Can Dogs Use Human Shampoo? 5 Ingredients to Avoid When Choosing the Right Shampoo for Dogs

Can Dogs Use Human Shampoo? 5 Ingredients to Avoid When Choosing the Right Shampoo for Dogs

It’s a bath time for your doggy and convincing your dog for a bath is one of the hardest jobs to do. To make the situation worse, assume that you’ve run out of your dog’s shampoo. The only way you can get out of this situation is to use your regular shampoo. But Can Dogs Use Human Shampoo?

No. Your dog cannot use a human shampoo unless it’s a “once in a blue moon” situation where you must get your dog cleaned and you’re in short of dog shampoo. Human shampoo is designed for the human’s acid mantle, the acidic top layer of skin so these shampoos have a higher pH value. As your dog’s skin has a relatively less acidic layer in the skin, frequent use of human shampoos may irritate or burn your dog’s skin.

Why Can’t I Use Human Shampoo on My Dog?

The human shampoo is naturally formulated for the human acid mantle (the thin film of acidity that coats the skin to shield the upper lip). The pH of the human acid mantle is between 5.2 and 6.2 while the pH in dogs is between 5.5 and 7.5.  Due to this reason, human shampoo is too acidic for dogs. Using a human shampoo on dogs damages the acid mantle; this makes your pooch’s skin prone to parasites, viruses, and bacteria.

The human shampoo also makes their skin feel dry and flaky, which can lead to repeated scratching and irritations. Most of the shampoos contain additional fragrances like chamomile, lavender, eucalyptus, or citrus. These fragrances may sting or burn your dog’s skin. We strongly recommend that you use a canine shampoo for your dog and not human shampoo unless there is an emergency.

Can Human Shampoo Be Used in Case of Emergency?

After a great exercise session or a normal walk on a rainy night, your dog may be dirty with mud all over their shiny coat. To restore their shiny coat, you need to bathe them with shampoo. Shampoo produces lather, which helps to remove dust and dirt from your pooch’s fur easily.  One time bathing your dog with human shampoo won’t do a world of harm but can cause damage over time if you use it too frequently.

If it’s 9 pm and you’re stuck with a muddy dog of yours, a normal human shampoo can do the job of keeping your furry friend clean. But be sure to never use human shampoo too frequently for your dog.

Can Dogs Use Baby Shampoo?

The science suggests that baby shampoo has a more appropriate pH level and is slightly better to use. Baby shampoo is also branded ‘tear free’ because it is less acidic and when it gets into our eyes, it doesn’t induce tears. Our eyes have a pH level of seven and so do baby shampoo. This ensures baby shampoo is more appropriate for your dog’s skin. However, the fancy colorings and perfumes in baby shampoo can still cause damage like a normal human shampoo, which is why it should only be used as a last resort.

What Are the Benefits of Using a Dog Shampoo?

Dogs Shampoos are available in variations and fragrances which are safe for your dog’s skin. As Dogs Shampoos are specially designed for a dog’s skin, you needn’t worry about skin-damaging or flaking. Dog Shampoos do the amazing job of maintaining your dog’s coat. With every wash, your dog’s furry coat will look smooth and shiny. When you use dog shampoo on your dog, it lathers quickly making the bathing time efficient and quick.

Once the furry coat gets rid of all the debris, your dog will smell pleasant. Each fragrance used in dog shampoos is made from safe and non-toxic ingredients, so it won’t threaten your dog’s skin. Also, the content of the dog shampoo can help with several ailments or sensitive skin issues.

Which Dog Shampoo Is the Best?

Generally speaking, any dog shampoo should be fine. But if you want your dog’s coat and fur in the best condition lookout for dog shampoos that do not contain the following ingredients:

1. Preservatives

Preservatives are used to prolong the life of shampoos by avoiding shampoos from going rancid. Preservatives like Formaldehyde causes eye irritation and conjunctivitis. Due to excess Formaldehyde, the immune response that triggers skin allergies, itchy and blisters are considered to be lower. It can be stuck quickly in the dogs’ breathing system leading to a decline in the breathing rate and subsequent reactions.

2. Fragrances

Phthalates are commonly used for fragrances. Canine skin is very sensitive and phthalates can cause harmful effects on a dog’s skin as well as the endocrine system. A shampoo may present the vague tag of ‘fragrance’ and hide the presence of phthalates in them.

3. Surfactants

Sodium Lauryl Sulfate or SLS, is one of the surfactants that irritates your pup’s skin and eyes. SLS is a pesticide known to cause environmental damage too. It has a tiny molecular structure that passes through cell boundaries and eases the absorption of harmful chemicals. This absorption of harmful chemicals can lead to organ damage.

4. Solvents

Solvents like SD Alcohol 40 and Isopropyl alcohol cause an imbalance of oils and moisture. If ingested, they are more toxic to nerves, lungs, and your dog’s heart.


Chemical dyes are used to make dog shampoos appealing. Studies find it difficult to show the negative effects of artificial colors in shampoos. However, they must not be underestimated in their toxicity.


In a nutshell, Dog shampoo is designed with the sole objective of keeping your dog’s fur soft and silky. It is better to never use human shampoo on your furry companion unless an emergency. Human shampoo is acidic for your dog’s skin and prolonged use of it may cause skin irritation, rashes, and even flaking. So, to avoid these problems, it is better to use a shampoo formulated for dogs.

Thank you for reading the article.

To explore more, check out our other articles that we have covered on dog shampoo. 

Have you ever used your regular shampoo for your dog? Which brand of dog shampoo do you prefer to buy for your furry friend? We would love to hear from you. Please share with our community by leaving a comment below!

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