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Can You Use Human Shampoo For Dogs?

Your dog has just walked into the room and has probably left behind a trail of muddy paw prints. To add to that its pristine white fur coat is now a dirty grey and you are losing your mind already.

You had given him a bath a couple of days back and you might be wondering if it would be a good idea to bathe him again.

Fortunately, you have a brand new bottle of mild dog shampoo sitting on your shelf and it is a quick and enjoyable solution because both you and your dog love it. Dog shampoo is an ideal solution for dirty coats (read our updated buyer’s guide) of all kinds and since there are so many good variants available in the market, there is no reason not to use one for your four-legged friend.

Stop! Don’t Use Human Shampoo
A lot of pet parents wonder if they could use scented human shampoo or mild baby shampoo for their dogs.

While you could use them once in a while, it is a bad idea to form a habit because the skin of dogs is designed differently from humans and it might do more harm than good.

If you do not have dog shampoo at that very moment, you could also choose to wash your pet with lukewarm water. Storing simple homemade dog shampoo could also save you from the trouble of rushing to the store each time.

Your Dog’s Skin Is Different To Yours’
Both humans and dogs have an acidic layer on top of their skin that protects the skin from environmental viruses and bacteria. This is called the acid mantle. The topmost layer of the skin also keeps the skin secure by hydrating the body and minimizing evaporation of water through the skin.

Now, human shampoos, creams and lotions etc are specifically created to cater to pH levels of 5.2-6.2 i.e. acidic skin type. These shampoos and lotions are formulated to maintain the balance.

However, the pH balance for dogs is around 5.5-7.5.

This is more of an alkaline skin type. Thus, if human shampoo is used on dogs, they will strip the acid mantle and leave it unprotected for parasites, viruses, and bacteria to infest. Pet parents might make the mistake of continuing with the human shampoo if the dogs start smelling because of the bacteria proliferating within the coat.

Moreover, if the shampoo makes your dog’s skin itchy, it might start scratching at it and create further breeding grounds for more bacteria. This vicious trap might never end.

Final Thoughts – Don't Use Human Shampoo On Your Dogs

Your shampoo is formulated differently as compared to a specially formulated dog's shampoo. Prolonged usage of human shampoo on dogs could lead to pH imbalance on your pooch's skin, leading to expensive medical treatments.

When in doubt, always consult a veterinarian.

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