If you don’t have dog shampoo on hand the next time your pup needs a bath, go for a bottle of something else in your bathroom. A single, isolated bath in baby shampoo, while not ideal, is unlikely to be damaging to any dog.
However, contrary to popular belief, baby shampoo is not suitable for dogs. While you may believe that something designed for newborns is safer for your dog than a decent quality dog shampoo, this is not the case. In fact, using baby shampoo and other human shampoos on your dog’s skin can be detrimental. Let us try to figure out why.
Do you have a specific question about using baby shampoo for dogs? Then use the table of contents below to jump to the most relevant section. And you can always go back by clicking on the black arrow in the right bottom corner of the page. Also, please note that some of the links in this article may be affiliate links. For more details, check the Disclosure section at the bottom of the page.
Here's what we'll cover:
- Shampoo for babies: the science
- Is it safe to use baby shampoo on dogs?
- Why is using ordinary human shampoo on dogs a no-no?
- Is baby shampoo effective in killing fleas on dogs?
- Is baby shampoo safe for dogs with dry skin?
- Will using baby shampoo cause my dog’s eyes to burn?
- Vets’ opinion on using baby shampoo on dogs
- Conclusion. Using baby shampoo on a dog
Shampoo for babies: the science
Because of the ingredients that go into them, most baby shampoos are safe and mild. Most baby shampoos contain water, glycerin (which helps with smoothness), potassium acrylates copolymer (which helps the shampoo maintain proper thickness), and sodium trideceth sulphate. The latter is formulated to act as a low irritation cleansing agent. They also use less irritating surfactants than other shampoos and have a non-stress PH balance of around 7.
Is it safe to use baby shampoo on dogs?
Because they contain fewer chemicals and scents, baby shampoos are frequently thought to be gentler than other human shampoos. They are, however, still suited for human skin – they are meant to be used on skin with an acidic pH and differing natural oil requirements.
As a result, even mild baby shampoo might be rougher on a dog’s skin than high-quality dog shampoo. Baby shampoo should be okay for one-time use in dogs, but avoid using it regularly and instead use a pH-balanced dog shampoo.
Why is using ordinary human shampoo on dogs a no-no?
Human shampoo, aside from baby shampoo, is one of the worst things you could ever use on your dog. Human shampoos are developed with moisturizers to replace the much-needed protective layer washed away. In addition, both dogs and people have an acid mantle. This barrier protects against infection, bacteria, and viruses, so using human shampoo is beneficial.
However, if the acid mantle is removed from a dog, microbes are left to grow. As a result, you’ll find that your dog’s skin will get itchy, peeled, and irritated, among other things.
Humans usually have a skin pH balance of 5.2 to 6.2, but dogs typically have a pH balance of 5.5 to 7.5. On the other hand, the true pH scale goes from 0 to 14. Levels less than 6.4 are regarded as high acidity, while levels more than 6.4 are considered high alkalinity.
Because the pH level of human skin ranges between 5.2 and 6.2, it is more acidic. As a result, skincare and shampoos are specifically designed to achieve this equilibrium. Using a shampoo or general bath product on a dog that is not human and does not have the same pH balance or general level as humans can be exceedingly damaging to their skin and coat.
Human shampoos cause a severe disruption in a dog’s acid mantle, allowing all forms of viruses and diseases to enter. As a result, a vicious loop will be set in motion. Your dog will scratch and itch at their skin, causing abrasions that bacteria will feed on. You will also notice a scent resulting from the bacteria running wild, and you will want to wash your dog more frequently, exacerbating the problem.
Is baby shampoo effective in killing fleas on dogs?
Another advantage of putting baby shampoo on a dog is fighting fleas. Although your vet may not recommend it, many dog owners swear that fleas just disappear after bathing their dog with baby shampoo. Again, start with the neck and head and work your way down to the tail.
To summarise, baby shampoo should not be used in place of dog shampoo, but it is comforting to know that you have a safe backup plan.
If you don’t have any baby shampoo on hand and your dog needs a bath, you can brew lemon water, which will also kill fleas.
Although it has not been scientifically confirmed, many dog owners claim that using baby shampoo successfully addressed the flea problem.
Is baby shampoo safe for dogs with dry skin?
If your dog has dry skin, you should never use adult human shampoo on him since it will worsen his skin. Instead, dog shampoo, rather than baby shampoo, is advised for dogs with dry skin since it is gentler and has a neutral pH balance.
Using harsh shampoo on dogs with dry skin may cause them to scratch and itch at their skin. This is causing abrasions and making them more susceptible to bacteria, viruses, and parasites.
Will using baby shampoo cause my dog’s eyes to burn?
Baby shampoo formulas are tear-free and designed with children’s sensitive eyes. Of course, you should be cautious while applying shampoo near the dog’s eyes, but it shouldn’t be a major deal for your four-legged buddy; just make sure to thoroughly rinse the soap off its face.
Vets’ opinion on using baby shampoo on dogs
Human shampoos, such as baby shampoos, can be the greatest alternative, even if using most human shampoos is not the healthiest option for your dog.
In reality, many experts think that baby shampoo is safe for dogs as long as it is unscented, transparent, and approved by your dog-tor.
In addition, because it’s designed for delicate skin, it’s an excellent option for pet owners who are concerned about the roughness of many soaps and dog products.
Conclusion. Using baby shampoo on a dog
While baby shampoo is okay for a dog, it should only be used as an emergency backup choice. If you must use baby shampoo on your dog, properly rinse him once you have finished cleaning.
Although using baby shampoo regularly is not suggested, it is the only safe human shampoo alternative to shampoo manufactured and designed for dogs.
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