Can You Use Human Shampoo On Dogs?

When it comes to giving our dogs baths, one of the most controversial topics you’ll ever hear being discussed among dog owners is the kind of shampoo that’s used then and there.

In a very short section, let’s sum up everything you need to know about the debate before going on further with this topic.

Human Shampoo For Dogs – The Debate

On one side of the debate, you have dog owners that stand by their firm belief that human shampoo is completely fine to bathe dogs with, and back their stance up with the claim that they have been giving their dogs baths with shampoo designed for human use for ages and they’re completely fine and healthy.

On the other hand, you have people that argue that shampoo designed for human use is terrible to use on dogs and that it can greatly affect their health and well-being, as it’s filled with harmful chemicals and imbalanced pH levels that will destroy your dog’s healthy skin with time.

So, here you are, lost and not knowing which side you should stand on.

Well, this article serves to guide you to the right path with as least bias as possible, only talking facts and separating those from fiction.

Human Shampoo On Dogs

If you’re here reading this article today, chances are you’ve heard one of your friends/acquaintances say before that they’ve given their dog a bath with human shampoo, and they smell AWESOME!

Or, you might have even given your dog a bath with human shampoo and have seen for yourself, first hand, how nice they can smell with all the varieties of scents now available on the market for you to choose from.

You can have your dog smell like peach all day long if you wanted to!

However, besides having your dog smell super nice and dandy, what’s human shampoo benefiting your dog other than that?

Some people may argue that you may be saving a few bucks here and there by having your dog use the same cheap shampoo as you, and that’s totally correct.

However, if you were to do the necessary math on this one, you’ll find out that even if you were to pay a few extra bucks for a dog-formulated shampoo, you’ll be saving tons of money down the line that you would have otherwise paid on veterinary bills and medicine for your dog.

So it may look like you’re paying more upfront and losing money, but you’re really not.

But the real question you should be asking yourself is, is human shampoo actually hurting your dog’s health and well-being?

Can You Use Human Shampoo On Dogs?

The short answer to that question is, YES, you can use human shampoo on dogs, BUT you should for a fact know that bathing them with a dog shampoo is much more beneficial to their skin and to their overall health and well-being than bathing them with a human shampoo.

Although you can safely bathe your dog with human shampoo every now and then, you really shouldn’t be doing this on a consistent and regular basis because it can lead to terrible health problems with your dog over time if done more than it should be done.

If you’re prepared to pay an extra few bucks here and there whenever you’re shopping around so you can get a shampoo for Fido that will actually keep them healthy and not harm them, then please be the responsive dog owner you are and buy them a dog shampoo that’s been manufactured just for them.

When compared together, dog shampoo beats human shampoo in all the criteria when it comes to dogs.

Why Is Using Human Shampoo For Dogs Bad?

Well, for starters, and excuse us for pointing out the very obvious here, but human shampoo was manufactured with humans in mind, and dog shampoo was manufactured for dogs in mind.

Why use one on the other when it clearly hasn’t been made to meet their needs and and requirements?

Proponents of only using dog shampoo while bathing your dog will argue (and very rightfully so) that the majority of human shampoos out there are loaded with chemicals that will severely damage your dog’s coat over time and will lead to many health problems down the line because, let’s face it, chemicals aren’t good for anything when it comes to health.

A prime example of such harmful chemicals would be the scents (or fragrances) that we talked about earlier in this article.

When you use human shampoo on your dog, they can sure smell like the best thing in the world, but all that smell is nothing more than chemicals slowly but surely damaging their coat and skin each and every time you give them a bath.

Is it really worth it to have your dog be subject to all these harmful chemicals just in order to have them smell a unique way? Never!

Your skin and my skin may be able to tolerate the amount of chemicals found in these shampoos for a very long time before we start to notice any effects, but that’s not the case for our dogs.

Dogs are known to have much more sensitive skin than us humans, so if you use human shampoo when bathing your dog you’ll notice negative side effects start to develop real fast such as dry skin, rashes, excessive scratching and excess hair loss.

Not to mention the fact that some dogs have an abundance of natural oils in their skin/coat that give them that glossy, smooth and beautiful look.

And guess what human shampoo that’s full of chemicals will do?

Nothing but damage these natural oils and the look and feel of your dog’s coat while at it.

A Note About Human Shampoo And pH Balance For Dogs

With the average pH level of a dog’s skin being anywhere from 5.5 to 7.5, and without getting too much into scientific details about this one as there’s no need to, let’s just say that human shampoo and these pH levels do NOT do well together at all.

With these pH levels that are found in our dog’s skin, this means that human shampoo will destroy your dog’s acid mantle in no time, which is a layer on their skin that’s responsible for preventing any potential bacteria, viruses and any other harmful contaminants that might make their way through your dog’s skin and cause serious health problems.

This dangerous situation will be greatly aggravated when your dog starts to feel intense itches and urges to scratch these itches, which only makes it a whole lot easier for the bacteria to make its way inside your dog’s skin and do its harm there.

Why Should I Use A Dog Shampoo For My Dog?

The most important difference between dog shampoos and human shampoos, other than the existence of harmful chemicals in the latter, is the fact that a dog shampoo takes into consideration the pH levels of your DOG’s skin, and not that of yours.

So, instead of using a shampoo on your dog that is made to preserve your skin’s pH balance and destroy that of your dog, you’re using a shampoo that will preserve the skin pH of your dog.

What Makes A Good Dog Shampoo?

Before you buy any dog shampoo for Fido, make sure you properly inspect the label and find that they somewhere mentioned that this shampoo has a dog-friendly pH balance.

This should be the absolute least requirement for a shampoo you want to bathe your dog with. If you can’t find this statement (or can’t find anything else on the product description that says this in another way) then put that shampoo away and look for a different one.

Speaking of labels, if you’re able to come across an “organic dog shampoo” (that, after proper inspection, really turns out to be organic and not just some marketing gimmick), that would be great as well.

And, concerning these scents everyone seems to go crazy for nowadays, you also want to make sure that any dog shampoo you will be bathing your dog with is free from any artificial fragrances that will only be of harm to Fido.

Natural fragrances will be more than fine if you find them in a dog shampoo you’re looking at, it’s the artificial fragrances we’re trying our best to avoid here.

Besides being free from artificial fragrances, the shampoo should also not contain any artificial colors, or else that’s just bringing in the chemicals found in human shampoo that we were running away from.

Conclusion On Using Human Shampoo On Dogs

In conclusion, while it’s perfectly fine to use human shampoo on dogs in rare instances such as when you’re out of dog shampoo and have to do with what you have home at the time, but please don’t make a habit out of bathing your dog with human shampoo because that’s terrible for their coat and their health.

Yes, your dog might smell heavenly-like when you bathe them with your favorite scented-shampoo, but it’s never worth it.

Whether your dog smells like peach or not should be the last thing you ever worry about when it comes to your dog, you just have to make sure that they’re clean and their coats are properly getting catered to and being taken care of as required during a bath.

Also, and if you’re concerned about paying more for dog shampoo upfront than you would with human shampoo, don’t be, because you’re actually saving money that you’re otherwise going to put on veterinary expenses and expensive treatments for your dog’s skin problems, parasites, fleas and infections that they’ll develop because you were showering them with human shampoo and slowly damaging their skin.

You should also note the fact that dogs don’t need to be bathed as often as we do. You and I may need a good shower everyday, while our dogs can go by perfectly fine with just one shower every month.

Your dog doesn’t even need to be bathed with shampoo in every bath either, you can choose to shampoo them once every other bath and keep one bath in between solely reliant on cleaning them with just water, that would be perfectly fine as well.

What we’re trying to say here is, any few extra dollars you’re paying for a high quality dog shampoo will go by unnoticed because a high quality shampoo bottle can last your dog up to a full year before it’s empty, so who would really mind spending a few extra bucks a year just to make sure their dog is as healthy as they can be?

Now you are clued up on using human shampoo on dogs why not read our article on why you shouldn’t be using baby wipes on dogs.


  1. Are you serious people ? Get your pups good quality products, i don’t know about you but i never use human champoo on my dogs, avoid also low quality accessories.

  2. I know of someone who actually published in s Pet Magazine that it is not harmful to use Human Shampoo on Dogs and that the Ph differences didn’t matter!
    Then it seems as though she made up her own Myths list to fit her outcome.

    Some people are just seem to be Legends in their own mind!


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