Can You Use Human Shampoo On Dogs?

If you own a pet dog, you will notice that he will become smelly after some time. Foul smells can be as a result of perspiration through his paws and the natural odor from the glands in his ears. A dog that has an outdoor lifestyle is also more likely to suffer from bacterial infections. A bacterial infection can contribute to smelly skin. To counter this foul odor, you should consider bathing your dog from time to time using shampoo. When it comes to shampoo, you will be spoilt for choice, but you should go for the healthiest one. You might be tempted to use human shampoo, considering its sweet fragrance, but in so doing, you will be putting your pet at risk. Considering that the pH of human skin is different from that of your dog, you should look for the shampoo that is tailor-made to suit your dog’s skin. There are many dog shampoos on the market today, with each having its pros and cons. We advise that you chose an organic shampoo which will ensure your dog’s skin remains healthy and the environment stays clean.

Why does my dog smell?

Dogs perspire predominantly through their paws. Your dog will also emit small amounts of perspiration from the follicles of its hair. This perspiration has a chemical scent which is unique to every dog. To you, all dogs may smell the same, but to each other, every dog has its own unique smell. Your dog also produces oil, which is critical in ensuring the dog maintains a healthy and hydrated skin. There is a light yeasty smell that emanates from the glands in your dog’s ears. A combination of these odors will make your dog start to smell after a while. If your pet mostly lives an outdoor life, it can roll on mud, grass, and dust which at times can cause bacterial infections, making it smelly.

Dog rolling in mud

Why you shouldn’t be using human shampoo on dogs

Human shampoo is, of course, cheaper than dog shampoo. The critical question is, can you use human shampoo on dogs? You may be tempted to clean your dog using human shampoo, thinking that you are saving money, but you will be endangering your pet. Most human shampoos are formulated with moisturizers, which will replace the protective layer until the skin can replenish itself. Due to the differing pH levels of your dog’s skin, these moisturizers will not be effective.

There is a vital component of the skin known as the acid mantle, which acts as a barrier which protects the porous top layer of the skin, from viruses and bacteria. The top layer of the skin, stratum corneum, is tasked with keeping the outer body hydrated, by preventing excessive evaporation and absorbing water. By bathing with shampoo, you wash away this layer which is composed of acidic oil.

The pH levels of your dog’s acid mantle varies significantly compared to that of human beings. Your dog will have a relatively neutral pH, but you will notice that your pH levels are slightly acidic.

The pH value is the measure of the concentration of hydrogen ions in a solution. If a solution has a high concentration of hydrogen ions, they are considered to be of a low pH value while those with a low concentration of these ions have a high pH value. The pH scale varies from 0 to 14, whereby a pH value below 7.0 is considered acidic, and that above 7.0 is alkaline. A pH value of 7.0 is neutral.

The human acid mantle has a pH of between 5.2 and 6.2, and human shampoos are specially made to maintain this balance, which is not similar to the dog balance. Your dog will have a pH balance of between 6.5 and 7.5, depending on the breed and age. Considering that the dog’s pH varies from acidic to alkaline, a relatively neutral shampoo is required so as to keep your dog hydrated. Using a shampoo that has a wrong pH will no doubt disturb the delicate pH balance of your dog’s skin, making it susceptible to viral and bacterial infection.

Before washing your dog, you should consider all factors, and also weigh the consequences. Even though a fresh smell is always welcome after a good bath, you might end up paying more for it. To ensure that your dog fully benefits from the cleaning session, you should not only consider shampoo that smells good but rather, the one that protects your dog against ticks and fleas, maintains a shiny coat and keeps its skin hydrated. Human shampoos are cheap and readily available, which can also be a tempting factor. Considering that the health of your pet is at stake, you should go for the best shampoo regardless of price. There are many retail pet stores, where you can easily get dog shampoo. Alternatively, you can opt for an online purchase from websites such as Amazon, and your dog shampoo will be delivered to your doorstep free of charge.

What should I wash my dog with?

To ensure that your dog stays healthy after a good bath. A lingering question will obviously be, can you use human shampoo on dogs? The answer is no! You should consider using dog shampoo since it is specially formulated for dogs. Currently, there are very many brands of dog shampoo to choose from, depending on your personal taste and your dog’s skin type. When you go out shopping for a dog shampoo, you should bring your dog along, to evaluate its reaction to different fragrances. Before settling for a dog shampoo, you should consider its pH value, to ensure that it is formulated to suit your dog’s skin.

Dog bathing

Some dog shampoos with correct pH include Earthbath all Natural Pet Shampoo, OxGord Natural Oatmeal Dog-Shampoo and Conditioner, and Odie and Cody Natural Dog Shampoo.

In most occasions, you will normally want to opt for a dog shampoo which has a sweet fragrance. The smell, however, should not be a primary consideration since there are other factors which are more important. Artificial colors and fragrances can contain harmful chemicals.

Look for natural moisturizers such as aloe vera and vitamin E. Organic shampoos are very efficient since they are formulated using non-toxic ingredients, ensuring that the skin of your pet remains healthy and maintains the correct pH. They also contain artificial moisturizers which will keep your pet’s skin safe until the acid mantle replenishes itself.

If your dog has sensitive skin, go for natural, soap free shampoo. You should consider that your dog’s skin is more alkaline when compared to human skin, which is why human shampoo is not recommended.

Make sure that your shampoo of choice can easily be rinsed, to ensure that nothing is left on the fur and skin after the bath. This will make sure that your dog is comfortable with the shampoo you purchase especially if it has sensitive skin.

A dog shampoo will make sure that your dog maintains its coat and the fur looks smooth and shiny. By being formulated to fit suit the skin of your pet, the shampoo will help maintain healthy skin, free of bacteria and infections. A good shampoo will assist in removing all the debris in your dog’s coat leaving your pet fresh and comfortable. Using shampoo specifically for dogs is easier to apply than human shampoo. The shampoo lathers up quicker, meaning that you can start bathing your dog immediately giving him less chance to jump out and escape. By being specially customized for your dog, the shampoo will mitigate most sensitive skin issues and also heal skin ailments.

Top 3 Shampoo Reviews

The top three recommended dog shampoos include; Earthbath all Natural Pet Shampoo, OxGord Natural Oatmeal Dog-Shampoo and Conditioner, and Odie and Cody Natural Dog Shampoo. Below are the reviews of these shampoos.

Earthbath All Natural Pet Shampoo

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This is an itch-relieving shampoo which is specially formulated to address the needs of dogs with itchy and dry skin. This shampoo is a combination of 3 percent of oatmeal and organic aloe vera and will reduce skin irritation, moisturize the dry skin, and promote the healing process of your pet. This is a luxurious shampoo which is all natural and free of soap. The pH of this shampoo is balanced in such a way that it cleans and deodorizes your dog’s body thoroughly and safely. After using this shampoo to wash your pet, its coat and skin will become brilliantly clean, plush, and soft. Due to its Vanilla and Almond fragrance, your dog will smell better than it ever did. This shampoo is safe for all dogs more than six weeks old. If you want to try it on your pet, you can purchase it from Amazon for under 15 dollars. Compared to the two dog shampoos reviewed below, this the second cheapest shampoo, but has a luxury feel. It’s fresh and sweet fragrance makes it a customer’s favorite choice of shampoo.

OxGord Natural Oatmeal Dog-Shampoo and Conditioner

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OxGord Natural Oatmeal is an organic shampoo which is environmentally friendly, but at the same time, ensures that your pet gets the best coat treatment and skin care. This shampoo is made using a tear free formula extracted from natural oils, thus ensuring that it does not inflame or irritate your dog’s nose and eyes. You can easily apply it in a shower or bathtub. All you need to do is wet your dog exhaustively, and then gently rub the shampoo from head to tail. The all natural aloe vera, coconut oils, and jojoba will ensure that your dog is protected from an itchy and painful skin, often caused by dryness, dander, and fleas. On the other hand, the combination of Rosemary, Shea Butter, and Oatmeal will help in smoothing and moisturize your pet’s skin leaving the fur smooth, clean, and odorless. According to customer’s reviews, this shampoo makes your dog’s bath time a playful and enjoyable experience, and you will always look forward to the next bath time. You can purchase this shampoo at Amazon for under $10. Evidently, this is the cheapest of the three reviewed shampoos, and yet it is very effective.

Odie and Cody Natural Dog Shampoo

Buy now from Amazon

Odie and Cody is an organic shampoo which contains no chemicals, artificial fragrances, artificial colors, synthetic ingredients, alcohol, sulfates or other harmful ingredients which can be absorbed into your dog’s skin. This shampoo is thin, watery and yet very concentrated; therefore, you will only need a few bottles per month. If you are looking for the shampoo that does not itch, sting or burn your pet’s skin after bath, then you should consider Odie and Cody Natural Dog Shampoo. This shampoo is certified by USDA Organic Standards, meaning that all its ingredients have been tested to confirm that there is no presence of chemicals, and also to ensure that the shampoo contains all the items disclosed on its label. According to customer reviews, the shampoo lathers pretty well and also rinses easily, since there are no chemical additives that will stick on the fur or skin. You can purchase this shampoo on Amazon for just under $20. Comparing this shampoo with the other two, you will notice that it is the most expensive, which can be associated with its organic formulation.

How Often Should I Bathe my Dog?

It is recommendable that you wash your pet once a month using water alone. Just like human beings, some dogs will become smelly faster than others. There are some dogs which will never be washed for their entire lifetime and yet, they don’t have a foul smell. However, your dog might require regular baths, to keep it odorless. This may be due to its breed, age, and level of outdoor activity. If your pet spends most of its time indoors, then there is no need of regular baths.

After every few months, you should consider washing your dog using dog shampoo. If you wish to wash your dog every month using shampoo, then you should consider purchasing a moisturizing or soap-free shampoo which will prevent its skin from becoming dry. This should only be done if your pet has no skin problems. By bathing your dog regularly, he becomes an enjoyable and presentable companion.


Evidently, your dog will require regular baths to ensure that it remains healthy and odorless. Perspiration through the paws, nose, and ears usually causes the foul smell of your dog. Also, a dog with an outdoor lifestyle is likely to roll on dirt and grass, which will make its body smelly. While bathing your dog, you should avoid using human shampoo but rather consider purchasing organic dog shampoo. This way, your dog’s skin will remain clean, healthy, and hydrated. The coat and fur will also be smooth and shiny. It is high time you considered purchasing an organic dog shampoo.

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