Can You Use Human Shampoo On Your Dog

Imagine this scene: after a hard-fought battle, you've finally figured out how to get your dog into the water for a bath. Congratulations, for the struggle is over, at least for the moment! One important question that comes to mind: can human shampoo be used on dogs?  

Most pet owners just give their pet a brush over and rinse during bath time, which is fine, depending on their schedule. If a dog spends the majority of their time indoors, then there is no need to completely wash them as often as possible.

If they get their paws somewhat grimy, a quick wash of their legs can help, but if they are outside throughout the day or if they are a working dog, then they'll need to have an extensive wash more frequently. Regardless of what they do, for a decent clean, dogs need the proper cleanser.

Below are some tips to use when bathing a dog as well as recommendations on products to use.

Dog Washing 101

  • Start with a clean washbowl, container or bathtub

Start with a clean area or container to bathe the pet in. Wipe down the tub vigorously with a wipe or give it a decent blast with the hose before allowing the dog to get in..

  • Temperature

The temperature of the water and where the dog is being bathed are incredibly important; if the water is too cold, they become susceptible to disease, and if it is too warm, the dog will not be comfortable. Check the water before allowing the dog in the bath to ensure it's at the best temperature. If bathing outside, make sure the outside temperature is comfortable enough for the dog.


  • Relax

Both owner and pet should be comfortable during bath time. Having a mat to stand or kneel on while bathing can help the owner to feel more at ease and having the supplies nearby will help the bathing process go more smoothly. Most times, having someone else help can make the bathing process go quickly and efficiently.

This could be a great time to get the entire family included, where everybody has a role in the process. As far as the dog, some great ways to help keep him calm are with plenty of kind words, physical affection, and treats.

  • Be Delicate

The bathing process should not be done hastily. Take extra care when washing around their ears, face, and genitals; these are sensitive parts, and, if not treated properly, can leave the dog in a lot of pain.

To wash these regions effectively, use an old wash cloth, and gently wipe around to get rid of any soil or grime. Try as much as possible to avoid contact between soap lather and the pet's ears and eyes; however, if some suds accidentally get in their face, give them a little break and come back to washing when they've quieted down or recuperated.

Is it safe to use human shampoo on dogs?

While regular shampoo can work in an emergency, one should not rely on using it to bathe a pet. Shampoo for humans are designed to work with the pH of human skin; the human acid mantle has a pH range of 5.2 to 6.2, while the pH range for dogs ranges from 5.5 to 7.5. This makes human shampoo overly acidic for hounds.

While an occasional bath with its owner’s shampoo may not cause damage immediately, it can seriously hurt a dog’s skin when used over time. When possible, use a shampoo with no additional fragrances, such as chamomile, eucalyptus, lavender, or citrus, as these may sting or scald the dog's skin.

Can baby shampoo be used on a dog?

Studies recommend that baby shampoo is marginally better to use than regular shampoo as it has a more suitable pH level. Baby shampoo is regularly promoted as "tear-free," and just like our eyes, it has a typical pH level of seven, which is appropriate for a dog's skin.  However, the scents and coloring in baby shampoo can still cause harm over time, so it is only recommended to use in an emergency.


What are the advantages of using dog shampoo?

Dog shampoos offer several benefits to dogs and the best part is that there is such a large range to choose from that there is a shampoo to meet any dog’s needs. 

Dog shampoos are designed to maintain a dog's coat. With each wash, their fur will look gleaming and smooth.

They will smell fresh, and all the dirt in their coat will have been cleaned out thoroughly. Every fragrance used in dog shampoo is produced using safe and non-toxic ingredients, so it will not damage the dog’s skin.

Dog shampoos are simpler to apply than other regular shampoos because it is specifically made for them; the shampoo lathers up quickly so baths can be fast yet effective. Since it is specifically made for hounds, shampoos designed for dogs can help with various dermatological conditions.

1)     Sensitive skin

These shampoos are made with organic ingredients, so they don't aggravate delicate skin.

2)     Puppy Shampoo

These shampoos are specifically designed for very young dogs.

3)     Insect treatment

These shampoos help rid dogs of insect debris and allows skin that has been affected to begin healing.

4)     Everything in between

These common shampoos essentially take care of business. They completely wash and leave the dog looking and smelling wonderful.

5)     Shedding

Since dogs shed more than once a year, products to aid in the process can be invaluable.  Using one of these de-shedding shampoos can clear out all the old fur in their undercoat and topcoat.




It is important to note that if an owner uses shampoo meant for humans on their dog, it should be unscented and clear. Human shampoos do not contain the right level of pH to use on canines.

The most suitable and logical approach to avoid this is to apply a dog shampoo that is available for a wide range of dogs with various coats. Most dog shampoos are normally scented, so they'll leave dogs smelling fine without corroding their skin. 


Hello, I'm Shelly! I write about all things dogs. I'm a proud mother of 3. So I guess my official title is fulltime mother, part-time dog blogger. Look around and if you have any questions reach out to me