many of them can irritate, inflame, and clog your dog's skin. Examples are synthetic dyes, sulfates, and mineral oil.
Plus, they can make dog fur dry and brittle, causing excessive shedding. Furthermore, these additives can trigger skin allergies. In dogs with existing allergies, human shampoos can worsen them, provoking skin disease.
The phthalates in shampoos can spark hormone disorders. Parabens are linked to cancer.
Happy Bath Time
Our natural shampoos have only nourishing, comforting, and healing ingredients. Choose from:
- 6 in 1 All Natural Dog Shampoo
- All Natural Dog Shampoo – Baby Powder Scent
- All Natural Itchy Dog Shampoo and Conditioner (dog shampoo for itchy skin)
With our products, bath time can be pleasant for your pup, earning you grateful kisses!
Please - Give us your feedback about our products here. We value your input greatly.
About The Healthy Dog Co
The Healthy Dog Co’s mission is to create products that dog and cat owners can trust with the health of their pets by only producing products with healthy, safe, all natural ingredients.
At The Healthy Dog Co, it’s all about giving your pet a healthy and happy life with All Natural Health, Happiness and Care Products.
Because Your Pet Deserves Better!