We were emailed by Jonathan, 39, from London asking the question “I have a 2 year old Jack Russell and he stinks! He doesn’t roll around in muck or anything but he does start stinking especially in summer. I don’t want to spend load of money and I was wondering can you use baby shampoo on dogs. We have a baby and this would save us quite a bit of money.” First of all, thank you very much for the question and for anyone else who has a question please use the contact page.
Let’s head straight into the question!
Can you use baby shampoo on dogs?
Using adult or baby shampoo is not recommend under any circumstances on a dog’s coat. A dog’s coat is an intricate and delicate part of the body that does require regular cleaning but not from human shampoo, this includes baby shampoo. Although baby shampoo is better than adult shampoo it still shouldn’t be used and only purposely made dog shampoo should be used.
Instead use something like:
Why can’t baby shampoos be used on dogs?
Baby shampoos and human shampoos have been designed to be used on human hair and skin only. Human hair and skin differs from dogs quite a bit and the secret of dog shampoos are how they react towards the dog’s ‘acid mantle’. Shampoos are design to replenish and repair the acid mantle and not scrub it away for human, using baby shampoo on a dog will not repair the acid mantle and could end up harming the dog with too much use too regular use because they do not have one – dogs skin is alkaline.
By using baby shampoo on a dog you are running the risk of changing the balance of their skin and hair/fur. Baby shampoo on a dog is a lot better than adult shampoo as it’s got a lot less harsh chemicals but it is still acidic which is the opposite of the dogs pH level. Although dogs don’t have an acid mantle (here’s a link to a study on this) like humans do they do still have a skin/hair balance that needs to be kept.
What will happen if you use baby shampoo on dogs?
As we mentioned earlier, baby shampoo is one of the most gentle human shampoos there are and is relatively safe (not recommended) to use if you really need to wash your dog but don’t have any actual dog shampoo. However, as with anything that isn’t specifically tested on dogs; usage of baby shampoo can lead to allergies, dryness of the skin, itchiness, build of bacteria and other skin conditions. This is because their natural pH isn’t kept and the baby shampoo is not letting the dog build it back up again with regular use. Regular use for a dog can be once a week to once a month. If you think how a dog in the wild wouldn’t have access to shampoo it’s reasonable to assume that washing a dog with any sort of shampoo to be unnatural especially more than once a week.
I have used baby shampoo on dogs – what do I do?
If you’ve already used baby shampoo on your dog and you’re worried about what to do next – don’t. Unless your dog is showing signs of a skin reaction such as itching, redness and so on then the baby shampoo has probably caused no harm.
Take this opportunity to purchase proper shampoo and leave the baby shampoo for the baby!
What should I use to wash a dog?
To wash your dog we obviously recommend using purpose made dog shampoo and conditioner, here’s some bestsellers:
We’ve also written an ultimate Buyer’s guide to dog shampoos UK.
Keep their area clean
It’s important to not just keep your dog clean but everything around the dog too, and that includes you! To reduce the number of washes and therefore the need for baby shampoo then keep their sleeping and chilling area clean which includes the dog crate, dog bed, dog blanket and even their puppy toys if they are stuffed.
Wash their accessories
Don’t just stop at their area, go ahead and clean their accessories such as collars, UK dog harnesses, waterproof coats and so on. Wearables especially can make them sweat and carry sweat making them dirty with prolonged use. Hopefully, the accessories as wash friendly to make it easier.
Last update on 2021-06-23 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API