Can you use human shampoo on dogs?
Dogs are truly man's best friend, but there are subtle differences that make it a bad idea to use human shampoo on your dog. Shampoo is formulated to remove dirt, debris, odors, and oils from your hair that builds up during the day. It also assists in keeping your scalp moisturized and healthy. That is why there is such a wide variety for us to choose from.
To keep our scalps healthy, we have a slightly acidic film on our skin's surface that protects us from bacteria, viruses, and other harmful substances. This is called the acid mantle and, as mentioned, is slightly acidic. Your shampoo and other cleaning products are generally designed to restore and maintain the pH balance of the acid mantle. A dog also has an acid mantle, but theirs is more alkaline than acidic, which means human shampoos will cause the pH balance of their skin to be affected. This can cause irritation and dry skin for your dog, leading to skin problems down the line.
Using human shampoos on your dog once should not create problems, but it can cause them irritation or even burn their skin, especially if the shampoo you use has a fragrance in it. Make sure you have no other option before using your human shampoo on your dog.
What about baby shampoo?
According to Dr. Debora Lichtenberg, VMD, it is okay to use some baby shampoos on dogs. It has even been recommended by veterinary dermatologists to use baby shampoo for dogs with sensitive skin.
If you are considering switching to baby shampoo, the most important thing to do before using baby shampoo continuously on your dog is to consult with your veterinarian. They would be best suited to look at your dog individually and say if their skin needs baby shampoo or rather a shampoo specifically created for dogs. In general, baby shampoo has been formulated to be gentle and mild, but not all shampoos are made equally.
Most baby shampoos are safe and mild because of their ingredients. The general ingredients you will find in baby shampoo are water, glycerin, potassium acrylates copolymer, and also things like sodium trideceth sulfate. They are usually created to have a non-stress PH balance of about seven and use surfactants. This all adds up to the shampoo being less irritating than other shampoos.
Make sure that the baby shampoo you want to use is fragrance-free and a clear shampoo as well. This will limit the irritation and danger to your dog. Looking at something designed to be tear-free is also not a bad idea as this is more consistent with the pH balance of your dog's skin.
Can baby shampoo help with fleas?
Several pet owners have made it known that they have used baby shampoo on their dogs and effectively killed all fleas crawling on them. The liquid shampoo strips the fleas' oils, which leaves them out to dry and ultimately die.
Start from top to bottom, and make sure to work up a good lather. Fleas will try to run up to your dog's head, so the bigger the lather, the better the protection from them. If you start from the top and meticulously work to the bottom, you will take the fleas out one by one.
Most importantly is to rinse, rinse, rinse your dog. Even though it is baby shampoo and the shampoo is gentle on the skin, it is still designed for humans. Ensure that no shampoo remains on your dog.
After you have used the shampoo, you should still use a flea comb to ensure that no fleas are sticking to your dog after all the hard work you have put in.
Once again, I will say that it is better to confirm with your vet if this is the correct route for you to take, but research shown it is safe to use baby shampoo to assist with fleas.
Why should I worry about shampoos for dogs then?
With all of this being said, it is still considered best to use dog shampoos that have been specifically designed and created for dogs. When you wash your dog with a shampoo made for them, it will help maintain the integrity of your dog's skin and keep their coat shiny and healthy.
You truly are spoiled for choice when it comes to picking dog shampoo. From shampoo for dogs with sensitive skin to puppy shampoo, there is a specific product for your dog. You can even have a scented shampoo as most dog shampoos are naturally scented. This leaves your dog smelling great without harming their skin.
Look into using a puppy specific shampoo as your little one has an even bigger chance of reacting to regular shampoo and even baby shampoo. You wouldn't use your shampoo on your baby, so why use it on your puppy. Keep him safe and healthy from the start.