Can Dogs Use Human Shampoo? 3 Possible Side Effects (2024)

A large Chow Chow dog in a bathtub being given a shampoo.

It may be tempting to wash your dog with the same shampoo you use yourself. Human shampoo is not made for dogs, and most dogs cannot tolerate it.

There are plenty of different dog shampoo products on the market that are safer for them, so there is really no reason to wash them with human shampoo.

Can dogs use human shampoo? Shampoo for humans should not be used on dogs as dogs and humans have very different skin types, and what may be fine on human hair and skin could cause harm to dogs. Human shampoo is more acidic than dog shampoo, and it can break down the dog’s acid mantle and make them vulnerable to illness.

If you are wondering why you can’t use human shampoo to wash your dog, read on to learn what makes it harmful. 

3 Reasons Why You Should Not Use Human Shampoo on Dogs

Using human shampoo on your dog can cause skin and health problems. Here are three reasons to avoid doing so.  

Upsets Dog Skin pH Levels

Dogs have a higher skin pH level. All dog shampoos break down the skin’s acid mantle, but they also contain ingredients that help moisturize and protect the skin while that acid mantle is being repaired.

Human shampoo can prevent the acid mantle from being restored as quickly and could make the dog more susceptible to illnesses.

Will Strip Protective Oils Resulting in Dry, Itchy Skin

Humane shampoo can be too harsh for dogs and may strip away the protective oils in the hair and on the skin.

This can cause the hair to become dry and brittle and lead to dry and itchy skin. Some dogs can develop a rash and even skin infections from scratching.

May Contain Harmful Chemicals

Shampoos that are designed for humans contain chemicals that may be toxic to dogs.

These chemicals can burn the skin, cause allergic reactions, or even get into the bloodstream and cause severe illnesses.

Best Shampoo for Dogs – Earthbath Oatmeal & Aloe Shampoo

earthbath, Oatmeal & Aloe Dog Shampoo - Oatmeal...
  • BRILLIANTLY CLEAN & SOFT - This luxurious shampoo is soap free & pH-balanced to clean & deodorize...
  • NATURAL & ORGANIC INGREDIENTS - Blended with only the finest ingredients, like renewable...

If you are looking for the best shampoo for dogs, consider Earthbath Oatmeal & Aloe Shampoo.

This shampoo is made with all-natural ingredients, including oatmeal and aloe, which are designed to soothe itchy skin.

It’s gentle on all skin types but also provides a thorough clean.

Earthbath also offers other natural shampoo and bathing options, including hot-spot-relief shampoo, shed-control shampoo, deodorizing shampoo, hypoallergenic shampoo, and coat-brightening shampoo.

Best Conditioner for Dogs – Earthbath Oatmeal & Aloe Conditioner

earthbath, Oatmeal & Aloe Conditioner - Dog...
  • HELPS RELIEVE ITCHING & DRY SKIN - This pH-balanced conditioner with colloidal oatmeal detangles...
  • NATURAL & ORGANIC INGREDIENTS - Blended with only the finest ingredients, like renewable...

If you are looking for a conditioner that will leave your dog’s hair silky smooth while also nourishing their skin, be sure to try Earthbath Oatmeal & Aloe Conditioner.

It contains natural ingredients like organic aloe vera, organic shea butter, hydrolyzed silk protein, and botanicals.

It complements the shampoo nicely, makes grooming and detangling easy, and it leaves behind a nice scent.

What To Use If You Don’t Have Dog Shampoo

If you need to wash your dog and don’t have any dog shampoo, there are some other products that are safe to use on dogs.

  • Dish soap
  • Baby shampoo
  • Baking soda
  • Corn starch
  • Makeup wipes
  • Plain water

Which Human Shampoo Is Safe for Dogs?

Some types of human shampoos are made with natural ingredients and may be suitable to use on dogs. Shampoos that are free of parabens, sulfates, or chemicals can be used on dogs.

Look for shampoos that list tea tree oil, aloe, or oatmeal as the ingredients. These things are gentle on the skin and won’t disrupt your dog’s skin pH levels.

Can I Use Baby Shampoo on My Dog?

Baby shampoos are very gentle, and many are made with all-natural ingredients.

Baby shampoo won’t disrupt the acid mantle or protective layer that covers the skin. It’s also capable of cleaning the coat properly. 

Steps for Bathing Your Dog Correctly

A cute Welsh Corgi dog being given a bath in the bathtub.

It’s important to bathe your dog correctly. Keep in mind dogs don’t need to be bathed every day; once a month is usually more than sufficient.

When it is time to bathe your dog, be sure to follow these steps. 

Step 1: Grooming

Brush your dog before you get him wet. Dog hair is harder to detangle when it’s wet. Remove any tangles, mats, mud, or debris before bathing. 

Step 2: Initial Rinse

Saturate your dog’s fur with warm water. You want to make sure the fur is wet so that the shampoo will be able to move around more easily and get deep into the fur and skin.

Step 3: Apply Shampoo

Add some shampoo to your hands and gently massage it all over your dog’s coat. Be careful not to get it in the eyes or ears.

Work from the head to the tail, and apply the shampoo underneath the dog as well. 

Step 4: Rinse 

Rinse the dog well. You can use a cup or a showerhead to do this. It is very important to remove all the shampoo from your dog’s coat.

Any shampoo that is left behind could irritate the dog’s skin and lead to dandruff or itching patches.

Step 5: Apply Conditioner

Apply the conditioner just like you did the shampoo. Focus on working from the head back to the tail. 

Step 6: Final Rinse

Rinse the dog again to remove the conditioner and any shampoo you may have missed. Continue to rinse the dog until there are no suds on the fur and the water runs clear. 

Step 7: Dry Your Dog

It’s important to dry your dog. Use a soft towel to dry off the fur. You can also let your dog air dry but using a towel will remove the excess water so that it can dry faster.

Step 8: Final Grooming

Once your dog is dry, you should groom him again. Use a brush to detangle the hair and remove any loose hair.

For this part, I highly recommend Coyboy Magic Detangler. It allows the brush or comb to glide through the fur painlessly, and just a tiny bit goes a long, long way.

Related Questions: 

Can I Use Body Wash on My Dog?

No. Body wash is not safe to use on dogs. It can disrupt their skin’s pH level and may contain toxic chemicals that could cause skin problems or illnesses.

Can I Use Dish Soap on My Dog?

Yes. Most dish soap is safe for dogs. Only use it when dog shampoo is not available, and always check the ingredients list to ensure it does not contain any harmful chemicals or toxins.

Can You Use Dandruff Shampoo on Dogs?

Dandruff shampoos are designed to be gentle on the skin and are not as acidic as other human shampoos.

While you shouldn’t use dandruff shampoo on your dog regularly, it’s okay to use it occasionally.


You may be tempted to use your own shampoo on your dog, but it could be harmful.

Human shampoo may contain toxins and chemicals that are toxic to dogs and can disrupt the protective layer of the skin that helps fight off germs and illnesses.

It’s best to only use dog shampoo for bathing your dog. If you’re interested in making your own custom blend of dog shampoo, check out the video below.

Last update on 2024-05-19 at 07:48 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API