Frenchie in the tub being washed off with a nozel with the words "can you use human shampoo on dogs?"

Can You Use Human Shampoo on Dogs?

Best Shampoo for Dogs

When it comes to odor shampoo for dogs, you may be tempted to reach for your own favorite bottle of shampoo. “My hair looks and smells amazing, so it’ll work the same on my dog’s coat.” Right? Well, not so fast. Before using human shampoo on your dog, look instead of leap. Below, we’ll tell you all the reasons why, plus introduce you to a gentle pet odor shampoo that’s truly “top dog.”

The “Pawblem” with Human Shampoo: It Can Disrupt Your Doggie’s pH

We’ve all heard the term “pH balanced,” but what exactly does it mean? If your eyes tended to glaze over in science class, here’s a quick refresh: pH stands for potential hydrogen, and it measure how acidic or alkaline a liquid is.

The pH scale ranges from 0 to 14, with anything above 7 being alkaline and anything below 7 being acid. Water is smack dab in the middle at 7, which means it’s neutral.

When it comes to skin care – both for humans AND dogs – the pH level of a product is of utmost importance. A human’s outermost layer of skin is slightly acidic at 5.5. Using a cleanser with a pH in the same ballpark as the skin is a must if we want to avoid itching and dryness. Bar soap generally has a pH level of 8 to 12, which is why it’s notorious for causing dryness and irritation. (Side note: this is our favorite pH balanced cleanser for face AND body … it’s perfect if you have sensitive or dry skin.)

Now, as for our canine companions, their skin pH is normally between 6.2–7.4, which is more in the neutral range. Therefore, if you use a human shampoo on dogs, it can aggravate their top layer of skin and leave it susceptible to parasites and bacteria, not to mention cause that annoying itching and unsightly flaking.

What Should You Do If You’re in a Pickle?

Life happens. And sometimes we run out of our favorite doggie shampoo or can’t get into the groomers right away after our dogs get into a stinky mess. If this occurs, avoid the temptation of using your own shampoo and instead reach for a bottle of baby shampoo. It’s more on the neutral level of the pH scale.

And keep in mind, even if you do use your own shampoo on your dog before reading this, don’t be too hard on yourself. Shampooing your dog once or twice with your own shampoo, especially if you tend to lean toward more natural shampoos, is not likely to cause harm.

Warning: Not All Pet Odor Shampoos Are the Same

It’s not uncommon for a dog to have skin irritation or even an allergy to certain shampoo ingredients. Their skin is much more sensitive than ours! That’s why it’s important to do your homework (and keep it away from said dog) before you select a pet shampoo.

Common irritants in pet shampoos include alcohol ingredients, such as stearyl alcohol, benzyl alcohol, cetearyl alcohol and isopropyl alcohol. Dyes can also irritate dogs’ skin. Yes, dyes may make the substance in the bottle look “prettier,” but that’s just for show. Dogs don’t care what color their shampoo is, and neither should we!

Other ingredients that can cause irritation AND be toxic include isothiazolinone preservatives, polyethylene glycol (PEG) and propylene glycol. Even mineral oil is of concern. We hear the word “mineral” and may think it’s safe, but in reality, it’s a petroleum byproduct. It forms a barrier on the skin, keeping healing ingredients from penetrating the skin, and at the same time, potentially trapping in toxins.

Dog smiling with a towl wrapped around his shoulders with teh words

Pro tip: Spend just as much time rinsing out the shampoo as you do lathering it in. This will help ensure that all product is completely off the dog’s skin.

What’s the Best Dog Shampoo for Odor?

Oxyfresh Pet Shampoo is the alpha of safe and gentle odor shampoos for dogs. There’s absolutely no alcohol in it to irritate or dry out your dog’s skin. It’s hypoallergenic, free of dyes and harsh ingredients, and pH-balanced for a healthy, gorgeous coat. No more itching! Add in some silk amino acids for the ultimate softness, and your dog will have an easy-to-brush coat that looks Best in Show, every time.

What makes Oxyfresh Pet Shampoo stand out from the pack is it doesn’t MASK odors via overpowering fragrance and chemicals. Instead, it eliminates organic odors right at the source, courtesy of Oxygene®. This 100% non-toxic ingredient uses the gentle process of oxidation to stop stubborn odor in its tracks. Oxygene® is so powerful, it can even stop skunk odor! No other pet odor-eliminating shampoo has this special ingredient!

Now that you’re in-the-know, put Oxyfresh pet odor shampoo to the test and give your dog the gift of a sublimely soft, shiny, silky, and best of all – ITCH FREE – coat. We think you’ll agree – it’s the best dog shampoo for odor, paws down!

P.S. Is your cat glaring at you from across the room? Don’t forget to include them in the “healthy coat club.” Check out: 10 easy steps to bathe your cat (and live to tell the tale).

Oxyfresh advertisement: Woman holding labradoodle with Oxyfresh pet shampoo in front with the words "itch-free is the only way to be" Oxyfresh has a hypoallergenic conditioning formula, is ph balanced for healthy skin & coat, and is infused with luxurious silk amino acids. Buy now.