So, you let your dog go out in the back yard to run around and exercise.
But he comes back in, a dirty little puppy. You HAVE to bathe him, but you’ve run out of dog shampoo.
What do you do?
Is it safe to use regular human shampoo instead?
Well, shampoo is just shampoo. It’s made for hair, and fur isn’t any different.
Any shampoo can clean mud and dirt off the puppy, but there are other factors in play here.
Coming straight to the point: Can you use human shampoo on dogs?
Yes, you can, but occasionally.
In case of an emergency, you can always use human shampoo for bathing your puppy.
But dog skin is different from human skin. And human shampoos will have different reactions to dog skin.
Let me clarify:
Dogs and humans have a layer of coating on their skin called the acid mantle.
This coating protects the stratum corneum (the skin layer that has pores) from bacteria and viruses.
It absorbs water and hydrates the skin. The acid mantle washes away very quickly after a bath.
Dog shampoos have moisturizing components in them to keep their skin from getting dry and itchy.
This prevents your dog from chewing and biting his/her skin off.
Human shampoo, on the other hand, is missing the moisturizing element. It makes their skin go dry and flaky.
The skin, for animals, has a pH level. The pH level tells you the acidity level of the skin.
It ranges from 0 to 14, with levels under seven considered acidic and higher than seven is alkaline.
So, why does the pH level matter?
Human skin has a pH level of between 5 and 6. And therefore, shampoos we use are made to maintain these levels.
On the other hand, depending on the breed and gender, dog skin can be anywhere between 5.5 and 7.5 on the scale.
This is why companies keep dog shampoos at a pH level of 7. It’s a neutral position and does not make the skin more acidic or alkaline.
Now, common sense tells us that human shampoo isn’t compatible with dog skin.
The pH level gets tampered with, making way for bacteria, parasites, and viruses. Increased levels of these radicals can cause infections.
But that can only happen in case of an over-use.
Are you bathing your dog too much?
Dogs are self-cleaners.
They lick themselves and clean the reachable parts of the body. And if you’re bathing your dog too often, you need to stop it.
Wolves in the wild do not have the privilege of lathers and perfumed soaps with a nice warm bath every other day.
They prefer licking themselves, which keeps them moisturized.
Too much bathing can cause dryness, itchiness, dandruff, and skin infections.
Your dog will feel uneasy for a long time. At least as long as it takes for the acid mantle to form back.
Bathing your dog with regular shampoo is alright if it’s an emergency.
However, to protect the skin, use some of that moisturizer you have as well.
And make sure to stack-up the next time you visit your pet store.