Can I Give My Dog a Bath with Human Shampoo?

Can I Give My Dog a Bath using Human Shampoo?Everyone has their own routine for bathing their pets. Many owners are just using human shampoo to maintain a fresh smelling canine coat. But there’s some doubt, and for good reason, regarding how suitable regular shampoo is for dogs.

If your goal simply to have a nice smelling best bud, then human shampoo will do the trick. But there are other factors to consider when you go about giving your beloved dog a good washing.

Sure, it’s cheaper to share your own shower supplies. Let’s take a closer look at this debated issue for your dog’s sake. You may come to realize that human shampoo can’t provide important health benefits and may actually do more harm than good.

Can I Give My Dog a Bath using Human Shampoo? Answer: Yes, but dog shampoo is much better

You can use a people product but a high-quality canine-formulated organic shampoo is much healthier.

We do not recommend regularly using human brands for dogs. The concept of ‘pet shampoo’ is not a marketing gimmick. Good canine shampoos are superior to human products and we’ll explain why. In any case, you don’t want to overdo it which is why a gently scented pet grooming spray also comes in handy.

Some Shampoo Truths

Most human shampoos can be very harsh for dogs, even for us humans! The chemicals and fragrances in most brands are actually working against your dog’s natural ability to maintain their beautiful skin and coat. Sure, they’ll smell better but it’s a net negative overall. The damage is often gradual and many dog owners don’t notice the effects. While you may save some cash, you aren’t doing your best friend any favors by using regular shampoo.

The fact is that dogs have more sensitive skin than we do. Human shampoo is much more likely to dry them out and make them itchy. In fact, some owners are quick to suspect allergies when the real culprits are the types of products being used in the bathtub!

Consider the pH Balance

When you use a human brand on a dog, you’re disrupting their skin’s delicate pH balance. This makes them susceptible to all kinds of parasites and bacteria in addition to drying them out. Regular products also tend to be too acidic. Most dogs require more of an alkaline concentration which, at the very least, keeps them better hydrated.

If Fido has trouble with rashes or has somewhat irritated, dry, flaky and/or peeling skin then it may be time to evaluate what you’re using on them. If that’s already the case, try a natural oatmeal shampoo treatment, also made for dogs, that can relieve such unfortunate irritations. Such products aren’t actually as expensive as you may think.

Smell is Least Important

Before you bathe your dog, consider all the factors. You want them smelling fresh but smell should be the least of your concerns in the grand scheme of things. Focus on preventing the stripping of oils and delicate skin (top layers) which act as natural protection against all sorts of things. Having a full shiny coat that’s also protected against fleas and ticks is an added benefit.

So bathing your dog serves a very important but quite different purpose for them. It’s part of preventative care which includes cleaning the teeth and ears. In other words, don’t routinely use human shampoo on your dog! Fur sure! (that’s a joke)

Conclusion on Shampoo

Everyone has, at one time or another, used a human shampoo on their dogs. It likely isn’t a disaster but you really shouldn’t get into that habit. Investing in a good canine shampoo will provide your dog with many important health benefits which we often overlook. Do your best buddy a favor and don’t compromise when it comes to maintaining their natural defenses. Buying a quality shampoo, that’s pet-formulated, is the prudent thing to do.

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Colette December, 2015

Thanks for the info. I washed a very grubby dog with human shampoo and gave him a second go-over with the last of the dog shampoo mixed with a little water, in order to stretch it out so as to negate the human stuff as best as possible. I was still a bit worried so the information was good to read.


William December, 2015

My vet recommended an oatmeal-based shampoo for my dog’s ‘hot spot’ issue. Cleared it up in a week or so. As a bonus, an oatmeal and shea butter lotion cleared up my wife’s itchy skin problem so I was a hero to both.


Shawn November, 2015

Dawn dish liquid is actually better than people shampoo. It will clean our pets and will even kill those pesky fleas and ticks if our babies happen to have them.


William December, 2015

Ah, but does it leave them ‘squeaky clean’? 😉


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