Can You Use Human Shampoo on Dogs? And Dog Shampoo Recipes

So Should You or Shouldn’t You And Why

Many dog owners have at some point been tempted to use human shampoo during dog bathing. Picture this; you have finally managed to get your pup in water which is arguably the more challenging part. However, when you reach for your special dog shampoo and the bottle is empty! What do you do?

Can you use human shampoo on dogs? This is probably not a yes or no type of question as there are many factors in play here. For example, human skin and dog skin have very different pH balances.

The skin usually has a thin layer called the acid mantle that protects the skin’s topmost layer from contaminants like bacteria and viruses. The coating also keeps the skin hydrated by absorbing water and reducing evaporation.    

Whenever you bathe, the acid mantle gets washed away. In this regard, most soaps and shampoos usually have ingredients that counter this by moisturizing and protecting the skin until the acid mantle renews itself.

When you apply human shampoo on dogs, it disrupts the acid mantle, leaving your dog vulnerable to bacteria, parasites, and virus attacks. Besides, it also makes your pup’s skin dry and flaky, which could result in excessive scratching and abrasions, making it easy for bacteria to attack.

don't use human shampoo on dogs

Why You Shouldn’t Use Human Shampoo on Your Dog

First, human shampoo is generally harsher than dog shampoo because they are designed to be used on acidic skin to withstand more significant stripping of oils. Moreover, the thicker layers of the human skin make it more resilient to water loss and the rubbing effect of some human shampoos.

Therefore, please avoid using your shampoo during your dog bath, as it will likely cause dryness and irritation for your pup. Additionally, when you use human shampoo on dogs, it strips away the natural protection and weakens its immunity. This opens the door for yeasts, and bacteria that dwell on the skin’s surface to grow may cause skin infections.

What About Baby Shampoo?

Baby shampoo is somewhat different. They usually contain tear-free formulations that are more neutral than products for adults. The baby shampoo also comes with a pH of 7 that considers the delicate nature of the baby’s skin and eyes.

As a result, if you used your baby shampoo on your dog, it wouldn’t have severe effects. However, they are not very ideal because they contain many chemicals. So, if you are in a situation where you have run out of your puppy shampoo, baby shampoo is the most appropriate emergency option.

Alternatives to Dog Shampoo

It is evident that human shampoo is not an appropriate choice. Luckily, there are multiple other options you can use. But, the best is to invest in shampoo for dogs to cater to your dog’s grooming needs.

The alternatives mentioned here can do a decent job, but they could cause dry skin and other mild issues if you use them in excess. Here are some alternatives you should consider:

dish soap

Dish Soap

You will not be the first to use Dawn dish soap on dogs. It is the soap that wildlife rescue organizations use to clean crude oil from waterfowl and other animals. You can safely use it to get rid of buildup and dirt from your furry friend’s coat.

However, you must ensure that your dish soap does not contain fragrances or any harsh additives. Dawn’s formula is safe, but not all dish soaps are ideal for dog washing.

When using Dawn dish soap, don’t use it straight on your pup. It would be best to create a simple mixture that includes ½ cup white vinegar, 2 cups water, and ¼ cup Dawn. Apply this mixture on your dog’s wet fur and lather softly.     

baking soda in a jar

Baking Soda

Baking Soda is an excellent alternative to dog shampoo. The advantage of using baking soda to clean is that it removes odors from your canine’s coat and also washes all the dirt away.  

If you are short on time, you can rub the baking soda on your dog’s coat. But you can also use a simple dog shampoo recipe using a cup of raw ground oatmeal, ½ cup of baking soda, and 4 cups of water.

baby shampoo products

Baby Shampoo

Baby shampoo is the safest human shampoo for dogs. Whenever you are out of your dog shampoo, baby shampoo is your next best option. However, you cannot use it regularly on your dog.

However, it is the better option because its formulation is gentler than adult human shampoos. Therefore, when you use them on your pup, they are less likely to have severe effects.

Corn Starch

Corn Starch

Corn starch is also another excellent alternative you can use. You can gently work it into your canine’s coat to eliminate grease and absorb foul odors.

The proposed way to use it is to shake it over the whole coat. Then, work it into the dog’s fur and ensuring it is spread evenly throughout the skin. Next, use the usual dog grooming brush to pull out any excess.

Remember, this homemade dog shampoo will not replace your dog shampoos. It is supposed to keep your dog fresh long enough for you to get the best dog shampoo and conditioner.

Makeup/Baby Wipes  

Makeup/Baby Wipes  

If your dog has gotten into some mud or any other mess and doesn’t have dog shampoo, you can use skin-safe wipes. Baby wipes would be the gentler option, but facial wipes can also work.

If you are unsure about which wipes to use, please lean more towards the side of caution. Avoid wipes with fragrances or any other harsh ingredients. Also, if your dog loves it when you wipe it down, consider investing in dog-specific wipes for quick cleanups.

The Benefits of Using Dog Shampoo

Dog shampoos come with many benefits. Fortunately, there is over one option you can choose from. The shampoos are excellent for maintaining your pup’s coat. After every wash, your furry friend’s fur will look downy and shiny.

Moreover, the fragrance used in dog shampoos is made using safe and non-toxic ingredients so that it does threaten your pup’s skin. Dog shampoo is also easier to apply than the other shampoos.

This is because natural dog shampoo is made specifically for dogs; it lathers quickly, making the dog bath efficient. Additionally, the shampoo also helps with multiple ailments and sensitive skin issues.

Here are the other notable benefits of using dog shampoo:

  • Specially designed for sensitive skin– Dog shampoos come with natural ingredients to ensure they don’t irritate your pup’s skin. Consequently, it becomes easier to bathe your dogs.
  • You get puppy shampoo– Your puppy’s first bath could be the best moment or your worst nightmare. But puppy-friendly shampoos could make things a little easier for you.
  • Flea treatment Dog shampoos can help you get rid of parasites off your pup’s coat. They are also ideal for removing debris and flea dirt from the dog skin.
  • They get the job done– The usual dog shampoos literally get the job done. The shampoos will thoroughly clean your dog, leaving it feeling clean and smelling lovely!
  • They are scented– You can also spice up your dog bathing by using heavily scented shampoos.  

What Should I Look For in a Dog Shampoo?

The ideal shampoo for your dog should be basic and not full of fragrance. As you go shopping for a dog bathing product, here are significant factors for you to consider:

  • The shampoo you choose should have an appropriate pH balance.
  • Consider shampoos containing oatmeal and aloe vera because they are excellent for skin moisturizing and soothing irritation.
  • The best shampoo for puppies and adult dogs should be soap-free.
  • The most notable ingredients to avoid are phthalates, parabens, and other chemicals.
  • It is also best to go for an easy to rinse shampoo.
  • Eco-friendly shampoos are also an excellent choice.

Groomers Land Top Tips For Washing Your Dog

Washing your pup is not just about getting the best dog shampoo. There are several aspects to consider. Here are Groomer’s Land top tips for how to wash a dog:

Ensure the bucket, basin, or bathtub is clean

Would you take a bath in a dirty, grimy tub? Well, even your pup wouldn’t. Therefore, before your dog jumps into the tub, ensure you thoroughly clean it.


You must consider the outdoor and water temperatures when bathing your dog. Using cold water could make your pup vulnerable to illness. On the flip side, it would make them uncomfortable if you wash them with scaldingly hot water.

Pick the right day to wash your dog and ensure you test the water temperature before using it.

Comfort is key 

Some pet parents only ensure their pup is comfortable. However, you are supposed to ensure that you are comfortable too. Ensure you have all you need and the bathing environment is comfortable.

Be gentle as you wash the pup

Don’t rush and take extra caution as you wash around your dog’s ears, face and privates. These are sensitive parts that could leave your furry friend in a lot of pain if not cleaned correctly.

The Only Three Homemade Dog Shampoos You Will Ever Need

Are you thinking about working on your DIY dog shampoo? It is not that complicated, and most of the ingredients you need are probably in your pantry or local store.

Here, you will learn some excellent homemade, natural dog shampoo for your canine:

Basic Homemade Dog Shampoo (Simple DIY Shampoo)


  • 2 cups warm water.
  • ¼ cup nontoxic dish soap.
  • ½ cup white vinegar.

How to use

  • Put together all the ingredients in a spray bottle, then shake to mix.
  • Wet your pup’s coat using warm water, then spray with shampoo. Ensure you avoid the eyes.
  • Gently work the shampoo on your dog’s coat until it forms a thick lather.
  • Rinse carefully and continually, then dry it off.

Why it’s fantastic

  • It contains dish detergent that is specially formulated to get rid of grease. This will help in washing off any oils accumulated on your furry friend’s skin and coat.
  • The white vinegar has deodorant and antiseptic properties, which ensure your dog’s skin is sparkly clean.

Aloe Vera and Glycerin Shampoo – Best for Pups with Dry Skin


  • 4 cups water.
  • 1 cup baby shampoo or nontoxic dish soap.
  • 1 cup white or apple cider vinegar.
  • 1/3 cup glycerin.
  • 2 tablespoons aloe vera.

How to use

  • Put together all the ingredients in a spray bottle and shake thoroughly to mix.
  • Apply on your dog, ensuring you avoid the eyes.
  • Work the shampoo gently on the skin until it lathers.
  • Rinse with clean water and dry with a soft towel.

Why it’s fantastic

  • It is ideal for pet owners with dogs having dry, itchy, and sensitive skin; this is your go-to DIY shampoo. There are a few ingredients you can include to help alleviate the symptoms.  
  • The glycerin will deal with dry skin, and oatmeal helps in soothing your pup’s skin.  

Oatmeal Dog Shampoo for Dry Skin


  • 1 cup raw oatmeal.
  • ½ cup baking soda.
  • 4 cups warm water.

How to use

  • Mill the oatmeal on a coffee grinder or food processor until the flour is consistent.
  • Pour the oatmeal flour into a mixing bowl and add baking soda. Add warm water and stir to mix.  
  • Wet your dog using warm water and use shampoo to lather your pup’s coat.
  • Work the shampoo on the dog’s coat and let it sit for a little while.
  • Rinse wholly with clean water and dry with a soft towel.

Why it’s fantastic

  • The oatmeal will help soothe your canine’s skin.
  • Baking soda is excellent for removing bad odor.

Flea-Repellent Dog Shampoo with Essential Oils


  • 1 ¼ cups warm water.
  • ¼ cup aloe vera gel.
  • 1 tablespoon Castile soap.
  • 2 drops lavender essential oil.

How to use

  • Jumble all the ingredients in a spray bottle. Shake well for the elements to combine well.
  • Use warm water to wet your furry friend. Spray the shampoo on your dog and work it thoroughly on the coat.
  • Rinse continually with clean water and dry using a soft towel.

Why it’s fantastic

  • The lavender essential oil is an excellent natural ant parasitic and antiseptic.
  • All the ingredients used in this DIY dog shampoo are natural hence safe to use.

Is Dawn Dish Soap Safe For Dogs?

According to experts, you can use Dawn dish soap to clean your dogs, albeit by following special instructions. Here is how to safely use Dawn soap dish:

  • You can use Dawn if your pup is heavily infested with fleas. However, when you use them, the experts recommend using small quantities diluted with water.
  • The experts also suggest that Dawn is ideal for adult dogs infested with fleas. The soap helps to get rid of fleas from the skin and hair coat.

Bottom Line

So, can you use baby shampoo on dogs? Well, you have learned that human shampoos are not ideal for dogs because dogs’ skin is more sensitive than that of humans. However, using baby shampoo for dogs is acceptable.

Apart from commercial dog shampoos, you can also make the best shampoos using the simple procedures outlined here. In short, the best dog shampoo and conditioner depends on factors such as age, acidity, presence of parasites, and veterinarian advice.

With all this knowledge, you are ready to give your furry friend a treat of a lifetime!

Groomers' Land