Can I use my shampoo on my dog?

Keeping our dogs clean and smelling nice can be a huge problem if your pet has itchy, flaky skin or is sensitive to the chemicals in human shampoos. When you maintain the proper pH balance in your dog’s skin, you can prevent a lot of issues that lead to itching, scratching, and a dull coat.

You may be surprised that there is actually a big  difference between human and canine shampoos. You may not notice the ill-effects of human shampoo if used only a couple of times, but after repeated use, you’ll start to notice. Here’s why:

1. Ph Balance. A dog’s skin is about 7.5 while human skin is about 5.5 (to put it in perspective, water is about 7.0). Therefore, a dog’s skin is more alkaline so ideally a dog’s shampoo should be between 6.5-7.5 or it could be irritating to the skin. Highly acidic shampoos may also diminish the hair’s protective qualities, removing valuable oil from the coat and skin. The result is dry, irritated skin and a dull coat. Of course it’s a vicious cycle because the dog will scratch which only makes the problem worse. To learn more about how a shampoos Ph balance affects a dog’s skin click here

2. Dog’s have sensitive skin– A dog only has about 3-5 cell-layers thick while we have about 10-15 layers. So, harsh shampoos with lots of chemicals and those that aren’t PH balanced will be irritating.

Pet parents can make the mistake of using human shampoo on their dogs, and totally remove that acidic mantle (a thin layer of acidic oil that covers the top layer of skin and protects it from bacteria, viruses, and other harmful elements) without the dog’s body being able to replenish the needed oils back to its normal range. When that happens, you’ll see a dog with dry, itchy skin that can lead to scratching sores and bacterial infections.

What do I look for in doggy shampoos?

  • Read the labels on canine shampoos. Look for all-natural, organic ingredients, fragrances, moisturizers.
  • Buying a good quality, all-natural canine shampoo and conditioner may mean spending a little more – but one bottle can last 6 months and will save your dog from the incessant itching and scratching that comes from using a cheaper, human product.
  • For all natural shampoos jam packed with herbs and botanicals you’ll love happytails


Is your dog suffering from itchy skin?

This FREE e-book could solve your dog’s itchy skin problem. Written by veterinarians and holistic pet practitioners the book is jam-packed with natural tips and solutions to bring relief to your itchy dog, Just click to get your

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  1. Very good info to know! I did not know about their skin being a different ph and having fewer cell layers!

  2. never use human shampoo on dogs! it will dry out their skin and irritate them.

  3. Thanks for the informative article! I have always used baby shampoo on my dogs. Would love to win this shampoo to treat them to a real spa day! Thank you =)

  4. A very interesting read. I had no idea dog skin was so different from ours! I’m glad I always buy dog shampoo for my baby!

  5. Entry for Animal Wellness Magazine’s Contest: Dogs and humans skin have different PH balances and a dog’s skin is more sensitive (less cell layers) so therefore human shampoo shouldn’t be used on canines :)

  6. My poor fur babies have itchy skin and I tried alot of things from changing food to other different things would love to win and try this shampoo and if it works my dogs would just love me.

  7. Thanks for the great article….going to show to my husband whom thinks our shampoo is good enough!!! I know my dog has sensitive skin. Great to find out the different ph balance as well. My dog would love this product and I would love it because unfortunately my dog smells so she is bathed often and this would be gentle for her. Thanks for the chance to win.

  8. It’s best to use canine shampoo with natural ingredients bc dogs have their own ph balance and more sensitive skin than humans.
    We have two dogs and I would love to try your natural product!!

  9. you need to use dog shampoo because their pH is different than ours and can cause irritation!

  10. I am so glad I read this article. I didn’t know the difference in shampoos.

  11. Guess you can teach an old human new tricks. I did not know about dogs needing special shampoo.

  12. The Reason you should not use human shampoo on dogs is that it could lead to serious skin conditions in your dog.

  13. yes, i know that you can not use human shampoo on dogs, just like you cant use human toothpaste on dogs or give city water b/c of the fluoride. which is why i have several bottles of dog shampoos, conditioners, toothpaste for dogs and use bottled or spring water

    1. Cant give city water? My dogs have always had city water and all have lived to a ripe old age.

  14. I use baby shampo on my beagle…i didnt know it also can dry her skin! :( i surely wont no more. Interesting that they have less skin cell layers as we do, didnt know that either:) thanks:) now let me win spa shampo please:)

  15. My parents used human shampoo on their border collie mix months ago, and it caused a horrible crusty oozing rash all over his body, which he is still suffering from now, even after being treated by the vet. Maybe some of these products could help him.

  16. For Animal Wellness Magazine Contest:

    Their coat and skin is different from humans, and they require shampoo with a pH balance specifically formulated for them. Human shampoo dries out their skin and can cause many skin conditions, and strips their coat of it’s natural oils.

  17. Husband uses baby shampoo so far no issues. Interesting read

  18. Great information here for pet owners. I bath my babies once a month and I have been guilty of using human shampoo if I have run out of my pet shampoo! Wont do it again. Id love to try this as the one I buy at the vet is very expensive!

  19. I understand the difference in pH of human vs. dog skin, however baby shampoo actually has a neutral pH of 7.0 to match the pH of eyes/tears, (and because the acid mantle of a baby’s skin is closer to a 7.0) so it doesn’t sting the eyes. So that would fall in the desired pH range for a dog. Of course, using all natural dog shampoos would be better, but in a pinch, baby shampoo shouldn’t be harmful for a dog’s skin.

  20. Is doctor Bronners Natural pure Castile soap OK to use on dogs.( our all american bully dog had skin problems and my boyfriend baths him about 1 or 3 times a month with Dr.Bronners citrus

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