Home » Dog Shampoo vs Human shampoo: which one to use on your dog?

Dog Shampoo vs Human shampoo: which one to use on your dog?

Dog Shampoo vs Human shampoo
Dog Shampoo vs Human shampoo. Image Source Pixabay.

Dog shampoo vs human shampoo is a matter of real concern for dog owners. If you don’t know why you should use dog shampoo, this post should clear your confusion.

You might be in an emergency situation, and you have run out of dog shampoo! Using human shampoo should be the easiest decision you can make.


Human shampoos are made from different ingredients, and it might be safe for you, but not for your dogs.

The last thing you want for your pet is rashed skin and lots of vet bills for saving a few bucks.

So, I recommend using only specialized dog shampoos that are super suitable for your dog’s skin and coat.

I could find 5 differences between dog shampoo and human shampoo and this should give you enough information to make the right decision.

Take a look at this chart. If you don’t have time to read, this chart should help.

Dog shampoo vs. Human shampoo chart.

Dog shampooHuman Shampoo
It’s more expensive than human shampooEasily available and in variable prices
Very mild and hydratingLeaves skin dry if used on pets
Suitable for skin with PH level 7.4 and aboveSuitable for skin with PH level 5.5
Makes less latherMakes a high amount of leather
Available in different versions that suit individual dog’s skin and coat conditionOnly baby human shampoo is suited for the dog but just for cleaning. It doesn’t support the needs of individual dogs.

The PH level is different.

Whether you use shampoo on your hair or your dog’s skin, you should be aware of the PH level.

You see humans have acidic skin with PH level 5.5. 7 is the PH level of water which is neutral. And anything under 7 is acidic, and over 7 is alkaline.

Dogs have a skin PH level of 7.4.

So science says you can’t use human shampoos on dog shampoos.

Human shampoos can be harsh on the dog’s skin and will remove essentials oils from their coat. Thus the outer layer might get ruptured leaving your dog’s skin dry and irritated.

Prolonged use of human shampoo on dogs will make your dog vulnerable to allergies and severe itching.

Effects on skin.

We, humans, have 10-15 layers of skin cells. Whereas dogs have 3-5 layers of skin.

Most of our commercial shampoos are made with various colors and preservatives to make the product appealing. This doesn’t affect or skin or hair in a bad way.

Whereas dogs with thin skin will not be able to cope up with the chemicals used in human shampoos.

Dog shampoos are very mild and retain most of the moisture in a dog’s body. This is the reason why dogs washed with dog shampoos have superior coat quality and fewer health issues.

Lather quality.

We are used to shampoos that lathers quite a lot. And we hate shampoos that don’t lather that much.

But you can’t judge a dog shampoo in this way.

Sodium Lauryl Sulfate is the chemical that produces lather in shampoos and soap. And the worst part is it’s unhealthy for dogs as well as humans.

But as we have a thick layer of skin, we can get away but not our dogs.

So sulfates are less in dog shampoo which means less lather and safety from over-drying skin issues.

Price comparison.

A bottle of pet shampoo may cost twice or even triple the price of human shampoos. But that’s totally justified as these are specialty products that keep your dog out of trouble.

Whereas human shampoos are easily available everywhere and in most cases inexpensive. The downside is they are not suitable for dogs.

You might be thinking about using baby shampoos instead of dog shampoos. This is because baby shampoos are milder than human shampoos.

To some extent, baby shampoos are safe for dogs. Because the PH level of baby shampoos are very close to the dog shampoos.

So if you run out of dog shampoos, the only human shampoos you can use are baby shampoos.

Also, organic and natural homemade shampoos can also do the job!

Shampoo variations.

The variations in human shampoo are only available in different colors and cleaning properties. But dogs need more than that.

Dogs need lots of exercise and time outside, so they carry more dirt, flies, and ticks. They might also have itching or allergy issues that need special attention.

And only dog shampoos are manufactured to fight these issues.

Using a human shampoo for these issues will not work and in most cases will backfire.

Which one should you use for your dog?

Definitely, use only the dog shampoos that are in the market. If it’s not available in your local stores, buy them online in bulk, so that you don’t run out of them often.

I would suggest keeping a few Johnson & Johnson baby shampoo bottles in the storage.

Have several versions of dog shampoo at your hand, especially if your dog has fleas and ticks. For dogs with smelly hair look for lavender or other scented shampoos.

But check with your vet first. It’s always safe to use an unscented shampoo if your dog has an allergy of any sort.





About the author


I am Jhumon .My Favorite animal is Dog. I love my dog from very young age.Now I am 36 and I am sharing my Experience in this Blog and have some review about dog food and dog bed etc.

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